This is my fault. So I will try and fix it.
I overreacted when Seattle traded Darryl Tapp. Do I feel any better about the trade today then I did when it happened? No, but regardless, right, wrong, whatever, it was one move, and one that some think was justified. My opinion of the move has not changed, but in retrospect, I showed my ass. Sorry.
I've covered the Seahawks since 2006. The team has added players and it has lost players. I have grown accustomed to a certain segment of the fan base buying into every decision. I don't know if it's a football thing, a sports thing or a human thing, but some people just can not stomach when I criticize a move. It not only makes them mad but mad at me. It wears on me. First it was Shaun Alexander, then Chris Gray, Jordan Babineaux, Brian Russell, Howard Green, Colin Cole, Aaron Curry at four, Jim Mora, Redding at end, Unger at center, Jon Ryan and whoever else I've besmirched and can't remember. Oh. Oh. Lawrence Jackson. Someone sent me emails for a while chewing me out because of my criticism of Jackson.
Now, like a big boy, I should shrug all this off and be happy for what I have. I do earn like almost a dollar an hour for writing Field Gulls. Children and the unemployed everywhere envy me. I don't shrug it all off. Does anyone?
I comfort myself with the players I love. That is the truth. Being ripped by strangers sucks, but watching Brandon Mebane split a double team soothes. Football soothes. Win, lose, football soothes. Short of something pie in the sky, in which my work at Field Gulls turns into something more than seems plausible, good football is my wages for working. It's enough. Mostly.
But then there's a problem. What happens when a player I like is discarded? It almost happened when Seattle dropped Justin Forsett. I heard it for criticizing that move. Even Forsett wasn't so painful though, because he was new, fresh and almost all potential. He was barely a Seahawk.
What happens when someone I've invested dozens of hours in is dropped? I mean, I didn't know. Tapp, Tapp was my introduction. I found myself, well, pretty mad. Angry. Pissed. Mad. I mean, there's a difference between Googling "Darryl Tapp" and relaying his sack totals by season and producing an 1,800 word write up of his contributions in 2009. I never pull the expertise card or anything, but it does frustrate to have hours of work countered by five seconds of research. Bad players, bad coaches, bad decisions resolve themselves. Tapp was my first taste of the inverse.
By the end of 2007, I was fed up with Alexander, but his fate was sealed. Before 2009, I was fed up with Russell, but his time had come. Somehow, it never registered that if bad players play, good players must sit. Alexander was blocking Maurice Morris but Morris was a late in career scat back, not an end on the verge of his prime. Russell wasn't really blocking anyone, or defending anyone, or tackling anyone, or...
Tapp is the first player I really liked that was sent packing. Then came Rob Sims and that sucked, but less. I knew Sims' limitations. I knew he would not fit Gibbs scheme. I could bang the drum about matching scheme to talent, but that's a bit naïve. Teams change coaches; players are going to change teams. Sims didn't bother me much. It worked for him; worked for me.
I could snicker at those that defended Shaun Alexander to the bitter end. When Seattle traded Tapp and people came out of the woodwork to minimize his performance and potential, it frustrated and angered me. This wasn't blind homerism. Fans weren't seeing ability that wasn't there. They were tearing down Darryl freakin' Tapp! That same reflexive need for orthodoxy was now turned against a beloved player. I was not just losing someone that made hours of no-pay work for a terrible team worth it, but getting chewed out and dismissed for defending him. It sucked. So I freaked.
I watched every last minute of the Blazers being ground into dust on Monday. It was my birthday. I could have been doing anything, but I was doing exactly what I wanted. About six minutes into the fourth, Blazers down 20 something, Martell Webster flipped over Leandro Barbosa and fell hard to the court. I commented to my wife about how loving a team means sticking around even at the most dire times. That the good is good because the bad is bad and ten times more frequent. That even this, Webster tumbling to the court, narrowly avoiding terrible injury, would someday enrich a game winning three. Athletes are the characters in a sports fans' story.
I wanted Tapp to be there when things broke right. That didn't cloud my perception of the trade. I understood Tapp's value and the value of a fourth round pick, even in a loaded class, and supported my argument about how Seattle sold low. That wasn't what made me angry though. It was that people turned on Tapp. To justify trading a cheap, healthy and developing former second-round pick for a late-fourth round pick unlikely to produce a starter or even depth, the reflexive need for orthodoxy turned on Tapp. I could tolerate insult and derision in the name of defending a Hawk, even a washed up hack barely-Hawk like Russell, but could not tolerate insult and derision in the name of destroying a former Hawk. Tapp didn't defect. Tapp was let go.
So, I wasn't ready and I overreacted and I am sorry for that. I'm loyal to a fault. Jesus, I'm a Seahawks fan. I'm loyal to a fault. I wish him luck. I wish our boys more luck. If ever they meet, I hope Russell Okung can use Tapp's skull as a bucket and paint Qwest with his brains. That's the order of things. But don't tell me Darryl Tapp wasn't good. He was, and he was true Blue, and he will be missed, by me anyways.