Fumblr is the fake blogging platform that examines the NFL through invented memes. It runs every Wednesday.
I am a Seahawks fan. I have said this before, repeatedly, in this space and elsewhere, but I feel the need to disclose it every time I mention the team because I recognize that "Seahawks fan" is a forgettable personal trait. It is not a glamorous fandom. It comes with baggage: decades of futility, Brian Bosworth, an ugly Super Bowl loss, plus the accompanying rainclouds of the Mariners and SuperSonics.
For once, though, the Seahawks are good. And not "NFC West champion because the division sucks" good. Good-good. Feared. Respected. They've blown out opponents for three-straight weeks. Analysts and talking heads are trotting out end-of-the-season axioms like "This is not a team you want to face in the playoffs" and "Seattle's getting hot at the right time."
As a Seahawks fan, this is all delightful but surreal, a pleasant dream destined to end at the klaxon of an alarm. Russell Wilson is a star quarterback and Offensive Rookie of the Year contender for a franchise that has never known better than Matt Hasselbeck and Dave Krieg. The defense is likely the best in the league, an astounding turnaround for a unit that was typically best at giving up first downs on third-and-long. Oh, and the roster is the youngest in the league thanks to smart drafting and savvy management by Pete Carroll and GM John Scheider.
This success -- and the prospect of more to come -- plants the seed of a dangerous emotion: hope. I will forever expect the worst from the Seahawks, flinch at the swings of momentum, get more misery from losses than joy from wins. Pessimism is a defense mechanism learned from experience; three decades of Seahawks fandom has taught me that hope can only lead to disappointment.
And that's why I love Pete Carroll.
As I mentioned in Week 3's Fumblr, there are millions of college football fans who hate Pete Carroll from his days at USC. I don't give a gilded shit about USC, so I'm free to love Carroll -- not just as the architect of one of the best iterations of my favorite team, but as an avatar for how I wish I could cheer for the 'Hawks.
On Sunday night, when Doug Baldwin scored the first of his two touchdowns to put the Seahawks up 35-6 over the 49ers, I thought, "Okay, they probably won't blow this." I was relieved, but not free from worry. At that point, the camera cut to Carroll, swaggering down the sideline and smirking like the biggest dickhead on the planet. It was a master class in smug satisfaction, with a glint of hunger for more: more touchdowns, a bigger victory, a stronger message to his rival Jim Harbaugh.
Even at his warmest, he is cheerful and enthusiastic about a disciplined and violent machine, a trait also possessed by psychopaths and mad scientists. He speaks in ALLCAPSNOSPACES and chews gum like someone who sleeps three hours a night not because he needs rest but because he is expected to lie down and close his eyes for a period of time each day in order to appear human. He is reading this now, and nodding, and also watching tape, and probably pumping his fist.
Pete Carroll is a man who whistles a merry tune while he kicks a hobo's ribs in. Maybe you're right to hate him for that, or maybe the hobo had it coming. Either way, I recommend watching from a safe distance.
Fox's broadcast team of Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (color commentary), and Tony Siragusa (human goiter) wore Christmas sweaters on Sunday, sparking a debate as to who had the uglier sweater -- Moose or Goose. (Albert, true to form, was too bland to be in the discussion.)
Like all things, it's a matter of taste, and the broadcasters dressed to suit their personalities. Siragusa's garish sweater, like Siragusa himself, was tacky and unnecessary, yet representative of American excess -- the Guy Fieri of festive sweaters. Johnston, one of the few NFL broadcasters willing to take sartorial chances, ended up in a form-fitting red V-neck fringed with white fur. It wasn't as overtly tacky as Goose's, but it's still better suited on a sexy woman singing "Santa Baby."
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No, no, in the best possible way no. Though the 2012 Jets will go down as a memorably bad team, Rex Ryan did something important this year: he took the inept over-hyped backup quarterback the front office gave him and used him for fake punts. And by starting Greg McElroy over Tebow last week, Ryan made it exceedingly clear that Tim Tebow has no place in the NFL as a starting quarterback, even if a team has Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy on the depth chart.
(Photo credit: Debby Wong, USA TODAY Sports)
Tebow had a chance to escape unscathed. He could have gone somewhere else as Ideal Teammate Tim Tebow and Consummate Winner Tim Tebow, but instead he refused to run the Jets' seldom-used and not-very-successful Wildcat package, thus cementing his place as a Me-First Quitter.
Sports commentary is awful, by the way. You shouldn't read it.