I’ve never been a big Seahawks’ fan. I grew up in the state of Washington and never liked a team more than the Seahawks but I had a sense of apathy when it came to watching NFL games on Sunday. After long Autumn Saturdays, in which I’d travel with my dad and sister across Snoqualmie Pass to Seattle, watch the Huskies (probably lose), and then drive back home, I didn’t have enough in me to passionately care about the Seahawks like I do with the Huskies or the Mariners.
I would always know their record and place in the standings. I would always cheer for them if I was watching. Knowing these things were more a product of being an avid sports fan instead of a Seahawks’ fan though. Of course, I was sad when the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl, but I wasn’t heart-broken like some of my fellow Good Guys. The NFL game just didn’t draw me in like the college game, it still doesn’t, and I would often opt for a Sunday afternoon nap instead of watching a football game on the edge of my seat.
Today was different though. I tuned into the Seahawks game this afternoon in my dorm room, expecting nothing. Maybe the game would be competitive, maybe not, but it would be a little break from playing Assassin’s Creed.
The game started how I expected. The Hawks looked like they were going to get manhandled. Facing an early 10-0 deficit, Seattle made an impressive drive and there was little bit of hope. In fact, that was the spark in what turned out to be one of the most entertaining first halves I’d seen in an NFL game. Forget the underdog aspect, this was just a fun game.
As I made a quick Wendy’s run at halftime, I couldn’t help but think, “If Seahawks games were always like this, I would be passionate about this team.” Still, I almost missed the Seahawks first touchdown of the second half because I was listening to Lorenzo Romar’s pre-game interview on KJR. Needless to say, I wasn’t completely drawn in.
The second half was just as entertaining as the first though. The Seahawks went up by 14 and the Saints came roaring back, looking like the defending Super Bowl Champs that they were. I was stunned when the Saints were held to a field goal in the 4th quarter, when a touchdown would have tied it up. Still, they had lots of time to win the game, which was exactly what I expected to happen.
I’m a Young Life leader at Mercer Island and a about a month ago we had the opportunity to have a meeting at the Seahawks training facility. As if that wasn’t enough, Marshawn Lynch had agreed to speak to our high school students.
That night, I watched a man who I was taller than, speak to high schoolers about how everyone told him that he was too small. His high school coach asked him to change positions because he was too small. He signed a couple of months after Letter of Intent day because schools wouldn’t offer him a scholarship because of his size and lack of breakaway speed.
He spoke softly, but with the confidence of a man who had proven many people wrong. He thanked God for getting him as far as he said he worked harder than any of his teammates. As I saw him stand at the same height of high school freshmen, as he posed for pictures, it was easy to believe him. That night I gained a great deal of respect for the Seahawks running back and decided I would follow him no matter where his career would take him.
That brings us back to the game. Seattle was trying to run the clock out. If they had gotten a first down the game would be close to over. Lynch decided to do something even better. On a second down play, Lynch broke 2 tackles at the line of scrimmage and then dodged one in the secondary. Still it looked like he would be brought down, he didn’t have the breakaway speed. Lynch broke another tackle. As he bolted down the sideline, another Saints defender looked like he would bring him down. But, Lynch then gave the best stiff arm I’d ever seen. He literally threw a guy out-of-bounds with this move. Then, there was one more guy to break through to get to the end zone. Sure enough, he did. Too slow? Nope. Too small? Nope.
The Seahawks would hold on to win the game. And that play was the icing on top of it. No, Lynch wasn’t the reason Seattle won, Hasselback played out of his mind and it was a team effort.
Marshawn Lynch didn’t become one of the Seahawk greats this afternoon, but he did become my favorite Seahawk. The announcer called his run “the greatest efforts he’d ever seen by a running back.” In what was one of the greatest runs in Seahawk history, Lynch showed us that effort sometimes outweighs the intangibles. In some people’s eyes, Lynch is too slow and too small to be a good running back in the NFL, but the greatest upset in NFL playoff history proves that they’re wrong.