Otto Greule Jr
On Thanksgiving day, some many many years from now....
"Damn robo-dogs," Kenneth muttered to himself as a K-973 laid another mineral deposit on his front lawn. He stormed out towards the front and yelled with what breath he had left after years of abuse to his body, "Get that damn metal dog off my damn artificial lawn!!"
Little Obama Stephenson, who lived just two blocks down and wasn't even old enough to remember seeing Joseph Bryant (son of Red) play in the NFL, hovered home right away. So quick that he almost forgot his K-973.
"Come back in the house, Dad," insisted Kenneth's daughter, Kelly Jessie Arthur. Her voice as stern as his late wife, Helen Mirren. (He knew it an odd choice to marry someone so much older, but come on. She's legit.) It was another Thanksgiving and Kenneth had invited over his daughter, her husband Henry Hasselbeck, and their three kids over for a traditional feast. His own son, Nathan Shawn Wanya Michael Arthur, could not make it this year because he was busy curing lorphalagia, the disease that replaced cancer after N.S.W.M Arthur had already cured that years ago.
As Kenneth lumbered back into his home, stopping every few seconds to lean on a post or table to catch his breath, his granchildren Tommy, Chuckie, and Angelica began biting at his ankles in order to tell them another story. "Oh, not now kids. Grampa needs to have a seat and take his sauce."
For most people "sauce" would be another word for "booze" but in this case it was actually sauce. Ranch to be exact, which he liked to consume after drinking massive amounts of whiskey.
"Story! Story! Story! Story!" the kids shouted.
"Alright, alright. I get older but you kids, well you also get older." The kids looked at their grampa confused. "I s'pose that's not a reference you ever have any chance of understanding. Okay kids, come on up and let grampa tell you about the time the Seahawks were going into Week 12 of the 2012 NFL season."
"GRAM-PA!" they whined, the inflection on the "AM" and the waning on the "paaaaaa" clearly indicating that they wanted no part of another story on DVOA rankings and NFC standings. But this grampa had no intention of letting his kids forget where the Seahawks came from and knowing that by telling this story, he'd get to write about it so many decades earlier.
"Hey, you're going to hear this story and you're going to educate yourselves on the 2012 Seattle Seahawks. No grandchildren of mine are going to forget about the- the-"
"The Seahawks," said Chuckie.
"That's right, the Seahawks. Here have a treat, Chuckie." He handed him a tiny cup of ranch dressing.
"Thanks grampa...." said Chuckie, again confused, as a voice from the kitchen shouted, "Stop giving the kids ranch, dad. It's creepy and weird."
"Okay, so it was late November, the year two-thousand-and-twelve. One Direction was topping the charts and Teen Mom 2 was a hit on MTV. It wasn't the best of times. A gallon of gas cost over $4."
"Anyways, Seattle was 6-4 and had just come back from their bye week, getting ready for a showdown with the Miami Dolphins...."
At this point, everything gets blurry and squiggly as we are flashbacked to 2012. Old man Kenneth began to list off different facts about the Seahawks at that point in time:
- Seattle ranked 4th in Total DVOA. Just after the San Francisco 49ers had jumped from 6th to 1st after a beating of the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. This was before the 49ers had relocated from the Bay Area to "a weigh station in northern Siberia."
The Seahawks ranked 9th in offensive DVOA, 2nd in defensive DVOA, and 9th on special teams. They were the only team in all the land to rank in the top ten in all three categories.
/ "I wanna play Scategories!" shouted Angelica. "No! Now listen up."
- Chicago still had a historically good defense at this point, their -35% ranking third best of all-time through Week 11, but Seattle was still posting an excellent -22%. Overall the Bears offense was still far behind, ranking 29th in the DVOA and forging ahead with Jason "Can't"-bell at quarterback in the absence of Jay Cutler.
/ "Why do they call him Cant-bell?" "Because he can't do anything right, son."
- Now, the Seahawks offense was not as explosive as other teams perhaps, but they used a power running game and clever passing game in order to wear down a defense, win the time of possession, and gain enough field position in order to at least give teams a longer field to go against their number two defense. Though they ranked 26th in total offense, Football Outsiders knew better of that and ranked them ninth in offensive DVOA.
Finally at this point in the season, the bye weeks were a thing of the past and everyone had played ten games. Only the Houston Texans had run it more times than Seattle, but more importantly Seattle protected the football. Because you see, while successful teams like the Texans, Patriots, and 49ers also were among the league-leaders in carries, so too were the Kansas City Chiefs.
/ "The Kansas City whuzzles?" "The Chiefs." "Did they get moved to syb- sybrerium too?" "Nope... they're still here. We just rarely see or hear of them, like the White Walkers."
- A team like the Chiefs actually has a higher yard per carry average than Seattle, but ranks 31st in turnovers and has six touchdown passes with 15 interceptions. But Seattle had Russell Wilson - you know him better as "Unkie Russ" - had 15 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.
/ "Is unkie Russ coming over for tanks-gibbing?" "Yes. Because he is a good friend of mine in this scenario."
- It would be important for Unkie Russ to play well for the final six games. Not just to do something great, but to avoid doing things that are bad. What have I always told you kids about being bad?
"Don't get caught."
- That's right. People will never remember the mistakes you make, just as long as they don't result in something bad. Russ would go on to make mistakes, he is human, this was long before the Cyborg NFL, but it's important to limit those mistakes and limit the opportunities for the defenses to take advantage. The Hawks would be facing several very tough defenses over their final six, but they'd also be facing some bad offenses. With a top defense against those bad offenses, limiting turnovers on offense to nearly zero would give Seattle a great opportunity to finish the year on a roll.
/ "Then what happened?" said Tommy. Tommy was feigning interest, knowing it's what his grampa wanted to hear, even though these stories often left him disinterested he still wanted to make his old grampa happy. He knew that it would only be days before grampa Ken would be dead and he could have his Playboy collection. Which was all on a thumb drive, now literally just a chip located inside your thumb.
- There was an old saying back then that went: "Welcome to Miami. Bien venidos a Miami." And that's where the Seahawks were headed for Week 12, in a game against the team known as the Dolphins. You know them better as the Miami Goodrich-Doritos-Dolphins sponsored by the Home Depot and presented by N-N-N-N-Napa Know-How.
/ "Ouch grampa! My ears are bleeding!" "I'm sorry, I know. It's an awful, awful, awful jingle. But you know we're all contractually obligated to say jingles and slogans properly, even in normal conversation, thanks to the 48th Amendment of the Constitution, paid for by Frito-Lay."
- Miami was not a very good team and had lost to many foes that were worse than Seattle, like the Titans and the Bills. The Dolphins had an offense ranked 26th in DVOA and they had difficulty scoring touchdowns. Over their last two games, they had scored just one offensive touchdown while turning it over seven times. Ryan Tannehill had thrown only six touchdowns with eleven interceptions on the season. You may be familiar with the name Tannehill, as you know that Lauren was my third wife.
Defensively they ranked 10th in DVOA, but had struggled over their last three games and hadn't forced a turnover since Week 8. Their run defense struggled and they gave up over 500 total yards to the Indianapolis Colts!
/ "The indy apples coles? You said they were overrated. We beat the Dolphins butts, didn't we grampa?" "Hey what did I say about that language?" "Sowwy. We kicked der stupid asses." "That's better."
And don't be so sure about kicking butts.
- The Seahawks were just 1-4 on the road and Russell Wilson had played exponentially better in Seattle than he did anywhere else up to that point. Not to mention the fact that winning a road game anywhere can be difficult, case in point was the former 49ers tying the Rams just two weeks prior. Or that Seattle would be going to what was the other side of the country, until the Great Quake of '37 and Hurricane Latisha of '42 brought the two cities 1,200 miles closer to each other!
/ "So then we lost?!" "I didn't say that either..." "So then what happened?!?!" "I'll save you that story for Christmas."
Kelly Jessie leaned into her father's ear and said, "I'm getting them all K-973's for Christmas." Kenneth grumbled and spouted obscenities under his breath, not looking forward so much to the next holiday. But there would be no Christmas that year for Kenneth.
As they sat at the table, hand-in-hand, giving thanks for all that had been bestowed upon them, Kenneth began to cough and moan. He collapsed, plunging his face straight into a pile of hot mashed potatoes and gravy. However, he slurped and slurped the gravy up, this was actually just a tradition of his own now that he had become a steaming, old pile of hot mess.
Three days later he died in a hydroplane accident. It had never really seemed like a good idea for the general public to get around with hydroplanes, but once the oceans had consumed 35% of American soil and Mattel got into the hydroplane business, it was only a matter of time.
Kenneth was pulled out of the wreckage by a passerby. He had only a pinch of life left in his body and managed to get out the last words he'd ever say, the last message he'd ever leave for the world:
"It was an... interception."