Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Loss to the Rams has Seahawks fans picking sides, but that shouldn't be the case.
What a difference a week makes.
Last Tuesday, The 12th Man was as united as I can ever remember it being. Not since Super Bowl XL did this fan base feel so close-knit - so us-against-the-world.
The Seahawks had defeated Green Bay on a controversial, last-second Hail Mary that turned the football world against them. Analysts attacking the ruling on the field, pundits suggesting the NFL change the result of the game, and urging the Seahawks to forfeit.
The 12th Man was unified in victory. Sure, there were differing opinions on whether or not Golden Tate should have been awarded simultaneous possession, but it didn't seem to matter. Fans were locking arms as their team and their city were the butt of jokes and the subject of - to borrow a term from ESPN 710's Mike Salk - a lot of "sports hate" coming from all directions. We agreed to disagree about the call made by the replacement refs, and had each other's backs as we took pride in our team, no matter what the rest of the country thought we should do or feel.
Fast-forward a week and it feels like this house couldn't be more divided. The attacks on Twitter against players, against coaches, against each other are usually reserved for the most extreme situations - not week 4 games against the Rams.
I love the passion of Seahawks fans. It's part of the reason I became one. The 12th Man is unlike any other group of fans in the NFL, and if anyone wants to argue that there is a better fan base out there, prove it. I am willing to die on this hill.
But for the past 48 hours, it hasn't felt that way. Instead, it's felt as though there is a line in the sand, and everyone is feeling the need to take a side. They are upset about the loss and want a head on a platter, they want someone, something, to blame.
And there is plenty of blame to go around for this one. There is no denying that. It was a game the Seahawks should have won.
But the reaction to the loss seems disproportionate to any other loss I've witnessed as a Seahawks fan, and Lord knows there have been plenty.
For the past two days I have tried to figure out why that is the case, and I really can only come up with one thing: the philosophy and decisions this coaching staff has polarized the fan base against one another.
What I mean is, this isn't about the Rams game, this is about something bigger. It has been coming for a long time, the loss on Sunday was merely the tipping point.
It's about personnel moves, like parting ways with fan-favorite players like Matt Hasselbeck. It's about philosophy - trying to win in the NFL in an uncommon, unconventional way. It's about the QB competition - starting the 5'11 rookie, Russell Wilson, over the free agent you brought in.
All these things have forced people to take a side, and Sunday's result seemingly had the fingerprints of each of these decisions all over it, bringing everything to a boiling point.
Now, I am not going to take sides. I have tried my best to avoid that, partly because I think there is plenty of blame to go around for this loss and don't see a need for a scapegoat to pin this on, but also because there is a lot of football to still be played, and I think a knee-jerk reaction may be counterproductive. For example, the NY Giants were 9-7 last year, fans wanted the coach fired, then they went out and won the Super Bowl. Too many things can happen to get so high with a win or so low with a loss, especially in September.
But what I will do is say we are better than this. The team is better than the product they've put out on the field and the 12th Man is better than how it has subsequently reacted.
I don't advocate blindly accepting whatever a coach decides or tells you. Players sort of have to do that, but fans don't. Fandom is unique in that regard. We can support the same cause - wanting the team to win - but take different ways to get there.
I do advocate expecting more from this team, from this offense, from this coaching staff. The fans have earned that much. We have seen an amazing overhaul of this roster, and see players that other teams actually covet, a defense that other teams actually fear.
But expecting more doesn't mean attacking or insulting each other, it doesn't mean going on the radio and turning a show into some sort of witch hunt.
We, the 12th Man, are better than what we have shown this week. The team is better than how they played on Sunday.
So, while the boys at VMAC are working to right the ship, let's do the same.
We're the best fans in the NFL for a reason, let's act like it.
Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottEnyeart
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