To be a Seattle professional sports fan is to know disappointment.
Case in point: In August 2001, I was with a group of locals conducting our fantasy football draft. The Seattle Mariners were, at that time, on a record pace for the most regular season wins in Major League history. Ultimately, the Mariners tied the record at 116 victories. Despite Seattle's unprecedented winning pace, one of my friends remarked, "Doesn't matter. Seattle's going nowhere in the playoffs."
It occurred to me that if you cannot get excited — if you cannot believe in your team when they're setting league records for wins, when can you get excited? When can you believe?
Turns out, he was right. The 2001 Mariners were not built for the postseason. Seattle eked its way through the division round of the playoffs and was quickly bounced out of the ALCS by the superior New York Yankees. They haven't sniffed that level of success since.
It's not easy being a sports fan in Seattle. So brace yourself, Seattle fans. The Seahawks are no sure thing to re-take the 2013 NFC West crown.
Before you gather your torches and pitchforks because I'm raining on your parade, keep in mind that I already gave you three reasons why Seattle will win the NFC West. But if they don't, here's what will stop them:
The NFC West is no longer the "NFC worst." Unlike last season, the Arizona Cardinals have a strong-armed, experienced quarterback in Carson Palmer that can effectively use all-world wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Before you automatically slot Arizona at the bottom of the NFC West standings, remember that Seattle merely split the 2012 season series. That 58 – 0 beat-down in December only counts as one victory.
Seattle also managed only a split with their other division rivals, the 7 – 8 – 1 St. Louis Rams and the division-winning 11 – 4 – 1 49ers. Despite a couple of lopsided late-season victories against the Cardinals and the 49ers to close out 2012, The Seahawks can expect no gimmes in 2013. By December, Seattle can hope to be in a tight race as one of three division teams with a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Seattle's narrow loss in Arizona to start the season and their narrow victory over St. Louis to close the regular season are more indicative of the level of competition in the NFC West.
I'll pass on that
Seattle's rushing production was second only to San Francisco's. Still, the Seahawks' overall offensive output was decidedly mediocre for most of 2012, brought down by their 27th-ranked passing game. There is reason for optimism heading into the new season with the addition of the versatile and electrifying Percy Harvin. However, the rest of the Seahawks wide receiver corps struggled to even achieve mediocrity over the course of the season last year.
As I noted in a previous article, the state of the Seahawks tight ends is suspect at best. From the wide receiver position, Sidney Rice led the Seahawks in receiving last season with 50 receptions and seven touchdowns, placing him as the 75th most productive NFL receiver. Golden Tate added another 45 receptions and seven touchdowns. While undeniably talented, Harvin is no sure-thing either, having missed 7 games last year due to injuries and other maladies.
In the Seahawks 37 years of existence, they have followed up a winning season (11 – 5 in 2012) with another winning season only eight times. The franchise has a grand total of 15 winning seasons. Seattle may be poised to add to that streak in 2013, but Seahawk history and NFL history says it's hard to do.