THAT PLAY

The Butler did it!

The Butler did it!

If you’re a Seahawks fan, you know what I mean when I refer to, “that play.”

It wasn’t the last play of the most recent Super Bowl, but it was the play that prevented my beloved Seattle Seahawks from re-Pete-ing as NFL Champions.  It also cemented Tom Brady’s reputation as being one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, even though he had nothing to do with that play.

The Seahawks were less than 3-feet from greatness and being the first back-to-back NFL champions in decades. Just this past week, as the itch for football started reaching a feverish pitch, the results of a new survey came out. “That play” was voted the worst call in professional football ever. EVER! If you want to watch it over and over, torture yourself here.

Here’s what I saw & believe:

  1. It would have been a great call had the element of surprise been there. It wasn’t.
  2. Seattle QB Russell Wilson threw to a spot, leading the receiver towards the goal line. The receiver, Ricardo Lockette, just wasn’t hungry enough to want it.
  3. Not everyone expected Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch to run the ball in for a touchdown. Obviously, New England didn’t.
  4. Malcolm Butler ran from 8 yards behind the line to the exact spot where the ball was thrown. Really? How?
  5. Russell Wilson should have thrown low. If Lockette digs it out and it’s caught, it’s a touchdown. If it’s dropped, the clock stops.
  6. Ricardo Lockette should have gone for the ball, if not to catch it, to make sure it wasn’t intercepted. Watch the tape. He made no such effort.
  7. Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said, had it been up to him, he would have either had Marshawn run it in or fake him running and have Russell walk the ball in.  Which was pretty much what everyone watching thought would happen.  And, if New England stopped that, they’d cleanly deserve to win.

Where I’m going with this: The “Worst Play of All Time” was either a blunder, a amazing display of psychic anticipation or the result of insider information.

It’s in my belief system that the whole “Deflate-gate” controversy was just the surface. From this side of the country, it appears the New England philosophy is, if you get away with it, it’s legal. I will go out on the skinny branches here and say that New England knew Seattle was going to run that play. They were tipped off, perhaps intercepting a radio communication so they knew exactly what was going to happen.  Or, maybe they aimed a ‘shotgun’ microphone at our sidelines and heard the call.

It’s likely the truth will never be revealed.  But there’s still a part of me that hopes, one day, a UFO will land and a Bigfoot will walk out holding video evidence that New England knew exactly which play we were going to run.

No matter.  The one truth that both sides will agree on–football season is almost here.  It’s been a long off-season and I’m ready.  No more whining.  No more excuses.  Just get back out on the field and give the damn ball to Marshawn!

Go Hawks!

Tim Hunter

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A Rare Opportunity

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Recently, I blogged about Christmas, encouraging everyone to absorb what was around them and enjoy all that the season offers. It can be such a magical time of year if we just allow it. But, as they say, Christmas comes but once a year, always making its annual arrival at Costco, sometime in August.

Right now, Seattle Seahawks fans have one of the rarest of opportunities available to any sports fans. To follow a team that generations will look back on as one of the greatest N.F.L. teams in history.

In my near 60 years on earth, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to cheer for a championship team or two. There were the 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers, that swept the New York Yankees in the World Series, four games to none. Two years later, they blew the first two games of the World Series, only to come back and beat the Minnesota Twins in seven games. Two championships in three years!  That was back in the days when World Series games were played during the day and the cool teachers were the ones who brought in a TV so we could watch during school.

Always while growing up, I got to experience an NBA championship.  However, it was after years of the Los Angeles Lakers losing to either the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks (I think the league made them take turns).

When I moved to the championship desert of Seattle in the early 1970s, I began my conversion to the local sports teams. That worked out well with the Sonics, as they won the N.B.A. championship in 1979.

And then, the great dark period began.

The Mariners came close.  OK, our W.N.B.A. team, the Storm won a title. The UW Husky Football team won a co-National Championship in ’91. But our professional baseball, football and even our soccer teams would only flirt with greatness: a playoff game or two, then done.

When the Seahawks actually won the Super Bowl last year, you know what it was like. 12 flags all over town, jerseys everywhere. People not normally sports fanatics were talking about them. Then, upwards of 700,000 people took to downtown Seattle in the frigid cold for a victory parade. Amazingly, not a single arrest.

It was a special time that the pundits said was highly unlikely to repeat. And it’s happening. A win this Sunday and we have a chance at winning our second N.F.L. championship in a row.

I believe we can do it. Yes, you risk a serious heart-break if you allow yourself to get caught up in the madness and we fall short.  But first, don’t think that way.  Secondly, if we win—we get to experience sports nirvana. This team is special. The owner, the architects of the club, the talented, colorful and talented players, are the special concoction that every team in the league is trying to mix up. We’ve got it.

I hope you’re going in deep. That you believe. That you’re ready to experience something very few cities ever see. The beginning of a sports dynasty.

And brace yourself—because we just may have to do this all over again next year.

Let’s just focus on winning Sunday, then the re-Pete.  Then, the 3-Pete next year. Go Hawks!

Tim Hunter

With Apologies to Denver Bronco Fans

"Here comes...uh, someone!"

“Here comes…uh, someone!”

Seattle celebrated this week.

Not because of what we did to your Broncos in front of the largest national TV audience of all.  It’s because our talent-packed Seattle Seahawks played their best game of the season in the one that really counts.  It’s been a lot of years since we’ve seen some professional sports madness take over the town, but this has been a steady build all season.

Now, to be clear, the majority of Seattle fans are confident, not cocky. If you were sitting in my living room during every Seahawks game, you might have heard a relative display a very traditional Seattle sports trait.  We’d fail to score in the red zone and out would come, “Oh, here we go!” or “Well, this is where the bubble bursts.”  It was if they were expecting us to fall short.

But this Seattle Seahawks team has taught us to believe.  We’ve spent a season witnessing what they can do. When they were down three scores to Houston and it looked like we were heading for our first loss of the season, we made an incredible comeback and won the game.  It was that game that convinced me, this team is very real.

Week after week they would demonstrate it.  Every Sunday game became must-sees. But, being tucked away here in Seattle, it’s hard to get the rest of the country to follow the magic that was going on here.  Back in the day, Seattle and Denver were AFC rivals and would always put on a good show.  I’m sure you remember those Elway days.  You won more often than we did.

This time around, we met in a neutral corner and you had American football royalty at your helm, coming off a record-setting season for scoring points.  The media had all but crowned Denver the winner.  Rumors had it that boxer Floyd Mayweather had bet $10-million on the Broncos winning.  You had a great team going into the Super Bowl game and were chosen the favorite in a squeaker.

In this blog a week ago, I went out and said, “Yep, they’re going to win.  Count on it!”  But I’m mad at myself for not going further and predicting a blowout.  This hard-hitting, charismatic collection of young athletes is a crowning achievement unlike Seattle has ever seen.  We knew that, but were hesitant to brag about it.  While there are always a few drunken exceptions, the bulk of us just aren’t that way.

This week, we celebrated the way any championship city salutes their victorious team after winning a national championship.  A parade, TWO stadiums packed with fans, all savoring the moment. Peyton Manning is still a great quarterback, you have a good team and no doubt, your turn will come again.  But the 2014 Super Bowl was our year.  It was in our sights the entire time and we wanted it.  Had it been a close game, you might have been tempted to think our win was a fluke, that you could have won if the refs hadn’t missed a key call, etc.   We’ve been there.

Unfortunately, the media didn’t pass along to you just how good this team was.

So, forgive us as over 700,000 of us take to the streets and go a little nuts.

We are the Champions!  Go Hawks!

Tim Hunter

THIS SHERMAN DOESN’T NEED A PEABODY

Sherman? Sure, man!

Sherman? Sure, man!

Everyone here in Seattle has had a front-row seat to an amazing phenomenon this past week.

It started with our Seahawks making the big plays and scraping out a victory against those dastardly 49ers to earn a spot in the Super Bowl.  Richard Sherman made the game-saving play and within seconds of doing that and having competed for a couple of hours, he was jacked up, pumped up, whatever you want to call.

That’s the moment Erin Andrews walked up to him on the field and he let out a 12 second rant that millions of Americans just didn’t get.

Now I’ll be honest, everyone here in the Emerald City heard the same thing you did and, it caught us a bit off guard, but that was just 100% pure Richard in his competitive, excited stage.  I have been blown away by how people have taken that and run with it, characterizing the entire Seattle team as “dirty players” or “a bunch of thugs.”  The media has stoked the flames and so now, everyone outside the borders of Washington feel that the Seahawks are the “bad boys” team, the Oakland Raiders of the new millennium.

Wow.  You know so little.

First off, do you realize what’s happening?  Richard Sherman has dominated all Super Bowl coverage for the past four days.  Have you heard a word about Peyton Manning?  He’s pretty much over-shadowed the entire Seahawks team, so while everyone is focusing on him and piling on the negative comments, Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson and the other 98% of the team are all busy working on the game plan.

And when Richard Sherman isn’t doing an interview, so is he.

I’ve learned so much about him the past few days and not from just Seattle sources.  Forbes Magazine wrote a brilliant article on him.  They get it.  Hank Aaron tweeted him a note to show support.  Erin Andrews and him hugged after those comments, but of course, you didn’t see that.  She appreciated the honest, not typical blah-blah-blah response.  She got it.

Why was he so jacked up during those explosive 12 seconds?  I’ll list things out for you:

A)      His hard work was paying off with a trip to the Super Bowl

B)      He shut down the big deal receiver for the 49ers

C)      He made the game-winning play.

And something he’s NOT mention to the public.  He dislikes Crabtree, that’s obvious.  Where that is rooted goes back to a charity golf tournament he took part in last fall for his buddy, Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald. It was at that charity, off-season, doing it to help a good cause event that Crabtree refused to shake hands with Sherman.  In Richard’s mind, highly disrespectful and worth making him a rival.

Funny how quickly the media was holding up the “thug” label.  There was a time the style of hard-hitting defensive players was described as “smash mouth”.  This year, they’re “villains” or better yet, “thugs.”

A quickly thrown together poll shows the bulk of the country is behind Peyton Manning and his Broncos.  If you go back to the beginning of the season, it was the darling Super Bowl matchup people were talking about.  It happened.  It’s going to be a great game.

And the Seahawks, after being cheated out of a Super Bowl championships in 2007 (the referee eventually came to town and apologized for blowing a key call), will finally win the big one.  It’s going to happen.

And I can’t wait to hear what Mr. Sherman has to say about that!

Please, view them as thugs.  It adds to the drama of the game.  But here in Seattle, we know better.

Tim Hunter

PS  If you’re open to learning more about Richard Sherman, check out these videos:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/isaac-saul/what-richard-sherman-taught-us_b_4631980.html

http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/01/michael-crabtree-richard-sherman-nfc-championship/

Oh and if you want to see a dirty play from last Sunday’s game, here you go.  The NFL is investigating.

https://vine.co/v/hlFeVnn6XWq