By Mark Tye Turner
How often does reality actually meet expectation?
How often do you go to a movie that you’ve been waiting for months to see and then it turns out to be a dud? Or you go to a restaurant that everyone is raving about and you find it to be glorified dorm food? Often when something is really hyped, it sets itself up for disappointment.
That wasn’t the case for the 2013 Seahawks. Great expectations for the Hawks were actually met. Imagine that!
Pete Carroll and his merry band of ghostbusters zapped many of the spirits of Seattle sports misery past. The 1994 SuperSonics flame-out at the hands of Dikembe Mutombo? Zapped. The epic 116-win season of the Mariners crashing in a post 9/11 New York? Double-zapped. The Seahawks denied the Lombardi in Super Bowl XL due to the incompetence of the zebras? Triple friggin’ zapped!
I had a good feeling this was going to be a super season when the Hawks beat the humidity, the 10 a.m. Pacific kickoff and the Panthers themselves on opening day.
I felt even better after crushing the 49ers and a lightning delay in our home opener on Sunday Night Football.
Every week the feeling was the Seahawks were moving closer towards greatness. Of course, this feeling was tempered by the fact the city of Seattle and the entire Pacific Northwest had not tasted a major pro sports championship since Jimmy Carter was in office. However, I had one thought: Why can’t this be the season we escape the shackles that have tied us down next to Cleveland, Buffalo and San Diego?
It was a season when Russell Wilson became a rap lyric and 12th Man Macklemore became a rap star.
It was a season when after the Hawks squeaked by the Rams and Buccaneers, some football experts were downgrading the team from elite status. To me, it brought up an interesting question: Can a team be in a slump while still on a winning streak?
It was a year when Richard Sherman’s post-NFC Championship interview launched him into the pop culture zeitgeist. You don’t need to be a Stanford grad to know Sherman isn’t a thug, but that didn’t stop idiots from calling him one or worse.
The 2013 Seahawks were all about the team. The historic punt-return coverage. The defense that became the first since the 1985 Chicago Bears to lead the league in points and yardage allowed and turnovers. The unselfish offense, boss.
Let’s not forget the 68,000 members of the 12th Man who during every home game made their presence known. Not only to opposing teams but also to those world records folks at Guinness.
I take a special delight when Washingtonians succeed with the Hawks. Be it Dan Doornink, Michael Jackson, Paul Skansi, Jon Kitna or Marcus Trufant. This season we had Lakewood’s Jermaine Kearse, who supplanted Skansi as the “former Husky with the biggest Seahawk reception” when he hauled in the go-ahead touchdown in the NFC Championship Game. Kearse made other big-play TDs this year including the game-winner in Carolina, the flea-flicker at Atlanta and the pinball-wizard score in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, I don’t know why many called it “awful” and “boring.” For me, it was the greatest sporting event ever. By dominating the record-setting offense of the Broncos, the Seahawk defense put on the greatest defensive display in the history of the NFL.
The Super Bowl has actually caused 12th Man repeatableviewmania, a social condition whereby members of the 12th Man constantly re-watch Super Bowl XLVIII, much to the consternation of their spouse and/or family.
During the final scene of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,“ Willy asks Charlie Bucket (to whom he just given the key to the Wonka empire) if he knows what happened to the man who suddenly gets everything he ever wanted? Charlie does not know the answer. Willy tells him he lived happily ever after.
The Seahawks’ super season in itself won’t make you live happily ever after. It won’t bring world peace. It will not eradicate your debt. It will not cure any sickness (with the exception of sports depression).
What this season has done is validate every hour you, the 12th Man, have devoted to the Seahawks. Every loss you’ve endured. Every test of your faith in the Hawks. Every bit of ridicule that’s been tossed your way by opposing fans, or worse, from non-football people who think you’re an illiterate troglodyte for not only being a fan but being a fan of a team that’s never won a championship. Well suck it, eggheads.
The 12th Man always could quote Kafka and Chuck Knox. Now we can sing Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
So what does it matter if other expectations fall flat this year? The film you really think is going to be awesome turns out to be a snoozefest? Or the hot new restaurant gives you botulism? The Seattle Seahawks are world champions! Man, I will never tire of writing that last sentence.
Mark Tye Turner is the author of “Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks.” You can order his book here at Amazon. Follow Turner on Twitter @mtthawk.