In any case, let's see if we can have a little fun and wrap up the year through the shenanigans at Bushwood Country Club.
"You take drugs, Danny? Every day. Good. Then what's your problem? I don't know.": You take drugs Sherman? You take drugs Browner? Well, we know the answer with at least one of you. You two better get on your knees and thank the good Lord above that your hijinx didn't cost us like it could have. Browner's out and all we do is go undefeated and start throttling teams in the process. Sherman gets off on testing technicality and doesn't even have to forfeit a dime. You boys better be extra careful going forward because the Roger Goddell Regime has a long memory and will absolutely target people it thinks might be re-offenders (...cut to James Harrison nodding his head).
"I have to laugh, because I've outsmarted even myself. My enemy, my foe, is an animal. In order to conquer the animal, I have to learn to think like an animal. And, whenever possible, to look like one. I've gotta get inside this guy's pelt and crawl around for a few days.": Maybe it's just me, but I can see Pete Carroll having this conversation with himself inside the halls of the VMAC. All in all, I was impressed with Pete's growth as a coach this year. He was willing to start a rookie QB and ultimately take off the training wheels (perhaps a game or two too late, but still). He continued to foster the growth of his assistant coaches, turning at least 2 of them into potential head coaches elsewhere. Now, the next step will be trying to unlock the puzzle that is our starts on the road. The slow offensive starts and at times slower defensive starts have to get fixed. It's the only thing that was preventing us from having those playoff games at home, and I think we know what the results would have been had that happened.
"You put your suit on! Go shave your ass!": You only won that Green Bay game because of the replacement refs!! Kiss my ass!! If ever a city was owed one, particularly from the refs, it's Seattle. You got the feeling that if things like that were going to happen, this could be a very special year.
"Hey, Smails! My dinghy's bigger than your whole boat!": Contrary to public reports, this is actually what Tom Brady said to Richard Sherman before Sherman picked him off and the Hawks went on to beat the Patriots back in October. It was also the official coming-out party for Russell Wilson. That throw to Sidney Rice late in the game to seal it was a thing of beauty. To the joy of all Seahawk fans, thankfully that was not a one-time show.
"Pick up that blood!": It's a good thing that on-field housekeeping is not priority #1 at Seahawks Stadium because the Hawks left a lot of opposing teams bloodwork on the FieldTurf. This team mauled people. It was really impressive to see, particularly when compared against the squads that had been assembled the past decade or so. The one group I was particularly awed by was the offensive line. Coming into the year, this was not a group you thought of as intimidating. But boy did that change in a hurry. Giacomini is a guy I'd want watching my back in a dark alley. Okung finally got the right pair of shoes on his feet and was able to hang around all year. We even got something useful out of an Oregon Duck as Max Unger anchored that line and helped open big holes for Marshawn.
"Danny, I'm having a party this weekend. How would you like to come over and mow my lawn?": Maybe Alex Smith can still find a job. But it won't be with the Niners. If Russell Wilson was the biggest surprise in the league, Kaepernick was surprise 1B. As much as Harbaugh and his antics are just insufferable, you have to hand it to him to put his job on the line like that with that kid. Watching the Wilson-Kaepernick rivalry for the next number of years could be a lot of fun. Although I'm sure Colin and his giant schnoz are not relishing the thought of his next visit to Seahawks Stadium. Didn't really work out well the first time.
"I thought you'd be the man to beat this year. I guess you'll just have to keep beating yourself.": Ultimately, I think this is how a lot of Seahawks fans felt on Sunday afternoon. They came into the playoffs as the team nobody wanted to play. They spotted good sized leads to the Redskins and the Falcons. They came back in one and fell short in the other. There is good reason to be optimistic about this team for 2013. Yet, for me, a couple things haunt me a little and I'm worried about their ability to be fixed. First, this team has to have better starts to games on the road. As good as the 12th Man is (and we were very good this year), do we set the team up for failure on the road with their obvious inability to reach the same emotional level? Second, I'm concerned that we've rubbed all the fur off our rabbit's foot with health this year. Prior to the Redskins game and Chris Clemmons, this was the healthiest team in the league. Eventually, the law of averages catches up with you. Not to be Debbie Downer, but we've seen this before with other Seattle teams. The window's open, the table's set, and we fall just short and don't return to that level the next year. But let's end this on a more positive note....
"My uncle says you've got a screw loose. Your uncle molests collies.": It's entirely possible that after 4 brain surgeries this summer, I may have had a screw knocked loose. How else do you describe my predicition of an 11-5 season (in the season preview) after consecutive 7-9 seasons? However it happened, I'll take it. I also want to take a moment to thank the Seahawks, my friends, my family, and my Hawk Alley brethren (yes, I realize that's redundant). When you're in the ICU for 2.5 weeks with a drain coming out the side of your head and people coming in at all hours to poke and prod you, you need positive distractions. When you have a staph infection in your brain fluid that you know could kill you at any point, you need something to lift your spirits and give you hope. Well, you all did that for me. The Hawks made it tolerable to watch SportsCenter reruns when it was the only thing on. The daily visits from friends were an awesome gift that I always looked forward to. Then there was the topper. As rare (and just as special) as having your jersey hoisted high into the rafters of Seahawks Stadium, I got a dedicated Sea-Train in my honor at the home opener. That was totally awesome.
Thanks everyone for a great season and for joining us again this year both at the tailgate and by taking the time to read through my ramblings. Even though we didn't quite get there this year, this was definitely one of the best seasons of Seahawk football I've ever enjoyed. Go Hawks!!