Two football games stand out to me this past weekend when it comes to my particular brand of fandom. The Seahawks game on Monday night, obviously, was one of them. The other was a random college game on the CBS sports app or some damn thing.
Unlike pretty much any other sport – where I only watch if my favorite team is involved – I will sit down and watch a random football game featuring two teams I know nothing about. The biggest caveat here is probably the first weekend of March Madness, when my friends and I gamble on the games. But, by and large, football is my favorite sport and is probably the biggest redeeming quality of summer ending and autumn taking over.
Anyway, I watched Wake Forest at Army, a back-and-forth game where the Demon Deacons beat the Black Knights 70-56. As you can surmise, there was no defense to speak of whatsoever. But, this game was fun as hell!
Contrasted with the Seahawks/Saints game – a 13-10 clogged toilet of a game – and it got me to thinking: when was the last time I really enjoyed watching the Seahawks play football?
I feel like I’ve been watching out of obligation the last however-many years. I know there have been games here and there that were exciting, but nothing really stands out to me. This team hasn’t been consistently fun and watchable since probably 2014 or 2015. Obviously, that corresponds to a time when the Seahawks were running out the league’s best defense.
But, then, how does that jibe with my love for that Wake Forest/Army cool breeze on a sweltering day? I should think the answer is simple on that one: my favorite thing – when it comes to football – is for my team to have the best defense. Otherwise, if my team isn’t involved, then I want to see two nothing defenses giving up big play after big play.
As with anything, though, it’s not so black and white. Having the league’s best defense is great, but if you have the league’s worst offense, then the game is still unwatchable. Not that I thought our defense looked especially great on Monday night, but they clearly stepped up against a team where it could’ve gone sideways in a hurry. And yet, the Geno Smith and Jason Myers of it all eliminated any possible joy we could’ve derived from that game.
Of course, the fact that my team ultimately lost is the biggest indicator as to whether or not I’m going to have a pleasant evening. But, even if we’d made those field goals and prevailed, it’s not like I would’ve come away from that game crowing.
If given the option of choosing elite offense and so-so defense, or so-so offense and elite defense, I’m choosing the latter 100% of the time. In the run from 2012-2015, the Seahawks had some breakout offensive games, but overall they were just okay. That was largely by design: because we could lean on our defense to pull it out in the end more often than not.
When you consider all the times this defense has appeared to be great over the last few seasons – including the second half of 2020, when they were among the best units in football – I would point to the level of competition we were going up against in those games. I need to see them doing this against the BEST offenses. Not the Jets and WFT’s of the world.
Also, quite frankly, I need to see our defense not only hold teams down in the point total, but I need to see them making plays! I need to see sacks, hard hits, run stuffs, and especially turnovers. I want to see guys playing the ball. I want to see guys in position to knock passes away.
I want defensive ends who harass the quarterback, I want cornerbacks who can generate turnovers, and I want safeties and linebackers who crunch bones.
And, as I’ve been saying, we haven’t seen that since 2015. Instead, we’ve seen this team’s personnel morph into an offense-first mentality, without the corresponding offensive dominance. The defense has suffered, and the offense has NEVER picked up the slack. That’s not how this works! I’ve been waiting for a decade now, expecting the offense to finally do its share of the dirty work, and for whatever reason – bad play-calling, a head coach holding them back, an offensive line that fails at its job, a quarterback who refuses to take what the opposing defense gives him – that hasn’t come to fruition. As a result, this team has consistently spun its tires in the mud.
And has become a lot less fun to watch as a result.
Sports are supposed to be entertaining. But, for fans like me who take them way too seriously, they’re most often something to be endured. I’m looking for any reason to do literally anything else with my time. But, once in a blue moon you get a game like Wake Forest at Army and it reminds you how fun this all can be.
Seemingly once in a generation, your favorite team reminds you that the ultimate glory can be within your grasp. Are those moments worth all the duds? I guess time will tell.