If you’re looking for a surreal experience, take a drive past the Seahawks practice facility over the next few days and feast your eyes upon the ghost town that sits upon the shores of Renton’s sliver of Lake Washington. The usually bustling Virginia Mason Athletic Center is vacant, save for a handful of cars in the parking lot and a few inconspicuous employees middling around the building, everyone else having departed for a game, just a game, to be played three-thousand miles away.
For a week, at least, the Seahawks belong not to the Pacific Northwest but to the nation, one of two teams that America will choose to root for come Super Bowl Sunday. These are your Seahawks, our Seahawks, Seattle’s Seahawks, certainly. But as the week wears on, a bandwagon will swell beyond capacity as onlookers the world around pick sides, opting between our squad and those other guys from Denver.
This is what we’ve always wanted, isn’t it? For the bulk of the past three years, as the Hawks have marched towards uber-relevance and the fan base has subsequently multiplied, the 12th Man has decried the lack of regard from those deemed nationally important. There were never enough segments on the radio, features on television, or inches in our favorite publications to satisfy our Blue Fridays – and Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, too.
But now as we approach the world’s biggest game, played on the outskirts of this country’s most recognized city, we’re becoming overwhelmed by everything that’s being said about our football team. And unlike before, when we blasted the media outside this regional bubble we live in for their perceived ignorance, we find ourselves struggling to digest the words and sentiments being frivolously bandied about by pundits who are finally paying attention. We asked for this. We got it. And now we don’t like it.
What were you expecting? The media is supposed to be unbiased. You and I, however, are very much biased. We love the Seahawks. That means absolutely nothing for those being paid to opine about our ballclub.
Take, for instance, this column on Marshawn Lynch from CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel. Doyel lambasts Lynch’s behavior at Super Bowl Media Day, calling it both “embarrassing” and “humiliating.” But embarrassing and humiliating to whom? Lynch isn’t bothered by his own reserved demeanor. The Seahawks certainly don’t seem to care that Lynch acts the way he does. The throng of reporters, including a number of Seattle-based pundits, expected nothing more and nothing less – well, perhaps less – from the running back. So it’s left up to guys who operate on a more national level, like Doyel, to recoil at the fact that, OMG, a player won’t address them in the manner they feel they should be addressed.
This is a link-bait piece at its finest, an article idea conceived even before Doyel awoke this morning, I’d wager. Never mind the fact that Doyel could have crafted a story from the likes of any other Seahawk circling the floor or manning a podium at the Prudential Center on Tuesday. This column was as much about Marshawn Lynch as it was the author, who took the liberty of sharing his appall, however fabricated, in order to log site hits and boost his own Q rating with the reflection in the mirror.
You know who Gregg Doyel is? Seriously, do you even KNOW who Gregg Doyel is? Yeah, me neither. He’s just a guy. A guy who writes. I guarantee you that the Gregg Doyels of the world aren’t walking up to attractive girls in swanky clubs and name-dropping themselves on unsuspecting hotties who will then melt, absolutely melt, at words like “national” and “columnist.” It doesn’t happen that way. But if you presented this line of thinking to the reverent media, purveyors of truth, justice, and the American way, they’d scoff. Because in their own minds, these national pundits are the holy grail of information that this universe so desperately needs.
Why do you want ESPN’s affection, or Fox Sports’, or CBS’? Do you really need the worldwide press to tell you how great this football team is, how impactful their fans are, how well they might play come Sunday? Do you honestly desire the approval of scribes with their heads so far up their own asses that they can’t see the light of day? Is this really what you’ve craved, 12th Man?
None of it matters. Not any of it. From what Gregg Doyel has to say, to NFL Network, to NBC, to USA Today, to anyone else. You don’t need magazine covers or featurettes to tell you how important your team is. The Seahawks are great because of what they’ve done on the field. This isn’t about respect or disrespect towards a franchise or its fan base, either. The 12th Man is loud and everyone knows it – what everyone says about the 12th Man might vary, however, and that’s just fine.
So let’s ignore the national media and move past this desire to be loved, Seahawks fans. Win a game on Sunday and there will seemingly be no end to the accolades thrown Seattle’s way. Earning affection, rather than clamoring for it, is a much more satisfying achievement.