Seahawks: Choose Your Own Narrative

The sky has fallen, and Seahawks fans are losing their minds. 

It was bad enough already. An easy (seemingly) win against the Colts in week one was followed by back-to-back losses, against the Titans and Vikings respectively, in weeks two and three. In these games, a Jekyll and Hyde quality emerged. Seahawks play in the first half was serviceable, even good in some moments. But second half play was a horror show. The defense looked lost and bewildered. The offense went cold. Self-inflicted penalties menaced.  With these two losses, optimism sank in a quagmire of doubt and questions. A win against the 49ers in week four brought a miniscule glimmer. There was hope. 

But week five brought us crashing back to earth again.

The Seahawks fell to 2-3 in a dignity crushing loss to the ever-odious Rams. And in that game, the unthinkable happened: RUSSELL WILSON GOT HURT, suffering injuries to this throwing hand. In doctor speak: “an extensor tendon rupture (mallet finger) and a comminuted fracture-dislocation of the proximal interphalangeal joint.” The following day, he underwent surgery, and initial reports had him out of commission four to six weeks. 

Predictably, fans have become completely unhinged. We’re like deranged, crack-addled chickens, cutting off our own heads and running around in a state of hysteria. Even before the events of week five, the narratives were starting to form. And now, they’re proliferating across social media like a rampage of murder hornets attacking a village. A few:

  • The Pete Carroll/John Schneider era is over. They’re tired, out-of-touch and no longer capable of leading a Super Bowl caliber team. They need to be fired. Immediately. 
  • Russell Wilson bears much of the blame for the offensive struggles. He holds the ball too long. His stubborn insistence on looking for big plays is costing us valuable and available yardage. He’s mediocre at best, not truly a Hall of Fame level player. Trade him.
  • Between the losing (so far) season and now this injury,  Russell Wilson’s dissatisfaction with the Seahawks is at its peak. There is no way he’ll return in 2022. He and his agent are already discussing his next move.
  • Everything is Jamal Adam’s fault. His acquisition was the worst trade in the history of the franchise.
  • Ken Norton Jr. is awful and needs to go. Under his tenure, the once storied Seattle defense has become an embarrassment. There’s a reason the Raiders fired him. Why won’t Pete?

  • Shane Waldron has been exposed. He wasn’t ready to step into the role of OC for this team or any other. Epic fail.

  • The Seahawks are over. We’re all going to die. Let the rebuild begin.

And on and on and on. Sprinkled among these are a few sunny takes: “It’s still early!” and “Russ, Pete and John are the greatest. Have a little faith!” Gotta love the optimists out there.

Of course, if none of these narratives are to our liking, we fans always have the option to create our own. Just keep in mind that in creating our own narrative, we also run the risk of creating our own suffering. I know this from personal experience. My rumination on the problems with and future of this team have generated a fair amount of misery over the years. In fact, there have been times when my personal sense of well-being was directly related to the state of the Seahawks. God knows I’m not alone. If you don’t believe me, doom scroll a bit through Seahawks Twitter.

Ultimately, we don’t know what will happen. We never do. And while some sports writers and football analysts may be more knowledgeable and/or be privy to a measure of insider’s insight, they’re not immune to the forces of ambiguity that rule this sport. They’re along for the ride just like the rest of us.

I’ll confess that over the past few weeks, I’ve indulged in some version of the aforementioned narratives myself. As they say, nature abhors a vacuum. So in the absence of certainty, I’m inclined to fill in the blanks, often with the grimmest or most ridiculous of scenarios. (One of my latest was a late night speculation that Russell Wilson would leave football forever at the end of this season and pursue a new career in professional baseball.)

As far as fantastical or horrific narratives go, there is certainly an enormous range of possibilities to entertain. Jason Myers could miss every PAT and field goal for the remainder of the season. (Conversely, field goals could be the only points we score from here on out, thus making Jason Myers a hero, assuming these lead to wins.) The Hawks could amass 3015 yards worth of penalties this year, a league record! Tre Flowers, who was just released yesterday, could completely ball out on another team. Or just maybe, as part of a sinister NFL conspiracy, tens of thousands of 12’s will be locked up and held captive at Lumen Field, forced to watch a highlight reel of botched Seahawks plays on continuous loop on the jumbotron. There are so many opportunities for suffering. The mind is generous like that.

Yet in the midst of all this handwringing, drama and mental chatter, this fan is experiencing something new: ambivalence. I don’t know if it’s due to disappointment fatigue, brain drain, exhaustion or forces outside of football. But for the first time, I feel indifferent about outcomes, which is both heartbreaking and liberating. While I’m still a devoted fan, my emotional investment in this season and this team is different. Perhaps that’s the ultimate unconditional love, to love and accept something completely – in this case, the Seahawks –regardless of what it is or does. For better or worse, this newfound acceptance simplifies the narrative.

The Seahawks are 2-3 and hold a precarious third in the NCF West. This Sunday, we play the Steelers. Russell Wilson is out with an injury. Geno Smith will play in his place. I’ll throw my support behind the team, as always, and will send special love and good vibe Geno’s way. These are the facts, pedestrian as they may be. And this is the narrative I choose…until, of course, there’s a reason to change it.