I was almost nervous. My beloved Seahawks were playing in the Super Bowl. I said almost, my confidence belied the flock of Seahawks that were fluttering around in my gut. The Super Bowl pregame shows were up on the big screen. The ice cold beer was flowing from the tap. The brisket and pork shoulder had been in the smoker for almost 10 hours. Friends were starting to pour through the front door, and a few of them were even rooting for the Broncos. Sherry and Marissa had spent the previous evening embellishing the Hawks Nest with everything needed for a 12thman Super Bowl Party. There were Seahawk napkins, blue and green tablecloths, forks and knives, green tassels and blue streamers, blue and green balloons everywhere, even some Seattle Seahawk balloons shaped like footballs and helmets. I was rocking my Russell Wilson Elite Super Bowl edition Jersey (Thank you Popo and Nonni!) and Sherry rocked the custom 12 Jersey. The whole family was sporting matching Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII ball caps. The Seahawks flag had been flying on the front of the house since very early in the morning on Blue Friday. Our friends, Kevin and Lynn, returned some kidnapped garden statues who had received 12thman face lifts. It was meant to be, there were no more nerves, I now knew what was about to happen.
The whole house was glued to the big screens as kickoff occurred. Excellent coverage by Seattle’s special teams ensured that Manning would not have the field position advantage to start the game. Then it happened, the “Snap heard round the world.” The 12thman is everywhere, and evidently, everywhere includes New Jersey. The noise in the stadium was loud. It was supposed to be loud, it was the Super Bowl, but this time it was different. This time, if you paid attention, there was something just a little bit beyond the norm. The 12thman affected the very first play from scrimmage, and set another record in doing so. Fastest score in Super Bowl history, and the Seahawks didn’t even have to do much more than line up and run about 13 yards. The score came 12 seconds into the first quarter. It only took 12 seconds before I had to run my first lap through the house high-fiving everyone. They knew it was coming too. As I rounded the last corner of the Hawks Nest slapping raised hands along my way into the back living room, I saw them all, hands already poised for the smack that was headed their way. What a start. It was happening.
For all the football fans outside of the 12thman, the game was probably not very entertaining. For Denver Broncos fans, it was probably unbearable. For the 12thman, it was absolutely B-E-A-Utiful. The Seattle Seahawks and the 12thman had to listen to all the Tawking heads spewing non-sense all year. They Tawked about how Seattle’s Sea-Fence had not seen an offense like Denver’s. Seattle’s offense couldn’t score enough points to keep up with Denver. Seattle’s “pedestrian” receivers were not good enough to get open against the Bronco secondary. The Bronco receivers were too big for the LOB to effectively blanket. Manning was too good to get shut down by Seattle. The 12thman wouldn’t be there, creating an unfriendly atmosphere for the Seahawks to feed off of. Where are they now, those self imposed experts? What are they saying now? It doesn’t matter, it really really doesn’t. The Seattle Seahawks are the Champs, that is all that matters.
Here is what the “pedestrian” receivers (all Hawks who caught a pass) did this year. The Seahawks appetizers totaled somewhere near 3508 receiving yards, with an average of 13.1 yards per reception, and I think 27 receiving touchdowns. Remember, I don’t do stats, so this is probably inaccurate. My inaccuracy will err on the short side, though, and thus the numbers I present will be short of what they actually accomplished. I can think of 10 to 15 teams who would kill to put up those kind of numbers paired with a running back like Marshawn Lynch. So, maybe that Hall of Fame receiver can “Google” that.
The Seattle running game never was disrespected by anyone in the league. As a matter of fact, Beast Mode may have garnered more attention than it actually deserved. Don’t take this the wrong way, Marshawn is Beast, and I love what he does for the Seahawks — the team had 15 games this year (including the playoffs) where they gained over 100 yards rushing. But that is as a team. Remember, over 500 of those yards came on the feet of Russell Wilson, and very few of those were designed to be dedicated quarterback runs. I think Seattle pulled a fast one on the rest of the league. Overall, the Seahawks rushed for about 2,188 yards on 509 attempts. Let’s see, that averages out to 4.28 yards per carry, and that’s not too bad. The issue is that Marshawn was not a consistent 100-yard per game rusher. I know, I know, he didn’t have to be. But, check this out. Marshawn averaged about 78.6 yards per game, his lowest average in his three Seahawk years. The funny thing is that he had 36 receptions for 316 yards, which is eight more receptions and well over 100 more yards than his previous best as a Seahawk. Here is the kicker, Marshawn now has four 100 yard rushing games in seven playoff appearances. I wonder, is it the Harvin effect? Are teams spending so much time stopping Marshawn from running that it frees everyone else up? I don’t know, I think so, but am not sure. I do know that I hope that this garners some discussion. The fact is, Marshawn Lynch is a threat to break through the line every time he touches the rock, and that is good enough for me. Marshawn, I’m all about those skittles, Boss.
Seattle’s Sea-Fence is an exquisite piece of fine art. When people see them in action they lose track of what it was that they were thinking. When quarterbacks face them, they tend to lose the ball. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Seattle’s defensive unit was the best in the league this year. No statistics needed. The defense was the best since the ’85 Bears, that is a fact. If they continue to build upon that reputation and keep the rest of the league on their collective heels, they may become the greatest to ever play. That will be much easier said than done, as we all know. But, isn’t it fun to think about how others feel about this team? I love thinking about who Kam Chancellor’s next victim will be? What kind of trash is Sherman going to unleash on the opponent or the media? How is Earl Thomas going to continue to amaze me? How much better can Bobby Wagner and Bruce Irvin get? Where they keep finding all those outstanding corner-backs? How scary is it lining up against Chris Clemons, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel, and Big Red? It is truly unique to have so much depth, and we all should be hoping that John and Pete can figure out a way to keep them all, because they, as a unit, are better than anything else in the NFL, by a wide margin. Oh ya, that one other little fact. Malcolm Smith, the unheralded 7th-round pick, and ball Hawking back up linebacker? Ya, he’s the Super Bowl MVP. Put those skittles in your pocket and save them for later.
The two kickers on Seattle are two of the best in their respective fields. Hauschka is like a sniper, and save for a few offensive line miscues, would have been dang near perfect this year. Jon Ryan is freaking awesome. Do you remember how many punt return yards Seattle gave up this year? Through Week 10 (last time I heard anything about it) Jon Ryan had 39 punts and had given up 15 return yards which was an average of .38 yards per return. I do not know how they finished, but that was a huge contributor to Seattle’s success up to the bye week.
Overall, fellow 12s, I find it harder to fathom a better year. There are certainly some big concerns heading into the off season — hmm, hmmm can you say, “offensive line?” Of course there is the free agency issue, which seriously concerns me, as well. As much as we would all like to see every player back for another run, we all know that isn’t going to happen. Golden Tate publicly stated that he would consider less moolah for the opportunity to remain with the Hawks, and to me, he is Tawking my language. I want Tater back. I also want Dougie Fresh, and Michael Bennett back. The truth is though, that not everyone will be back. Rice is probably gone, and though I like him, I just don’t think his salary cap justifies his output. Zach Miller made huge contributions to our offensive line when they were really in a bad way. Sure he didn’t put up huge receiving numbers, but his blocking was crucial to Seattle’s success. His salary, that is where it is going to hurt. Seattle just won the Super Bowl, and unfortunately that means teams are going to be trying to pilfer their roster, to better their own, and more importantly to make Seattle’s roster worse. John Schneider and Pete Carroll have their work cut out for them for sure. So for the time being, I am going to try and get buffed up on potential draft prospects and upcoming free agents. And I am going to do it in my Hawks Nest. I am going to truly enjoy a full off season of Super Bowl Championship fandom. I hope you can do the same. Congratulations to our Seattle Seahawks! You are the Champs, and we are your 12thman! 12thman now, 12thman forever, Go Hawks!
P.S. A new 12thman was Born to our very close friends Robby and Rebekah Ziesemer. Elizabeth was born the day after the Superbowl victory, and will never know a world where the Seahawks have not been Superbowl Champs. She is beautiful and we can’t wait to meet her! Congratulations!