Breda Report: The Real Thing

The Seahawks continue the struggle to find that indefinable quality that winning teams possess. The road down the 2005 season already seems to filled with the promise – and disappointments – of season's past. Todd Breda explores the question fans have been asking for years: What is "it" and how do we get "it"?

You want it all but you can't have it
It's in your face but you can't grab it…

The Eagles have it.

The Falcons have it. The Patriots have it. The Colts have it. The Steelers have it and it’s now looking like the Bengals finally have it.

What is “it”?

It’s that indefinable set of qualities, character, attributes, willpower, belief and execution that when brought together, magic happens. All the stars and stuff of the Universe fall into place and dance to the music of divinity. When NFL teams get a hold of “it”, victories begin to far outweigh the losses. Even games that seem out of reach end up in their favor when the 4th quarter comes to a close.

It’s not any one thing. Or two things. It’s not about any one player’s performance. It’s about the whole more than the sum of its parts. It’s not winning at home and losing on the road. It’s not losing the games most of the world expect you to lose.

It’s not being out-coached or out-schemed.

And it’s certainly not allowing a 75 percent conversion rate of 3rd-and-longs to a mediocre offense.

It’s the real thing.

It's alive, afraid, a lie, a sin
It's magic, it's tragic, it's a loss, it's a win…

The seventh season under Mike Holmgren’s watch is beginning in fine tradition. The defense looks unstoppable for the first few games only to show signs that the ship’s hull is beginning to crack by Week 4. The offense, traditionally the team’s strength, spits and sputters through September pulling victories out of their helmets from sheer talent alone.

Eventually, it all gathers into this foamy lather of frustration and madness for most Seahawks fans as the team shoot of brilliant sparks of hope and What Could Be by taking care of business at home only to falter and fail in the stadiums and domes around the nation.

Let’s not forget the cruel mixture of officiating incompetence so prevalent that it borders on conspiracy.

Take, for instance, last weekend’s loss to the Washington Redskins. Safety Michael Boulware makes a textbook terrific defensive play on one of the Redskin’s receivers only to be called for pass interference. The call places the Redskins within doorstep distance to the goal. One play later the Redskins score a touchdown spotting them 7 points, which, in a hostile environment is the equivalent of 14 points.

Two days later the obligatory monthly apology from the NFL arrives on Mike Holmgren’s doorstep.

One would think that Holmgren would begin to capitalize on these ubiquitous reparations by setting up some kind of frequent flyer mileage program.

It's dark, it's moist, it's a bitter pain
It's sad it happened and it's a shame…

The Seahawks are the NFL’s Official Enigma. The media’s response to our presence each week during the NFL season ranges from acute apathy to seething and hurtful remarks. Even they have felt the sting so often experienced by the Seahawks fan for believing in this team, making the pronouncements as such – only to be shot down in flames for all to see.

The nucleus of our collective disappointments seems to be just how talented this team really is. Not even the most negative prognosticator in the NFL can deny that Seattle has been loaded with “all the right parts” since Clinton was in the White House.

Words like “almost” and “so close” has become so synonymous with the Seahawks that you can expect to hear the analogy crossing over into other sports.

“Holy cow, Bob! Did you see how close he came to making that putt? What would have put him in the lead for good now has him on the ropes. He Seahawked it!”

You want it all but you can't have it
It's in your face but you can't grab it…

Of course, all is not gloom and doom in the land of the Pacific Northwest. 8 starters on defense are headed to St. Louis this weekend without the lingering psychological warfare that the Rams have placed on this team since Week 4 of last year. A game that should have been won was in fact lost, and nobody is more focused and fired up to beat the Rams then the players and coaches are at this very moment.

The infusion of character and blue-collar athleticism is beginning to make its mark on this newest version of the Seahawks. Mike Holmgren’s team is becoming Tim Ruskell’s team and early results suggest that may end up being the winning combination we all have been seeking.

Still, that magical component that all the top NFL teams possess has so far continued to elude this team. How do we get it? There’s no easy answer. No particular formula that can be written down and passed from team to team. Either you have it, or you don’t.

One of these days, this team is going to grab it and keep it if only for one magical season.

Right now, that’s all we could ever ask for. Hollow victories are like apparitions of departed loved ones.

Nothing beats the real thing.

What is it?
It's it
What is it?...

Lyrics from “Epic” from the album “The Real Thing” produced and performed by Faith No More. © 1989.

Todd Breda is the Owner and Creative Director of Seahawks.Net. If you would like to e-mail Todd, send any and all love letters, hate mail, whimsical musings or your personal dealings with little green men to: toddbreda@comcast.net.


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