To see the sham that is my full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2012, click here.
This was supposed to be the spot where I talk about Matt Flynn as we get ready for the first week of the regular season. Truth be told, I held out until today in the off chance that Russell Wilson might’ve gotten injured in last night’s game and I’d be vindicated in the 11th hour. But, so be it.
Obviously, the most important Seahawk is going to be the guy starting at quarterback in any given game. That’s true of every single team in the NFL; it’s a quarterback-driven league and you’re only going as far as your quarterback will take you. It boggles my mind whenever a non-quarterback wins the MVP, because where would that team be without its man under center?
Take 2005, for instance. Everyone in the world was praising Shaun Alexander, and yes, he did have a wonderful season for a running back. One of the best ever. But, if that team had Seneca Wallace under center instead of Matt Hasselbeck, we sure as shit never would’ve gone to the Super Bowl. I don’t care how great our offensive line was! Matt Hasselbeck was the MVP of the Seattle Seahawks in 2005; so how could Shaun Alexander be the MVP of the NFL?
When I first constructed this list, I was convinced that Matt Flynn would be the starter come week one. I wasn’t the only one. Most people, I would suspect, had Flynn as the man. He signed the relatively big free agent contract (biggest on the team, sure, but among the smaller free agent deals across the NFL), he was the second-most touted quarterback on the market after Peyton Manning, he came from Green Bay (known for QB success as well as John Schneider’s alma mater, so to speak), and his competition was a rookie and a Tarvar. If you’re a betting man, how do you NOT put your money down that Flynn would be the man? That was the safest pick since Aaron Curry came out in the 2009 NFL Draft!
Training camp happened, all these reports I read kept giving us glowing reviews of Flynn’s poise, decision-making, and accuracy down field. They made excuses for his lack of arm power at every turn by reminding us that it’s not necessarily how far you throw the ball, but how well you throw the ball in those intermediate 15-30 yard areas down field. Flynn seemingly had it all and it was only a matter of time before Wilson was held back as a surefire backup and this became a two-man showdown between incumbent Tarvar and newcomer Flynn.
But, there was only one problem: Wilson was never held back. They kept including him in that “3-man” competition the whole way. Even when Flynn got the start in the second pre-season game, Wilson was right there gobbling up all the snaps in the second half. He kept looking good in practice (supposedly; I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there), he kept looking good in games (I’m pretty sure this happened, though I was plenty drunk at the time; which time? all the time), and then he got the start in the third pre-season game. Even before Flynn’s mystery arm-ache, the writing was so far on the wall it wasn’t even funny. Wilson would be this team’s starter and they’d have one of the highest-paid backups in the league (I gotta figure Hasselbeck is making more per season; of course, both are towered over by Kevin Kolb’s insane contract).
I wrote about Wilson at the beginning of this series. I ranked him 30th and then proceeded to bitch about how much I hate Tarvaris Jackson. My only expectation was, at best, Wilson snatching the #2 job away from Tarvar so we could release him. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Wilson would do any better than #2 (just as never in my wildest dreams did I think another team would trade us anything for the rights to Tarvar).
So, I suppose I better write about Wilson now. Especially since, you know, he’s #1 and everything.
I think it’s reasonable to expect some ups and downs out of Wilson. We’re all excited from the post-coital bliss that is a 4-0 pre-season; smoking our cigarette in bed, sheets clinging to our sweaty bodies as we rest up for the round two that is the regular season. As is the possibility with any love-making sesh – especially with a first-timer like Wilson – we’re poised to be disappointed. We have him built up in our minds as this crazy-legged god of the gridiron, but he’s still a fucking rookie! I’m ready to never again hear about or bring up the subject of Russell Wilson’s height (because, let’s face it, if his being 5’11 was really a big deal, there’s no way he’d be the starting quarterback in his first regular season NFL game), but that doesn’t mean I’m going to dismiss the fact that this is his first fucking regular season!
Best-case scenario: he has some good games and some bad games, but he ultimately improves as the season goes along, and he has at least one (if not more than one) come-from-behind, pull-it-out-of-his-ass fourth quarter moment which shows everyone in the NFL that he has arrived and that he belongs. He leads the Seahawks to either a Wild Card spot or a division crown (depending on how much the 49ers regress this season, which they will) and still gets us into the Divisional Round before we lose to the Packers.
This best-case scenario comes with the added bonus that Russell Wilson, from this season alone, will have locked down the quarterback position for many years to come. He will eventually go on to Pro Bowls, will take us to the playoffs almost every year, and will win us multiple championships. People will talk about the Seattle Seahawks in the same breath as the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys (as in, “God, I hate those fucking Seahawks; why do they have to win everything all the time? And, those annoying fairweather fans in ‘Seahawks Nation’ … you live in JACKSONVILLE, how are you a Seahakws fan???“). The minor downside to this is that Pete Carroll goes down as the greatest head coach in Seahawks history, supplanting Mike Holmgren and setting him back many years from a Hall of Fame induction. That’s really more of a Mike Holmgren downside. If Holmgren goes down as the greatest Seahawks head coach ever, then that probably means the Seahawks never win a Super Bowl and I hang myself at the age of 80.
The worst-case scenario is probably obvious, but I’ll spell it out anyway: Russell Wilson stinks. He comes out, he turns the ball over constantly, we lose a bunch of early ballgames, he gets replaced in the middle of our fourth game. Flynn comes in, he’s not much better, the 2012 Seahawks are rivalling the 1992 Seahawks in utter futility, Flynn gets injured, Wilson comes back and he continues to struggle. We go into next season with just as many questions at the quarterback position as we ever have, but unfortunately since the Seahawks ended up with a 6-10 record, they’re not in any position to draft a sure-thing franchise QB in the first round. The saga continues, in other words.
What do I think will happen? I think these Seahawks under Wilson will win more than they lose, but I think they do it in spite of Wilson. I think the defense and running game is so good that this team wins and wins ugly. If I had to put money down, though, I think Wilson will flash more than he’ll fizzle, and I do think he’ll take us to the post-season.
Not bad for an NFL virgin; he made me come twice and that’s all that matters.