I just needed to write something about sports

July 11th, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

I hope you don’t mind me writing about this on a Seahawks blog.

I’ve often wondered what it’s like not being a sports fan.

You can’t recreate the drama of live sport. Or the emotion. The stress, hope, belief or concern. There’s nothing like it.

Watching a team you’re invested in, competing in a crucial game, makes you feel alive.

At least that’s how I feel.

I can’t imagine not living with it. The good and the bad. Or at least the knowledge that either this will end brilliantly or with heartbreak. But I’m willing to take my chances on either on the off chance this will be a night to remember. To treasure.

You just can’t get that same high from a night at the theatre or within a great piece of literature. Music can stir the emotions but it hasn’t got the power to crush you or deliver elation with one moment of spontaneous inspiration.

There’s nothing that comes close to sport. It’s the best reality TV show in town. You constantly sit on the knife-edge of pleasure and pain as a fan. You go through the wringer, putting yourself through intense anxiety and tension.

All on the off chance you’ll win a game — played by individuals you don’t know.

I sit here writing this, a couple of hours after experiencing another low moment, wondering ultimately if it’s all worth it any more.

I’ve always seen England winning a major tournament as a life-completing moment. I have my family. If I can see England win something too, I’ll die a happy man.

I was fully prepared to witness England win Euro 2020 and save those memories along with any accumulated with my wife and children for the moment when the lights finally go out — hopefully in the distant future

Yet having experienced another situation where hope has been replaced with crushing sadness, I felt obliged to reflect on my own personal fandom.

You see, as much as sports has delivered so many great memories — I feel like the good times are always the calm before an inevitable storm.

When the Seahawks won a Super Bowl for the first time we all had 12 months to enjoy it. Then, almost as a means of punishment for having a nice thing happen, we were subjected to the most gut-wrenching Super Bowl loss. The team imploded and split. What should’ve been a happy moment against the Broncos is now overshadowed by the subsequent loss to the Patriots. It takes a great deal of concentration to watch the Denver game back now, without thinking about what happened next.

I wouldn’t say it’s spoiled. Perhaps not even tarnished. But some gloss went off the Super Bowl win for sure.

One of my happiest memories was watching England win the rugby World Cup in 2003. Since then, I’ve watched them lose two further finals. The most recent, in 2019, was an absolute hammering by South Africa. The team raised hopes by handily beating Australia and New Zealand. Just as everyone got excited — bang. Reality check time. Embarrassment in the final.

England won the cricket World Cup in 2019 and a few weeks later Ben Stokes delivered one of the greatest moments in sporting history, in my opinion, with a virtuoso performance in an Ashes test.

Yet the England cricket team lurch between the sublime and the ridiculous so often, you’re never far away from a drubbing to bring you back down to earth with a thud.

I don’t follow a top Premier League club. Many fans in England will quickly move on from Euro 2020 and look forward to the new season. For me football/soccer fandom is pretty much parked until the World Cup next year. Working as closely as I do in local football for the day job, the ‘fan’ side of things took a back seat a long time ago. And the local clubs where I live have done a great job over the last 20 years of delivering their fair share of misery anyway.

That brings me on to the Euro 2020 final. I feel privileged to have been at Wembley to witness wins against Germany in the last-16 and Denmark in the semi-finals. Indeed I always told my wife I just wanted to see England in a final. And here they were — in a final. Yet the truth is having reached the end, you always want to win it. The prospect of merely being there always sounds great until the moment you qualify for the final. Then, only winning matters.

The experience on Sunday left me feeling cold. The somewhat cowardly team selection, opting to incorporate a defensive back five with two further sitting midfielders sent a message that England were more concerned with holding Italy at bay than taking the game to their opponents.

It just felt like a massive missed opportunity to create memories to last a lifetime.

Arguably England’s best ever performance came against Holland at Euro ’96. They took the game to the highly rated Dutch and played them at their own game. They won 4-1, in a display still talked about with great fondness 25 years on.

In the final this year against Italy, England did the opposite. They spoke all week of playing with courage, yet the manager displayed none in his team selection. Then, as the game drifted away from England in the second half, he failed to make the necessary adjustments to wrestle any kind of control.

Everyone’s a great coach after the event of course. Neither is it that simple to insert one or two players and everything automatically changes for the better. Inactivity, however, in the face of what is obvious — that is frustrating.

England’s manager Gareth Southgate is a likeable man. The kind everyone is desperate to do well. Yet his inability to balance pragmatism with attacking potency feels costly tonight.

Southgate’s been able to ride two favourable draws at the World Cup and Euro 2020 to progress through tournaments. Yet in key games against Croatia in 2018 and now Italy — the inability to assert control, sustain any kind of threat and ultimately adjust to what was playing out has cost the country two opportunities we may never get again.

English folk will now obsess about another failure via penalty shoot-out and speak of ‘pride in defeat’ (we are world champs at losing bravely and feeling warm and fuzzy about it) — for me there’s just this bitter disappointment that they didn’t have a go.

The game was officially lost on penalties — but wasn’t really tried to be won in the initial 90 minutes or 30 minutes of extra-time.

That life-fulfilling moment is as far away today as it has been in each of my prior 37 years. Yesterday, I went to bed dreaming this would be the moment. It wasn’t. And I don’t know if I’ll ever see it. These days I wonder if I’ll be young enough to enjoy it if/when it does even happen.

The sad thing is I don’t see much changing. I don’t think England are any more likely to win something in the future, despite possessing young talent. You have to seize opportunities when they are there. They haven’t.

Neither do I think the Seahawks are primed for success. I think the 2021 season could easily turn into a running commentary on Russell Wilson’s future with the team with further concerns about the defense. And if it ends the same way as the last few seasons — what then?

In truth I find it hard to even muster any excitement or energy for the Seahawks currently. Maybe that feeling will subside as the memory of Euro 2020 fades and the new NFL season nears? I hope so — but this latest setback has taken a toll. I so badly wanted to see England win something.

The whole miserable sports fandom cycle will continue. Fleeting success, followed by a wave of heart-ache because you seemingly can’t have nice things unless you fluke your way into following one of those teams who win all the time.

All the while ploughing on, always chasing that high of rare victory. That moment you’ll take to the end of your days.

Every time I wonder if I can be arsed to put myself through this again — while knowing I probably will.

160 Responses to “I just needed to write something about sports”

  1. Hoggs41 says:

    I think about this everytime I have team gut wrenching losses. The truth is you will always come back because you have love and passion. I always tell my kids who play youth sports that there is no losing, just learning. Hopefully your boys can learn from this and put it together in 18 months. Beside the US Ill be rooting for England because Id love to see a brother 12 get his joy.

  2. cha says:

    Gutted

  3. David B. says:

    Sports can be crushing.
    Came here to say R.I.P to Jimmy Gabriel, a Seattle sports icon.

  4. Paul Cook says:

    Brutal, heart wrenching loss. I feel you. I’ve only been a dedicated fan to one team that was expected to be there at the end (and end there they did), the 90’s Bulls’ teams with Pippen and Jordan and Grant and Rodman. Mostly it’s been a Sisyphean experience as a fan.

    Anyway…feel your pain…and I was rooting for England…

  5. jopa726 says:

    Rob, I been following your writing for years. You have always said (paraphrasing) “the (soccer) team I follow has been breaking my heart for years.” But you always defer to mention them. Probably because of your work and not take focus away from the current Seahawks discussion.

    But this is article is some of best writing you have ever done. It doesn’t make any logical sense for the non-sports fan, “why do you let this upset so?” They might ask you in your moment of pain. Or “if it makes you so upset when they lose, why do you watch?” But logic and reason have very little to do with Fandom. It’s about the emotion, loyalty and passion of rooting for YOUR Team.

    Your article resonated with me and I’m sure many others because, we’ve been there where you are tonight (with the exception of those hated Boston winners). Losing has made me physically ill e.g. the 1991 UNLV lost to Duke.

    I ask “Why am I doing this to myself?”

    It is heartbreaking and a little crazy to be a Fan. But Rob, remember you’re not alone in your hurt on England lost and though it may seem hopeless for your team. How sweet is it going to feel when they win? And you stuck with them through the bad times like tonight.

  6. Roger Davis says:

    Growing up I remember my CFL team, the Hamilton Tiger Cats, winning Grey Cups and the elation. The pride. But always, a gnawing knowing it would not last, it never does… it never did. But I love them still and “my” Seahawks, my NFL team, I remember their “high” – “my high” – it’ll never go – and perhaps, just perhaps, one day that “high” will return. Until then I’ll be here on this site, if Rob stays here with me, and one day we’ll feel pure elation again. In the meantime why won’t the team just listen to my suggestions!!

    As to England, the birthplace of my wife, the birthplace on my grandparents, and the country I spent 5 years in once over a ten year period. What did England teach me? Unfortunately, it taught me to fall in love with the Saints. I suffered relegation with them, I bled for them, I’ve devoured fingernails for them – BUT – even bleeding for them I’ll never switch, never…!

    Go Ti-Cats, Go Saints, Go Seahawks!

  7. Gaius Marius says:

    I can’t relate to a soccer fan (I have tried and tried and soccer still makes me feel like I’m eating lobster, which I have an allergy to).

    But I most certainly can identify based on other sports experiences. Seattle fans in general have had several heart-ripping moments. Heck, the Seahawks gave us our most recent one in how they lost to the Patriots in the last Super Bowl Russell Wilson saw. The memory of that is made lighter by the fact that we finally got a ring. But as a franchise we could very easily have had 3, going back to our first Super Bowl and the officiating “interfering” in the game to put it mildly. But before that there were many slow rolling and dramatic disappointments. The 116-win Mariners that the Yankees beat (again). The Sonics running up against the Jordan Dynasty Bulls in the NBA Finals. The Sonics getting eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in their best shot before or since 1979. My NBA heart has never fully healed from that one and right now the Sonics don’t even exist to provide a potential tonic.

    I am sorry, the history you paint is a very tortured experience. I hope you have a positive chapter soon.

  8. GerryG says:

    “ Music can stir the emotions but it hasn’t got the power to crush you or deliver elation with one moment of inspiration.”

    Personally I disagree with this, but that’s me and my over the top love of music, I get your point of view though.

    Very nice article, brutal finish/defeat. As a lifelong Seattle fan (all sports), Canuck fan, I fell your pain.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Well I too obviously am a big fan of the impact of music and how it can evoke emotion.

      But you’re never going to be jumping around the living room one minute, then screaming ‘NO’ at the TV the next because of a piece of music. Neither can a song ruin a week, or provide a moment you’ll be thinking off on the difficult days to get you through.

      • swedenhawk says:

        Not to trivialize your heartache, but you’ve just described what happens when Swedes watch Eurovision… my wife was jumping up and down screaming “NO” when Italy took this year’s title. Perhaps things would be different if we could field a decent team!

        • Rob Staton says:

          Well, I do think Eurovision is a good old laugh. I never miss it.

          But I’m sure that ‘NO!’ was said with a lot less angst and won’t linger for a lifetime like last night will 🙂

          • swedenhawk says:

            It’s counterintuitive, but for me the pain lingers more when Sweden wins… I will not soon forget the dreadful summer of Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’. It was ubiquitous, blasted from every car stereo, corner shop, and supermarket. The summer of ‘Heroes’ by Måns still haunts my dreams!

      • GerryG says:

        I actually did have something like that happen, but admittedly a rare occurrence. Watching one of my favorite guitar players play with my favorite band while he had terminal cancer, and was playing what was most likely going to be his last show was a the most emotional thing I’ve witnessed.

        But, you’re point of the highest of high, to lows is valid

  9. Manthony says:

    Sorry for Englands loss in the Euros.
    I feel for you Rob.
    I’ve been a long time reader and all my favorite teams here in the NWalways have lost the big game with the exception of that line Seahawks team.
    I know it’s of little solice tonight but I think the setbacks and close calls just make the big wins even that much sweeter.
    I loved how you described sports in this article cause I’ve described them in a similar way when people have asked me why I like them so much.

    Wishing you well.

  10. Leo says:

    It was infuriating watching England allow Italy back into the game after dominating for the first 20 minutes. Instead of pushing for more, they just sat back and allowed Italy to get over their nerves. Every single fan could see Italy grow into the game in real time, and they were utterly helpless to do anything about it. It was all there for the taking, they had a fantastic crowd behind them, all the momentum, and England decided to be passive when there was no reason to be. And when Italy scored the equalizer, there was no reaction. It was like they were playing for penalties with an hour left in the game.

    In any sport, fans can handle losing as long as their team goes down swinging. But passivity is the ultimate unforgivable sin. The feeling that your team didn’t show up to the fight is one that lingers for years. It’s why we were so proud of that “Seahawks don’t lose by more than 10 points” record. If a team fights, you will always be behind them.

  11. KD says:

    Welcome to Seattle Mariners fandom.

    When I was a kid (mid 1990s) the Mariners were terrible, except for 1995, but they were so much fun to watch. Griffey, Buhner, Randy, Omar, Tito, Edgar. They were terrible, but man they were fun to watch.

    Today, I could not give less of a damn about them. The Mariners are one of the most boring teams in existence, and they are stuck in perpetual purgatory. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: if this team got re-located, I would not care. That is what a non-entity the Mariners have been for nearly 20 years.

    • uptop says:

      Mariners are pretty fun to watch rn, a fun and rootable, chillax bro

      • KD says:

        Nope. They have one of, if not the, worst offense in MLB. Growing up, if Griffey, Edgar and Buhner were coming up to bat, you had better take your bathroom break before the inning started because you did not want to miss that for the world. Randy Johnson was the opposite. You took your bathroom breaks when the Mariners were up to bat because Randy was about to step up to the mound.

        For the past 20 years, the Mariners have been the Kings of Mediocrity, the Emperors of the Average, The pontiffs of the Plain, The Oligarchs of the Ordinary, the Regents of the Regular. They are BORING, and they have not accomplished anything in 20 years.

        • Mike says:

          Mariners are in a league of their own. Id say they are like the jets, or what the Browns were, but both of those teams have won championships before.

  12. Tomas says:

    A beautifully written piece, Rob, expressing joys and sorrows common to so many of us.

  13. Manthony says:

    England losing in the Euro finals is not equivalent to what the Mariners have been doing at all lol.
    Forget Randy Johnson did you see them waste Felix’s career?
    It seems like every other team in baseball has had a great team since the mariners last good team.
    They are talking about pdx getting an mlb team and I’m like “no thanks, we dont need another shit show”

  14. DriveByPoster says:

    Hi Rob,

    Glad that you have decided to vent your frustrations on the blog. I am told that it is good for the soul!

    I’ve been where you are now, I think. Back in the days of my youth, I was allowed to go to bed early one night so that I could get up in the small hours to watch England play Brazil in the 1970 Mexio World Cup. Still the best performance & the best team that England ever put out, to my sadly jaded mind that is! 😀

    That Christmas, I was given my first football kit (that of the league champions of course). I slept in it every night (including the boots) for a week. I’ve been an Everton fan ever since. So, like you, I have been doubly cursed with both an under-achieving club & country (although Everton had some fantastic success along the way, that was a long time ago now)*.

    Sport is our completely unreliable, best mate. We love him but would never leave him alone in the house or give him the car keys because he’s a total f**k up! And Sports Fandom is a terrible, addictive drug. You know it will inevitably let you down but you can’t stop hoping that the next hit will be like that glorious first one & not like the disappointment of the last.

    These days I am a bit less emotionally invested in such things. I guess it is an effect of getting older. But I still follow my teams & watch on open-mouthed at the sheer incompetence or, as with last night, the timidity of the decision-making (contrast Italy playing Insigne & Chiesa from the start with England leaving Grealish & Sancho on the bench).

    * I second the RIP for Jimmy Gabriel. A fan favourite at Everton (before my time). A link to the Liverpool Echo obituary is below…
    https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/jimmy-gabriel-obituary-everton-legend-21022381

  15. L80 says:

    For me….after decades of being close in the playoffs, the Denver super bowl will never be overshadowed by any other loss. That Denver team broke all offensive records known to man and the Hawks DESTROYED them. The exhilaration of that win, the parade, and the entire following year remains with me.

    Sure the loss to NE the next year was a gut punch, but it simply cannot replace that win. That loss to NE reminded me of when Marquand Manual went out in XL, that was the demise of Seattle, and the same can be said for Avril in the NE game.

    Also, music (for me personally) has lasting memories and emotions very similar to sports. I can remember details from shows attended decades later, and being a musician myself, I experience the joy, emotion and satisfaction of crushing a show live in front of people.

    Were all different and handle things differently I guess.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Perhaps I haven’t described the comparison well enough to distinguish the differences between music and sport.

      But for me the emotion I felt last night couldn’t be evoked by anything other than sporting heartache.

      • dj 1/2 way (SEA/PDX) says:

        I think you did. The shared experience of the Two Seahawk Superbowls helps the reader understand, but it does not really get to the heart of rooting for your country in the national sport or working full time in sports and having no escape.

        When the Seahawks lost to the Patriots I was able to shut off the media and put it out of my mind. I felt sorry for my “friends” working in Sports Radio who had to deal with the aftermath for weeks and months. None of us really ever recovered, but some of us had some respite from the trauma. Those in the media had none.

        Also, the comparison to long suffering fans of teams like the Mariners is not accurate. We have almost two decades with no playoff losses. To truly suffer you must lose miserably in the finals. Sonic Fans can point to first round losses in multiple straight playoffs followed by a loss to the greatest NBA team ever and later losing the team to politics, but even that is not in the same ballpark.

        Single elimination finals with a national team playing the national sport with years of expectations and obvious coaching flaws is at the top of the list of devastating losses. I am sorry for you and all the fans of England and grateful for you sharing this and all you do for the community of this blog. Cheers, DJ

        • Rob Staton says:

          Thanks DJ.

          Trauma is a word I hadn’t considered but it now feels apt. I’ve been melancholy since Sunday. I’ve not been able to switch off or snap out of it.

          I think part of the problem with international football/soccer is the wait. The World Cup is 18 months away. Usually you have to wait two years for another tournament. It’s so far away for the next opportunity.

          But I will be in Qatar, watching. Hoping.

  16. Phil says:

    Penalties are a ridiculous way to decide a final.
    I’d rather they switch to golden goal/ sudden death after the extra 30.

    It was ironic that both subs England made just for penalties both missed. But it’s also a bit of bad luck.
    I was pulling for Spain. When they lost, I just wanted a great match. It was pretty good, but I don’t think England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 played to their ability. Italy’s defense seemed to keep them far too careful.
    But they have a great shot next year at the Word Cup.
    We all know how it feels.
    Before the Hawks won, sports were forever frustrating.

  17. Ashish says:

    Hard luck Rob, it was close as it can get.

  18. TJ says:

    Well written. Such is the nature of sport. At the end of the season, no matter the sport, there is only one champion and only one team’s fans get to experience the exhilaration of a title. It can be frustrating. We show patience and loyalty, waiting for “our turn,” or “our time.” Sometimes that time comes, but more often it doesn’t and we turn to the hope of next year.

  19. Big Mike says:

    My sincerest sympathies Rob. To be a Hawks fan and then have this happen to your home country’s football team seems like sports piling on to a very harsh level. And as much as I want to be wrong. I don’t see Seattle doing anything this coming season to alleviate your pain. Truly hope to be wrong about that.

  20. MikeB says:

    Was rooting for England, too. It’s one of those things, where the closer the game is, the more you can taste victory. They are the most iconic games, but when you are on the losing side of it, they hurt the most.

  21. Forrest says:

    I’m sorry, Rob. I agree with just about everything you write, but there are plenty of reasons to get excited about the Seahawks. I actually took advantage of 17-1 odds to bet them to win the NFC. Why? Well, other than Tampa, who really scares you in the NFC this year? The Packers have issues with Rodgers and lost their Center. The 49ers will have QB growing pains. The Rams lost a lot in the offseason, including their Offensive coordinator and TE to us. I don’t buy into the Cardinals and AJ Green/Watt additions. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have added a letter O line, a couple new weapons, an OC who could add tempo, misdirection and an improvement on 3rd downs. They’ve added pash rush in Hyder on the other side (after looking much better with Dunlap in the 2nd half), got healthy and faster in Taylor, Adams should be much better in coverage after his surgeries. Aldon Smith adds some upside and they have enough cap to add one more piece (like a DT or CB), depending upon how the team looks in camp.

    This Seahawks team is underrated. It’s time to start getting excited!

    • Rob Staton says:

      I would write why I don’t share your optimism — and to be honest, I could write a fair bit about it too.

      But frankly I just don’t care at the moment.

      And I think they are heading for more of the same, with another fractious off-season to follow.

      We’ll see.

  22. Jason says:

    Watching the Seahawks/Broncos Superbowl is actually an even better experience for me because of what happened the year after… all I can feel is gratitude, and relief that even if that horrible interception happened, we still have a Superbowl to our name.

    What does bother me is this malaise that seems to increasingly suffuse the team since, this feeling that we’re wasting a hall of fame quarterback in his prime. If we don’t win a decent playoff game this year I anticipate pretty serious repercussions that will mean losing some part of this team that I’ve come to love for a long time.

    • Erik in MT says:

      I too have so many fond memories of Superbowl 48, which are not clouded by Super Bowl 49. They are two separate events in my mind. All I ever asked for was 1 super bowl for the Hawks in my lifetime. I also remember feeling lucky to make it to the game against the Patriots because of how miraculous the comeback was against Green Bay in the NFC Championship game. Don’t get me wrong, I was in agony for a couple of weeks after that interception. I especially felt bad for people like Chris Matthew’s, a now forgotten receiver that had 100 yards receiving in that game and Jermaine Kearse with the circus catch only a couple of plays before that dreadful moment….

      As a fan I remain hopeful for another Super Bowl in the Russell Wilson Era, but will always cherish the best Era of Seahawks football even if they don’t quite live up to their potential. My dad, a lifelong Browns fan has helped me keep this perspective as an NFL fan, lol.

      Hang in there Rob!

    • TJ says:

      Agreed. I look at SB48 as one of my two greatest moments as a sports fan (the other was Boise State’s win vs. Oklahoma, as I am a BSU alum). I have been a loyal, die-hard Seahawk fan since the mid-80s and have experienced a lot of lows. SB48 was the the game that literally washed away all of the pent-up frustration and disappointment. It was a magical moment for me, and that that I got to share the joy with my son made it even better.

      I look at SB49 as the moment the “Seahawks Dynasty” idea fizzled. The loss hurt, but it was made worse because they appeared to be set up for a long run at multiple titles and I had let the idea and anticipation of that possibility build in my mind. It doesn’t diminish 48 at all to me; it makes it even better.

  23. James Z says:

    As a good friend once told me: you’re either rising or falling, there’s no static balance, and thus the rises and falls of being a sports fan. During this off-season relative to the upcoming Seahawks NFL start, and after multiple decades of being a Seahawks fan, I find little personal interest in the team as they seem to be falling, and falling… Making the playoffs again with a seriously flawed team and a management on it’s heels trying to make us all believe that they are a Super Bowl contender just doesn’t work anymore.

  24. Tomas says:

    I fear the Seahawks are unlikely to provide much solace this season.

  25. Nathan M says:

    I follow 3 teams/league: CFL Edmonton, NBA Raptors, NFL Seahawks. When the Raps won the NBA championship in 2019 I thought how amazingly lucky I am to have seen all 3 of my teams win a championship in my lifetime.

    Unfortunately that ultimately victory is always followed by something less. Noone wins a championship every year but it feels good if you are close, or on the upswing. I agree that it’s hard to get excited for a season when you dont feel any hope of winning it all. At those times I still watch the games for those moments of elation but spend way less time thinking about sports during the week

  26. I am curious Rob, what was more of a gut punch? Saku missing that last PK or Wilson’s pick in SB 49?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Wilson’s pick was more of a gut punch.

      But losing yesterday was a moment of pure sadness. I knew it could be a moment I would carry and cherish forever, yet it was snatched away. A moment I have dreamed of forever was gone.

    • Group Captain Mandrake says:

      That’s a tough one, but I’d say that Wilson’s was tougher. Saka didn’t miss all of them and England had other chances to keep it tight. And even if Saka had made it, odds were that Italy still wins since they would have only had to make one more.

  27. AlaskaHawk says:

    That was a tough game to watch. England started great and showed some energy. But after the first 20 minutes they just got dominated in possession time and shots on goal. They weren’t playing to win, just not to lose. And of course ultimately they did lose when they missed an open net penalty shot. The frustrating part was watching the Italians hustling after the ball, and England always giving them space.

    Anyway, my sympathies.

  28. waylon says:

    Love this article, a mea culpa milkshake for soul searching sports fans. I wholeheartedly agree with your initial assertion that sports is the ultimate reality show in this saturated era of reality shows and pseudo-reality social media bubbles.

    You consistently include the dark side of the moon in your analysis and this is why I am a regular on this site. It’s not a common approach in today’s rah rah prisoner-of-the-moment race to the hyperbolic pinnacle.

    Thanks for a brilliant snapshot of the seemingly masochistic enterprise that is passionately caring for athletes we do not know and cannot control — your words are a faithful mirror!

  29. Sneekes says:

    It was there for the taking, and we blew it. Should have been braver.
    If I’m going to try and look on the bright side, we have had plenty of England managers who have failed to get a tune out of individually talented squads, at least we play like a team now.

    PS: I’m a biased Evertonian, but DCL would given us a far better out ball in that second half.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Agreed on DCL. Thought if nothing else he would press them higher up the pitch and provide an outlet. Plus he can take a pen.

      Also agree on the manager. The missed opportunity stings but it was nice to experience the highs of reaching a final, even if the ending was heart-breaking.

  30. Blair says:

    Thanks for sharing Rob.
    I hope writing this was at least ca bit cathartic but I suspect it wasn’t. Having followed your blog for sometime, this posting is a bit out of character. To me, it just highlights your current levels of despair.
    Nearly approaching a decade-on now, I still can’t (& won’t) watch a highlight of SB XLIX without feeling nauseous. Had we not won the year prior – jeez I can only imagine the depths of gloom I would have sunk into.
    Feeling for you bud – hopefully time does its thing and these crashing ‘waves’ of pain slowly subside for you. Selfishly, I can’t and don’t want to imagine a Seahawks season without you.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Having followed your blog for sometime, this posting is a bit out of character.

      This is true. I felt like I wanted to write and this was the only platform for it. I hope people don’t mind too much. It was indulgent of me but it felt right in the moment.

  31. rubber_toe says:

    Hi Rob, as a fellow England fan and Seahawk fan (and a fellow Rob – although that’s not really relevant!) I feel your pain. A Saints fan (EPL not NFL) doesn’t help and until very recently my rugby team, Harlequins completed a fairly disastrous roster of team choices. With Quins having just won the Prem against all odds I have had a rare feeling of triumph but as you say these moments are fleeting.

    I think you are suffering from burnout. You work in sport, and the football season has been intense, long and back-to-back with last season. The pandemic has meant we haven’t had the chance to do other things and every match being live means us sport addicts have overdosed. I really hope you are now able to somewhat switch off and enjoy the summer as we hopefully come out of lockdown next week.

    I suspect that a month off sport (except cricket, where the shorter formats in particular might give you some joy) might do the job. One of the joys and pains of sport is that you are winners or losers for this year both at most and at least. The Seahawks may well be crap this year, and next year – but the hope has to be there that they might just pull something out of the bag. Trust me – Saints sell their best players every year – there will be new characters to root for and there will be wins to give you the thrill.

    I love your writing and unsurpassable insight and hope you do rediscover the flame. Enjoy the summer!

  32. Koko says:

    Who else is pumped for the Seattle Kraken??? Who do you wanna see us steal in the expansion draft?

    I’m really hopeful we get some nice defensemen like Matt Dumba, Marcus Pettersson, Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Graves, P.K. Subban. Maybe Mark Giordano then flip him at the deadline for picks.

    Forwards my big fish is Yanni Gourde. Also really want Adam Henrique, Jakub Voracek, T.J. Oshie, Alex Kerfoot, Cody Eakin, Rocco Grimaldi, Joonas Donskoi(if we dont get Graves), JVR, Evander Kane, Matt Barzal, etc.

    Goaltenders I really want Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin and Adin Hill. Thomas Greiss would be cool too.

    What do you guys think? And if you’re interested, head over to capfriendly.com to try out their expansion draft simulator. It’s a ton of fun and realistic. You can even choose who you would protect from each team. It really puts into perspective how good the Kraken could be. So much talent ready to be stolen! Haha

    • Sea Mode says:

      I find the whole expansion draft situation fascinating. Unfortunately, I don’t follow the NHL (beyond watching highlights of the finals) to know who all the players are, who is worth protecting, etc.

      Would be a really fun exercise to try and do a hypothetical NFL expansion draft. The whole format of protecting players, being able to trade picks/players to influence the expansion team’s choice, the opportunity perhaps to dump contracts onto a new team that can afford them, building an entire roster in one night, etc. is all so cool.

      I think the Vegas Golden Knights set a great template for how to do it, mixing in smart player selections with deals to stock up draft picks in the upcoming years. And their success was almost immediate.

      • cha says:

        Vegas was a master class of team building with a dash of luck. Going to the Stanley Cup Finals in your inaugural season will never be matched.

        In nearly every ‘if you take X instead of Y we will give you a draft pick or pay his salary’ move, X almost always turned into a star player or at least a very solid role player immediately.

        And getting Marc Andre-Fluery in goal was a master stroke. If you want to be legit right out of the gate, you’ve got to make a very good choice on your goalie.

  33. Bigsteviej says:

    Rob,

    You are truly a gifted writer. Your command of the English language makes it a joy to read anything you write, but the blog post above is simply remarkable. Thank you.

    My sons are in their 20’s, but throughout their growing up I was fortunate to be able to be an NFL season ticket holder and have easy access to the local mlb team. We all would frequently say that live sports is the one form of entertainment that is not scripted and where on any given night you might see something that had never been done before.

  34. Paul Cook says:

    On a totally unrelated side note, I couldn’t seem to escape this Branson space flight thing all weekend and into today. I keep saying to the TV tell me why this is the big news story? What’s the big deal? People have been going into space for 60 years, a woman went into space in 1963, there are people living on a huge space station as I type.

    The only reason why this is news is because a billionaire built his own space ship so that he could go into space and possibly promote the spce tourism industry for the ultra wealthy. I got nothing against Branson. As far as billionaire’s go he seems amongst the most palatable.

    Back to sports topic…one thing I and so many others love about the major sports is the definitive nature of it in most cases. True there are ties in soccer, that college football has been behind the curve on this for decades, and that professional boxing became an utter mess in things like trying to figure out who actually was the champ of a weight class, if you can figure out what the weight classes actually are.

    That’s such a huge part of the drama and the anxiety of sports. There’s nothing quite like it. Winning and losing happening all the time. The rules are laid out. The competitors go at it. The victor emerges.

    I think calling it the greatest reality show is pretty darn apt.

  35. SImon McInnes says:

    Rob
    It is more manageable if you can distance yourself from the hype. Despite being the title holders, the consolation for England losing the 2007 Rugby World Cup final was not expecting them to be the best team in the tournament ahead of it. The 2019 Rugby World Cup was worse but South Africa have been our RMC kryptonite. Last night I expected Italy to be the better team, although I did hope that it was not insurmountable. Similarly with the lat few years of Seahawks teams, any objective fan would have worried about the weak points in the rosters (despite the ease with which we can expect miracles from the crop of rookies).

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m not a big hype man. I am a big ‘hope’ man though. I think in my head when a team reaches a final, even against expectation, I can’t help but get my hopes up. And that’s when you get hurt.

      And then the BBC end their coverage of yesterday’s game with a montage featuring a cover of ‘songbird’ and you just end up wanting to ball your eyes out.

  36. pdway says:

    I hear you…but for me the ups and downs are all part of it. I suppose it would be nice to be a fan of a team that kept winning titles all the time (i guess the Patriots maybe, who else?)…….but as long as the team is not a doormat, I’ll always find some enjoyment in the games.

    To me, it’s all about finding things to care about, and if that subject also includes a sense of belonging to something bigger and the camaraderie that brings, so much the better. And I’ll add this, as the parent of a 19 y.o. son – sports (esp the Hawks) are damn near the only thing we really connect about, the days of him wanting to tell me about cool music, etc., are kinda gone, but we have a great mutual respect in the other’s thoughts and opinions when it comes to sports – and that’s not to be taken lightly.

    Anyway, tough way to lose it – there’s a good article on The Athletic today re the goalkeeping in the PK’s yesterday – the Italian keeper is a bit of a star at it – having saved 13 of the 32 PK’s he faced in Serie A this year.

    Hang in there, another of the best things about sports…is there is always always another game coming down the road.

  37. Pran says:

    Hang in there Rob! If Browns fans can go through all that misery you can get through this easily. Cricket world cup finals win against NZ is straight out of a fairy tale…one of the wildest game ever, put it on a repeat and you will be ready for one final show from Pete and Russ!

  38. Hand of God says:

    Rob,

    Excellent article – i fully agree with your analysis, England’s defensive scheme was an error. Paradoxically though, the fact that it almost worked (and that ultimately penalties decided the game) could be the biggest issue – a clear loss would have made a strong statement for an attitude change, but this loss might make Southgate believe that this is the right path going forward.

    Mancini’s response to England’s challenge, while slow, was quite impressive: with an English defense with strong tall players that clearly felt more comfortable with man-press, he responded with substitutions that incorporated mobile players up front and a MARKED aggressive stance (Chielini spent the last 30 minutes on England’s half). That could be concerning for England long-term: much like teams against the Seahawks playing 2 safetys far from the box ready for the long passes, opposing teams should favor floating attackers going forward.

    Regardless, England should remain hopeful: shaw and walker are fantastic defenders, Kane is surprisingly skilled for his size and Sterling is hard to stop…plus Phillips, who was a great addition (not a surprise though – as an Argentinian I’ve been following Leeds and his game has been impressive). Add Sancho to the starting lineup and a more dynamic central defender to complement Maguire (plus a new goalie…) and you have a strong contender for QATAR.

    Thank you for all the published content – i rarely post, but i am a loyal follower!

    Best,

  39. Rob Staton says:

    Here’s a couple of images of me at the game vs Denmark in the semi-final. One is my reaction to the winning goal (my mate filmed the penalty, I had no idea — but I think it sums up how much that winning goal meant to many of us over here) and the other is me with my long-time school friend of well over 20 years (note the Seahawks representation)…

    https://imgur.com/a/1kqUflm

    https://imgur.com/a/oanvZto

  40. Tomahawk says:

    Sorry Rob. That loss was pretty difficult to witness after watching England look so strong in the first half. Really pulling for them next year in Qatar.

  41. Noah says:

    I’m a Seahawks, England and Blackpool fan.
    This tournament has been one of the best memories of my life, and I was lucky enough to attend the Denmark game which was the best night of my life. I feel so proud and invested in this team and gutted that we lost last night, just like you are. I feel like there is hope for this team and we can move forward.
    But what I want to say is while we’re gutted right now, it will come good, and this team are on the up. As a Blackpool fan, we went right down to the bottom and had to endure bad ownership, but we’re now in a brilliant position with hope and optimism all around, in the space of 3/4 years since the lowest lows.
    Things can change so quickly, and the hope of this is why sport is so good, but also so gutting. One day, the hope with England will turn into reality, and it will be surreal.

  42. Group Captain Mandrake says:

    I don’t have any team in the Euros that I was rooting for, but as an Arsenal fan, I was leaning toward England because of Bukayo Saka. He seems like such a level headed, good kid that it’s really heartbreaking that Southgate put all the pressure on him and a couple other young kids. Where were the more experienced players like Raheem Sterling to take those shots? And you are right about Southgate, he played with the handbrake on from the jump with his set up. After scoring in the second minute, England should have trusted their defense which had been pretty sturdy all tournament and push for another. They let Italy control the game. All the racist bullshit that has been posted about Saka, Rashford and Sancho is disgusting.

    I have sort of the opposite feeling about the Hawks losing the SB. It really sucked and was just shattering, but it made me appreciate the previous year’s win even more. I’ve been a fan most of my life, and except for a few years in the early 80s and some of Holmgren’s years, it was pretty much mediocrity at best and ineptness at worst.

  43. Clayton says:

    After each season since 2013 of being pissed off and upset, I had to step back and ask myself what a reasonable expectation is as a Seahawks fan. Because, certainly, winning a Super Bowl every year is not a reasonable expectation. It’s just not. So what should the expectation be? So I figured if I were to put myself in the shoes of an owner, a reasonable expectation would be to have a competitive team each year and to at least have a shot at winning the whole thing. Being in playoff contention to me is having a shot at winning. And for the most part, the Seahawks in the Pete Carroll era has kept the team competitive and in playoff contention. It could certainly be a lot worse. So yeah, I am still upset after each loss but in looking at the bigger picture as a Seahawks fan, I think I should be cherishing this era instead of being pissed off and upset.

  44. OlyHawksFan says:

    “I hope you don’t mind me writing about this on a Seahawks blog.”

    Not one bit.

  45. BobbyK says:

    I remember growing up and saying, “I just want to see the Seahawks in the Super Bowl one day. I don’t even care if they lose.”

    While a well intentioned thought, I was full of crap.

    I drove to Detroit from Minnesota and went to the game because I always promised myself that if the Seahawks ever did make it to a Super Bowl – I would be there. Well, they lost and it sucked.

    After that, I wanted nothing more than the win. That came in SB 48.

    Then I wanted not a singular Super Bowl win, but a dynasty building repeat. Many teams have won Super Bowls, but few had back-to-back and we could have gone and because part of something special. Then the Football Gods said, “FU. We’re going to really screw you over.” That’s what happened and it’s sucked ever since.

    But, man, it sure would feel good to get one more with Russ and Company before the doomsday scenario shows back up and we’re stuck with bums like Tarvaris Jackson, Trent Dilfer, 100-year old Warren Moon, Rick Mirer, etc. making sure this team and organization gets permanently stuck between mediocre and sucking again.

  46. Comfect says:

    I’m so sorry, Rob. After the Shaw goal too, it must have been absolutely gutting to lose that way. And it does make it hard–harder, the longer the wait. And I don’t think anything we can say is going to cushion that for you. I hope writing it out helped.

    But for me, the beauty of this particular blog is that it is a Seahawks Draft Blog–yes, you spend a lot of time analyzing the team itself and its work during the year, because how could you do otherwise? We’re all fans. And it’s not like the draft isn’t affected by the season or the team’s current composition. But the idea of a Draft blog is always that the process, and not an individual season, is the delight: that while we long for those moments of triumph and mourn the ones of tragedy, we’re in it for the idea of how the team is made and where it goes, not what it does in the end.

    It doesn’t help, of course, if you think the team is headed in the wrong direction (though I’m more convinced of that for Seattle than England). But for me at least it smooths out the road a bit to think in terms of the future always–not just as a sop to a loss, but as a reminder when we win as well.

    And once again, my condolences on the final. So glad you got to see the wins before at least as well.

  47. Henry Taylor says:

    I’m glad you’ve wrote something about this game Rob, I too have been heartbroken by the missed opportunity in the days since. Im also a spurs fan so the next few months are set to be hoping against hope Kane stays.

    I am guilty of being one of those finding pride in defeat, and Southgate and this group are so likeable I cant be that mad at them. I also take solace in the fact that this team are so much better than in 2018. But there’s no question they set up not to lose against Italy, it worked really well for a half, but Italy’s cumulative possession eventually ran us off the park. Rice going off is an underrated aspect as he was the man who was winning the ball and bringing the ball up the pitch with the most regularity.

    There are opportunities to improve ahead of Qatar, yet we still probably wont win. 55 years of hurt, never stopped me dreaming…

  48. Ulsterman says:

    I’m a Villa fan Rob, so maybe biased, but to use Grealish, the most talented, skilful player in the squad, so sparingly was criminal. Every other team in the tournament would have loved to have the attacking talent Southgate had at his disposal, yet England played with caution throughout.

    I said to my kids about 30 mins in that Italy were rattled, but England let them back into it.

    Being from Northern Ireland I had mixed feelings about who I wanted to win (not for any kind of political reasons) but was ultimately disappointed for England, brings it home when a true fan like yourself describes what it would have meant to you.

    The greatest sporting occasion I was at was Ulster winning rugby’s Heineken Cup in 1999, being surrounded by thousands of people from your country all celebrating was awesome.
    Console yourself with the fact you have the players to challenge again, you just maybe need a braver manager.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I thought it was crying out for Grealish 10 mins into the second half when it was still 1-0. He could’ve got on the ball, retained it, won free-kicks, released pressure.

      But England still needed to press Italy higher instead of sitting so deep and encouraging Italy on. They still needed an outlet and their entire approach in the second half was wrong. You could feel the game slipping away. The inability to do anything about it, as happened against Croatia three years ago, was most upsetting and why it feels like a major missed opportunity.

      I think Southgate needs some internal pressure now to find a way to create a system where players like Foden and Grealish are part of the team regularly. That said, it’s clear he has his favourites. And for whatever reason, he isn’t having Grealish. Which I think is a shame. To me he could’ve been what Insigne was to Italy.

  49. Poulter is going to win at Royal St. Georges! Very small consolation, but he is on the move!

  50. Happy Hawk says:

    Russell Wilson slated to be back on the Dan Patrick show tomorrow. Last time he was on the whole drama was unleashed. This time?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Hope it’s not as cringey as the photos have been…

      • Hawkdawg says:

        Amen. The dude’s self-awareness has taken a real hit over the last few years. Those Italian pics are off the charts embarrassing.

        “What would Jesus do” is clearly not the operative principle at work there….

        • lil’stink says:

          I’m glad he’s our QB, he’s a very good player, but man… Wilson just really strikes me as being disingenuous ever since we won the SB. Really wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

        • Jeffers says:

          I don’t understand what is embarrassing or unchristian about those pictures at all? What the hell is wrong with taking his wife to Italy for their anniversary. Dude was clearly just trying to do it up for his wife and make her happy.

    • cha says:

      Bobby Wagner was interviewed the other day and towed the company line about the Russ offseason.

      Water under the bridge, things said in the heat of the moment, looking forward to a great 2021, etc etc etc

      • Jordan says:

        It feels like Bobby has long been the conscience/compass of the entire operation. No BS with that man.

  51. cha says:

    Another indicator the safety market is soft.

    Fat lot of good that’ll do the Seahawks.

    Ian Rapoport
    @RapSheet
    ·
    42m
    Source adds: Negotiations went south weeks before the tag deadline when the #Jets offered Maye a deal that had an APY about 20% below even the tag amount for 2021. Maye turned down NYJ’s offer & had significantly more in APY and guarantees from multiple teams heading into FA.
    Quote Tweet
    Ian Rapoport
    @RapSheet
    · 43m
    Despite the #Jets publicly stating their efforts to “relentlessly” re-sign team MVP Marcus Maye, the team has not responded to his last proposal and that offer has been pulled off the table, sources say. With 48 hours until the tag extension deadline, no deal is expected.

    • MikeB says:

      Yeah I think it’s safe to say that’s not gonna sway his view of his worth, but it’s not a bad thing.

      Im kind of thinking we will be seeing a franchise tag next year, then holdout from Adams. But we have Diggs and Blair, so it might be a not be a total disaster if that occurs. Its not what you want, but its also not the end of the world.

      The safety position is so undervalued, that even if Adams gets Kirk Cousin’d with the tag for a few years, it may be cheaper than his current asking price for a multi-year deal. I dont like how that will affect his attitude, or for holdouts, but.. that’s still a piece of leverage to consider.

      • Rob Staton says:

        It’ll be a disaster if he holds out at any point or ends up walking.

        I have no idea why people think Jamal Adams will accept a situation where he doesn’t get paid.

  52. David Benson says:

    The thing that bothers people about some English football supporters is their sense of entitlement. No one is entitled to win a championship.

    Many other people from football loving nations will go through their whole lives without seeing their team win one. Making a final is a great accomplishment. Their showing in the last World Cup was very nice. They have all the young talent to be successful in next year’s World Cup and going forward.

    For me, sports will always be about enjoying the journey and never taking my own opinions on the matter too damn seriously.

    • Rob Staton says:

      1. There is no sense of entitlement. That’s utter bollocks. Just a lot of raging desire to see England win.

      2. You are entitled to think how you want about sports —- and how it fits into your life. Some
      People think differently. You can also do it without coming across like a lecturing douche.

  53. cha says:

    You have RW for an exclusive interview and not one question about what happened this offseason?

    https://www.theringer.com/nfl/2021/7/14/22576397/russell-wilson-interview-seahawks-offseason

  54. pepoandart says:

    This is extremely disheartening. Sherm was one of my favorite Seahawks to watch. Hopefully this is all a huge misunderstanding, but it doesn’t look good for him.

    https://www.fieldgulls.com/2021/7/14/22577111/report-former-san-francisco-49ers-seattle-seahawks-free-agent-cb-richard-sherman-booked-king-county

  55. JimQ says:

    As best I can recall, Sherman had owned a mansion in Maple Valley, maybe he still owns it and has some “family members” residing there, against his will or something?

    PER: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10007763-richard-sherman-arrested-on-burglary-domestic-violence-charge-denied-bail

    “”A police department spokesman said, per ESPN, that “911 call from the residence was received at 2 a.m. PT. The person calling said that an adult male family member who did not live at the residence was attempting to force his way into the home.””

    “”When police arrived, per the spokesman, the suspect fought with police before being apprehended.””

  56. CaptainJack says:

    Keep cool and wait it out before making a judgement on Sherm. We don’t know the details, and so many domestic violence charges are complete BS. It’s possible an argument got out of hand, feelings were hurt and he refused to leave. If he didn’t lay hands on anyone this should blow over.

    • Big Mike says:

      Very good points Capt but I will say one way or the other, Sherm is about the last guy in the NFL I’d expect to be in this situation.

  57. Peter says:

    Rob,

    I empathize with you about the pointless (as in it doesn’t actually matter,) yet very real sadness one feels when their team loses.

    Couldn’t watch the full match but I had flashes of France in world cup 2006. For the life of me I can not understand why any team on earth gets timid and forgets what got them there against Italy. Admittedly what they do is almost unbreakable but certainly playing “prevent defense,” and take your chances with penalty kicks is exactly what Italy has wanted teams to do for who knows how long. 40 years maybe?

    A note on the go hawks era…while you’ve done great work over the years, sometimes I wonder how much your enthusiasm has been tempered by the pc/js decision that draft picks don’t matter? This is after all THEE seahawks draft blog. I know for sure that’s effected me and I don’t own this blog. Frankly it’s more fun to nerd out with all of you after the weekend watching college ball and then the hawks thinking…oh man, such an such player looks great…and then we all argue about is round 2 too high? Per example.

    I dont know. I know many fans think we should be grateful cause the hawks used to suck. But for me I just think Seattle is constantly in denial about what it actually is and that “just one more piece,” at the expensive of torpedoing every draft is going to get them over the hump.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      I have to wonder if getting that goal early made England complacent. The Italians were always right on top of their opponents, but England would play with a 10 to 20 foot space. Possession time and kicks on goal were 2 to 1 or more in favor of Italy. It just looked like England was taking a break.

    • Rob Staton says:

      To be fair I’ve never felt protective of the draft picks or the connection they have to this place. It’s become more than a draft blog and the Seahawks have traded many high picks over the years. I just want to see them win and feel like they’re making the right moves.

  58. Rob Staton says:

    This is how the BBC finished their coverage of Euro 2020. I could barely watch it on Sunday night…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN9JnQ4URAY

  59. Jonathan says:

    Rob, I’ve asked myself the same questions over the past few years, and concluded I’d rather find a game to play myself than invest my time, energy, and dollars to watch millionaires I don’t know play a game on TV. Right now that’s soccer/football, but if I ever get too old for that I guess I’ll switch to golf or something else. My kids are better off seeing their old man on the field than on the couch, too.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’ve wanted to take up golf for a while.

      I can’t give up sport as a fan though. It’s like a drug. I know it’s bad for me but I can’t kick it. And in the case of England I’ll probably spend the rest of my life chasing that one moment of glory.

      • OlyHawksFan says:

        Golf is like a drug as well. I kicks your ass up and down the course but then you hit a glorious shot and all you want is more.

        For me when I think about backing away from rooting for the PNW sports teams I almost feel like I’m leaving behind some version of a family. And there are a lot of shared memories I have with family and friends over sports. With some folks that’s the only thing we have in common.

        And that’s just with the PNW, can’t imagine that feeling if it were English football.

        Anyways here’s to a successful 2021 Hawks season. May Pete delegate, Carson stay healthy, DK destroy, Russ wear normal clothes, Bobby be Bobby, and the Niners and Rams lose…to the Hawks…badly.

      • JimQ says:

        Rob: RE: Golf. Check out —> World Golf Tour online @ wgt.com. Playing on your computer isn’t exactly the same but it’s really close. This site has MANY great features & really excellent graphics, with courses all over the world, including in your area.

  60. Al U says:

    The heartache all adds to the experience, and almost all teams have ups and downs. Maybe the England football team will do for you what the New Zealand Cricket team has done for us: play some great games in one tournament but ultimately lose the final in the closest possible fashion, then go on and win the next tournament, in both cases an even bigger prize. In our case the WTC and for you, fingers crossed, the World Cup.

    • Rob Staton says:

      That would be a dream come true

      • Al U says:

        If there’s one thing we took for a certainty when the WTC was announced was that New Zealand would not win it. It’s the best thing about sports – who knows what will happen. The people I feel the most sorry for is those who support Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG, Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona and the Yankees. Any championship comes with an asterisk.

    • Matt P says:

      I had this line of thinking after SB49. I was hoping that it would all be part of a bigger, and better storyline. An undefeated season right after the crushing defeat was my first hope, then back-to-back rings after they lost to the Rams to start the season, and the perfect season was lost (that Carry Williams sack is still one of the most empty “highlights” I can remember) I don’t regret hoping, and despite my better judgement, I think the arc of the PC RW lead Seahawks will end positive, and somehow England is due the same. It IS possible…

  61. Frank says:

    As a person that rarely feels strong emotions about anything other than my family, this article highlights exactly why I’ll always be a fan. Win or lose the final game of the season is the only time us boring stoic bastards find themselves jumping off their couch in elation, or being utterly dejected (albeit only for a very short period of time) because in the grands scheme of things it is just a meaningless game, and most of the fun is in comparing the philosophy we’ve all spent a lifetime discovering. Even having played some 14 years of football, it was always completely removed from being and emotionally charged thing for me, it was freedom from home life, work, and a variety of existential dread. I remember looking at my teammates jumping and yelling and never being able to relate, just following suit to fit in and wishing the next play would start. The second that ball snaps though until the whistle blows you are absolutely free, just a wild animal in its natural habitat crushing other men to establish dominance. It was perfect, put on the pads and helmet and all the sudden the crowd disappeared and your alone, hunting, observing feeling a freedom to act on pure instincts like a wild and free animal. I’m dispassionate as a fan for the most part, it’s all very clinical and disconnected compared to the thrill of fighting for your life on the field, cage, ring or whatever you find freedom. Hearing a true fans perspective though is so refreshing compared to my own views, truly envious to anyone that can feel that amount of razor edge without having to actually risk their lives.
    You’re an interesting guy Mr Staton, and a hell of a sports writer. Sorry your team got smoked, team USA basketball is looking equally depressing.

  62. Brik says:

    Can’t say I’ve ever been on that big of a stage, but I can say I’ve played in front of crowds of thousands of people. The feeling as a fan is somewhat similar to the feeling as if you’re playing in the game itself. As a player and as a fan, I’ve lost championship games. The main difference is wishing you did something different compared to wishing someone else did something different. I could get over it as a fan, even though it sucks it’s ultimately out of your control. The best you can do is do your part as their fan the next time around. If the team is cut out to be a champion this will only make them better.

  63. Mick Stuart says:

    Hey Rob,

    Love your work mate, and this is some of your best.

    With respect, and as an Aussie, this article confirms most everything I know about the English sporting psyche. The pessimism, the playing not to lose rather than playing to win, the setting of low goals like ‘making a final’, the viewing of current events through a historical lens which makes moments bigger than they need to be. Obviously you’re not on the field personally, but these things seem to exist at a societal level in England and they permeate the teams that actually take the field. Ultimately the fear and expectation of failure becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

    I see a lot of the same characteristics in Seattle sports, too, although not to the same extent. There’s definitely a sense of ‘enjoy the good years, because they’ll be bad again soon’, and also a low bar where fans seem satisfied by playoff berths and getting to appear in a few prime time games every season.

    Of course, it’s a chicken and egg thing. Bad teams lead to low expectations, and low expectations lead to bad teams. This cycle compounds over time and creates its own momentum. When we recognize this, we realize we have the ability to help break the cycle by demanding and expecting excellence of the team we support.

    Pete Carroll has done a great job raising our expectations, and delivered a generational team. But that was almost a decade ago. It’s time we, as a fan base, demand and expect excellence from the entire Seahawks organization, right here, right now. It appears Russell has been trying to do just that, and you’ve certainly been doing the same from a personnel perspective, but I’m not sure anyone has really focused on the key element of organizational excellence, which is ownership. My sense is that we, the fans, need to start getting vocal about Jody Allen providing an ownership exit strategy sooner rather than later, so that this organization can plot its way back to the top of the mountain rather than continuing to drift along. From the outside looking in, having an ‘interim’ owner for several years is no way to achieve excellence, rather it allows Pete and John (and likely others) to exist inside a comfort zone without any real accountability. Until that issue is resolved, I think we’re looking at a good but not great team. However, once the ownership situation is stabilized and accountability is restored, this team has enough pieces to win championships. It’s clear to me that Russell has the exact opposite phyche to the one I described at the top, and he’s good enough to lead this team to a championship this year. I’ll continue to believe in him and the players, watching each game on its own terms, even if I know deep down that they could be better if they were provided with better organizational leadership. In short, I’ll continue to expect and demand excellence, and try to enjoy the season. Hope you’ll do the same.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think you raise some fair points on both the English sporting mentality and the Seahawks.

      I don’t think much will change regarding England. I’m not sure this most recent tournament is an example of what you talk about because the belief throughout was this was a new chapter, almost a fresh start. Detached from previous failings. And there was a real belief that they would win, almost an expectation.

      But the aftermath has been typically British. Comfortable with a dramatic loss, self flagellation because a small minority of idiots acted appallingly on Sunday. It’s felt very familiar and there hasn’t been enough talk about how defeat could’ve been avoided.

      But personally I haven’t dodged that. And I don’t feel comforted. I just feel upset that they couldn’t give us a week of partying and a lifetime of memories. I thought my own personal dreams were about to come true and they were snatched away. Which has been tough.

      Yet I do crave that winners mentality you often see from teams and followers in Australia and Germany.

    • Big Mike says:

      Great post Mick.
      In case you’re not aware, the same thing is happening with the other team she owns, the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA. Their Pete Carroll is named Neil Olshay and their star player that carries the team is Damion Lillard and he, like Wilson, is growing increasingly unhappy with early/first round playoff exits and poor to mediocre roster construction. The similarities are eerie and it starts from the top for both franchises.

      • cha says:

        Henry Abbott
        @TrueHoop
        Source: Blazers star Damian Lillard to request trade in the days to come.

        If this is a surprise, you haven’t been paying attention.

  64. Aaron says:

    Haven’t been on SDB in a while but thought I needed to say something brief about the whole Sherman thing as it stands at the time I type this.

    Sherm needs help. He is having a mental health crisis. I’ve had depression and anxiety for years. I’ve thought about suicide and how I would make it happen. I’m thankfully able to manage it all now. I hope the same can happen for Sherm.

    • Big Mike says:

      Really glad you’re able to manage it now Aaron. Do hope Sherm gets the necessary help to get there as well.

    • Brik says:

      For one thing, they were originally saying that Sherman was resisting arrest. From the actual report, the cops said that he was big and scary and they didn’t want to go against him, so they immediately sent the dogs on him and took him down. They were worried about pepper spray from his father-in-law catching fire. I know most people have had those kind of nights where they get out of control, but I highly doubt this is the end of the story. Whenever stuff first comes out it is completely one sided. His wife is saying that this is completely out of character and she’s behind him 100%. He might have been intoxicated, but I got a feeling that he was there for a good reason. I’m waiting to hear more.

      • Brik says:

        I forgot a part, they were worried about the pepper spray catching fire, so they didn’t use the taser.

  65. cha says:

    Jason La Canfora
    @JasonLaCanfora
    Justin Houston will play in 2021, with the right team, at the right time. He’s turned down some recent offers and at least 4 teams have reached out in the last few days as interest heats up ahead of camp. He’ll weigh what’s best for him as teams continue to make overtures
    8:16 AM · Jul 15, 2021

    Or Olivier Vernon

    Or Melvin Ingram

    Or Everson Griffen

    Seahawks have options

  66. cha says:

    https://overthecap.com/best-and-worst-contracts-2021-nfc-west/

    Seattle Seahawks

    Best: Duane Brown, 3 years, $34.5M, $16M guaranteed

    Seattle traded for a disgruntled Brown in 2017 and have really gotten a lot out of the relationship. They gave him a moderate raise as part of the extension in 2018 and overall got very good terms at a position where players often command top dollar regardless of age. The contract built on another solid veteran player contract mentioned above- the original Andrew Whitworth contract- but never did anything to reflect changing the veteran market the way that Trent Williams was able to this year with the 49ers, matching the top valued deals despite being on the wrong side of 30.

    Seattle has always had a few high priced stars on their team but the addition of Brown gave them a chance to have a top tier player but not at a superstar level price. The breakdown of the contract was steady with the cap numbers slightly rising as the cap was expected to rise and the Seahawks were never in a position where they had to touch it for cap relief and being forced into an early extension. A really solid contract all the way around.

    Worst: Bobby Wagner, 3 years, $54M, $40.3M guaranteed

    Wagner is a terrific player but I thought the Seahawks really came out on the shorter end of this deal. Wagner likely benefitted greatly because of the Jets decision to pay a linebacker $17 million in free agency, but Seattle went far and above just matching that deal. Wagner’s contract was second among all linebackers in first year cash at the time of signing, had the largest signing bonus, and three year cash figure. Wagner was 29 at the time of signing and hit all of these top numbers despite being compared to younger players.

    I think that the thing I disliked the most here was just the three year term. If you are going to go this high aim for a fourth year. This has the feeling, as long as Wagner stays healthy, of having a situation in 2022 where Wagner looks for another extension. He will be 32 at that point which ups the risk for the team and will make this deal worth way more than $18M a year if he gets that third extension. That should have been a safeguard here as they gave up more than enough in the contract breakdown to have been able to offset a longer deal.

    • Jeffers says:

      The bit about Bobby is very weird. He complains about them paying him so much when he’s 29, implying they should have used his age as a bargaining chip in negotiations. He then goes on to say that they should have committed to paying him too much for an additional year, because as is they’ll have to renegotiate and pay him more if they want to keep him when he will be 32 and thus at an age in which it is far more likely to be able to use his age as a bargaining chip.

  67. cha says:

    https://www.fifa.com/tournaments/mens/worldcup/canadamexicousa2026

    Is there any significance to the fact that Lumen is the background for the main page for the 2026 World Cup?

    Host cities haven’t been selected yet, but I’m taking this as an awfully good thing.

  68. Ukhawk says:

    Hi Rob

    Welcome back and I hope, other than the England result, you’ve had a nice break.

    Must say your commentary has been missed and glad you’ve shared your thoughts.

    For as much and as long as you have loved the US game of football as a Brit, I’ve likely been over here loving the English game as a US expat. And we share not only our passion for the Seahawks but our pain and pride in following England.

    Here is my take on England:
    – There will always be lows and highs – and defo less highs and more lows so far
    – But the highs we enjoy are defined in part by the lows
    – England lost and it’s pretty clear cut that didn’t deserve the win. If they did, they would’ve won?!
    – The Italians were the most experienced and professional team in the tournament
    – The England set-up was perfect for Italy and work very effectively at nullifing Italy’s strengths of high press and quick counterattacks for much of the game
    – If England had a chance, and they did, it was in the first half where another goal was possible and would’ve sealed it. Italy were there fir the taking.
    – if Southgate did anything wrong, it was leaving subs too late and not changing for fresher legs and needed new tactics sooner.
    – 5 of 10 penalties were made, so it’s probably a pretty accurate representation of a 50/50 chance of winning … England just didn’t this time (yes again).
    – But now for the best part, this team is building, developing and growing into a team capable of winning in the future. It’s young, dynamic, adaptable, strong in many positions and

  69. Ukhawk says:

    …and getting better
    – I wouldn’t want to be supporting Portugal, Germany nor Italy at the next World Cup, teams on the decline, but rather England in its ascendency.

    So there it is the reason to keep on rooting and putting ourselves through it again – the hope, the agony and that chance to experience that once ( or twice) in a lifetime ecstasy

  70. cha says:

    Adam Schefter
    @AdamSchefter
    Panthers and OT Taylor Moton agreed to a mammoth four-year, $72 million extension that includes $43 million guaranteed at signing, per sources.

    And so there is at least one blockbuster deal that beats today’s deadline for franchise players to sign extensions.
    12:01 PM · Jul 15, 2021

    • Big Mike says:

      But is 43 GUARANTEED over 4 years “massive”? I’ve been told “always look at the guaranteed money”. Even if the 4th year is eventually not picked up, 3 yrs at 43 total doesn’t seem “massive”. Am I missing something here?

  71. cha says:

    JC getting some things off his chest.

    https://sports.mynorthwest.com/1443555/clayton-russell-wilson-issues-seahawks-to-bed/

    This story poisoned the Seahawks through the offseason. No one would let it go. I’ve been covering the league since 1972. To me, this was the most overblown story I’ve ever seen.

    Still, while Wilson was tweeting positive things about the Seahawks’ additions, national writers kept expressing how he was still not happy. Even as late as last week, someone said there were remaining problems. Wrong.

    Wilson wants to win. Carroll wants to win. End of story.

    • bmseattle says:

      John Clayton… the Andy Rooney of NFL media.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Utah Gross Ma Toast

    • cha says:

      And now for a counterpoint from someone in the media who might actually know what they’re talking about.

      The Morning Roast
      @MorningRoast957
      “I’m a firm believer if they either continue the status quo or regress, this will be the last year of Russell Wilson in Seattle. I feel very strongly about that”


      @Joe_Fann
      on the upcoming season for the Seahawks and Russell Wilson

      https://twitter.com/MorningRoast957/status/1415704857806204930

    • Denver Hawker says:

      The Wilson Schtick has worn thin among respectable members of the media. Mark Schlereth said on the radio last week that no one in the media bothers to listen to a word out of Wilson’s mouth anymore. They know he’s a politician. They’re frustrated that he can be so genuine about various topics, but when it comes to his career and football, he puts on the tie and becomes a robot. Specifically said he can talk for 30 minutes and say absolutely nothing.

      I wish Clayton would just hang it up instead of carrying on this nonsense. I really respected his knowledge and inside takes 20 years ago and hate to see his career end like this.

  72. no frickin clue says:

    Rob,

    I feel a gnawing sense of dread for the 2021 season. I think it’s because if I imagine where this franchise is going, it feels like this is the year that the rollercoaster accelerates down the hill. In math terms, the 2nd derivative looks like it is going to be a big negative.

    The only saving grace I have is (1) in a small sample size of 17 games, anything can happen, and (2) if we do discover we have to embark on a rejuvenation plan after a crash and burn, the – hopefully short – ride to the top will be that much sweeter if we’ve experienced a ton of grief along the way. It’s not a great argument, but it’s the best I’ve got. 🙂

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it’ll be more of the same personally. 2015-2020 style. The win record will be between 9-12 with a similar conclusion.

      I’ve not seen anything so far to move away from that.

    • Bigsteviej says:

      Kudos to anyone who references the second derivative in a post on a sports blog. Well done, sir.

    • Gohawks5151 says:

      Be easy. It’s Waldron time!

  73. cha says:

    Ouch

    Ian Rapoport
    @RapSheet
    #Saints DT David Onyemata is suspended six games for his violation of the NFL’s PED policy. He announced the looming suspension this morning and it is now official.
    10:32 AM · Jul 16, 2021

  74. Martin says:

    Thought you might be interested. Rob gets a mention on Jake and Stacey.

    https://sports.mynorthwest.com/category/podcast_player/?a=50e23288-72d4-49f3-ace8-ad67014bf36a&sid=1014&n=Jake+and+Stacy

    At 20’30” in.

  75. Sea Mode says:

    Another R3 pick…

    Aaron Wilson
    @AaronWilson_NFL
    ·20h

    Buffalo Bills cut Nazair Jones