A Seattle viewer's guide to the Super Bowl
Sure, it hurts being a Seahawks fan, knowing your team was close to playing in the Super Bowl. But just because the Seahawks won't be there doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the game.
Times NFL reporter
Quarterback Russell Wilson spoke for Seattle when asked for his prediction on Sunday's Super Bowl.
"All I know is I wish we were in it," he said during last Sunday's Pro Bowl.
There's a whole city that knows just how he feels. And there are plenty of folks in Seattle who'll have a hard time watching Baltimore play San Francisco in Sunday's Super Bowl without wondering what might have been.
Even the question of who to root for is complicated. Do you want the Ravens to win, denying the 49ers the Super Bowl title that would validate their turnaround under Jim Harbaugh? Or maybe a San Francisco win would reflect well on Seattle, validating both the conference in general and the NFC West specifically. Besides, if San Francisco wins the title, it would make the Seahawks' 42-13 victory in Week 16 only look better.
So how's a Seahawks fan supposed to watch this Super Bowl without kicking something in frustration? Well, let us count the ways in Seattle's viewing guide to Super Bowl 47.
I. One Harbaugh will be heartbroken
That's a guarantee. It's also a silver lining. Both brothers can't be happy, and plenty in Seattle will be hoping that it's 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh who winds up wearing the poopy face. The man is often unintentionally — maybe even insanely — comical. There's the way he cinches up his khakis as well as the goofy little reading glasses he'll wear. And then there was how he nearly collapsed to one knee after learning a replay challenge failed against Atlanta two weeks ago.
If Dos Equis has the world's most interesting man, the 49ers have the most awkward. Feel free to point and laugh.
II. Enjoy Ray Lewis' encore
The best thing about watching Ray Lewis play football is that you don't have to hear him talk about football or worse, life. He might be inspirational as a teammate and effective as a motivational speaker, but he has yet to meet a microphone he won't grandstand in front of.
He's been celebrated as a gladiator and criticized as a hypocrite and this week had his predilection for deer-antler spray become a major topic of conversation.
As this week became a referendum on Ray Lewis The Person, it got lost how much fun it is to watch Ray Lewis The Player. He's manic in his pursuit of the ball, wears a face mask inspired by Hannibal Lecter and an arm brace that makes him look part cyborg. Watching him tackle is much better than listening to him talk.
III. See Colin run
San Francisco has one the NFL's fancy new mobile quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick, whose fastball has enough velocity the Cubs were interested in him as a pitcher.
He's also a threat to run, and in San Francisco's divisional playoff win over Green Bay he threw for 263 yards and rushed for 181, accounting for 444 yards of offense.
Seattle's Wilson did him one better the next day, accounting for 445 yards of offense against Atlanta. This is a game that will only add to the discussion about the future of the position and whether Kaepernick, Wilson and Robert Griffin III embody the dawning of a new era of passers.
IV. Watch the Ravens' Paul Kruger
He's the guy who often plays opposite Terrell Suggs. He wears No. 99, a 26-year-old defensive end who had nine sacks this season, and he just so happens to be playing the last game under his current contract. He'll be a free agent unless the Ravens affix the franchise tag to him, and with linebacker Dannell Ellerbee also at the end of his deal, Kruger is a good bet to hit the open market.
Improving the pass rush is a top priority for Seattle again this offseason, a need made even more urgent by the fact Chris Clemons will be coming back from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Kruger was a second-round draft pick out of Utah in 2009, someone whose sack total has improved every year in the NFL.
V. Think about San Francisco as a prototype
The 49ers' talent is undeniable, whether it's linebacker Patrick Willis, hard-hitting safety Dashon Goldson or left tackle Joe Staley.
Now realize this: The guy responsible for 11 of the 22 players who'll start for San Francisco on Sunday were acquired under the watch of a guy who now works for the Seahawks. That's right. Scot McCloughan was the 49ers' GM from 2004 to 2010. Nine 49ers were selected for the Pro Bowl this year; McCloughan acquired five of them: Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Willis, Goldson and Staley.
VI. Appreciate Ed Reed
He has been the gold standard at free safety and the type of player that a certain Seahawk aspires to be. That would be Earl Thomas. The two spoke on the field before Seattle played Baltimore in 2011, a conversation Thomas said he'll never forget.
Reed has picked off 61 passes, most of any active player. He doesn't have a Super Bowl ring, though. At least not yet.
VII. Enjoy watching a game
It's the last NFL game we'll have for 214 days, and after a weeklong buildup that included an in-depth analysis of deer-antler spray as a player additive, the country is more than ready for the game to begin.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @dannyoneil