One of my New Year’s resolutions (to myself) for 2013 was to devote more time to the blog…in fact, I’ve got a whole strategy I’ve been working out in my head to enable regular posting. Of course, I haven’t yet implemented any of it, as things are still unsettled on the homefront due to child care woes, business travel, holiday “extravaganzas,” and all the usual headaches (taxes, clogged gutters, beagle ear infections, etc.). And, of course, football.
That’s of course football.
I have a much harder time concentrating/focusing on ANYthing during the football season, but especially if my team is doing well just because, well, ‘cause I’m a homer and a super-fan and have been since my parents got me a little Zorn #10 jersey many, many years ago (he was a QB for the Seahawks back in the 1970s). I never played football myself (that’s its own long, not-so-interesting story), and during the drought of the 1990s I did find myself rooting for the Cowboys on occasion (I shared the same height as Emmitt Smith), but I did continue to go to (at least a couple) Seahawks games every year, even through the bad years. That’s MY team, and the NFL is MY spectator sport…much more so than the NBA or the MLS or baseball.
[the World Cup, by the way, is an awesome show as well…my wife has made me as a big a fan of THAT tournament as I have made her of the Seahawks…however, I only get to watch it every four years and it’s a lot shorter than the 21 week NFL season]
So the Seahawks are doing pretty good this year, and I haven’t felt this good about the team since 2006 (when we discovered the loss of Hutch had rendered our running game garbage and the chance of a repeat Super Bowl appearance nigh impossible). And the way we’re playing defense, even on the road…I mean, we haven’t seen this kind of football since the 1980s in this town. We’ve almost always played good at home, of course (which is why the #12 jersey was the first one retired by the Seahawks, decades ago), but the feeling that we can play with ANY team, that we had a chance in ANY game, even away from Sea-Town…well, that’s something I haven’t felt since Dave Krieg was our QB. And while I still can’t quite bring myself to believe whole-heartedly (I’m not the kid I once was, but an old, jaded fan approaching middle age), I’m getting close to it. I can tell you this: I want to play Green Bay again. I like the play-off road ahead of us. For me, this is the perfect road to the championship, even though we have to play away from our home field advantage. Washington and Atlanta were the only NFC play-off teams we hadn’t had the chance to play (and beat) during the regular season…and Green Bay and Seattle deserve a rematch with regular referees. And it’s fine by me to have it on their turf...if the Pack can beat the Niners they’ll go back to the same seeding position (and homefield advantage) they would have had if they hadn’t lost in Seattle. That’s fitting. And personally, I’m not afraid to take ‘em on: the Seahawks are a better team now than they were when we faced Green Bay earlier.
But that’s putting the cart before the horse: we’ve got Atlanta to face.
In Blood Bowl terms, I’ve always seen the Falcons as a SKAVEN team. Partly it’s because they play in a domed stadium (generally signifying a nocturnal-type team); partly it’s because of monikers like “the Dirty Birds” or the stories of Jerry Glanville and his coaching style; partly it’s due to they’re explosive, fast-style of play on that fast-style turf of theirs. Julio Jones and Roddy White are speedy gutter runners (just as Neon Deion was when he played defense for them), and the ageless Tony Gonzalez is a storm vermin with the skills Pro, Catch, and Nerves of Steel…possibly with a +1 to AG (agility) and Leadership. “Matty Ice” is a thrower with both Strong Arm and Accurate…but does he have the Nerves of Steel? Has he acquired the Leadership skill? The lack of success in the play-offs would seem to indicate something is lacking…though in Blood Bowl terms, that could just be a lack of team re-rolls.
[on the other hand, perhaps his nickname just comes from the type of beer he enjoys]
The Seahawks will be bringing an ork team (sans wa-agh) to the Georgia Dome. Last Sunday’s match-up with the (pig-faced!) ork Redskins team settled the issue of which greenskin team is the best this year (no other ork teams remain in play-offs for either conference…at least by my reckoning). This week’s match-up will be a VERY different challenge from the last one. When orks scrum with skaven the match is generally decided by how many points the rats can put up before the trogs but ‘em in the dirt. We’ll see how that goes.
I admit, I’m not incredibly knowledgeable on the Falcons, but they’re team seems a little depleted this year from how “stocked” they were in previous seasons. They’ve lost pro-bowlers Mughelli and Weems, Brent Grimes is on injured reserve, and Michael Turner (another storm vermin) seems a bit diminished from his former stout self. Tyson Clabo is still playing on the O-line, but John Abraham hurt his ankle in the last game of the season (though with two weeks to heal, he should be ready to go). And the Falcons still have their real weapons: Jones, White, and Gonzalez. Will that be enough? They dropped their last game of the season (at home!) to division rival Bucs, even though they were playing their starters (?!). The Bucs are a Chaos Dwarf team, similar to an orkish one (though not as versatile), so perhaps that’s a good sign for the Seahawks. They ARE beatable at home...but then nearly all NFL teams this year (the sole exception being that little team up in the Pacific Northwest).
But it’s the play-offs: I’m sure Atlanta will be bringing their “A-Game.” They ARE favored to win the game…though not by much.
Personally, I have a feeling the Atlanta-Seattle game will be a blow-out…though I’m not sure which team will be blowing out the other. But that’s how a real Blood Bowl game between an ork-skaven match usually goes…either the skaven put up 5 or 6 touchdowns, or there’s a big pile of dead rats in the casualty box and the orks are walking it in for easy scores. Last week’s game looked like a typical ork match-up (close, tight, and scrappy) for most of the game…we’ll see if the trend holds.
Just for fun, here’s the way I’d write up this year’s Seahawks as a (3rd edition) Blood Bowl team. It’s tough because BB teams are only allowed 16 players on their roster (and those players go both ways) and the positions are more limited. For some roster spots, this means “doubling-up” players, but not all (for example, Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant have fairly interchangeable skill sets, while Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson are unique characters). Still, I’ve given it my best (and a fairly modest) shot:
#3 Russell Wilson (goblin*): add Block, Pass, Leader, Strong Arm
#15 Matt Flynn (thrower)
#18 Sidney Rice (goblin): add MA +1, AG +1, Catch, Sprint
#24 Marshawn Lynch (blitzer): add ST +1, Break Tackle, Dauntless, Sure Hands
#25 Richard Sherman (blitzer): add MA +1, Catch, Dauntless, Pass Block
#29 Earl Thomas (goblin): add MA +1, ST +1, Block, Catch, Pass Block
#51 Bruce Irvin (blitzer): add MA +1, Mighty Blow
#60 Max Unger (black ork blocker): add Block, Pro, Stand Firm
#76 Russell Okung (black ork blocker): add ST +1, Block, Stand Firm
#39/31 Browner/Chancellor (blitzer): add Mighty Blow, Pass Block
#50/54 Wright/Wagner (line ork): add Block, Pro, Tackle
#86/26 Miller/Robinson (line ork): add Block, Catch
#89/81 Baldwin/Tate (goblin): add Catch, Diving Catch, Nerves of Steel
#91/68 Clemmons/Giacomini (black ork blocker): add Block, Dirty Player**, Tackle
#99/79 Branch/Bryant (black ork blocker): add Block, Tackle
#4/9 Ryan/Hauschka (line ork): add Kick
*I understand it may seem unkind to label Wilson a goblin instead of a thrower; clearly he is a tough individual despite his diminutive height. However, his speed and elusiveness goes more with the goblin skill set (including Dodge and Stunty, i.e. the “Fran Tarkenton skill set”). Give him Sure Hands if you like (the only Thrower skill he’s lacking).
**I don’t mean to imply Clemmons or Giacomini are DIRTY players, but they are big strong guys who have (during the season) drawn more than their fair share of penalties: Clemmons for roughing passers (ouch!) and Breno because…well, ‘cause he’s kind of a dirtbag o-lineman with a mean streak. But, hey, sometimes you want a dirt bag or two on your team.
All right, that’s enough for now…fun little waste o time that it was. I’d encourage other Blood Bowl/NFL enthusiasts to stat up their own favorite teams and play a few games. Don’t get cute: yes, Rogers, Manning, and Brady probably have six or seven skills, but even multiple pro-bowlers probably don’t have more than 4 or 5 skills, unless they’re destined for Hall of Fame greatness.
[mmm…one more thing: I really do hope RG3 recovers okay from his injury. I know it doesn’t look too good, but he IS young and those young bodies heal a lot better than the old ones. Certainly, no one wants to see the man’s career end before it’s really begun…even his competition. The good news, I suppose, is the bionic rebuilds possible with 21st century medicine (see Adrian Peterson). My stats for those two rebuilt stars:
#10 Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins; team type: ORK)
Thrower: Add MA +2, AG +1, Side-Step
#28 Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings; team type: GOBLIN)
Goblin: Add MA +2, ST +1, AG +1, Side-Step, Sprint, Sure Hands
Note: serious injuries (which in Blood Bowl can sometimes lead to a reduction in stat lines) are only taken into account with noticeable reduction in player effectiveness. The fact that A.P. (excuse me, "A.D.") can run for 2000+ yards in a season indicates NO noticeable drop-off in effectiveness). We’ll have to wait and see how RG3 recovers.]