As the season comes to an end, it comes time to reflect on not only what happened in 2012 but Seattle’s outlook for the future. I suppose I could save you and I some time and say that the outlook is “bright” and/or “good” but I tend to be a more thorough person than that. When looking into the crystal ball at a team’s future you have to evaluate their “core”. If the core is too old or too flawed then the team is likely to struggle down the road, unless it can find new core players, probably in the draft, to build around.
When we talk about the core and core players it’s hard to know exactly what it is we are talking about. Usually a core player is someone worth building around; someone you know is going to stick around for a while. As is always the case, the contract is almost as important as the talent level. It’s hard to think of someone as part of the core of your team if they have an expiring contract, unless the plan is to franchise tag them every year like the Seahawks did with Walter Jones for a time. To summarize, the two major criteria for a core player are talent and a contract.
That being said it has always been a bit of a feel thing for me. Similar to how some players feel like Hall of Famers and some don’t even when their objective differences might be slight. That ambiguity is why I’ve developed a mental exercise to determine who the core of this team is. I simply ask myself, “would I consider buying that X player’s jersey?” and if the answer is yes they are probably a core piece. This is particularly pertinent to my life at the moment as my most up-to-date Seahawks jerseys are a Ken Hamlin jersey and a Shaun Alexander jersey. I understand that everyone has their own thoughts on jerseys and some people just buy their favorite player’s jersey but considering the expense, and my desire for the jersey to remain current for as long as possible, I’ve always considered it a big commitment/something worth putting a lot of thought into. In the case of Ken Hamlin I gambled and lost (largely due to very unfortunate circumstances) in 2005, thinking he was a core Seahawk coming out of his 2nd year on the way up. I don’t want to get burned again.
As a result this article can either be seen as identifying/evaluating the Seahawks’ core or a column on jersey buying advice. Whatever floats your boat….. We’ll start on offense.
Firstly, I’d put a disclaimer that I haven’t included o-lineman here, mainly because very few people seem to buy those jerseys. That being said Okung and Unger are both absolutely jersey worthy core players but if I had to choose I’d go with Unger because of his less scary injury history.
Russell Wilson: Wilson was the 4th ranked passer in the NFL as a rookie. He also was ranked 4th in the all-important yards per attempt statistic. He tied the rookie record for TD passes, without setting any records for interceptions like a certain Peyton Manning did. Wilson was also a fantastic runner which opened up some deadly read-option looks for this offense. His game isn’t perfect and he may suffer through some struggles down the road and a little bit of regression to the mean but I can’t conceive of a single reason not to not only consider him part of Seattle’s core but its most important part and to be very happy about this fact. Gushing over. Verdict: I would be proud to don his jersey.Wilson is the present and future.
Marshawn Lynch- To put it succinctly Lynch is a definite yes. Even so, running backs break down like it’s nobody’s business and Lynch does take a pounding so it’s not as much of a slam dunk as you might think. The thing is his accomplishments with the Seahawks so far and his superstar Beast Quake moment are already so legendary that his jersey would be a credible one to own 20 years from now even if he had a career ending injury tomorrow. In terms of his real life value to the Seahawks, he is under contract from three more years and is still in his prime (26) so he’s very much a core piece. Verdict: Yup.
Sidney Rice- Now we are out of the obvious candidates things get a little bit tricky. Rice is 26, he’s under contract for 3 more years, he’s Seattle’s #1 receiver and he’s good so all signs point to a yes here. The problem is twofold. Firstly, Rice has been immensely injury prone and that could severely alter his career path making your Rice jersey look foolish in the years ahead. Secondly, wide receiver is a position group that the Seahawks are trying to improve, probably fairly aggressive and possibly with the addition of another big-ticket free agent acquisition like Dwayne Bowe. It’s not so much that Rice is likely to be displaced or dislodged as there is a risk his importance diminishes over time. The development of Golden Tate could also be a factor. Verdict: Rice is a great receiver, but I can’t bring myself to confidently identify him as a core player for the Seahawks or purchase his jersey. Which hurts because I really like Rice.
Honorable Mention: Golden Tate- Although Tate is two years younger than Rice and seemingly on the way up you are banking heavily on a fair amount of additional development by calling him a core player. Also he hasn’t signed a contract extension and has yet to reach the level of value to the team wherein said extension is an inevitability.
Richard Sherman- There is a strong argument to be made that Richard Sherman is the best player on the Seahawks and at 24 he’s clearly a core piece for the future. My only concern is that he is only under contract for two more years but he’s a player that I’d seriously consider extending this off-season even though the first team all-pro has so much leverage coming off a great year. I think a deal gets done; I’m not suuuure I’d buy the jersey until it does but that’s probably overly cautious on my part. Verdict: Love Sherman, he’s incredibly important to the club and his jersey is a must-own.
Earl Thomas- Everything that I just said about Sherman applies to Thomas. Thomas is actually younger at 23 even though he has played an additional year in the NFL. He is a two time Pro Bowler at 23 and despite being posterized by Jacquizz Rodgers last week is an essential core piece. Same contract situation as Sherman although his lofty draft status has him far better compensated at this moment, likely making an extension less of a priority. Verdict: Earl Thomas is a fantastic player and wearing his name on your back will only make you a better person by extension.
Bobby Wagner- He’s already a great anchor for this defense and there is no reason why he shouldn’t get better and better with experience. An underrated find by Pete Carroll and Co. Absolutely a core player and not a free agent until 2016. One of the best players on arguably the best defense in the league already. Verdict: Buy the damn jersey
Brandon Browner: Although controversial in his playing style Browner has been undeniably effective since making the leap from the CFL to the NFL. He does play second fiddle to Sherman to an extent but is a Pro Bowl corner in his own right coming out of only his second year. This all sounds promising but there are two issues. One is that Browner turns 29 this year playing a position at which it is difficult to age gracefully. The second is that his contract only takes him through 2013 (to be fair he’ll be an RFA after).Browner is going to command big money, money that the Seahawks may well be saving for Richard Sherman. I can’t say with a great deal of confidence that Browner will be in Seattle in 3 years and even if he is he will be 31 and likely not quite what he once was. Great player, not a core player. Verdict: I’d steer clear of a Browner jersey, though you could do a lot worse.
Kam Chancellor: My personal favorite Seahawk. This one hurts. Chancellor is only 24 and has a Pro Bowl berth to his name in 2011. The problem is he’s only signed through 2013 (followed by UFA unlike Browner), I’m inclined to think that he’ll get an extension but unfortunately that isn’t the only problem. At this point I’m not exactly sure how good Kam Chancellor is. Aside from a couple of highlight reel hits he wasn’t a big factor in 2012. Chancellor did very little in coverage this year with his INT’s falling from 4 in 2011 to 0 in 2012 and his PD’s dropping from 12 to 4. He wasn’t a liability he just wasn’t a game changer. Verdict: My heart says, “yes, yes, yes, yes, yes” and my head says, “no”. Regardless if I see someone in a Chancellor jersey my going in assumption is that we will be best friends.
Honorable Mentions: Basically every starter on defense was considered here but most had enough red flags to not be worth delving too far into. Here’s a quick summary.
Chris Clemons- too old, current nasty injury
Red Bryant- not a game changer this year, not convinced they won’t dump his hefty contract at some point
K.J Wright & Brandon Mebane- check all the boxes in theory but neither are quiteee good enough. As I said this is a bit of a feel thing.
Bruce Irvin- too large a range of outcomes for his career, still a complementary player
Overall there are a lot more options on defense than offense which really shouldn’t come at a surprise given the way this team is designed. At the end of the day we wind up with a “core” of Wilson, Lynch, Wagner, Sherman and Thomas, to which you can add Unger and Okung. None of these players are above the age of 26 and 5 of the 7 have made Pro Bowls. That sounds like a pretty impressive core not only for 2013 but for many many more years as well. Not only are these players in their prime but they are also still developing and getting better. I’m not sure if you guys know this but this Seahawks team is really good, and it’s going to be really good for a while. Having done all this I don’t know which jersey I would buy, but that’s sort of a first world problem. The fact there are too many great players on my favorite team is something I can live with.
Tags: Bobby Wagner, brandon browner, Earl Thomas, featured, football, Golden Tate, K.J. Wright, Kam Chancellor, Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger, nfl, Popular, Red Bryant, Russell Wilson, Seahawks, sidney rice
After two straight blowouts the Seahawks host the formidable 49ers at the Clink in a game that figures to be as close as it is physical. Two of the league’s top defenses will do battle on Sunday and this game has the makings of an absolute nail biter. The 49ers are coming off a wild victory over the New England Patriots that was heartbreaking for Seahawks fans everywhere. As a result, this game is no longer really a battle for the division crown (unless the 49ers lose out, which would include losing to the woeful Cardinals at home). Instead this is more of a statement game/a game to keep Seattle in the #5 seed. The #5 seed is a nice place to be because the NFC only has 3 quality division leaders, the Packers, the Falcons and the 49ers, and as a result the team holding the 5th seed can avoid these dangerous teams and play the winner of the weak NFC East. That being said if the Hawks can beat the 49ers there really isn’t any team they need to be afraid of. Let’s take a lot of the big time matchups in this prime time game.
Matchup #1: Golden Tate vs. Tarell Brown
With Sidney Rice far from 100% Tate needs to step up in this game. At the beginning of the year I wrote that this was a make or break year for Golden Tate and the man has shown himself to be the playmaker we all knew he could be but weren’t sure he would become. With 7 touchdowns receiving and 1 passing Tate has impacted games all year long and needs to do it again on Sunday night if the Seahawks are going to succeed against the intimidating San Francisco defense. Rice (if he plays) is likely to be locking horns with Carlos Rogers so Tate’s opponent is Tarell Brown. Brown is a former 5th round pick who worked his way into the starting lineup of the 49ers last year and was very effective with 4 Int’s and 16 passes deflected. The 27 year old cover corner has similar size to Tate (5-11 190 to Tate’s 5’11 195) and speed (4.45 40 yard dash to Tate’s 4.42) but will need the help of the 49ers vaunted pass rush to account for Tate’s unique quickness and explosiveness. Look for Tate to be Wilson’s number one target on Sunday night.
Matchup #2: Paul McQuistan vs. Justin Smith
McQuistan is exactly the kind of offensive lineman most fans like. A quiet offensive lineman. Paul does not draw our attention with stupid penalties and is rarely has praise heaped on him by over-zealous commentators and as such we tend to forget him. On Sunday he draws a very important duty, the containing of Justin Smith. Smith is one of the keys to the 49er’s offense and opens up pass rushing opportunities for sack artist Aldon Smith by wreaking havoc in the interior of the offensive line. Not only does Smith absorb blocks for his dangerous teammate he also collects sacks himself. Smith has 32 sacks in his five years with the 49ers as a 3-4 end, which is an impressive total for that position. He is a tireless worker and a talented defender and if he can’t be held in check then Aldon Smith can run wild. If Okung is going to have any chance with the younger Smith then McQuistan will have to keep the older Smith quiet. We’ll have to see if the unheralded former 3rd round pick is up to the task.
Matchup #3: K.J Wright vs. Vernon Davis
I have made no secret of the fact that I’m a big fan of K.J Wright and what he does for Seattle’s defense. Today Wright draws a very interesting tight end in Vernon Davis. We all know the freakish athleticism and impressive skills that Davis possesses but this year he is not translating them into results. Davis is in for his worst year since 2008 and at 28 it would be hard to blame this on a physical decline, especially given how healthy he has been over his career. One thing that could account for Davis’s off-year is the emergence of Kaepernick at QB for the 49ers. Since the Kaepernick era began Vernon Davis has 10 catches for 112 yards and a single touchdown in 5 games. My first instinct is take comfort in this obvious lack of rapport but in reality Davis is so dangerous and so gifted that it just makes me nervous that the 49ers QB has an elite weapon he hasn’t even discovered yet. Davis is due for a breakout but the rangy Wright is a tough foe. I wouldn’t be surprised if Davis caught a few balls but I wouldn’t expect him to be the same player who has haunted the nightmares of Seattle fans for years.
There is no denying this is a big game but one can’t help but wonder what it would have been like as a division deciding game if the Patriots had won last week. Alas the Seahawks can only control what happens in the games they play and in this game a win keeps them firmly entrenched in the first wildcard. This is the part of the year where looking ahead is inevitable and it’s unreasonable to caution against it. We are all dreaming of playoffs but before we get there how about a marquee matchup that will be a treat not only for Seattle fans but for football fans nationwide.
In all honesty this is a game that makes me nervous. The Dolphins, who at one point looked like a wildcard contender, have imploded down the stretch and now it is very clear who the better team in this game is. Not only should Seattle win but they really need to with New Orleans and Tampa Bay breathing down their necks and the 49ers showing no signs of slowing down. However, they do have a very lengthy trip to Miami and the Dolphins have shown the ability to stop the run this year and limiting Lynch is paramount to limiting the Seahawks. Perhaps it’s typical paranoia but I don’t see this being easy. Let’s take a look at some of tomorrow’s big matchups.
Matchup #1: Max Unger vs. Paul Solai
Unger is one of the most underrated, under appreciated players on the Seahawks. Although there are no gaudy numbers to point to when evaluating a center like Unger I’m sure his teammates would tell you how crucial he is to the Seahawks success on offense. On Sunday he faces one of the biggest men in the NFL. At 6-4 355 Solai does not lack for size or strength. As one might imagine he is not much of a pass rusher but that’s just not his job. Solai’s job is to clog up the middle and it’s a job he tends to do well. If the Seahawks plan to establish the run they cannot let that happen. It will fall to Unger to open up the lanes in the middle that have been essential to so many Beast Mode highlight reel runs. I tend not to bet against him.
Matchup #2: Richard Sherman vs. Brian Hartline
There really aren’t any Dolphins skill players that strike fear into the hearts of opponents but Hartline has been the most productive. Hartline has already amassed 790 yards this year with a more than respectable 14.9 yards per catch. He has exploded for a couple of big games but has struggled to find pay-dirt with only one TD this year. Despite his yards per reception average, Hartline lacks the straight line speed to be a significant deep threat. He may get some catches in this game but I don’t see him stacking up against the man that many are calling the best shutdown corner in the league. Sherman has been an absolute monster this year and I think he erases Hartline in this game to continue his string of dominance. After all he didn’t seem to have much trouble with Megatron…
Matchup # 3: K.J Wright vs. Anthony Fasano
This is not so much a crucial strategic matchup as me just wanting to see K.J Wright on the field again. Wright is a linebacker with rare athleticism and savvy who has excellent coverage skills. His range on the field is noticeable and he has a tackle factor of 1.33 meaning he makes 133% of the tackles you would expect for a player at his position. It’s comforting to think we have 4/3 of a linebacker out there swallowing up opposing running backs and tight ends. His opponent, Fasano, is not a field-stretching threat down the seam but he has been effective in the red zone with 3 touchdown catches this year and 21 TDs over the last 5 years. Not an absolute stud but definitely a man worth watching. I’m guess K.J stays vigilant out there.
I truly hope my nervousness about this game proves unjustified but I’ve also developed a fairly solid fan instinct over the years. There are no easy wins in the NFL but I’m OK with it being hard. I’d take an ugly win any day of the week, especially on the road.
Lastly for any fellow Canadians/Chris Berman-esque CFL fans in the audience: I’d like to end with a shout out to my hometown Toronto Argonauts for making the 100th Grey Cup, played tomorrow after a 9-9 season (yeah we play 18 games up here) and magical playoff run.
Coming off an unfortunate and disappointing loss against the Rams, the Seahawks make a very long trip to face the Carolina Panthers. The travel itself is a hazard and Carolina is not a team to be taken lightly. The Panthers haven’t gotten off to the start they imagined, but their offense, led by Cam Newton, remains exceptionally dangerous. On the plus side Carolina’s defense is nothing to write home about so Russell Wilson and company may have an opportunity to put up a respectable amount of points. A look at some of the most important matchups of this game shows the Seahawks might just have the advantage in this one.
Matchup #1: Earl Thomas vs. Steve Smith
Steve Smith may be 33 years old but the fact of the matter is the guy can still burn defenses deep. Often a decline in yards per reception is indicative of a receiver losing a step and Smith put up 17.6 yards a reception last year, almost 3 yards above his career average, showing that he’s still got it. In fact so far this year he’s getting over 20 yards per catch. Paired with a quarterback with plenty of arm to spare, Smith is a weapon. The Seahawks’ bruising corners (that’s not a phrase that comes up a ton, but I think it applies) will try and frustrate Smith at the line but they will need some safety help as neither Browner nor Sherman can run with Smith. That’s where Mr. Thomas comes in. Earl Thomas has the speed and skill to nullify Smith downfield and make the Panthers offense far less dangerous. Offenses have had a very difficult time beating the Seahawks deep this year and Thomas will try to show Cam Newton why on Sunday.
Matchup #2: Marshawn Lynch vs. Jason Phillips
With Jon Beason missing this game Lynch looks to dominate between the tackles. That’s hardly new but Carolina’s defense is awful, especially against the run, and Lynch is set for a day that will bring a smile to the faces of Seahawks fans and his fantasy owners alike. At MLB stands Jason Phillips, a former 5th round pick in 2009 who has 12 career tackles to his name. Phillips is stout at 6’1 240 but slow (4.69 40 time) and scouting reports describe him as a grab and drag tackler. When you face Marshawn Lynch that’s more like grab and get dragged. Look for Lynch to bust a highlight reel run or two up the middle in this one.
Matchup #3: K.J Wright vs. Greg Olsen
K.J Wright is quietly having an excellent year in 2012. Tackles aren’t everything but with 22 so far he already has almost half of his total from last year (46). He’s also defensed 2 passes showing himself to be the Seahawks foremost coverage linebacker. Wright has excellent athleticism and at 6’3 he has the length to help counter massive tight ends like Olsen (6’6). Olson is a guy who always struck me as very talented but chronically underused. Olsen has yet to explode for a huge season but could be on his way this year. It may be too soon to tell for certain, but it seems that Cam Newton is beginning to realize what he has in Olsen who is averaging 5 catches per game as opposed to less than 3 last year. He is also on pace for over 1,000 yards receiving, which is a huge number for a tight end. He will likely fall short of that marker but he is showing himself to be a real factor in the Panthers offense. I don’t envy K.J Wright’s task in dealing with Olson who has TE size to go with WR speed. Olsen defines matchup nightmare, but Wright is one of the rare line backers with the range, length and coverage ability to give him some trouble.
It’s hard to call an out of conference game a must-win, or any game this early in the season, but this feels like a game the Seahawks need to have. The Panthers are not push overs but they are a squad the Seahawks are capable of beating. Seattle isn’t going anywhere if they can’t win on the road and after squandering an opportunity in St. Louis and coming so close in Arizona they need this one. There aren’t any easy games in the NFL, especially on the road, but this is winnable. The 12th man is a beautiful thing but this week we’ll see if 11 men is enough.
As we approach the unofficial start to the 2012 NFL season I’d like to give our 12th Man a chance to evaluate the 8 home games that are staring us in the face, and give their thoughts on which one they look forward to the most. Your reasoning can be from a hatred that is rooted so deep in your being that the thought is cause for a pause to breathe before you go Bam Bam on someone, or because a buddy is coming up to visit, and he’s from Dallas (input throat clearing noise here Jason Beverly). Whatever the reason, it’s a good one 12th. As the cause for the biggest home field advantage in the NFL, I think it’s relevant, don’t you? Let’s examine….
Week 2 – Dallas Cowboys
- As I hinted earlier, a good friend of my 12th Man crew is coming up from Dallas for this one. He’d been a very gracious host in our past visits to the Big D, so now it’s our turn. While he’ll definitely enjoy a glutton of good times while visiting the Emerald City, entering the CLink will not be one of the most comfortable of settings. I just can see J-Bev in his Tony Romo jersey, confident in victory until flashes of a muffed snap, and Big Play Babs stream before his eyes as Earl Thomas takes a pick Six to the Thunderdome late in the 4th. Hey, at least the beers are on us Bev. Sorry buddy.
Week 3 – Green Bay Packers
- Not really sure there’s enough ink for all of the print this match-up is going to receive. Seattle and Green Bay have shared quite a bit of history over the past 10-15 years. Holmgren, Hasselbeck, “We’re gonna score”, Ahman Green, and on, and on…To this writer though, the biggest story bathing in this contest is Aaron Rodgers and the simple fact that he’s the best QB in the NFL and has never played here. The guy is a cool breeze in a desert. A swimming hole in the middle of the Skykomish River. Simply put, he doesn’t rattle. Can the 12th Man answer what may be the biggest challenge they’ll see since the opening of the CLink? Warm tea and honey the night before my faithful. I trust that when asked, Aaron Rodgers will proclaim, “It was like being in an earthquake, a riot, and an Alice in Chains concert at the same time”. The nation will be watching, I know you all will bring it. BRING IT!!!
Week 6 – New England Patriots
- Let’s start with 2 words here 12th. Tom Brady. Without sounding like the guy who just got done beating a majestic animal such as a horse is, think about it. Brady and Co. are on the backside of a nice ride. Like approaching the chair after a good run on Skyline at Stevens. They can keep taking the chair back up, but hey man, it’s cold up there, and if your knees aren’t so good, maybe Daisy is more appropriate? While this is a horrifically dangerous presumption on my part, I think it’s worth noting. The dying days of summer are upon this team. I say let the young Seattle defense drive a Kam Chancellor size imposition on this fragile quilt, hanging by a very slim Brady thread. Besides, watching Bellichick walk off the field with his anger-face on is just so pleasing. Like a warm Sopapilla from The New Mexicans in Everett, drizzled in honey. (Best food in the North End 12th Man. Check em’ out.)
Week 9 – Minnesota Vikings
- Well, by now we’re all hoping that our boys are on a nice tear here. The Vikings at home should be a facility in domination. But hey, this is the NFL. If AP is healthy, and Christian Ponder….oh hell. There’s no point. I’m sure my season ticket holding brothers are all bartering with this date. It’s bring your girlfriend, or kids, or client week! I hope I’m not sounding too presumptuous here, it’s just that I know our defense is going to abuse, reuse, and recycle this roster. If you want to wear purple in Washington, you better bring some Gold fool. (GO DAWGS!)
Week 10 – New York Jets
- Remember my anger face reference earlier? Well, there’s no one more I want to see walk off the field at the Clink redder in the face than Rex Ryan. I want to see him slam the horn he’s been tooting on for the past 3 years at midfield as Marshawn bathes in Skittles. The Jets are a force 12th. No doubt about it. However, this writer is predicting that the fans and media in NYC spurn Mark Sanchez by Week 10, and the coaching staff follows. Which means Tim Tebow is at the helm for his trip to Decibel Domination. Sure, he played against LSU in college, and he’ll say that he’s been in hostile environments….blah, blah, blah. Whatever. He’s a great guy, and his motives can never be questioned. But his inability to not get past his first read as K.J. Wright eats him alive is as real as the double negative I just threw at you. Believe it 12th.
Week 13 – Arizona Cardinals
- Now begins the home stretch. The last 3 home games are against our division rivals. First up is the Cards. Since I can remember the ‘Hawks-Cards have taken home games from each other. While we all would love a 2-0 sorting of this heated rivalry, a home win is crucial. We start the season in Glendale, so there’s quite the season sandwich between meetings. Obviously, health will be the major story here. The Cards get a fresh start against our Rottweiler of a Defense in Week 1. So fresh that you could almost echo Will Ferrell’s reference to being the ’Fabreeze Brothers’ in “The Other Guys”. What will the story tell in Week 13? I can pretty much guarantee one thing 12th….Larry Fitzgerald HATES playing in Seattle as much as he hates NOT playing in Seattle. He’s like a cold, but he’s catching it….?? If that makes sense. Anyways, if Kolb doesn’t get it together, and AZ’s entire roster can’t once again stay healthy, then it’s a non-issue. Someone call Nuprecon! It’s demo time.
Week 15 – San Francisco 49ers
- Ok 12th. This isn’t going to be pretty. See, what the whole NFL family doesn’t understand is that this is going to grow into the greatest, yet most violent, rivalry in it’s recent history. Because I’m a writer covering the Seahawks, it seems mundane to consider this. But mark my words, this game could, in 2 years, be the NFC Championship Game. I had to put my bib on just to write this capsule. This is a fist fight in all manners of the term. Just ask my 12th crew who went to San Fran to watch a game. Ugly. Now, since we have a higher manner of domination, we’ll let the boys on the field do the talking, but if you feel yelling “Merry Christmas” as you depart a witnessing of sheer fortitude, than be my guest. I’ll bring the bells. And Jingle all the Way.
Week 16 – St. Louis Rams
- One thing I am going to guarantee 12th. By season’s end the proverbial NFL ‘voice’ will all come together and share this lightning rod of a thought….”The NFC West is going to be one of the toughest divisions in this league for years…” And they won’t be wrong. Like all things in life, we experience peaks, and valleys. Well, if this is a peak, than it’s of Everest proportions. Players like L-Fitz, and Patrick Willis. Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, and Steven Jackson. What once was a pass-skelly division has turned into a smash-mouth head on collision of idealism. Competition, effort, precision. Think about the coaching that now exists in this division. Wow. Unlike any other competitive sport, Football and it’s leaders show us what it means to collectively understand and embrace an ideal. The NFC West is becoming a bruising brute. Defense, and pounding the ball. Efficiency at the Quarterback position. Heart Attacks at Wide Receiver (I’m drafting Sid Rice early 12th. He’s angry…) All this falls to my position that the last game of the season is once again the Rams. Don’t think Jeff Fischer won’t have these guys in the hunt. Sam Bradford is going to bring his slo-mo vision to a house he’s visited before. The Rams and Seahawks are commonly built in most facets of the game, except one. And they know it, and they hate us for it. What you ask? Well….
It’s you. Every person that reads this with the Seahawks in their heart understands. These 8 games are home games, yes. But aren’t they more than that? Maybe it’s an affirmation to what we know. The 12th Man is the greatest home-field advantage in professional football. But you know that. I emphatically plead my brothers and sisters of the Blue to embrace this one truth. This football team is going to bring us to the brink of championships….maybe even parades. For 8 days over the next 5 months I challenge each and every one of you to adopt and practice this one truth….
YOU ARE THE GREATEST AND MOST ENDEARED FAN BASE IN THE NFL. YOU HAVE A FLAG THAT FLIES IN YOUR HONOR. AS THIS TEAM IS FOR YOU, BE FOR THEM. AS I AM FOR YOU, BE FOR ME. I AM 12. I STAND BEHIND THE 11 BEFORE ME. I AM 12.