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The Lombardi Trophy has a new home

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Who knew? Defense really does win championships. Read on.

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• Clichés become clichés for a reason. Either everyone uses them because they sound interesting and fun or they have a basis in truth. The one we cited Saturday when we picked the Seahawks to win their first NFL championship came true with a vengeance yesterday. The Hawk defense dominated like no other in league history (and we'll explain that more in a minute). Now another cliché takes over. The one about how the Northwest sports fan will finally feel vindicated. Satisfied. Satiated. After more than 30 years living in this area (and all the heartaches), I'm not sure this one will ring true. Yes, yesterday was nice. No, not nice. Exhilarating. Exciting. Energizing. An E-ticket ride. But does it make up for all the Mariner losses? The Sonics being spirited away? Even the Seahawks loss in their first Super Bowl appearance? OK, a little. Maybe even a lot. But not completely. That's why, when the Hawks were up more than four touchdowns as time wound down, I'm sure most of the Northwest faithful were still on the edge of their easy chair, worried David Stern or Howard Lincoln or Clay Bennett would swoop in and throw a penalty flag that ignited a Bronco rally. It's only paranoia if it hasn't happened before. But nothing untoward occurred. The game ended. The celebration began. The Seahawks lined up and genuflected at the feet of the Lombardi Trophy. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief. And began to wonder. Can this team repeat? Ya, satisfaction doesn't last all that long.

• You know one of the best things about yesterday? The New Jersey weather was nearly perfect. The officiating was balanced. There were no controversial replays. No excuses, no what-ifs, no doubt. It was an old-fashioned trip to the woodshed administrated by a throwback NFL team. No one got up this morning and thought their team got screwed. This was all about the play, not the misplays. And that feels good.

• I have seen a lot of great NFL defenses in my 58 years, dating back to the Fearsome Foursome Rams group of my youth. The gold standard, though, was probably the Bears defense in 1985, the Mike Singletary-led group that eviscerated teams. This Hawk defense is just as good, if not better. How can I say that when the numbers don't back it up? Because the NFL has changed the game. That Bear defense didn't have to deal with all the rules the league has instituted to help the offense. Sure, that group – and others like them that followed – may have been the cause of the changes, but the Hawks of 2014 had to deal with them. And with offenses like Denver's, offenses built to take advantage of the rules. No matter. You want to run short crossing routes? The Legion will lower the Boom when you catch the ball. Want to go deep? Try it against these cornerbacks. Play up-tempo? This defense could change personnel as quickly as Earl Thomas closed on a running back. The Broncos set numerous offensive records this season, records offenses of the '60s, '70s and '80s would have thought impossible against air, let alone against NFL defenses. Sunday that same offense scored one touchdown. One. Case closed.

• One last thought. My best friend is a life-long Bronco fan. He wanted his team to win. All week he was gracious and funny, knowing, I'm sure, how hard it is to be a fan of the Northwest's professional teams. His allegiance made it harder for me to feel really good about the beatdown until, just before 6 p.m., he sent me a funny text. I hit just the right note. It also allowed me to relax and enjoy the rest of the game. Now that's class.

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• WSU: Not a lot of non-Super Bowl news but Jacob Thorpe found some. He has a morning post with links. Don't believe everything he writes, though. I let him slide about the "need-a-ride" comment from the other day.

• Gonzaga: Not a lot here either, though Jim Meehan put up a blog post yesterday morning looking back at the San Francisco win. ... Tyler Haws is a scoring machine for BYU.

• Chiefs: Tri-City finished off its Alberta trip with a loss.

• Seahawks: So how do you want your memories of the Super Bowl served up? Do you want it through the voices of the area's columnists, like our John Blanchette and the guys over in the Puget Sound area who have been following the Hawks all season (and for years)? We can do that. Or do you want the thoughts of columnists from outside the area, from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in-between? OK, we can help there too. Wait, maybe you want videos of interviews with Pete Carroll and Doug Baldwin and the MVP, Malcolm Smith? We can fill that desire and many, many more. Or maybe you just want to read about the game, about the dominance of the defense, about the Hawks confidence, about the receivers showing how good they really are. Maybe it's the little things, the stories about what this game means to the players and the fans that you are looking for. We can help. Or maybe it's news about how Seattle is going to celebrate this first title since ancient times (pre-Ronald Reagan). We have that information as well. Or maybe you just want to know how the Broncos feel after the loss. That's available too. Enjoy.

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• My sons decided sometime during the season I was bad luck. It may have started during the Indianapolis game as I sat down to watch just as the Hawks were in the process of blowing a lead. It solidified a couple of weeks ago, though, when Seattle rallied in the NFC Championship after I went upstairs to watch. So I was banished to the bedroom, alone, yesterday. I played along. I know, I know. It has nothing to do with it. But it's part of the fun of being in a family. And that's what sports fans become. A family consisting of many families. And we all make sacrifices for our families. Mine was not being with them. I don't believe they felt it was a sacrifice. I think they really enjoyed not having to listen to my inane chatter all game long. Plus one of them got to park their butt in my very comfortable chair. ... One more day on the radio as Keith Osso makes his way back from New York. You can listen here if you like. Dennis Patchin, Rick Lukens and I will be on from 3 to 6 p.m. Until then ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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