Normally, as you may or may not have noticed, when I write about the Seahawks I do so with some quantitative angle. I thoroughly enjoy pouring over statistics and I think that there is a lot to be learned by putting some real thought into interpreting the data. It also helps cut through our own biases and see the objectives truthes about the game in general and the Seahawks in particular. Statistics are not on trial here, I don’t need to make a case for them.
Today I felt like writing something a little bit different. Today I wanted to address the fan experience, an experience which is ultimately an emotional one. It is very interesting how easy it is to get attached to a group of 53 men who you don’t know who are playing a game for your amusement while representing a city that most of them are not from. On the surface it seems kind of foolish. I’ve had many people put it to me that it is foolish, but those people are just too cynical or disinterested to allow themselves to be caught up in it. Once you are really a fan you understand it, in fact once you are enough of a fan you couldn’t swear off it if you tried.
The reason I address the emotional aspect of the fan experience today is because yesterdays game was was a hard one not to get stirred up about. Live-tweeting the game, as I always do, I found myself exhibiting radical mood swings even as I was trying to provide some semblance of analysis. It was too tough to not let this game get to me. My heart sank as the Seahawks dug a bigger and bigger hole and when they ultimately won the game I felt weightless.
It occured to me as this all played out that what I was experiancing was quite like the classic five stages of grief. However, given that was not the ultimate result of this game was elation I had to add two more stages to the experience. Without further ado, here is an overview of my experience, one that I think I shared with many of you, the seven stages of an emotional rollercoaster:
Stage 1: Denial (1st quarter)
The Seahawks can’t be losing to the Bucs. This is impossible, ridiculous, some kind of strange anomaly that will right itself. The Seahawks are a great team, they are at home, they are impossible to beat at home and therefore this is not happening. Glennon will throw a pick six any second now and the Seahawks will run away with this game. The Buccaneers have not won in 2013 and the Seahawks haven’t lost at home in ages therefore this isn’t real.
Stage 2: Anger (Early to mid 2nd quarter)
How the (insert preferred expletive here) are we allowing Mike Glennon to do this to us. Mike James? Are you kidding me? This defense is supposed to be the strength of this team and this is a disgusting display. The Buccaneers are an awful team, this is downright pathetic. The Saints lost today, the Seahawks have a chance to take the homefield advantage drivers seat and they are going to blow it on the (another different expletive here) Bucs? Unbelievable!
Stage 3: Bargaining (Mid 2nd quarter)
If we could just get a pick here, that would make all the difference. A Sherman run back maybe? Hell, I’ll take a Cliff Avril strip sack. I’m not going to be picky about it. Gun to my head I’ll take a 3rd down stop. Anything, honestly I’ll take anything at this point. Could this team please make one play, any play, I swear I’ll stop my with negativity if we could just make one play.
Stage 4: Depression (Late 2nd quarter)
This game makes me ill. I am deriving no happiness from watching this game. Maybe I should just turn the damn TV off. It’s not doing me any good. I could be curled up in the fetal position right now…
Stage 5: Acceptance (Halftime)
They probably aren’t going to win this game anyway. At least they moved the ball well at the end of the half. Might as well stick around, at least they are playing. They probably won’t come back but I should stick around to see. Nothing to lose now, playing with house money.
Stage 6: Hope (3rd quarter)
Come on Tate keep running…. ah damn it they’ve got him. No. Wait they don’t. He’s still going… how is he still going? I don’t care he’s still going. Go buddy, go buddy, go buddy….
I think the moment I first thought that it was legitimately likely that the Seahawks would win this game was Golden Tate’s punt return. That play was a ray of light in the darkness of my depression. Beyond being beautiful aesthetically it was of great importance to the outcome. The touchdown that made the game 24-14 made a win possible but that punt return made one seem within reach. That’s a big difference.
Stage 7: Ecstasy (Overtime)
The kick is good! All is right in the world. The rest of my day will not be a complete and utter disaster. There is hope for the Seahawks, there is justice. The football gods have seen the light.
From the Doug Baldwin touchdown until the end of this game I was cloud 9. Seattle did allow the Bucs some time to march down the field at the end of the 4th quarter and they gave them the ball first in overtime but once the game was tied it felt like the Seahawks had this one.
This was not a must win so much as a must not-lose and they didn’t lose. The sense of relief was immense, but there was legitimate happiness also. Unlike the Rams game where the Seahawks clung to dear life in this one they came out in the 2nd half and played really good football in all facets of the game. They ran the ball and threw it effectively while shutting down the Buccaneers all half (except for one field goal). This did feel like a win well earned and while there will be plenty to be pessimistic about regarding some of things that transpired this was a good win in many ways. Russell Wilson isn’t going to turn the ball over deep in enemy territory twice a game very often, this defense isn’t going to fail to get a turnover very often. They survived some surprises and tough breaks and won in the end with good football.
There is going to be plenty of time to break down this trying game and I’m sure we’ll be doing that here all week. However, once in a while it’s important to acknowledge the more basic core aspects of what it is to be a fan. This game brought all of that to the forefront for me. This game was an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish but it ended up being a pretty great experience. If you felt a bit dizzy and weak in the knees by the end that’s understandable, but given the way this team plays you are going to need to get used to it.