Way back on the 13th of January 2013, 12th Men and Women worldwide witnessed the birth of a legend. No, not my daughter Anna, she was born in 1997. I am talking about the 60 minutes of actual play in that wonderful and horrible game of football. Not Foosball, that’s the devil. The Seahawks were listless for the first 30 minutes and seemed to have no answer for the Falcons.
Do you remember that feeling of despair deep in your gut? Do you remember the disappointment, and self loathing? Do you remember your wife trying to console you just so her night would not be absolutely miserable? Do you remember knowing how bad your hangover was going to be ahead of time? I do. Do you also remember that something very special happened deep inside the Visitors’ locker room during half time on that fateful Sunday? Something special happened in my living room too, something I will always cherish. No, not when I dropped my beer celebrating. I’m talking about Russell Wilson, “Dange Russ,” “Big Russ.”
Although he had progressed and impressed throughout the season, winning over naysayers and giving clout to supporters, Russell Wilson’s legacy was born that Sunday afternoon. This reminds me, I recall mentioning to my Dad and brothers (Hi Popo, Brent and Gerrett!) during the third preseason game,”Man, if they give this rookie a chance to compete, he is going to be our starter.” You can ask them….that’s right, I said it. On that historical 13th day of January 2013, my buddy Rob said aloud in my living room, “We still have the second half, Russell can do it.”
The 10 plus people in my living room were clouded in the kind of silence only pity and empathy can induce. My 12thMan Buddies Rebekah and Rob provided the only hint of Seahawk fortitude in the house. In the second half, the world, my house, and the Falcons could only marvel in his brilliance, for the mighty “Big Russ” had come to play. The final piece of the Russell puzzle started with 2:29 left on the clock in the fourth quarter and the rest is a roller coaster ride of emotions and lost voices. It is also the most important piece of Seahawk history they must remember going in to this season.
Russell Wilson tightened his boot laces and put a franchise in his ruck sack that day. A ruck sack is a large back pack Soldiers carry their gear in. They are huge and very heavy, ask my Back doctor. If your Army recruiter says the Infantry is just like camping, well it is and it isn’t. Imagine at least 50 lbs of camping gear on your back and an inherent danger that regular camping does not incur. Better yet, think of Call of Duty with a tent and astronaut food and you are in the ball park. Anyhow, Russell Wilson won that game along with the hearts of millions of us. He also cemented the cornerstone of the future. (My wife Sherry and our friend Rebekah also mentioned that his muscles glisten quite nicely when he get sweaty, and I think I just threw up a little).
The entire defense, the coverage called on those last three plays and the baby soft coverage that came with them lost the game. Sure, we can talk about the icing of the kicker or the wasted time outs. We can argue that if the defense would have done this or if the offense would have done that, but that is all crud. Russell Wilson took us within 31 seconds of Holy Moly. We should have beaten those Falcons on that day. We could have beaten any team still in the hunt. With that said, here are the questions I am waiting to see answered as our Seattle Seahawks prepare for what may be the their greatest ever opportunity to win it all.
1) Can Seattle put consistent and unrelenting pressure on opposing quarterbacks? They will need to greatly improve their ability to disrupt the opposing quarterbacks if they hope to be considered truly great.
2) Can Coach Carroll bring the freewheeling Hawks under his control and keep the beast focused on football while remaining killers on the field (and only on the field, hmm hmm). We know the Seahawks are good, but PEDs and loud mouths are a distraction. Something I learned as a young Soldier, “Real men don’t talk about it, real men shut up and do it.” Tater, Bam Bam, and Big Sherm need to do it on the field and stop talking about it. Nobody is ever scared of the loud mouth. Everyone is always worried about the quiet ones. I do believe they have the walk to back the talk, but great action always outweighs simple words.
3) Will the change at Defensive coordinator have an effect on the aggressiveness of the Seahawks defensive schemes? I hope so, geez. How much nickel and prevent zone can a fan handle? The Seahawks have the best defensive backfield in the game and they need to act like it. There were quite a few times last year where I felt they waited on a shift in momentum to get aggressive. Smart commanders stopped attacking the enemy during breakfast decades ago. The enemy knows you will hit them when they are down, they do not expect it when you are at your weakest. C’mon coach, we want to see our boys smash the other team in the mouth (within the rules of course), and we want to see it happen so often that it is normal.
4) Is the offensive line ready to protect “Big Russ?” As elusive as he is, and as masterful as he will be, Russell Wilson deserves the best offensive line in the NFL. Do you remember what Matt did for the Seahawks when he had the best O line in the NFL? That’s right; he took them to the Superbowl. Matt is no Russell Wilson. I truly do like Matt Hasselback and appreciate what he did for Seattle for so many years, but I adore Russell Wilson. By the way, that Superbowl was on my Birthday back in 2006….best gift I have ever received, and Matt did it just for me, he would have gone for the victory, but didn’t want everyone else to feel left out.
5) All the press and statistics in the world do not matter if you let your guard down. If you do not play until the whistle is blown, be it coach or player….you will not be legitimately successful. For the season, our defense was ranked first in total defense, and somewhere in the realm of sixth in passing defense and eighth in rushing defense. None of that mattered in those final 31 seconds. Enough said, right? Our offense was ranked fourth in total offense and in the realm of sixth in passing offense and third in rushing offense. Once again, play until you hear the gosh darn whistle.
Beyond these questions, our beloved Seahawks have the tools and the parts to build a formidable monster. I personally believe that they will own the NFC West this year. I believe that the NFC West will become the best division in the NFL, hands down. I believe this squad is going to be the best Seattle Seahawk squad ever witnessed and remain so for a long time. I also believe they need to address some things, and if they are not left unattended, they will see the effects immediately.