I love it that the Seattle Seahawks have reached the second round of the National Football League playoffs by defeating the Washington Redskins. The good residents of Seattle and its neighboring metropolitan area deserve a break.
Plenty of sports fans lament the failures of their hometown teams. But no U.S. town has suffered the ignominious fate of Seattle.
Seattle not only saw its teams fail to bring home a championship year after year. The Emerald City experienced the ultimate heartbreak: Its beloved local pro basketball squad, the Supersonics, upped and left town altogether a few years ago. The move robbed the city of its longest continuous pro team in any of the four major sports (baseball, football, basketball and ice hockey).
Now, Sonics fans only get to watch the likes of high-scoring forward Kevin Durant and flashy point guard Russell Westbrook, both perennial all-stars, on television, like any out-of-towners. One of these days, the Thunder may actually capture the league championship. That would really wound the Seattle basketball fan set.
I hope that the Seattle Seahawks can restore the town's sports civic pride this season — and the team has already thrilled the hometown fans.
The Seahawks boast a powerful defensive unit and a resourceful rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson, who seems poised well beyond his years. Still, it's a long shot that the underdog Seahawks can go all the way this season to the finish line. They next play Sunday afternoon in Atlanta against the Falcons, the No. 1 seed in the National Football Conference playoffs.
If the Seahawks pull off the upset, the team would then have to go on the road, once again, either in Green Bay or San Francisco.
The Seattle Seahawks have boosted the entire city's collective self-esteem. Since Americans have a peculiar habit of often judging a city's cosmopolitan nature by the success of its sports clubs, Seattle suddenly looked more like a suburb of Japan than the capital of the Pacific Northwest when it lost the Sonics.
The hurt and bitterness deepened when the Sonics settled in Oklahoma City and promptly became one of the National Basketball Association's best teams, reaching the NBA Finals last June (LeBron James's Miami Heat defeated the Thunder to gain the league title).
In fact, the Sonics were not even the first pro team to bolt from Seattle. Way back after the 1969 major-league baseball season, the Pilots — the same team that Jim Bouton played for and ridiculed in his landmark book "Ball Four" — left town after only one season to move to Milwaukee. Think about it. The town couldn't even hold on to a last-pace laughingstock like the Pilots. Happily, Seattle eventually regained a major-league team of its own, the Mariners.
Let's hope that the Seahawks shock the sports world and go all the way to the Super Bowl in February in New Orleans — and win the big game. That would set the town on fire! The Seattle fans deserve that kind of happiness.
Seattle has come close. The Seahawks reached the Super Bowl for the 2005 football season — but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am rooting for the Seahawks to go all the way this time and give this team a reason to feel big-time.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution. Click here to order a copy. Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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