Maybe the NFL felt it was about time. Bill Leavy (and his entire officiating crew, if we’re to cut him the merest slack), had, after all, gifted the Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XL on the most painful of occasions in Detroit on Sunday, February 5, 2006. Yes, this game still rankles with Seahawks fans. It always will, even if we do eventually collect a Lombardi trophy of our own, because we’ll know that we should have two of them. Heck, look at me writing about the Seahawks with two Lombardi’s...we don’t have any yet. I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but that’s what happens in the week leading up to the Draft. We suddenly start envisioning things for our team, including altering the course of historical sporting events, clearly. I like to think that all of this is what makes us Seahawk fans what we are. The hope, the exotic wonderment to be found in desperation when everything comes crashing down around us. Oh, come on, we know we can’t get enough!
So, did anybody else notice that the NFL released the 2012 schedule this week? Nah, me neither and I only found out when I saw a dog chewing a newspaper in the park and wandered over to see what the headline was. It’s funny how these events can go so under the radar with all this technology (and newspapers, God bless ‘em) at our fingertips. So, yes, maybe the NFL felt it was about time. Time to return the smallest of favours.
The pact with the devil signed before Super Bowl XL, just so that Jerome Bettis could walk away with a ring in his final game, saw us receive something back this week. Now, I'm not saying that it's the first time we've seen this since 2006, but it was a little nugget nonetheless, something no other team received. Before I elaborate, what we do have for 2012 is a quite brutal schedule.
This, of course, is not the work of the NFL...OK, it is, but it's not cloaked in Machiavellian deceit. We all know who we play in each corresponding season, we just don't know when so what is it about this need to know? I haven't got to spell it out...we just do. I'm not going to be the first person to have spotted this, but I can't ever recall the Seahawks being gifted home games against each of their three division rivals over the final four games of the regular season.
When I wrote earlier that no other team had received this, what I also wanted to say was that no other team comes close to this, but that’s not strictly true. The Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers host two division rivals over their final four games of the regular season, but no team hosts all three over the same span. And, if we're honest, we may need those games as, aside from the NFC West teams, road games in Carolina, Detroit, Chicago and Buffalo (yes, you read that right) won't make us the envy of the league. Thrown in Hollywood home games against Dallas, Green Bay, New England and the NY Jets and you'll know we've been in a season come December 30.
About the only non-NFC West matchup that you could say looks anything close to resembling a gimme is the home game with Minnesota in Week 9. Yes, the Jets may well implode, particularly if the locker room becomes divided between Sanchez and Tebow, but, right now, that's no guarantee so let's look at it as one hell of a bruising encounter.
Before anybody horse collar tackles me on this, yes, I know that NO team will relish coming to CenturyLink Field. However, the harsh reality is, is that this will be the season when we'll truly be able to judge the young talent on our roster. And, of course, we have the Niners to consider, too. Us Seahawks are expecting Seattle to challenge San Francisco from day one, no matter how good the depth chart may look in the red half of the Bay Area and, unfortunately, we have to face it, it is looking pretty formidable...or both pretty and formidable, perhaps.
I'm not here to smash our dreams before our collective heads have even hit the pillow, I'm merely being pragmatic. In the meantime, for the small reward you've presented us over the final four weeks of the regular season, thank you, NFL, but you're not entirely forgiven.