If Terrell Davis Is A Hall Of Famer, Why Not Shaun Alexander? Marshawn Lynch?

I was going to get to this earlier in the week, but work happened.  And, I didn’t want to half-ass this one.  And since there weren’t any other things I COULD half-ass, you get the 2-day gap in posts.

So, apropos of absolutely nothing whatsoever, the name Jamal Lewis popped into my brain, and I got it into my head that he had a crazy amount of rushing yards for a running back to NOT be in the NFL Hall of Fame.  As it turns out, he’s currently only 24th on the list, with 10,607 yards, and there are PLENTY of backs with 10,000+ yards who aren’t in the Hall and quite frankly don’t belong there.  As I look at Jamal’s numbers now, even though he’s one of a VERY small few to have a 2,000-yard season, it’s not a total shocker to see him not in there yet.  He does have seven 1,000 yard seasons in total, but only the one Pro Bowl/All Pro year.  I’ll let some Ravens fan make the case for Jamal Lewis; this is a Seattle-centric blog for Christ’s sake.  I’m here to talk about Shaun Alexander, and yeah, Marshawn Lynch, relative to the recently-inducted Terrell Davis.

So, when I looked at the list of the running backs with the most yards in NFL history – to check and see where Jamal Lewis stood – I went ahead and dug around to see where Terrell Davis landed.  Knowing nothing, aside from the fact that his career was relatively short compared to most running backs you consider to be Hall of Famers, I figured going in that he was sub-10,000 yards.  But, I figured he’d be in the 9,000 range.

NO!  Not even!  Try 7,607!

He’s 55th all time.  The only other Hall of Famers in his range or lower are the REAL old timers.  Like, before the Super Bowl was a thing.  Like, before the AFL and the NFL merged into a single league.

Now, for what it’s worth, I do think Terrell Davis belongs in the Hall of Fame.  But, you know, I’m more of an Eye Test guy.  When I say the name Terrell Davis, I think, “Yeah, that guy was one of the all-time greats.”  But, when you see 7,607 staring you back in the face, it’s enough to give you pause.  It gave me pause anyway!

I’ve always maintained that Shaun Alexander was and is a fringe Hall of Famer, but ultimately if you twisted my arm, I’d say probably not.  But, with 7,607 here to consider, I mean, come on!

Shaun Alexander finished with 9,453 yards (Lynch with a little less, so I’ll get to him later in the post).  If you discount his 4 games with the Redskins in the final year of his career, he spent 8 full seasons in Seattle.  Davis did what he did in 7 seasons in Denver, so the career lengths are comparable.  Alexander finished with exactly 100 rushing touchdowns and another 12 receiving TDs; Davis finished with 60 rushing and 5 receiving.  Alexander averaged 4.3 yards per attempt, Davis at 4.6, so not a HUGE difference there.  And, if you go by Approximate Value per Pro Football Reference (the higher the number the better), Alexander finished with a 79, Davis with a 78.

I mean, when you put it all down there like that, and you factor in the extra 1,846 career rushing yards and the extra 47 combined touchdowns, how is Shaun Alexander not even in the conversation and Terrell Davis is already in?

Politics aside – because I will say this:  it IS a popularity contest, no matter what you hear from anyone; if the voters don’t like you (*cough* Terrell Owens *cough*), you’re screwed – it’s kind of insane.  But, one thing we were told is that Terrell Davis’ induction is a referendum on the production he had in his Peak Years.  I think, going forward, for a lot of these players on offense – as the numbers skyrocket, as rules changes make the game more high scoring – unless you have just insane career totals, you’re going to need to build your case in your Peak Years, when you were at your very best.  How many Peak Years did you have, and how dominant were you in those years?

Terrell Davis was drafted in 1995.  He had a pretty good rookie year, but his very best years were 1996-1998.  From 1999-2001, he played in a grand total of 17 games and was out of football after that.  So, really, we’re talking about a 3-year span, but since he ended up in the top 10 in rushing in his rookie year, we’ll include that to give him a 4-year Peak.

  • In 1995, he ran for 1,117 yards and 7 TDs, good for 9th in yards and outside the top 10 in TDs.
  • In 1996, he ran for 1,538 yards and 13 TDs, good for 2nd in yards (behind Barry Sanders) and tied for 3rd in TDs with Ricky Watters, behind Curtis Martin’s 14 and Terry Allen’s 21.
  • In 1997, he ran for 1,750 yards and 15 TDs, good for 2nd in yards (behind Barry Sanders’ 2,000 yard season) and tied for 1st in TDs with Karim Abdul-Jabbar.
  • In 1998, he ran for 2,008 yards and 21 TDs, good for 1st in yards and TDs.

On top of that, he made the Pro Bowl and first team All Pro three times, 1996-1998.  He won the NFL’s MVP award in 1998.  He led the Denver Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in the 1997 and 1998 seasons, winning the Super Bowl MVP the first time and ceding it to John Elway the second time.  He was placed on the 2nd team All-1990s team to boot.

So, that’s the resume, more or less.  How does that compare to Shaun Alexander’s Peak Years?  Well, he didn’t start as a rookie in 2000, which was understandable at the time – we still had a prime Ricky Watters giving us his all – but will likely go down as the reason why Alexander ultimately doesn’t make the Hall.  If he were to hang another 1,000 yard season on his career totals, with another 10 or so TDs, I don’t see how you could keep him out.  Regardless, I’m giving Alexander a total of 5 Peak Years, from 2001-2005.  He topped 1,000 yards each year and had no less than 14 rushing TDs in each of those years!  To wit:

  • In 2001, he ran for 1,318 yards and 14 TDs, good for 6th in yards and 1st in TDs.
  • In 2002, he ran for 1,175 yards and 16 TDs, outside the top 10 in yards, but tied for 2nd with Ricky Williams in TDs (behind Priest Holmes).
  • In 2003, he ran for 1,435 yards and 14 TDs, good for 8th in yards and tied for 3rd in TDs with Clinton Portis & the aforementioned Jamal Lewis, behind Ahman Green and Priest Holmes again.
  • In 2004, he ran for 1,696 yards and 16 TDs, good for 2nd (by ONE YARD behind Curtis Martin) in yards and 2nd in TDs behind LaDainian Tomlinson.
  • In 2005, he ran for 1,880 yards and 27 TDs, good for 1st in yards and tying a then-NFL record for TDs in a season (to be broken by LDT the very next year with 28, who holds it to this day).

On top of that, he made the Pro Bowl three times (2003-2005), made first team All Pro one time, in 2005.  He won the NFL’s MVP award in 2005.  He led the Seahawks to just one Super Bowl appearance in the 2005 season (he likely would’ve been the Super Bowl MVP had the refs not screwed us over, but that’s neither here nor there).  And, he was placed on the 2nd team All-2000s team.

I guess, what you have to ask yourself is, what do you take more stock in?  Shaun Alexander had a longer Peak, and arguably a better one.  I mean, those touchdown totals are INSANE for a 5-year run!  Terrell Davis didn’t set or tie any single-season marks!  So, do you rank that higher, or do you rank Davis’ Super Bowl success higher?

You gotta admit, it’s a helluva story.  Terrell Davis helps the long-suffering John Elway get his only two Super Bowl titles as he rides off into the sunset.  While Shaun Alexander led an okay Seahawks reign in the mid-2000s, that only got to the lone Super Bowl, and lost it in frustrating fashion.

You might sit here and argue that Shaun Alexander had a couple of Hall of Famers in Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson to run behind, but Terrell Davis had a very good O-Line in his own right.  On top of that, let’s face it, the zone blocking scheme Denver was running back then was relatively new, and the NFL hadn’t really adapted to defending it.  Which is why you saw so many Denver running backs in those days plucked from the bottom of the draft and making huge impacts.  I’d put all of that as a wash, or even a little in Davis’ favor.

Where I think Shaun Alexander might have some trouble is that he spent most of his career in LDT’s shadow.  Sure, there were good running backs playing when Terrell Davis had his reign, but I don’t think there were as many as when Shaun Alexander was doing his thing.  The running back position as a whole really exploded in the early-to-mid 2000s.  I mean, shit, with Davis’ induction, now we’re talking about Priest Fucking Holmes having an argument to be included!  The guy only had 3 good years and was injured the rest of the time for fuck’s sake!

It’s a shame, too, because Shaun Alexander came up in the era where Fantasy Football really exploded.  If that has any effect whatsoever, then you have to remember that Shaun Alexander was ALWAYS a top 2 pick in any fantasy draft, with LDT.  The game of football, at its purest, is about scoring touchdowns and preventing the other team from scoring touchdowns.  There weren’t many running backs in the history of the league who had a nose for scoring touchdowns the way Shaun Alexander did.  In fact, looking at the leaderboard, Alexander is tied for 7th with Marshall Faulk for his 100 touchdowns.  He only falls to 13th in combined rushing & receiving TDs as well.  Davis is 48th & 120th respectively.

I dunno!  Maybe I’m a homer.  Or, maybe I’m a fucking purist and Shaun Alexander deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame!

Now, regarding Marshawn Lynch, I think he has an even-tougher road to hoe than Alexander in a lot of ways.  He has 6 seasons where he surpassed 1,000 yards rushing, his first two with Buffalo and his first four full years with Seattle.  He racked up a career total of 9,112 yards (37th all time) and 74 rushing touchdowns (24th all time), with another 9 receiving TDs.  I won’t discount his first two years in Buffalo, but I’d have to say his Peak Years were the first four full ones with Seattle, so let’s run them down now:

  • In 2011, he ran for 1,204 yards and 12 TDs, good for 7th in yards and tied for 3rd in TDs with AP and Ray Rice, behind Cam Newton and Shady McCoy.
  • In 2012, he ran for 1,590 yards and 11 TDs, good for 3rd in yards and tied for 5th in TDs with Doug Martin and Trent Richardson.
  • In 2013, he ran for 1,257 yards and 12 TDs, good for 6th in yards and tied for 1st in TDs with Jamaal Charles.
  • In 2014, he ran for 1,306 yards and 13 TDs, good for 4th in yards and tied for 1st in TDs with DeMarco Murray.

On top of that, he made the Pro Bowl five times (2008, 2011-2014) and the first team All Pro once, in 2012.  No MVPs, but he led the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowls, winning one, and should have won them both.  He was also stripped of a Super Bowl MVP award opportunity by not being handed the ball at the 1-yard line against the Patriots, but that’s neither here nor there.

So, obviously, the numbers aren’t really there for Lynch, compared to Alexander.  But, as I said before, it’s always so much more than just numbers.  Now, I’m not sure Beastmode is going to win many popularity contests, with the way he shunned the media in his later years – particularly in those two Super Bowl seasons – but I also feel like time will heal those wounds somewhat.  I guess it just depends on how many Hall of Fame voters were also those media people who were all bent out of shape about his antics.  I could see that going either way, but it’s hard to see that as a deal-breaker.

What’s very much in Beastmode’s favor is the fact that he was a motherfucking BEAST!  He had, without question, the greatest run in the history of the NFL, PERIOD!  And, if you search for a reel of highlights, I mean, he’s amazing.  For me, he’s on a short-list with guys like Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Jim Brown and maybe that’s it, of guys I just love to watch run with the football.  Guys who could do ANYTHING with the football!  With that mystique behind him?  Compared to Shaun Alexander, who has this reputation for being a bit soft (which I don’t think is totally fair, but it’s out there), I dunno.  I think that pulls Marshawn Lynch up even with Alexander, when you factor in total numbers plus the popularity contest element.

Then, take a look at playoff numbers.  Because I think this is obviously where Terrell Davis got over the hump, with the two Super Bowls and all that.  Davis is 6th all time in playoff yards with 1,140.  Each of the top 7 guys on this list (and 8 of the top 9) are in the Hall of Fame.  Ready for a shocker?  Marshawn Lynch is 8th on this list (and hence the only one of the top 9 not in the Hall) with 937 yards.  That, I think, is going to be a huge feather in his cap, if and when Lynch ever gets his day in the sun.

So, where do you look next?  I’ll tell you:  the era.  Shaun Alexander played in the last era of the great running backs.  Once he hung ’em up, and teams started realizing you could find quality running backs later in the draft, and pair them in these shared backfields teams have gone to, to mitigate injury risk and running back paydays, you just don’t see as many workhorses as you used to.  In that sense, Marshawn Lynch has a leg up, because he was a rare breed in that regard.  A workhorse and right up there at the top for his 4-year Peak run with Adrian Peterson and that’s about it.

At this point, once we start passing by the Hall of Famers in the first decade of the 2000s and get into the 2010s, you have to shift your expectations for what a Hall of Fame running back looks like.  You can’t just STOP putting running backs in the Hall of Fame, because their numbers aren’t like the video game numbers of the 1990s and early 2000s!

So, I could see a legitimate situation where Shaun Alexander never gets in (which would be a crime) and Marshawn Lynch does get in (which would be well-deserved).

I just hope the media guy who advocates for those two puts up a good fight, because I now think both are VERY deserving, especially if Terrell Davis is already in there.

Seahawks Dominated Raiders In Final Pre-Season Game

Granted, it was essentially backups against backups, but our backups kicked the SHIT out of their backups!

But before we get to that, I have to say SOMETHING about the second play from scrimmage for the Seahawks’ offense.  Oh, you were worried about how the #1 offense had yet to score a touchdown?  How about the first pass of the game, 63 yards, from Wilson to Lockett in one of the prettier throws & catches you’re going to see.  Too bad it was wasted on a pre-season game, but I think we can all calm down a little bit about what we’ve witnessed the last four weeks.

Also, not for nothing, but the guys the Raiders had in uniform in this game were THE WORST.  So, you know, don’t get too cocky about all the ass-kicking our third stringers put on ’em.  I’m pretty sure I could’ve suited up and averaged 5.5 yards per carry on the ground.

So, with all of that mess out of the way, HOW ABOUT THAT FRANK CLARK???  He’s the fucking best.  That was a spectacle the likes of which I haven’t seen in quite some time.  On the edge, on the inside, line him up wherever, he is GOING to get through that line.  He’s big, he’s mean, he’s got a keen sense of where the ball is and what it’s going to take to get to that ball.  This is a REAL defensive force!  He’s certainly the most impressive rookie I’ve seen in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era (with Lockett not too far behind, if I’m being perfectly honest), and that’s really saying something, when you look at guys like Earl, Okung, Wagner, Wright, and of course, Russell Wilson.

This is a terrible thing to say, but I’m going to say it anyway:  thank God for Ray Rice.  If he didn’t do what he did – causing the uproar he did – the NFL landscape wouldn’t have been in such a hyper-aware state when it comes to domestic violence, thereby leading to many multiple teams passing on Frank Clark without a second thought (some even having him off their draft boards entirely).  Without the Ray Rice woman-punching incident (and accompanying damning video footage), there’s no way in Hell Frank Clark falls to the second round.  At the same time, thank God for the Seahawks being strong enough to make that pick, knowing that the details of the case pointed to something much less than our imaginations led us to believe, because Frank Clark is going to be a monster for us for quite a long time.

Beyond that, three fringe receivers really stood out:  Kevin Smith, Kasen Williams, and B.J. Daniels.  A lot of us thought – going in – that this would be the game that would separate one from the pack.  Instead, it just made the pack that much bigger.

Smith had an underrated day compared to the other two, with 4 receptions and a few really nice returns.  We all know Lockett is the primary special teams return man, but it’d be nice having Smith in reserve just in case.  He strikes me as Doug Baldwin 2.0, and I don’t care what anyone says, I’m telling you right now you can’t have enough Doug Baldwins on your team!

Kasen Williams got some nice pub out of his two catches, one being a nifty diving grab at the back corner of the endzone.  In my eyes, I think Smith and Williams both have tremendous value.  But, I also believe the team can’t really afford to keep them both, and if I’m being honest, I have to put Smith just a slight notch ahead of Williams if I’m picking one over the other.

B.J. Daniels didn’t get a whole lot done in the receiving game – missing out on one potential explosive play due to the ball being severely underthrown – nor did he really do a whole helluva lot in the return game.  But, speaking of returns, he made his RETURN to the quarterback position in the second half, leading the team for a couple of touchdown-scoring drives (including that TD throw to Kasen).  I didn’t see a lot of evidence out of Daniels this pre-season that he’s a better receiver than either Smith or Williams, but he’s got athleticism for days, and I think his versatility (another special teams return candidate, as well as a receiver, someone you might be able to line up in the backfield, and of course as a quarterback) is off the charts and too good to pass up.

To be quite honest, I think we’re all looking for a reason for the team to dump Ricardo Lockette, and if it’s EVER going to happen, it’ll happen this weekend.  Lockette has been a mainstay because he’s outstanding on special teams.  But, I think guys like Daniels, Smith, and Williams have all proven they’re quite valuable on special teams in their own right.  Truth be told, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be totally comfortable with Lockette on my team after what happened in the Super Bowl.  Was it a great play by the defense?  That’s what I’m told; but I can’t help shake the feeling that if Lockette made a stronger play for the ball, he might have gotten it (or at least caused an incompletion).  Lockette’s got a lot to redeem in my mind, fair or unfair (of course, not as much as the coaching staff, but I’m going to leave that dead horse alone).

What I’m trying to say is, if I had my druthers, the wide receiving corps would look like this:

  • Doug Baldwin
  • Jermaine Kearse
  • Tyler Lockett
  • Chris Matthews
  • B.J. Daniels
  • Kevin Smith
  • (with Kasen Williams as our 7th, if the team opts to go with 7)

In other areas, Thomas Rawls looked good, but again I’m going to refer you to the fact that the Raiders are fucking terrible, and he got most of his carries against their scrubbiest of scrubs.  In no way shape or form should the Seahawks be thinking about keeping Rawls on the 53-man roster.  They should have no problem sneaking him onto the practice squad, and if some other team snaps him up, then oh-fucking-well.  Not really a big loss, if you ask me.

Mohammed Seisay looked pretty brutalized last night, but I can see why the team likes him.  He needs to clean up some stuff in his game, but he’s got potential.  Might not make a lick of difference, as he apparently suffered a pretty serious shoulder injury.  Looks like an IR candidate with the potential to return to compete for a spot next year.  Not too bad, if you ask me.

A lot of people are writing off Marcus Burley, but I like him, and I think I like him more than Blackmon.  My prediction:  Blackmon will be looking for employment elsewhere after the weekend.

Chris Matthews returned from injury, but didn’t do a whole lot.  Still, I think he solidified his spot in the Super Bowl.  If we don’t keep him, it’ll take about 30 seconds for another team to snatch him up.

OK, that’s it.  Regular season starts on the 13th (which seems like it’s years away).

Seahawks Draft Frank Clark & Tyler Lockett On Day 2

It never really fails.  The Seahawks reportedly “reaching” for a player they could’ve gotten much later in the draft (whether that’s true or not – the player still being available the next time we picked – is another story).  Last year, you could argue Justin Britt was that guy.  The year before, it was Jordan Hill.  The biggest names on this list are Bruce Irvin in 2012 and James Carpenter in 2011.  Guys at the top of our drafts, who the Seahawks fall in love with while everyone else scratches their heads.  It wouldn’t be an NFL Draft with Pete Carroll and John Schneider if someone wasn’t selected who made everyone say, “Him?

Frank Clark is that player in 2015.  The Seahawks like to take these chances because we’re so often drafting in the lower half of rounds.  It’s hard to get REALLY talented players.  There are diamonds in the rough, guys you can coach up to one day be studs.  But, we’re looking for those players who are already talented, but for whatever reason they fell to us (and some teams believe they’re players worthy of falling even further).

James Carpenter had injury concerns.  He also wasn’t really a natural-born offensive tackle.  People hated on the pick because there were other, more talented linemen available.  Gabe Carimi was picked after Carpenter, and he’s not so hot.  Derek Sherrod was taken after Carpenter and his injuries have been so bad (including a broken leg) that he’s hardly played at all since his rookie year!  I’m not going to go on and on down the list, but I will say this:  James Carpenter wasn’t the biggest mistake everyone makes it out to be.  When he was healthy, he was a dominant force in our run game.  That’s what the Seahawks saw when they drafted him – a unique talent for run blocking no one else left on the draft board had – so they took him.

Bruce Irvin had character concerns.  He was also severely under-sized.  But, the Seahawks tabbed him as the draft’s best pure pass rusher.  Weight can be put on, technique can be refined, but his natural gifts couldn’t be taught.  Irvin’s another guy who doesn’t prove Carroll & Schneider are geniuses, but he also doesn’t prove them to be fools.  Irvin led all rookies in sacks his first year.  He converted to linebacker and this appears to suit him quite well.  He’s going into what may or may not be his contract year with a drive I’m sure will lead him to a nice contract.  I won’t say it’s a make-or-break year, because pass rushers tend to really explode later in their careers.  But, I could see it really being a boon for our defense.

Frank Clark falls right in that wheelhouse.  He’s got unique talent for a defensive end.  Possibly even first round talent.  But, he’s got a sordid past.  This is a tricky area to dance around.  Domestic Violence.  It’s been on the minds of football fans since the Ray Rice video came out.  It’s an issue that’s plaguing this country and various parts of the world.  In many respects, women are treated as second-class citizens.  For everyone who jumps to the conclusion that “he did it” there’s a just-as-vocal contingent asking things like “what did she do to deserve it?” or “is she lying to try to destroy his career?”

Gone Girl is a movie.  A movie based on a book.  It’s fiction.  And yet, it seems to be every man’s worst nightmare, of the crazy bitch who frames her innocent husband, drags his name through the mud in the press, and ultimately comes THIS close to ruining his life forever.  Obviously, there are a lot more ins and outs and whathaveyous to the story of Gone Girl, but it’s appalling how many people out there whose first instincts are to blame or shame the victim.

That having been said, I think it’s okay to give someone the benefit of the doubt.  One bad night, one bad incident, does not make someone an Abuser For Life.  Did he hit that girl?  I have no idea; I wasn’t there.  Probably something happened, and that something wasn’t good.  And, the way he talked about the incident at the Combine was really far from ideal (deflecting blame away from himself, as if he had no part in it).  But, you know, we’re not talking about a polished public speaker.  Words come out wrong when you’re in the heat of the moment, with all the cameras and reporters on you.  But, as far as I know, this is the only incident of domestic violence in his past.  And, by all accounts, he’s been in counseling and appears to be working through his issues.  It at least shows he WANTS to be a better person.

I’ll just say this and step down from my soapbox:  he probably did a bad thing, and it sucks.  But, he’s moved on from it, and now he’s a member of the Seattle Seahawks.  You are all free to form your opinions of him and stick to your guns.  If you hate the pick for what he did, I can’t blame you.  I agree with the person on Twitter who said they’d give him a chance, but he’s already on strike two.  One questionable drunken incident doesn’t make someone an abuser of women.  But two?  Two means you did something, you got away with it, and you didn’t care enough to not do it again.  Plus, he’s in the NFL.  There’s added scrutiny and added responsibility when you’re in the NFL.  You have to live up to a standard if you’re going to make it.  You KNOW the world is just waiting for you to slip up.  It’s like that kid who got busted with a failed drug test at the Combine – you KNEW when the Combine was!  How fucking stupid do you have to be to fail a Combine drug test???  Same thing here.  Everyone is waiting for Frank Clark to hit another woman so they can say, “See, this guy hasn’t changed!  He had you all duped, because he plays football, and because you don’t value the life of a woman the way you do the GAME of football!”

For me, Frank Clark has two strikes.  But, I’m not going to bury him straight away.  He’s got to prove he can keep his nose clean, work hard, follow the leadership of the stars on this team, and one day prove his worth.

Frank Clark could be a special talent.  He fell to us at the end of the second round because of his character.  Ultimately, it’s up to him as to whether or not Pete & John are made to look like geniuses or fools.


I feel a little bad about blowing this post out on Clark’s off-the-field past, because the player I’m MOST excited about is Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett!

The Seahawks swapped third round picks – moving from the bottom to near the top – with the Washington Redskins (Scot McCloughan strikes again!) to take Lockett at 69.  It was a bold move – costing us (in addition to our 3) a fourth, fifth, and sixth round pick – but apparently one the Seahawks were eager to make.  Initial reports stated the Houston Texans really wanted this kid, so take that for what it’s worth.

Lockett is 5’10, 183 pounds.  He’s fast.  He can play in the slot or outside.  Most importantly, he returns kicks and punts, and he does so really well!

I was raving about this kid when I saw him play against UCLA in the Alamo Bowl this past January.  In that game, he caught 13 balls for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns.  In that game, he also had 3 kick returns for 44 yards and 2 punt returns for another 41 yards.

This is the real deal.  This is Percy Harvin without the attitude dysfunction.  This is a guy who – from day 1 – will be our kick and punt returners.  On top of that, with Richardson likely out for some time due to injury, I like his chances of getting some offensive packages.  Yes, yes, the bubble screen game we all love so much.  But, who knows?  If he flashes a little Golden Tate, maybe he also grabs some jump balls down the field.

Lockett could top out as one of those hybrid #1 receivers, like a T.Y. Hilton or a DeSean Jackson.  Not the big, Randy Moss types.  But, the stretch-the-field burner types.  If he ends up panning out, that proceeds to slot the rest of our receivers right where they belong (in the 2-3-4 range).  With Lockett potentially stretching the field, Graham as our red zone threat, and Baldwin and Kearse doing their thing, I believe our offense is pretty well set.

It was a huge price to pay, but ultimately one I think will be worth it.  If you look at how the third round shook out, all the good receivers were taken by the time it would’ve gotten to us (including picks by Pittsburgh and Green Bay, because they seemingly want to draft ALL the receivers).

I don’t know who these people are who are killing the Seahawks for drafting Lockett, but you need to screw your heads on straight.  I hate to break it to you, but Dorial Green-Beckham was selected with the 40th pick; it would’ve cost WAY too much for us to trade up there and grab him!

This way, we fill a couple holes in our return game and our offense, while at the same time maybe landed a pass rusher who will complement Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril really well.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  You can’t have enough pass rushers.

Ray Rice Is A Piece Of Shit

Let’s see, how do we twist this into being appropriate for a Seattle sports blog?  I know!  Ray Rice sucks at football and I hope the Seahawks never sign him.

With that out of the way …

We’ve all seen the original video of Ray Rice’s then-girlfriend (now-wife) being dragged out of an elevator, unconscious.  As it was just the two of them in there, it was pretty obvious what had happened:  he beat the shit out of her.  I can’t rightly remember if there was any admission of guilt or what happened after that; all I know is:  he didn’t go to prison, she stuck by his side, and he ended up getting a 2-game suspension for his troubles.

Then, yesterday, TMZ finally got a hold of the video from inside the elevator and unleashed it upon the world.  In the video, you get a clear view of Ray Rice beating the shit out of her, which is what we all assumed happened in the first place.

As you can probably tell, aside from seeing snippets of the original video, I didn’t follow this story all that closely.  Seemed to me that it was an obvious case of abuse.  I guess I just forgot about it as time passed, as I don’t remember ever hearing about what happened with his criminal case.  I guess she didn’t want to press charges?  That doesn’t matter, of course; the state obviously has the right to press charges independently – which, GOOD GOD, how did they let this one slip through the cracks?

What it all boils down to is:  everyone fucked up.  The state fucked up for not prosecuting his ass to the full extent of the law.  The NFL fucked up by only suspending him for two games.  The media fucked up as it collectively shrugged its shoulders instead of digging further into this issue (seriously, how did it take so long for this video to get out, and why is TMZ doing all the heavy lifting when these supposedly serious media outlets like the New York Times, CNN, et al, are sitting back picking goobers out of their asses?).  The main issue at hand seems to be:  no one saw the video from inside the elevator and no one who mattered (the district attorney, the commissioner, the head honchos of the Ravens) even WANTED to see the video.

How does that happen?  I can see why the NFL wanted to sweep this under the rug:  they don’t need any more negative press in this post-Aaron Hernandez world.  Plus, Ray Rice and his lady friend kissed and made up, so all the better.  Just a bump on the road to a happy marriage!  But, how does the district attorney not see the video?  And if they did, how do they let that pass?

If there’s one thing you know about the world we’re living in, it’s that the skeletons will ALWAYS make their way out of the closet.  Just ask Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton and any other celebrity who’s had their phones hacked and their naked selfies distributed throughout the Internet.  Everyone KNEW there was video from inside the elevator.  I’m sure that was one of the first questions asked when people started sniffing around this investigation.  It’s one thing for the NFL to sit down and take the plea of the victim to heart.  But, to ONLY go by that plea – of a victim who may or may not have been under duress – is pretty stupid when you know there’s a video out there that will be leaked.  It’s only a matter of time.  And, in this case, time came up yesterday.

At one end of the spectrum, you’ve got an unimaginable amount of stupidity.  On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got corrupt, evil fuckheaditude.  Everyone involved in the decision to not send Ray Rice to jail, to not suspend him for more than two games, to not ban him indefinitely right from the start, falls somewhere on that spectrum.  And, if the story is true – that they wanted to remain willfully ignorant to try to cover their asses if-and-when the shit hit the fan – then that falls much closer to evil fuckheaditude in my book.

As for Ray Rice, yeah, he’s a piece of shit.  He deserves to be kicked out of the NFL.  He deserves to lose out on endorsement deals.  He deserves to have his dream end right here.  Whether that’s actually what’s going to happen remains to be seen.  I mean, shit, Michael Vick is back in football and he’s practically the devil (or, at the very least, Cruella de Vil … OH MY GOD THAT’S ACTUALLY HOW DISNEY SPELLS HER NAME!).  If you’re in any way invested in this story, you probably despise Ray Rice because he beats women.

For starters, no, it’s not okay to beat women.  But, really, it’s not okay to beat on ANYONE.  Especially if you’re a big, strong football player and you’re clocking someone half your size.  But, that’s neither here nor there.

Keith Olbermann had a nice little rant last night.  Here it is, if you somehow missed it.  I generally like Olbermann.  Some people think he’s a pompous blowhard, but that’s because he IS a pompous blowhard.  But, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have valid points on a wide range of topics.  I was right there with him on his Ray Rice stuff, until the very end, when he talked about the NFL being boycotted by all of us if the commissioner isn’t banned and if Baltimore’s executives aren’t fired.

For starters, I seriously doubt – if Olbermann is any kind of serious professional football fan – that he’s going to sit there on Sunday with his arms folded, watching TCM classic movies or some damn thing when his favorite team is playing on the other channel.  But, he does raise a good point about fandom.

What would have to happen to get you to stop watching the NFL?

The answer to that question is different for everyone.  For the casual fan, who doesn’t really have a favorite team and isn’t all that invested in the goings on, it probably wouldn’t take much.  They could take on Keith Olbermann’s challenge to boycott the NFL and probably not lose a whole lot of sleep.  But, for the hardcore addicts out there, what are we supposed to do?

I’ve been watching the NFL since I was a small child.  I’ve been a Seahawks fan for practically my whole life (minus a period in the 90s when I would troll my family and root against this hapless organization just to get a rise out of them).  Football is my favorite sport and so much of my autumns are dictated by what’s going on on Sundays.  Fantasy Football, Pick ‘Em, Eliminator Pools (which I somehow always manage to lose in week 1), and the games the Seahawks are involved in.  I spend $200 just to get NFL Sunday Ticket for my computer, so I’m not stuck watching the dregs that Fox and CBS make me watch.  There’s nothing romantic about my affiliation with football, but it does dominate many of my conversations, just as it fills my days leading up to the game, reading countless articles and blogs on the topic.

Really, it’s more disease than anything else.  The NFL is a cancer flowing through my body; I’m powerless to resist its charms!

The only way I’d stop watching the NFL is if the Seahawks were bought out and moved to another city.  And even then … I do like the Atlanta Falcons an awful lot; I suppose it wouldn’t take much to just bump my affinity over there …

So, does that make me an accessory after the fact?  Am I implicitly condoning Ray Rice’s actions?  Of course not, don’t be silly.  For starters, I’m not a fan of Ray Rice.  I’m not a fan of the Baltimore Ravens.  Hell, I’m not REALLY even a fan of the NFL.  I’m a fan of the Seattle Seahawks.  I can dislike how the NFL runs its organization, I can disagree with certain rules and policies – hell, I can VEHEMENTLY disagree – yet still be a fan of the product.

I can do that, just as I can do that with the United States of America.  There’s a lot about this country I find fucked up and retarded.  I think all politicians are corrupt pieces of shit only out for their own interests.  I think the drug laws in this country are ridiculous.  I think the medical health and insurance industries are sucking this country dry.  But, you know what?  There are parts of this country I really like too.  I’m not going to boycott America just because it’s run by assholes and fuck ups, just like I’m not going to boycott the NFL because it’s run by the same.

What interests me more is how Ravens fans reconcile themselves with what they’ve seen on these videos.  Ray Rice has been such a huge part of that team for so long now; he helped bring them an NFL championship and was certainly well on his way to a Ring of Honor spot (or whatever they call their organizational hall of fame).  This would be equivalent to Marshawn Lynch beating the shit out of his significant other in an elevator and seeing it all on video.

How would I handle that?  I’ve always been of the opinion that I don’t care what these people do in their personal lives, as long as they help the team win.  If someone drives drunk or does drugs or gets arrested for some other reason, I don’t care!  Now, obviously, in such a high-profile situation as this, it ends up working itself out:  Ray Rice is off the team and out of the league.  So, if I’m a Ravens fan, I can continue being a Ravens fan without being a specific fan of Ray Rice.

With me, it’s always about the team.  Which would make it a little more difficult to reconcile my feelings about the team president and general manager also turning a blind eye to the whole thing.  MAYBE, they were directed by the NFL front office to let it go.  MAYBE, they were directed by ownership to let it go.  Or, maybe they just didn’t want to rock the boat.  Players could look at the team tacking on games to a player’s suspension as being quite antagonistic.  The NFL is supposed to dole out the punishment, not the team they’re trying to win games for.  But, I’m not buying that.  If it were me, and I was a fan of the Ravens, I’d want the organization to take a hard line, even harder than the NFL’s.  Maybe not on its asinine substance abuse policy, where you can be suspended just by drinking in your own home, but certainly on something like domestic violence.

Look at it this way, the University of Washington and Chris Petersen just suspended Marcus Peters for the next game because of a personal foul penalty in the previous game, followed by Peters allegedly throwing a tantrum on the sideline when he was taken out of the game.  I don’t like not having one of our best defenders on the field against Illinois – especially when our secondary is so maligned – but I LOVE that he’s sending the message to other players that this crap won’t be tolerated.

It should be that way for the Ravens and frankly, it should be that way for the NFL.

I have no sympathy for a multi-millionaire who fucks up his own life.  Ray Rice had the golden goose and now it’s gone.  Is it an unfair standard?  Sure it is.  A regular Joe probably isn’t losing his job and his primary means to earn a living just because he beats up his wife.  Then again, a regular Joe is probably going to see some jail time for his crimes, because he’s not a multi millionaire who can buy his way out of these things.

But, make no mistake, Ray Rice isn’t in this shit because he’s a woman beater.  He’s in this shit because he beat a woman, it was caught on video, and that video leaked to the world.  Let none of us delude ourselves as we condemn this man.  We’ve been tacitly endorsing this behavior since the game began and started to get huge.

You think Ray Rice is the first NFL player to beat the shit out of his girlfriend or wife?  You think YOU’RE free from guilt because no one on your favorite team was arrested or kicked off the team?  Think again.  Just because we don’t hear about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.  Hell, we still DO hear about it, and those players don’t necessarily suffer the slings and arrows that Ray Rice has felt (Greg Hardy, anyone?).

I know I’m supporting a league that supports domestic violence.  That supports its players pretty much doing anything they want – up to and including murder, Ray Lewis – and getting away with it because they’re rich and famous and too big to fail.  I also support a league that extorts cities into paying for stadia even though its teams are owned by some of the richest men in the world.

But, you know what?  When I eat my Taco Del Mar burrito, I don’t sit around thinking about how the meat got processed.  When I have a beer, I don’t think about all the millions of alcoholics who have ruined their lives.  That’s how it is with the NFL.  When I sit down to watch the Seahawks thump their next opponent, I’m not thinking about all the nasty, evil shit the NFL is involved with.  If I did that, if I lived my life that way, I’d never find an ounce of joy in anything.  My whole life would be consumed with hating everything because it’s somehow, tangentially related to something that’s despicable.

Seriously, think about it.  Think about all the things in your life that either bring you joy or keep you alive.  Your job, where you shop, the movies you watch, the magazines you read, the food you eat, the country you live in, the city you call home.  If you lived your life boycotting all the things you find fault in, as Keith Olbermann might suggest, you’d be the most insufferable prick in the world or you’d be dead.

Sometimes, you just have to let things go.  I know that’s not how things get done and how great social change is enacted, but leave all that shit to the people who actually give a damn.  Because either way, they’re going to find a way to complain and voice their complaints until the rancor and outrage is at its zenith.  I’ll be over here, watching football on Sunday with a beer in one hand and a pork burrito in the other, refreshing my fantasy football page on my laptop, with an erection at full mast, wondering just how in the hell it can get any better than this.

#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.

It’s Official: Bishop Sankey To Turn Pro

It’s funny, when I first heard about Bishop Sankey, it was because he defected from his committment to go to Wazzu, specifically to come to the University of Washington.  I didn’t hold a lot of high expectations.  I mean, if he was nearly a Cougar, how good could he possibly be?

Sankey had limited carries in 2011, as Chris Polk was still handling the bulk of the mail.  I didn’t think I’d see another runner like Polk for YEARS, maybe even decades.  I certainly didn’t think I’d see another runner like Polk the very next season!

You could argue that Sankey’s 2012 season was better than ANY season Polk ever delivered (and Polk finished his career as one of the very best Husky running backs of all time).  Sankey had 1,439 yards and 16 touchdowns (5.0 yards per carry), to go along with 33 receptions for 249 yards.  In his first full season as the lead Husky running back, Sankey proved he was someone very special.

And then he came back for 2013 and totally shattered everyone’s expectations.

You’re looking at the new single-season leader for a Husky running back.  1,870 yards and a whopping 20 touchdowns (5.7 yards per carry), to go along with 28 receptions for 304 yards and 1 receiving touchdown.  For the record, the last single-season rushing leader was Corey Dillon with 1,695 yards in 1996. 

Sankey averaged over 140 yards per game this year!  All but two of his games saw Sankey rush for over 90 yards (and one of those was against Idaho State where he ran for 77 yards on only 4 carries).  In his career, he’s had 16 games with 100+ rushing yards and 4 games with 200+ rushing yards.  His career day was against Cal this season, where he ran for 241 yards on 27 carries.

With ASJ (where rumors were running rampant that his financial situation was going to force him into entering the draft), I was 100% sure that he would not be coming back for the 2014 season.  With Sankey, I was still pretty confident that he’d leave, but I’ve been surprised before.  Still, when you consider the running back position and the pounding they take on a game-in, game-out basis, now is the time.  Sankey carried the ball a total of 616 times in the last two years (with an additional 61 touches through the air).  He was far-and-away the best player on this offense and almost to a fault we relied on him way too much.  It was necessary, of course, because we wouldn’t have been nearly as good without him.  I’m just glad he survived and looks to be in pretty good shape going into the 2014 draft.

They’re projecting him to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick.  That’s impressive considering NFL teams aren’t selecting running backs NEARLY as high (or as frequently) as they’ve done in decades past.  There are no injury concerns that I’m aware of, so there is no reason for him to fall like Polk did.  I think he’s going to be an elite running back in the league for many years to come.

Honestly, I think a team like Baltimore should look HARD at bringing him in and replacing Ray Rice.  I think he could step in TOMORROW and be a better running back than Rice.  Sankey has the running chops, obviously, but he’s also a quality pass-catcher and an elite blocker.  He should be an every-down back; I just hope he finds a quality organization (outside of the NFC).  Other teams who might want to take a look at him would be the Giants, 49ers (Gore isn’t getting any younger), Miami, and maybe even Houston (if they let Tate go in free agency and get rid of Foster’s oppressive contract).  As much as I’d like to see him in a Seahawks uniform, he doesn’t make a lot of sense.  We JUST drafted Christine Michael last year in the second round and he looks like he’ll be a game-changer in his own right, just as soon as he’s given a chance to produce.

I’m happy for Sankey.  He’s done everything we could have possibly asked of him in a Husky uniform; now it’s time for him to become a star in the National Football League.  I’m also not too concerned about the Huskies’ situation going forward either. 

I REALLY hope Deontae Cooper gets a shot to be our #1 back.  He was able to stay healthy throughout 2013 and put on a clinic in that Oregon State game.  It looks like his jets are back, giving him the burst to be a big play machine for us next year. 

We’ve also got Callier, who I still see as more of a change-of-pace back.  He also kept himself healthy in 2013, but looked a step slower than he did pre-injury.  One would hope that Callier will be back to full speed next year.

Finally, Dwayne Washington, in spite of some fumble problems earlier in the season, is another option with some quicks.  He, as well, worked some magic in that fateful Oregon State game, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him get a chance to show what he can do.

We’re loaded, is what I’m trying to say.  Barring injury, running back (and the running game in general, with Cyler Miles at the helm) will be the strongest part of our team in 2014.  Coach Pete has the dedication to the run that we, as Husky fans, have come to rely upon.  This isn’t a time to mourn the loss of Sankey.  It’s time to celebrate all that he’s done for the program and wish him well in his next life.  We’ll be fine.  And clearly, so will he.

Seattle Sports Hell 2013 NFL Power Rankings – Week 11

I tend to have issues with people who consider their own opinions infallible.  Oh, you’re SO important that it’s impossible for you to even be SLIGHTLY wrong?  Fortunately, I don’t feel like this happens much to me in my daily life, but in sports it happens ALL THE TIME.

Referees and umpires.  Who needs ’em, right?  Well, I guess some of these games would devolve into chaos, but you know what?  They shouldn’t have the type of power they have over games.  These sports leagues have done what they can to take back some of that power with “instant replay”, but I would argue that they haven’t gone NEARLY far enough.

In the end, fans don’t REALLY care about how long these games are.  That’s a product of the media, giving voice to people who don’t really exist outside of the media.  Yeah, beat writers and such want the games to be shorter, because they don’t want to sit around for four hours or more doing their jobs.  It’s pretty pathetic when you think about it, but just look at it!  Who is arguing for less time “under the hood?”  It’s media types.  Period.  That’s why you always hear about them complaining whenever a baseball game goes into extra innings.  Oh, you poor thing, you get to write about sports for a living, and you have to stay a little longer!

The only thing fans care about is getting the call right.  It doesn’t matter if the game is 3 hours or 3:30 or even 4 hours.  They want to know they’re getting a game that’s judged fairly.

So, to think it’s okay that certain refs call certain penalties a certain way is an absolute joke.  These players already have to adjust to all the things the other team is throwing at them; now they’ve got to adjust their play to how the refs are calling pass interference?  And, as for baseball, a strike zone is a strike zone, and it shouldn’t matter who is behind the plate or if the batter is left-handed or not!

How would I change things?  For starters, no more umpires calling balls & strikes.  You use whatever technology they have to track balls and strikes and you go by THAT.  Instead of an ump, just have a couple of lights at the backstop:  red for a ball, green for a strike.  Let the umpire stand there if you want, but he’s only in charge of over-riding the system if a batter swings and misses (and the home plate ump no longer gets to stand behind the plate – he stands across from the batter, watching for checked-swings).  Oh, we’re not allowed to question your almighty judgment on balls & strikes with replay?  Fine, then we’re taking the job away from you altogether.

As for everything else in baseball, it’s all automatically reviewed.  There’s a guy from the MLB home office in every stadium, with no affiliation to the umpire’s union, and he calls for a stoppage of the game if there’s a missed call.  Like, a short stop’s phantom tagging of second base on a double play.  That shit won’t fly when I’m in charge!

As for football, all penalties can be reviewed.  I will never understand why teams aren’t allowed to question a penalty!  Or, an egregious non-call.  It’s absolutely absurd that referees get to have all of this unquestioned power over a football game!  Do you understand how many billions of dollars the NFL is worth?  And we’re letting these little panty-waists dictate the results of games?

Again, here, there would be an impartial observer to review penalties.  Someone who knows the rules inside and out, someone who can come on the broadcast and explain things for us (so the stupid refs don’t have to), and someone who won’t be swayed because they were once in Ed Hochuli’s shoes.

Also, I think all reviews in the NFL should be automatic.  Give coaches their two-to-three challenges just in case “Upstairs” doesn’t see something in time, but otherwise I want the game stopped on close calls.

We can do this, people!  If we put our minds to it, we can do anything!  By God, I won’t have another Super Bowl XL!  Not on my watch!

On to the rankings.


  1. Denver Broncos (9-1) – Inside track for AFC West, and proof-positive that they’re the #1 team in the NFL.
  2. Seattle Seahawks (10-1) – Most fortunate BYE week of anyone in the NFL.  You’ve earned this rest, Seahawks.

The Rest:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) – Not going to call them a pretender, but they’re going to need to play better – and get Jamaal Charles more involved – if they’re going to take down the Broncos.
  2. Carolina Panthers (7-3) – Holy shitballs!  This team is for real!  Boy, are we lucky we caught them early, before Riverboat “Swingin’ Dick” Ron took control.
  3. New England Patriots (7-3) – The Colts gotta be pretty stoked about the Patriots losing like this.  It’ll be a shame for whichever team doesn’t get the #2 seed.  Then again, not as much of a shame as whichever team between the Chiefs/Broncos getting the #5 seed.  There outta be a law.
  4. New Orleans Saints (8-2) – The showdown for the NFC #1 seed in two weeks.  These Saints will lose.
  5. Indianapolis Colts (7-3) – Almost blew that to the Titans.  They will struggle without Reggie Wayne.
  6. San Francisco 49ers (6-4) – Not the same football team without Crabtree.  Now, they’re not even guaranteed to be a playoff team!
  7. Detroit Lions (6-4) – Playing defense like that is going to lose you that division title.
  8. Chicago Bears (6-4) – McCown is not stealing the starter’s job from Cutler.  He will be back in there when he’s healthy … just not a moment sooner.
  9. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) – Even when Nick Foles doesn’t throw a TD pass, he still scores 30 fantasy points.  Fantasy Juggernaut!
  10. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) – Not a contender.  But, probably still a division winner.
  11. Arizona Cardinals (6-4) – I would have laughed and laughed if the Jags had beaten them.  As it stands, I’m just laughing and laughing because they have the same record as the 49ers.
  12. Green Bay Packers (5-5) – Will you PLEASE make Matt Flynn your starter?
  13. Miami Dolphins (5-5) – What can you say?  Solid win.  They’re still not a great team, but whatever.
  14. Dallas Cowboys (5-5) – Sorry Cowboys, your season is over.  The Eagles will F your S up.
  15. Baltimore Ravens (4-6) – All it took was one of the worst weather games in NFL history for the Ravens to remember they have Ray Rice on their team.  Fantasy owners would probably appreciate it if you gave him this type of attention the rest of the year.
  16. New York Giants (4-6) – Whoop-dee-doo, they beat up on the Green Bay Packers, BFD.
  17. St. Louis Rams (4-6) – I think the Rams beat the 49ers the next time these two teams play.
  18. New York Jets (5-5) – Wasn’t this team supposed to be good on defense?  I guess it’s hard to be when your offense turns it over so much.
  19. San Diego Chargers (4-6) – Will people finally stop believing that this is a playoff team now?
  20. Cleveland Browns (4-6) – Whatever.
  21. Buffalo Bills (4-7) – Yeah, I dunno.
  22. Tennessee Titans (4-6) – 4-6 record and second place in their divison.  Huh.
  23. Oakland Raiders (4-6) – Now THAT’S how you play with a backup quarterback!
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) – The Steelers & The Lions:  A Defensive Pillow Fight For The Ages.
  25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) – This team COULD approach a 7-9 record by season’s end.  Not too shabby after that start.
  26. Washington Redskins (3-7) – And yet, still not out of the NFC Least.
  27. Houston Texans (2-8) – Keenum benched?  What is this world coming to?
  28. Atlanta Falcons (2-8) – Just an awful, awful team.
  29. Minnesota Vikings (2-8) – I guess that’s that for Christian Ponder, yeah?
  30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) – Your 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars.

Seattle Sports Hell 2013 NFL Power Rankings – Week 9

Normally, I’m of the opinion that winning is the only thing that matters to me as a fan.  I don’t necessarily care what type of person you are off the field, what your beliefs are, what you do in your free time, whatever.  I’m not a fan of Local Sports Athlete, The Person.  I’m just a fan of Local Sports Athlete, The Member of Local Sports Team.  And when you leave the Local Sports Team, I tend to immediately lose interest in you.  Even the all-time greats!  I rarely took the time to see what Ken Griffey Jr. or Gary Payton did after they left Seattle.  Unless they were involved in a playoff run, in which case I would root from afar, but not too hard, because it’s impossible to root hard for a team that’s not your own.

Tangents aside, in getting back to my original point:  NORMALLY, I could care less about who these athletes are.  If you’re kind of a creep, I’m probably going to put up with your antics, because as the axiom goes:  You would absolutely LOVE everything Richard Sherman says and does if he was on YOUR team.

I’m sure Richard Sherman has his fair share of fans who aren’t necessarily Seahawks fans.  It is possible to overlap in this Venn diagram.  For instance, I always liked whenever Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens or Randy Moss made waves with whatever controversial things they said or did.  Even the Sharpie Incident, which happened during a game against my beloved Seahawks; I LOVE that shit!  I think it’s hilarious.  Now, in the heat of the moment, I was most likely enraged, but taken objectively, I think there IS a place in the game for these types of characters, and I wish we had more of them.

Nevertheless, Richard Sherman has an inordinate amount of haters because of who he is and what he says.  Golden Tate, too, has an inordinate amount of haters, because of the Fail Mary, and more recently the taunting spectacle in the Monday Night Rams game.  And, I guess because he went to Notre Dame and it’s always popular to hate on the Fighting Irish.

I contend that I would be fans of these guys even if they’d never once worn a Seahawks uniform, because they’re entertaining.  They’re not boxed into some white-bread formula for what a professional football player is supposed to be.  I don’t need a league full of cookie-cutter athletes.  I think Mark Schlereth is the most boring analyst on television and I’d rather there be MORE players who ruffle his feathers.  I don’t subscribe to the Mike Golic way of thinking, and I’m better for it.

That having been said, there’s another type of professional athlete who I can’t stand.  And I want to believe I’d hate this type of player even if he donned the Seahawks’ unis.  This player is no better exemplified than by one Richie Incognito.

This guy is a fucking asshole of the highest order.  What’s worse, the bulk of his value isn’t derived from his skill at the offensive guard position, but rather in how dirty he is as a player.

There have been dirty players I’ve enjoyed and rooted for in my lifetime.  Dennis Rodman was always pretty dirty; but he also rebounded the ball like a madman and was ultimately an asset on the floor until his personality got in the way and the team soured on his antics.  There have been any number of cheaters in baseball who I’ve rooted for at one time or another.  I even have a generally postive opinion of Barry Bonds; but don’t get me started on that dickhead Roger Clemens.  Even Brandon Browner is more imposing enforcer than NFL cornerback; but he still has a skillset and for the most part plays within the rules.

Richie Incognito, on the other hand, is damn near a psychopath.  How he has never played for the Oakland Raiders is anybody’s guess.  Being billed the Dirtiest Player In The NFL isn’t something to be proud of!  What’s more, if he wasn’t so dirty, he wouldn’t even be in the league!  The guy is a mediocre lineman at best, and that’s while using every dirty trick in the book.  He’s often one of the most-penalized players in the NFL.  And now, we’ve got this hazing incident.

If the Seahawks went out and signed him to the minimum for next year as some added depth, there is no way I’d root for the man.  I’d actively criticize this front office every chance I got.  Hell, if the Seahawks would’ve signed him in his supposed-prime, I still would have criticized the move!  He’s a terrible football player, a wretch of a human being, and I hope he has played his last down in the NFL.  And, if he gets another chance to play again, I hope he tears both ACLs in his first practice.  Incognito is scum; that is all.

On to the rankings.


  1. Denver Broncos (7-1) – WOW, look at this schedule the next four games:  @SD, KC, @NE, @KC.  There’s your gauntlet, my friends.  This is also the stretch that likely decides the AFC West and the AFC top 2 seeds.
  2. Seattle Seahawks (8-1) – The best team in football doesn’t let a team like Tampa put up a 21-point lead; I don’t care if we came back in the second half.

The Rest:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) – They’re just steady, what can you say?
  2. Indianapolis Colts (6-2) – Boy, that Andrew Luck is simply a baller.  It’s going to hurt him not having Reggie Wayne around, though.  They’re going to need to find a #2 receiver in a bad way.
  3. San Francisco 49ers (6-2) – You chickenfuckers thought you were going to get one on us!  Not sorry to let you down, assholes!
  4. New England Patriots (7-2) – Whoop-dee-doo, they beat up on the Pittsburgh Steelers, BFD.
  5. New Orleans Saints (6-2) – They’ll still end up with a good record, but I just can’t see the Saints as a Top 2 team in the NFC.  I still think Green Bay steals that #2 seed in the end.
  6. Green Bay Packers (5-3) – Like so many teams, the Packers are one injured quarterback away from being totally worthless.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) – And, Andy Dalton follows up his best game ever with three interceptions and a safety to end the game in overtime.  This is why we can’t have nice things!
  8. Detroit Lions (5-3) – So, have you seen Detroit’s second-half schedule?  Look at these cupcakes:  @Chi, @Pit, TB, GB, @Phi, Bal, Giants, @Min.  This team could EASILY be 12-4 at season’s end!
  9. Carolina Panthers (5-3) – Panthers are riding a 4-game winning streak and absolutely had to win that game against the Falcons.  Their upcoming schedule is pretty rough, with the next three:  @SF, NE, @Mia.  If they figure out a way to go 2-1 in that stretch, I would legitimately be afraid of this team.  Also, not for nothing, but they still play the Saints twice.
  10. Chicago Bears (5-3) – Matt Forte is a national treasure.  This year of fantasy dominance totally redeems him for his last two years of utter sucktitude.
  11. New York Jets (5-4) – J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!  They beat the Saints for us and we ALMOST blew it.  Either way, way to go!  You’re earning more points in my book every week!
  12. Dallas Cowboys (5-4) – Wow, Tony Romo in the clutch … what is the world coming to?
  13. Arizona Cardinals (4-4) – This team could finish 10-6 or 6-10 and it wouldn’t totally shock me.  Home games against Texans, Indy, Rams, and 49ers.  Road games against Jax, Phi, Ten, and Sea.  I could see 6 wins in that slate, and also 6 losses; guess it just depends on whether or not Palmer has enough in the tank.
  14. San Diego Chargers (4-4) – Like the Dolphins, we’re not talking about a good team.  One of these two teams (Chargers or Dolphins) will take that 6th spot in the AFC playoffs, but they will lose in that first playoff game, without question.
  15. Miami Dolphins (4-4) – They beat an inconsistent Bengals team.  Who cares?  They’re still not very good.
  16. Houston Texans (2-6) – Boy, I tell you, that Case Keenum fella is going to be fun to watch for the next 5-6 years.  Houston kinda lucked out this year.  If they can finish with a crappy-enough record, maybe they get a high draft pick and immediately reload for next year.
  17. Atlanta Falcons (2-6) – Matt Ryan is KILLING me right now.  You can’t be throwing all these interceptions!  Well, except for next week, when Seattle comes to town.  but, after that, NO MORE!
  18. Cleveland Browns (4-5) – Oh those resilient Browns!  I never had a doubt that they’d beat the Ravens.
  19. Buffalo Bills (3-6) – Tuel looked kinda okay against the undefeated Chiefs.  In the end, he cost them the game, and he’s clearly the third-best quarterback on that team, but still.  He should hold his head reasonably high.
  20. Baltimore Ravens (3-5) – There is something seriously wrong with Ray Rice.  Well, there are five things seriously wrong with Ray Rice, and that would be his offensive linemen.
  21. Tennessee Titans (4-4) – Didn’t have Locker’s best game, but still went in and put a pounding on a decent Rams team (on the road, no less).
  22. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) – Nick Foles, you have single-handedly won me my fantasy game on an otherwise down week!  I love you!  You may have also saved my season and pushed me through into the playoffs!  I want to have your babies!
  23. Oakland Raiders (3-5) – Pretty stinky performance, Raiders.  My fantasy team thanks you for that.
  24. Washington Redskins (3-5) – That goalline stand against the Chargers was bigtime to force the field goal that forced overtime.  I’m pretty skeptical that the Redskins are going to turn it around two seasons in a row after starting off ultra-shitty, but this might be the spark they need.
  25. New York Giants (2-6) – Everyone in the crappy NFC East won on Sunday.  And yet the Giants are still in this thing at 2-6.  Ye gods.
  26. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6) – Maybe the only offensive line worse than the Seahawks’.
  27. St. Louis Rams (3-6) – They looked decent, but you’re still talking about a team headed by Kellen Clemens.  No thanks.
  28. Minnesota Vikings (1-7) – I had to play Nick Foles in my fantasy league this week (2-QB league) and I ALMOST swapped him out when I saw Christian Ponder on the waiver wire.  In the end, I stuck with Foles, believing that while Ponder was probably the safer play, Foles had the higher upside.  Had I gone with the swap, you’d be looking at a dead man right now, because I would have jumped out of a 10-story building before the end of the afternoon games on Sunday.
  29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8) – Still a bad team.  They just caught the Seahawks at the right time.  Maybe if they had the same dedication to the run, they’d start winning some games.  Ya think?
  30. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) – Your 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars.

A Companion Post: Who Might Want Beastmode Besides Seattle?

One thing I failed to explore in the previous post is:  what’s the market look like for a guy like Marshawn Lynch?

Yes, the Franchise Tag is a good cost-cutting tool when trying to re-sign a player.  But, a complete and utter lack of teams desiring to sign an over-priced running back is probably the best thing the Seahawks could ask for.

Of course, on Lynch’s side, you’ve got the age-old adage:  it only takes one.

So, let’s just go around the league.  For starters, you can count out the NFC East.  Dallas has any number of quality young backs already locked in (including super-stud DeMarco Murray who is sure to be a fantasy god for years to come).  The Giants appear to be set with Bradshaw and whoever else behind him.  The Redskins have a nice little stable of young backs.  And the Eagles have Shady McCoy (and, I imagine, not a whole lot of cap room to boot).

In the NFC North, I’m banking my life-savings (and one of my fantasy keepers) on the fact that they will retain Matt Forte.  Minnesota obviously has one of the very best backs in the league.  The Detroit Lions, however, could be interesting.  All they’ve got on their roster right now is Jahvid Best, and he’s a fucking injury waiting to happen!  It’s certainly NOT a good sign that he ended his season with concussions last year.  And, you’d have to think that for a young team trying to cultivate this bad-ass attitude, a guy like Beastmode would slide right in nicely.  Even MORE interesting are the Green Bay Packers.  You’ve got a team with an all-world quarterback, with a shitload of receivers, and with absolutely no running game to speak of whatsoever.  Ryan Grant is a free agent who has played his last game with the green and gold; James Starks is good, but he’s no Beastmode.  I gotta think Lynch might be just the piece to put the right balance into that explosive offense.

The NFC South will be no competition.  Atlanta still has a lot of money tied up in Michael Turner.  New Orleans drafted the top running back last season (and they have other money tied up in three or four other guys); plus, theirs is not an offense that would make any sense for a guy like Lynch.  Carolina still has three running backs (including the guy who takes snaps from the center).  And Tampa is a young team that will never in a million years put in the money it would take to get Lynch.

As for the other teams in the NFC West:  San Francisco has Gore, St. Louis has Jackson, and Arizona has Wells.  They all seem pretty committed to their guys.

You know who scares me more than any other team in the NFL?  The New England Patriots.  Think about it, they were THIS close to winning it all this past season!  What were they missing?  What are they ALWAYS missing?  A balanced offensive attack!  Let’s face it, Tom Brady isn’t getting any younger.  Yes, I know the Patriots like to skimp on their running backs (just as they like to bank draft picks for future drafts), but at one point or another, they’re going to have to cash in before it’s too late.  That crack about Tom Brady not getting any younger:  the same can be said for him not getting any BETTER.  Tom Brady is as good as he’s ever going to be; it’s all downhill from here.  One of these seasons, his skills are going to erode.  He’s not going to see the open receiver soon enough, he’s going to force more and more balls into coverage, he’s going to take more and more hits from ferocious defenses looking to take out the guy while he’s on top.  The Pats could sure as shit use a guy like Lynch to take off some of the load.

And, don’t look now, but Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are both free agents.  They’re not going to hand the ball off to Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen 30 times a game!  Why WOULDN’T they make a huge push to get Lynch and start dominating the Time of Possession in every game?  What’s the downside here?

Elsewhere in the AFC East, the Dolphins are tied up with Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, the Jets seem pretty happy with Shonn Greene and whatever young buck they’re going to slide behind him.  And, of course, the Bills have Jackson and Spiller (plus, duh, they’re the team that traded Lynch in the first place).

In the AFC North, you know damn well Baltimore is re-signing Ray Rice, so forget about it.  The Steelers would be an AWESOME fit for a guy like Beastmode, but they’re still stuck with Mendenhall (plus, they NEVER fork over money on free agents).  Cincy won’t fork over the money it’ll take either.  And the Browns – in spite of his sub-par season – will most likely re-sign Hillis (plus, they’ve got a stable of young backs they could easily throw into the mix should Hillis go elsewhere).

The AFC South has three teams that are simply non-starters.  Houston has not one but TWO massively effective running backs (Foster, who’s a fantasy god; and Tate who – as a backup – nearly ran for 1,000 yards).  The Titans have Chris Johnson and his massively insane contract.  And the Jags have one of the better all-around guys in MJD.

The Indianapolis Colts, however, are a God damned wild card and I just don’t like it!  Now, for starters, if they opt to keep Peyton Manning, then you can just skip to the next paragraph right now, because they won’t have two cents to rub together.  But, let’s say they let him and his $28 million walk:  suddenly, they’re in play!  They will have a rookie quarterback starting from Game 1.  They don’t have a single running back worth a good God damn on their team.  And, the organization will have to do something for its fans to make up for the fact that they just let go of a Hall of Famer (especially if he goes to another team and starts kicking ass again).  I wouldn’t put it past the Colts to do something drastic; mark my words.

In the AFC West, we’re talking about teams who are all pretty much set.  The Chiefs will be looking for Jamaal Charles to bounce back from an early-season season-ending injury in 2011.  The Broncos still have Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno.  And the Raiders will still have McFadden; if they re-sign Michael Bush, then all the more reason for them to NOT sign Lynch.

So, aside from the Seahawks, we’re talking about four potential teams:  Detroit, Green Bay, New England, and Indianapolis.  All have ample reasons to sign a back like Lynch; all have ample reasons to not do a damn thing.  There will be other, cheaper options out there (Hillis, Bush, Mike Tolbert, Cedric Benson, Tashard Choice, Justin Forsett, Ryan Grant) for teams like New England and Detroit to snap up, if they so choose to go the tightwad route.  Really, it’s tough to know exactly WHICH of these four teams would be the most likely, considering I don’t know what their cap situations are like.  If I were Green Bay or New England, though, I’d think long and hard.  Both teams were DAMN close this past season.  Both teams had very similar, pass-first types of offenses.  And both teams lost to the same team (the Giants) which could have been avoided had they had a running game.

Something to think about as these Beastmode negotiations continue.