Last night, my beloved Seahawks brought home two well-deserved ESPYs: one for the fiery Richard Sherman and one for the team itself. Sherman taking home the Breakthrough Athlete award seemed like a no-brainer. This dude has gone from being a guy scouts regarded as a potential back-up to a Super Bowl Champion who nabbed the cover of the upcoming edition of Madden. His stellar play and his brash antics have made him a household name, hated by many and loved by the rest. The club itself scoring Best Team honors was more of a surprise, though they did clobber an offense labelled the best of all time by many in the Super Bowl. Also: it was a fan vote. As you already know, the 12th Man is loud and proud.
It was nice to see these honors bestowed upon Seattle, a franchise that has labored in obscurity in the Pacific Northwest for much of its existence. Upon catapulting themselves to the top of the charts with an epic beatdown of the Broncos in the Super Bowl, the hate has been overwhelming. Look for any positive article about the team online and the comments sections will be overflowing with animosity directed toward #25 and the bandwagon fans.
Yes, Sherm can be obnoxious, but I think the same thing every time I see some numbskull making a passionate case for why he's not the best cornerback in the league: if you're a professional athlete and there are multitudes of people expending lots of time and energy talking about why you're NOT the best at what you do, well, you're probably the best at what you do. That's how it works. His stats speak for themselves and he has been doing it for a few years
now. Quarterbacks have started to shy away from him, but his video
game production has remained consistent. The same could be said for his
chippy demeanor and his bravado.
The bandwagon thing is equally silly; yes, every championship team in this day and age garners bandwagon fans, but people want to act like Seattle has never been known for having a rabid fanbase. Wind the clock back 30 years and the Kingdome was known as one of the loudest stadiums in professional sports, and that's back when the team could only manage to occasionally flirt with anything other than mediocrity. There were some downright painful years, to include wasting the immortal Cortez Kennedy on a team saddled with one of the most pathetic offenses ever to take the field. Yet the fans were there, and there wer people like me cheering them on from the other side of the country. Take the bandwagon noise and shove it.
Things have changed. The fanbase was always there, but aside from Steve Largent and his glorious hands, there was little to celebrate. Now Big Tez and Walter Jones have joined Steve in the Hall of Fame and the Super Bowl champions reside in the Pacific Northwest. Last night, the champs ruled over the ESPYs and the stage is set for another run at greatness in 2014. The team has a young roster filled with budding stars, many of whom have been inked to long-term deals. We have a quarterback on the cusp of greatness, a beast at running back, a receiving corp that is anything but pedestrian, and a defense that made Peyton Manning look totally inept in the biggest game of his career. It's a great time to be a 12 and it should remain that way for a while.
As Russell Wilson says at the end of every press conference or interview he participates in, "Go Hawks!"