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Seahawks, Saints, And The Perfect Viewing Experience

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This is another football post. Obviously, this is a Mariners blog, but there isn't any Mariners news to discuss, and given that I wrote about the Seahawks' win last week, I couldn't very well go without touching on this week as well. For those of you who aren't interested: feel free to skip.


I'll try to be quick, since I only have a little time and my brain's still fuzzy from Saturday afternoon. It would be impossible to convey everything there is to be conveyed about that win anyway, short of dedicating this site to the Seahawks for the next month and a half. There are just so many different things to be talked about that it's overwhelming to begin. I composed a checklist of talking points in my head but once I got to the eighth or ninth bullet I felt exhausted without having put a word on the screen. I don't possess the ability to maintain focus for as long as it would take to say everything there is to be said.

So I'm going to run with one idea, and leave everything else to everyone else. I don't watch a lot of movies. For the same reason that I can't sit here and write out everything that's on my mind, I usually have trouble trying to concentrate on anything for two hours at a time. Thanks to a traumatic accident in high school and a life spent on the internet, I can usually keep my focus for about two or three minutes before I feel compelled to look at something else. For all intents and purposes, my brain acts like that of a squirrel in the park.

So, by and large, movies are tough. They aren't impossible, but in order to keep me as a captive audience from start to finish, I find that they need to be exceptionally well-done. I can watch trashy movies with the best of them, don't get me wrong. But I won't really be watching them the whole time. In order to keep my eyes and my attention locked on the screen, a movie has to meet the following criteria:

(1) It has to be funny, or have funny moments

(2) It has to be consistently gripping

(3) It has to, in some way, be meaningful

Now, these are my own personal requirements, and not yours, so I expect that there may be some disagreement. But those are my big three. I like a movie that draws a laugh and packs a punch.

I'll stop short of identifying a movie that fits, just because naming one movie as a good movie inevitably leads to rankings and lists. But the reason I bring this up is because, while sporting events aren't movies, they're both extended viewing experiences, and given that I apply these criteria across the board, yesterday's game between the Seahawks and Saints may very well have been the best viewing experience of my life.

(1) Humor. That the Seahawks were even present in the playoffs in the first place was funny enough. They were taking on the defending champions and were being written off as a sure blowout. There wasn't a Seahawks fan on the planet who didn't go into the game with a sense of humor. Then, during offensive introductions on TV - when the team was already down by ten - they showed Matt Hasselbeck wearing this stupid shiteating grin like he didn't have a worry in the world. It was funny before the Seahawks won.

Then they won. Improbably, they won, and it wasn't just a feeling of triumph. It was a feeling of triumph and laughter, because what had happened was impossible, literally impossible, and we got to revel in the fact that the absurdity of the most absurd scenario in so many countless years of professional football had grown tenfold before our very eyes. Arguably the worst playoff team in history took down the defending champions, and after doing so still has more losses than wins.

(2) Captivation. The Rams game the week before, while funny and meaningful, wasn't so captivating. That game was a snore. This game was a barnburner. There were 77 total points, and 889 total yards, and it never quite got out of hand. Each offense was able to march down the field, and at no point after the Seahawks scored their first touchdown could it have been said that the game was dragging along. There was always emotion. From the surprise of the first half to the unlikely confidence in the mid-third quarter to the sense of certain doom in the fourth to the rapture of the run and the onside kick, this game held our balls in its hands to such a degree that I don't even remember any commercial breaks. This was about as gripping a 3.5-hour block as any I've ever watched.

(3) Meaning. And to think that this happened in the playoffs. The Seahawks are advancing in the playoffs. This is a game that won't soon be forgotten - not just by Seattle fans, but by the league at large. This was maybe the biggest upset in the history of the NFL postseason, and while you could give the edge to Giants/Patriots on account of stakes, the perceived difference between the two teams yesterday was far greater.

This is a game we'll be talking about for the rest of our lives as we all struggle in our own ways to find the right adjectives. The feeling I felt when Hasselbeck took a knee was unlike any I've ever experienced, as sports have seldom given me cause to laugh or celebrate, let alone both at the same time. I've never had a team win a championship, so every season I've ever followed has ended with some sort of loss, but even if the Seahawks lose next weekend by 40, I don't think that it'll matter. Yesterday made it all worth it. This season, the Seahawks won.

No part of me can believe that what happened happened. We were all certain they'd lose badly. When they fell behind by ten, I hardly batted an eye. And even when they were up in the late third and early fourth, it was easy to see that everything was slipping away, and that the Saints were still going to pull it out because these are the Seahawks, and the Seahawks are terrible. The second half collapse would only be fitting, and I mentioned to Matthew that only a Seattle team could figure out a way to make a game like yesterday hurt.

And it didn't hurt, because they won. Everything we've ever been conditioned to believe about Seattle sports in the playoffs - yesterday, none of it mattered. Marshawn Lynch may have given the Seahawks their Double, and while the '95 Mariners lost the next round, that doesn't make Game 5 any less sweet, or any less timeless.

Sports are seldom perfect. For yesterday, in so many ways, there's no better word.