Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bill T's Christmas Eve Wrap up!

by: William Tomisser

Hey Guys and Gals,

I had an interesting week end in the hospital and wanted to thank all the well wishers who gave me words of encouragement. It’s always appreciated at times like that and it really helped me weather the storm, so to speak. For those who may not have heard, I was hospitalized with pancreatitis last Thursday night and spent until Sunday night in the hospital. I missed the TV broadcast of the game against the Jets, only getting to listen to it on the radio.

I’m back now and ready to try one last time to get the team into a very high draft position. I think that the 3rd or 4th pick is still within our grasp if fate gives us the nod and we don’t manage to beat the Cards. It’s looking like that might be harder and harder to see happening, though.

Of course, as usual, if me or any part of my “lose for a high draft pick” team of fans are caught, the Seahawks will disavow any knowledge that we tried to get them a better draft choice and we’ll be labeled as traitors and forced to burn our Seahawks jerseys and hats. This column will self destruct in 5 seconds. This could truly be a mission impossible with the Cards having nothing to play for but pride, and I’m not sure they have any. If they put in the same effort as the Rams did, we’re going to light them up unless fate takes pity on us.

I had a couple of requests from readers last week and the one that made the most sense to me was to make shorter paragraphs so readers don’t lose their place. I consider that to be a valid criticism and will endeavor to do that starting with this column. That’s why you’re going to see a lot of paragraph breaks. I’m fairly new to doing a column every week and your comments will always be considered and appreciated.

Chris already did the good, the bad, and the ugly concerning the game against the Jets so I’m going to be more general in my approach this week and, with Christmas coming on, quite a bit shorter. I have to admit that the hospital stay put me way behind on getting ready for the holidays so my time is a bit constrained this week.

Well, everyone came out of the woodworks on the issue of wanting the team to lose to get a high draft choice or to win for the prestige of winning. Without actually counting, to me it seemed to run about 50/50 before the Jets game. After the game, it ran mostly in favor of the win, but what can you say after that one? It helped that some of our competition for those high picks also won so we’re still in contention for a top 5 pick even with the win.

Some of you thought the ones wanting the team to lose were showing themselves to be shallow and not true die hard fans. The other side thought that the ones who wanted the team to win last Sunday and not worry about tomorrow were just living for the day and not concerning themselves with what the cost of that win would be in the future.

I thought that most who voiced their opinions showed themselves to have great passion for the team no matter which side of the debate they were on. It’s great to see that Seahawks fans can disagree on some things but still be totally devoted to the good of the team as they see it.

There were a couple of posters who seemed to be in the discussion purely for a chance for some more Ruskell and/or Mora bashing. They will remain nameless in this column, but you know who you are and so does everyone else.

One suggestion would be that when you spew so much venom against Ruskell or Mora you become obnoxious and most people tune you out, so even if there was a message in there somewhere worth reading it's most likely no one will take the time to try and understand it.

It’s a free country though, so feel free to waste your time if you like. A more thoughtful approach with less venom and more valid examples to support your argument would help get people to take you seriously, but it’s your ink.

You all know where I stand on the issue of late season meaningless wins versus high draft choices in April and I didn’t waver a bit. After it was all over Sunday, I hated thinking about what could have been with us almost in the running for the number 2 pick. Sunday morning I was giddy with the possibilities. The Rams, the Bengals, and the Chiefs were all winning and I could see it all happening as the morning games wound down. I felt that fate was going to give us the nod for the number 2 pick, but then the Rams pulled a dirty for the second week in a row and the Chiefs crapped out too.

What irritates me more than anything is the way the Rams have taken a good lead deep into the 4th quarter the last two weeks and then relinquished that lead both against us and then again last Sunday against the 49ers. St. Louis is a team who is pretty obviously tanking it to get to the top of the draft and it looks as if they’ll win the number 2 spot because of it. I can’t believe they can play well for 3 ½ quarters and then let their defense like a sieve, letting everyone through for the score that beats them.

Now, that’s not the way I would ever like to see the Seahawks get a high draft pick. I don’t subscribe to the team tanking it to get there. If fate steps in and grants us the legitimate losses and therefore the earned high draft choice then I’ll be all for it and embrace it, but the team has to be above reproach. The Rams are not an honorable team in my book and are playing dirty ball to try to get ahead next April. I think that karma will take care of them. Cheaters never win and winners never cheat. If he hasn’t already, Brown will rue the day he evaded being a slave to the businessman.

It was so hard being so close to sliding into the 2nd pick and then to watch ourselves possibly ending up on the fringes of the elite talent again come April. It made me think about what I’ve called the “Seahawks draft pick curse” which started with their very first draft back in 1976 when we lost the coin toss to Tampa Bay--they got Leroy Selmon, a perennial All-Pro, and we got Steve Niehaus, who was supposed to be the anchor we built our defensive line around but only played 36 games for the Seahawks.

From then on, we’ve been a snake-bit team with respect to draft choices. That coin toss sealed our fate for the last 33 years with respect to the draft, and I suspect the curse is still lurking around ready to pounce again.

It has continued down through the years with players getting drafted who never had a chance to play for the team, or whose careers were cut short by injury, or us just missing on a chance to draft an elite player. Even when we traded a draft choice with upside and expected to get someone back with the same potential, the curse reared its ugly head. Somehow, we never seemed to have much luck with the draft as a team except for just a handful of players.

The curse continued the very next year with a RB maned David Sims, whom we drafted in 1977 and in the process hit paydirt with a sleeper drafted in the 7th round who showed great promise of becoming an all-pro running back. David Sims was looking like the steal of the '77 draft, but with all that promise and possibly a great career ahead of him he injured his neck and was forced to discontinue his career or face paralysis.

We’ve had our share of those promising players who never got to make an impact too, with Chris Mackintosh drafted by Holmgren in the first round who never played a down for us and the famous Ahmad Green trade when our side of the trade (Fred Vinson) got hurt in a pickup basketball game and never donned a Seahawks uniform, while Ahmad went on to become a four time all-pro for Green Bay.

Kenny Easley’s spectacular career was cut short in its absolute prime by kidney disease after only 6 years, and of course Mack Strong was forced to call it quits before he really wanted to although he did have a pretty full career first.

The Bledsloe/Mirer thing of course was another example of us getting the short end of a draft choice stick by beating New England earlier in the season and giving them the first pick in the draft, while we got the second and one of the greatest QB busts of all time. In the '94 draft, we were all set to take DT Bryant Young with the 8th pick when San Francisco traded into the 7th spot and snagged him just ahead of us, and we were left taking Sam Adams.

Sam Adams had a pretty good career with the Seahawks, but he was a player known for taking plays off and not giving a full effort. He never made the pro bowl until he was traded to the Ravens and was shamed into playing harder by the other Raven linemen. It was frustrating to watch Sam play for us and then watch Bryant Young lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl as well as make four pro bowls, earn rookie of the year honors in '94, and comeback player of the year in '99. Selected as part of the all decade team for the '90s, I’ve always wondered how it might have gone had we got Bryant instead of Adams, as was our intention.

Of course, more recently there was Koren Robinson. We spent a high draft pick on a receiver for one of the very few times in Seahawks history, and we got a guy with loads of potential who pissed it all away off the field on a weekly basis. Add Jeremy Stevens to that list, too. Both of those players could have been all-pros if they had kept their noses clean and concentrated on football. The Robinson case is one where we might yet see redemption next season, but for the first go around the Seahawks curse was in full bloom.

There have been more draft busts for Seattle, but I’ve tried to list the situations where it just seemed to be bad luck and not someone simply missing on a talent evaluation. I’m really hoping the Seattle draft pick curse doesn’t rear it’s ugly head again this year and manage to put us right up against a stud player whom we really covet and then cause us lose out by just one pick. However it turns out, this April will be mighty interesting.

This will be the last column I write until after the season is over. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do for the time I was in the hospital, so look for my column to return next year on Saturday, January 3rd. It will probably continue in a shorter version until the season heats up again for 2009, what with the drastic drop in Seahawks news at season’s end. I’ll be scouring the internet and everywhere else where Seahawk talk might spring up to help Chris, Mike, Strategerie, and Matthew keep the Seahawks alive and in the news during the offseason here at Seahawk Addicts.

Since I’ve been a season ticket holder for 33 years now from the day the Seahawks came into the league, I thought I might do some reminiscing about some of the early years and how the team has changed over its lifespan during the offseason. I saw a couple of requests for that sort of material over the last few weeks in your comments and thought maybe I could help bring some of those stories to life since I lived through them as a fan and as a season ticket holder. Any other suggestions that I might be able to accommodate would be thoroughly appreciated and encouraged.

For next Sunday, I want the Seahawks to leave it all out on the field and hold their heads up high and be proud that they fought 'til the bitter end and never gave up even though fighting through the most difficult year any of them has probably ever had. I also wish that fate would step in and grant us the 3rd pick in the draft with whatever events need to happen to make that so.

Here’s wishing all of you out there in Seahawk Addicts Land a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May your fondest wish come true, your health be excellent, and your travels be enlightening. I want to once again thank all of you who sent me kind words and helped me make it through my stay in the hospital.

I love all of you here at Seahawk Addicts and leave you with this little tidbit for the end of the year.:

“Keep the faith.”


Bill Tomisser
Anchorage, Alaska