Over the last three days, Seahawks fans have witnessed and, in many cases, partaken in a considerable amount of weeping and gnashing of teeth over the outcome of Sunday's season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. My Twitter feed, text conversations, Facebook page, and the comments sections of numerous sites have been filled with lamentations over the shortcomings of Seattle's offensive line, wide receivers, play calling, pass rush, penalties, quarterback play, and lack of clutchitude.
In many ways, these bemoanings are fully justified; after all, the offensive line did look overmatched, the wide receivers did lack the ability to separate (and yes, any one of those last few passes could have been caught), the end-game play-calling was a bit befuddling (a fade route to Charly Martin?), and the pass rush was about as pressing as a sideline reporter's interview question. Additionally, the Seahawks drew more flags than a U.N. summit, Russell Wilson was often manic in his play, and the inability to score on
thirty-seven four tries from inside the opponents' 10 was the football fan's equivalent to watching an air bubble in your IV tube slowly make its way towards your body.
There was a lot to be upset about in the season opener, but the difference how you feel about the team right now versus how you would be feeling if they won is probably smaller than we think.
I'm not here to re-hash the events of Sunday's game, nor am I going to break down anything from an Xs and Os standpoint. That has already been done on this site with great aplomb by Kenneth (here), Joshua (here), and Danny (here, here, and here... and here). There were a lot of things that the Seahawks could and, perhaps should, have done better and any number of those things could have meant a different outcome.
Yet the fact remains that the Seahawks lost yesterday and many of us feel pretty shitty about it. From the general tone of reactions that I've seen since Sunday - maybe not here, but in general, on the interwebs, you'd think the 'Hawks were outclassed, or laid an egg, or are still a lot further from being a contender than most of us thought a week ago. This is a natural thing, and I'm not saying anyone that does feel low about the Seahawks is wrong or anything, because those feelings are all part of the fan experience.
What interests me is how differently we'd all be feeling about the team had the Seahawks won. Let's say Doug Baldwin had made his diving catch in the endzone, or Martin had somehow hauled in that fade, or Braylon Edwards had snagged Wilson's final offering; wouldn't we be talking about how this is the start of something big for this team? Wouldn't the anticipation and nigh-unbridled excitement for this team's potential have begun transforming into a euphoria of sorts?
There is an enormous chasm between how many Seahawks fans feel about this team today and how they'd be feeling had the 'Hawks won, but the like I said earlier, the difference is, in reality, much smaller. Four yards, to be exact.
There is no gradation to wins and losses in the NFL, no tangible credit for coming close, at least as far as the standings are concerned. But when it comes to how we look at our favorite team, it behooves us to keep in mind how close we were to celebrating on Sunday night. The difference between winning and losing was probably smaller than the distance between you and the nearest door. The worst Frisbee player you know could throw a disc further than the distance between a Seahawks win and a loss. Hell, you could trip while hurrying to catch the elevator and still cover the distance between Seattle being 1-0 and 0-1 before hitting the floor.
I'm not saying that Seattle would have won had they recorded 258 yards of total offense instead of 254; obviously which four yards they would have got makes a huge difference. I guess my point is that while seemingly everything went wrong for the Seahawks on Sunday, they were still closer than the width of a highway lane to winning a road game against a division opponent.
The Seahawks may have very well played their worst game of the season last week (do you really see them getting flagged 13 times again?), and they still came up only the tiniest bit short. Yeah yeah, horseshoes and hand grenades- I get it; but even though it seems like the 'Hawks are behind the proverbial eight-ball after Week 1, they're much closer to contending than it feels right now.
With only 6% of their regular season schedule in the books, and 100% of their home games ahead of them, closing that gap doesn't seem very far-fetched at all.