This is not a blog about sports. This is a post about football, and the Super Bowl, the Seahawks and even the Patriots. But if you found this because it’s a sports post, there may not be much for you beyond this post. You’ve been warned.
If you’ve been reading / paying attention, you know I grew up in Seattle. As a young boy I spent a lot of time bouncing between my mother and father depending on who was the “stable” one at the time. They fluctuated and the degree of stability varied. However, some of the best times I had with my dad was at the Kingdome (the ancient, now gone stadium in which both the Seahawks and Mariners used to play.) My father was very into Seattle sports and I played football in high school, so being fans of the local teams was natural. The thing about Seattle is that we always had a good attitude about our sports, except for the
most part, they sucked. For years my father and I would wait in the cold and rain after games for the chance at possible autographs (which I got more than a few of, I still have some from Edgar Martinez and a few others of that era on both teams.) Then one year (1995) the Mariners did something amazing, and for the first time since the franchise was founded, they made the post-season. It was magic and exciting and happy and the entire city celebrated. After that, the Mariners would go on to set some records and win a couple more divisions, but never make the world series and (unfortunately, most recently) fall back into being a rather unimpressive team. Meanwhile, the Seahawks had a great season in 2006, even making it to the Super Bowl but ultimately losing and then fading back to “normalcy”… until 2014.
Last year the Seahawks took a young team and made a serious name for itself. It made heroes, (and perhaps anti-heroes) played exciting games and was (as Charlie would say:) winning. The team dominated and played memorable games up to the Super Bowl… which was.. actually kinda boring. I mean, at first it was amazing that the hawks were there to begin with, but as the score gap continued to grow it became very obvious we were not seeing the Broncos live up their potential that night and as a result, a team of Seahawks who were on their game dominated and won their first Super Bowl, ever.
To Seattle football fans this was the victory of a lifetime. If sports in Seattle had ceased to exist at that point, all would probably be alright in their world. But the next year came, the defending national champions returned, and with it the new hope of another Super Bowl. However, the season started out inconsistent and some began to worry that the magic of the previous year had run out. But the second half of the season marked the return of the team we had seen the previous year and the twelfth man road behind them all the way to the final playoff game where it appeared the Packers might block their road to their second consecutive Super Bowl. But no, not these boys, they weren’t having it and though trailing late in the fourth quarter, in the last five minutes they made gutsy clutch plays that paid off, sending them from a 19-7 deficit to a tied game in overtime. That was all it took to light their fire and allow them to score with a beautiful 35 yard pass to end the game and collectively rip out the hearts of every Packers fan paying attention.
So then the Seahawks rode high to their second Super Bowl to meet with the most recent team to pull off they “dynasty” that some whispered Seattle would claim next. Marshawn Lynch didn’t talk enough (unless it was to Skittles) and Richard Sherman might’ve talked a little too much, but nobody cared, the fans loved them for who they were, which was exactly what they wanted. These were Seattle’s warriors of hope rolling in on a combination of luck, skill and excitement to defend their National title at their second Super Bowl ever.
But the Patriots were not off their game as the Broncos had been the previous year. No, this was a real Super Bowl game. The tension was high, the score went back and fourth, and you had no idea who was going to win it until the final minutes. At least… you thought you did. At first it seemed like Seattle wasn’t going to be able to make it to the end zone before the time ran out… until Jermaine Kearse missed… but made a ridiculous catch for the Seahawks on the five yard line that fans on either side could only attribute to an act of god. Yes, even god seemed to have the Seahawks back last night. The next play the man known as beast mode powered the ball within eighteen inches of the Seahawk’s second (consecutive) Super Bowl ever. So with less than a minute in the fourth quarter, second down and eighteen fucking inches to go… what is currently being referred to as the worst play call in Super Bowl history happens. Instead of having the Beast Mode do exactly what earned him that nickname, the coach(es) decide they want to be complicated. No, it’s not good enough to pull ahead in the last minute and trust your extremely pumped defense defend your lead, they decide they want to run the time down, so the call a passing play.. right. up. the. middle… what!? Of all the places to throw it.. the one place where any number of things can happen… and it did. The play actually looked clean, but at the last moment, a relatively (until this moment) corner for the Patriots became a hero and intercepted the pass meant to be the game winning touchdown. In that moment divine retribution for all the hearts Seattle had broken came flooding back to them. And anyone watching a moment later saw Richard Sherman’s heart break on the sidelines. Our heroes collectively broke, and the game was over.
Sadness. But holy shit what a game! Last year by this time I was bored. In the fourth quarter it was like “Yay! We win! Get on with it!” But this year? No this year if you were a fan you felt it on both sides. Excitement, joy and heartbreak. That was a Super Bowl. My team lost, but they were at the freakin’ Super Bowl… and as defending national champions. It was easy to lose sight of that in a gut-wrenching loss, but though our heroes were eventually defeated by their own devices, everything they did up to that point was still pretty awesome.
Except that fight. That was petty, and stupid and took the Seahawks down a notch for starting it. Sure, tensions run high and some people enjoyed seeing a brawl, but heroes are better than that. Knock that shit off. Who gets ejected from the Super Bowl!? Win or lose, that’s just lame. I get it, you’re a pumped up warrior and you care, but put it where it belongs on the field.
And let’s talk about the Patriots because you know what? Tom Brady is a badass quarterback who has earned his stripes and continues to show us why. On top of that, he’s a pretty good guy in general. He’s the hero for the Patriots fans and he played a good, solid game against another very good team. Even if the Seahawks threw it away for themselves in the end, the Patriots fought a damn hard game and put themselves in the position to be ahead with less than a minute to play. They may have had a little luck from an insane call, but they otherwise earned that game and arguably out-played the Seahawks for more than half the game. So, if we’re gonna lose, let’s lose to somebody worthy of losing to. Congratulations Patriots, you fought hard and earned it.
In actuality, both teams earned it, but there can be only one, and yesterday only one bad call made the difference. Here’s the thing about that call too… there’s been some back and fourth. There’s been some rationale and logically it’s a stretch, but it would’ve been forgiven if it had worked. The truth is the Seahawks had been making bizarre, gutsy, risky calls like that for a while now (especially against the Packers) which ended up winning them the game. But this was the wrong risk to take at the wrong time. This was the time to keep it simple, and overthinking was our undoing.
But you know what? We paid for the hearts we broke along the way, and played every game of the season. That’s something to recognize and be proud of. I think next season we’ll all be pretty happy for the Seahawks to say they’ve gone to the Super Bowl three consecutive years. Next year is Superbowl 50, it will be a special game and a special win. That’s the start to a dynasty and now that Seattle knows what winning feels like, we’re going to come back hard with our lessons learned to get that feeling back.