Thursday, February 6, 2014

The post where I talk about football...

Two out of every three gamblers in Vegas put their money on Peyton Manning this past weekend.

It's safe to say the house won big time.

And here's why everybody had it wrong. Here's why you were probably cheering for the wrong team.

1. The Seattle Seahawks are the type of team America is supposed to love. We are the underdog. The team of misfits. The type of team that Disney writes movies about. Two years ago, Seattle got ranked as having the absolute worst picks in the 2012 draft. Our quarterback, Russell Wilson, was described as "a QB that doesn't fit their offense at all" and our coach, Pete Carroll was to blame for these picks, "proving why he didn't make it in the NFL the first time." Although we have a few superstars on our roster, such as a man who can gain five extra running yards with three or four lineman attached to his back, most of our starting line-up is made up of walk-ons, random trades, and guys that were 6th and 7th round draft picks. We are The Mighty Ducks, a team of players with undiscovered talent and a coach that got kicked out of a career in the NFL twice before. We are the guys from Remember the Titans, a sometimes rowdy bunch of young athletes that need a positive coach to believe in them and teach them to be great.

2. If you are a Christian, you should be rooting for players that so blatantly give glory to God. The Seahawks quarterback, Wilson, offers genuine praise to the Lord for every award and every game. He lives out his faith publicly and has shared his testimony with countless media. He never takes credit for himself, but gives all honor to God. And he's not the only one... you can see a short video here of a number of players and coaching staff who genuinely proclaim "Jesus is better than the Super Bowl." Oh, and Gresham, the Seahawks long snapper and alum of my alma mater, TCU? He made a movie about how his faith and football mix together and distributed the film about Jesus to 30,000 fans. I understand Peyton has made some vague references to faith and prayer, and I'm sure we'll party in heaven together, but I've never seen such a blatant proclamation of the Gospel coming from him as I have from the Seahawks players. I understand that Peyton gives a lot of money to charities as well, but do you know that the Seahawks get out there and serve with their hands and feet? Wilson and his wife visit patients in Seattle Children's Hospital weekly to give encouragement to the kids and their weary parents. Pete Carroll ventures back to the streets of L.A. every off-season to stop kids from joining gangs. Even the controversial Richard Sherman does his share to look after inner city kids and help them stay in school. A lot of people give their money, but only some people are willing to give their time.

3. The Seahawks are not perfect. If you missed the Richard Sherman debacle after the NFC championship then you must be living under a rock. Whether you consider his tirade after the game to be good or bad, it was, at least, not very humble. I typically despise cocky athletes, and although I still like Sherman, I think he has a lot of growing up to do {which he also admitted the next day when he acknowledged his behavior as "immature"}. But then again, he is 25. I'm glad my words and actions from when I was 25 aren't immortalized on a camera for all the world to see. Overall, he seems like a charismatic young man, a stellar athlete, and a person who works hard to accomplish his dreams. And he is just one example of how Carroll sticks by his players and helps them learn from their mistakes on and off the field.

4. Speaking of... Pete Carroll is awesome. He will go down as one of the most positive and steadfast coaches in history. I've never heard of a former player of his that didn't love him. Apparently, he has only two rules for his players: 1) Be yourself. 2) Don't do anything to damage the team's reputation. He's okay with Richard Sherman talking a lot {which makes sense, since Sherman wants to be an announcer after his career on the field is done}, and Marshawn Lynch not talking at all. When the cameras were all up in Carroll's face as the final seconds of the Super Bowl ticked away, he said "I just want to get to my guys." What an awesome man. And to think no one thought he was fit for the NFL...

5. The Seahawks have the best fans in the NFL. Seriously, don't you love a team that has die-hard fan base? They are loud, they are proud, and they are positive. This week Seattleites were told not to try to greet the team when they arrived home from New Jersey, but even though the Seahawks' flight was delayed by four hours, there were over 300 people cheering on the dark, cold, wet streets when the team pulled up to their practice facility. At the victory parade in downtown Seattle yesterday, over 700,000 fans skipped work and school to come celebrate with the team. Although the Seahawks fans didn't start the phrase "12th man" - never has there been a truer picture of what it means to be that extra player on the field. Do you realize that Seattle has the loudest fans in the world? Twice this season their cheers have registered on the Richter scale in Seattle. It's seriously an earthquake when you enter into CenturyLink field on game day. It's so loud that our deaf lineman, Coleman, can feel the vibrations even though he can't hear the sounds. It's so loud that the fans know they at least get partial credit for forcing more false starts on our opponents than any team in the NFL since 2005. Keep in mind, all this cheering takes place for a team who, until last weekend, had never even won a Super Bowl. Why would you not want to be a fan like that?

6. And finally... Peyton Manning played it safe. Two years ago, when Manning was looking for a new team, he visited the Arizona Cardinals of the NFC, but eventually decided to join the Denver Broncos of the AFC. Ever since then he's spent a lot of time talking up his love and loyalty for the AFC. Because here's the thing... the AFC is where worn out quarterbacks go to tack a couple more seasons on their careers. If Manning had joined the Cardinals, he never would have set all the records he did this season. The Seahawks, the 49ers, the Saints, the Panthers... they never would have let it happen. Manning sat in his little pocket and threw his little passes against mediocre AFC teams all season long. That's not how we roll out here in the Wild West. The best teams in the NFC are young, scrappy, and more hard core than anything Denver has ever seen. Just look how the Seahawks dominated on offense, defense, and special teams during the Super Bowl. This wasn't about Manning having a bad game. This was about a Seattle team that is so fundamental and motivated that the Broncos hadn't seen anything like it all season. The Seahawks weren't relying on one superstar. They were relying on all 11 men on the field to play their best every second of the game. If you wanted to see the real Super Bowl, you should have tuned into the NFC Championship two weeks ago to watch Seattle and San Francisco duke it out in a nail-biting, down-to-the-final seconds game filled with aggression and emotion. Manning might not have set the same records had he gone to the Cardinals two years ago, but he might have been able to hone his already-decent talent against some of the best defense in the nation. And maybe he would have helped the 10-6 Cardinals get to the playoffs this season, because only in the NFC West is a ten win season not quite good enough to get you to the postseason...

I can't tell you how many times in the week leading up to the big game, I heard the line "I'm not a Broncos fan, but I'm a Peyton Manning fan." Why? I just don't get it. All I see in Manning is nice, boring white guy who's lost more playoff games than he's won. I'd never put my money on a man who played it safe.


PolkaDottyPlace said...

Congrats to the Seahawks and all of their fans! That was an impressive Super Bowl performance and an exciting win for them. I realize that people don’t have to like Peyton Manning but there are a lot of admirable qualities about him. I am a Manning fan here are a few reasons why:
1. He’s a great role model for kids, future players and others.
2. He does not conduct himself in a showy or arrogant manner, he’s humble and is always a classy guy.
3. He makes building personal relationships a priority with everyone around him and is known for writing personal notes of encouragement to others.
4. I’d argue that he takes on challenges and tries to grow as a person since he could have retired when Indy gave him the boot, but instead he took on a new challenge at Denver. Sure, he could have chosen a high risk team in a new conference, but I think he was realistic in the timing of his trade and what he had to offer a team.
5. He comes from a great family and they have shown time and time again to be Christians, thoughtful, caring and generous. I’m guessing if we really knew to the extent of their service to others we’d be surprised.
6. Lastly, he is nowhere near perfect and none of us are. He works extremely hard and is a proven leader among his teammates and all of the communities he’s lived in across the country.

I’m glad there are many teams and tons of players to cheer for because it would be boring if we all liked the same ones. Enjoy the off season and I’m sure the 2014-15 football season will not disappoint! Whitney :)

Sarah @ Life, Love & Dinner said...

I love this! So well written! While we are Pats fans, Boston born and raised, I cheered for the Seahawks during the Superbowl for some of the same reasons you listed. Did you see Noelle's pic on IG? She had her orange pants on (Dad was cheering for Broncos) and a navy & lime green bow, courtesy of Mama :). I actually went to high school with Breno Giacomini #68 and he has done amazing things with the kids in our hometown. It is a poor community and he brings his free football camp here and sends gently used equipment to the high school team. These kids would never all be able to afford a football camp with a professional running the program. A true class act.

Kayla Janine said...

Hi!! This was absolutely BRILLIANT!! A friend recommended this post to me because I blog Seahawks posts often. Thank you for writing so eloquently & informatively about my home team; it was such an enjoyable read.
You pointed out everything I love about this team - totally a bunch of misfits that no one could see the talent in. But John Schneider & Pete Carrol saw potential in all of them, and it sure paid off. I think Pete is the start of a new era in NFL coaching - a man who is a father figure & truly believes in his team & plays to their strengths. There isn't room for the drill sergeant coach anymore; it just doesn't win championships. I love how this group of guys plays as a unit, as a family in a sense. That's what I have loved following most.
I am a major Sherman fan - I bought his jersey at the beginning of the season - and his "rant" was justified, but of course not ideal. I love how he handled Media Day in NY and how often he apologized, putting the focus back on his team.
And thank you for putting my thoughts on Manning into words. While he is such a class act, I knew he could never have racked up these stats in the NFC. However, watching the Super Bowl mic'd up just now, he & his team lost with such dignity. Thank you for being honest, saying what you think about boring pocket passer. Football is a team sport, not a sport with one highly paid star...and the Hawks proved that.
So from one Seahawks fanatic to another - THANK YOU for such a fabulous post. You truly summed up the year of all years.

mamaboot said...

Such a great game....and such a great team. :) It's a great time to be a Seattleite. :)