There is only one way out of this, and Seahawks fans better buckle up, because whether or not the Seahawks did anything wrong, we are public enemy #1. Every play that goes against us, (in the country's opinion) we deserve it. Every time we lose, we deserve it. The only way out of this hole is to win the Super Bowl. The last time that the nation laughed at us and pointed fingers and disrespected this franchise, we caused an earthquake. That is going to have to happen again for the rest of the season, every single game. Seahawks fans better bring it, Seahawks players better bring it, and we'd better bring it until we bring the championship home this year, next year, and the year after. Until they can talk all they want about that one play and it will be a distant memory.I walked into work Tuesday morning having not been able to watch the Packers game. First thing before attacking my skyscraper of ungraded papers, I opened NFL.com and checked the score. My mouth dropped open in astonished delight at the exact moment as one of my Algebra 2 students, a pack of five others right behind him, yanked open my door, leaned in, and without any greeting or preamble, hollered "Worst...call...ever." They know I'm a Twelve, and they wouldn't let go of the refrain all day: "The Seahawks? Seriously?" (Admittedly, this was mostly revenge from their being Cowboys fans.)
Every Twelve knows in his heart the phenomenon that Hawkblogger and I are describing here. The Seahawks are not the darlings of the NFL. We are not one of the media-market teams that bring ratings to the league's showcase games. We are not the team that the league would hold up as their paragon of talent and hardnosed professionalism. Our team is the red-headed stepchildren, and we share its status amongst fan circles.
For years, this status has taken passive voice as "Southern Alaska" as the team has wallowed in the muck of mediocrity with nobody feeling the need to pile on. Before that, it was "bullies of the basement" as we dominated the weak NFC West. It reached a passive-aggressive crescendo as the Seahawks trotted out to "Bittersweet Symphony" in Super Bowl XL and promptly got handed a yellow-colored, not-so-subtle memo as to which team's storylines the league thought more of. And once Pete Carroll the Rebel arrived, the laughter only increased.
So now that Golden Tate, Brandon Browner, Kam Chancellor and associates have finally taken a stand against the willful ignorance and literally body-slammed their way into the national spotlight, will the Seahawks ever be known as anything other than "The Ones Who Kept the Packers From Starting 2-1"?
I cannot believe the hypocrisy sweeping the nation over the Golden Tate touchdown. Forget the validity of the call for a moment. Where was this rending of garments and gnashing of teeth at the end of Super Bowl XL? I vividly remember the resounding snide dismissal from around the country: "If you wanted to win, there were plenty of dropped passes your team could have avoided. You deserved to lose. Deal with it."
Yet Aaron Rodgers, one of the league's best pressure-defeating, laser-accurate passers, so skilled that Matt Flynn (according to some Seahawks fans) has absorbed all his blitz-defeating ability by osmosis without even having to start more than twice - Rodgers is not given the same tough-love treatment. He's painted as a victim.
And he actually has a Super Bowl ring.
And you want me to believe that this is about the integrity of the game?
This is about a tough loss to one of the nation's popular "identity" teams. This is about "blue-collar quarterback" Aaron Rodgers and one of the league's precious, ratings-grabbing, high-flying passing offenses getting clobbered by good, plain, old-fashioned defense (by the way, folks, the Seahawks are pretty good at that now). It's about one of the NFL's night-game regulars getting whalloped, offensively brought down to the level of the 2006 Browns in front of the whole country, by an underdog that pundits keep in a glass-enclosed case labeled "Break in Case of Need for Punchline".
Where was all this indignation last year when the real referees blew a fourth-quarter call on a Leon Washington touchdown return? That call would have lifted the Seahawks to a victory over...oh, right. Cleveland. Nobody gives a damn about that team. Forget that it could have changed Seattle's season.
Where would the New Yorker's hand-wringing have been had Aaron Rodgers been the one throwing that "game-winning interception"? Pretty sure it would be relegated almost purely to the 12th Man.
Where would Herm Edwards' disgust towards Pete Carroll have been had Golden Gate scored against the Rams? Non-existent.
Where was Clay Matthews all of Monday night? Same mysterious pocket universe that DeMarcus Ware and all my pencils and old socks went to, I'm guessing.
Where were all the national media writers during their class on journalistic integrity? Asleep on their desks, as evidenced by their gall in subtly accusing the Seahawks of "robbing" millions of willing gamblers who were dumb enough to put down their money on a sports game that they have zero control over. That right there, like Hawkblogger said, is the giveaway. That betrays the bias for me. There's no backpedaling from that. The hand has been tipped. The media officially has zero perspective on the whole thing.
So don't come to me mourning over the death of football's integrity, treating it like some whitewashed lamb led to the slaughter by some punk wide receiver who merely did what every wide receiver does on a hail mary. Or whatever such melodramatic crap you're trying to pull.
Don't pretend that the touchdown was the only bad call that determined the game.
Don't pretend this is the first time a team has been defeated by the zebras.
Don't accuse the Seahawks of dishonest arrogance for not shuffling up to the microphone with lowered heads and admitting that they "cheated".
Don't act as if Aaron Rodgers deserved to win after being reduced to panicky checkdowns and sent scrambling for his life for an entire half by a fourth-round Eagles castoff before hunkering down behind his running game just to survive the night. (Credit where due: he still made many excellent throws.)
And this to the players and media especially: DON'T...DON'T...DON'T EVEN HINT that this is the first time you've noticed how bad the replacement referees are, or how much impact it has. Don't you dare. Nobody else needed this game to figure that out, you Dallas-loving pack of hypocrites. This isn't about the situation reaching "critical mass", highlighting the bad call to hasten Ed Hochuli's return. Your double standard is so transparent that birds fly right into it.
You'll notice I haven't even addressed the call itself. I don't plan to. I don't need to. The intensity of the self-righteous outcry from the league, the media, and some of the players themselves...that's indication enough of what's really going on here. This isn't about football's honor. It's about the challenge to its reigning oligarchy. The Seahawks weren't "given a gift" when the referee threw up his hands in the "touchdown" motion. They played a hell of a game, walked up to the Packers and punched them in the mouth for the four quarters before that play, representing the numerous teams who are demonstrating to these elite quarterbacks that balance, defense, discipline, and toughness still matter in this league.
In the end, though, all my words are naught. Football fans have never been a receptive bunch. Neither have mediots. The only thing Seattle can do to earn respect (albeit grudging) is win, and win lots. We've stepped over the line now, made a claim. And we all saw this tipping point coming last year once the Legion of Boom started throwing people around and crowing about it on Twitter. We knew people would notice. We quieted the critics for a while during the Beastquake, but last year it was taken to a whole new level. All it took was the proper platform to announce our arrival on the block. It's here now, and we'll have to back up our smack every week, every day, just like Richard Sherman.
I'm not sure I agree with Hawkblogger that Seattle will be a contender this year. But I do agree with this: boy, are we going to catch hell if they aren't. Fair or not.