Monday, August 31, 2015

Big Day for Babs

Happy Birthday to my man Jordan Babineaux (b. 1982). Babs played nickelback, cornerback and safety for Seattle from 2004-10. Although he rarely started, he earned his nickname "Big Play Babs" for his improbable knack of making crucial game-saving plays.

Everyone remembers Tony Romo bobbling the snap as the holder on a field goal attempt at the end of the 2006 Wild Card playoff game, but that wasn't the end of the play. Romo is a good athlete with legitimate speed for a quarterback. Realizing the kick was not in the cards, Romo scooped up the ball and ran left, where there was nothing between him and the first down marker or the goal line. Babineaux, who had rushed from the opposite end to block the kick, showed superhuman hustle, ran Romo down from behind, and made the tackle to deny both the score and the first down.

It's fun to watch Babs work as an analyst on the NFL Network. They need to bring back NFL AM!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Shaun & Manu

Happy Birthday to Shaun Alexander, the Seahawks career rushing and touchdown leader. He played for the team from 2000-2007 and won the league rushing title and MVP award in the Super Bowl season of 2005. Yes, he ran behind one of the best O-Lines in the history of organized football, but his speed and shiftiness capitalized powerfully upon the opportunities they created for him. His unheroic habit of taking an occasional dive to avoid big hits probably extended his career, but it rankles when couch potatoes question the courage of a man who exposed himself to potentially gruesome injury by carrying or catching the ball 2,581 times in nine NFL seasons.

Also celebrating a birthday today is Manu Tuiasosopo, who played defensive end from 1979-83, mostly in a reserve capacity, before finishing his career with the 49ers. While his performance was disappointing for a first-round draft pick, Tuiasosopo redeemed himself by returning to Seattle in retirement and making notable genetic contributions to Husky athletic programs in the form of his five children.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Many happy returns

Happy Birthday to my man Leon Washington, one of the greatest kick returners in NFL and Seahawks history.

Leon's tenure with the Seahawks was relatively short (2010-12). He wanted to stay longer, but despite his astonishing return skills, he proved a poor fit for Pete Carroll's run offense. Our O-Line has been a work in progress for several seasons. Our offense needs big hosses to lug the rock, beasts who can bull through defenders and make their own holes. Washington is not that guy. He's small and shifty. And fast.

Of course, Leon's true forte is returning punts and kickoffs. He is tied with Josh Cribbs for the most return touchdowns in NFL history (8), a record likely to stand for awhile, since neither Cribbs nor Washington look likely to play again.

No Diehard could ever forget the home game against San Diego in 2010, a game we surely would have lost had Washington not returned two kickoffs for touchdowns (setting a Seahawks record and tying the all-time NFL record). Check it out at

Dear Directv...

Dear Directv,

Why doesn't NFL Sunday Ticket include preseason games?

You guys have had me by the short hairs for more than a decade now. I pay through the nose for your exclusive NFL package because it's the only way to ensure that I can see every regular season Seahawks game. For what I pay, I should get the preseason games, too. And free nachos.

I don't believe in paying for TV. Programming was free when I was a kid, and I watch very little, aside from football. The Seahawks are literally the only reason I subscribe.

So I didn't see tonight's game. Presumably I can catch the rerun on the NFL Network later this week.

To add insult to injury, your college football offerings are very limited, so I rarely get to see the Huskies play.

You grasping slackers need to pick it up.

I can't wait to move back to Seattle so I can cut ties with you forever.


Your Meal Ticket

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ready for some football

I've been in the private sector for more than a year now, but the previous 18 years in education deeply implanted the rhythms of the school year upon me. It's been six years since I coached varsity football, but August still makes me feel like running morning practices in dew-drenched grass overlong from a summer of monsoon rains and groundskeeper sloth. (Less happy: the maintenance department's habit of not erecting the uprights until the night before the first home game. We always went for two because practicing fields goals without goal posts is pointless.)

The kids I coached are all grown up now. Many are already fathers. Several have been putting their lives on the line fighting wildfires around the West for the last few months. At least one--P.J.--is coaching football and teaching history like I used to do, but probably better. Two of my former players--Andrew and Michael--have already lost their lives in car wrecks.

My son just turned four. They don't have football for kids his age around here, but his full-contact interpretation of soccer bodes well for his potential on the gridiron.

It's been a great week for Seattle: DangeRuss and Wags signed extensions, Michael Bennett reported to camp instead of holding out, and Earl Thomas III came off the PUP list.

On the other hand, it is sad to lose D-line stalwart Tony McDaniel, and Kam's holdout is baffling.