Seahawks vs 49ers is Gonna Be Great!

Seahawks logo

Though written in March of 2013 this post is still very timely.

The rivalry between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers has gone from simmer, to slow boil, to 3rd degree- “Oh My God THAT’s HOT!” burn in the past week. And isn’t it just exceedingly fun to watch? I’m lovin’ it. And what’s most exciting is that it’s likely to last for many, many years. All the evidence shows that this will push historical rivalries for significance. We’re talking Yankees vs Red Sox, Duke-North Carolina, Ohio State vs Michigan,  Steelers vs the Raiders in the 70s, Redskins vs Cowboys, Celtics- Lakers, Ali-Frazier. Welcome to Seattle! Home of the NFL Universe. Folks, it’s here.

English: Picture of the 12th Man Flag at Centu...

What made the rivalries of yesteryear so darn compelling were two things. First, and perhaps most important, the teams were always good….championship level good. Second, THEY HATED EACH OTHER. Does anyone hate each other more in big-time sports right now than

English: Head Coach Pete Carroll leads his Uni...

Pete Carroll led his University of Southern California Trojans football team

Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll and Niner’s Head coach Jim Harbaugh?

Head coach Jim Harbaugh at the 2010 Stanford f...

Head coach Jim Harbaugh at the 2010 Stanford football open house

Not based on the evidence that we’ve seen. From the time when Carroll was at USC and Harbaugh was at Stanford and Carroll greeted the Cardinal coach with a not-so-politic “What’s your deal?” after Harbaugh had his team go for 2-points late in a blow-out win over the Trojans to last October when Harbaugh complained to the NFL about that Seahawk cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner were too physical with his receivers.

As we all know the Seahawks were 30-seconds away from meeting the 49ers in the NFC Championship game this past season with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line; a trip won by S.F. Then the team from the Bay area came oh-so-close to winning the league championship and establishing themselves as a potential dynasty.

This week the rivalry was brought back to the nation’s attention when Seattle traded for elite Minnesota wide receiver-Kick Returner Percy Harvin only to be equalled in the headlines by San Francisco trading for Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Bolden of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Fortunately for Hawk’s fans Seattle came back again yesterday by signing free agent defensive-end Cliff Avril to help bolster the team’s greatest need; an improved pass rush. Important to note that while the Hawk’s achilles heel in the past season, and projecting to the coming season, was their pass rush, they still managed to lead the league defensively in fewest points allowed.

After the trade of the 1st round and 7th round draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft for Harvin, Seattle stills owns 8 picks in the April allotment of college talent. But San Francisco has 14 picks, five returning Pro Bowlers and plenty of cash to acquire more free agent help.

Seattle has Russell Wilson; one of the most exciting young quarterbacks to come into the league in years. S.F. has Colin Kaepernick; one of the most exciting young quarterbacks to come into the league in years. Seattle has Marshawn Lynch one of the best running backs in the league. S.F. has Frank Gore; one of the best running backs in the league, and probably a future Hall of Famer. They both have stout defenses. And their two combative coaches both preach a grind it out, smash-mouth style of football. S.F. has won the NFC West each of the past two years. Seattle won it before that. And both teams have among the youngest rosters in the National Football League. So, as excellent as both teams are. They ought to be excellent for years to come.

After this week’s player acquisitions odds-makers have installed Seattle and San Francisco as co-favorites to win this next year’s Super Bowl. And being in the same division they’ll always play each other twice each season. The fact that S.F. is the team that’s geographically closest to the far-away Northwest outpost called Seattle is just the cherry on top of the Sundae.

Woody Hayes

Woody Hayes

Bo Schembechler vs Woody Hayes.

English: Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson and ...

Bird vs Magic.

Richard Petty 1984 Photo By Ted Van Pelt

Richard Petty 1984

Richard Petty vs Cale Yarborough. Alydar vs Affirmed.  We’re talking about this kind of historical rivalry, and it’s staring us in the face.

NY - Long Island - Belmont Park - Affirmed

NY – Long Island – Belmont Park – Affirmed

It’s absolutely delicious for any sports fan. But for the long-suffering fans of Seattle it’s a banquet for a starving man. Thank you Paul Allen for the hasty decision to fire Jim Mora. Thank you Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider for the wisdom and the guts to go after Wilson. And thank you to Seattle tax payers for funding CenturyLink field‘s construction.

I can’t wait, though it’s still 6-months away. I just renewed my Seahawk season tickets for next season. My company Total Broadcasting Service will be giving some of them away, again. I’m predicting a pretty fantastic ride.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Seahawks Looking Good! Can you say Super Bowl?

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

Since the writing of this blog the New England Patriots defeated the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football 42-14. 

This Seattle Seahawk season ticket holder was pretty darned impressed with what he saw in Sunday’s 58-0 record blow-out of the Arizona Cardinals. It’s got me thinking of…dare I say it…the Super Bowl.

Call me crazy if you will but my dreams could be realized if a few small things fall our way. And we could be making plans for a trip to…NEW JERSEY? Ya…New Jersey. The fact that the game is being played in a northern climate again is one other reason why I feel optimistic. Seattle’s only other trip to nirvana occurred in 2006 when the Seahawks lost to Pittsburg in Detroit, MI.

(Oops! It has been correctly pointed out to me that the Super Bowl in New Jersey won’t take place until after next season in 2014. This season’s 2013 Super Bowl will be in New Orleans.)

Picture taken by me of Qwest Field at night fr...

CenturyLink Field where Seattle is undefeated.

Here is the situation: Seattle is 8-5 with three games left. Sunday they travel to Toronto to play the Buffalo Bills. On Christmas Eve eve, December 23rd, the Hawks host division leading San Francisco at CenturyLink Field. And then they close out the season at the “Clink” against the improving St. Louis Rams.

Before anyone gets too excited let me remind you that Seattle has played and lost to both the 49ers and the Rams this season, and at this point in the season they haven’t clinched anything. Having said that I like our chances.

Tonight’s Monday night game, Houston at New England, in Foxboro could be important. If Houston wins New England would not want to lose two straight when they host the 49ers next Sunday night. So come-on Texans! If the Pat’s win tonight they might start shifting into coast-mode before the playoffs when they play San Francisco. (New England won 42-14)  If San Fran loses their game in New England, while Seattle beats Buffalo the game in Seattle would decide the division lead with only one game to play.

Seattle will beat Buffalo for several reasons. First, they exorcised that “can’t win on the road” ghost in beating the Bears in Chicago last week. Second, the game is not in Buffalo so the Bills will not have that much of a decided home field advantage. Lastly, besides the crowd the other huge advantage Buffalo has over all its opponents in December is the weather. But the Seahawk game will be inside what they used to call Skydome.

I think the Hawks can break the 49ers win streak of them and take the division lead. What a nice Christmas present THAT will be. A division crown would come down to beating the Rams on December 30th at CenturyLink; a proposition I favor. But it won’t be easy. The Rams play an up-and-down Minnesota club next week and a declining Tampa Bay after that. They could come to Seattle 8-6-1 needing a win for the playoffs. Still, you can’t bet against Seattle at the Clink, no matter who they’re playing; as evidenced by their victories this year over possibly the 2 best teams in the league, Green Bay and New England.

Seattle would then host at least one playoff game and probably earn a bye the first weekend. This scenario counts on G.B. to lose at least once more. which I think they’ll do. Seattle and the Packers would be tied with an 11-5 record and thanks to Russell Wilson, Golden Tate, and a Replacement Referee Seattle would host their first playoff game after taking a week off.

Seattle would be favored over whoever they played and I would expect them to win, putting them into the NFC Championship game.

NFC Championship Game logo, 2005–2010

Under my scheme that game would only be in Atlanta or Seattle. If it’s Atlanta, well, the Falcons would be deservedly favored. If it’s in Seattle against the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers or the last playoff entrant (Who cares. They won’t win), then I like my teams chances of going to East Rutherford.

I’ve never been happier being so wrong. I’m referring to Pete Carroll’s pick of Russell Wilson as the teams starting quarterback this year. I was the first in the Matt Flynn camp, dating back to last January. And as good as Wilson has played, who’s to say Flynn couldn’t have done the same thing? Having said that, clearly Wilson is a special player and can lead this team to the Super Bowl provided a few not-so-unlikely things fall our way. Go Seahawks! Go Texans! Go Patriots (next week)!

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Seahawks Should Make the Playoffs

English: Picture of the 12th Man Flag at Centu...

 

We’re half way through the 2012 NFL season and my pre-season prediction for my Seattle Seahawks to finish 9-7 is looking pretty safe in spite of their middling 4-4 record and two game losing streak. In fact I’m willing to bump my prediction to 10-6 and possibly 11-5.

 

When I wrote The Seahawks WILL Win before the season’s first game I was still pretty pissed that Coach Pete Carroll had decided to start rookie Russell Wilson ahead of free agent acquisition Matt Flynn.  I’m still not sure Flynn wouldn’t have done better (who is?); but at this point Wilson has shown improvement and is a huge leap ahead compared to Tavaris Jackson one year ago. If he continues to improve he could be something pretty special by the end of the year; and Seattle’s offense could be considerably more formidable than it is now. If Seattle hopes to make any noise in the playoffs the offense better improve. And the defense, which has been mostly good, has an annoying habit of not getting of the field soon enough. They have one of the worst 3rd down conversion percentages in the league. But hey, Seattle’s defense has faced Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit, New England and arrives at the halfway point fifth in the league in yards allowed and sixth in points allowed. And they’ve done it with five road games out of eight.

 

All in all their record is pretty much what I expected. They had losses I thought would be wins- Arizona, St. Louis; and wins I thought would be losses- Green Bay, New England.

 

Going forward the Hawks have five home games and a history under Carroll of playing best in the second half of the season.

 

I count four of the five home games as locks 4-3 Minnesota, 3-5 New York Jets, 4-4 Arizona, and 3-5 St Louis. Toss-up games would be the December 23rd home game with 6-2 San Francisco and road games at 4-3 Miami and 3-4 Buffalo. The only automatic loss I put on the Seahawks record is their December 2 game on the road against a 6-1 Chicago team that extremely potent in the last two years whenever Jake Cutler plays. And right now he’s playing.

 

So by my reckoning the worst Hawk fans can expect is a one game improvement over the past two years to 8-8, which won’t get them to the playoffs.

 

The best the team can expect is 11-5 which would almost definitely get them to the playoffs. I think its more likely to expect them to drop one of those toss-up games and finish 10-6.  Currently six NFC teams have winning records and I suspect Minnesota is a paper lion and will be proven so this Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Aside from the current division leaders in the NFC East, South and West we need not worry about the rest. Seattle will be battling for a wild card spot at the end of the season with Detroit, who just narrowly beat them; and with Green Bay who Seattle narrowly beat thanks to a controversial touchdown call on the last play of the game. How ironic. I see two losses left on the Packers schedule so in all likelihood they’ll have the first wildcard. The Lions have a touch remaining schedule that will probably not see them finish any better than 9-7.

 

Seattle’s running game is so good, even if Marshawn Lynch were to be injured Robert Turbin and Leon Washingtonhave shown themselves to be adequate.

 

English: Red Bryant, a player on the Seattle S...

Red Bryant, Seahawk Defensive End

 

The defense at times has been amazing. And since they seem intent on correcting a really bad trend in allowing a nearly 40% 3rd down conversion rate for their opponents, and the fact that their remaining opponent don’t come close in terms of offensive fire power as their early season opponents; we can expect something pretty special by the end of the season.

 

The Seahawks have been in every game they’ve played. They literally could be undefeated. They could also be 2-6. I intend to enjoy what comes, and enjoy the playoffs. After all…no matter what…its not 2008.

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

 

 

Seattle Sports Doldrums. Time to get Mad.

 

 

 

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattl...

 

 

 

A weekend of ineptitude from the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners has me frustrated and wanting to take a pound of flesh from some of the teams administrators.

 

 

 

The Seattle Mariners wrap up another losing season in the next three days with a young team that has some promise, but none of it in the vicinity of an acceptable Major League offense. Our swabbies were swept in Oakland the past three games by an equally young Athletics team. The Athletics youth is just about the only resemblance they bear to our Northwest 9. Oakland will play in the American league playoffs, probably as a Wildcard entrant. But given they possess the best record in baseball since the start of June they can be counted on to make some noise.

 

 

 

The Mariner’s too have had a better second-half of the season than they had in the first half. Since July 5 Seattle actually has a winning record at 38-37; compared to a miserable 35-49 in the first half. But as reporter Geoff Baker writes in this morning’s Seattle Times the league worst offense has only gotten worse, scoring just 3.63 runs per game compared to 3.87. It’s a familiar story too many Northwest baseball fans have become used to. Seattle has been at the bottom of the Major League offensive categories for 4 straight years. Their losing record reflecting accordingly.

 

 

 

What’s sad is during this time they’ve possessed arguably the best pitcher in the American League in Felix Hernandez. During this time Hernandez has won a Cy Young Award, finished second in the voting another year, and is likely to be among the top 5 vote getters again this year. Seattle’s other pitching has been less impressive but good enough were the offense not so completely inadequate.

 

 

 

First Baseman Justin Smoak is an unquestioned failure. He has blown up his batting average over the past two weeks with some solid hitting; but for the season that’s only lifted his average to a woeful .214 with 19 home runs and 50-something RBI (no I’m not looking up the exact number. What’s the difference between 51 and 59?). My only hesitation in making this proclamation is that outfielder Michael Saunders has rectified his carrier with a .250 average and 19 homers this season. I would have written him off before the season after he’d managed more yawns than thrills during parts of four seasons with the Mariner’s prior to this season. But seriously, how excited should we be about a fourth year player who’s best season is .250 with 19 home runs? At best he’s a fourth outfielder on a good team.

 

 

 

The number of disappointing Mariners doesn’t stop with Smoak and Saunders. Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Franklin Gutierrez, Casper Wells, Brendan Ryan, and Miguel Olivo arte all hitting what used to be considered pathetic offensive numbers. Seattle not only doesn’t have a .300 hitter this season. They don’t have a .290 or .280 hitter. They have catcher John Jaso as a part-time player hitting .277 as the only representative north of .260.

 

 

 

As we watch the playoffs this October with young American League teams like the A’s and Orioles competing for a championship, devoid of a Seattle representative for an 11th consecutive year, let’s forget the pathetic cliche` “wait until next year”. Next year won’t be any better if Mariner management doesn’t get its act together and throw out some of the young experiments that didn’t work. Specifically any of Seattle’s outfielders could be a solid forth outfielder. The rest can be discarded. We need a whole new outfield. One that can hit. Smoak should also be shown the door in favor of a 1st baseman that can hit for power and at-least a respectable average.

 

 

 

Safeco Field in Seattle.

Safeco Field in Seattle.

 

And Mariner management needs to do three more things unrelated to on field personnel. Chuck Armstrong needs to go as Mariner President. Outfield fences need to be moved in. And a policy to keep the Safeco Field roof closed unless it’s sunny and 60+ degrees needs to be established. Everyone from Ken Griffey Junior to Jesus Montero knows the ball carries better with the roof closed. And it’s warmer, for better fan comfort.

 

 

 

Speaking of missed opportunities. We’re watching a big one with the Seattle Seahawks this season. The Seahawks possess a championship-caliber defense, running game and special teams. All three of those areas of the team have performed spectacularly in the teams first four games. And yet all the team could manage was a 2-2 record that’s one controversial call away from being 1-3.

 

 

 

An active volcano, Mount Rainier is one of thr...

 

It was acknowledged by everyone that the choice to go with Russell Wilson at quarterback to start the year would require some sacrifice while the young player grows into an NFL caliber QB. Coach Pete Carroll was and is enthralled with the potential of his 5′ 10″ third round draft choice. But here is one thing Carroll seems to have ignored, Matt Flynn is young and loaded with potential too. But Flynn has something Wilson doesn’t…four years in the NFL. Flynn also has a Super Bowl ring, and an NCAA National Championship. Put those two together, along with some other factors, and what do you have? A WINNER. Matt Flynn is a proven winner. Having him stand on the sidelines while Wilson slowly learns his craft is a waste of the other very talented aspects of this Seahawk team.

 

English: Green Bay Packers back-up quarterback...

Quarterback Matt Flynn 

 

The argument that Wilson gives Seattle a better chance to win in the long run is simply stupid since Flynn too possesses plenty of attributes that would lead a reasonable football fans to conclude his growth is currently ahead of Wilson’s and could potentially be great too.

 

 

 

There is no question Wilson is an outstanding young man worthy of respect and praise. But with the worst passing attack in the NFL, a-quarter of the season is long enough to determine that the Seahawks need better play at quarterback right now or they could blow a season the is rife with promise and potential. Flynn is just as capable of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch as Wilson, he can see and read the field better, and he CAN throw the ball extremely accurately according to most observers.

 

 

 

Please Pete Carroll; make the change. Install Flynn as the starter this week against Carolina. A trip all the way across the U.S. is tough enough. Tougher still, when you’re a rookie. It’s time to see Matt Flynn.

 

 

 

Thanks. I had to get that off my chest.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

 

 

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