This is the story of the sarcastic, enthusiastic, often exasperated online community that surrounds the Seahawks on social media, and how that fervent Twitter following came to be.
The story of Seahawks Twitter starts with an unsolved mystery.
Around the same time Russell Wilson arrived in Seattle and started slinging touchdowns in 2012, Twitter took off. The social media platform’s cosmic growth coincided with the Seahawks’ rapid rise.
As Twitter kept growing, and the Seahawks kept winning, an inferno of analytics, inside jokes, memes and Pete Carroll clichés swept onto social media. An unabashedly odd online community began to develop its collective identity.
And, along with an intimate militia of writers, fans and bloggers, an account called @BestGuyAround emerged to fan the flames.
“He definitely was a uniting factor in Seahawks Twitter during the great Super Bowl run — just a hilarious, witty, excellent arguer that everyone rallied around,” said The Ringer’s Danny Kelly, who operated SB Nation’s Seahawks blog FieldGulls.com from 2011 to 2016. “He was just hilarious and fun.”
Added ESPN The Magazine senior writer Mina Kimes: “If Seahawks Twitter is unusually quirky and funny and a little more internet-y than some of the other fan bases, he definitely was one of the accounts that set that tone.”
@BestGuyAround was quirky, funny and more than a little internet-y. He produced the definitive flow chart that attempted, once and for all, to determine who was responsible for the Seahawks’ meteoric rise.
Wilson, he claimed, was only good because of Marshawn Lynch, who in turn was only good because of Wilson. Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor were only good because of Earl Thomas, who was only good because of — you guessed it — Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. The entire Seahawks secondary was only good because of Michael Bennett, who — of course — was only good because of Cliff Avril.
The arrows pointed everywhere. Each answer was accompanied by another question. Just like in “True Detective,” time was a flat circle. It was entirely irrational, and that was the point.
And how, exactly, were the Seahawks superior to their NFC West rivals, the Arizona Cardinals? @BestGuyAround posited that “the Cardinals have tiny beaks, and the Seahawks’ beaks are at least five times larger.”
Think about it like an avalanche, which is made up of a million single snowflakes. Likewise, it took more than one creative voice to set the tone for Seahawks Twitter.
But some voices were louder than others. And in the infancy of Seahawks Twitter, @BestGuyAround was exactly that.
Until, of course, he wasn’t.
“He just flew too close to the sun and apparently decided Twitter was not the place to be and abruptly retired from Twitter altogether and disappeared off the face of the Earth,” Kelly said. “I think that only builds on his legend — the fact that he was able to go out on top, like Michael Jordan, and retire after winning a championship.”
In the summer of 2016, @BestGuyAround abruptly abandoned social media. He took his flow charts, memes and thousands of archived tweets with him. Besides a black avatar, two tweets and 35 followers, he effectively scrubbed all evidence of his presence off the web.
But who was @BestGuyAround, and where exactly did he go? Did he burn his wallet, cancel his Wi-Fi and walk barefoot into the wilderness? Did he leave the Earth entirely, boarding a rocket set for the sun?
“He burned too bright for this world,” Kelly lamented in a phone interview with The Times last week.
The answers are out there (just not on social media).
Without warning, @BestGuyAround left a bizarre and creative online community — an avalanche — behind.
• • •
The common language
How might one define the identity — the soul — of Seahawks Twitter?
“I think it is a little bit unique,” Kimes said. “Every fan base has a different social-media identity. But they all have their obsessions and quirks and tendencies.
“With the Seahawks, for whatever reason, some fans and writers have set a tone that the rest of the fan base has picked up on that is a little bit quirkier than some of the other fan bases and has certain inside jokes that are pretty unique.”
Seahawks Twitter, for example, is a community that trades Carroll GIFs like they’re currency — GIFS of the head coach laughing maniacally on the sideline or wearing a superimposed top hat and cane, a la Rich Uncle Pennybags in Monopoly. It’s a community that considers a photo of former running back Christine Michael wearing an American flag jumpsuit to be its personal Mona Lisa.
It’s a community that pokes fun at general manager John Schneider when he lounges in a player’s locker, and has no idea what to make of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
“I do think it’s a coping mechanism, I guess you can say,” said Josh Cashman, better known as Seahawks Twitter standout @CableThanos_. “I hate to admit it because I advocate for him, but no one wanted Brian Schottenheimer when he was hired. Everyone was mad. But now we lift him up into this Godlike status.
“It’s kind of like we’re making fun of ourselves constantly, and no one can make fun of us because we’re ironically positive about everything.”
That’s just it; immersed in the toxic wasteland that is the internet, Seahawks Twitter somehow swims happily in the sewage. This is a weird, creative, constantly evolving club. And all are invited …
Unless you like Andrew Luck.
“In Seahawks Twitter’s mind, Andrew Luck was sort of the golden boy,” Kelly explained. “He was at Stanford, and everyone knew he was going to be the first overall pick. He was anointed the next great quarterback before he ever became the next great quarterback, and the opposite was Russell Wilson. ‘He’s not tall enough.’ ‘He’s a third-round pick (in the same draft).’ ‘He’s propped up by his defense.’ ‘He’s propped up by his run game.’
“There’s all these excuses that people have made over his whole career that bring down the idea that Russell Wilson’s a great quarterback. In Seahawks Twitter’s mind, everybody anointed Luck before he really deserved it.”
Likewise, Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was selected 38 picks ahead of Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner in that same 2012 NFL draft.
“Luke Kuechly is amazing, but Seahawks Twitter is contractually obligated to remind you that Bobby Wagner is better than him,” Kimes confirmed.
By extension, Seahawks Twitter is contractually obligated to remind you that their team is better than yours. And what’s the most effective way to do that?
In the simplest possible terms, DVOA — Defense-adjusted Value Over Average — is an advanced statistic created by FootballOutsiders.com that attempts to gauge a team’s efficiency by breaking down every play and comparing a team’s performance to the league average.
DVOA said the Legion of Boom-era Seahawks were elite, and Seahawks Twitter has yet to let anyone forget it.
“The Super Bowl years they had a really good DVOA,” said Natalie Weiner, a sports writer for SB Nation. “And it was sort of this way to say, ‘We’re way better than you in ways you don’t even realize.’ ”
Added Kelly: “It’s the chip-on-your-shoulder statistic that the Seahawks fans really grabbed a hold of, because it paints a better picture of how good the Seahawks have been over the years.”
Sure, like its team, Seahawks Twitter has a chip on its collective shoulder the size of Lake Washington.
But a couple inches to the left, there’s also an unexpected amount of heart.
“It’s all such a goofy thing,” said Weiner, who grew up in Seattle but found Seahawks Twitter after attending Columbia University in New York. “But it was a moment for me. It was that post-college thing where I was trying to figure out, ‘What am I doing with my life?’
“So I spent probably too much time on Twitter among other Seahawks fans. That was sort of the first online community I was ever really part of.”
Kimes — who grew up attending Seahawks games with her father — has a similar story to tell.
“I like that (Seahawks Twitter) is largely pretty positive,” said Kimes, who worked at Fortune Magazine and Bloomberg before joining ESPN in 2014 and owns a custom-made DVOA jersey. “As someone who has a lot of incredibly negative things sent her way all day on the internet, it is a community that really, for the most part, keeps things pretty light, even when the team is playing badly.
“While I was a financial journalist a lot of my internet time was devoted to the Seahawks. Before I even started working as a sports writer I was reading on blogs and forums and Twitter, meeting other Seahawks fans.”
On the internet, of all places, Kimes, Weiner and so many more found a community of kindred spirits — a Seahawks-specific island of misfit toys. They found a tiny slice of Seattle in Twitter’s nooks and crannies. They found @BestGuyAround, whoever the heck that is. They found handles like @hawkblogger, @EvanonHB, @NathanE11, @DavisHsuSeattle, @30AcreFortress, @JacsonBevens, @zjwhitman, @Camorooni, @russingmatters and @hawknado, to name a few.
They found a common language developed through years of wins and losses, of Carroll GIFS and flow charts galore.
One way or another, they all found Seahawks Twitter.
About a year and a half ago, @CableThanos_ did, too.
• • •
The next wave
@CableThanos_ is a 23-year-old Everett native and full-time student at Western Washington University.
Actually, check that.
Josh Cashman is the man.
@CableThanos_ is the movement.
About a year and a half ago, Cashman — who studies user design interfaces, a cross between design and programming — stumbled upon Seahawks Twitter. He settled on the handle “@CableThanos_,” accompanying an Avengers-inspired avatar that depicted former Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable disintegrating Russell Wilson with his Infinity Stones, each of which represented a former suboptimal Seattle offensive lineman. (If you’ve never watched the movie, it’s better to move along.)
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Early this season, he produced a video tribute to the Seahawks’ new-look offensive line, directed at “maybe 15 people on Seahawks Twitter that would really get the joke.”
That’s how it started. Weekly post-win hype videos came next, with each going progressively more viral. Then Wilson chimed in, voicing his approval of @CableThanos_ and specifically requesting a video to score the team more Pro Bowl votes.
“I just want to say you’re a legend, bro,” Wilson said in a video he dedicated and tweeted to @CableThanos in December. “From all the Seahawks fans, and from me and the players, we’re grateful for you. Your videos are hilarious, man. They’re viral. Just keep making them, bro. You’re the man.”
“I haven’t fully processed it, because it didn’t seem real at the time and still doesn’t seem real now,” Cashman said of Wilson’s public endorsement.
His most popular hype video, published on Dec. 24, has 519,000 views (and counting). In the span of a couple months, more than 14,000 people have followed his Twitter page.
In sending a joke to 15 friends, Cashman accidentally acquired a kind of unintended social media celebrity. In the Seahawks Twitter world, he’s famous.
And hardly anyone knows his name.
“It is pretty weird,” said Cashman, who also creates content for HawkBlogger.com. “It just feels like Seahawks Twitter is so small. When I’m on there I recognize all the people on there, and I have specific people I always interact with.
“A friend of mine sent me a (screen shot) of a group chat where they all went to middle school with me and they posted the video in the group chat, and none of them knew that I made it.”
He chuckled and added, “My brother keeps calling me Cable Thanos. I’m like, ‘Shut up, dude.’ ”
Capturing the essence of Cashman’s videos is a special kind of challenge. It’s as if he throws every available Seahawks joke or reference in a blender, leaves the top off and lets ‘er rip. Once a week, Cashman produces his own personal Jackson Pollock painting, chaotically splashing colors — highlights, memes, songs, movie references, you name it — across a blank white canvas. It takes him three to four hours, on average, and he emerges with a Seahawks Twitter fever dream.
“My videos are thrown together and made to be as insane as possible,” Cashman said.
Added Kelly: “Seahawks Twitter is definitely one of the biggest inside joke communities I can think of. Everything is an inside joke. I think that’s why @CableThanos_ has been so successful. He somehow encapsulates all the inside jokes and understands the jokes that have been happening for the last five or six years.”
Once, it was @BestGuyAround. Now, it’s @CableThanos_.
Once, it was Marshawn Lynch. Now, it’s Chris Carson.
The names change. The jokes evolve. But, like the 10-6 team it obsesses over, Seahawks Twitter survives and thrives.
“When I was trying to picture what Seahawks Twitter was … to me, it represents this strange paradox where, if you’re a part of it, it will absolutely make you dumber, but at the same time it will 100 percent make you smarter,” Kelly said with a laugh.
Added Cashman: “They’re just weird and self-deprecating, but the people on there are the nicest people ever. It’s such a cool community. I can’t imagine a better sports community than Seahawks Twitter.”