I'm ill. No matter the result of this game, I was going to feel this way. This season has been long, and the road personally felt like a bet with myself on whether I'd be able to get up for this game. I talked about it on The Pregame Insomnia Podcast, that the season felt like it began a lifetime ago.
Again, even with the result, the happiness would have been more relief than anything at conclusion, as I watched this team take punch after punch after punch. It was different in 2013 when the team seemed to deliver all the punishment. I don't know, I'm just in a weird place. I love the Seahawks with a passion, I love what I do here but that result may have robbed me of my last bit of strength for a while.
I was here in 2003 when a hotshot upstart team with a confident QB said, "We want the ball and we're gonna score," and then threw a pick six to end the game in overtime.
I was here in 2004 when the team couldn't seem to get out of the blocks and then lost its 3rd consecutive game to the Rams in the season, just my second season as a full-time dedicated Seahawks fan. I watched as 2005 came and went from a passing offense to power running, then saw the toughest game in franchise history as the offense never got in rhythm, and the refs got in the way of football on the biggest stage in Superbowl 40.
I was here in 2006 when Tony Romo botched a field goal and Jordan "Big Play" Babs saved a TD. I was here when Shaun Alexander broke the team out of jail on his best run of the game.
I was here in 2007 when Seattle broke out to a 14-0 lead against Green Bay, and then was blown out of Lambeau Field. I watched Mike Holmgren conclude his tenure with a 4-12 season, which had Seneca Wallace as the team's starting quarterback.
I watched in 2009 when Jim Mora came in and had no real idea who he wanted to be, and a team that had been well defined for 10 seasons under Mike Holmgren suddenly looked rudderless. I had arguments on forums that would have my mother looking at me as though she had no idea who I was.
Once Pete Carroll replaced Jim Mora that energy to argue only intensified.
In 2010 I watched a strange team of mismatched parts and fell in love. I loved Pete's energy and demeanor instantly, and it was hard to be objective in the face of his positivity despite the 7-9 season. Marshawn Lynch was just starting and the team needed to re-tool everything. I watched them squeeze something out of Lawyer Milloy, Raheem Brock and oft injured Lofa Tatupu, and I only grew more excited for the future.
in 2011, we faced tough challenges with the player lockout, but Seattle signed some big names as they looked to add key parts to become more of Pete Carroll's run to win identity. Marshawn Lynch would break out in the second half of the season, cementing his role as the engine of the offense, scoring big against the Eagles on a Thursday Night game. The QB role wasn't yet defined, but Matt Flynn would be on the market and that had Seahawks fans talking.
2012: I was in Florida visiting my uncle when the news hit about Matt Flynn. The draft happens and yet again, it's "Who's that?" when Bruce Irvin is tagged as Seattle's first pick. I remember queuing up his highlight reel and squealing because I saw a more explosive version of Chris Clemons. Bobby Wagner, I didn't know much about, but after KJ Wright had turned in a good year the previous season, ending Aaron Curry's time in Seattle, I was not worried.
Then, Russell Wilson arrived.
A rare case of "everything you hear is true." From his study habits, to his ability to "tilt the field" as John Schneider calls it. You could see he had something. The 2012 preseason became an audition as a mysterious elbow injury sidelined Matt Flynn.
There were so many key moments, but none bigger than his miraculous comeback against Atlanta had everyone all over the league talking. 12's were pumped -- the defense was dialed in after four years of restocking the shelves, capturing an old time version of the Seahawks that used to be all about crushing hits and suffocating defense.
2013: What a season, what a time to see this team through. 11 years of hopes and dreams. Passion. Anger. Hatred. They come through in every way. Every time they got down, they fought back and never lost focus on their goal. It was Super Bowl or bust, and the ending blowout seemed justified as Seattle took all of the build up out on the best offense ever.
I couldn't wait for this year.
After this? After 12 years of "on to next year!", I find myself unable to say that right now, and even if they had won I don't think I could. This road was really hard and though I enjoyed it for the most part, I need this offseason. I'm mostly in tears typing this because it's the first time 'next year' hasn't been on my lips since following this team halfway through 2002. I've been through pick-sixes, dropped passes, disappointment. This should really not hurt as bad as it does.
I finally understand what Mike Holmgren meant when he said "You reach a point where you feel like a prize fighter and every tough loss is like a punch to the gut, and it just gets harder and harder to take."
I don't know when I'll be ready for next year but I know I will be, just maybe this time my brain is saying "Buddy, it's been 12 years, give it time," and so I will. It has been an absolute honor and pleasure writing and producing content for you these last two seasons.There will not be a TWID piece for this game but I will be posting a podcast every month leading up to next preseason, and also working on a special little flashback series.
For now, I'm gonna take six weeks. I'm gonna digest and accept this as history and then I will come back with only two words for ya: "Go Hawks"