It's an annual ritual, and a semi-depressing one at that. Sometimes it happens in December, last year in February. This time right smack in between the two. Yes, I'm referring to the taking down of the Seahawks flag that hangs from my front porch.
Rolling the flag up this year is not quite as bitterful as last year -- after all this year we weren't robbed, but simply defeated -- but it still is a sad bit of fate. The Seahawks were finally just getting into their groove. They endured a season that saw only one offensive starter play in every game and a defense that relied on a loan officer in the Divisional Playoffs. They lost last year's league MVP for well over a month and their starting quarterback for almost as long. Their top receiver missed 9 games and they headed into the playoffs missing their top two corner backs and starting safety.
Yet, despite it all, they played a great game on Sunday against the top-seeded Chicago Bears. They could have won the game. The Bears played well, but ultimately it was a couple of bad decisions by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck at the end of the game that cost the Seahawks a chance to play for a trip to the Super Bowl. A bobbled snap here, an unnecessary sack there, and an ill-conceived pass attempt there all brought the season to a screaching halt. Not to mention a horrible punt at the one time in the season when a sure-footed boot was essential.
But congrats to the Bears, they played well all season and deserve to be in the NFC Championship. I've said it all along and I'll probably say it forever, but being at the NFC Championship game last year and watching the team win their first NFC Conference title was worth all of the sadness and exasperation that is sure to follow in coming years. For the Bears fans who waited for 20 years to get back to the Super Bowl, all of that waiting and season-ending depression and heartache could be washed away in a moment's notice next weekend.
But I hope it isn't.
The other thing I've maintained all season is that once our team is knocked out, I like so many other Americans, would become Saints fans. Well, the Seahawks are done and there are only four teams left. And the New Orleans Saints are one of them. So, for the next 3 weeks I too will bleed gold and black and cheer for a team that had to endure like no other. Not only with last year's hurricane, but throughout their entire existence. The Saints not only have never won the Super Bowl, but they have never before played for a chance to even go to the Super Bowl.
That changes next Sunday and I, devoted Seahawks fan, will be chearing for them.