How Many Titles Can We Expect From The Seahawks & Russell Wilson?

The NBA has obviously been on a lot of minds recently, with the Michael Jordan documentary (still haven’t seen it, still probably won’t see it) coming to a conclusion. When you think about the greatest players in NBA history – Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, Shaq – you’re talking about guys with multiple championships (somehow, of the guys on that list, Bird has the fewest titles with three). One guy in the NBA can change things SO DRAMATICALLY for a franchise; you look at these players with their careers spanning 13-20 years and it would be fascinating to go back in time and be able to tell those fanbases: with this guy, you’re going to witness anywhere from 3-6 championships during his career.

It obviously doesn’t work that way in the NFL. The most important player is obviously the quarterback, and of the best all-time (since the merger in 1970), there have only been four NFL quarterbacks who’ve won more than 2 titles: Tom Brady (6), Joe Montana (4), Terry Bradshaw (4), and Troy Aikman (3) (I don’t count Steve Young here, because he was only the starter for one of his three championships).

For what it’s worth, you see A LOT of guys with 2: Peyton Manning, John Elway, Roger Staubach, Ben Roethlisberger; A LOT of guys with 1: Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Ken Stabler, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees; and A LOT of guys with 0: Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Philip Rivers.

In the middle of all of that, we have Russell Wilson with his one championship (the same number as Patrick Mahomes, probably the only quarterback most people would take over Russell Wilson if they had to start a franchise right now and could pick any player). Wilson is smack dab in the middle of his prime; he was the best he’s ever been in 2019, and we can expect right around that level of effectiveness for the next few years at least. He still hasn’t even surpassed 10 years in the league yet! And quarterbacks nowadays can play 20+ years.

But, it’s SO. FUCKING. HARD to win a championship in the NFL. Even for the very best players in the league! So much harder than it is for the very best NBA players. Which makes it reasonable to ask: how many more championships can we expect from Russell Wilson while he’s still in a Seahawks uniform? If Future Steven were to come back in time from 15 years down the line, how many Super Bowl titles would he be able to tell me I have to look forward to?

Odds are that number is ZERO! Odds are, I’ll have up to 15 more years with Russell Wilson (at the MOST; probably closer to only 10 more years) and I will see zero more championships for the Seattle Seahawks in that span. That feels just so damned demoralizing to think about, but that’s the nature of the beast. The Tom Bradys of the world are a once-in-a-generation breed. Wilson has played eight seasons; by this point in Brady’s career, he’d already won three championships. Montana had won twice. Bradshaw had also won twice and Aikman had nabbed all three of his. Wilson, again, just the one (and we’re all super-impressed that he’s already been to the Super Bowl a second time, but that fakakta play-call at the goalline obviously screwed the pooch).

I’m a firm believer that Russell Wilson will – when it’s all said and done – have a Hall of Fame career under his belt. That’s why I’m talking about him among these other all-time greats. I’m almost assuredly biased, but I think Wilson is a better player than all of those QBs I mentioned above who have one or fewer championships. I would like to think Wilson is among the elite level that Manning and Elway reached, which means I would HOPE he has at least one more title in him before he hangs ’em up.

If I’m right, then I think it’s reasonable to expect another Seahawks championship at some point in the next decade. Obviously, it’s unfair to put all of that on one guy; this is the NFL after all, there are 50+ other players on the team that need to pitch in to make this thing work. But, make no mistake, the quarterback gets all the credit and all the blame for a reason. The all-time greats find a way to come up big in the biggest moments. If Russell Wilson aims to be lumped in that category, then he’s going to need to find a way to take this team on his back and will them to victory.

I’ll say this: he’s on the right track. You can complain about play-calling and how the coaching staff is hamstringing him, but this is the organization we’ve got, and they’ve proven they can win in this league with their system. We’re not the Kansas City Chiefs, we’re not the New England Patriots; we’re the Seattle Fucking Seahawks, and Russell Wilson is being put in situations to succeed nearly every year. And, quite frankly, we haven’t been able to get it done in recent seasons. We haven’t been able to win enough regular season games to take the NFC West and lock down one of the top seeds in the conference, and we haven’t played our best on the road in these playoff games. At some point, we have to talk about Russell Wilson the way we talk about all of the other all-time greats, and stop making excuses. As everyone else needs to be better, so does Russell Wilson. Yes, he’s the best thing going for the Seahawks right now, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be better!

All I know is, I don’t want to wake up this time in 2030 and see the same number of championships next to Russell Wilson’s name. The clock is ticking. Yes, the Seahawks need to take advantage of Wilson’s prime, but you know who else does? Russell Wilson.

Fuck The Los Angeles Rams

Fuck the Los Angeles Rams.  Fuck Jeff Fisher.  Fuck whoever is the interim head coach now.  Fuck Aaron Donald.  Fuck Tavon Austin.  Fuck Todd Gurley.  Fuck Jared Goff.  Fuck Kenny Britt.  Fuck Robert Quinn.  Fuck Johnny Hekker.

Fuck Orlando Pace.  Fuck Marshall Faulk.  Fuck Jim Everett.  Fuck Eric Dickerson.  Fuck Henry Ellard.  Fuck Flipper Anderson.  Fuck Kevin Greene.  Fuck Jerome Bettis.  Fuck Isaac Bruce.  Fuck Torry Holt.

Fuck Kurt Warner.  Fuck Jack Youngblood.  Fuck Deacon Jones.  Fuck Aeneas Williams.  Fuck Steven Jackson.  Fuck Marc Bulger.  Fuck Mike Martz.  Fuck Dick Vermeil.  Fuck Trent Green.  Fuck Jackie Slater.

Fuck the Rams.  Fuck the Rams.  Fuck the Rams.

Fuck the Rams.  Fuck the Rams.

Fuck the Rams.

Fuck the fucking God damn fucking Los Angeles fucking Rams.

Risin’ Up To The Challenge Of Our Rivals: The Seahawks Play The Cardinals For The Division Sunday Night

If you can’t get excited for what’s about to happen on Sunday at 5:30pm, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.

We’re talking about the biggest game since the Super Bowl.  The biggest regular season game since we clinched home field advantage in week 17 last year.  Probably one of the top two or three biggest regular season games in franchise history.  Maybe THE biggest, who knows?  I certainly don’t remember the stakes being any higher, nor against a more formidable opponent.  AND, to top it all off, it’s in front of a national audience, as well as on the road, against a divisional opponent who has more or less cruised into a playoff spot by being one of the best teams in football.  A divisional opponent who’s not only trying to knock us off the mantle of NFC West royalty, but a fanbase looking to dethrone us as the best home field advantage in the game.

Storylines?  We’ve got ’em!

And yet, it’s also a game where everyone is CONVINCED that one team has it in the bag.  The Cardinals are on their third quarterback in Ryan Lindley.  They’re down their top running back, going by committee in his place.  Their defense, while still strong, has been beaten up all year and is missing many key guys.  On top of that, a month ago – when the Cards were ostensibly healthier than they are now, including at quarterback – we crushed them 19-3.  We moved the ball pretty much at will, and even though we had to settle primarily for field goals, it was still enough with the way our defense played.

Not for nothing, but our defense remains intact from that game a month ago.  And they’ve been ROLLING ever since.

The Seahawks delivered Arizona their second defeat of the season the first time we played.  We knew this Sunday’s game was coming up, but we also knew that we needed some help if we hoped to overtake them for the division.  As unlikely as it sounds, that help came in the form of the Atlanta Falcons (and not the two superior teams the Cardinals have beaten since, the Chiefs & the Rams).  With a victory on Sunday, the Seahawks will be tied with Arizona in overall record, but will own the tiebreaker thanks to a 2-0 head-to-head record.  But, you already knew that.

That’s been the refrain:  win out and win the division.  With Green Bay’s loss last week in Buffalo, the stakes go up even more.  Win out and get a first round BYE.  (win out and get a little bit of help:  get the top overall seed).

The drop off from victory to defeat isn’t total annihilation, but it’s less than ideal.  If Arizona wins, they secure the #1 seed in the NFC, no matter what anyone else does, and regardless of whether they beat the 49ers in week 17.  So, essentially, what this means is that the Cards would have two weeks off before they play meaningful football.  AND, it means they’d never have to leave the state of Arizona, all the way to the Super Bowl.

The Seahawks would still very likely secure a playoff spot with a win over the Rams in week 17 (the only way the Seahawks don’t make the playoffs at 11-5 is if Dallas and Philly both finish at 11-5 as well, while the Lions and Packers tie in their week 17 showdown at Lambeau – with both of them finishing 11-4-1 – which is PRETTY unlikely).  But, then again, the Seahawks beating the Rams isn’t a guarantee either.

As a 5th seed, the Seahawks would play the winner of the NFC South (looking like New Orleans, at the moment).  If we were to fall to a 6th seed at 10-6 (assuming the Eagles lose one along the way), we’d go to Dallas to play the Cowboys.

I know it’s early, and it’s something we don’t really want to think about, but there’s a very real possibility the Seahawks lose this weekend and are forced to play on the road throughout the playoffs.  It’d be a shame, but it’s something we should probably brace ourselves for.

It would be ridiculous to expect the Cardinals to put up a bunch of points on offense.  Let’s get real:  have you SEEN our defense?  Have you SEEN Ryan Lindley?  I can almost 100% guarantee we’re holding the Cardinals to under 20 points.  And that’s considering the possibility of their defense and/or special teams doing something remarkable.

The real concern – as it should be – falls squarely on Seattle’s offense.  Specifically, how our offense matches up against their defense.  This game is huge for the Seahawks, but it’s even bigger for the Cardinals.  Until Kurt Warner came to town and almost led them to a Super Bowl victory over the Steelers, the Cardinals as a franchise had a history of being totally inept bumblers.  Not that the Seahawks were any great shakes either, but at least we now have a title.  These are two franchises working to turn national perception around.  And since they still lack a Lombardi Trophy, it’s all the more important for them to get this thing done this year.  Top it all off with Arizona hosting this year’s Super Bowl, and you get the kind of pressure they’re under.

But, they’re at home.  Their rabid defense will be playing in front of some rowdy fans looking to make the 12th Man sound like librarian patrons.  And the Seahawks, for whatever reason, still can’t get out of their own way when it comes to stupid mistakes on offense.  What’s worse, we likely won’t have Okung or Unger back this week, putting all the more pressure on an offensive line that’s shakey at best.

Since Arizona’s run defense is among the best in the game, don’t count on the Seahawks getting their usual elite production.  And, you gotta figure they won’t let Russell Wilson run at will like he did a month ago in Seattle.  Where does that put us?  Squarely on the throwing shoulder of our quarterback.  Fortunately, he seems to shine brightest in the national spotlight.  I’d look for him to make just enough plays to get us over the hump, but it’s going to be a close one.

Taking care of the football will be all important.  More important in this game than in any other.  Playing the field position battle.  Not screwing ourselves out of field goal opportunities either by untimely penalties, or by questionable coaching decisions.  With all else being equal – i.e. the Seahawks not forcing any turnovers, or getting any big special teams plays – then we need to do the same.  Punters:  catch those snaps!  Kickers:  nail those field goals!  If we have to win this game 15-12, so be it.  We’ll win if we just focus on the little things and prevent them from making the big plays.

Of course, we’ll demolish them if WE’RE able to make the big plays.  Sacks and INTs and defensive/special teams touchdowns, and so on and so forth.  I’ll be rooting for that, but that’s neither here nor there.

Seahawks To Visit Chargers

I have a hard time knowing how to feel about this game.  Obviously, there’s an undercurrent of great excitement, as it’s FOOTBALL SEASON and this is only the second game of said season.  But, should I be nervous about a matchup against a quick-tempo offense on the road?  Or, should I be cocky, because we’re the champs and so obviously the best team in football?

By all rights, the Seahawks SHOULD win this game.  I don’t know about covering point spreads and all that, but at the end of the day the Seahawks should have at least one more point than the other team.  You could realistically say that every week and you wouldn’t be crazy.

But, wonky shit happens.  Like, for instance, let me take you back to a few weeks ago when me and my friends had our fantasy football draft.  I was fortunate enough to have the number one draft pick.  Since this is a 2-QB, 2-Keeper PPR league, I had my quarterback position set and all I needed to do was bust out with the skill position players that remained.  The best player – in my estimation, for fantasy purposes – was Jimmy Graham.  So, I took him #1.  And, as it’s a snake draft – like I assume most of you have to deal with – since I picked first, I didn’t get to pick again until the 20th & 21st picks.  Not gonna lie to you, A LOT of good players went off the board in those first 19 picks.  But, I still managed to wrangle in Alfred Morris and Keenan Allen.

That last name might sound familiar.  No, this isn’t an excuse for me to recap the entirety of my fantasy football draft; I’m here to tell you that I think SO HIGHLY of one Keenan Allen and his potential to be a star in this league, that I made him the very first wide receiver chosen for my fantasy football team.  And yet, this week, I’m benching Allen in favor of T.Y. Hilton’s matchup against the Eagles, because I don’t think Allen is going to be someone worth starting.

So, if I feel so strongly about benching a really good player, I MUST have a pretty strong feeling about the Seahawks winning this game!

And you’d be right.  But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t nagging doubts burrowing into my guts.  Keenan Allen will have the freedom to move all around the field, so it’s not like he’s going to have Richard Sherman locking him down like he did Patrick Peterson last week.  It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see Allen rip off 10 receptions for over 100 yards and really make me look like a fucking idiot.  Nevertheless, the rest of that Seahawks defense is pretty great, so even IF Allen gets his share of targets and receptions, I highly doubt he’s going to reach the endzone.

As for San Diego as a whole, I’m nervous.  When Philip Rivers gets on a roll, he’s the most unstoppable quarterback in the league.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve ever seen a quarterback get as hot as Rivers in a game – MAYBE Kurt Warner, but it’s rare.  That isn’t to say that Rivers is one of the greatest of all time.  Maybe in San Diego history, but not in NFL history, that’s for damn sure.  When Rivers ISN’T on a hot streak, he generally looks befuddled and makes bad decisions.  Not to the point of a Jay Cutler or a Tony Romo, but not too far off either.

Aside from Allen, I don’t really like their skill position players.  Antonio Gates is washed up and should easily be locked down by one of our linebackers.  Malcom Floyd is tall, but he’s not particularly speedy.  He fits right into that mold of receiver that our cornerbacks – Sherman and Maxwell – can dominate.  Ryan Matthews is nothing special at running back.  Danny Woodhead is the NFL equivalent of one of those try-hard, gritty white guys in baseball.  He’s football’s Willie Bloomquist.

Of course, none of that matters if Rivers gets going.  We’ve got to find a way to harass him on a consistent basis.

For the Seahawks, I think this game is going to shed a light on what this team is really capable of.  Defensively, will this game prove that we’ve taken a step back from our crazy heights of 2013?  Or, will it show that we’ve still got it and we’re still the best in the game?  Offensively, will we be able to take our show on the road?  It’s one thing to be at home and line up Percy Harvin all over the field and have him running around, driving defenses crazy.  You’re comfortable there.  Mistakes are mitigated at home, whereas they’re compounded on the road.  I think this offense has the ability to be truly great and to average over 30 points per game.  But, if we’re going to be great, we have to be able to do that anywhere.

San Diego is the perfect team to play, in a lot of ways.  They’re good, but not great.  It’s a road game, but it’s not that far away.  They made the playoffs last year and know what it takes to succeed, but they were never really a serious contender and it’s tough to think they’re one this year either.  They’ve got a good quarterback and a young, tricky defense.  If we shut them down on both sides of the ball, we look like a juggernaut.  If we struggle and win in a close game, it’s somewhat to be expected because of all the aforementioned positives surrounding the Chargers in this game.  If we lose, well, then we’ll know where we’re deficient and what we need to work on.

But, I really don’t think we’ll lose.  And that’s what makes this game REALLY exciting.  Beating up on the dregs of the league has its moments; you generally get to enjoy a relaxing – somewhat boring – afternoon of football.  But, beating the good ones?  Really pounding it in that we’re the best and you’re not even in our league?  That’s taking bliss to another level.

If I could, I’d leapfrog today and tomorrow and make it Sunday morning right now.

#1 – Russell Wilson

To see the full list of the Top 10 Most Important Seahawks in 2014, click here.

I try to have a great appreciation for greatness.  When I was younger, I tended to gravitate my affection towards the underdogs on the roster.  Yes, of course, I liked the superstars.  Steve Largent, Gary Payton, Ken Griffey Jr., Cortez Kennedy, Shawn Kemp, Randy Johnson, and so on.  But, the softest spot in my heart was reserved for the loveable losers.  Your Bob Wells types.  Paul Skansi.  Vinny Askew.

Nowadays, I try to be a little more discerning.  Yeah, that Derrick McKey signed photograph I had growing up was pretty sweet, but wouldn’t it have been a lot cooler if that was a GP signed photo?  Today, Felix Hernandez is my favorite athlete.  Why?  Because he’s fucking amazing in every possible way.  My favorite Seahawk tends to fluctuate by day, depending on my mood, but lately it has ranged from Marshawn Lynch to Kam Chancellor to Earl Thomas to Richard Sherman.  Great players, all.

I’ve never had a quarterback as my favorite, though.  Matt Hasselbeck came the closest – and if we had indeed taken the ball and scored in that Green Bay playoff game, he’d probably be cemented at the top of my list – but he always managed to fall a little short in games.  Yes, he was good.  Yes, he was the best we had at the time.  Yes, he led us to a bunch of division titles.  But, he could never quite get us over the hump.  It’s easy to blame certain factors around him – injuries to our offensive line & running game late in his Seahawks career; a poor secondary in the prime of his Seahawks career; a lack of overall talent around him early in his Seahawks career – but Hasselbeck deserves a small slice of the blame pie as well.  Failing to win a championship under Holmgren was a team effort; let’s just leave it at that.

I’m rambling, of course, but all of this is prelude to me saying that I could REALLY see Russell Wilson make a big leap up on my Favorite Athletes leaderboard.  He’s already kind of up there anyway, but it more or less goes without being said.  No one out-works Russell Wilson.  His preparation is up there with guys like Peyton Manning, J.J. Watt, Drew Brees, and players of yore like Jerry Rice and Ray Lewis.  Fucking machines.  Guys who eat, sleep, and breathe football.  Guys for whom nothing else matters than being the very best.  What makes the Seahawks so special is that there are a number of guys on his very own team who match his passion for winning, like Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.

Hand in hand with that is:  you’ll never see Russell Wilson in the news for any sort of negative reason.  He’s not going to be associated with a police investigation like Ray Rice, Josh Gordon, or the San Francisco 49ers as a whole.  You can worry about anyone else on this team, but Russell Wilson isn’t even a consideration.  When he’s not working on his craft, he’s hanging with kids at the Children’s Hospital in Seattle.  You’ll also never see him in the news for saying the wrong thing.  Russell Wilson will never be the source of bulletin board material because – as I said before – he’s a fucking machine.  That includes his interactions with the media, which are downright boring (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).  Let Richard Sherman poach the headlines; I’m fine with that too.  Russell Wilson is just going to quietly go about his business of dismantling your entire operation, praising you to the moon while he does it.

Not gonna lie to you, if I’m a 49ers fan, I’d probably find Russell Wilson more irritating than Richard Sherman.

One of my favorite things to do is just pull up Wilson’s numbers and gaze affectionately at them.  Here they are, in two full seasons:

  • 32 games, 24-8 record, 2 Pro Bowls, 10 game-winning drives, 8 comeback victories
  • 509 for 800, 63.6% completions, 6,475 yards, 52 TDs, 19 INTs
  • 8.1 yards per attempt, 100.6 passer rating
  • 190 rushing attempts, 1,028 rushing yards, 5 rushing TDs, 5.4 yards per attempt
  • 4-1 playoff record, 82 for 130, 63.08% completions, 1,096 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT, 102.0 passer rating, 8.43 yards per attempt, 26 rushes, 169 yards, 1 TD, 6.5 yards per attempt
  • 1 Super Bowl Championship

Want some more mind-blowing tidbits?

  • Russell Wilson is tied with Peyton Manning for 2nd all time among passing TDs in a player’s first two seasons in the league (behind Dan Marino’s 68 at this point in his career)
  • Russell Wilson is one of four quarterbacks to have a career passer rating of 100 or more in his first two seasons (minimum 100 attempts), behind the following:  Kurt Warner, Dan Marino, and Nick Foles of all people
  • Russell Wilson is 5th in completion percentage in his first two years, behind Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Kurt Warner, and Tom Brady (minimum 300 attempts, because I’ll be God damned if I’m going to live in a world where Elvis Grbac leads a list in ANYTHING but sexual impotency)
  • Russell Wilson is first in wins, with the following rounding out the top 5:  Roethlisberger & Luck (22), Marino (21), Flacco & Ryan (20)

The point of all this is:  Russell Wilson is a God damn national treasure.  And there’s no way we’d be where we are without him.  Yes, the defense has been off-the-charts good since he entered the league, but that won’t last forever.  As early as this year, we could see a steep decline in defensive effectiveness.  And, just as soon as that happens, the burden will fall on Wilson’s shoulders.

It’s year three for Wilson.  This is now his team.  Yes, it’s been his team since 2012, but this year it will REALLY be his team.  He’s bound to take a dramatic step forward as the game continues to slow down for him.  He’s got the talent in place to have a really big year.  And, if the defense takes a step back, we’re likely to need it.

The quarterback is always the most important position, for every football team.  You could make the argument that the Seahawks would’ve still been pretty great last year.  If Tarvar had started all 16 games instead of Wilson, we probably still would’ve made the playoffs, with a remote chance of winning it all.  But, I don’t think Tarvar gets us the division.  I don’t think he gets us home field.  And, if I’m being honest, I don’t think he even gets us a win in the Wild Card round.

Russell Wilson is the X-Factor.  He’s often overlooked because of the name recognition of the guys he was drafted with:  Andrew Luck & RGIII.  He’ll probably never throw for the yards that Luck throws for.  He’ll never be the serious running threat that RGIII is.  But, he’s a winner.  The type of winner that those other two guys aren’t (at least, not yet).  Wilson is also overlooked because it’s perceived by the national pundits (I’m looking at you, Jeffri Chadiha) that the defense is doing all the heavy lifting, and Russell Wilson is just along for the ride.  You could make that argument in 2012 and 2013 and get your work published, while still looking like a total ass-clown by people who follow the Seahawks closely and don’t form their opinions based on SportsCenter highlights.

But, 2014 is where the narrative all changes.  Maybe not right away, as it takes time for these movements to take hold.  But, as the season progresses and we look at the jump in effectiveness.  As we witness Wilson approach 70% completions and 9+ yards per attempt.  As we see the Seahawks rack up even more wins than the 13 we had last season …

You’re going to find Russell Wilson in more than just a few discussions about the MVP of the league.  No, he won’t throw for 5,000 yards.  He likely won’t get to 4,000 yards either.  But, he’s going to continue to get his fair share of the touchdowns in this offense, as it averages over 30 points per game and contributes to a repeat performance as the #1 seed in the NFC.  14-2?  15-1?  Not without Russell Wilson.

Without Russell Wilson, we’re probably looking at 8-8 or 9-7 at best.  Yeah, he’s 6 wins all by himself.  I’d say that makes him pretty damn important.

The Importance Of Drafting “The Right Quarterback”

I was reading something about the Vikings last week.  As you may or may not know, they cleaned house over the last few weeks and are now looking to start over.  The GM was in place, but the head coach is brand new, and it looks like the quarterback position is going to get a once-over.  In this article I read, it was mentioned that they “need to find the right quarterback”.  I don’t know why, but that particular phrase stood out to me.

What is the “right quarterback”?  I would suggest it’s the quarterback that takes you to – and hopefully WINS – the Super Bowl.  Now, does it matter how you get that quarterback?  Actually, it does.

This latest Super Bowl is one of those rare exceptions of a game that didn’t feature a matchup of quarterbacks who were drafted by their respective teams.  Russell Wilson was, but Peyton Manning wasn’t.  In looking backward, you’ll notice a trend; among Super Bowl participants, the overwhelming majority drafted “the right quarterback” and rode him all the way to the end.

  • Baltimore/San Francisco – Yes/Yes
  • NY Giants/New England – Yes (technically no, but he was traded on Draft Day by San Diego)/Yes
  • Green Bay/Pittsburgh – Yes/Yes
  • New Orleans/Indianapolis – No/Yes
  • Pittsburgh/Arizona – Yes/No
  • NY Giants/New England – Yes/Yes
  • Indianapolis/Chicago – Yes/Yes
  • Pittsburgh/Seattle – Yes/No
  • New England/Philadelphia – Yes/Yes

In the last ten Super Bowls, you’re looking at only 4 teams who didn’t draft their quarterbacks.  Three of those teams – Denver, Arizona, and New Orleans – picked up future Hall of Famers via free agency (the 2005 Seahawks, of course, had Hasselbeck, who we picked up in trade from Green Bay, where he was drafted while Holmgren was still their head coach).

So, when Minnesota talks about “finding the right quarterback”, they mean “drafting the right quarterback”.  And, since there’s no time like the present, you can expect them to draft one this May, in the hopes that they will have found the next Russell Wilson or Joe Flacco or Aaron Rodgers.

Obviously, the quarterback doesn’t do it all.  But, it’s next-to-impossible to get where you want to go without one.  That’s why we REALLY need to sit back and appreciate just how rare of a find Russell Wilson is.  I’m not even talking about the fact that he’s a 3rd round pick (though, that is amazing in and of itself); I’m just talking about the fact that the Seahawks found a quarterback of his calibre at all!

It’s absolutely no coincidence that the Seahawks finally won their first Super Bowl only after they found their franchise quarterback.  Dating back to the 1992 season (where free agency coalesced into the free agency we more-or-less know today), there have been only six Super Bowl winning teams that did NOT draft their quarterback:

  • 1994 49ers
  • 1996 Packers
  • 1999 Rams
  • 2000 Ravens
  • 2002 Bucs
  • 2009 Saints

Again, you’re talking about four of those teams who managed to pick up current or future Hall of Famers (Steve Young, Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, & Drew Brees), with the other two teams featuring a couple of the best defenses of the last generation.  Literally anyone, living or dead, could have quarterbacked those 2000 Ravens to a Championship.

But, look at that!  16 of the last 22 NFL Champions somehow lucked into their quarterback via the draft.  And, just because I’m a glutton for punishment, I went back and checked out every single Super Bowl winner.  Of the 48 NFL Champions, 36 drafted their quarterbacks.  Among the notable champions who weren’t drafted by their Super Bowl-winning teams are Len Dawson and Johnny Unitas (both originally drafted by the Steelers of all teams), Jim Plunkett (twice a champion for the Raiders), Joe Theismann and Doug Williams (both champions with the Redskins).

I don’t know what the point of this post is, other than to emphasize how much of a crapshoot it all is.  When you’ve tried and failed to craft a championship football team for decades upon decades, it can really feel hopeless.  You tend to question every single move your team has ever made and every single move they make going forward.  Then, in an instant, all of that changes.  You don’t know it right away, of course; think back to where you were when Russell Wilson was selected by the Seahawks in April of 2012.  You surely didn’t think, “That’s it!  We’re going to win a Super Bowl within two years!”

Yet, here we are.  And, the best part?  When you win so early, there are always opportunities for multiple.  In looking back at past winners, you’ll notice a lot of repeating names:

  • Starr
  • Staubach
  • Griese
  • Bradshaw
  • Montana
  • Aikman
  • Elway
  • Brady
  • Roethlisberger
  • Eli Manning

Those ten quarterbacks account for over half (26) of the 48 Super Bowl champions.  Only Jim Plunkett has managed to win more than one Super Bowl while not being drafted by the team that won them.  I think that says a lot.  About how lucky the Seahawks are, for starters.  And about how important it is to find your guy and cultivate him from Day 1.  The right quarterback can immediately turn around a franchise.  That means recognizing what you have and not giving him away.  That means building around him to put him in the best position to succeed.

And that means, if you’re currently a franchise in need, don’t try to go for the quick fix by picking up some doofus off the street.  I can all but guarantee the Chiefs, for instance, will never win a championship with Alex Smith at the helm.  That says nothing of Smith’s abilities.  That’s just playing the percentages.  The only chance you have to succeed through free agency is to obtain a future Hall of Famer, and what are the odds of that?  As I said before, if you’re smart, you hang onto those guys for dear life.  So, in reality, you have to be EXTREMELY lucky.  Even luckier than you have to be to just draft the right guy in the first place.

How I Hate The 49ers, Let Me Count The Ways

For starters, I’ve never hated a professional football franchise the way I hate the 49ers right now.  In my much-younger days, when the Seahawks were in the AFC and I wasn’t so jaded from a decade’s worth of mediocrity out of my home team, I think I hated the Raiders the most.  Followed by the Broncos and Kansas City in a tie for second.  Then, as the 90s progressed, my hatred for my AFC West brethren waned, as the Seahawks were increasingly irrelevant.  I started to simply hate teams that won all the time.  The Cowboys, particularly.  As the Seahawks entered the NFC West when the NFL re-aligned, I was left without a rivalry.  My hatred for our old AFC West foes has since all but dissipated.

As the Seahawks almost-immediately took over control of the NFC West, I really had a hate-on for the St. Louis Rams, because for a while there, they were the only team contending for division titles with us.  Then, they completely fell apart.  And, as we did the same, the Arizona Cardinals briefly reigned supreme.  Once Kurt Warner retired, they were done, and up rose the 49ers.

Now, it’s ONLY the 49ers.  They’re a loathesome bunch of jag-offs and I literally wish they were all dead (except for Frank Gore; I’ve got no beef with that man).  The only question remains:  do I hate the 49ers more than I hate any other team in any other sport?

Here’s the ultimate measure of my hate:  in this Divisional Round weekend, I would have gladly traded a Seahawks defeat for a 49ers defeat.  THAT’S how badly I want them to fail.  I’d accept my own team’s failure just to have them go home empty-handed.  Is it completely irrational and idiotic?  You bet it is, but that’s the way it goes when you hate a team this much.

In baseball, I’ve got nothing.  In the early 2000’s, I hated the Yankees with a passion.  But, a decade’s worth of Mariners futility has washed that away.  Now, there’s only numbness.

In basketball, there used to be the Trailblazers, Lakers, and Jazz.  But, of course, with no Sonics, there’s really no point.  I guess I hate the OKC team, but it’s not like I’m sitting here day-in and day-out rooting for them to lose.  They’re hardly on my radar until the playoffs come around, at which point I still refuse to watch their games.  Maybe that’s a marker of utmost hatred:  I can’t even bring myself to watch them play ball.

In college basketball, there’s UCLA and Arizona in a tie for first.  More than anything, I just hate those schools because they keep taking recruits we’re trying in vain to sign.  But, during the games against the Huskies, my blood doesn’t really boil a whole lot.

In college football, there’s Oregon and there’s everyone else.  So, I have to ask myself:  do I hate the 49ers more than I hate Oregon?  That’s a REALLY difficult question to answer, which should go to show just how much I hate those fucking 49ers.  In the end, if I’m being objective, I have to admit that I hate Oregon more, but it’s CLOSE.  It’s damn close.  I’d much rather see San Francisco win a Super Bowl championship than the Oregon Ducks win a college football championship.

So there you go.  My current Hate Rankings:

  1. Oregon Ducks
  2. San Francisco 49ers
  3. OKC Thunder
  4. USC Trojans (because Sark can eat a dick)
  5. UCLA Bruins (because Myles Jack can eat a dick too)

But, getting back to the 49ers, how much do I hate them?  Let’s count them down:

1.  Jim Harbaugh

I hope he dies of AIDS.  I hope he contracts HIV by cheating on his wife, I hope he gets caught and loses everything in the divorce, I hope he’s too pig-headed to take the HIV medications available to him, I hope he contracts full-blown AIDS, and I hope he dies, pathetic, in-pain, and alone in a hospital bed, surrounded by a non-stop stream of women giving loud, screaming births.

It should be self-evident, but let’s get into it.  Jim Harbaugh whines about EVERY. FUCKING. THING. that goes wrong for his team while they’re on the field.  His temper tantrums have gone well beyond the point of parody; surely, he realizes how much of a cunt he looks like, but he doesn’t care.  How he doesn’t get at least five “unsportsmanlike” penalties every week, I have no idea.  For all the shit I give refs, they’re little Mother Teresas for putting up with his insufferable bullshit.

Also, have you heard his interviews?  Even if he was my team’s coach, I’d be fucking embarrassed by how short, rude, and pointless he is with the media.  I tend to think the media’s complaints about such things are over-rated, but in this case, I’ll side against The Douchebag.

And, not that I try to picture his awkwardly-shaped body having sex, but can’t you just imagine Jim Harbaugh’s love-making being very competitive?  I can only imagine that he’s doing everything in his power to finish first (boringly missionary, of course), followed by actually finishing first while his wife lays there with equal parts frustration & apathy, with him slapping her on the rump saying, “Good game.  Better luck next time.”  And entirely NOT meaning it.

2.  Colin Kaepernick

I’m all for celebrations after touchdowns.  I think the No Fun League ethos has put a serious damper on the game of football and the league needs to reign some of that in.  In fact, to be honest with you, there isn’t a post-touchdown celebration I even find annoying or offensive … except for Kaepernick faux-kissing his biceps.

Can you imagine anything more conceited or self-congratulatory?  It’s gross, it really is.  I know there are plenty of mouthy Seahawks – especially on defense – who are self-promoting narcissists, but Kaepernick takes it to another level.  Also, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, since he only does it when he rushes for a touchdown.  Shouldn’t he kiss his biceps when he throws for a touchdown?

I know that’s a little nit-picky, but that goes to further prove my point that Kaepernick is a God damn retard.  His level of intelligence HAS to be bordering on single-digits, right?  He can’t even play the quarterback position without his little arm-band!

Colin Kaepernick has lived a charmed fucking life.  He struggled when Crabtree was out and it’s pretty apparent why:  unlike the elite quarterbacks of the league, Kaepernick doesn’t make anyone else around him better.  When Aaron Rodgers loses a receiver or two, it’s just a Next Man Up situation.  Drew Brees doesn’t have any star receivers (unless you lump his starting tight end in there); he makes average receivers INTO stars by being great.  Tom Brady has had Julian Edelman and a whole lotta filler on his team this year, and he led the Patriots to the AFC Championship game.

Kaepernick, meanwhile, was headed towards the very real possibility of not making the playoffs AT ALL.  Or, he was looking at a first-round exit.  But, since Crabtree came back, the 49ers have been on the roll of a lifetime.  Crabtree is a very good player, and the only real threat (besides Frank Gore) on the 49ers offense.  Without him, Kaepernick is just another shitty running quarterback who struggles to muster 150 yards through the air.

3.  Anquan Boldin

Never have I seen such a mediocre player talk as much shit on a football field.  And yet, when you watch him in his post-game interview, all you hear out of his bitch mouth is how much respect he has for the other team.

Bullshit.  Tell it like it is, ‘Quan!  I am.

Boldin has never been a star in this league.  He was a complementary player in Arizona, vastly overshadowed by Larry Fitzgerald.  He was utter dogshit in Baltimore until the playoffs rolled around; doing very little to help out his team on a week-in, week-out basis.  And now that he’s been in San Francisco – aside from that Week 1 monster of a game against a pathetic Packers defense – he’s been more of the same.  There’s a REASON why the 49ers only had to give up a 6th round pick for him.  Even then, I think the Ravens fleeced the 49ers in that deal.

He’s slow, he’s big, he’s generally only good for 2-3 catches a game, and he’s clearly on his last legs.  So, tell me, what do you have to talk shit about, Anquan?  How hard you’re riding the coattails of your more-talented teammates?  How you’ve been riding coattails your entire career?  You’re a joke, and hardly even worth the time it’s taken me to write these four paragraphs.

4.  Donte Whitner

You’re a poor-man’s Ken Hamlin.  You’re all brute-force and zero skill.  The difference between you and Kam Chancellor is night and day.  First of all, Kam Chancellor is bigger and stronger than you.  He hits harder than you.  But, he’s not a complete fuck-up who costs his team 15 yards per hit in personal foul penalties.  And, not for nothing, but he’s a better cover guy than you.  The one thing YOU do well?  He does it better, as well as everything else required to be an elite safety in this league.

5.  The Offensive Line

Hold much?  How about, like, every damn play?  How they get away with it, I’ll never know.

6.  The Fans

Seriously, for a city as cosmopolitan and as fun as San Francisco, the 49ers have THE trashiest fans I’ve ever seen!  Ignorant, front-running, and for some reason violent … I just don’t get it.  Are the bulk of people who go to 49ers games actually from the outlying areas?  What’s the Tacoma-equivalent to San Francisco?  Or, rather, what’s the Yakima-equivalent, because I think we’re getting warmer with that comparison.

If they’re not bitching about how loud it is in our stadium, then they’re bitching about being mis-treated in our stadium.  AT LEAST WE DON’T STAB YOUR FUCKING ASSES!  How many arrests take place during and after your average San Francisco home game?  Let’s try to double it this week, Seahawks fans.  I’ve never encouraged the 12th Man to be violent before, but I think this week, we need to let the 49ers fans know we’re not going to be pushed around.  Two wrongs don’t make a right, Seahawks fans!  Let’s, uhh, let’s be the bigger people … or something.

I swear to Christ, if any 49ers fans among my Facebook friends try to talk shit this week, I’m immediately blocking them.  Especially if they’re family!

I could go on and on, but this is long enough as it is.  Go Hawks.

I’m A Worrier: The Arizona Cardinals

You can see the first part of this series here.  For the record, I won’t be writing one of these Worrier posts for every single team the Seahawks play; I’m not demented!  There’s no point in writing one of these about the Jags or Titans, for crying out loud.  Why should I worry about those teams; they’re terrible!  I’m also not going to write one of these about the 49ers or Falcons, because duh.  Those are two great teams.  They comprise 3/16 of our schedule (not counting playoffs).  I’m not special because I worry about the Seahawks possibly losing to two other elite ballclubs (especially when two of those games are on the road).

This series is about the teams that the Seahawks very well SHOULD beat, but because I’m soft in the cabeza, I can’t help but be concerned about the very minor possibility that the Seahawks fuck up and blow it.

For the record, there’s a lot to dislike about the Cardinals.  They were in the bottom fourth of point-differential last year, for starters.  Of course, a lot of that had to do with the 58-0 whuppin’ the Seahawks put on them towards the end there.  But, either way, they’re easily the worst team in the NFC West and it’s not even close.

Also, this is just my personal opinion:  I think Carson Palmer sucks dick.  In fact, if I were in charge of that team, I would have passed on Palmer and tried my hand at a healthy Kevin Kolb one more time.  That, I think, should tell you something about my opinion on Mr. Palmer.  He’s a washed up clown who hasn’t been great since that playoff game against the Steelers where they killed his career.  I don’t care what kind of yards he’s able to throw for in any given year; when he throws as many interceptions as he does – and at just the worst, most Philip Rivers-esque times – and when he fumbles the ball as much as he does, how can you trust him to lead your football team?

What happens to formerly-elite quarterbacks?  Do they get a huge ego and think they can fit a pass into any opening, no matter how non-existent?  Is it their offensive coordinators, who go around abandoning the run once they see they’ve got a guy with a cannon for an arm?  If I rooted for a Carson Palmer-led team, and I never saw my quarterback throw into triple-coverage again, it would be too soon.

Also, not for nothing, but Carson Palmer is not Kurt Warner.  I understand he had a raw deal with the Raiders.  EVERYONE has a raw deal when they play for the Raiders; they’re the Raiders!  But, just because you’ve got a guy in his mid-30s who had a track record of quarterback success once, and now he’s going to be throwing to Larry Fitzgerald, that doesn’t mean you should start booking your tickets to the Super Bowl.

For starters, I would argue that when Kurt Warner took the Cards to the Big Game, it was during a very down year for the rest of the NFC West.  This year?  The NFC West is the most stacked division in football, with defenses out the wazoo.  Remember how Carson Palmer struggled in Oakland because he was under constant duress thanks to his Swiss cheese line?  Well, now picture him in a Cardinals uniform, going up against the defensive units of the Seahawks, 49ers, and Rams.  These three defenses MIGHT be 1,2, & 3 in the NFC this year.  I wouldn’t count on Carson Palmer as far as Carson Palmer can throw Carson Palmer straight into the hands of an opposing team’s free safety!

That having been said, you can’t necessarily count this team out of any game either.  They WILL shock some people.  Or, I guess based on the way people are over-rating this fucking team, I should say that they WILL shock me.  They have a solid, if unspectacular defense.  Maybe lacking some of the depth of the Seahawks and 49ers, but still good enough, with some quality play-makers.  They also still play eight home games a year.  I don’t care who you are:  you’re not at your best when you’re playing on the road.

This year, the Cardinals don’t have the luxury of hosting the Seahawks in week 1, with a rookie quarterback making his first-ever regular season start.  This year, the Seahawks don’t go into Arizona until Week 7, which just so happens to be a Thursday night game.  I’ve argued this point ad nauseum, but I’ll say it again:  anything can fucking happen on a Thursday night game.  Most of the time, it means that a bad team’s weaknesses are exploited tenfold because they don’t have enough time to properly game-plan for their superior opponent.  But, every so often, you get a freewheeling upstart who gets hot and starts throwing the ball around and scoring points in bunches.  The Seahawks SHOULD win this game, and they should win it by double digits.  But, since it’s on the road, on a short week, and against a division rival (always a tough game; last season’s 58-0 thrashing notwithstanding; besides, that one was at home), the game will likely be ugly and a lot closer than it should be.

Both times the Seahawks play the Cardinals, they play the Rams the very next week.  I don’t know how that works, but you have to argue that the Seahawks would have no reason to look past the Cardinals (like they might with the Panthers, considering the 49ers loom the following week).  We don’t play the Cards again until Week 16, at which point if everything is going according to plan, we should still be fighting hard for a first round playoff BYE.  I don’t see much point in predicting what’s going to happen in this game, since in all likelihood Palmer will be injured by this point anyway, but suffice it to say I’m 100 million times less worried about this game than I am the Thursday nighter.

All divisional games are critical.  Which makes these games you’re SUPPOSED to win all the more important.  Yes, beating the 49ers would be nice, but you can’t go coughing up games against the Cardinals & Rams and expect to have that tie-breaker advantage you so desperately need.

The Best Players On The Worst Teams, Part IV: Everything Else

Part I – Felix Hernandez

Part II – Other Seattle Mariners

Part III – Seattle Seahawks

There aren’t enough Sonics to include on this list to make it worth my while for a whole post, mostly because the Sonics had been consistently good throughout the years.  With the exception of the early going (the first seven years or so) and the late going (the last six years or so, before they left Seattle).  One name that popped to mind immediately was Ray Allen.  Of course, he went on to have great success with the Celtics (and I guess the Heat, depending on whether they can pull out these Finals), but in his time in Seattle, the Sonics greatly underachieved, with only one post-season appearance to his name.  Technically, I’m not counting players like Ray Allen, since the whole idea is to praise the guys who have suffered their whole careers on terrible teams, but as I said before, the pickin’s are pretty slim across Sonics history.

I was also halfway tempted to put Rashard Lewis on this list, as his Sonics teams were pretty underwhelming too.  But, he did go to Orlando, and they did go to the playoffs in three straight seasons, including one Finals appearance.  So, screw off to Lewis; he had his chance.

Once you rule out all the great players from the 70s, 80s, and 90s (for being on consistently good-to-great teams), the only name that comes immediately to mind is Bob Rule, the old Sonics center from the very first Sonics teams.  I don’t know much at all about these early-going Sonics, but I know Bob Rule was quite good in his day.  And, from the looks of things, he NEVER made the playoffs in his 8 seasons in the league.

***

I likewise don’t have a great handle on all the Husky teams throughout the ages, but there’s one name that can’t be denied.  He might be the greatest Husky football player who ever lived.  At the very least, we’re talking about a guy in the Top 5 or Top 10 in all time Huskies.  Of course, I’m talking about Jake Locker.

When you think of great Husky teams, I’m sure you think of the Don James era.  Maybe you think about some of those teams in the 1920s, or the Jim Owens era if you’re real old school.  If you’re some young punk idiot, you’ll think about a couple of those Neuheisel teams, because those are the years I attended the university.  The point is, there are PLENTY of great Husky teams to choose from.  As there are PLENTY of great Husky players to choose from.

But, when you think of truly terrible Husky teams, you think of every season after the Neuheisel era.  You think of Gilby and Willingham.  You think of 2008 and 0-12.  And, of course, you have to think about Jake Locker.

Now, obviously, if we’re talking about one of the greatest Husky football players of all time, then you know we’re talking about teams that were terrible in spite of their leader!  Nevertheless, in his first two years, the Huskies were 4-9 and 0-12 before Willingham was rightfully fired.  That’s a disgrace!  How could you possibly draw in a player SO GOOD, and end up with records so poor?  Well, of course, Locker was hurt for much of that 0-12 campaign (that really seemed to drag on and on and on until the end of time; if there is a Hell, it’s forever sitting in the freezing nosebleed seats at the end of October, 2008, as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish trounce your home team 33-7), but that’s neither here nor there.

Locker never had the talent around him.  Period.  Even when Sark came aboard, there was little hope.  You can’t turn around a program this inept in one or two years.  Locker’s third season was a marked improvement, but the Huskies were still only good enough to finish 5-7, bringing his 3-year record to 9-28.  Finally, though, in his Senior season, through the sheer force of Locker’s will, the Huskies made it back to a bowl game and kicked the asses of the Cornhuskers.  A 7-6 final season brought Locker’s total record to 16-34, which makes me weep a little on the inside.  Deep down, where I’m soft like a woman.

***

Upon conception of this post idea, it was supposed to center around Felix Hernandez.  I decided to broaden the scope and include other sports, so I reached out to some friends to give me ideas on other elite players who have been banished to terrible teams throughout their careers.  So, let’s get it on.

A lot of people feel sorry for Larry Fitzgerald, but let’s face it, if you’ve ever played in a Super Bowl, you’re disqualified (I don’t care HOW terrible his quarterbacks have been since Kurt Warner retired).  So, forget about him, and start getting a huge sad sack boner over Steven Jackson.  Nine years in the league to date, all with St. Louis.  In his first season (2004), the Rams made the playoffs (remember the game where they beat the Seahawks in the Wild Card round?) and won a single game before losing the following week.  At that time, Jackson was sharing the load with the legendary Marshall Faulk, so he didn’t even get a full allotment of carries in his lone post-season appearance!

In a real oddity, the Rams for Jackson’s entire career (including 2004) have never had a winning record.  At best, they’ve been 8-8 (twice); at worst, they’ve been 1-15 (once) and 2-14 (twice).  His total record in the NFL is 44-99-1.  His stats to date are:  10,135 yards, 56 touchdowns, 407 receptions, 3,324 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns, in 131 total games.  My hunch:  we’re talking about a guy who will be in the Hall of Fame one day.  And it’s only now, as he’s signed with the Atlanta Falcons, where he will finally get a real taste of the post-season life.  Even then, nothing is guaranteed in the NFL.  I generally dislike the teams in Seattle’s division and the players on those teams, but Steven Jackson is one of the good ones.  If it weren’t a foregone conclusion that the Seahawks are going all the way this year, I’d root like crazy for Jackson and the Falcons.

Next on my list of the parade of the damned, we’ve got probably my favorite running back of all time:  Barry Sanders.  Ye GODS, was he spectacular!  Hands down, probably my favorite player to watch play the game of football.  He lasted 10 years, all with Detroit, before retiring at an age where he probably – if he wanted to – could have continued his career.  I mean, in his final season, he ran for 1,491 yards!  In his next-to-last season, he ran for over 2,000 yards!  If that’s not a guy who’s still in the prime of his life, I don’t know what to tell you.

The Detroit Lions, in his time, were consistently mediocre.  78-82.  Yes, they made the playoffs in five of his ten seasons, but they were never really CONTENDERS.  And, not for nothing, but the Lions’ playoff record in his tenure was 1-5; yes, they lost their first game 4 out of the 5 times his Lions made the playoffs.  Remember these names:  Rodney Peete, Dave Krieg, Scott Mitchell, Charlie Batch.  These are just a few of the quarterbacks who did little more than hand the ball off to Sanders and watch him try to carry the team into the playoffs.

OK, one more player before I finish for the day and continue this post later.  O.J. Simpson.  He IS a Hall of Famer!  He played in 11 seasons throughout the late 60s and all of the 70s, 9 of them in Buffalo before finishing his career in San Francisco (before they were SAN FRANCISCO).  In that time, Simpson played in exactly one playoff game, in 1974, against the Steelers, where they lost 32-14.  He ran it 15 times for 49 yards with another 3 receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.  Those are the entirety of his playoff numbers.  Little did the world know then just what kind of an asshole he would become, but at the time of his retirement, I suppose you had to feel sorry for the guy.

To be continued …

Should NFL Teams Trade For Wide Receivers?

There have been countless trades for wide receivers in the NFL.  Countless in the sense that I refuse to try and count them all.  I’m sure the information is out there, but I’m not in the business of compiling a complete list.

I do have AH list, though.  It’s a not-insignificant list, dating back a little over a decade.  Without further ado:

February 12, 2000 – Seattle Seahawks trade Joey Galloway to Dallas Cowboys for 2000 & 2001 first round picks

From the day Joey Galloway stepped onto a football field in 1995, he was a super-stud.  Per season, through 1999, he averaged 57 receptions for 891 yards and 7 touchdowns, with a 15.7 yards per catch average.  He topped 1,000 yards receiving in three of his five seasons, with his only down year taking place in 1999 when he held out for 8 games, hoping to push newly acquired Mike Holmgren around into giving him a new contract.  On top of that, Galloway was a massive success in the punt return game, returning four for touchdowns in his first four seasons.  When Holmgren came to Seattle, everyone thought two things:  that we would FINALLY have a franchise quarterback very soon, and that Joey Galloway would flourish in the West Coast Offense.  However, much like the new inmate who stabs his cell-mate on his first day, Mike Holmgren was looking to show everyone that he was nobody’s bitch.

So, he flipped Joey Galloway for two first rounders, one of the greatest fleecings in NFL trade history!  Galloway promptly tore his ACL in his first game in a Cowboys uniform and was never the same.  He was okay, but no longer the elite burner he had been with the Seahawks.  Didn’t prevent him from having a long, lasting career, which ended after the 2010 season, but he certainly didn’t live up to the cost in Dallas.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks turned those draft picks into Shaun Alexander (pick #19 in 2000), Koren Robinson (pick #9 in 2001), Heath Evans (pick #82 in 2001) and some dumb skank in the seventh round, thanks to trading that Dallas pick (#7 overall) to let San Francisco move up two spots.  Not a bad haul, and the first of many cautionary tales of trading for wide receivers in the NFL.

March 7, 2003 – Buffalo Bills trade Peerless Price to Atlanta Falcons for 2003 first round pick

And birthed about a billion “Price Was Right For Buffalo Bills” jokes and headlines.

You know, I had completely blocked out of my memory that Drew Bledsoe played quarterback for the Bills.  But, it’s true!  It happened!  From 2002 through 2004, he kept a mediocre franchise wallowing in mediocrity.  His last truly great season was 2002 when he threw for 4,359 yards and led the Bills to an 8-8 record.  On that team, he had two primary targets:  Eric Moulds (very underrated wideout), who caught 100 balls for 1,292 yards and 10 touchdowns; and one Peerless Price (very overrated wideout), who caught 94 balls for 1,252 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Price came into the league in 1999 and for the most part underwhelmed.  However, he parlayed a career year in 2002 into a Franchise Tag designation.  The Bills eventually traded him to the Falcons for that aforementioned first round pick, which was turned into Willis McGahee.  The Falcons, meanwhile, finally decided to put some receiving talent around Michael Vick.

Except, Price was pretty awful (to be fair, so was Vick, who was more runner than thrower back then) and was released after two sub-par seasons.  Hefty PRICE to pay indeed …

March 2, 2005 – Minnesota Vikings trade Randy Moss to Oakland Raiders for Napoleon Harris & 2005 first & seventh round picks

April 29, 2007 – Oakland Raiders trade Randy Moss to New England Patriots for 2007 fourth round pick

October 6, 2010 – New England Patriots trade Randy Moss to Minnesota Vikings for 2011 third round pick

Good God, Lemon!

I’m still trying to wrap my head around why Minnesota traded Randy Moss in the first place; probably because he was a real Grade-A prick to deal with, but that’s neither here nor there.  The bounty Oakland gave up is the closest thing approaching what Seattle just gave up for Percy Harvin, except it was for a first, a seventh, and a player instead of a third round pick.  Oakland’s first round pick ended up being the #7 overall choice, which the Vikings used ostensibly to draft his replacement – Troy Williamson (a real dud), but that’s also neither here nor there, because what Oakland gave up doesn’t even come CLOSE to how this trade ultimately backfired for them.

Granted, Minnesota didn’t really benefit from Moss’s departure (as Harris didn’t have much of an impact either), but Oakland got royally hosed.  Moss showed up, caught just a touch over 1,000 yards in 2005, then completely tanked it in 2006, which forced the Raiders to rid themselves of this pain in the ass once and for all.  They essentially gave him away to the Patriots for a 4th round pick, and SURPRISE, Moss magically returned to form.

Randy Moss was the best player alive in 2007 as the Patriots’ record-setting offense saw them go undefeated up until the Super Bowl, where they lost by mere inches as Tom Brady overthrew a streaking Moss in the waning seconds for a potential 80+ yard touchdown bomb.  Moss continued to be top-notch through 2009, until things got real cancerous in 2010, whereupon Moss was traded BACK to the Vikings for a third round pick.

Yeah, you read that right.  New England traded away a fourth rounder, got three amazing years out of a potential Hall of Famer, then traded him away for an even BETTER draft pick in the 2011 draft.  Holy Frijoles!

April 29, 2006 – Green Bay Packers trade Javon Walker to Denver Broncos for 2006 second round pick

Walker had one good season in Green Bay, in 2004, going for nearly 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns with Brett Favre throwing him the ball.  This was after a couple of so-so seasons to start his career.  With one Pro Bowl under his belt, OF COURSE it was time to stick it to the man for a huge pay raise!  Because the Green Bay Packers have built up their dynasty on the foundation of over-paying for flashes in the pan.

Walker hired Drew Rosenhaus, talked a whole truckload of shit in the offseason, threatened to hold out and/or retire in 2005 if he wasn’t granted a trade or release, and finally came to his senses.  This led to him playing in Game 1, tearing an ACL, and being placed on injured reserve (I guess that’s one way to accrue a year’s service time).

Somehow, there was a market for this trainwreck, with the highest bidder being the Denver Broncos.  They not only gave away a second round draft pick, but they signed him to a HUGE 5-year deal.  Again, a guy coming off of an ACL injury, who lost a full season, and who had serious getting-along-with-others issues.  With Jake Plummer and a rookie Jay Cutler at the helm, Walker bounced back in 2006 to catch 69 balls for 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns.  But, he faltered hard in 2007, became untradeable, and was ultimately released.  Oakland picked him up for the 2008 & 2009 seasons (after the Randy Moss experiment failed), but they got nothing from him and he never played a down thereafter.

September 11, 2006 – New England Patriots trade Deion Branch to Seattle Seahawks for 2007 first round pick

See this post for full details.

March 5, 2007 – Miami Dolphins trade Wes Welker to New England Patriots for 2007 second & seventh round picks

If this article teaches you anything, it’s that the Patriots should be the ONLY team allowed to participate in trades of wide receivers.

Essentially, Miami got nothing out of this deal.  New England got six years of a guy who caught over 100 passes and over 1,000 yards in five of those six seasons.  He has, in short, been a total and complete stud out of the slot.  Even though things appear to be ending acrimoniously, it’s pretty safe to say the Patriots dominated this trade.

April 28, 2007 – Detroit Lions trade Mike Williams and Josh McCown to Oakland Raiders for 2007 fourth round pick

This was how desperate the Lions were to trade erstwhile first rounder Mike Williams (out of USC).  They packaged him with a journeyman backup quarterback and STILL could only get a fourth round pick back from Oakland.  Williams was released after 6 games with the Raiders, played 2 more games with the Titans that season, then didn’t return to the NFL until 2010 with the Seahawks.  All the promise in the world, gone to waste.

April 29, 2007 – Seattle Seahawks trade Darrell Jackson to San Francisco 49ers for 2007 fourth round pick

Jackson put in seven seasons with the Seahawks of varying quality.  He was here for our rise and our best extended run of football.  But, he was constantly battling nagging injuries and was pretty much unable to practice by the time his run in Seattle ended.  So, the Seahawks opted to trade him for whatever they could get, to save a little cap and save themselves another season-ending injury.

I wouldn’t say anyone really “won” this trade – he caught less than 50 passes in his lone season with San Francisco for less than 500 yards before moving on with his career – because the Seahawks didn’t exactly make the best use of their fourth round pick (Mansfield Wrotto, because Tim Ruskell, obvs).  I would say expectations were higher for the 49ers; they were likely expecting a quality starter who would push them over the top in 2007.  What they got was a guy nearing the end of his run.  Too bad, because I always thought Jackson was a good guy.

October 16, 2007 – Miami Dolphins trade Chris Chambers to San Diego Chargers for 2008 second round pick

Chambers was always a super-talented receiver who, for whatever reason, couldn’t kick it up that notch to elite status.  In his first six seasons with the Dolphins, he only surpassed 1,000 yards one time (though he was over 650 yards in each of those seasons).  He made the Pro Bowl in 2005 and everyone thought he had turned a corner.  Except, in 2006, he took a giant step back.  In the middle of 2007, he was traded, which is the ultimate cautionary tale:  you never trade for a wide receiver in the middle of a season.

It’s bad news!  If I had the time, I would devote a post just to this, because it’s absolutely asinine.  You 100% need that time in the offseason and pre-season to get acquainted with your quarterback.  Learn his tendencies, anticipate where he wants you to go when a play breaks down.  San Diego had none of that, so of course the rest of his 2007 season was a lost cause.

Of course, with Chambers, a full offseason probably wouldn’t have done a lick of good.  My guess:  he dogged it and got too lazy to keep up in the rigorous NFL.  Either way, his 2008 was absolutely piss-poor, and he was released 7 games into 2009.  He finished his miserable career in Kansas City, where he belonged.

October 14, 2008 – Detroit Lions trade Roy Williams & 2010 seventh round pick to Dallas Cowboys for 2009 first, third, and sixth round picks

Man, don’t speak Roy Williams’ name around Cowboys fans; they might murder you!

Roy Williams was another decent-to-good receiver on a bad team traded in the middle of a season.  Dallas obviously didn’t learn its lesson from the Joey Galloway debacle and were rewarded thusly:  two and a half seasons of drops, fumbles, and all-around crappy play.  I don’t think anyone could have foreseen him stinking as badly as he did – especially when you consider he was surrounded by a talented quarterback and some talented receivers in Miles Austin and Jason Witten, but there you go.

April 11, 2010 – Pittsburgh Steelers trade Santonio Holmes to New York Jets for 2010 fifth round pick

After Roy Williams and Deion Branch, I thought it was safe to say we’d seen the last of teams trading first round draft picks for wide receivers.  Still, it was pretty shocking to see what little the Steelers actually got in return for a fairly productive fourth-year veteran.  You’d think with the Jets’ dearth of talent on offense, they could’ve squeezed a second or third rounder out of ’em.  But, considering what Holmes has become – injured and only so-so performance-wise – maybe a fifth rounder was OVER-paying.

April 14, 2010 – Denver Broncos trade Brandon Marshall to Miami Dolphins for 2010 & 2011 second round picks

March 13, 2012 – Miami Dolphins trade Brandon Marshall to Chicago Bears for 2012 & 2013 third round picks

Miami!  Did anyone ever tell you you’re THE WORST at dealing wide receivers?

Marshall was a pain in Denver’s God-foresaken ass pretty much from day 1, when it was apparent that he would be a stud and a diva at the same time.  When Jay Cutler officially took over as the starter in Denver – in Marshall’s second season – Marshall was the primary beneficiary.  Three consecutive seasons, from 2007-2009, Marshall caught over 100 passes.  But, since the Broncos were tired of his bullshit, they took the best offer they could get and they ran with it:  two second rounders.

The Dolphins hoped, by bringing in Marshall, they’d provide Chad Henne with the elite receiver to boost their overall passing game.  Unfortunately, they backed the wrong horse, as Chad Henne continued to suck dick in the endless Dolphins parade of dick-sucking at quarterback since Dan Marino retired.  When the Dolphins realized they sucked at life, they decided to trade a guy who caught back-to-back seasons of 80-plus passes for them to the Bears for considerably LESS than what they paid to bring him there in the first place.

The Bears, with Cutler en tow, enjoyed Marshall’s return to form, catching over 100 passes for over 1,500 yards in his best-ever season stats-wise.  The Dolphins, conversely, just overpaid for Mike Wallace so he can try to catch balls from Ryan Tannehill (see:  endless dick-sucking parade from before).

March 5, 2010 – Arizona Cardinals trade Anquan Boldin & 2010 fifth round pick to Baltimore Ravens for 2010 third & fourth round picks

March 12, 2013 – Baltimore Ravens trade Anquan Boldin to San Francisco 49ers for 2013 sixth round pick

The Cardinals were looking ahead in their attempt to pay Larry Fitzgerald insane gobs of money to keep him there (even though they trick-fucked him by letting Kurt Warner retire and not having a proper heir to replace him set up and ready to go) and knew they couldn’t afford to keep both him and Boldin, so there you go.  They got what they could from Baltimore and let the Ravens give him a big-money deal.  The Ravens were rewarded with three adequate, sub-1,000 yard seasons (as an offense that wasn’t really all that high-scoring anyway) and a Super Bowl victory this past February.  I’d say:  not too bad of a deal for the Ravens.  And, it’s hard to blame the Cardinals too much for this particular move.  I mean, when you compare it to literally EVERY OTHER MOVE they’ve made since losing that Super Bowl to the Steelers, trading away Boldin for a couple of mid-draft picks is pretty not-bad by comparison.

The Ravens are in a similar boat right now, having just signed Joe Flacco to the biggest deal in the history of ever.  Boldin was counting too much against the cap, so he had to go.  It’s pretty disingenuous of Flacco to publicly root for the Ravens to keep their other stars when he selfishly signed such a crippling contract, but I guess he got the “respect” he was looking for (money, respect = money).

And this is an AMAZING deal for a 49ers team still in their prime and looking to make it back to the Super Bowl.  I’m sure Boldin is licking his chops at the chance to go to back-to-back Super Bowls, only this time with the team he just beat LAST season.

March 12, 2013 – Minnesota Vikings trade Percy Harvin to Seattle Seahawks for 2013 first & seventh round picks & 2014 third round pick

I’m not going to get into some of the other guys I had jotted down (Brandon Lloyd, Mike Thomas, etc.) because this post is long enough as it is and I’ve got other shit to do.

I’m also not going to get too deep into this whole Harvin deal, because I’ve spent the whole fucking week talking about it.  I will say that the Seahawks are the first team to pony up a first rounder since the Cowboys did so for Roy Williams.  In fact, if you’ve been paying attention to this post, you’ll notice that not one single team got the value they were looking for when they gave away first round pick(s) to get wide receivers.  They all THOUGHT they were getting something amazing.  But, one way or another, they all got fucked.

So, something to look forward to.  Don’t necessarily buy into the gambler’s fallacy; just because the last ten flips of the coin were tails doesn’t necessarily mean this flip is destined to be heads.  Just put your money down and hope, that’s all you can do as a Seahawks fan.

***

There have been some miserable failures on this list, to be sure.  But, let us not forget one of the greatest success stories of all time.  A reason for hope!  Probably the greatest/most-lopsided trade in the history of the NFL:

August 26, 1976 – Houston Oilers trade Steve Largent to Seattle Seahawks for 1977 eighth round pick

That’s right.  The greatest Seahawk who ever lived, the first-ever Hall of Famer in franchise history, and the guy who retired with almost every wide receiving record in NFL history (before Art Monk, and later Jerry Rice blew right on past him) was drafted by the Houston Oilers and traded for a draft pick who never played a down of regular season NFL football.

So, you know, trading for a wide receiver isn’t ALL bad …