A GRIP ON SPORTS
The Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl! The Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl! The Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl! Or are they? Read on.
• No one ever sets out to be a party pooper, but some of us end up that way. It's not because we like to rain on other's parades or pop their balloons or any other cliché about being a Debbie Downer I can think of right now. It's because there is a reason to be worried, even if everyone else is basking in the glow of a hard-won title. And what a glow it is. The Seahawks' 13-3 record was good enough to hold off last year's NFC Super Bowl representative, the San Francisco 49ers, in the NFC West. And it is good enough to ensure Seattle home games in the two contests leading up to the Super Bowl. That's worth celebrating. It's what they have been working toward all season. The 27-9 win over St. Louis was a hard-fought battle that wasn't over until the Rams started throwing their helmets around. So let's hoist another cup of coffee, pat each other on our backs and celebrate, Northwest style. Heck, we may even go down to the Pike Street Market and watch them toss the salmon around. After all, we all live within a sockeye throw of that place and it's all Northwest folks do for fun, right? Then again, most Northwest sports fans are a jaded bunch, our temperament dulled by disappointment. So when we pick up a diamond, the first thing we tend to do is examine it for flaws. And the Hawks have flaws. There is the offensive line that tends to be sieve-like at times. The wide receivers can struggle to get open. And the penalties. Way too many. Except when the line pushes people around, as it did in the key moments of yesterday's game. And the receivers, mainly Golden Tate (pictured), make defensive backs look silly, as happened off-and-on yesterday. And when the other teams, trying to get the Hawks to do something stupid, self-destructs in the quixotic quest. It's times like these, when the Hawks are playing their best, when the CenturyLink crowd is in full throat, when Russell Wilson is darting around in the backfield before finding the open guy, that's when the exclamation-point emphasized statement we led this column with looks to be attainable. That's also when you realize maybe making plans for a big old Super Bowl party isn't a bad thing. You might even want to consider ordering some balloons.
• WSU: A slow day as the Pac-12 is waiting until after the New Year to open its basketball season and the premier bowl game of the day includes the always hard-to-cheer-for Oregon Ducks. But Jacob Thorpe came through with a morning post with links, so there is that. ... It looks as if Marques Tuiasosopo's interim coaching gig win in the Fight Hunger Bowl will be his swan song with the Huskies.
• Gonzaga: Yesterday was a time for Jim Meehan to look back at the Santa Clara win with a day-after post and to look ahead to who might be available this evening for the matchup with USF. ... ESPN takes a look at St. Mary's win over Gonzaga in women's hoop Saturday. ... Saturday-Monday games pose a particular problem for BYU, though the Cougars didn't have to travel yesterday. They just stayed in Los Angeles.
• Whitworth: The Pirates picked up a win yesterday in Las Vegas. It just seems odd though. There is just something that doesn't seem to connect between Division III hoops and that city.
• Preps: We have a roundup as a couple of local teams played basketball games.
• Seahawks: Yes, it took more than one chance to clinch the NFC West. And, yes, by waiting until the final week of the season the Hawks were unable to rest their stars. But this championship was built week after week, game after game, as the Hawks methodically dominated their NFC rivals. ... The Rams really tried to bait Seattle into stupid penalties but instead just ended up self destructing. ... Russell Wilson didn't have a huge game, numbers-wise, but he did do his typical lead-the-team-to-victory thing. And he answered questions afterward. So did Pete Carroll – he was positive – and Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor... The reward for 13 wins? A week off and then a Saturday game against the lowest-seeded team left in the playoffs, which just may end up being the fifth-seeded 49ers. If I were you I would be rooting for New Orleans to defeat Philadelphia next weekend. The Saints would probably be a better matchup than either San Francisco or an Aaron Rodgers-led Packer squad. ... The Rams took out their animosity on Tate. It's as if his taunting in the first game got under their skin. He responded the right way. ... The linebackers led the defense, while the special teams featured a different star.
• We get it. You just want to bask in the glow of yesterday's win. So do we, though spending the evening in a three-hour "Wolf of Wall Street" last night dimmed whatever good feelings that came with the victory. Who knew Martin Scorsese could make a movie jammed full of debauchery boring? What a genius. Until later ...