I was born two weeks late to parents that didn't own a television the day before the Seattle Seahawks' began their 8th year in the NFL. The hospital room had a TV, and apparently the American health care system in 1983 allowed the option for my parents to choose to pay extra to spend another night in the room -- which they did in order to let me "see" my first 'Hawks game.
I never had a choice in the matter: I've been a Seahawks fan since birth. My story isn't any better or any worse than any other Seahawks fan's story, but it is mine. For the vast majority of my 30 years on this planet, there have been a lot of cooler teams to cheer for than Seattle, but we held strong. We stuck with this team when it wasted Cortez Kennedy's career. We were there during Stan Gelbaugh, Dan McGwire, Kelly Stouffer, and Jerramy Stevens. We have died a thousand deaths for the greater part of the last 40 years; a penance I've often thought would last a lifetime.
Then Pete Carroll and John Schneider happened. At some point in the NFL's space-time continuum the football gods saw fit to grant the Pacific Northwest a holy tribunal council when it sent PCJS to the Emerald City. They quickly separated the wheat from the chaff and plugged in a futuristic algorithm that in four short years transformed a moribund afterthought of a franchise that was struggling to find an identity into the new standard for NFL excellence.
What I saw today was the culmination of a season I barely thought possible and was terrified to imagine, let alone talk about. Then the 'Hawks led the NFL in DVOA. They became the first defense since the GOAT '85 Bears to lead the NFL in fewest points allowed, fewest yards allowed, and largest turnover margin. They took a difficult schedule and used it like a Spartan agoge to prepare themselves for the gauntlet they'd have to run this winter.
They won the NFC West.
They won the NFC.
They beat the 49ers two out of three games.
They won the Super Bowl.
The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl. There wasn't a better script in any of our minds than the one that the 'Hawks acted out this season. They owned the division. They owned the conference. They beat the most hated rival they've ever had en route to desecrating and degrading the greatest offense the NFL has ever produced. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson held the Lombardi trophy aloft and dedicated it to the 12th Man. The credits rolled, leaving me in a respectful, contemplative state that looked an awful lot like a baby crying in the corner.
This Super Bowl is what I imagine Heaven must be like: the Seattle Seahawks drubbing the shit out of a legendary team while Bruno Mars delivers
pelvic vocal sex in the background for all eternity. Seattle's defense played like like mafia hit-men, the offense played like their getaway driver. Every single yard the Broncos gained came at a premium; a price paid for in contusions that will take weeks to fade without the solace of a championship to ease the pain. Even when Seattle was up by a vulgar 36 points, the defense brought the battering ram like they were attacking a medieval fortress.
Marshawn Lynch (15 carries, 39 yards) never got going. Russell Wilson (18/25, 206 yards) was efficient but not spectacular. No Seahawks skill player recorded more than 66 yards from scrimmage (Doug Baldwin); even Percy Harvin, who is a supernova incarnate, was held to 50 offensive yards. Every single digit in this paragraph would've given Broncos fans hope if you had told them that's what Seattle's offense would be held to.
None of the numbers in that paragraph, however, account for the remorseless band of marauders making up the Seahawks defense / special teams. Have you ever read "Watchmen"? This Seahawks defense was the Black Freighter, a wanton group of soulful, soulless murderers patrolling the gridiron in search of innocent blood like pirates on the deep seas. They held the most prolific offensive attack in league history without so much as a first down for the first 20 minutes of the game. They didn't just get in Peyton Manning's head, they took the real estate therein and built a monument to themselves on his medulla oblongata.
The Seahawks brought bricks to a pillow fight. After Seattle swallowed up Denver's return man Trindon Holliday like a Sarlacc on the opening kick, the Broncos Omahahaha'd themselves into a two-point hole on the first play from scrimmage with an errant snap that bumbled foreshadowingly out of the back of the endzone. It was the last time the Broncos had a chance at this game.
Seattle would settle for two field goals early to push the lead to 8-0 before unleashing more touchdowns (5) than the Broncos average yards per play (4.8). It was a shellacking reminiscent of the '85 Bears team that set the standard for NFL domination en route to their lopsided Super Bowl victory, a team whose style and swagger superseded everything, causing a mad scramble by every other team to adapt to a new football reality. The Seattle Seahawks defense and special teams were so dominant today that if the 'Hawks offense never stepped on the field, Seattle still would've beaten the team that set all the records by a score of 16-8.
Kam Chancellor got a pick and three or four legitimate attempted homicides. Malcolm Smith transformed from a 7th-round afterthought to a Super Bowl MVP with a pick-six and a fumble recovery. Earl Thomas took away the entire second and third levels. Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright erased the first level. Richard Sherman was targeted twice for zero yards. Cliff Avril and the D-line assaulted Manning consistently, tipping desperate passes and throwing the impeccably-timed Denver offense off like a stick in the spokes of a bicycle. Percy Harvin was the world's most expensive victory cigar, adding a pretty cherry to the top of a super sundae with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, validating his entire contract in eight glorious seconds. Put that Percy on a pedestal.
To give a blow-by-blow account of this game would be pure schadenfreude and while I'm not above it, it seems superfluous to do so. This game was a matchup between the greatest skier the world has ever seen and an avalanche. No matter how talented Manning and his receivers were, they weren't gonna beat the force of nature that was the 2013-'14 Seattle Seahawks.
Before the season started, I splurged on a bottle of Glenmorangie Ealanta scotch and a Sol de Cubana cigar with vows of not opening either until the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. It goes without saying that I'm attempting to write this article through the inordinately expensive equilibrium that combo is producing. I don't know how it's going to read in the harsh light of hungover sobriety, but I'm happy to be hammering my way through it with you guys.
~The Seahawks only out-gained the Broncos by 35 yards while outscoring them by 35 points. That's got to be some kind of first. Not just for Super Bowls, but, like, ever.
~The most productive passing offense in history managed 5.7 yards per attempt in the biggest game of their lives.
~The gap between Russell Wilson's passer rating (123.1) and Peyton Manning's (73.5) was greater than the Super Bowl record 34 completions that Manning recorded.
~The Super Bowl winning quarterback was a 3rd round pick. The most talked about Super Bowl player was a 5th round pick. The Super Bowl MVP was a 7th round pick. There is a system in place in Seattle whose success can no longer be denied.
~The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl.
~The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl.
~The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl.
Thirty years. It took three full decades of seasons ending with either a loss or a meaningless win for Seahawks fans to feel what we're all feeling now. I woke up today with the frenetic energy of a small dog in a crowd or a girl who suspects that this date is the one during which her long-term boyfriend finally proposes. I came into this hoping the Seahawks would pop the question, knowing I'd forgive the years of heartache in an instant; I didn't expect the team to fly me to Paris, climb the Eiffel Tower, and offer a ring made of diamonds and bacon.
This season has followed, almost precisely, the most indulgent script Seahawks fans could have written. They gave this region (both the geographic northwest and the universal 12th Man) an ending more satisfying than Red meeting Andy Dufresne on the beaches of Zihuatanejo -- the perfect culmination of a long, agonizing story of frustration and hope.
It will be a minimum of one year before the Seahawks are no longer NFL champs. At long last the window has been cracked, letting God's glorious sunlight into a dim, dusty room whose inhabitants have been pining for relief. The window is open, my friends, and it's gonna be a long ass time before it closes.
I raise my glass and my cigar to you, 12th Man. Enjoy tonight. Enjoy this next year. Enjoy the triumph to the same degree with which you've withstood the struggle. The Seattle Seahawks are kings of the NFL and nothing, not nobody, can take that away.