Allow me to start by saying I love you guys. However, some of you are pushing your luck.
You want clarification...I can sense it. I've acknowledged more than once since the 2012 season that you're a sophisticated bunch to write for. It acts as a spur because I know that one error on my part, however tiny, would have somebody all over it. You keep me on my toes, you push me further and, on Field Gulls, you continually educate me. So, yeah, I love you for that, but...but...are some of you thinking with a truly clear mind when you say that you want to see Pete Carroll get fired? Do you honestly, really think that? If so, you obviously weren't around for Dennis Erickson. Which naturally means you weren't around for Tom Flores. I'm even starting to doubt you were around for Jim Mora and that was only six years ago.
I'll always raise a glass to Mike Holmgren. He wasn't perfect (he's human), but he cared deep down for the city of Seattle, for its fabric; he fell in love with what makes it unique, at least on the NFL landscape, if not America itself. The city has done the same to Carroll. Initially, it turned his head. Then he got giddy and fell head over heels, hard and quick, and not just for the city, but for the fans, too. Yep, lil' ol' us. When he speaks of the 12's (it's more of an affectionate sigh), he ain't merely mentioning it in passing.
Carroll will never sit at the right hand of Bill Walsh, but he has, arguably, changed the way the game of football is coached. With Carroll at the helm, alongside John Schneider, the Seahawks have changed the way defensive backs are scouted and, ultimately, drafted. And coached. I know you know all of this, but maybe it's been forgotten amidst misguided vitriol.
Carroll has brought unparalleled joy to Seattle and that includes us Brits who follow the team just as closely as all of you, with the same passion that courses through your veins. We might be 4,800 miles (go on, correct me) and 8 hours away, but we feel every failed third down just as deeply as you. Especially at 3:24 in the morning, four hours away from sitting at your desk with your boss expecting you to rock up bright and breezy.
So, yeah, I love you guys, but don't make me believe the axiom of ‘Don't Meet Your Heroes.'
We are so, so fortunate and beyond lucky that Pete Carroll is the head coach of our beloved football team. Sadly, he's spoilt us and some haven't experienced the true meaning of what supporting the Seahawks used to mean. Grizzly (if only) forty somethings like me want to rap you over the nose like a puppy who's just laid one on your brand new shag pile. Behave yourselves.
I've only once seen Russell Wilson as upset as he was during his post game press conference last Sunday and that was after defeat in Kansas City last season. When I say upset, I mean shell shocked. I should be saying Wilson was the same after Super Bowl XLIX, but you can't compare being shell shocked to moments of his life in February that amounted to dealing with grief. Heck, Wilson didn't look this bad after the playoff loss in Atlanta, but we now all know that the cherubic, wide-eyed rookie that stood before us that day was convinced that the Seahawks would be in the Super Bowl the following season.
(Must remind oneself to check that NFL Record & Fact Book I get bought for me each year to see if young Russell was right.)
Back to Pete, if I may. During his own post game press conference last week, he took everything on himself, blaming nobody else. To those who want him fired, why do you think the players, bar none, love him so much? His coaching methods were never going to work in the NFL. He was too rah-rah, his players would be too undisciplined (hmmm, OK)...er, er...he'd failed miserably in the league before (about 50 years ago). Let's all look [January 11, 2010] at the Seahawks really go through it. Sure.
Pete Carroll is a coaching genius. We've never had it so good.
I happened to mention to my wife that some fans want Carroll fired. Now, my wife knows as much about football as I do about fixing a roof, but she knows a little about the Seahawks, naturally. I needn't tell you what she said.
Then again, y'know what? Whenever I watch Carroll's press conferences, I do clock my wife sneaking a glimpse here and there. She's also a big fan of John Slattery, AKA Roger Sterling...my, my, Carroll, you silver fox, you. Wait ‘til I tell her that she and Pete's birthdays are two days apart. I'm done for. FIRE HIM! LIKE, NOW!
When was the last time Jimmy Graham caught 8 balls for 140 yards in a game and ended up on the losing side? I would hazard a guess at never in New Orleans, but I daresay that stat has been wheeled out already and, if so, has passed me by. Cut me some slack, it's a short week.
What's that I was saying about Carroll's relationship with his players? At the rate the backfield are crashing their cars after leaving practice, it's a wonder the NFLPA isn't bashing down the door.
The line for this one staggers me. Yes, San Francisco isn't ripping up trees (or knees what with the state of the turf there), but asking the Seahawks to cover by more than six points when they're 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight is decidedly shaky ground. On the road. On a short week. Are you willing to lay down your hard earned on them? Don't you dare listen to that heart of yours.
Seattle's been a road favourite on eighteen occasions in the RWE, but I won't list them all here as I really couldn't put you through that. Instead, let's look at games where the spread has been around the six point mark; it's happened five times:
2012, Week 15 (-5.5 vs. Bills in Toronto) WON 50-17
2013, Week 7 (-6.5 at Cardinals) WON 34-22
2013, Week 15 (-7 at NY Giants) WON 23-0
2014, Week 5 (-7 at Washington) WON 27-17
2014, Week 7 (-6.5 at Rams) LOST 28-26
(Seattle's never been a flat, five point favourite on the road with Russ leading the offense...as far as I can make out.)
The Seahawks obliterated the line in the first two, which might not look to be the case in Arizona, but that 34-22 outcome seriously flattered the Cardinals. Conversely, the 16 point cover in New York was the meat in a divisional sandwich (49ers and Cardinals) with the Seahawks coming off of a loss in San Francisco. You sensed during the game against the Giants that Seattle was playing within themselves with much bigger fish to fry in the playoffs. It turns out that they duly laid an egg at home to Arizona the following week, the penultimate game of the regular season.
For those interested, those aforementioned eighteen occasions has resulted in a 9-9 mark ATS, uninspiring fayre to say the least, so make of it what you will. Not very much and nor should you.
18:45...hold the back bloody page. Coral have shaved the line and the Seahawks are available -5.5, in from 6 with the same firm this morning and they're the only firm to do so. That's interesting in so much as they clearly need to recoup some money if you take the shave at face value. Blimey, look what just happened there. Nope, having double checked, BetBright have done the same thing. Either firm may even cut it to five points by kickoff, but I still wouldn't be tempted. I wonder whether Mark Lathrop would be...
Despite the consensus being San Francisco +6.5, they're still available +7 over at Winner. Wow, their marketing department are none too coy. Who the hell wouldn't want to sign up with that lot? Especially with a Niner TD and extra point in your back pocket for Thursday. Look, I'm sorry for all the excitement over San Fran, but that line is plain scandalous.
I'm severely stripped of time this week with the game taking place on a Thursday so am having to keep this shorter than usual, you lucky little bleeders. You know what's happened of late, from comebacks to miscommunications to tight ends to...well, what seems like oblivion, if you believe all that you read. There's still hope, without having to call upon Obi-Wan Kenobi.
As has become customary, I'll finish up with some trends, courtesy of oddsshark.com:
Seattle is 1-6-1 ATS in its last 8 games (old news alert)
Seattle is 3-5-1 ATS in its last 9 games on the road
Seattle is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games against San Francisco (impressive)
Seattle is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games played in San Francisco (1-0 SU in Santa Clara)
San Francisco is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games
San Francisco is 3-10 ATS in its last 13 games at home
Please gamble responsibly.