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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

September 5, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Seahawks: A 12th Man weighs in on hype, hope and history

By Mark Tye Turner

Mark Tye Turner, a Seattle native who now lives in Los Angeles, is the author of “Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks.” Follow him on Twitter @mtthawk.

Every year, we, the 12th Man, have hopeful expectations for the Seahawks.

Sometimes, like this season, we even feel we can win the Super Bowl. The only difference is that this year, many national media members predict a Seahawks Super Bowl, too.

How do I feel about such predictions?  It’s a double-edge sword. On one hand, it means the Hawks on paper are an excellent team. On the other hand, the weight of such forecasts has crushed many favorites over the years.

The Hawks have rarely faced such great expectations on a national scale. This year reminds me of a season 28 years ago.

Take a look at the 1985 NFL preseason magazines. The Seahawks were picked by many to win not only the AFC but beat the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl. The Hawks went 12-4 in 1984 without star running back Curt Warner, who was injured in the first game of the season.  However, Warner was back for the 1985 season. Seattle also had a prolific passing game – via Dave Krieg-to-Steve Largent Airlines – and one of the NFL’s best defenses – led by the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Kenny Easley. The Seahawks seemed in perfect position to claim the Lombardi Trophy.

The pundits had it half right.  Da Bears, not only made it to the Super Bowl, they won it.

The Hawks, despite staying relatively healthy all year, went on a win-two, lose-two pattern and missed the playoffs.

So if I seem a bit cautious, that’s why.

Still, we return quarterback Russell Wilson. DangerRuss was mentioned more often in the offseason than any Seahawk in team history – with the possible exception of Richard Sherman.  The All-Pro cornerback became a Twitter lightning rod and a Sports Illustrated cover story.

Last year’s Seahawks had many notable numbers that make me optimistic. Not only was their 11-5 mark the franchise’s third-best regular-season record, it came on the heels of four straight losing seasons (which tied the team record for futility set between 1991 and 1994).

The Hawks also did not lose a game by more than a touchdown and their margin of defeat (including the postseason) was a mere 4.3 points per game (a league low when factoring in the playoffs).

They set a team record for fewest points scored against them (245) which allowed the Hawks to lead the NFL in scoring defense (a team first).

On offense, their regular season total of 412 points was the third best in team history and their margin of victory (including playoffs) was 16.7 points per game, which was actually better than the 1984 and 2005 Seahawk editions (the previous standards).

The offseason after the Seahawks’ playoff run was punctuated by a war of words between Hawk and Niner fans online that has made their respective fan bases the NFL edition of the Hatfield and McCoys.

There were some uncalled-for swipes by a certain coach (I’m talking about you, Jim Harbaugh!) and a colorful response by one of the Seahawks (thank you, Brandon Browner).

And what is considered the best current rivalry in the league? Well, at least Hawk and Niner fans can agree on this: it’s Seattle and San Francisco.

You won’t get a prediction on the Seahawks’ season record from me, mainly because I am superstitious about such things.

However, I predict  Richard Sherman will enrage the fans of most opponents. I also predict he’s going to make me laugh a number of times due to his Stanford-sharp sarcasm.

I predict coach Pete Carroll is going to be the most excited guy on the Seahawks’ sideline on more than a few occasions (yeah, I’m really going out on a limb here).

And I predict the discussions over Russell Wilson’s height decrease 45 percent from last year.

Will I be disappointed if we don’t win the Super Bowl?  Short answer, yes. Long answer, the NFL is a mosh pit of frustration and happiness – more frustration since only one team gets to hoist the Lombardi.

So cross your fingers and enjoy the ride on the Seahawk Super-Ferry.

Who am I kidding?  This 12th Man is going to be seriously ticked-off if the Niners win the Super Bowl.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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