As we approach the unofficial start to the 2012 NFL season I’d like to give our 12th Man a chance to evaluate the 8 home games that are staring us in the face, and give their thoughts on which one they look forward to the most. Your reasoning can be from a hatred that is rooted so deep in your being that the thought is cause for a pause to breathe before you go Bam Bam on someone, or because a buddy is coming up to visit, and he’s from Dallas (input throat clearing noise here Jason Beverly). Whatever the reason, it’s a good one 12th. As the cause for the biggest home field advantage in the NFL, I think it’s relevant, don’t you? Let’s examine….
Week 2 – Dallas Cowboys
- As I hinted earlier, a good friend of my 12th Man crew is coming up from Dallas for this one. He’d been a very gracious host in our past visits to the Big D, so now it’s our turn. While he’ll definitely enjoy a glutton of good times while visiting the Emerald City, entering the CLink will not be one of the most comfortable of settings. I just can see J-Bev in his Tony Romo jersey, confident in victory until flashes of a muffed snap, and Big Play Babs stream before his eyes as Earl Thomas takes a pick Six to the Thunderdome late in the 4th. Hey, at least the beers are on us Bev. Sorry buddy.
Week 3 – Green Bay Packers
- Not really sure there’s enough ink for all of the print this match-up is going to receive. Seattle and Green Bay have shared quite a bit of history over the past 10-15 years. Holmgren, Hasselbeck, “We’re gonna score”, Ahman Green, and on, and on…To this writer though, the biggest story bathing in this contest is Aaron Rodgers and the simple fact that he’s the best QB in the NFL and has never played here. The guy is a cool breeze in a desert. A swimming hole in the middle of the Skykomish River. Simply put, he doesn’t rattle. Can the 12th Man answer what may be the biggest challenge they’ll see since the opening of the CLink? Warm tea and honey the night before my faithful. I trust that when asked, Aaron Rodgers will proclaim, “It was like being in an earthquake, a riot, and an Alice in Chains concert at the same time”. The nation will be watching, I know you all will bring it. BRING IT!!!
Week 6 – New England Patriots
- Let’s start with 2 words here 12th. Tom Brady. Without sounding like the guy who just got done beating a majestic animal such as a horse is, think about it. Brady and Co. are on the backside of a nice ride. Like approaching the chair after a good run on Skyline at Stevens. They can keep taking the chair back up, but hey man, it’s cold up there, and if your knees aren’t so good, maybe Daisy is more appropriate? While this is a horrifically dangerous presumption on my part, I think it’s worth noting. The dying days of summer are upon this team. I say let the young Seattle defense drive a Kam Chancellor size imposition on this fragile quilt, hanging by a very slim Brady thread. Besides, watching Bellichick walk off the field with his anger-face on is just so pleasing. Like a warm Sopapilla from The New Mexicans in Everett, drizzled in honey. (Best food in the North End 12th Man. Check em’ out.)
Week 9 – Minnesota Vikings
- Well, by now we’re all hoping that our boys are on a nice tear here. The Vikings at home should be a facility in domination. But hey, this is the NFL. If AP is healthy, and Christian Ponder….oh hell. There’s no point. I’m sure my season ticket holding brothers are all bartering with this date. It’s bring your girlfriend, or kids, or client week! I hope I’m not sounding too presumptuous here, it’s just that I know our defense is going to abuse, reuse, and recycle this roster. If you want to wear purple in Washington, you better bring some Gold fool. (GO DAWGS!)
Week 10 – New York Jets
- Remember my anger face reference earlier? Well, there’s no one more I want to see walk off the field at the Clink redder in the face than Rex Ryan. I want to see him slam the horn he’s been tooting on for the past 3 years at midfield as Marshawn bathes in Skittles. The Jets are a force 12th. No doubt about it. However, this writer is predicting that the fans and media in NYC spurn Mark Sanchez by Week 10, and the coaching staff follows. Which means Tim Tebow is at the helm for his trip to Decibel Domination. Sure, he played against LSU in college, and he’ll say that he’s been in hostile environments….blah, blah, blah. Whatever. He’s a great guy, and his motives can never be questioned. But his inability to not get past his first read as K.J. Wright eats him alive is as real as the double negative I just threw at you. Believe it 12th.
Week 13 – Arizona Cardinals
- Now begins the home stretch. The last 3 home games are against our division rivals. First up is the Cards. Since I can remember the ‘Hawks-Cards have taken home games from each other. While we all would love a 2-0 sorting of this heated rivalry, a home win is crucial. We start the season in Glendale, so there’s quite the season sandwich between meetings. Obviously, health will be the major story here. The Cards get a fresh start against our Rottweiler of a Defense in Week 1. So fresh that you could almost echo Will Ferrell’s reference to being the ’Fabreeze Brothers’ in “The Other Guys”. What will the story tell in Week 13? I can pretty much guarantee one thing 12th….Larry Fitzgerald HATES playing in Seattle as much as he hates NOT playing in Seattle. He’s like a cold, but he’s catching it….?? If that makes sense. Anyways, if Kolb doesn’t get it together, and AZ’s entire roster can’t once again stay healthy, then it’s a non-issue. Someone call Nuprecon! It’s demo time.
Week 15 – San Francisco 49ers
- Ok 12th. This isn’t going to be pretty. See, what the whole NFL family doesn’t understand is that this is going to grow into the greatest, yet most violent, rivalry in it’s recent history. Because I’m a writer covering the Seahawks, it seems mundane to consider this. But mark my words, this game could, in 2 years, be the NFC Championship Game. I had to put my bib on just to write this capsule. This is a fist fight in all manners of the term. Just ask my 12th crew who went to San Fran to watch a game. Ugly. Now, since we have a higher manner of domination, we’ll let the boys on the field do the talking, but if you feel yelling “Merry Christmas” as you depart a witnessing of sheer fortitude, than be my guest. I’ll bring the bells. And Jingle all the Way.
Week 16 – St. Louis Rams
- One thing I am going to guarantee 12th. By season’s end the proverbial NFL ‘voice’ will all come together and share this lightning rod of a thought….”The NFC West is going to be one of the toughest divisions in this league for years…” And they won’t be wrong. Like all things in life, we experience peaks, and valleys. Well, if this is a peak, than it’s of Everest proportions. Players like L-Fitz, and Patrick Willis. Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, and Steven Jackson. What once was a pass-skelly division has turned into a smash-mouth head on collision of idealism. Competition, effort, precision. Think about the coaching that now exists in this division. Wow. Unlike any other competitive sport, Football and it’s leaders show us what it means to collectively understand and embrace an ideal. The NFC West is becoming a bruising brute. Defense, and pounding the ball. Efficiency at the Quarterback position. Heart Attacks at Wide Receiver (I’m drafting Sid Rice early 12th. He’s angry…) All this falls to my position that the last game of the season is once again the Rams. Don’t think Jeff Fischer won’t have these guys in the hunt. Sam Bradford is going to bring his slo-mo vision to a house he’s visited before. The Rams and Seahawks are commonly built in most facets of the game, except one. And they know it, and they hate us for it. What you ask? Well….
It’s you. Every person that reads this with the Seahawks in their heart understands. These 8 games are home games, yes. But aren’t they more than that? Maybe it’s an affirmation to what we know. The 12th Man is the greatest home-field advantage in professional football. But you know that. I emphatically plead my brothers and sisters of the Blue to embrace this one truth. This football team is going to bring us to the brink of championships….maybe even parades. For 8 days over the next 5 months I challenge each and every one of you to adopt and practice this one truth….
YOU ARE THE GREATEST AND MOST ENDEARED FAN BASE IN THE NFL. YOU HAVE A FLAG THAT FLIES IN YOUR HONOR. AS THIS TEAM IS FOR YOU, BE FOR THEM. AS I AM FOR YOU, BE FOR ME. I AM 12. I STAND BEHIND THE 11 BEFORE ME. I AM 12.