Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
As I write this, in roughly 24 hours the Seattle Seahawks will be taking the field against the San Francisco 49ers in what will surely be the biggest football game ever played in the Pacific Northwest. The venue for the game is Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, home of the Seahawks and their rabid “Twelfth Man” fans. The Hawks players and coaches fought hard all year for the best record in the NFC to ensure that this most important of games would be played at their Seattle home field. The reason is simple: over the last few years CenturyLink has acquired a reputation as the loudest stadium in professional sports and as such it provides the Hawks with the greatest home field advantage in professional sports. That advantage is so great that over the last two seasons, including this year’s playoffs, Seattle is an astounding 16-1 at home. Of course that record probably has more to do with the team that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider have assembled than it does “The Clink” and their fans. Still, I read recently that according to Vegas bookies the fact that the Seahawks will be playing at home in a game is worth 3.5 points to Seattle in their posted betting lines.
The fans at “The Clink” worth a field goal on betting lines? In today’s modern world of NFL parity that is big time, baby! Knowing that fact you can understand why earlier in the season a 49ers fan complained that the Seahawks were cheating by having their stadium so loud. Another 49ers fan I read about recently suggested that the cost associated with filling up “the Clink” with rabid “twelves” each Sunday be made to count against Seattle’s salary cap, just like a player’s salary does; an innovative notion but hardly one soon to be adopted by the NFL. No…there’s no need for new rules. 49ers fans just need to confront the fact that their team had their shot at getting this game at their home field and blew it. If the 49ers and their fans didn’t want to come to “the Clink” for this NFC championship game they should have won more games. Simple!
And that brings me to the reason for this article and the reason why the Seahawks MUST win this game. There are many reasons why they should win it. For the players and coaches a shot at the Super Bowl only comes along so often. For many players in the NFL they will never get there before their time playing this kid’s game runs out. Young players lucky enough to get as close to the Big Game as the Hawks are may not realize this and may not fully appreciate the opportunity. As a fan you hope they do, and the Seahawks ought to win for that reason. Seattle should also win for the simple reason that they have created a team capable of it, and that promise will only be fulfilled by defeating the 49ers, going to the Super Bowl and winning it. As fan’s we all hope that the players and coaches feel that way too and, from all that I have read and learned, these Pete Carroll coached players do.
I could sit here and think of many other reasons the Seahawks ought to beat the 49ers and, possibly, so could you; but there is one reason I can think of that they MUST defeat the 49ers.
That reason is us—you and me.
That’s right—US! The Seahawks must beat the 49ers for us, and not out of some deep seated hate for the San Francisco team, or out of some rivalry recently created; the need to win this game springs from a much deeper well. I’ll tell you what that “well” is and I may get a bit nostalgic on you. So be it—long time “twelves” will understand. Many have similar stories.
I am now 62 and have been a Seattle sports fan my entire life. Starting with the Jim Owens University of Washington Huskies Rose Bowl teams of 1960 and 1961, I have been a football fan since I was 8 years old. As kids my brother Chuck and I would play football catch in the street in front of our house, whichever of us throwing the ball becoming Johnny Unitas and whichever of us receiving it Raymond Berry. Likewise I also loved baseball and basketball and devoted much of my youth to playing all 3 sports. In the ‘60s I followed Huskies football religiously and the Seattle Rainiers/Angels AAA baseball team of the Pacific Coast League that played out at the old, and now just a memory, Sicks Stadium in Seattle’s Rainier district. At that time in the Emerald City they were the only games in town.
In 1967 that all changed when a Los Angeles business man named Sam Schulman brought an NBA expansion franchise to Seattle. The team was dubbed the “Supersonics”, a name that reflected the aerospace industry that, with Boeing located here, predominated in the area at that time. The “Sonics”, as we called them, played their games at the Coliseum in the Seattle Center and I got to see many games over those first few seasons in person. Players like Walt Hazzard, Tom Meschery, Bob Rule, and a little later, a dynamic point guard named Lenny Wilkens, became my heroes, and I got to see them perform against the likes of Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Willis Reed and Elgin Baylor among others.
A bit later, in 1969, Major League baseball came to Seattle in the form of the Seattle Pilots. That team played out at the aforementioned, ancient, and by then rundown, Sicks Stadium; but I didn’t care. I got to see players like Micky Lolich, Carl Yastrzemski, Tommy Davis and Rico Petrocelli, and I loved every minute of it. Of course, being an expansion team, the Pilots were big losers and the combination of that and having to play at decrepit Sicks Stadium resulted in the team being pirated off to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers after that one 1969 season.
Big league baseball finally returned to the Northwest in 1977 as a result of the Kingdome being built in Seattle and because of a suit that was filed against Major League baseball by then state Attorney General and later U.S. Senator Slade Gorton for breach of contract in ripping the Pilots off after the ’69 season. Thus we got our Mariners. The year before, in 1976, also due to the fact that the Kingdome was now here, the NFL granted an expansion franchise to Seattle and the NFL’s Seahawks were born.
I and many like me loved the Seahawks from the start. Those first couple of seasons I had a weekend job selling soft pretzels from a mobile cart and on game days my post would be on the direct walk up routes to the Kingdome. Often, as the fans would spill past me into the stadium, someone would ask me if I wanted to see the game and would give me a ticket. You must understand that the Seahawks were not very good in those early years and to the casual fan a ticket was not worth much. Not so to me. I would eagerly accept the gift and the minute the incoming flow of fans died down I would stash my pretzel cart and dash into the Kingdome, only to emerge when either the Hawks were being blown out and fans were starting to leave or when the game had about 5 minutes left; just enough time to get my cart set up for selling to the departing crowd.
Those were golden days for me as a football fan. I got to see Jim Zorn and Steve Largent develop as players and also got to see almost all of the league’s big stars. Largent, of course, would go on to become one of football’s all time great receivers and I count the times that I got to see him play as treasured sports memories. I even got to see in person the first ever Seahawks playoff game against the Denver Broncos at the Kingdome in December, 1983. In that game, a Hawks victory, Largent caught a touchdown pass from Dave Krieg, beating the Bronco’s all time great corner back Louis Wright on a post pattern in the end zone. Beautiful!
I could go on like this all day, but I won’t. My point is that in my entire life the combination of all the Seattle sports teams, including the Washington Huskies, have won a grand total of two ultimate championships, those being the 1979 Seattle Sonics NBA title and Don James’ 1991 undefeated (12-0) Husky football, NCAA national title (shared with the University of Miami Hurricanes). The Mariners have never been to a World Series and the Seahawks have only been to the Super Bowl once (2005) and lost it. The only Conference championship the Seahawks have ever won was in that 2005 season. It has been 22 years since the Huskies got their championship and 34 years since the Sonics won theirs. It has been a long time…too long! We Seattle sports fans deserve to win this game this Sunday, AND the Super Bowl! We Seahawks fans, who have loved this team from the start, and those “twelves” who love it now and go to the games and yell themselves hoarse on Sunday, and give the Hawks that 3 point betting edge by their presence and what they do alone, deserve this win now over the 49ers.
This game is about us, the fans, and the Seahawks must win this game for us! The 49ers are coming to our house—to CenturyLink Field—to try and take something precious from us….the right to the Super Bowl and the chance to win the supreme football title of the world. If they do, they will be celebrating their victory on the playing field at “the Clink”—our house—and you know that we and the Hawks cannot let that happen—NOT IN OUR HOUSE!
For that is what this town and this stadium are…OUR HOUSE! The Seahawks need to protect OUR HOUSE! They need to take the 49ers, whip them like they would a thief they caught in OUR HOUSE trying to steal something precious, and drop kick their scrawny asses back to the Bay area where they can lick their wounds in the off season while we go and win that Super Bowl!
OK, Hawks Fans…you know how I feel! It has been a long season and the Seahawks have done a great job to get to this point. All that can be said has been said and the preparation is over. Now there is only one thing for this Seahawks team to do:
JUST WIN, BABY!
Copyright © 2014
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved