Since Tuesday afternoon – when it was announced that there would be an announcement Wednesday evening announcing the upcoming NFL regular season schedule – local sports fans and media alike have been speculating on who the Seahawks would play in the home opener on September 4th. Would it be Denver, in a rematch of the most recent Super Bowl? Would it be San Francisco, a hated division rival? Would it be Green Bay, because too many people involved with the games featuring Denver & San Fran threw hissy fits (be it the networks that wouldn’t be able to televise those games, or the teams themselves not willing to watch as we hung our brand spankin’ new championship banner right in front of them). Would it be Dallas, because Dallas is a huge television draw?
Well, it’s Green Bay, about as underwhelming a choice as it gets.
It’s not that I think Green Bay is a bad team, or that this will be a bad game. I’m sure it will be a fine, entertaining game. And, as the weeks approach, and we’re only days or hours away from the event, local football fans will be in a froth for literally ANY football game. In the end, it’s just nice to be hosting the first game of the season, because that generally means you’re the reigning Super Bowl champion.
Unfortunately, that’s about as far as that status will get you in this league, because ultimately the rest of the schedule is a slap in the face. Maybe when we’re a dynasty, we’ll have a little more clout in schedule-making.
It would appear to me that the only favor the NFL did for us in this schedule is put the game in Philly on in the afternoon; it’s one less 10am start than we would normally have. As it is, we have three 10am starts, and remember when that was the first thing we looked for in a schedule? It was like reverse Christmas morning where we’d all run to our computers with expectation and hope in our eyes, only to be beaten down by the man because there were about a million billion 10am games.
Of course, when your team is as good as the Seahawks, you tend to place less emphasis on the start times. I know, for me, the most important thing is when we have our BYE. I was dismayed to find it’s in the fourth week of the season. What an unbelievable pile of horseshit! No team should be saddled with a Week 4 BYE! The NFL should squeeze all the BYEs in between weeks 7 through 11. You’re not even a quarter of the way through your schedule and you get a week off? Meanwhile, you’ve got to play the next 13 weeks in a row?
Which might not be TOO oppressive, except the Seahawks get the extra bonus of playing 5 of their 6 divisional games in the last six weeks of the season. Here, just look at it:
- Thurs, Sept 4, vs. GB, 5:30pm
- Sun, Sept 14, @ SD, 1:05pm
- Sun, Sept 21, vs. Den, 1:25pm
- Mon, Oct 6, @ Was, 5:30pm
- Sun, Oct 12, vs. Dal, 1:25pm
- Sun, Oct 19, @ St.L, 10am
- Sun, Oct 26, @ Car, 10am
- Sun, Nov 2, vs. Oak, 1:25pm
- Sun, Nov 9, vs. NYG, 1:25pm
- Sun, Nov 16, @ KC, 10am
- Sun, Nov 23, vs. Ari, 1:05pm
- Thurs, Nov 27, @ SF, 5:30pm
- Sun, Dec 7, @ Phi, 1:25pm
- Sun, Dec 14, vs. SF, 1:25pm
- Sun, Dec 21, @ Ari, 5:30pm
- Sun, Dec 28, vs. St.L, 1:25pm
I mean, that’s a brutal fucking way to close out a season (especially if Arizona is anywhere near as good as they were last season)! I guarantee no other team has to play practically ALL of their divisional games in one big chunk at the end.
This schedule is ideal if you’re a good team that has a bizarrely low number of injuries, or a good team that has a regular amount of injuries, but they all happen at the beginning of the year and wrap up around the halfway point of the season. But, if you’re like most teams, that tend to wear down as the season goes on, and suffer major, back-breaking injuries in November & December, then you’re fucked with this schedule. So, let’s all pray to the injury gods that we don’t suffer because the NFL is inept at schedule-making.
At first, I was kinda irritated by playing at San Francisco on Thanksgiving, but that’s really more because I hate Thursday games and think they should be abolished. Of course, that’s never going to happen, so failing that, if we HAVE to have Thursday games, then I would settle for never having divisional games played on Thursday. They’re too fucking important – the way the playoffs are set up – to be wasted on a gimick like a fucking Thursday game. Oh, OK, let’s play the BIGGEST FUCKING GAME OF THE YEAR on three days rest and only one half-assed practice. Smart thinking, NFL.
In the end, it wouldn’t be so bad if schedules were even a little bit created equal. I don’t care if the Seahawks don’t get the same respect as the Patriots or Broncos or Steelers or Ravens or Cowboys or Giants; the only thing I really care about is how our schedule compares to the 49ers’. Last year, the Niners had a subtle-yet-distinct advantage in their schedule. Of course, they had the inferior team, so that’s why they ultimately failed, but 2014 is a new year.
The Seahawks, thankfully, have their toughest non-divisional games at home this year (Green Bay, Denver, Dallas, and the Giants all at home), with only games in Carolina and Kansas City as worrisome (I’m not scared one bit of playing in D.C. or Philly, because we match up with them quite well). San Diego is a toss-up, but you’d think we’d match up with them pretty well too.
The 49ers, on the other hand, have to go to Denver and New Orleans, and they’ve got to make long trips to New York and Dallas as well. I’ll take that Broncos game in Seattle every time, so that’s nice.
The 49ers are the only team in the NFC West to NOT have the week 4 BYE (they get it in week 8). That’s some kind of bullshit. They also get one of the softer landings I’ve ever seen: 4 of their final 6 are at home, and aside from playing Seattle twice, they get to play: vs. Washington, @ Oakland, vs. San Diego, and vs. Arizona. That’s about as cheesy as it gets. Their toughest stretch happens in the middle of the season where they play the Rams twice, the Broncos on the road, and the Saints and Giants on the road back to back (but, they still get a BYE wedged in there in the middle of that run). Our toughest stretch is the final seven weeks, when you tack on the road game against KC. Little unfair.
Unless the rest of the NFC West really craps the bed, this season is going to go all the way down to the final week, I’m betting. Great. Let the superior teams duke it out with one another while the rest of the league gets off relatively easy.
I’m less upset with the relative lack of Monday night games, because I’m not a guy over 40 years of age. You’re an old fart if you think only having one Monday night game is a slap in the face, because that means you’re old enough to remember when Monday Night Football was the only national showcase in the NFL. With the rise of ESPN, the NFL network, and Sunday & Thursday night games, as long as we have a semi-regular presence in prime time, I’m happy.
Plus, the Seahawks can alway get flexed into a fifth prime time if the matchup is juicy enough. I’m looking right at a week 8 matchup down in Carolina; how could the NFL resist if both teams are soaring at that point?
No, what gets my goat a little bit is a realization that hit me before bed last night. The Seahawks have four night games, but only one of them is at home. The opening night game, which kinda HAS to be at home, unless you’re the Baltimore Ravens and the Orioles pushed you out on the road that week last year. It hit me when I saw a Tweet from the Seahawks’ account. It gave their record in primetime games, and it was some kind of amazing record, because we dominate when the national spotlight is upon us. That’s when I realized: all the other night games are on the road because we keep KILLING our opponents at home!
Look at the two games last year: against San Fran and New Orleans. Those games were hyped to the moon, and we came out and stomped ’em good! In 2012 against Frisco, again, we crushed them! 2012’s Monday Night affair against Green Bay was a nailbiter (Fail Mary), but that game was Russell Wilson’s third-ever start in the NFL. He was a greenhorn and our Seahawks were still finding their way. Once we started to pour it on in the second half of 2012, we’ve been unstoppable.
And the league doesn’t like showing blowouts on national television. Hence why the first game of the season isn’t a Super Bowl rematch with the Broncos.
It makes sense. It’s unfortunate, but it makes sense. On the one hand, yeah, it’s smart to prevent blowouts if you can. But, on the other hand, you’re REALLY punishing the league’s greatest fanbase and greatest home atmosphere. If you’re the NFL, why wouldn’t you want to showcase as many Seattle home games as you could get? THESE are the games you want the casual fan to watch! If you had someone who didn’t know if they wanted to get into something like professional football, all you’d have to do is show the run-up to a Seahawks home game and they’d be hooked. Look at THOSE fans! Look at how jacked up they are! Something amazing is about to happen!
It really is the ultimate slap in the face. When you’re a Super Bowl champion, you deserve to be treated as such. You shouldn’t have the league doing whatever it can to try to cut you down to size. You shouldn’t have them introducing rules where defenders can’t touch a receiver inside that 5-yard window (it didn’t pass THIS year, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of it). You shouldn’t make them play almost all their primetime games on the road. You shouldn’t stick them with the first BYE week of the season. And, you shouldn’t force them to play 5 of 6 divisional games in the final six weeks of the season.
You could make the argument that every fanbase has SOMETHING to complain about when the schedules are released, but it never ceases to amaze me how often the Seahawks get the fucking shaft. I guess we can chalk this up as another opportunity for our team to have a chip on its shoulder. It’s that Us Against The World mentality that’s gotten us this far. Now, we can add The League to our long list of antagonists.