New Carroll concoctions for the 12th Man
When I was a kid, I dreaded September. Summer vacation was ending and that meant the “back-to-school” sales of August were now being replaced with actually going back to school. The sole bright spot of September was that football season was starting up and the Dome would once again be rocking with the Seahawks and their 12th Man.
Ever since I became a working stiff, Septembers haven't been so bad. In fact, I am usually downright giddy over the prospect of another autumn of 16 Sundays (and the occasional Monday) devoted to the Hawks.
So far 2012 has given us fans a training camp like no other in Hawk history:
A rookie quarterback picked in the third round beats out the team’s biggest free-agent signing in the offseason. Meanwhile, last year’s starting QB is shipped to Buffalo for a late-round pick.
And there’s the tale of Mr. Sharpie a.k.a. Terrell Owens. Many squirmed, including this writer, at the thought of cheering for one of the most egomaniacal players in NFL history. His little Sharpie stunt 10 years ago on national TV in our brand new football palace put him in the permanent ire of most members of the 12th Man. Fortunately, we were spared this horrible fate with his release.
Back to the quarterback situation. The Seahawks picked up another Packer backup QB named Matt. Hmmm, could history repeat itself? Flynn very well could be successful with the Hawks. Quarterbacking in the NFL is like swimming in a pool with supermodels and crocodiles. Risks and rewards abound and we don’t know what will happen with Russell Wilson.
Ah, yes, the Wilson factor. Flynn played well, if not spectacularly, in the preseason. Usually this would lead a person of his stature to be anointed the starter. But Russell Wilson didn’t just push “the usual” into another county. He shot it across a few statelines. The on-field poise of a veteran. A blue-chip throwing arm. And scrambling abilities that recall a certain fleet-footed Seahawk quarterback of yesteryear.
The last time the Seahawks started a season without a QB on the roster who previously played for the team?
Yes, season one in Hawks history. That year, head coach Jack Patera held a wide-open QB race (sound familiar?). Veteran Neil Graff was the starter the first preseason game but soon, an unheralded rookie named Jim Zorn moved up the depth chart to grab the starting job.
Zorn, via his arm and feet, led the most exciting expansion-team offense in NFL history. This was partially out of necessity because he had to overcompensate for a Seattle defense that was rather dreadful.
Wilson, on the other hand, doesn’t have to worry about this year’s D. Pete Carroll and Gus Bradley have shaped a defense that was top 10 last year and looking to become top five in 2012, maybe even go No. 1 with a bullet.
How can the 12th Man not be excited about this defense?
A line featuring Jacob Green’s son-in-law, Red Bryant? What Hawks fan can't like that?
A secondary that features not one, not two, but three Pro Bowlers in Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner and Kam Chancellor. Good thing since the Hawks have to face Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford, among others.
Last year’s offense was marked by a shower of Skittles courtesy of Marshawn Lynch. This season I would like every offensive star to have his own signature candy rain over CenturyLink Field.
I’m talking Good & Plenty for Russell Wilson because we want him to be good and have plenty of sweet runs.
Red Vines for Doug Baldwin because we want defensive backs to see red when he zips by them for a touchdown.
And Milky Way bars for Max Unger because centers need love and candy, too.
One more thing: Absolutely no Butterfingers will be allowed!
For the second time in a decade, the Seahawks have gone for a total fashion makeover in 2012. While I’m no Joan Rivers (meaning a comic who is inexplicably judge and jury over fashion), I will say this about the unis: If the Hawks win, I will love them. If they have a terrible year, then burn those suckers along with every last leisure suit that still exists on Planet Earth.
What else will be new for the 12th Man besides many being cloaked in the latest Seahawks gear?
I predict there will be a 50 percent drop-off in the amount of times fans refer to the stadium as Qwest Field instead of CenturyLink.
I predict superfan “Mama Blue” Patti Hammond will fist bump Pete Carroll after a victory.
And I predict another earthquake emanating from Sodo. Preferably following a Seahawks touchdown that is candy-coated and wins a championship.
Mark Tye Turner is the author of Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks. It’s available in stores throughout the Seattle area and online on Amazon.