The surreal, helpless, and pungent bitterness that overtook my being during Super Bowl XL left me perched, cocked and ready to lash out. Only I was absent a suitable outlet of my angst. That adrenaline, bile, and tension still remains within me - only now, I’m not sure where it lies or how to access and relieve it.
Like all human trauma, it will never dissipate. Eventually, it’ll manifest itself in either a violent or emotional outburst reminiscent of the initial café fight scene in a “History of Violence” or just an inaudible grunt and weep channeling Brando from “The Godfather”, upon hearing Sonny had been murdered.
When that pain from SBXL is out of sight and out of mind, I’m reminded or antagonized on the merit and accomplishments of my team, by a couple of my closer friends. I’m sure that’s something familiar to a lot of us. Be it friends, media, or lack of national coverage. We all have the people or things that seem to mock our favorite teams.
These two friends happen to be aligned with the only life forms close, in terms of depravity, to Raiders fans. The only difference between the two being: socio-economic stature, adherence to fashion decency standards, and a dwelling that isn’t on blocks or wheels. They’re Dallas Cowboys fans.
For the most part, if a fan follows a team from where they live or derive from – they’ll receive nothing but respect and jocular vocal salvos from myself. But, if you happen to inhabit a city with a team, yet you choose not to follow or root for that team, instead affiliating with a bona fide winner and perennial media “darling” - I have little or no respect for these types. Which is exactly what a good number of Cowboys fans are.
Cowboys’ faithful are comprised mostly of rubes, “bandwagoners”, and/or elitist opportunists, eager to latch on to something easy. Simply put, they’re the Cowardly Lions of NFL fans, heartlessly following what comes easiest.
Even though these two Cowboys fans are my friends, come NFL discussion time, it borders on dangerous. Every discussion, meeting, e-mail, and/or drink with one another carries an underlying, electric aura of tension. The tension is constant, even if one of us is taking a higher road, by discussing our chosen teams rationally. At least, that’s how it used to be.
An odd thing occurred when it came time to begin our ritualistic berating of the other side this year. I no longer felt the need to be the aggressor or counter every belligerent ill-informed “dig” on my team. Rather, laughing off every comment or sarcastically agreeing with each of their delusions of grandeur, in a passive-aggressive yet simultaneously confident way.
That means one of two things occurred: I’ve matured, grown-up, am no longer an irresponsible “punk”, or the Seahawks no longer require my twisted soul to defend their honor. Based on my past few weekend’s activities, or even my articles, I know option one can’t be true.
The embryonic purpose and timing of this article was to get you ready for the season upon us. Given my warped soul, I was arrogantly going to offer up a “rallying of the troops” diatribe to get all of our adrenaline pumping.
True to my egomaniacal, self-serving, and borderline sociopathic nature, I would accomplish the above by sharing many of my Seahawks related physical altercations, legal or management run-ins, or public incidents I’ve encountered over the years. It was to be my grandiose and humorous way of offering up an equivalent of Alec Baldwin’s infamous speech in Glengarry Glenn Ross, Ray Lewis’ dance out of the introduction tunnel, or a chant from an Under Armor commercial.
But as I sat to type this, shared the story of my two Cowboys’ friends, it dawned on me that the Seahawks no longer require me to be their crusader. The team Tim Ruskell and Mike Holmgren have supplied us with this season, is going to give all of us another incredible ride. And finally allow Hawks fans to abide by Theodore Roosevelt’s infamous standard; “speak softly and carry a big stick”. And that, goes a lot farther than anything this hack internet writer could provide.
Oh, and to my two Cowboys friends and any others that may happen upon this? Remember that with every loss, Bledsoe interception, and blown blocking assignment I’ll be metaphorically doing a T.O. bow on your star, if only silently and in my own mind.
Man, I’m over the Mannings…
One of the NFL fan’s guilty pleasures is commercials featuring NFL players, broadcasters, coaches, anyone really. It signals that the season is or soon to be upon us. Most of the time they’re either “comical” or showcasing in nature. Both types work for the diehard NFL fan, regardless of whom the spot features, from what team, etc. We all buy into them - hook, line, and sinker.
With all that, I saw an NFL ad that may be the biggest “swing and a miss” from a marketing perspective since Michael Jackson’s hair lit on fire with Pepsi.
The ad starts out with an aerial zoom-in of a dark, gothic, and unoccupied stadium. The weather’s wet and stormy, with lightening and rain engulfing the abandon football field, sans one football. Once the rain begins hitting the football, a creature appears to be attempting to claw its way out of the ball as if it were a dragon or other fierce reptilian figure. The pigskin exterior sheds, giving way to the inflated rubber center. Through the rubber you see something trying to violently escape its enclosure.
I’ve seen this campaign before, for other sports. It was an ad for Gatorade’s new “Rain” line. The commercials are to conjure up images of dark, epic warriors, gladiators, or infamous battles.
Once I gained familiarity, I expected to see Michael Vick, Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis, someone intimidating or vicious to finally escape out of the ball. Much to my humorous surprise however, what finally berthed from the ball was about as intimidating as a nine-year-old. I couldn’t help but chuckle aloud once noticed the “I am Sam” haircut and billboard forehead of one Peyton Manning.
Are you kidding me? Why not just play the music a child’s jack-in-the-box spews in its wind up, during his emergence from the ball? Add that to the NFL’s “cutesy” prime-time match-up of the brothers in week one and other ESPN/random spots featuring them – and I’m officially rooting for anything not “Manning”.
With the regular season within a few days, I’ve dusted off the one-time published and two-time edited segment of my article. Without further ado, here’s a deserving Mule Sniff.
In his closing segment of his most recent long-running show, HBO Real Sports, Bryant Gumbel had the following advice for new commissioner Roger Goodell; "Before he cleans out his office, have Paul Tagliabue show you where he keeps Gene Upshaw's leash. By making the docile head of the players union his personal pet, your predecessor has kept the peace without giving players the kind of guarantees other pros take for granted. Try to make sure no one competent ever replaces Upshaw on your watch."
Gumbel went on to urge Mr. Goodell to “keep a close eye on the ugly owners' split that surfaced last March" adding "gently remind those millionaires who gave you the job that they are already making obscene amounts of money."
The fact that I personally agree with Gumbel on this isn’t why he’s earned a mule sniff. It’s the fact he had “chalupas” enough to say such a thing, while being slated to do play-by-play for NFL Network this season that earned him a sniff.
Yes, it’s only football we’re talking about. But, all journalists covering today’s current events could learn a thing or two from Mr. Gumbel on this one.
Known very well to friend and foe as "pehawk" in our fan forums, Ryan Davis will be providing a fresh voice on the Seahawks, Seattle sports in general, and life in a nutshell. Feel free to send your thoughts, recriminations and mule sniffs to Ryan here.