Certain years will always hold special meaning for Seattle sports fans. For the Sonics, it might be 1979 or 1996, or sadly, 2008.
For the Mariners it would be 1995 and 2001.
And for the Seattle Seahawks it might be 1984 and, most often, 2005. Even though the actual Super Bowl they participated in happened in 2006, that's not the year we will remember. But because they did go to the Super Bowl following the 2005 season, most fans will point to that team as the greatest in franchise history.
That's probably not true anymore. And there's a good chance that the 2013 team (which will actually be playing in the playoffs in the year 2014 -- holy shit, that sounds so futuristic) could go to the Super Bowl as well and completely eradicate the notion that the 2005 team is still the greatest in franchise history.
It's wild to think about how different the world was before 2005.
"Katrina" was just the name of a girl I had a crush on.
Barack Obama, much like whoever the next president will be, is someone I had never heard of before.
YouTube was not launched as a website yet. Neither was The Huffington Post. Neither was the most popular site on the internet, my blog KennethAuthor.com.
John Ratzenberger, of Cheers fame, had not yet been elected Pope.
Time has really flown since Shaun Alexander was MVP, Walter Jones was still the best in the game, Lofa Tatupu was only just a rookie. We are talking about almost a decade ago now. It'll be time to move on now, but we can still take one last look at the year that was and remember how things used to be.
Here are the Seahawks advanced stats for Week 13, the 2005 Edition:
Seahawks vs Saints, The 40-Year-Old VirgWin Probability Chart for Week 13
Released on August 19, 2005, The 40-Year-Old Virgin featured "that guy from Anchorman that was really funny" and was director Judd Apatow's first feature film. As Steve Carrell was launched into megafame after this movie, so too would supporting actors like Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill soon after. Romany Malco, not so fortunate.
In 2005, "Kelly Clarkson!!" was a timely reference.
On Monday night, the Seahawks opened with ~62% win probability, per PFR, probably about as close to 50% as you can expect with this team is at home. I guess sort of like with Virgin, everybody knew that there was talent here, even some proven talent, but could they show everyone what they were worth on a big stage (as if everyone had already forgotten what Seattle did to the 49ers on Sunday night earlier this year) against a team that some still considered to be better?
It was a popular night at CenturyLink ($9 beer night) and the Seahawks never let the Saints get any closer than that 62% once the game kicked off. Once they had a 10-point lead at home, Seattle was a 95% favorite with more than three quarters left to play.
Clearly New Orleans respects the Seahawks. They love the Seahawks! They love them so much, that they completely stayed away from them.
Big Play! How soon the game was LOST
By the time 2005 had started, Lost was still only in it's first season on ABC. Sort of shit on by fans in subsequent years because they felt that it didn't deliver on so many of it's early-season promises, Lost remains the Zeitgeist of American dramas in the 2000s and will go down as influential on television as American Idol was on competition reality shows.
Before Lost, J.J. Abrams director credits only included two episodes of Felicity. He has now directed films in both of the greatest science fiction franchises in entertainment history. Much like how it launched the careers of mega-stars like Matthew Fox, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garci- Jesus, none of these people are doing much of anything.
Hey Rob McElhenney was in two episodes! Remember that?
If there's a "Zeitgeist" to being Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, it's: Disruption, disruption, disruption.
The strip-sack-fumble-touchdown on Drew Brees with 6:37 in the 1st quarter set the tone of "Not in our domicile!" and said, "I don't care how big of a star you are, this is not going to end well for you." It also added over 13% to our probability of winning the game. Brees was pressured on 12 dropbacks, and other than that fumble, went 3-of-11 for 26 yards when pressured.
Spoiler Alert: You were dead from the very beginning, Drew Brees.
"Cool" and "Fool" of the Week: This Love I have for Russell
Doubted, disappointed, and dropped from their previous label, Maroon 5 nearly gave up in 1998 but opted to give it one last go. Many labels still passed them over, but finally Octone Records signed them and had them change their name from Kara's Flowers to the worldwide famous name we know them by now. Maroon 5 released "Songs About Jane" in 2002 and it reached the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 in 2004, with "This Love" being only the biggest of a number of big hits. They won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2005, even though in reality, they had been around for quite some time.
Could you have ever imagined that by his second season, there would be a game where Russell Wilson was +28.3 over Brees in EPA?
One would have to wonder where Wilson would have been drafted if Wisconsin hadn't blown the leads he had given the team during the 2011 season that could have led them to a national title. If he was a Heisman-winning, championship college quarterback, would he have been passed over by so many teams?
Disappointed, doubted, but never in himself, Wilson has emerged as one of the very best players in the NFL in a very short amount of time. He'll always be the coolest. Let's heap some more praise around.
"Cool" of the Week - KJ Wright scores a Match Point
I would not call myself a "Woodyphile" but I feel like I've seen enough Woody Allen movies to "get it." I mean, Whatever Works, am I right? But without having seen every Woody movie (which would be nigh impossible to do unless you were seriously committed, because he's come out with a movie-a-year for over 40 years now) I know that there was a lull in his career for quite some time.
If you ask people to name some Woody films, they'll likely hit on his early hits in the late-70s like Annie Hall, Manhattan, or mid-80s like Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and Her Sisters, or his recent hits such as Blue Jasmine, Midnight in Paris.
Not many people will start with Celebrity or Small Time Crooks.
Allen was nominated for five Oscars in the 90s, but hit a lull after Deconstructing Harry in 1998. That seemed to change in 2005 with the release of Match Point, the film that Allen has called "my favorite." Nominated for his first Oscar in nearly a decade, Allen had a new string of hits and finally won for the fourth time in 2012 with Midnight in Paris. In a sea of Allen movies, I'd also have to say that Match Point is my favorite and probably still overlooked because it's surrounded by so much good.
In a sea of Hawks, where three of the four members of the secondary are leading the Pro Bowl voting at their respective positions, K.J Wright can be overlooked. Pro Football Focus called Wright "the form coverage linebacker in the league right now" (which I'm assuming means they think he's the best coverage linebacker in the NFL) and said this about him versus the Saints:
On eight targets Wright surrendered six receptions but only 23 yards, allowing fewer than 2 yards per reception after the catch. Covering Darren Sproles in primary coverage he allowed -1 yards combined on two targets while also sniffing out a screen to force a throw away from Drew Brees preventing a third target that he likely would have buried for a loss. But it wasn’t just short areas in which Wright excelled, though, as he made two impressive plays down the field against the Saints’ tight ends. On the same drive he tracked Ben Watson downfield and across the formation to break up a pass before going man-to-man with Jimmy Graham down the right sideline maintaining close coverage to force Graham out of bounds as they competed for the ball, preventing any chance of a completion to turf New Orleans off the field on fourth down. The longest completion Wright allowed all night was a 9-yard gain by Pierre Thomas.
In an era where outside linebackers are racking up 20 sacks and All-Pro honors, Wright is a reminder of how good the "classics" can be.
"Fool" of the Week - Mike Silver, NFL.com, striving for The Longest Yard
You either love or hate Adam Sandler. I happen to love him. However, I'd say that around 2005 when he came out with The Longest Yard, I've struggled to enjoy most of everything he's done. Click (2006) was good, Zohan (2008) is a bit underrated, Funny People (2009) isn't really that funny, but is a good movie. Still, it was starting in 2005 with The Longest Yard that we really saw how bad of a movie Sandler can make. Chuck and Larry, Grownups, Jack and Jill, That's My Boy... we didn't know just how bad it could actually get.
Believe it or not, I actually don't follow many NFL reporters. I think there's an obvious bias and influence among those that are making their living off of "scoops." As we saw this week, those scoops can be harmful and detrimental to the players and people being scooped.
Obviously, it wasn't just Silver that screwed up in this case. Brandon Browner is suing the NFL for their mistakes that not only defamed him, but likely will cost him money in free agency and once again cast a pall on the best secondary in the NFL, and if that was the whole story, we couldn't blame Silver for reporting the facts.
We can however blame him for reporting several bits of false information and when those bits were immediately rebuffed, coming back at "Seattle fans" almost as if we were the ones that fucked up and to let us know that no matter what the case was, the end result was that the Seahawks were done with Browner.
Brandon Browner practiced with the team yesterday.
We didn't know how bad the reporting of this story could actually get.
Put My Heart in a Blender: Inside-Outsiders DVOA Update -- Pounding home the successful "franchise"
In many ways, 2005 was "The Year of the Franchise" at the box office. Star Wars Episode III, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Chronicles of Narnia, were all top moneymakers that year, and sort of interesting that they represent "the beginning, the middle and the end" of what it means to be a dynasty.
The Seahawks are now in the second week of being tops in DVOA and on pace to finish their second year in a row as the top team in DVOA. That's pretty phenomenal when you think about it, how many teams can boast that they were "the best" for two years in a row. Of course, the true best will always be the Super Bowl champion. The Patriots are the last team to win back-to-back titles and even that happened before 2005.
Seattle has now beaten three of the top six teams in DVOA (and of course, they can't beat themselves so they've beaten three of the next five teams after them) and held them to just 17 combined points. They'll have their fourth game of the year against a top six team when they face the 49ers this Sunday.
Let's hope it's a lot more like Batman Begins (also released in 2005) and not anything like a Star Wars prequel.
Super Bowl Odds -- What we didn't have yet
Think of all that didn't even exist yet by 2005. Specifically look at television, and you'll see that shows like Dexter, Mad Men and Breaking Bad didn't even exist yet. The Office and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia had only just started to influence and change sitcom television, before 30 Rock would debut in 2006. No matter where your tastes lie, something has debuted in the last eight years that has changed your life and you didn't even know you needed it.
We do know that we "need" a championship. Or, we really, really want one.
I've been tracking the Seahawks playoff odds all season long but now that it's locked down at 100%, we can move on to the Super Bowl odds. Seattle is almost 70% to make (and probably host) the NFC title game and a hair over 40% to go to the title game in New York. "Hey, I'm walkin' ovah here!" (Another popular quote from 2005 or thereabouts.)
According to Football Outsiders, the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl about a quarter of the time and about the same to win out and go 15-1. Six teams have won at least 15 games, and they have won just two championships, both of which came in the eighties ('84 Niners, '85 Bears.) The last four ('98 Vikings, '04 Steelers, '07 Patriots, '11 Packerse) have fallen short, with only one of those teams making the Super Bowl.
Which tells me that the Seahawks are due! (That's only relevant if they go 15-1, and it'll be interesting to see how they play over the final two games.)
Stat of the Week! The "Other" Guys
When it comes to baseball in Chicago, there's been a lot of focus on the Cubs drought and almost nobody ever seemed to talk about the White Sox long run of not-being-great. The Black Sox scandal of the 1919 World Series that led to the eventual banning of several key players in 1920 (including Shoeless Joe Jackson, after he had batted .382 in his final season) set the franchise back decades.
They didn't even finish in second place again until 1957 and they made the World Series just once (lost to the Dodgers in 1959) of the next 85 years. Still, nobody talked about them nearly as much as their cross-town city-mates and I'm not sure how many people actually took them seriously in 2005.
Still, with a team of castoffs like Jermaine Dye, Carl Everett, Juan Uribe, Jose Contreras, Scott Podsednik, Orlando Hernandez, and a savvy trade for Freddy Garcia, they won 99 games and made the playoffs for just the eighth time in franchise history. (The franchise started in 1901.) Few teams have rolled through the playoffs as easily as the 2005 White Sox, going 11-1 on their way to their first title since 1917.
Taking the place of Browner and Walter Thurmond III against one of the best passing attacks we've ever seen in football history, it's not like there was a lot of pressure on Bryon Maxwell to play well on a max level. Was there? And going up 17-0 early, meaning that Brees was officially "on the attack" for the rest of the game, that's NBD, right?
Few people really know what to make of Maxwell because he's played so sparingly in his three-year career, but that's only because Seattle is so stacked at the position. It didn't mean that Maxwell would fail, he certainly has looked good in the preseason, we just didn't... know. We pay far too much attention to his "cross-town city-mate."
So, how many catches did he allow? One. How many pass deflections did he have? Two. Including one in the end zone while covering Robert Meachem in the fourth quarter. Stat of the game: Maxwell had more pass deflections than catches allowed, and that catch went to Jimmy Graham.
No matter how long we've ignored you, it doesn't mean you're not there.
Week 14 Opponent (Can a remake be successful?)
It wasn't just rebooting and franchises that were popular in 2005 (or any other year) but remakes had a huge influence on the cultural landscape as well. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Longest Yard, War of the Worlds, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, King Kong, Assault on Precinct 13, The Amityville Horror, House of Wax.
Is any of that memorable?
Original (or semi-original, first-time adapted for the screen) films are what I will always remember, even if they aren't "classics" I really think that I'd rather watch Sin City, 40-Year Old, Walk the Line, Green Street Hooligans, Match Point, Jarhead, Hard Candy, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Red Eye... Heck, I'll even take Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends.
Trying to re-live the glory years? When does that ever work?
The San Francisco 49ers are back up to sixth in DVOA now. They are fifth in passing offense and sixth in passing defense, but 15th in rushing offense and 13th in rushing defense. They have the fifth-toughest remaining schedule, by DVOA.
The 49ers saw Michael Crabtree return last Sunday, which is already proving to be massively beneficial for Colin Kaepernick. About two-thirds of his passing yardage and 100-percent of his touchdown passes went to Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin for the first 11 games of the season.
According to Pro Football Focus, he's seen 22 of his passes get dropped this season. That only ranks him 15th in the league in total drops, but on considerably fewer pass attempts than almost everybody ahead of him. (Brandon Weeden has actually seen 24 drops on 267 pass attempts? Are we too hard on Weeden?)
Kaepernick has 303 pass attempts this year, and no quarterback with more dropped passes (other than Weeden) has fewer than 400 pass attempts.
With Crabtree back and Mario Manningham possibly providing him with a fourth option at some point (he returned before Crabtree but has done almost nothing) the Niners passing offense could be even better. However, they will be without left tackle Joe Staley, which may give the Seahawks pass-rush more of an opportunity to keep Kaepernick under duress.
On defense, the 49ers are ranked third versus a number one receiver by DVOA, but struggle against other options; They are 20th against a number two and 26th against a number three. They are third against tight ends and 12th against running backs.
Just another reason why (as if we needed one) having Percy Harvin back for this game would be nice.
You let Jim Harbaugh "Tim Burton" your childhood all you want, I'll stick with Will Smith teaching me how to pick up girls in Hitch, thank you very much!
Russell Wilson Stats Update
In March of 2005, paleontologists discovered the soft tissue of a 68-million-year-old T-Rex fossil. To scientists this wasn't just surprising, it was unimaginable. Previously they believed that the longest that soft tissue could survive was 100,000 years -- so, you know, only like .1% as long as what it turned out was the truth, at the very least.
Discovered in the middle of this great country, the cells and blood vessels of one of the greatest and most mysterious creatures to ever roam this planet provided incredible new insight into dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. Literally, they had to re-write the history books and change everything we thought we knew about something. Including, the speculative notion that birds descended from dinosaurs, something most of us only know was "a funny gag in Jurassic Park."
It indicates that dinosaurs produced and shelled their eggs much more like modern birds than like modern crocodiles." Horner commented that "this is another piece to the puzzle and there are a lot of them. Anyone who would argue that birds and dinosaurs are not related—frankly, I'd put them in the Flat Earth Society group."
Sometimes as people we need to stop, examine, re-examine, and begin to allow ourselves to wipe our brain cleans of everything we thought we knew and start from scratch...
Week 13 - 22-of-30, 310 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 139.6 rating, 10.33 Y/A, 12.33 AY/A, eight rushes for 47 yards, 202 Total DYAR
I brought up last week the possibility that Wilson could be not just "on the ballot" for MVP but a viable MVP candidate. It's not that I thought he would win given the state of the league at the time I wrote the article, but the idea that he is close enough in the race that he could potentially close the gap in December, depending on how Peyton Manning performs in Denver.
Wilson did his part. Manning did not.
I feel like I say this every week now, but having potentially the best game of his career, Wilson was second in DYAR among all quarterbacks, behind only Manning (263 DYAR.) Wilson had a seven game stretch last year when he had 14 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Over his last six games this season, he has 14 touchdowns and two interceptions.
He had eight fumbles and four interceptions over his first seven games of the year, and only two picks and no fumbles over his last five.
In the Pantheon of Russell -
It was Wilson's sixth career game of at least three touchdown passes. The Seahawks are 6-0 in those games with an average score of 34.8 to 17. (One of his two career four-touchdown games came against the Niners.) His total in those six games is 20 touchdowns, two interceptions.
It was Wilson's second career game of 300 yards and second-highest total overall, behind the 320 yards he had against the Panthers in Week 1 of this season. It was his second-highest QB rating and his sixth game of at least 10.0 yards per attempt.
Cam Newton has six such games, in one more year. Colin Kaepernick has five. Robert Griffin III has four. Andrew Luck has zero.
Wilson also happened to notch the seventh-most single-game rushing yards of his career.
Wilson on the season: 198-of-305, 64.9%, 2,672 yards, 22 touchdowns, six interceptions, 8.8 yards per attempt, 108.5 QB rating, 67.48 QBR (seventh), 456 rushing yards, 5.7 yards per attempt, one touchdown, eight fumbles, 724 DYAR (seventh), 22.8% DVOA (sixth)
Much like during his rookie season, Wilson is climbing into conversations as the year goes on. He was good, he was ahead of the curve, now all of a sudden it looks like he is setting the bar. Nobody will argue against Manning as the winner right now, and it's unlikely that he could harm his chances that much over the final quarter of the season (Denver has the easiest remaining schedule by DVOA) but just the fact that we are even talking about Wilson in that regard is amazing.
Less than two years into his career, Wilson is tenth among all players in Pro Bowl voting.
I bring that up simply to point out the fact that it's not just us that are recognizing Wilson and the Seahawks. The nation isn't ignoring us. There's no bias against Seattle. The team is good, great even, and Wilson is front-and-center, and there's no disrespecting going on.
Is that a good thing? Did we not play with an edge because people disrespected us?
Nah. They'll be alright. Wilson was recognized as a great player during his one season at Wisconsin and that didn't stop him from having one of the greatest seasons in modern college football history. He probably won't win MVP this year, but that doesn't mean he's not one.
Around the League
- Don't doubt Tom Brady either. The Patriots were severely shorthanded for most of the season and now have Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola back in the fold. Since getting both of those players back to play at the same time, Brady has 1,443 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in his last four games.
And the Pats have scored 143 points in that time.
About a week ago I switched over to a Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl pick instead of the Bengals.
In 2005, Brady threw for 4,110 yards, 26 touchdowns, 14 interceptions. He still hadn't topped 30 touchdowns in a season yet and the Pats went just 10-6. They beat the Jaguars in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the Broncos, who didn't even have Peyton Manning yet!
- In 2005, Josh McCown was in his fifth year with the Arizona Cardinals. He made six starts that year, giving him 22 career starts and 27 career interceptions. Everybody knew he was not going to be a good quarterback.
In 2013, he's second in the NFL in QBR.
Yeah, QBR is a bad stat. But there's no reason that it makes any sense that McCown would be second in anything other than a depth chart in the year 2013.
- Two quarterbacks have played for two teams this season: Josh Freeman and Matt Flynn. If you added their DYAR together (please don't try this at home) you'd get -389 because of how bad they've mostly been.
The DYAR of Geno Smith is -575.
And he has a QBR better than Thad Lewis.
The absolute worst QBR of the year 2005? Good news, potentially for Geno Smith: Alex Smith had a -866 as a rookie for the 49ers. Maybe Geno will be a playoff quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs in the year 2022.
- The Chargers defense is: 29th in yards allowed, 29th in turnovers forced, 31st in net yards per pass attempt allowed, 31st in yards per carry allowed, 32nd in pass DVOA, 32nd in run DVOA and is currently tracking as one of the worst defenses in DVOA history (dating back to 1991.)
And 13th in points allowed. Have fun figuring that out.
The worst defense of 2005 was the Houston Texans that went 2-14. They drafted Mario Williams the next season and gradually improved over the next several years but really peaking in 2011. Will the Chargers draft Jadeveon Clowney to fix their defense?
No. But the Texans might!
- The Seahawks pass defense is currently at -27.5% DVOA, the fourth-best mark since 2005. One of those teams ahead of them (the 2008 Steelers) did win the Super Bowl.
It's amazing to think how quickly time flies by. When I think of 2005, I think about going to school at Washington State. I think about driving from Arizona to Pullman as I prepared for my final year and stopping off in Vegas on the way, and nearly placing $100 on the Seahawks 25-to-1 odds to make the Super Bowl. I think about how I had to make that 24 hour drive and that not stopping me from spending all night gambling and walking down the strip because I have a problem.
I remember nearly falling asleep at the wheel as I drove for what felt like the 58th straight hour up Idaho, the most boring state in all the land.
I remember watching the Seahawks that season and going into every game feeling indestructible, something I could only really compare to what it was like watching the '01 Mariners.
I remember how both of those seasons.
I remember watching the 2005 NFC Championship game in Pullman and people honking their horns and going wild all over the little town as they were headed to their first Super Bowl.
I remember walking to the bar at 9 AM and starting to drink in anticipation of their first Super Bowl.
I remember kickoff.
I remember a bad call.
I don't really remember the second half of the game.
When next February comes along, it will be now seven years since that game. Niners fans have no problem reminding us how a loss in the Super Bowl is our greatest memory, and that was now seven years ago. I think most fans have gotten over XL, I think they've gotten over the bad call, I think they've gotten over the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Even if we can forgive, but not forget.)
But if you haven't maybe this will be the year. Maybe only actually finishing out a season with the final win will be what makes it right for some people.
Maybe we won't have to hold so tightly anymore.. to 2005.