Now, I assume that you’re thinking that I’m a bandwagoner and that I jumped on the ship when we started to win, and that’s partially true. Winning always makes watching the game more fun, and the whole ‘bandwagon’ concept applies to almost every fan, of every team. I’m sure the site gets a lot more views after a big win than a big loss. This year the Hawks changed me though, they sucked me in. I soon realized that I was now an actual fan, and that losses actually meant something, personally, to me. Before I could just write it off as ‘Seattle sports, who cares,’ but this team changed that. I found myself learning the game, the plays, the players, and all the intricacies that went with. Things such as the Read-Option became ingrained into my head. It was a journey for me; it was a journey for the entire city.
Russell Wilson. If there was a symbol of the Hawks, it would be this man. A rookie who was defined by his height, and not what he’d achieved. He thus perfectly epitomizes the team. Our merry bunch of late round draft picks, undrafted signee’s, and dirt-cheap trade pickups. He was young, and like many others on the team was looked down upon for one reason or another. This was supposed to be a ‘growth year’ (AKA not in serious contention), with Flynn manning the helm and Russell soaking up knowledge like the sponge he is. Then Pete Carroll pulled a Pete Carroll, held an open competition for the QB job, and the sponge won. At the time many people, including myself, wondered how this would work out. A 5’11” QB starting? In the NFL?? Whaaaa???
Then the season started, albeit with a bit more optimism than recent years. The team was young, after all, and new toys are always better than old ones. I remember watching the Arizona game, and going into it with hope. Hope is something that has been beaten out of the Seattle sports fan in recent years. Hope has been torn out of you, and taken out behind the woodshed. And thus hope was a very foreign feeling. It was like an ESPN talking head knowing something about what they are supposed to be ‘experts’ on (I’m looking at you, Skip Bayless). The Arizona game, as I’m sure all of you know, did not end particularly well. We seemed to be at least a year from contention, if not more. Russell was a rookie, and showed it. We had 763,347,438 chances to win at the end, and we couldn’t pull it off. Early on we showed our customary home prowess, but seemed to melt away on the road. During the first half, it seemed that after every high there was an impending road-induced low. Losing all these games by one score or less made it feel worse.
Miami came and went. This, I think was the low point for me, and probably many of you. Detroit hurt, sure, but this seemed to be one where we had so many opportunities to put it in the bag and failed when it mattered most. At 6-5, and going into Chicago next week, I felt as if the season was over. Then Sherman + Browner had their shit go down, and we all only sunk lower.
Chicago was where the Seahawks season started in earnest, where this team came alive. Russell led us back from the dead, and then when the defense choked, won the game a second time. We then proceeded to kick the living shit out of Arizona, Buffalo, and San Francisco; like no team had done since Truman was president. Harry Truman! This team, our team, was doing something we’d never witnessed before. Sure, 2005 was special, but… this team was special-er. And unlike that season, this team was overflowing with youth. If this team were the Niagara Falls, all of New York would be drowning in youth. Drown in that youth, New York! We ended up 11-5, something we’d only bettered twice before in our not-so illustrious history.
The Seahawks did so much more than just win a few games though; they completely changed the sports culture in Seattle. The Friday before the Redskins game I saw a Seahawks jersey, hat, sweatshirt, or whatever seemingly wherever I looked. My friends and I would end every conversation with a ‘Go Hawks’. They were the talk of the town. Russell, Marshawn, Sherman and co. changed the Seattle sports mantra in one season.
So I have now reached my conclusion. While we can play the what-if game about the season, if someone had offered us an 11-5 record at the start of the season, we all would’ve said yes in a heartbeat. We played our hearts out today (obligatory sports cliché), and almost did the impossible. This team is incredibly young, amazingly talented, and poised for only great things in the future. So, Go Hawks!