Thursday, September 24, 2009

Live Football

Random thoughts from watching the 49ers and Seahawks live in San Francisco last weekend:

  • Football is best watched on television. The high definition telecasts, commentating, and ability to turn your attention to other games in between the long gaps in between plays and drives is simply better than the traffic, heat, jammed cell phone reception, and annoying fans that you must deal with when at the actual game.
  • That being said, the live experience is still something that I still would love go for once a year. You simply cannot replace the feel of the game that you get from actually being there in person. The intensity of third downs, the crowd noise, the difficulty of an offense operating deep inside their own territory, and so much more can only be properly comprehended live.
  • Watching what is happening on the sidelines is fascinating. For example, T.J. Houshmandzadeh came off the field after a series screaming at his position coach demanding the ball. He had to be restrained from shouting back at a 49ers fan in the stands. He later walked up to head coach Jim Mora presumably to express his frustration, but Mora either did not notice or pretending to be too busy to wisely avoid the confrontation. Seneca Wallace later came up to him, tapped him on the helmet in encouragement. Of course, the next two drives saw Housh get a couple catches, including one endzone target. It will be interesting to see how the Seahawks' most prominent offseason acquisition fits in, as Seattle has never really had such an alpha, perhaps diva, wide receiver.
  • I was also fascinated by the many substitutions in between every single play. On defense, Seattle will rotate most of its defensive line in and out of the game, presumably in an effort to keep them fresh. On offense, Seattle changed their running backs nearly every play. While I understand the strategy involved, how certain players are better suited in certain roles and situations, playing towards the matchups, and am sure the coaches have even more reasons that I can come up with, I also think that this all makes it difficult for some players to get into a rhythm and flow in the game.
  • Next year the Seattle Seahawks visit the San Diego Chargers, an occurrence that only takes place every eight years. After that, I think it will finally be time for me to look to find my way up to Quest Field and experience a home Seahawk game...with 67,000 of my peers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

San Francisco

The past two years I have made a long weekend out of a couple road trips up to Berkeley. Each culminated on a Sunday in which the Seattle Seahawks were in San Francisco to take on the 49ers. Last year I had the thrill of seeing Seneca Wallace and Leonard Weaver combine for 338 yards of total offense as the Seahawks trounced the 49ers, 34-13. Recall it was Mike Singletary's first game as the head coach of the 49ers, when he pulled down his pants in the locker room at halftime in an effort to show his team what body part was getting kicked out on the field. As fun and fascinating as it was to witness such a game, it was of course a meaningless one.

One year later, we perhaps had an even more enjoyable weekend up in the Bay. This season though, the Seahawks and 49ers each entered this Week 2 matchup 1-0, with realistic hopes of the game being a meaningful one this time around. Of course, Matt Hasselbeck gets nailed by Patrick Willis trying to run for the endzone. He gets up, waves for Seneca Wallace to replace him, and slowly collapses onto the field in pain. Although Seneca scored on the very next play, the game was a disaster for the Seahawks.

I know injuries are a part of football, every team has them, deep rosters are built to survive them with players who step up, the good teams power through, and all that good stuff. But I hope I do not have to remind anyone of the unprecedented disaster that was the Seattle Seahawks health situation last season. I do not mean to begin whining or making excuses, but here is a quick summary of injuries to Seahawks starters just two weeks into this young season:

Seattle Seahawks starters injured before Week 2:

Walter Jones (LT)
Mike Wahle (LG) retired
Chris Spencer (C)
Leroy Hill (OLB)
Deion Branch (WR)
Marcus Trufant (CB)
Brandon Mebane (DT)
Josh Wilson (CB)

Seattle Seahawks starters injured during the game at San Francisco, none of whom returned:
Matt Hasselbeck (QB)
Lofa Tatupu (MLB)
Sean Locklear (T)
Josh Wilson (CB)
Justin Griffith (FB)

Count ‘em. That is THIRTEEN STARTERS, including the four best players on the team.

As for those 79 and 80 yard touchdown runs by Frank Gore, note that the Seahawks were missing their starting DT as well as two of the NFL's top linebackers. When you have such a defense, there is simply an enormous drop off when the top guys are out with injuries. You can take it to the bank that those 79 and 80 yard touchdown runs by Frank Gore would never happen with Lofa Tatupu on the field. I know this is unreasonable, but take those two runs away and Seahawks win 10-9.

That being said, this season is not the same as last as most of these players are said to be returning soon. However, if they do not return to form, then we are heading for a similar fate.

Full Month

While the blog has been inactive for a full month, it seems I have inadvertently made the switch to Twitter to pass along links and tidbits of information. This blog traditionally has seen some downtime during the fall, as most of my recreational writing is spent on those infamous power rankings in our fantasy football leagues, which many of you are part of and get to enjoy.

As much as I would like to say what is going to happen with this blog and make a concrete declaration, the fact of the matter is I simply do not. It is quite possible the blog could be in its twilight, as I could remain preoccupied at work, revert to spending time on the rankings, and continue tweeting away. But I when I do occassionally find something to write long rants about, this will remain the outlet as always. How often and to what quality each will have remains to be seen. Stay tuned.