The “Suck for Luck” campaign is a popular one with a simple premise: root for your NFL team to suck, so they may find themselves in better position to draft Stanford quarterback (and expected 2012 No. 1 overall draft pick) Andrew Luck. It’s a fad that’s sweeping the nation…or at least cities across the nation with mediocre-to-bad football teams.
Your 2011 Seattle Seahawks were once thought to be among the favorites in the Suck for Luck sweepstakes. Armed with two question-mark quarterbacks, a fragile offensive line, and the youngest roster in the league, there was no denying that all the pieces were in place for a sucky Luckfest.
Alas, five games into the new year, the Hawks may very well be better than anyone expected. With a 2-3 record under their belt, they are less sucky than nine other teams across the vast expanse of the NFL.
What’s more, in the bubbling cesspool of the NFC West, the Seahawks have done just enough to put themselves squarely in the hunt for the division title, an honor they earned last year with a sub-.500 (7-9) record. Oh, and don’t try and tell me that the 4-1 49ers are going to run away with this thing. Their quarterback is Alex Smith, for God’s sake. Their best wideout is Braylon Edwards, who’s only at his zenith when he’s drunk behind the wheel. The Seahawks are in second place behind a budding train wreck. It’s a good spot to be in.
Naturally, these developments are absolutely tragic news for all the Luck suckers out there. Knowing the Seahawks are just good enough to not suck has to be a stinging reminder of this team’s potential, a message that was brought to the forefront in Sunday’s road win over the Giants.
In case you hadn’t heard (and chances are you had), the Seahawks hadn’t won an East Coast road game since 2007, when they outlasted the Eagles in a 28-24 contest at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. Forty-six months later, the Hawks found their stride at MetLife Stadium in New York, overcoming all doubters — and face it, almost everyone was a doubter — in the process.
Among the 2-3 clubs across the NFL, the Seahawks don’t look nearly as bad as most pundits and fans anticipated they would. Aside from a 24-0 thrashing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the hometown 11 could very easily be 3-2, or even 4-1 right now. Two special teams gaffes were the difference in a season-opening loss to San Francisco, and a last-second missed field goal against Atlanta in Week 4 was all that separated the blue-and-green from a W.
What the Seahawks lack in on-paper pizzazz, they atone for in youth and naivety. You could argue that no group of players tries harder than this one, and as a result, scrappy and tough are adjectives that emerge to describe this team.
On both sides of the ball, unheralded talents dot the roster and provide a spark for an unheralded ball club. From cornerback Brandon Browner (a Canadian Football League alum), to defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (a preseason roster cut by Philadelphia; no relation to Mike), to first-year linebacker K.J. Wright (a fourth-round pick and current starter), to rookie wideout Doug Baldwin (an undrafted free agent who moonlights as the team’s leading pass-catcher).
In Sunday’s victory, all four members of the All-Overlooked squad made significant contributions. Hargrove ignited the defense by tackling Giants’ running back D.J. Ware for a safety; Baldwin caught the game-winning touchdown pass (and finished with a team-high 136 yards receiving); Browner preserved the victory with a late interception and 94-yard run-back for a score; and Wright chipped in with three tackles.
Beyond the nameless faces making plays for this team, the few veterans the Seahawks do possess radiate a similar grind-it-out effervescence as that of their younger cohorts. Marshawn Lynch, for one, is among the baddest mothers on the planet, to quote ’90s rap lyrics. And Tarvaris Jackson, for all the flack he takes, is as bruising and determined as any quarterback in the league (a trait that may have worked against Jackson when he was injured in Sunday’s second half). With that kind of attitude from the “old guys,” the underclassmen are all but forced to buy in.
It’s an absolute cliche, but they say you can’t judge a book by its cover. In the case of the 2011 Seahawks, the book jacket was tattered, torn, and covered in stains. Whether or not you were on the Suck for Luck bandwagon, there was no denying that the facade indicated a legitimate chance at Luck-y suckiness.
Yet even with a losing record headed into a bye week, there is nothing about this team that signifies a loser. They’ve had success, they’ve won two of their last three games, they’re absolutely relentless, and they have emerging playmakers.
Sucking for Luck is out of the question. A playoff berth, however, is much more realistic.