As part of our mission here at Why Daddy Drinks to revel in the humorous lunacy that is fatherhood, and to promote the drinking of quality beverages, we bring you our erratically scheduled segment highlighting something that should be in your glass. This is The Drink Of The Weekend.
Well, it’s a new year, isn’t it? And with that, comes new goals, new dreams and new plans.
And in my case, what also came with the new year was a new cold. Or, maybe it was a round of the flu? Whatever it was, it was like a bad Christmas gift that kept on giving.
It started with some sneezing one day, then along came a fever for part of a day along with the attendant aches and chills. I woke up one morning more congested than a Bay Area traffic jam. The coughing then made an appearance that lasted for days, and, after two weeks, I’m still sniffling and hacking like a 19th century tuberculosis patient.
Yeah. Good times.
But, even in my addled state, life goes on. My life goes on. And at this time of year, my life includes something so very personal to me that no physical ailment–be it a hangnail or a body-wracking flu–will keep me from experiencing it.
That something is…Seattle Seahawks playoff football.
I was born in Seattle and grew up about 30 miles south of town. When the Seahawks came to Seattle as an expansion NFL franchise, I, like any eight-year-old child of the region, became an immediate Seahawks fan. And I mean it when I say I was a fan from the very start. My mom still has a family photo on the wall from 1975, a year before the Seahawks ever played a down, in which my younger brother and I chose to dress up by wearing matching Seahawks sweatshirts.
(For their part, my dad wore one of the era’s classic leisure suits and a Mike Brady-style perm that made him look like a stand in for porn star Harry Reems. Mom went with a hairstyle best described as “1970s Tammy Wynette meets 1970s Loretta Lynn.)
Like many expansion teams, the Seahawks weren’t very good in their inaugural 1976 season. They went 2-12 that year (NFL teams played 14-game seasons back then), but that didn’t matter. The Seahawks were my team and the players became my heroes. I knew offensive lineman Steve August was the Seahawks first-ever draft pick. Former Colts linebacker Mike Curtis was one of the “name” players on defense. The owners were the Nordstroms of the local clothing store Nordstroms and Jack Patera, whose brother Ken was a second-tier professional wrestler, was the head coach.
But it was the Big Three that really got us excited about the team: Quarterback Jim Zorn (a lefty, back when such QBs were suspect), wide receiver and future Hall of Famer Steve Largent and running back Sherman Smith, who never cracked 1,000 yards in a season, but who would, a few years later, speak at one of my junior high school’s assemblies.
The Seahawks of back in the day played their home games in the Kingdome, one of the
“great” indoor stadiums built in the wake of Houston’s Astrodome. Yeah, it was gray and could be gloomy inside the old barn, but few stadiums were louder when the Seahawks got rocking and it still holds a sentimental place in the hearts of us Original Seahawk fans.
It would take the Seahawks eight seasons to make the playoff for the first time, in 1983. And with four playoff appearances over the next six years, the Seahawks, while not champions, were at least, respectable. Probably the highlight of that era was Bo Jackson’s famous Monday Night game in 1987, when the Raiders running back ripped off a 91-yard touchdown run, and later in the game barreled over Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth for another touchdown on a play that destroyed the image of The Boz forever. More than a decade of play that was mediocre, at best, soon followed, with the low point being a cross between the catastrophe that was the 2-14 1992 season, and when crap-ass owner Ken Behring tried to move the Seahawks to Los Angeles ahead of the 1996 campaign.
Luckily, the NFL owners put the kibosh on Behring’s plans and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bought the team and things began to get on track. Mike Holmgren became coach in 1999 and by 2005, the Seahawks were in the Super Bowl for the first time, where they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 20-10, in a game where the officiating was so bad that the Rolling Stones halftime show was better than any play on the field.
I have to admit that I didn’t buy what the Seahawks were selling when they hired Pete Carroll as head coach in 2010. Sure, Carroll had won national titles at USC, but he had also flamed out twice in the NFL during stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots. And there are county dumps all over the country full of the careers of coaches who were the shit in college and then turned to shit in the NFL. I figured Carroll would be on I-5 on the way out of town within three years.
But, a very funny thing happened. Carroll proved to be a success. In 2010, Carroll’s first year as head coach, the Seahawks won the NFC West Division. OK, the Seahawks “won” the division, but it was s lipstick-on-pig type of season that year, as they finished with a 7-9 record. Still, the Seahawks capped the season off with Marshawn Lynch’s famous 67-yard “Beast Quake” touchdown run and beat the Saints in the playoffs. With all of that, 7-9 was a little easier to swallow.
The Seahawks missed the playoffs in 2011, but then Russell Wilson took over as quarterback and, overall, there has been little to complain about. Over the last five seasons, the Seahawks have won at least 10 games year, made the playoffs every year, been to the Super Bowl twice and won the whole thing once, in 2014, when they throttled the Denver Broncos 43-8 and left me celebrating in tears. It’s been taken as a given by Seahawks fans that the team will make the playoffs every year. Or, as the most insufferable ones say, “WE made the PLAYOFFS!” like they strapped on the pads and took the field every Sunday during the season.
And like the fans of any team that has won the Super Bowl, Seahawks fans have come to believe that winning the Super Bowl is the only way to declare a season a success. We all hoped that a Super Bowl win was in the cards as we sat down to watch the Seahawks host the Detroit Lions in the first round of the playoffs a couple of weeks ago, Actually, we hoped that the Seahawks would have gotten a first-round bye and wouldn’t need to be playing in this game. But a ridiculously dumb, late-season loss to Arizona, coupled with a few other losses earlier in the season, left the Seahawks with a 10-5-1 record (The tie being a 6-6 result with the Cardinals a few weeks back that was so bad one of my friends declared, “That game set the sport of football back a couple of decades.”) and having to play during the Wild Card Weekend.
So, I set up usual game day ritual: Seahawks t-shirt under my Russell Wilson jersey, several remote controls at the ready, my usual spot at the end of the sofa with the most-direct view of our 50-inch living room TV, which itself was improved by the new sound bar
I got for Christmas, and a rare, ribeye steak. I also had one of my traditional Seattle-area beers to complete the game. Since these were the playoffs, I decided to go with something new, and something with some muscle behind it: Mortal Kombat X Sub Zero Imperial IPA (8.5% ABV) from Sound Brewery, in Poulsbo, Washington.
The label alone was enough to pull me in. And with an ABV of 8.5%, one 22-oz. bottle was enough to nearly pull me under the coffee table. But, for an “Imperial” IPA, it was surprisingly smooth, with a hoppy flavor that wasn’t overwhelming, and didn’t overtake the flavor of my ribeye. It showed a subtle power, just let me the Seahawks during their 26-6 win over the Lions that day.
This win moved the Seahawks on to the second round, where they went to face the Falcons in Atlanta. Going on the road in the NFL playoffs is never an easy chore. You need to really have your act together and maintain a sense of defiance as you travel to the other side of the country to play in front of 65,000 or more people, 64,900 of which would like to see your quarterback pulverized and sent to the local hospital emergency room.
With that in mind, I set up much like did for the game against Detroit. Got my Seahawks gear on, loaded up on gameday food (In this case, lots of chicken wings), and brought out another Seattle-area beer to complete the deal: Point Defiance IPA (6.1% ABV) from Tacoma, Washington’s Harmon Brewing Co. Point Defiance is an area at the very north end of Tacoma, probably best-known for its zoo and aquarium, and spectacular view of Mt. Rainier. We take our kids there every summer when we visit my mom.
And, well…There was a lot more defiance taking place in my glass than there was in the Seahawks play against the Falcons. An early 7-0 Seahawks lead would prove to be illusory, as the Falcons soon got their act together and blew Seattle’s barn doors off by a score of 36-20. And as much as i love the Seahawks,I have to be honest and say the game wasn’t even that close.
So, the Seahawks season came to a close, and earlier than I, or any Seahawks fan wanted. Yeah, there’s a lot of disappointment right now. But, it’s only been three years since the team won the Super Bowl and really, we have no right to complain. And with Russell Wilson at quarterback, the window for more championships is still open, if the team remains smart about the areas it needs to address (PLEASE do something about the offensive line), and doesn’t start blowing things up.
In the meantime, we have our Seattle-area beers like Mortal Kombat X Sub Zero Imperial IPA and Point Defiance IPA to ease our pain over the Seahawks’ playoff loss, and calm our nerves as we wait the long nine months until the next season begins.