Super Bowl Trophy Before World Series Trophy?
I've mentioned it before that my first loyalty to a Seattle sports franchise was to a) the Seahawks and then b) the Sonics. I didn't become a Mariners fan until I started collecting baseball cards during my jr. high days (1986). It didn't take me long to catch the addiction (both baseball card collecting and baseball watching). I'm old enough to remember fanatically watching Wes Unseld barely get past the Sonics in the 1978 finals, and then seeing the Sonic Boom crush the Bullets in 1979 (I still have the record somewhere) -- becoming the first major league sports franchise in modern history to win its league's championship. OK, Seattle won the Stanley Cup back in 1917, but that was the year before the NHL even existed, and when's the last time Seattle had an NHL team? Right.
So, the Sonics won their title back in 1979. Fast-forward to 2004, when the Seattle Storm took the WNBA title. Some people would say that the WNBA doesn't qualify as a major league franchise, but I have huge issues with that. It may not be entirely as popular as the other Big Three in town, but The Storm still qualifies in my book as a major sports team.
Seattle has an NBA title, a WNBA title, and (before the NHL existed) a Stanley Cup (and were the first non-Canadian team to win it, to boot!). Fellow Lookout Landing reader, Goose, made a $100 bet back in 2000, that the M's would win the World Series before the 'Hawks won a Super Bowl. Up until the Seahawks' October 23rd game against the Dallas Cowboys (and, heck, the whole 2004 M's season before that), I would've made that bet myself.
Rewind to 2001 -- the M's cruised to a 116-win season, in spite of some glaring shortcomings with their pitching and hitting. Lady Luck was good to the team -- so much so, she's completely shunned them in the last two years. Several players had career seasons, and a rookie from Japan didn't need an adjustment period, and took the league MVP award. Going into the playoffs, they were highly-favored to take it all. Unfortunately Aaron Sele's post-season winning streak didn't start that year (he's still waiting to this day...), and the M's potent offense (having been bolstered at the trading deadline with Al "Football" Martin) was no match for Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, and Andy Pettite.
Coming Sunday, the Seahawks will battle the Carolina Panthers for the NFC title game and a trip to Super Bowl "Extra Large" (XL) in Detroit. I hear I'm not the only MarinersMorsels author who likes Seattle's chances against Carolina. Like the Mariners in 2001, the Seahawks have the league's MVP and a rookie who didn't need an adjustment period (though, in the 'Hawks case, that's not the same person, in spite of Tatupu getting the shaft for D-ROY).
The thing that sets the Seahawks apart from the 2001 M's in my mind, though, is that they truly have talented players having good seasons, collectively, but outside of Shaun Alexander, no one is having a 'career' year. Certainly one could argue over how long Lofa Tatupu can play at the level he's playing at. The 'Hawks defense lead the league in sacks, but no one single player had double-digits. I just don't see Lady Luck hovering over this team. I suppose Jay Feely would argue with me, but that collective success really puts a lot of pressure on their opponents. They have multiple weapons at Wide Receiver, and a QB who actually knows how and when to fire the gun. They have the league's best offensive player in Alexander, but as the 'Skins game last week showed, Mo Morris and Mack Strong can handle the reins if he's knocked out. Their defense has improved every week, and while it's probably their weakest link (special teams?), they are still very, very, very good. And, to top things off, they have a coach who's been in this situation before -- only to take his team to the Promised Land. Twice.
I called the Seahawks' victory over the 'Skins -- SPOT ON -- 20-10 Seahawks. I even predicted they'd face Carolina. The same Pos-O-Tron this week gives the following readout:
Seahawks & Denver in the Super Bowl
Now, Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck both have been on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Here's hoping that the Seahawks' appearance on the cover of MarinersMorsels today doesn't have the same S-I jinxing effect :-)