I just got back from a weekend of skiing and finally feel like I can look back at the Seahawks’ 2012 season without feeling too large a pang of disappointment. Sometimes it takes stepping away to gain some perspective. The only football I watched was the third quarter of the NFC Championship game and had to walk away because I saw two teams Seattle could certainly beat.
If someone had asked me nine months ago how I’d feel if Seattle were to go 11-5 with a playoff win on the road I would have taken it in a heartbeat. However, winning makes a person greedy and leaves them craving more. Once it was apparent that Pete Carroll and John Schneider stacked all of that talent and potential onto their roster, and that a playoff game was possible, even with a team that had some significant weakness, I set my sight on an even further horizon. When Seattle wasn’t able to advance, the loss left the city, and myself, in somewhat of a state of shock. The emotional whiplash that took place in the fourth quarter of the game in divisional game gave me hope and then took it away.
All cities are unified when their sports teams do well. It’s one of the great things that sports teams bring to communities. I believe that Seattle is a little different from cities like Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, and Miami. Every team has their true fans, but Seattle itself seems to suffer when the Seahawks don’t do well (everyone is used to the Mariners sucking). It’s easy to lose sight of that when the team has a few rough years but is obvious when look at the incredibly civic pride and enthusiasm that takes place when the team succeeds. In that regard Seattle is like a Cleveland, Kansas City, or Green Bay. Labeling Seattle fans fair weather is ridiculous and ignorant. Fair weather fans don’t cause seismic activity last time I checked.
The Seahawks over 2012 reminded Seattle why they stuck with a team that had been disparaged and struggled for the last six years. The team from South Alaska that was always too small, too hurt, too slow, too whatever became big, strong, loud, and a force unto themselves. Win or lose, a team was going to remember that they played Seattle last Sunday. Watching that and experiencing it with a great community of 12th Men made it that much hard to realize it was over. Even my dad who can be very jaded and reserved when it comes to sports (game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference finals between the Sonics and Suns is still very much remembered) couldn’t help but get excited at what just might be.
I bring up these seemingly random aspects of the 2012 season because they stand out the most when I look back on this season. Seattle became a team that would walk up to anybody and punch them in the mouth. Led by a calm, cool, and incredibly talented quarterback, a team comprised of many castoffs and unknowns turned into a wrecking ball with the 12th Man as the crane that swung it. The connection between the team and fans in Seattle can’t be overstated. From completely open training camps to showing up at Children’s Hospital every week the connection is real. That is what I love. I realize that I’m not an actual player on the team, but to feel part of it is either the greatest marketing gimmick ever or proof of a true community-franchise connection. I choose to believe it’s the latter in this case. (Every article I write, I have to go and take out any “we’s” and replace them with “Seahawks.”)
Fortunately, Seattle doesn’t have many free agents going into the off-season which means that many of the personalities and people that the make up this great team will be back. And they will be hungry; hungry to prove to themselves and the 12th Man that they are good enough to win a Super Bowl. For that, I am just as excited as I was this season.