Except for new love, I don’t think I’ve ever had a week where I thought about a single person more than I’ve thought about the Seattle Seahawks.
I doubt I even need to mention the name since many of us are thinking about him, and waiting for updates on his condition.
I mean, when is the last time you saw the downtown core of an NFL city awash in the colors of another team?
The end of the regular season waits for no one though, and there is a lot on the line for Seattle this week, so . . .
Let’s try to get back to some semblance of normalcy.
I’m a fan of Seaside Joe and want to give him my first thought.
This is a person who is so dedicated to the Seahawks and to the 12s that he’s written at least one newsletter every day for something like 1,400 straight days.
Many days, he writes more than one.
In 2022, he wrote over a million words related to the Seahawks.
Note: For some perspective on that, my average article is a little less than 1,500 words which means that I would have to write an article a day for almost 2 years to hit the 1M-word mark. As is, I’ve been writing for Field Gulls for 23 months and I’m barely over 300k.
On Tuesday, the Seaside Joe newsletter was titled, “One Day Without Football”.
Here is the entirety of that newsletter:
That was the shortest, the classiest, and the most moving email that I ever received.
Thank you, Seaside Joe.
I could fill the rest of this article with thoughts about Damar Hamlin and the unprecedented situation that the league finds itself in.
But I could.
What I will share is that the GoFundMe page for the Community Toy Drive that Seaside Joe linked to was set up before Damar Hamlin was drafted. It had a modest goal of raising $2,500 for the 2020 holiday season and it came up short.
As 2022 rolled into 2023, more than two years after it was set up, the donations on that GoFundMe page totaled $2,921.
Within a few hours of Damar Hamlin leaving Paycor Stadium in the back of an ambulance, more than a million dollars in donations rolled in.
At one point, the donations were coming in at a rate of three per second.
By 2pm (PST) on Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had accrued $4,779,340 in donations.
As of this writing, it’s approaching $8 million.
Note: For context on that figure, Damar Hamlin’s GoFundMe page is now valued at more than double his rookie contract.
After writing most of this article, I had to shift some thoughts downward to add this one.
When Damar Hamlin awoke from medically-induced sedation on Wednesday night, he asked who won the Buffalo-Cincinnati game.
His doctor’s response: “Damar, you won. You won the game of life.”
Grown men do cry. That’s all I’m going to say if anyone asks for my response to that statement. Grown men do cry.
Note: To avoid confusion, I should clarify that Hamlin asked the question in writing as he’s not yet able to talk since he’s still on a breathing tube.
Like the rest of the 12s, I’ve pulling for a Seahawks win and a Packers loss this weekend - for all of the obvious reasons and a few not-as-obvious reasons, including my dislike of “the uniquely prickly one” (aka Aaron Rodgers).
If the Seahawks let us down on Sunday afternoon, I’ll be pulling for the Detroit Lions in the nightcap - for three reasons:
- Because they’re my second favorite team
- Because I would love to see a team that started the season 1-6 make some noise in the playoffs (albeit not at Seattle’s expense)
- Because of my aforementioned dislike of Aaron Freaking Rodgers - - - I’m looking forward to his dejected look at the postgame presser after Detroit keeps him out of the playoffs, and his subsequent appearance(s) on the Pat McAfee show where he whines about his supporting cast letting him down.
Sticking with the Lions for a moment . . .
Has anyone (other than me) noticed how their season is almost the polar opposite of Seattle’s season?
- Weeks 1-9: Seattle 6-3, Detroit 2-6
- Weeks 10-17: Seattle 2-5, Detroit 6-2
One more thought about the Lions - since their success on Sunday night would directly impact the Seahawks (assuming Seattle beats the Rams) . . .
In a recent article, I noted that the Seahawks have swept the regular-season series with the Rams twice since Pete Carroll became the head coach in 2010.
Believe it or not, the Lions have swept the Packers twice in the past five seasons (2017, 2018) and have a chance to make it three of the past six seasons with a win on Sunday night.
There were reports this week that the league was considering adding an 8th playoff team to each conference as a way to address the inequities caused by cancelling the Bills-Bengals game.
Per AP writer Rob Maaddi, that idea never reached the stage of serious consideration:
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said the NFL hasn't presented a proposal to add an 8th playoff team. The players' union would have to approve those changes.— Rob Maaddi (@RobMaaddi) January 5, 2023
As some of you may recall, a similar idea was floated in 2020.
The difference is that the NFL owners unanimously approved the idea as a contingency plan in the event that “meaningful” games were lost due to the COVID crisis.
The playoffs didn’t expand to 16 teams then, and they’re not expanding to 16 teams now.
But maybe they should.
At some point.
Sure, there’s an argument that expanding the field to seven teams per conference diluted the product. But the current approach, with only one team in each conference getting a first-round bye, is (in my opinion) more of an issue than the dilution is.
Adding an 8th team in each conference potentially dilutes the product further, but it also means that every team has to win three games to make it to the Super Bowl, and it eliminates the outsized advantage that comes from receiving both home field advantage and a week off.
Plus, if you prescribe to the notion that the NFL is “all about the money” then it’s a no-brainer since adding 2 more games to the playoffs equals more money.
Note: For those that are interested, the 8th-seeds in 2020 would have been the 10-6 Miami Dolphins in the AFC and the 8-8 Arizona Cardinals in the NFC. If there had been 8 playoff teams in each conference last year, the AFC’s 8th-seed would have been the 9-8 Indianapolis Colts and the NFC’s 8th-seed would have been the 9-8 New Orleans Saints.
It’s been an interesting year in the NFC West - particularly at the quarterback position.
NFC West QBs that have started at least one game this year:
- Kyler Murray
- Colt McCoy
- Trace McSorley
- David Blough
- Matthew Stafford
- John Wolford
- Bryce Perkins
- Baker Mayfield
- Trey Lance
- Jimmy Garoppolo
- Brock Purdy
- Geno Smith
After making a somewhat miraculous return to the starting lineup a mere two weeks after breaking his finger and having it surgically repaired, Tyler Lockett again finds himself fighting to be active on game day in Week 18.
This time, it’s a leg injury that he’s dealing with.
According to Pete Carroll, Lockett is “determined to play.” And why wouldn’t he be? I mean, what with a potential playoff spot on the line in a game against a division rival . . .
. . . and with a franchise milestone tantalizingly within reach.
Tyler Lockett had a mere 15 receiving yards in Sunday’s win over the New York Jets, but that was mostly because he was only targeted twice.
He caught both passes.
Heading into Week 18, he sits at 979 yards, 21 yards shy of his 4th-consecutive 1,000-yard season.
I’ve noted this before, but Steve Largent is the only other player in Seattle history to have had 1,000+ yards in 4 straight seasons.
I’m guessing that Lockett would like a chance to beat that record next season.
But first, he needs 21 more yards.
Speaking of franchise records . . .
Geno Smith had 183 yards passing against the Jets. That put him at 4,069 yards for the season and earned him a rather nice bonus.
Geno Smith just earned a cool million dollars. His incentive package includes a $1M bonus for reaching 4,000 yards passing, which he's now done.— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) January 1, 2023
Becomes the second QB in Seahawks history with 4,000 passing yards in a season, per @ESPNStatsInfo. Russell Wilson did it four times.
As Brady Henderson noted, and as I wrote about in a recent article, Geno is only the 2nd quarterback in franchise history to hit the 4,000-yard mark.
What Brady’s tweet doesn’t mention is that Geno now sits a mere 150 yards away from the franchise record of 4,219 yards which Russell Wilson set in 2016.
Given that the Jets game represents Geno’s lowest passing total of the season, it seems like a near certainty that Geno is going to best RW3’s mark in Week 18.
On a related note, Geno is absolutely (99.9% certain) going to set the franchise record for completion percentage.
Dave Krieg was the record holder for nearly 3 decades after leading the league with a 65.6% completion rate in 1991.
Matt Hasselbeck nearly dethroned Krieg in 2005 but ended up a tenth of a point shy at 65.5%.
Russell Wilson tied the record in 2018 (65.6%), broke it in 2019 (66.1%), then broke it AGAIN in 2020 (68.8%).
With one game remaining, Geno sits at 70.2%.
If Seattle misses out on the playoffs, it won’t be because the Packers beat the Lions.
I mean, it might be because of that, but it will also be because:
- They went 0-4 against the NFC South
- They lost to five teams that were below .500 at the time - each of the aforementioned NFC South teams (the Atlanta were 0-2 in Week 3; the New Orleans Saints were 1-3 in Week 5; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 4-5 in Week 10; and the Carolina Panthers 4-8 in Week 13) - - - plus the Las Vegas Raiders who were 3-7 when Seattle played them in Week 12, after the bye.
- They went from two games up on the San Francisco 49ers (in the win column) to three games behind the 49ers in a span of six weeks - from Week 10 to Week 15 - en route to being eliminated from the NFC West race.
Putting that another way, the Seahawks wouldn’t “need help” to make the playoffs if they’d handled their business against the Raiders and the NFC South and/or if they’d been more competitive against the 49ers.
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20.
It’s been a fun season; one in which the Seahawks were far more competitive than a lot of folks expected. The team has flaws, and those flaws will be magnified in the playoffs, should they make it, but they’ve also got some good pieces to build a contender around - including 4 Pro Bowl players and 6 alternates.
Regardless of how the next few days go, I’m optimistic about the future of this team.
Go Hawks!weak your
The Minnesota Vikings have won 11 one-score games this season. They have a chance to add to that record on Sunday when they face a Chicago Bears team that will be without Justin Fields. Since the Vikings haven’t won a game by more than one score since Week 1, odds are pretty good that they’ll win another close one . . . or lose by double digits (because that’s the flipside of the Viking’s Jekyll and Hyde season).
On the other side of that coin, no team in NFL history has ever lost more than 9 one-score games in a single season. That still remains the case, but the Denver Broncos may end up on the wrong side of history when all is said and done.
Right now they have 9 losses by 8 points or less.
Six of those 9 losses have been at the hands of their division rivals - the Kansas City Chiefs beat them twice by a combined 9 points; the Las Vegas Raiders beat them twice, first by 9 and then by 6; and the Los Angeles Chargers beat them by 3 back in Week 6.
On Sunday, the Broncos and Chargers face off again. L.A. is only favored by 2-1/2 which means it could (should) be another one-score game.
Note: Perfectly happy to have the Broncos lose by more than one score; mostly just want the pick we’re getting from them to stay at #3 (or move up to #2 if the Bears upset the Vikings - Go Bears!) - in part because getting the #3 pick from trading #3 seems extremely fitting.