I’m not exactly the sunniest of optimists. When change happens, I tend to fixate on what was lost and not on the potential positives of the situation. And when dealing with unknowns, my mind often conjures up worst-case scenarios. This is the bane of an overthinker. So, when the news first came of the Russell Wilson trade to the Denver Broncos, my initial reaction was to go gloomy. Our beloved franchise quarterback was not only gone, but by his own volition. In a nanosecond, football and joy would never again exist in the same sentence.
I followed the various narratives throughout the off-season, including that of the competition between Geno Smith and Drew Lock for the starting quarterback position. It didn’t inspire. It felt like Pete Carroll was trying to sell the fanbase on the idea that there was really something there, a weird and improbable notion for me. I thought he was either delusional or straight-up dishonest. And so, I settled in for a mundane, uneventful and possibly depressing season. I was doubtful of Geno Smith, a perpetual backup in my mind, and made peace with my low expectations for the team.
A few weeks ago, I started to get inklings that my early dismissal of the Seahawks may have been premature. Last Sunday’s 37-23 win over the Chargers blew away any doubts. I was wrong. Ridiculously and embarrassingly wrong baby wrong.
The Chargers are a really good football team, and the Hawks beat them soundly. It was an exhilarating romp, with fantastic play on both sides of the ball. I believe it was their most complete performance yet. There are a flurry of statistics to support this, and they swirl around in my brain like flakes in a snow globe. I’ll leave it to the analysts to break them down. But I can speak to something even bigger: There is a tangible verve that I have not felt from this team in many years, maybe since the Legion of Boom. And good lord is it wonderful.
As has been clearly established at this point, Geno Smith has emerged as an unexpected superman, capable of doing almost anything. He’s ranked among the top ten quarterbacks in the league and has thrown for 1712 yards and 11 touchdowns so far this season. The rookie class is absolutely on fire, and their ceiling feels infinite, beyond heaven and beyond our most fantastical imaginings. Every player, regardless of tenure, seems to be having a moment. Cue up two touchdown catches from Marquise Goodwin, for example. This is crazy fun. And there are so many great story lines. It is not at all the trip I thought we’d be taking.
There is a lesson in all this about the Seahawks and about life. And that lesson is to be open to possibility. In a recent interview, Pete Carroll said of Geno Smith, “You can put a label on somebody for what he was and then miss the whole chance to understand this guy.” This sentiment could be extended to so many other things in football and the world. We can write something off, or we can hold space for the potential of something wonderful. Right now, I’m choosing the latter for this team and this season.
The Seahawks are presently sitting at first place in the NFC West. I’m floating in the moment. Will they win it all? Who knows? But it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that something really special is happening right here and right now. And I’m all for it.
“Seven weeks into football, and my mind is still struggling to comprehend the pure improbability of the ’22 Seattle Seahawks season. The storylines, the chaos, the unlikelihood…I have no words. It feels like a fairy tale,”
– Evan Hill, Real Hawk Talk