Faithful Seahawks fans,
You probably don’t realize it yet, but you’re one of the lucky ones. It’s true! I know it’s January in Seattle, with the cold and the cloudiness and the occasional rain, it’s about as depressing as it gets (not to mention the fact that it’s cold & flu season and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been waging and all-out war with your bodies this week). But, as a football fan, you’re RIGHT in the sweet spot.
The Friday before kickoff on Wild Card Weekend: there’s nothing like it. You spent a whole offseason living and dying by the moves this team made. You did a cannonball dive into the deep end as soon as the pre-season commenced. You’ve put your heart and your soul into being a fan of this team for a full regular season. And here you are, one of the 12 fanbases still standing.
Those 20 unfortunate fanbases (including the entirety of the states of New York, Philadelphia, and Florida, just to name a few) are forced to sit at home, with three options at their disposal. Either they wallow, ignoring the playoffs entirely; they pick a surrogate to root for in place of their favorite team; or they watch the playoffs but root for no one. Imagine what your life would become if you sat in front of a TV with two teams playing, not giving a shit who won, just hoping for a good game. You cease to exist! You are NOTHING! Join a bandwagon, give yourself something to root for, something to FEEL for!
So, yeah, being a Seahawks fan on the Friday before Wild Card Weekend is great because you’re not those other sorry fanbases (many of whom now get to look forward to a coaching and/or GM change). It’s also great because this is as good as you will possibly feel … unless you win and move on.
The excitement increases exponentially with every round you advance beyond. There’s always a level of excitement going into the first pre-season game, because it’s been SO LONG since the last time you’ve seen any kind of meaningful football. That level of excitement starts to wane as the pre-season goes on, but then ramps up more than ever before the first regular season game. As the regular season drags on, the level of excitement ebbs and flows (higher for nationally televised games, lower for non-conference road games against the Dolphins). If you’re dealing with a Playoff Race, the excitement level will steadily increase through the month of December, but then it’s amped up bigtime for the playoffs.
We’ve spent all week reading everything there was to read about this matchup between the Seahawks and the Redskins.
(as a quick aside, I’m not one to complain about team names; in fact, I usually find all the societal “outrage” a little pointless. But, how odd is it that, in 2013, we have a professional football franchise (the most popular sport in America) that goes by the name “Redskins”? Really? You understand the outpouring of vitriol there would be if some NFL team decided to call themselves “The Darkies”, right? That’s all I have to say about that)
The Seahawks are favored by 3 or 3.5 points, depending on where you read. Which goes to show Vegas knows what’s easily true: the Seahawks are the better team. If you play this game on paper, the Seahawks win this game hands down. But, this game is being played in D.C. It’s being played by human beings. The whole game is one big example of chaos theory! Almost-literally ANYTHING could happen this Sunday and it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest. OK, if the Seahawks go out and get beat by 30, that would probably shock me a little bit. Essentially, what we’ve got here is a “Pick ‘Em”. That doesn’t necessarily mean this game is destined for overtime, or even a close margin of victory for either team. It just means: the Seahawks could win by 2 touchdowns; the Redskins could win by 2 touchdowns; the score could be somewhere inside of that spectrum, either way; or the score could be somewhere outside of that spectrum, either way. It’s a coin flip. You play this game 500 times, you probably have the Seahawks winning 250 times and the Redskins winning 250 times.
I don’t care for those odds, but that’s what we’re looking at. You put a gun to my head, I’ve got a nagging feeling things don’t go our way. I can see us turning the ball over early. I can see us losing the Field Position battle. I can see them getting a 10-point lead on us. I can see our offense struggling through most of the first half. I can see a furious Seahawks comeback in the third quarter. And I can see the Redskins making just enough plays at the end to steal a 3-point victory.
This brings me no joy, mind you. I would MUCH rather be one of those guys puffing his chest out this Friday before Wild Card Weekend, telling everyone who will listen how the Seahawks are the baddest motherfucking team in the NFL and they’re primed to go All The Way.
But, you know, I’m a worrier. Truth be told, I had many of these same nagging feelings before the home game against the 49ers and look at how well that turned out. I could be having all of these concerns for absolutely nothing; the Seahawks could come out like gangbusters and destroy the Redskins when all is said and done.
And if that happens, just imagine the level of excitement this time next week …