The other day, I saw this article from Buzzfeed. I thought it was pretty well done, but could be improved upon, like any great list or sports team. So here is my list of why Seattle should win today.

1) Russell “Hey defense, you have no idea what is happening to you right now” Wilson.

As you can see from the above .gif, Russell Wilson told all four linemen to come at him. So they did. He gives defensive players the feeling that they are going to make a great play, only to confuse them and score a ridiculous touchdown. If there is no touchdown potential, Russell Wilson is like, “I got this” and runs for a first down instead.

2) Century Link Field

It’s loud and I imagine opposing teams walk in and see something like this:

But instead of bats, it’s a bunch of Seahawks and people who look like this:

We make Raiders’ Nation look like pansies. Although, I am not sure I want to compare us to the Raiders…

So yeah, fucking scary.

3) Because Marshawn Lynch is invincible and full of style. He’s also made out of helium.

4) Because Drew Brees already got a parade.

We get it, Prince Charming.

5) Byron Maxwell who seemingly came out of nowhere with little experience and just went BOOM

6) Because safety advise is free:

I want to be Earl Thomas’ best friend forever.

7) And we also have Richard Sherman. The cast of entertaining defensive players will never cease to entertain me. Please also see Derrick Coleman.

Why yes, yes I am.

8) Because Seattle is seriously depressing right now. If the Seahawks don’t win, the city has nothing to live for until July when the weather *might* reach 70 degrees.

9) The Children. The Seahawks Facebook page put these up and it reminded me of how terrible the Seahawks were when I was their age because we never, never did this in school. In 1992, when I was in the second grade, we were 2-14. There was no hope.

If the Saints win, that means they hate hopes and dreams and children.

10) Because this Beats Audio commercial still pisses me off:

11) Also, this comparison of Instagram photos:

11.5*) Because we started from the bottom, now we here.

12) Because the number 12 is divine. Like seriously, the 12 Apostles, the 12 Tribes of Israel, the 12 Life Stations in Buddhism, 12 Days of Christmas, 12 Gods at the Pantheon, 12 months out of the year (thus 12 zodiac signs), the 12 Stations of the Cross, and the 12th Man. It all makes sense. Are the Seahawks divine? Well, we shall see…

*I know 11.5 is not a list number, but this is my list and we were 7-9 in the 2011 season. So there.

Sounds like a good idea to this guy.

Sounds like a good idea to this guy.

Playoffs?  *deepest sigh* Playoffs.  They’re happening, you may have heard.  As a matter of fact, it’s taken me  until now to stop acting like this guy:

But it’s ok!  Because I am nothing if not a resilient, committed, bandwagon-jumper. And I’m here to help all of you find one or two reasons to cheer for any almost any of the teams still standing as we head into the divisional round.

Start in that western corner of these United States, why don’t we?

The Seattle Seahawks! RUSSELL WILSON! He’s fun. Pete Carroll is a terrible dick.  So is Golden Tate, but Tate can do shit like this, so we’re still cool.  Oh, and this. Did you know RUSSELL WILSON has only lost ONE game at home? And check out young Earl Thomas, giving some safety advice in the streets of Seattle.

The New Orleans Saints! High octane offense, led by Cool Drew Brees and the inhuman Jimmy Graham. Darren Sproles is terrifying: at any point he touches the ball, he might just get six points. Sean Peyton is looks just like my favorite uncle.  (What? Not true for you?) If you can actively root against New Orleans, you probably don’t have a functioning human heart.

Moving a little south and a little higher….BOTH LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY

The Denver Broncos! Uh, I don’t know if you’ve heard of this guy, but the quarterback there in Denver, Peyton Manning, is having a historically incredible, we’re privileged to watch him play pretty good season.  Wes Welker has beautiful blue eyes and a savvy agent. The Broncos defense has been a little suspect the last couple weeks, but hey! it wouldn’t be interesting if it was easy. If it was SUPER easy, anyway.

This guy. Come on.

This guy. Come on.

The San Diego Chargers!  Blessed to live and play outside of the polar vortex, just their smiles will warm you up. Eric Weddle, and his beard, and his Twitter, are all the best.  Keenan Allen is a Future King (champions of the DeProfundisAllOverYourFace Fantasy league, sidenote), Danny Woodhead is an adorable hobbit, and everyone in the world wants to hit Philip Rivers in the face.

Moving even farther south!  Where the temperature is rising!!!

The Carolina Panthers! Luke Kuechly.  Have I mentioned him? Oh, I have? Well.  Also, Cam Newton is pretty fun. Although in Eugene, Oregon, bartenders still call him “Scam Newton.” For what that’s worth. In other Oregon-Carolina news, Jonathan Stewart, UO alum, is a Panthers running back.  Amuse your friends! Entertain your lovers! with this interesting sequence of facts.

This fucking guy. COME ON.

This fucking guy. COME ON.

The San Francisco 49ers! Jim Harbaugh, say what you like, is an incredible coach. Sticking with my Duck-theme, LaMichael James returns kicks for this team.  Someday he’ll be as good as he was in college. Kaepernick has tattoos? This is a little thin.

And to the frozen north to close out our bandwagon selections!!

The New England Patriots. Nope. Not doing it. WILL NOT YOU CANNOT MAKE ME DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE THIS TEAM.

The Indianapolis Colts!  Andrew Luck’s beard / facial disaster is a great conversation starter at any party.  TY Hilton is turning into the stud of the playoffs. At least, for one game.  The Colts lost to some weird teams this season, but they beat some great ones: Seattle and the Broncos, in particular. I don’t think they fear the Pats. Or the cold. And why would they? They’ve got a quarterback who does shit like this.

Enjoy the playoffs, football fans.

Through the snow and into the playoffs.  Fantasy playoffs, of course.

Through the snow and into the playoffs. Fantasy playoffs, of course.

 

So, how many of you made your fantasy football playoffs? I’m pretty proud of my three teams: two of them destroyed the playoff competition last weekend, and the third is clinging to a berth in a non-standard-format league. I’m a little concerned about that last team, though; yesterday I thought my two starting quarterbacks, RG3 and Case Keenum, were both going to be benched.

What’s that? You’re wondering why on god’s green earth CASE KEENUM is one of my quarterbacks?

Texas. Forever.

Every player on my Texas Forever team was either born in Texas, played college ball in Texas, or is currently playing in Texas. As drafting restrictions go, this is actually a pretty solid system: I’ve got Dez Bryant, Andre Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and RG3. Of course, I’m also starting Case Keenum and Coby Fleener (Indy TE, in case you wondered). My other teams? My favorite is the Once & Future Kings, made up entirely of over-the-hill studs–you know, like Peyton Manning, Antonio Gates, and the Steelers defense–and unproven rookies, like Keenan Allen, Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy and Josh Gordon.  Some absurd point-scoring there.  My third team is kind of a “gimme,” The Believers, the drafting system being that I actually think the player in question is great.  Yes, I’ve got Peyton on this team too, along with Shady McCoy, Reggie Bush, and Antonio Brown.

I’m totally playing for money in all three of these leagues.  And no, no-one else imposed restrictions on their drafting strategies. So what the hell am I doing? Why not play fantasy football like everyone else and try to just out & out win? (Without using any Patriots, which I assume is a universal practice.)

I have some serious reservations about fantasy football, and how it changes the way we experience the game. I hate the phrase “I own,” to describe human beings in general. I glower at the man three rows back at Qualcomm, who shouts “Throw it to Malcolm Floyd!” with every offensive snap. Constantly tracking stats at the bar on Sunday makes me angry at myself. I’m disgusted anytime I hope for a Bengals wide receiver to score against the Steelers. And for all the glory we afford quarterbacks, football really is a team sport. Our fragmentation of the game into individual stats just…doesn’t sit right with me.

Also, I think I might be kind of maybe a secretly INSANELY COMPETITIVE person. Like, sore loser kind of competitive. Like, morose and  shuffling around in my sweat pants kind of competitive. Couple that with the fact that I just can’t care enough about fantasy to do the player research and mock-draft scheming that the real winners do, and you’ve got a recipe for a miserable season. Instead, I rig the game. I play a long-game, a game-within-a-game, a reduce-the-expectations game. I’m writing long emails full of Friday Night Lights quotes to the league. I’m calling every player a Future King at the top of my voice. I’m doing tiny fist-pumps of delight as Shady gallops through the snow.

Final fact: I never win. Not once. Last season, I beat the one-seed to make the playoffs, and then lost to her again the following week. And at the end of every season, I swear I’m never playing again.

Except that I’m a hypocrite gemini. And I made the playoffs. And the games-within-the game make it all a little more palatable. To the Future Kings! No regrets! Texas Forever! Case Keenum!

This guy.

This guy.

Luke Kuechly, taken with the #9 overall pick in the 2012 draft.  Luke Kuechly, Defensive Rookie of the Year of the 2012 season.  Luke Kuechly, the 22-year-old heart of the Carolina Panthers’ terrifying defense.  Luke Kuechly, the kind of guy who inspires phrases like superstar and lieutenant, who inspires his coach to imitate him in front of a reporter.

And he's nice to his fans!

And he’s nice to his fans!

All of this is great.  Kuechly seems like a super-smart, super-focused, super-hot, crazy-talented football player, who’s keeping his actual level of crazy as low as possible (because it’s understood that middle linebackers are by nature insane).

I might hate him.

Let me backtrack.  When I graduated from high school, I was eager to get the hell out of Oregon (no offense, Oregon, I love you!) and as a smart, studious, focused young woman, I chose a college based on its academics and its alignment with my priorities in life. It was a woman’s college in southwest Virginia, and I loved it, every minute.  The friends I made, what I learned, what I accomplished–I treasure those years.  I put myself on the path to where I am now: a very Gemini-type life in San Diego, writing and teaching and riding horses, mere inches away from the answer I would have given you ten years ago if you asked me what my dreams looked like.

Luke Kuechly makes me regret all of it.

I look at him, his curly brown hair, those arms, I watch him play football, I listen to his articulate, thoughtful interviews, and all I’m thinking is, what the fuck choices did I make with my life, that I didn’t get a chance to fall in love with a linebacker? Or a safety? Or a wide receiver?

A football player, is what I’m saying.  I would have been an exceptional girlfriend / wife of a professional athlete. I’m an amazing fan–just ask anyone I’ve ever known who’s participated in a sporting event. I’m smart about the game, and I make friends with strangers easily, and I could do the work I do anywhere in the country. I EVEN like training camps.  I could have gone to Boston College, or the U of O, or Michigan goddammit, and then that could be my life.  Kuechly!  Carolina! I was born for this!

What dreams are made of.

What dreams are made of.

Of course, looking back on it, even the coed colleges I applied to didn’t field football teams.  And at 18 and 19 years old, the sport I love now was barely on my radar, aside from the obligatory, pre-Uncle-Phil Ducks games I attended with my parents. (O the Joey Harrington years.)  Should I be pissed off at my younger self?  If I had gone to the U of O, would I have been the kind of girl who dated football players?  And how would I have met them?  (Clearly by tutoring them in English, let’s get real here, that’s the easy part.)

I think young me did a pretty good job, all things considered.  It’s like the great poet Robert Frost once said: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one that actually mattered to me, and there’s no point regretting it now, I probably wouldn’t have given up on my dreams for somebody else’s anyways.”  Or something to that effect.  So instead of wallowing in what-couldn’t-have-beens, I’m going to use Sundays to appreciate what I have.  While also appreciating Luke Kuechly as he owns the backfield.

If there’s some other pro athlete out there making you re-evaluate your life choices, post it in the comments for sympathy and commiseration.  And may you decide that you too could not have changed who you were, and that you like who you ended up being.

[And no, thank you, I don't want to talk about the age gap between Kuechly and myself--he's an idealized version of possibility, after all, so shut up about it.]

We'll always have Sundays.

We’ll always have Sundays.

Can we get a goddamn timeout?

Can we get a goddamn timeout?

Oh, hey, football fans.  What’s that?  You feel like we’re maybe not Jonny-on-the-spot this season?  Like we’re kind of doing whatever we feel like?  Like, maybe some weeks we’re talking fantasy and some weeks we’re just drinking bloody marys and some weeks we’re pretending football isn’t even happening?  And some weeks we’re obviously worrying about what to say about the clusterfuck that is the Johnathan Martin / Ritchie Incognito sideshow?  And some weeks we just have massive crushes on Wes Welker?  And some weeks…ok, I guess I feel you.  Today’s no better: we’re reviewing a bar, previewing a couple games, and sending love letters to strangers.  Glad you’re still on board.

Last weekend we enjoyed a gorgeous day at a friend’s house in Ocean Beach (thanks, Amanda!) watching DirectTV, RedZone, and our fantasy scores, talking shit with five friends and drinking very pale mimosas.  And it was glorious.  And the Steelers won.  And so did Seattle.  So it was perfect.

FRIDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK: SUNSHINE CO.

So if you read the Yelp reviews, this place is hit or miss. I say hit, Jenny says miss. And here’s why: Sunshine Saloon is bipolar. I have been here a few times and each time I go, the bar shows off a different personality. This place is equal parts beach bums, bros, hippies, and tweakers. Which makes sense because it is in Ocean Beach. The bar is half indoor and half outdoor with an upstairs patio. There is a Mexican joint attached to it downstairs, so you can eat a burrito and have a beer while sitting outside and watching football.

So that’s the amazing part. It’s hard to put a finger on the bad parts though. The bartenders were super on top of my drinks, but I was sitting next to a friend who happens to be a regular. I also chatted with some really nice and spectacular people who also happen to be Seattle fans. But otherwise, the patrons were kinda assholes, like the guy who was telling a story about some guy who may or may not have been gay… I’m not sure what exactly the guy was saying, but it was definitely hate-filled speech toward a person who seemed to be a normal, sane person, except that (according to this patron) he was a giant piece of shit because he may or may not be gay. So there was that. And the bouncer who kept checking my ID. Or the fact that everyone was really cliquey and knew we didn’t belong. So that was odd. However, if you want to enjoy a Sunday beverage on a smoking-friendly patio and have good access to a multitude of televisions, then this is your place. Upstairs even has ocean views and on some days it’s like $2 for PBR and a shot of Jameson.

Really, the best part of Sunday (minus some of the above and the Saturday night that lingered in Jenny’s and my head) was hanging out at our friend Amanda’s house (above regular) with a whole host of friends and football fans while we watched RedZone and Sunday Ticket,  hooting and hollering at games, drinking mimosas and chatting as the weather and ocean reminded us how nice San Diego really is.

photo (6)

GAMES OF THE WEEK

THIS GUY.

THIS GUY.

DC Abe Lincolns vs. Philadelphia Eagles

YES!  I am excited about this one, football fans.  Here’s five reasons why. 1. The NFC East is fucking terrible, and both of these under-.500 teams are still in the mix to win it all. 2. RG3 (SIR) is one of the most electric players in the NFL; no, he’s not back to his pre-injury form, but he’s gettin’ there. 3. Chip goddamn Kelly is doing business.  And if the Eagles light up the scoreboard for another week or so, many sports-talkers heads may just explode. 4. Nick Foles is big and dumb-looking, and we know how I feel about that.  5. I’ll be happy if either team wins, so it’s a good one for me to watch in public.  Want my fantasy picks? The two QBs, Shady, and Future fucking King Riley Cooper, who is clearly Nick Foles’ BFF. And yeah, I’m taking the over–these teams are going to light it up.

Browns/Bengals: The Battle for Ohio.

Browns are coming off of their bye and the Bengals are coming off of a sad OT loss. Plus, with the division still somewhat up in the air, this game is a turning point for the Browns: Bengals go on bye Week 12, while the Browns play the Steelers. If the Browns win the next two games, they will be tied for first in the division with the Bengals, then play against the Jaguars. This is one to watch. Even though you might be all like, “but it’s the Browns!” Well, yeah, but with an offense that is actually pretty amazing to watch and defense as tough as the steel their belts are made of, I think they might actually have a playoff chance. 

That's the minimum expression of disgust I want to see on your face, Coach.

That’s the minimum amount of disgust I want to see on your face, Coach.

What’s the good news this week?  Well, I went 3-0 in my fantasy leagues.  Partially because one opponent started Michael Vick and sat Colin Kaepernick (thanks, Amanda!), partially because, well, Texas Forever.  AND it turns out I’m kind of good at the whole over/ under thing, so look for that in coming weeks.  Oh, and Dean’s Seahawks survived a divisional road game against the feisty Rams.  But you know what? IT DOESN’T MATTER. Because the Steelers lost in spectacularly stupid fashion to the RAIDERS, of all teams.  I mean, the Seahawks thing matters to Dean. Anyways.  Whatever.  Let’s move on to happier things.

TUESDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK:BLUEFOOT BAR & LOUNGE

Like this little piece of heaven.

Like this little piece of heaven.

Dean and I very much enjoyed our afternoon at Bluefoot Bar & Lounge, in the ever-more-gentrified North Park neighborhood.  We rolled in at 1:30; a delightfully perceptive bartender immediately asked which TV I’d like the Steelers game on–yes, I was wearing my Steelers hat, to what would become my shame–and then proceeded to make us incredibly tasty, spicy, shaken-not-stirred Bloody Marys.  With Guiness.  Amazing.  Bluefoot boasts an outdoor patio with open windows into the bar; Dean was able to enjoy a smoke and not miss a second of the games.  The TVs are large, fancy, and well-placed.  I am not a personal fan of pool tables in the middle of the bar, but it wasn’t too bad, because as you can see from the photo, it was pretty quiet in there.  The Chargers were on a bye; I can imagine it gets crowded and rowdy and packed with bro-sters (trademark pending) when San Diego plays.  In fact, the brosters (hyphen or not? you decide) started to trickle in around 3:30, and I identified at least three men who deserved a punch in the mouth. (Of course, by 3:30, my dreams of Pittsburgh relevance were crashing around my ears, so…)  No food on the premises, but you’re welcome to bring food in, and Dean and I ate the hell out of some subs from Lefty’s next door.  It’s not super expensive, and there’s a large back room with TVs and booths for bigger parties.  Frankly, the bloody marys were a standout, but I don’t think I’d enjoy myself as much if the bar were elbow-to-elbow busy.  A solid B. (And that, ladies and gents, is the amount of enthusiasm I can muster.)

*

Look at me! And our passing offense isn’t even that great!

SCOLD LETTER TO GOLDEN TATE

Hi, Golden Tate. How’s it going? Heard you almost lost on Monday. Good for you. Now, what’s up with that taunt? It’s not like you are the best, or that you and your team make up the best passing offense in the league, or that you even played a tough secondary. Seriously, after the Fail Mary, why embarrass yourself? Now the NFL is thinking of taking touchdowns away after taunts like that, and if that had been the case, we would have lost, and the City of Seattle would have disowned you and possibly quartered you. We don’t lose to Rams. So please, do not continue to act like an ass during an unnecessarily close game  (seriously o-line, what was your fucking problem?) when you aren’t playing well. Unless you are a member of the BOOM. Richard Sherman can shush the crowd all he wants. But you, sadly, don’t have the stats to back-up behavior like that. Also, it could have been a really badass play that could have gone to reels for all the right reasons. Think of the ESPN magic! Now you live in infamy and shame. I hope you learned your lesson, because GIFs like the above don’t go away.