Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Case for the Seattle Scozzhawks

The Bromolyte Interviews

It's safe to say that out in Seattle, they've caught a pretty strong case of championship fever, the likes of which us Bromos have been vaccinated against since 1957. In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, we're sending this one out to the Pacific Northwest for an exclusive interview with Bromolyte and die-hard Seahawks fan Scozz.

Honolulu Bromothymol: First off, credit where credit is due, congrats on the run to the Super Bowl. Take me through the inside of your head for those last five minutes of the NFC Championship game.

Scozz: Stressful to say the least, my heart was pounding. I was standing on my couch half the time yelling at the D and it seemed like a repeat of not too distant year's past, where we might let the game slip away in the closing minutes; but this time it was different, the Legion of Boom helped seal the deal.

HB: did the fact that it was San Francisco make things that much more intense, or was the stage set either way?

Scozz: Playing San Fran definitely set the stage for an epic matchup. There is definitely a dislike that goes both ways, this incorporates everyone from the coaches and players to the fans. We know that Harbaugh and Carroll aren't big fans of each other dating back to the Stanford/USC days, Sherman and Crabtree have beef since an offseason charity event went awry, and even our 12th man and San Fran fans are always one-upping each other. Even better than this is the great games that usually result on the field. Close games, big tackles and hits, young rising quarterbacks, strong run games. Both teams have similar strengths and it's always a battle to the end of the 4th quarter.

o an outsider, it seems like this whole rivalry jumped up and took over the NFL pretty much out of nowhere. Is there some deeper history, or is it just since Harbaugh got hired that it all started?

Scozz: I'd say it's been in the works for a bit, but with Carroll and Harbaugh taking over the head coaching jobs, it's definitely gone to another level. Seahawks rivalries aren't a new thing, though. If anyone remembers, before we switched to NFC west from the AFC in 2002, we had a pretty heated rivalry with the Broncos.

HB: I remember when Seattle was in the AFC, had never heard a thing about a Bronco rivalry though, interesting.

Scozz: Oh yeah, I remember growing up never cheering for John Elway for that specific reason. There were Seahawks t-shirts with the slogan "Bronco-Busters" and the Bronco X'd out in a red circle (Editor's Note: me and my brother call that "Getting Terry Stanselled", after what we used to do to our old band director's face in our school yearbooks)

HB: Those shirts are awesome.

Scozz: If you get the chance, look up Steve Largent's hit on Mike Harden. I'd have to say that he might have been one of the founding members of the Legion of Boom, dating back to good ol' 1988.

HB:  You've been around Ann Arbor for plenty of Michigan/OSU and Michigan/MSU games, compare this heated Seahawks-Niners NFL rivalry to a college one. Is there any comparison?
Scozz: When cars get tipped and go up in flames, as they do in Columbus, I may upgrade that intensity, but I don't ever see that happening. And I make sure to say in "intensity". College rivalries have such history that span decades, some centuries, that this hasn't touched. I think Michigan and that school down south, UM/MSU, FSU/Florida, Oklahoma/Oklahoma State, Duke/North Carolina and a whole lot of other rivalries have such history that a Seattle/San Francisco can't touch.

HB: This next one has confused me for a few years, so forgive me, but growing up, even in Michigan, I would always hear about an incredible football fan section known as 'the 12th Man'. The Texas A&M 12th man, that is. Had no idea that it was even a thing with Seattle until that famous Saints playoff game after the 2010 season. Elucidate me here.
Scozz: To tell you the truth, I don't know the exact date or time the 12th Man came into being. If you look it up on the Wiki, they say the University of Iowa published something about it first, then Texas A&M, blah blah blah. It became more media-centered around 2006 when Texas A&M sued the Seattle Seahawks for trademark rights. It looks like they settled out of court, we paid them $100,000 and now pay an annual $5,000 fee to use their trademarked "phrase". All in all, who really cares?

HB: Texas A&M, maybe.
Scozz: If Texas A&M had a 12th man like ours, maybe Johnny "Football" Manziel (also trademarked I believe) and WR Mike Evans would stay another year. The 12th Man is a great source of Pride up here in the Pacific Northwest. With the Guinness World Record for Loudest Outdoor Stadium Crowd Noise, numerous false start penalties on the opposing offense, we feel connected and a part of our team. The best part yet is the 12th Man flag raising: Before each home game we have a flag raiser to get our Team and 12th Man going. 12th Man Flag raisers include Seattle's favorite legends, all-time greats, residents and stars,Ken Griffey Jr, Steve Largent, Walter Jones, Shawn Kemp, Bill Russell, Ichiro, Apollo Ono, Fred Couples, Kasey Keller, Gary Payton, Jay Buhner*, and more. It's nice to see support from our local legends. A truly special event.

*Editor's Note: I remember a previous conversation I had with Scozz where he proudly recalled how Mariners fans used to refer to the former outfielder as "Jay Boner". I'm surprised my friend Bitts never pulled that nickname out when he would be the Mariners in our games of MLBPA Baseball on Sega.

HB: I think now we need to tackle the elephant in the room.
Scozz: Sherman.

HB: BINGO. As an impartial observer with very limited points of reference…you're going to give me a reason to not dislike Richard.
Scozz: Lots of reasons. Football-wise: Richard Sherman is the best cover corner in the game. He is responsible for every opposing offense's #1 receiver and shuts them down. Sherman led the NFL this season with 8 interceptions. He is a student of the game, but most importantly Sherman plays with passion--and this is where the critics are divided. He's called out Tom Brady in the past and most recently called out Michael Crabtree. While he could have gone about this better in hindsight, this motivation, energy and attitude is what helps set him apart and helps make him elite. Do Gary Payton, Deion Sanders, Shaquille O'Neal, Terrell Owens, Charles Barkley, Floyd Mayweather, Reggie Miller, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan ring any bells? These guys talked mad trash and I believe it probably helped elevate their game against their toughest rivals. It made them push themselves to elevate their game and Sherman does this as well. 

HB: There have been plenty of trash talkers, but relatively few of them then try to totally deny that image and act like this victim when some people react negatively to it. Just the opposite for Barkley and Deion. On one side, I get the aggression, and "that's part of the game" type of motivation and intimidation…on the other side, I don't buy the "I went to Stanford, so that must mean that I'm not a total dick out there" excuse. 
 Scozz: Most definitely aggressive. But if you ever watch an interview with him, he's a very composed smart conversationalist. He definitely didn't handle the NFC Championship situation as good as he could, but what can you do, people make mistakes. Hopefully he learns and lets his play speak for itself.

HB: In the wave of opinions floating around about the guy, and definitely amplified by the NFC championship interview, I fall somewhere in the the middle. I don't think the guy is a "Thug", but it's definitely an easy label to attach to the hyper-aggressive persona that he plays up.
Scozz: As for Richard Sherman being a "Thug": total garbage. No one talks about the Straight A student from Compton who graduated from one of the best universities in America. No one talks about work he does off the field in the community or with his "Richard Sherman Family Foundation" and "Blanket Coverage Program" supplying blankets to families and children that are in need. Sherman is a very smart, educated and kind person, but it all gets bypassed for his show of passion. Given, it could've been dealt with more appropriately, but in the heat of the moment, I don't blame him. He admits and apologizes for detracting fron the team's win, but still feels the same way about Crabtree. There's a lot more to #25 than meets the eye. You can't always judge a book by it's cover. If we're just talking about football, the guy is exceptional.

HB: No debate there. He's a great player. However, he brings up this bravado and ego that is still far beyond what most athletes do (most fans hated T.O. for instance), and then tries to play the "but I made it out of the ghetto and am smart, so how could anyone dislike me" card and then generates a whole new wave of discussion and attention towards himself. If you don't want to be seen as the villain, then don't act like one.
Scozz: Agreed, you reap what you sow. Just throwing out the bigger picture. He is only one player on the #1 Defense in the league. Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and others make this defense elite as well. Let's not detract from the team.

HB: Give me a ranking of how much the city of Seattle supports/loves/identifies with/is crazy for its pro sports teams. You can include the Sonics if you wish. For example, in Boston it's all Red Sox, with Celtics in distant 2nd, followed by Bruins, then Patriots. In Detroit, it would be Lions (if they were ever even somewhat good), followed closely by Wings and Tigers, and then Pistons in distant 4th.
Scozz: 1. Seahawks 2. Sounders 3. Tie between the Mariners and Supersonics 5. Storm. Then there's the Seattle Metropolitans, the first American team to win the Stanley Cup. Look it up.

HB: Does it all just go based on wins?
Scozz: Not exactly, but having a losing team gets demoralizing.

HB: Would the Seahawks be a 10 in the early 90s?
Scozz: No, they probably wouldn't. But as a younger generation, I only have so much perspective. In those days the rankings would have been different. The Seahawks would've been down a little bit, the M's and the Sonics up. I'd say it's fluctuated a bit because we've seen success, we've had playoff fever and in the case of the Mariners it's been missing for so long. Since Paul Allen bought the Hawks in 1997, him and the organization have worked hard to make them competitive, we realize that and appreciate it. In turn, the support has skyrocketed. The 12th Man arose.

HB: The final score of the Super Bowl will be...
Scozz: 34-24 Seahawks. (Editor's Note: It's been brought to my attention that there's an ape living in Utah who has correctly predicted the winner of the past 6 Super Bowls. This ape is also picking Seattle.)

HB: The Super bowl MVP will be...
Scozz: Russell Wilson

HB: Bromo readers should be cheering for the Seahawks because...
Scozz:  because of their captain/quarterback that's "too short for the NFL", their star Beast Mode RB, cast away by his former team for late round draft picks, and a young Legion of Boom that have made it here against all odds. An exciting story for an exciting team. Go Hawks! #12thMan.

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