Hours after the game, after reading and re-reading through thousands of comments, and doing all the due diligence stuff I hate, I popped a bomber of Hop Rod Rye Ale. It was flat. I drank it slowly, sort of wondering if this was the beginning of the hangover. The Seahawks had won, but I expected the Seahawks to win. The Seahawks had won. The top ten pick was gone. The Seahawks host the Saints this Saturday. Victory is remote. Damn.
Funny then that I should wake up more refreshed and hopeful than I have felt in months. The Seahawks are suddenly that tawdry manipulator of the masses: the underdog. The underdog story is ironic, because once a person or people or team is identified as an underdog, tacitly or in big block letters, that underdog is assured to overachieve. So that the underdog in an underdog story is in fact the prohibitive favorite.
So what to make of a legitimate underdog? The Seahawks are not a good team. Scoring on the opening possession against the Rams and holding on for a slow, smothering victory is not a franchise altering accomplishment. Charlie Whitehurst looked positively scattershot against the blitz, and Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams blitzes with wild abandon.
New Orleans is the reigning Super Bowl champions. The Saints casually rolled up 494 yards of total offense against the Seahawks in week 11. That was their season high. With 5:53 left in the second quarter, Drew Brees connected with Marques Colston for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown.
The Seahawks were soundly defeated by a better team. And though we are hardwired to find hope in the face of long odds, the Seahawks are likely to be soundly defeated again this Saturday. The Seahawks are living on borrowed time. The Seahawks are a bad team that made it through unlikely circumstances. The Seahawks are the ragtag bunch of losers and misfits that no one gives a shot, and no one should give a shot, because the Seahawks are losers and misfits playing against winners, celebrities, Champions.
It feels good, doesn't it? This isn't underdog as crass money grab. This isn't underdog as script 2b in Jerry Bruckheimer's seminal work "How to Make Money and Insult Intelligences." Yes, some of the tropes match up. Mike Williams is the superstar talent snake bitten by circumstance, once out of football but back and trying to make something of himself. Golden Tate is the lovable goof that's struggled all season. Matt Hasselbeck is the aged warrior that gave it his all but now must step aside. Charlie Whitehurst is the unassuming leader, in over his head, but coming into his own in front of our eyes. Pete Carroll is the once great coach with an embattled past, learning to love--
The Seahawks are underdogs as in the Seahawks are likely to get their guts stomped out this Saturday. The Seahawks are underdogs as in rational Seahawks fans have acquiesced defeat a week before kickoff. The Seahawks are underdogs as in you would have to be crazy to believe this team has a shot in hell.
Let's get crazy, Field Gulls. Failure is all but assured. Victory may never be sweeter.