Well, it’s been two weeks. I think I can finally bring myself to talk openly and frankly about The Thing That Happened At The End Of That Game. And, because Seahawks Death Week is sort of a tradition of mine – whenever the season officially ends for my beloved Seahawks in a losing fashion – and because it’s mid-February, with nothing else going on locally, I figure what better time to get a week’s worth of posts out of the way.
The last time I wrote about the Seahawks losing in the playoffs, we came off of a heartbreaking defeat to the Falcons where we sucked for the entire first half, came roaring back to take a brief lead with well under a minute to play, only to let them go right down the field to kick the game-ending field goal. I bet you didn’t think there was a more soul-crushing way to lose, did you?
Someone might point to the three post-Super Bowl posts I wrote as a quasi-Seahawks Death Week epitaph, but those were just raw, visceral chunks of reaction to one play in one game. The spirit of Seahawks Death Week is to celebrate the season as a whole, lament where we went wrong, try to figure out what we need to do to improve, and put everything to bed so we can all move on with our lives. So, after today, I’m going to drop The Thing That Happened At The End Of That Game.
It sucks, because the 2014 Seahawks are always – until the end of time – going to be defined by the decision to throw on the one yard line in the Super Bowl. That’s just the way it is, though. It’s not fair, and a lot of fans will spend the rest of their lives pissing into the wind trying to get people to think of all the great things about this season. But, in the end, the blurb in history books can only be so long, and no amount of people coming to Pete Carroll’s defense will ever change how that was the stupidest call in the history of sports.
As I’ve alluded to before, not only were there countless amazing things that happened in this season to make it worth more than just one play in one game, but there were countless amazing things in the very same game! I mean, how did we overcome all the injuries in the secondary, from Jeremy Lane to Kam Chancellor to Earl Thomas to Richard Sherman all having major injuries (most of which required surgery). In spite of Cliff Avril going down with a concussion, in spite of no quarterback pressure on Tom Brady whatsoever, we still had a chance to win that game.
Then, take a look at what we were bringing to the table on offense. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse as your #1 and #2 receivers? The relative scrubbery of our tight ends. The ragtag group of offensive linemen getting the job done. In spite of the throw getting picked off at the end, this game is still another feather in the cap of Russell Wilson’s genius. Who else is willing this team to be in a position to win it at the end?
I mean, shit, Chris Matthews was almost your Super Bowl MVP! I know Malcolm Smith came out of left field last year, but Matthews would’ve taken the cake! And yet, without him, are we even in it at the end? Do we lose by double-digits? I’m not saying that would’ve been worse than what ended up happening, but it certainly shines a different light on things.
Speaking of how we lost: is that the worst way to lose? I feel like 95% of Seahawks fans are saying emphatically, “YES!” and would be willing to fist fight me on the subject for even questioning it. But, I keep going back to that NFC Championship Game; is what happened to us any worse than what happened to Green Bay? For us, it was more sudden. Thunk, intercepted, game over. For the Packers, it was a long, slow bleed. And, I know there was some blood-loss in our own game, considering the Seahawks had a double-digit lead over the Patriots in the fourth quarter and let them score on back-to-back drives. But, in the end, we had the ball in our hands along with our own destiny. The Packers had their “Oh Shit” moment with the onside kick. Then, it was just a painful crawl to the finish line as we took the lead, let them kick it into overtime, and then they had to watch us drive for the game winning touchdown. Their misery was drawn out; ours was a sucker punch that also gave us cancer. Plus, for what it’s worth, Packers fans also had our Super Bowl misery to help them get over their own.
Given the circumstances and the meaning of it all, I objectively believe there is no worse way to lose in sports. Football is the most popular sport in America, the Super Bowl is the pinnacle of football, it’s the most-watched television event of the year, and so to lose on that stage, with the Lombardi Trophy right there for the taking, makes any conference championship game defeat a walk in the park in comparison.
As the week continues, I’ll touch on the following topics:
- What we need to do to get better
- Why the championship window is still as open as it’s ever been
- What next year is going to look like
- And an overall overview of the season that was
The time for mourning is over. It’s time to celebrate and look forward. Let Seahawks Death Week wash over you like an opium-induced haze.