SB Nation’s theme week is all about human emotion, which I’ll let Roy Orbison explain.
There’s no need for me to repeat the question because I already wrote it in the headline, which I trust you actually read.
I’ll lead things off first before we get to other members of the Field Gulls staff. Even though I can get quite passionate and often irrational, I have never cried as a direct result of a Seahawks game. Did I cry as a child when the team I wanted to win ended up losing? Hell yeah, plenty of times. I’m not even an Indianapolis Colts fan but I cried tears of joy when Peyton Manning finally made it to the Super Bowl after an epic comeback against the New England Patriots. Most recently, I was emotional when the Portland Trail Blazers rallied from 17 points down on the road to beat the Denver Nuggets and reach the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.
Sports fandom can do funny things to the brain, and it’s really one of the few things that knocks me off my otherwise low-key personality.
The Seahawks-related tear-jerker for me was watching Shaquem Griffin get drafted and reunited with his twin brother Shaquill. I highly recommend watching the 60 Minutes segment on the Griffins, because it really puts into greater context how great the story is and how cool it is that they’re getting to live the NFL dream together.
Now I leave the rest of this post to the Field Gulls staff, along with anyone who wants to share their stories in the comments section.
I’ve cried twice as a result of the Seahawks playing. Neither of those times came from Super Bowls, but rather NFC Championship games.
First, the immaculate deflection. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that stressed during a game start to finish. That was a great 49ers team, and it was a fiat fight the whole game. I used to adhere to a lot of superstitious rituals during games and honestly I was so exhausted by the end of that game. Sherm will always have a place in me and Erin Andrews heart after that performance.
Second, the Green Bay game. The swing from stoic resignation to jubilation was one of the more intense emotional swings of my fandom. Watching Russell and Jermaine weeping at the end pushed me over the edge. Alcohol may have contributed to the intensity of my feelings at the time, I was drinking sad beers for probably 70% of that game.
Close runner up is the 2013 Texans game. Didn’t really weep as much as she’d a stress tear or two at the end. That was another punch fest. Heart attack hawks may not be good for my health, but I love them anyway.
I haven’t cried for the Seahawks. It’s sports, not life or death, and I haven’t shed an athletic tear since teenager me angsted through the 1989 NBA Finals. My Lakers had swept through the West playoffs, going 11-0, only to get swept themselves by the unlikeable Detroit Pistons, who can all go sit on a fork. Preferably of the pitch variety. Something rusty, if possible.
I mean, fanhood is pain. If not right away, then eventually. Crying is a really therapeutic way of coping with pain or trauma, and for some people it helps a ton. But I’ve discovered that if you go into sports with the expectation of being wounded, you don’t get the tears to flow when shit goes sideways.
So with that out of the way, here are all the things I’ve done *instead* of cry at whatever hairpin of fate the Seahawks happen to be speeding around in any given week.
I’ve stood agape as Marshawn Lynch adjusted himself, crossing the plane, the climactic punctuation of the greatest play in NFL history: Beastquake. (As the shock wore off, we lost our mind in the south end bleachers. Seriously. I ended up three rows down and ten seats over. That would’ve been a great time to cry. But no.)
I’ve cried… out in terrible, selfish ecstasy as Blair Walsh missed a field goal to let the Seahawks advance in the 2015 playoffs. Who shanks a 27-yarder? My youngest son is still angry at me for how loud I celebrated in our living room that day. He is a fair person.
I’ve even blacked out. This time on a memorable but inconsequential play, during a memorable win of an inconsequential season. The year is 2007, we’re at home; Marcus Trufant picks it and scores against the Cardinals. Lost five seconds of life starting when the ball was in the air, and when I came to, Tru was crossing the goal line. Probably the guy behind me hit me with his elbow or his knee. He might’ve been crying. Let’s go with that.
If the Seahawks could make me cry again, it would take something more epic than the moments above. Which… is not out of the realm of possibility for our set of incorrigible troublemakers..
No matter how much happiness or frustration I’ve felt from watching Seahawks football of the years, no moment from a particular game has ever moved me to tears. However, I do have a soft spot for players who are sharing their joy especially when it comes to moments of overcoming adversity. Two moments come to mind for me.
The most recent was after the Seahawks released their draft day calls for the 2019 draft class. It took just two seconds after John Schneider said to D.K. Metcalf, “We’re going to make you a Seahawk right here, ok?” before Metcalf was audibly overcome with emotion. After several tearful “thank yous,” Metcalf asks Pete Carroll, “Why y’all wait this long, man?” It was that moment that set the call apart from the many of the other draft day calls where players are overcome with euphoria. Even a year later, I can’t listen to that call without getting misty-eyed.
For the next one, I have to give credit to the producers of the NFL’s A Football Life documentary on Steve Largent. In less than three minutes, they take you through the roller coaster of emotion that begins with Largent taking a hit that was considered dirty even by NFL standards 30 years ago.
The ability to see and hear the reactions from teammates and family members reflect on that play helps demonstrate the reason why Largent’s hit on Mike Harden 14 weeks later was one of the greatest moments in Seahawks history. Not just for the hit on Harden (which is glorious) but for how it represented redemption for Largent in the best possible way. It’s easy to understand why Largent himself says that was his favorite play of his Hall of Fame career.
There have been two moments in Seahawks’ history that brought tears to my eyes. Not Super Bowl XLVIII, which was a coronation, or the NFC Championship two weeks before that, which was… beyond surreal, but more relief and intensity.
The second tear-provoking moment was not the happy kind—so let’s rewind two weeks. The 2014 NFC Championship Game was unlike anything I have ever seen. I was lucky enough to be in the stadium for both conference championships last decade, but the feeling that come with witnessing the comeback against the Packers was unlike anything. It was like witnessing genuine magic. From the monsoon before kickoff to the horrible start with just enough breaks to keep the score manageable to a miserable (for me) Alice in Chains concert at half-time, it all felt surreal.
But then it was on. Jon Freakin’ Ryan threw a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch, as he always did in the playoffs, showed up and made play after play. Chris Matthews! Luke Willson and Russell Wilson connected on an absurd two-point conversion. And all the other madness that occurred amongst those impossibilities. All of that, despite the swings, was still too intense to step back from the moment. Then Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for the game-winning touchdown and a tidal wave of emotion washed over me. I remember crouching down to try and gather my thoughts. Michael Bennett on a bicycle. Russell Wilson and co. on the stage. Then making my way to the concourse and looking out at thousands pouring out of the stadium, having just shared a magical moment.
The positive energy and belief Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson led the team with seemed so much bigger in that moment. It was so moving, powerful, emotional, incredible, and unforgettable.