This past Seahawks’ season ended with an odd emotion, but one you might be able to identify with.
As Julio Jones came down with Russell Wilson’s final pass, and the Georgia Dome began to celebrate, I felt unambiguous disappointment that Seattle’s season ended with a second-round playoff loss at Atlanta. I wanted to keep following that team and that season. I wanted to feel the excitement that would have pulsed through our city in anticipation of an NFC Championship Game at San Francisco.
The Seahawks have spent the past two months — and many millions of dollars — paving over the disappointment of last year with the anticipation and excitement for this season. Receiver Percy Harvin was acquired in a trade. Defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett were signed as free agents. Antoine Winfield took a one-year deal to come aboard just last week. This could be an unprecented year for both the team and the city.
And while you will be in good hands for the wild ride ahead, it will be someone else holding the reins of Seahawks coverage here at The Seattle Times. Today is my last day at the paper. I’ve joined 710 ESPN Seattle where I will be appearing alongside Brock Huard from 9 to noon every weekday on “Brock & Danny.” It is a remarkable opportunity for me, a new challenge I am very excited about.
While I will continue to cover the team for the station’s Web site, I am going to miss covering the team for The Seattle Times. There is something very special about working for not just a daily newspaper, but for this daily newspaper. That’s true for everyone from the sports staff all the way up to the publisher, Frank Blethen. It’s hard to adequately describe the range of opportunities I’ve had here from meeting my wife (yay!) to covering the one Seahawks’ start by Charlie Frye (yuck!). This newspaper has been gracious enough to hire me three different times, shepherding all the way through my career from a college student answering phones to a reporting job covering high-school sports to the past seven seasons covering the Seahawks.
I am so very grateful The Seattle Times has provied two things at a premium in today’s newspaper economy: space and travel. They sent me to Orange, Texas, to write about Earl Thomas III, to Montana to trace the last fall from grace for Ryan Leaf and also to Southern California in search of Brian Bosworth. Last year — as the Seahawks were on a historic December run — I went to Virginia to research the raising of a certain 5 feet, 10 five-eighths inch quarterback. It would have been easier for The Seattle Times not to do these stories both in terms the travel expense and manpower. Someone else had to cover the team’s locker room while I reported those stories. But The Seattle Times has always put the stories first in an effort to give readers unique insights into the players that matter most to our city. I couldn’t have asked for more writing opportunities, and the fact that I’m leaving The Seattle Times illustrates my excitement over this new and surprising opportunity in a new medium more than anything else.
The final thing I want to thank The Seattle Times for is the opportunity to connect with you, the readers. This has occurred in all sorts of ways from the weekly Tuesday chats that were a highlight of my week to the occasionally testy comments about my blog output to the group of dudes I met at Carlow East in Manhattan back in 2011 the night before the Seahawks played the Giants. Two weeks ago, I saw an analysis of Internet traffic, and the Seahawks’ coverage — in terms of stories, columns and blog entries — had generated the most traffic of any subject on the site going back to Oct. 1. That is a testament to your enthusiasm for the subject, an appetite that The Seattle Times will continue to meet as it puts more resources into Seahawks’ coverage.
I close by saying thank you not only to The Seattle Times for the opportunity to cover the Seahawks, but to everyone who read and participated in our coverage. I hope that you’ll continue hearing from me as I take this new step in my career, but know there’s a part of me that will miss being there for you in the pages of this very special newspaper, too. Thanks.