The Grand Wrap 2013

Well, this is it.  This is officially the final post of the Seattle Seahawks 2013 Season.  From here on, all posts will be on other things, including, but not limited to, the Seahawks offseason, hating on the Oklahoma City basketball team, and possibly even crossword puzzles for people to ignore again — we will just have to see how it goes.  This is the Grand Wrap 2013.  Enjoy.

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Now that the Super Bowl is over — the Seahawks won, if you missed it — we can try to answer reflective, impossible-to-satisfactorily-answer questions like “What the fuck am I supposed to do with my Sunday now?” and “Where do the 2013 Seahawks fit in historically?”  To the former, here’s a link to the 2014 Arena Football League schedule*.  To the latter, here’s a link to a really good Football Outsiders article that ranks teams historically.  If you don’t want to read it, I’ll give you the broad strokes: By the author’s estimation, the 2013 Seahawks are the 13th greatest team ever**, the 6th greatest champion ever, and the 4th greatest Super Bowl winner ever.  That’s pretty damn good.  As Seattle sports fans, we final have an all-time great team.

A few other thoughts about the article.

  • The 2013 Seahawks are the 16th greatest defensive team ever.  It might seem strange at first that they rank higher overall than they do defensively, given how dominant their defense was, but when you see some of the teams they leapfrog when offense is included, it makes sense.  For instance, the 1974 Steelers and the 2002 Buccaneers rate higher defensively than the 2013 Seahawks, but their offenses were below average, unlike Seattle’s which was a top-10 unit.
  • The 2012 Seahawks crack the top-20 all-time as well (18th).  It’s easy to forget how good the team was last year and how if not for one bad half (and one last minute defensive lapse) in Atlanta this could have been a Super Bowl repeat.
  • The three Super Bowl winners ahead of the ’13 Seahawks are the ’91 Washington team, the ’85 Bears, and the ’96 Packers.  No real surprises, except possibly the ’96 Packers.  Rarely do they get mentioned among the all-time great teams, but they should.  Brett Favre was at his MVP-winning apex, and the defense dominated with guys like Reggie White, LeRoy Butler, and ex-Seahawk (and future Super Bowl Eve john) Eugene Robinson.
  • The ’92 Seahawks are the lowest ranking passing team ever.  Ev–er.  This surprises no one who watched them play.  I once referred to Stan Gelbaugh, Kelly Stouffer, and Dan McGwire as the “Unholy Trinity of putrid signal callers”.  It’s an apt characterization.

*This is a joke, but once, during a particularly unbusy part of my life, I was in such a state of ennui after the NFL season ended that I decided to get really into arena football.  This lasted all of one half of one game.  Substituting the Arena League for the NFL is like trying to stave off a heroin addiction by eating poppy seed muffins.

**”Ever” in this case means since 1950, which is a reasonable approximation for ever, given how different the game is now from then.

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This is pretty good.  The commentary is lame — I believe it’s catered to a less American football-savvy British audience — but the choreography is excellent.  Spot on.  They even get Malcolm Smith‘s non-dunk over the crossbars right.  Well done, chappies; well done indeed.

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Like most Seahawks fans, I laughed at the picture of Marshawn Lynch reaching for a bottle of whiskey from The Duck.  But then I thought — What if Lynch actually has a problem with alcohol?  Then it’s not too funny.  He does have a pending DUI charge, after all.  I’m not saying he is an alcoholic — it sounds like he wasn’t even really drunk when he got that DUI — but I am saying that sometimes we chuckle at goofy behavior, and then we look back on it and realize we were laughing at something pretty serious.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but it was just a few years ago when we thought it was funny when a player stumbled around the field after getting “jacked up” or getting his “bell rung”.  And then we learned what chronic traumatic encephalopathy is and felt guilty.  I don’t want something similar to happen when news breaks ten years down the road that a beloved football player has had his life ruined by substance abuse.

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Michael Sam is soon to be the first openly gay NFL player, and Seattle is being mentioned as a place where he could thrive.  This doesn’t mean anything other than the Seahawks organization is perceived as being stable (winning the Super Bowl will do that), and they could use another serviceable pass-rusher (who couldn’t?).  But it did make me ponder the possibility of Sam being drafted by the Seahawks.  It would be very cool, in my opinion.  The only potential downside is that it would create the opportunity for an athlete I respect to do or say something anti-gay; thus putting me in that awful sports fan bind of trying to justify rooting for somebody on-the-field while simultaneously disapproving of their personality off-the-field.  You can call it the Jerramy Stevens Conundrum (or if you’re into movies, you can replace Jerramy Stevens with Woody Allen).  My favorite football player as a kid long ago revealed himself as a homophobe (bigotry in the guise of “family values” or religious conviction is still bigotry); I’d rather not add another Steve Largent to my “athlete doublethink list”.

And by the way, to all the people posting comments on the Internet (yes, I know, it’s my fault for actually reading them) to the effect of Sam “just needs to shut up and play instead of stirring up a story in the media.”  You are wrong.  Michael Sam should not just shut up.  He is doing a very noble thing by coming out.  If every closeted American came out tomorrow, their combine gayness would overwhelm the remaining vestiges of homophobia in this country.  Everybody would have an openly gay loved one, and when you have an openly gay loved one, it’s a lot harder to treat gays as inferior citizens.

And to the people claiming “this isn’t even a story”.  You are also wrong. This is a story.  It shouldn’t be, but it is.  And I find it ironic (in a very loathsome way) that so many of the people now so annoyed by Sam “pointlessly creating a story” are the same people who helped bring about this story in the first place by fostering an anti-gay environment in which it took until 2014 (2014!) for an NFL player or prospect come out.  It’s no longer socially acceptable to outwardly denigrate gay people (except in Kansas), so a hater’s recourse is to try to marginalize and ignore them.  Don’t be a hater.  I hate haters.

OK, I’m dismounting my soap box now.  Did I stick the landing?

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Another thing I notice a lot while reading online comments (again, I know, bad idea) is how people posting pro-Seahawks sentiments often get accused of being fair-weather fans.  I find this quite ridiculous.  For one thing, it’s absurd to post a comment about somebody’s personality when you don’t even know that person.  This is especially true about a ‘Hawks fan.  The Seahawks franchise retired the number 12 in honor of the 12th man in 1984.  They’ve had (and continue to have) an incredibly loyal fanbase for over 30 years, despite not being consistently good until relatively recently.  If any random fan is not likely to be a fair-weather fan, it’s a Seattle fan.

For another thing, why is being a fair-weather fan so bad?  Being a frontrunner, jumping from winning team to winning team, is pretty lame, but most fair-weather fans don’t do that.  Most have one team they follow closely when they’re good and not so closely when they aren’t.  That’s not being a bad fan; that’s having a life.  Plus fair-weather fans are a good thing for a franchise, because they provide ownership an incentive to put out a quality product.  If all fans are diehards and all games are sellouts, no matter what, what financial motivation is there to win?

For another other thing, the whole concept of a “right way” to enjoy something is pretty absurd, if you think about it.  I used to love The Simpsons, then it started being consistently unfunny so I stop watching.  Every now and then if the previews for an episode look good, I’ll watch it again.  Am I a fair-weather The Simpsons fan?  Or do I just not want to waste my time watching bad TV?  What about if you only eat oranges while they’re in season, does that make you a fair-weather fruit fan?

My feeling on the matter is people can like something however they want to like it.  I’ve been a die-hard Seahawks fan since the 1983 AFC Championship Game.  I follow the team whether they go 12-4, 8-8, or 4-12.  That’s me.  If you only want to hop on the ‘Hawks bandwagon every ten years when they’re a Super Bowl contender, be my guest.  You can dust off your ’05 NFC Champions hat; throw on your Richard Sherman jersey; and meet me at the sports bar.  I’ll buy you a drink.

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Lastly, here is my top-5 list of free agents I’d most like to see resigned by the Seahawks next season, in order from most to least.

  1. Michael Bennett — He says he wants to come back, but he also says (in a very humorous) manner that he’s not taking a discount to resign (“This isn’t Costco.”). So basically he wants to be paid top dollar to return to the best defense in the NFL. Well, yeah, wouldn’t you?  Bennett took a one-year “prove it” contract, and prove it he did.  My hunch is he leaves.  I suspect Schneider & Co. are going to prioritize other players and look for the next Michael X in free agency or the draft (Michael Sam?).
  2. Golden Tate — Unlike Bennett, he said he will take a hometown discount.  Of course, he said that in the afterglow of a glorious Super Bowl victory.  That’s like telling your date you want to marry them when you’re at a party high on ecstasy.  Let’s see how things are in the morning when you’re stone sober, and your date starts asking you about looking at venues.  Golden Tate‘s is a situation in which my heart and head are in disconcert.  I want Tate to come back, but unless he’s really serious about that discount, it’s probably not worth it.  With Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, and Jermaine Kearse already in the fold, spending a bunch of money on a wide receiver, even a good one, probably isn’t financially prudent.
  3. Clinton McDonald — I think this dude is underrated.  From what I can tell, he can really play, and he probably won’t be too expensive.  5.5 sacks from an interior lineman is nothing to sneeze at.
  4. Tony McDaniel — The other McDTackle.  It seemed to me like McDonald was more impactful, but McDaniel was clearly higher on the depth chart, so I don’t know who’s actually better.  If the ‘Hawks can get both of them signed on the cheap and keep the fearsome rotation going, that obviously would be ideal.
  5. Breno Giacomini — Unless you really know how to break down tape (and you’re willing to take the time to do it), judging an offensive lineman is a fool’s errand.  With that said, the baby with one eyebrow won me over this year, as it seemed like the o-line was markedly better when he was suiting up.  If somebody who really knows X’s and O’s wants to tell me otherwise, I’m not going to put up a fight.

Well, that’ll do it.  This has been the Grand Wrap 2013.

-DJG

2 thoughts on “The Grand Wrap 2013

  1. Wouldn’t want Michael Sam on our team. It would create distractions and it would be awkward for the entire locker room as Michael Robinson said. Not to mention he would probably be asked to move to OLB since he is a bit short for a pending NFL DE. At 6’2” 260 with a 40 time of 4.74 he is not NFL material. Not tall enough to be on the D-Line and not agile enough to be a LB. So basically he is a less tall, less athletic, and MUCH slower version of Bruce Irvin. No thanks.

  2. The “locker room distraction” argument is a very weak one in my opinion. For one thing, it’s discriminatory and homophobic. For another, it assumes the vast majority of a NFL players are discriminatory and homophobic, which I don’t think is the case, listening to players’ interviews on the matter. Lastly, players share a locker room with people who do some pretty vile shit off the field (the “National Felons League” label has stuck for a reason); amicably sharing one with a gay man is not too much to ask.

    I can’t speak to his play on the field. I don’t follow college football very closely.

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