Seahawks Death Week: The Hangover Continues

What is Seahawks Death Week?  It’s an annual tradition ’round these parts where we mourn (and usually belabor) the fact that the Seahawks have been eliminated from Playoff Contention.  This can happen as early as the week in the regular season where the Seahawks’ record is so poor they’re mathemetically eliminated from the playoffs, or as late as the week following the Super Bowl when they’ve lost their playoff game and have returned to Seattle as Not-Champions once again.  In their 37 years of existence, there has always been a Seahawks Death Week.  This year is no different.

The further along the Seahawks make it, the worse the hangover.  A 7-9 team that’s eliminated in week 13 is fairly demoralizing, but it’s a helluva lot worse when the Seahawks are eliminated in the final week of the regular season.  If they happen to make the playoffs (which has happened in 12 of their 37 seasons), then the further along they make it, the worse we all feel after they inevitably lose.  When they made it all the way to the Super Bowl only to have it ripped from their clutches, I could hardly function for a solid month.  But, eventually, you get by.

I knew the overarching take-away from losing in Atlanta would be, “This is the start of something amazing.”  “It’s not an end, it’s only a beginning.”  “Just wait until next year, this team is going to be ELITE.”  However you want to phrase it, there’s more optimism than there is dejection.  But, you know why the hangover persists?  Because while all of that is true, I can’t help shake the feeling that:  I DON’T WANT THIS SEASON TO END!

I may be alone in this line of thinking, but I’m of the opinion that this is the greatest Seahawks team we’ve ever seen; even better than the Super Bowl team in 2005.  Pound for pound, this team was better on defense, and by the end of the regular season on into the post-season, this team was better on offense too.  This team was only getting BETTER as the season progressed.  You can’t say that about too many teams.  In fact, you can’t really say that about ANY team still remaining in the post-season.  Of course, that’s neither here nor there since they continue to play while the Seahawks, Broncos, and Redskins all have to watch from home, but it’s still pretty damned impressive to see a team playing its best in December and January.

This Seahawks team would’ve had no problem shutting down the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers.  That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

You also know why the hangover continues?  Because we should’ve WON that game!

It sucks, because objectively, that was probably one of the top five best football games I’ve ever seen.  It’s rotten to say that, because I can’t be objective about it; my team was on the losing-end of a disastrous finish.  But, everything leading up to that moment in the 4th quarter where their kicker nailed the game-winner was absolute brilliance.

It was the single greatest road comeback in playoff history!  The Seahawks didn’t just come back only to fall short at the end; the Seahawks came ALL THE WAY BACK to take the lead!  In 16:40, the Seahawks turned a 27-7 deficit into a 28-27 lead and seemingly had the win in the bag.  They were on to the NFC Championship game with a rubber match against the 49ers.

And in the blink of an eye, it was all taken away.  Not from refs, but from their own poor defensive play.  The Seahawks fell short because the Seahawks weren’t good enough when it mattered most.  Even the BEST Seahawks team of all time still wasn’t good enough to advance beyond the Divisional Round of the playoffs.  That’s the most depressing thing of all.

So, the greatest road playoff comeback is for naught.  It doesn’t matter for shit when you end up blowing your lead less than 30 seconds later.

I know we’re supposed to be upbeat about the future, and I will be in due time.  But, right now, I can’t help but feel a bubbling disgust.  Seattle fans are always the fans that look on the bright side.  “Well, it was fun while it lasted,” and all that.  Real hardcore fans accept nothing less than championships.  Losing isn’t fun, ever.  The Seahawks have done nothing BUT lose in their 37 years.  It’s time to stop being those panty-waisted West Coast fair-weather fans and it’s time to start expecting more.

2013 is Super Bowl or Bust.  No, scratch that, 2013 is World Champions or Bust.  Anything less is a complete and utter failure.  The time is now.

You know why the whole, “they’ll be great for a decade because now they’ve got their quarterback of the future” thing is full of shit?  Because it’s SUPER FUCKING HARD to win a Super Bowl!  It takes talent, it takes health, it takes unbelievable luck, it takes getting the right playoff matchups along the way … even the best teams have other teams they just don’t match up well against.

And you know what else?  It’s fucking hard to be a dynasty.  Who’s the big Dynasty right now, New England?  They’ve won three Super Bowls and lost two others with their current head coach and quarterback combo, so I guess that’s a Dynasty.  And yet, they haven’t won it all since the 2004 season.  For the biggest NFL Dyansty going right now, they’ve still gone 7 consecutive seasons without winning it all.  That’s 7 consecutive seasons that have ended in utter heartbreak.

I know as a Seahawks fan, I’d be ecstatic just to win ONE Super Bowl in my lifetime, but who knows if that’s even going to happen?  How many elite teams have there been throughout the decades that haven’t won a fucking thing?  Jim Kelly’s Bills spring instantly to mind.  Dan Marino’s Dolphins are another.  Boomer Esiason’s Bengals never won shit.  McNabb/Reid’s Eagles ditto.  How long were the Titans good under Jeff Fisher?  Or the guy everyone compares Russell Wilson to:  Fran Tarkenton and his winless Vikings teams of the 70s.

That’s my worst nightmare, you understand that, right?  Those dynastic teams I just mentioned, they were ALL – at one point or another – capable of winning the Super Bowl.  The Bills came to within a botched field goal in 1991 of beating the Giants in Super Bowl XXV.  What if these Seahawks find themselves perennially in the playoffs, but for one reason or another can’t get it up when it counts to win the Big Game?

That’s why you can’t take any season for granted.  I don’t care if this is the second-youngest team in the NFL.  I don’t care if this is the start of “something great”.  I’d rather win the Super Bowl THIS year and have everything fall apart for the next decade than be consistently good every year, but not quite good enough to go all the way.

There’s no joy in being the Atlanta Braves (and even they won a World Championship one year).  Don’t forget, the Seahawks just wrapped up a pseudo-elite streak from 2003 through 2007; what do we have to show for all of Holmgren’s hard work?  Four division championships, five trips to the playoffs, one Super Bowl defeat, with the rest ending in defeat in either the Wild Card or Divisional Rounds.  In other words, not a whole lot on which to hang one’s hat.

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