So, you say you had a terrible day Monday. The boss yelled at you, the bank called to say the mortgage was three months overdue and the kids used your new white shirt for second base in the little league game.
Well, take heart. It could have been worse. You could have been a Seattle Seahawk.
For the uninformed or disinterested, a Seattle Seahawk is a professional football player. Or, better said, usually is a professional football player. Monday night, a Seattle Seahawk was mostly a fumble-fingered, hard-luck stumblebum. Remember those old Jerry Lewis movies where Jerry walks into a room, his pants fall off and everything drops off the shelves? Well, that was a Seattle Seahawk Monday night.
It wouldn’t have been so bad had there not been 32 zillion people watching on national TV and Frank and Joe and O.J. trying to do the game while covering their eyes at the same time. Indeed, what happened to this team, unbeaten going into the game and fast becoming one of the true prides and joys of the National Football League, should happen to a person in the privacy of his own backyard.
Some samples of Seahawk Monday Night fever in Seattle (Hope you don’t catch it!):
--Your kickoff return man, Randall Morris, fields one off his chest and tries to pick up the ball rather than curl safely around it, protecting it from the Rams who are charging down the field in hot pursuit, not to mention bad humor. Morris’ running mate on the return team, Eric Lane, takes a shot at falling on the ball, but forgets that he has a hard cast on an injured left hand, so the ball hits that and squirts away.
Adding insult to injury, the ball is finally recovered by a hometown kid, Mark Jerue, former Washington Huskie, which gives his Rams the ball at the two yard-line so they can score an easy touchdown and take a 21-7 lead.
--You enter the game with no turnovers this season. No fumbles, no interceptions. Your coach, Chuck Knox, is being called a genius for being able to foster that sort of poise and self control and efficiency upon a football team. Then, against the Rams, you make five turnovers, just a few less than they’ll be selling down at the pastry shop around the corner this morning.
--Your defense, proud and efficient going into the game, is shredded by a guy who didn’t even start practicing until last week. You probably ask yourself, what if Eric Dickerson had been in shape? How many more than his 150 yards rushing and three touchdowns would he have gotten had he had his timing?
--Your only exciting moment, the only time you really think you might have a shot at turning this game around, is a playground play. The ball comes loose from your quarterback’s hand at the snap, it rolls backward as he chases it, slips through a Ram player’s hands and bounces back to your quarterback, Dave Krieg, who throws it into the end zone to a rookie named Danny Greene for a touchdown. You can almost hear Bill Cosby lapsing into one of his old playground football routines: “Tommy, you go down to the fire hydrant and cut left at the 52nd street bus . . . “
--Your star receiver, Steve Largent, is knocked from the game with a knee injury just when you start to feel like you might get back into this thing. He sits for a long time on the turf, blood from a bad cut on his left hand oozing out, his knee swollen and sprained. Afterward, when asked what exactly his injuries are, he replies, “Basic body. The whole thing.”
--And, to rub salt in the wounds, you look up with six minutes left and the Kingdome, your palace, the place where your fans have been loyal to the end for years, is 80% empty. Most of the 63,292 who showed up to watch are gone, perhaps fleeing in embarrassment.
They even missed your last touchdown, where another of your star receivers, Daryl Turner, made a catch off the hands of the Rams’ Gary Green. It kind of looked like volleyball. Actually, that was fitting. Real football was a bit much to expect at that late date.
At least, if you were a Seattle Seahawk, you kept your head held high in the aftermath. In the locker room, you said things such as: “The Rams just had a great game"--offensive tackle Ron Essink. “We’re still a good team. We’ve got all year left"--fullback Dan Doornink.
Or, you might have gone beyond rationalizing and finding silver lining in harsh reality, such as your quarterback, Krieg, did.
“Much of the time, we just self destructed out there,” he said.
The final score was Rams 35, Seahawks 24.