Seven years ago was the last time that Seattle got to see what a great team looks like. The Super Bowl XL team that rocked Qwest Field that year was a classically efficient West Coast offense team led by NFL MVP Shaun Alexander and his 28 touchdowns and a defense that was fine tuned to fundamental perfection. The 2005 team had a nearly perfect resume as they went 13-3, a perfect 10-0 at home, won the NFC West, and won the NFC Championship before losing* in the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Andy Reid Mike Holmgren trying to give a side judge in Super Bowl XL a piece of his mind
But they weren’t quite as fun as this year’s edition of the Hawks. The Seattle Seahawks are 9-5 heading into an absolutely riveting litmus test against the seemingly dominant San Francisco 49ers on primetime television. Although they are not quite comparable to their 2005 counterparts with a division crown seemingly out of reach and have a much less paved road to the Super Bowl in front of them, this team has assumed an identity that is thoroughly more exciting to witness than any Seahawks team I have ever seen.
Nothing about this team is perfect or as seemingly unflappable as the Super Bowl team, led by Hall of Fame coach Mike Holmgren, an all-time great left side of the offensive line with Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, and Alexander’s season for the ages. That team was a football purist’s dream. But what exactly does a football purist look like? My caricature of such a man is a John Gruden type, sitting in front of a dark theater with a roll of tape being fed into a dusty projector, playing and rewinding relentlessly the delicate intricacies of the pulling guard setting the edge for a seven yard run on first down to set up a methodically executed post route on second and short, all the while wishing that Lynn Swann still played, if only for the grace that he brought to the football field. Football purist guy loved the 2005 Seahawks, and there is nothing wrong with that. But I love this year’s version better, for the same reason that I was listening to Good Charlotte instead of Coldplay in middle school.
Shortly before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, I attempted to write a “Woe is Me” article about how disgusted I was that the Thunder were this close to winning an NBA Championship that should have been Seattle’s. It was full of personal accounts of my genuine disgust of their success. The prime example being how I almost beheaded someone who claimed I should be rooting for the Thunder for “Western Conference Pride”. I counted on the Spurs to beat them. For me. I became enamored with the Spurs roster of veteran swingmen coming together to teach the young folks a lesson. And with San Antonio up 2-0, I was loving it. I was writing about how they were the Sonics, playing like an unlockable team in an NBA2K game against the Thunder. Then, for the next four games, my hope for the bullet that would kill the Thunder’s hopes of getting a championship that should be ours wilted. I fell asleep writing that article.
I woke up with the intention of finishing it, getting it off before Game 1 of the Finals to show how mentally unstable I was in the face of a Thunder Championship. It didn’t get done. And I’m glad it didn’t, because a week and a half later I came out with a new perspective on basketball.
I watched Game 1 in a bowling alley in Oxford, Ohio on the “fun night” of a five day Leadership Academy. That is the equivalent of having someone ask you what your favorite Nickelback song is. I bowled a gentleman’s 71, then retired on top like Barry Sanders did to sit in the greasy chairs of the bowling alley to watch the game. Sitting amongst 80 guys who had no capability of understanding how the guy from Seattle wanted Miami to win so badly, I was a pariah. Every LeBron bucket got a, “%#@& YEAH!” from yours truly and a bunch of judgments that I had the worst case of undiagnosed Tourette’s in the history of mankind from just about everyone else. A thunderous James jam evoked a dickhead fan reaction in me that even I was surprised by. The Heat became the same team the Spurs did, and at that moment I put all my faith in LeBron James to stop the Thunder. He was my Lee Harvey Oswald to the Thunder’s JFK. But, as the Heat became increasingly out of Game 1, my visible sickness increased. I couldn’t hang. Not only was I watching the Thunder get closer to what should have been mine, Seattle’s, something that would have upset me in my own living room; I was watching 85 people my age loving it. And why not, the Thunder are everything the casual NBA fan would love. Unassuming superstars, no player that would ever or has ever had a “Decision” with a taste-the-rainbow supply of Vitamin Water behind him like LeBron did, and an all around likeable team.
The Seahawks made quite the splash in free agency earlier this week when they signed the likes of Matt Flynn. The biggest quarterback free agent without the last name of Manning, Flynn brings tremendous upside to a position that the Seahawks desperately needed to improve.
Matt Flynn is a 26 year old Texan who has had two constants during his playing career: quarterback and winning. Although Flynn never won a Texas state championship while in high school, he went on to lead the LSU Tigers to a BCS National Championship in 2008 and was a part of the Packers Super Bowl run in 2010. He has been in the shadow of Aaron Rodgers during his entire professional career, but when he has been given the chance to play, he has not disappointed. In his two starts during the NFL regular season, his numbers are as follows:
@ NE: 24/37, 251 yds, 3 TD’s, 1 Int
vs. Det: 31/44, 480 yds, 6 TD’s, 1 Int (Set single-game franchise records for yardage and touchdowns)
Just to do the math for you, that would be a completion percentage of 68%, 366 passing yards/game, and 4.5:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Any team in America would take numbers like that.
Now I know this is a small sample size to draw conclusions from, but look at the situation. Green Bay runs a variation of the West Coast offense, which is what the Seahawks run as well. The Packers also have one of the best quarterbacks coaches in the game in Tom Clements. He has been vital in the development of Aaron Rodgers, who has become one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in the NFL. And on top of this, remember what Matt Hasslebeck was doing before he came to Seattle? Backing up a different quarterback in the Packers organization. With all of this in mind, the Seahawks current general manager John Schneider was the person who drafted Flynn in Green Bay in the 7th round of the ’08 draft. He obviously saw something in him then, and he still sees it in him now.
I love my older brother for no bigger reason than he gave me his copy of Tecmo Super Bowl for the NES when he went to college. I was 8 years old in 2001, playing a game that came out in 1991-and loving it. An 8-bit console game had me hooked worse than Tyrone Biggums on The Chapelle Show. Hooked so bad, I have shoes with Bo Jackson’s Tecmo likeness on them. But the best part about this game when it came out was that it included real players and real NFL teams, the first video game to do so.
Remember what the Bible says: He who is without sin, cast the first rock. And I shall smoketh it.
The best players in the game back in 1991 are well represented in this game. Bo Jackson is actually unstoppable, Christian Okoye really is the Nigerian Nightmare, Lawrence Taylor is a bad Mo-Fo, and Deion Sanders picks off everything thrown his way. The game built my historical knowledge of football by itself. Who is David Fulcher you might ask? A ballhawking safety that dominated the NFL in the early ’90’s. Tecmo taught me that. Through Tecmo, I know that the Seahawks were still terrible even in 1991.