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The “Seahawks suck now” narrative is as tired and trite as it’s ever been

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NFL: Washington Redskins at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks are 5-3 and some fans are turning to their trusty old friend, Panic. And Panic never shows up to a party without his sidekick, DJ Drastic Changes. And you know DJ Drastic Changes isn’t going to curate a playlist at a Panic party without his biggest hits: “Fire Everyone”; “This Team Is Past Its Prime And Sucks”; “The Defense Can’t Make A Stop.”

Some more hits:

Russell Wilson was literally named the best player in the NFL for Week 8. Luckily, he’s got some people in the stands who are looking out for his best interests and ready to call him out for not being good enough.

Or just straightup the “I’m The Worst Fan Imaginable: Remix to Ignition”

And the most Panic thing to say that I’ve ever heard:

But when Panic and DJ Drastic Changes show up to a party, I ignore them. Not because they stole my girl or I’m jealous of their flashy ways, but because I’ve seen them before. I see them every damn year. Same two dudes. Same parties. Same songs. Same drinks. Same people surrounding them, holding them up on their shoulders, hoisting them around the party and chanting their names asking them to play the hits. Same fucking thing. Same fucking time of year. And I’m just tired of it.

Lock Panic and DJ Drastic Changes out of the house. Do not send them the Facebook Event invitation. Do not add them to the group DM. Unfriend them. Unfollow them. Get a new friend group if you have to. Just walk away and do not look back. Please.

This is not different than the other years and yes, I’m stopping you before you tell me that exact phrase: “This year is different though.”

“Russell doesn’t have the same “fire” though.”

“Pete is too predictable now though. He’s too old now though.”

“John Schneider can’t draft now though. He doesn’t know how to build a team now though.”

“The defense is old now though.”

Richard Sherman is exposed now though.”

How can we be repeating the same mantras of every single season before this one but not repeating the sentences and phrases from a week or two ago? Remember how the Seahawks won four straight games prior to Sunday? Remember how Wilson was the guy you were touting as MVP two days ago and Bobby Wagner as Defensive Player of the Year? Remember how ESPN’s FPI had Seattle ranked as the best team in football last week?

You don’t even have to agree with ESPN’s ranking but you can at least understand that it is based in statistics that have some meaning and cannot be altered or changed. A last second loss to a team that is not terrible could not possibly turn any reasonable person from “The Seahawks are good” to “The Seahawks are bad,” and that is my most tame way of verbalizing the reactions I’ve seen in the last 24 hours, which perfectly mirror reactions I’ve seen to Seattle losses (AND WINS) time and time again in the last six years.

A little bit less than five years ago, the Seahawks lost to the Miami Dolphins and it dropped them to 6-5. At the time, they had not had a successful season under Pete Carroll. They had not been a real contender for a Super Bowl since maybe 2006, perhaps in reality 2005. Feelings about Seattle’s season in the first year of Wilson and the third year or Carroll were not rosy, but I knew one thing: If your favorite team is fighting for 365 days a year to complete one goal — get to the Super Bowl and win it — then why would you give up on that team until that goal was 100% washed away?

That’s when I wrote this piece: Seahawks are in a bad position, but I’m not going to give up now. Nothing that I wrote in that article five years ago does not apply today, except that at least now we should have even more assurance that Seattle is in fact a good team in a fine position to make a Super Bowl run relative to other NFL teams.

“There are bumps in every road to victory, it's how you handle them that matters.”

“The point is that every team hits bumps and one of those teams that hit a bump is going to win the Super Bowl.”

“Disasters are followed by recovery, and sometimes it's rather quick.”

“I'm going to keep my hope alive that I'll still cash in on that emotional investment one day. Maybe not a day that far away after all.” Hint: That day was only about 14 months away from me writing that piece

The Seahawks are 5-3, same record they had in 2014 when they fell one play short of winning the Super Bowl. A better record than they had in 2012 and 2015, when they went to the second round. A very similar record to last season, also a second round playoff appearance. And again, I’m stopping you before you say, “This is different.”

It’s not. There are differences, but it is not different. This is still a team that outside of 2013, plays very inconsistently under Carroll. Inconsistent quarter-to-quarter, inconsistent game-to-game. Obviously that means that I am not saying that the team is perfect or that there aren’t issues with the coaching, game-planning, and execution, but they are the same issues that have been around since this team got talented in 2012. The same ones. And those same Seahawks teams have been in a position to make a playoff run every single year. Why?

Because Super Bowl teams are often not great teams. They are almost never perfect teams. They are flawed. Imperfect. Annoying. Frustrating. Wonderful. Exciting. Talented. Dynamic. Wild. Uncontrollable. Layered. Charismatic. Imprecise. And often, misleading.

The 2015 Denver Broncos, who lost four out of seven games in the middle of the season and actually turned to Brock Osweiler for a long stretch? Annoying. Certainly not a “Super Bowl” team, you’d think.

The 2014 New England Patriots, after they got blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs? Yes, there were comments about benching Tom Brady for Jimmy Garoppolo and wondering if Bill Belichick had let the game pass him by.

The 2012 Baltimore Ravens, who lost four of their last five games, and could certainly never win a Super Bowl going into the playoffs like that?

The 9-7 New York Giants of 2011 and the 10-6 New York Giants of 2007? The 2010 Green Bay Packers, who barely rebounded to make the playoffs?

Flawed. Ugly. Turned-on. Turned-off. Injured. Incapable. Capable.

Capable.

More than capable.

What are the Seattle Seahawks of November 6, 2017? They are not much different than the Seattle Seahawks of the morning of November 1 2017, except that now Duane Brown is the left tackle.

The team of November 1 has a potential Hall of Fame quarterback. Maybe Wilson’s career turns in a way that so few players of his caliber has turned, but in all likelihood, we are witnessing the prime of one of the best quarterbacks of the last 25 years. Firmly in the top 20, and reaching for the top 10. A guy who has thrown two go-ahead touchdowns in the final two minutes in the last two weeks:

The team of November 1 thinks that Earl Thomas might be able to play in their game against Washington. The team of November 6 knows that he didn’t, but that he’ll be returning soon. Another Hall of Fame talent, his status for Canton even more assured. His prime, not nearly complete.

The team of November 1 knows that Richard Sherman is having an All-Pro season at corner. The fans of November 6 wonder why he allowed a touchdown or dropped an interception. In all likelihood, Sherman will play like the player he is for 96% of the time, not continually repeat any errors he’s made in the other 4%.

The team of November 1 had Rees Odhiambo at left tackle. The team of November 6 has Brown at that position and Odhiambo inactive. The team of November 6 is also going to try Ethan Pocic at left guard, but knows that Luke Joeckel could be back before December.

The team of November 1 could not get anything out of its running backs since losing Chris Carson. The team of November 6 should be encouraged by the play of Thomas Rawls this week, and knows that C.J. Prosise is potentially going to help down the stretch, no matter how logical the doubts are about his ability to suit up.

The team of November 1 did have Jeremy Lane, or did not, then did, and then on Sunday, did not. The secondary has had some lapses in the last two weeks but with Thomas, Lane, and DeShawn Shead potentially being a part of the mix in the last eight games and playoffs, it should at least look different, if not be improved.

The team of November 1 did not get enough pressure on the quarterback. The team of November 6 just pressured Kirk Cousins on more than 40% of his dropbacks, including two sacks by Dwight Freeney and a career-type game for Jarran Reed in spite of the fact that they did not have Sheldon Richardson. Or Malik McDowell and Dion Jordan, either or both of whom could contribute in the second half of the season.

The team of November 6 is 5-3, but they are any number of single moments away from being 6-2, including the simple act of taking a knee instead of scoring a touchdown. Should the competence of a staff of Super Bowl winners be called into question when the outcome changes on a single play? Or a single missed field goal? Meanwhile, you hear a lot of people sing the praise of an LA Rams team that hasn’t been to the playoffs in 13 years — a team that lost to Seattle at home less than a month ago.

I’m not not-panicking about the Seahawks just because I think I’m some super logical or reasonable person. I mean, I think that it is logical, to rely on history and relevant experience and known talent and incoming help, but I’m also willing to admit that I could be wrong. Maybe this is the year that Seattle’s 5-2 start turns into an 8-8 finish. It could happen. And I don’t think that it will.

But the real reason I’m not panicking is because there are better things one can do with his or her life. Bigger things to worry about. In this game of football, or any sport really, we can rely on the facts and calmly assess the realities of any narrative. “The Seahawks are falling” is a narrative. A tired one. An old one. A story not just as old as Carroll’s days in Seattle, but one that has consistently been shattered in each of the last five seasons.

I’m not buying it in 2017, just as I wasn’t in 2012. Or 2014. Or 2015. Or 2016. Yes, 2013 was the year they won the Super Bowl, but I also don’t judge success based solely on championship rings. For me, I judge success based on my own personal happiness with the team.

I get no happiness from Panic, and I definitely don’t invite DJ Drastic Changes until it is absolutely necessary.

It is not absolutely necessary.