Friday, February 25, 2005

posted by David - 7:06 PM

Seahawks Sack Sure-handed Snagger: Self-Exiled Seattle Supporter Saddened.

Although it doesn't come as a surprise, I'm still a little sad to see that the Seattle Seahawks released Jerry Rice. Perhaps it seems a little strange since he spent so little time in a Seahawks uniform, but it is based in how my views on football have changed over the past decade or two.

When I was younger, I used to watch football, and the only thing I kept track of, or remembered, were the big names. Denver and San Francisco weren’t playing... Elway and Montana were going at it with the title of Comeback King on the line.

In this era, I grew to loathe the big names that would stomp on my favorite players. I grew to dislike Rice and a certain Smith more than most. I would abhor any ‘name’ linked with a franchise team that wasn't MY team.

As I matured, I began to realize there was more to a team than just the 'Stars' of the team. I began to notice the big players were big because of the 'lesser' stars supporting them. I realized that without the five guys that were the pocket, the likes of Aikman and Favre would only be known by the particular color of stain they left in the grass.

This is one of the reasons I didn't play high-school football. My school just changed coaches... and the new players had no concept of teamwork. The team would talk trash and walk tall when they were doing well, but as soon as their selfish attitudes started to bring about their downfall the players would injure the patella of their mufshagrumbleIwannabeonthebench.

(I didn't make that word up... the physical trainer swears he heard it.)

This lack of teamwork, by its absence, helped to illuminate the fact that it was a living entity on many teams in modern sports.

So, we have come to my modern-day perceptions. I realize there will always be those showboaters making fools out of themselves, their teammates and disrespecting their opponents just get themselves some extra exposure on SportsCenter. I won't mention any names here (*Cough* RandyMoss *Cough*), but some antics of players are a bit over the top.

But even as these peacocks strut about trying to garner looks, I find myself drawn more towards the players that just get in there and do what they can for the team. One particular moment provided example of that kind of player.

Cowboys All-Pro RB Emmit Smith, a player I had previously despised, injured himself trying to sell a fake run... a play-action pass. A play that doesn’t work unless the running back plunges head first and down like he’s an eight-pound bowling ball headed for four-foot tall pins with no expectation of personal gratitude.

It wasn't his call, but he sold the play so well it resulted in a touchdown... and his injury.

This brings me back to the Jerry Rice issue. I watched him out there on the field. I was there when he played in what might be his final playoff game. He would run hard and play every moment like he hadn’t already put up numbers Hall of Famers got a neck cramp looking at.

Even in his twilight in Oakland and Seattle, he would bust his hump trying to help his team. But in both cases, I think his teams didn’t utilize him as they should have. I can't count how many times I saw Hawks QB Matt Hasselbeck throw a risky pass into double coverage... when Rice was wide open somewhere else. That happened enough for me to view him as a playmaker still.

The thing of greatest import, however, was his demeanor. If Jerry was flipping over backwards, and he just touched the ball with one finger, he was angry if he didn't catch it. The rest of the team, suffering from Seahawks’ disease would drop one that hit them in the numbers and just shrug their shoulders. And that attitude, more than anything, is what is going to make me miss Jerry with the 'Hawks having released him.

The preceding Waste of Space was brought to you by David, the Internet, and the letter Q.

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