Do you root for the Rams, the team that has yanked the NFC West title from Seattle’s grasp the past two seasons? Or do you root for the Patriots, who delivered the most devastating Super Bowl defeat imaginable upon the Seahawks?
For Seahawks fans, Sunday’s Super Bowl presents a rock and a hard place. It’s two evils, with a spirited debate over which is the lesser. It’s a pick of poisons – or whatever cliché you can come up with to express an unsavory choice with no correct answer.
Do you root for the Los Angeles Rams, the team that has yanked the NFC West title from Seattle’s grasp the past two seasons and stands as the greatest impediment to its return to dominance, divisional and beyond?
Or do you root for the Evil Empire, aka the New England Patriots, who not only have the annoying habit of appearing virtually every February, but in one of those eight Super Bowls delivered the most devastating defeat imaginable upon the Seahawks?
Well, when you put it that way …
Most Read Sports Stories
- What to watch for when Seahawks take on Steelers in preseason game
- Even jaded fans must admit the Mariners have a good chance to end their playoff drought
- With lineup at full strength, Mariners cruise to a drama-free win vs. the Rangers
- Las Vegas police say Marshawn Lynch was asleep in car before arrest
- Unheralded UW QB Michael Penix Jr. has plenty of experience in Kalen DeBoer's system
Obviously, there’s no satisfying conclusion. The proper response, I suppose, is to sit this one out, emotional-investment wise. Watch with the icy dispassion of someone who can at least take small solace in knowing that one fan base will wind up despondent. If it’s as frustrating as Seattle’s first Super Bowl loss, or as soul-crushing as its most recent one, so much the better.
But that means someone has to win, too. And after much thought, I’ve concluded that the loyal Seahawks fan should hope that someone is … eye roll, I mean drum roll …
I concede my reasoning may not withstand harsh scrutiny, but work with me here. Here is why the Seahawks should join virtually every fan base in America, save for those in greater Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco and New Orleans, in rooting for L.A.
One, watching their rival Rams grab the top prize might ratchet up within the Seahawks that mixture of motivation, resentment and wounded pride that teams, and individuals, thrive upon. The Seahawks always have played their best with a chip on their shoulder, and a Lombardi Trophy within the division that doesn’t have their name on it would expand theirs.
Second, titles invariably come at a cost in the NFL. It’s hard enough to sustain success under a system mandated to thwart dynasties. The Rams already are poised to feel the debilitating effect of the salary cap in the very near future.
But for the team crowned champion, there seems to be some sort of extra-toxic dark magic at work. While the champagne is still bubbling, this malevolent force – it defies easy identification, but we’ll call it a Super Bowl hangover – seeps into the victors’ consciousness and tends to bring them to their knees.
Of course, we’ll exclude New England from this conversation, because the Patriots have found the alchemy – read: Brady and Belichick – that allows them to avert this trend totally.
The Patriots’ dominance is eternal, and we’ll just have to live with it. As Ray Ratto wrote on Deadspin this week, addressing the national bloodlust aimed at New England, “What you really hate now, more than any of the creepy things the Patriots have ever done or been or represented, is the fact that you still can’t dance on their graves. They didn’t die on your timeline, the bastards.”
But everyone else in the NFL seems to pay a steep price for their success – including, as we’ve learned, the Seahawks. Oh, they defied odds by returning to the Super Bowl the year after their great triumph over Denver, but we all know how that turned out. That heart-rending defeat was followed by a slow but steady decline that they are only now pulling out of.
Look at the other Super Bowl champions of recent vintage not named Patriots: the Steelers, Saints, Packers, Giants, Ravens, Seahawks, Broncos and Eagles over the past decade. None has repeated its title, and all had a comedown of varying magnitude after grabbing the ultimate prize. (Which brings to mind the classic quote from former Cowboys running back Duane Thomas: “If it’s the ultimate game, why do they play it the next year?”)
They play it the next year because that’s the never-ending cycle of sports. And the so-called Super Bowl hangover is real (see above disclaimer regarding New England). It can be conquered, but not easily, and not regularly.
So by the power vested in me by virtue of being a self-proclaimed know-it-all, I hereby anoint the Rams as the team to be favored by Seahawks fans. The reasoning is this: The best way to send them tumbling down the mountain is to allow them to reach the peak.
As an added bonus, you get to root aggressively against the Patriots, and we all know how satisfying that can be.