The Seahawks have a chance in this lost season to revolutionize the NFL. The Seahawks can’t convert on 3rd down.
They are dead last in the league. So they should just start going for it on 4th down.
All the time.
Some elite High school programs have done this to a degree. The implication there has always been that these are elite teams anyway and they are just pressing their superior advantage against inferior competition.
Statistically there are a lot of scenarios where the past precedent math says going for it has been the more successful option. There is of course inherent bias in that because teams are only choosing to go for it on 4th down when they feel they do have an advantage that puts the odds in their favor to begin with.
So the Hawks absolutely implode on 3rd and long. All Pro, super bowl winning Franchise Icon, Russell Wilson has been stupefyingly inaccurate on 3rd down this season, and no one can seem to pin point exactly why. But most of the best educated guesses have to do with him being indecisive, and then pressing, trying to do too much, forcing plays instead of reading and taking what is there. But all that can be alleviated somewhat if he knows they will go for it on 4th down anyway. Then that frees him up to take the play that is there and not force things which seems to be why they are sucking at 3rd down anyway. This also allows the Seahawks to be more true to themselves. If Pete Carrol wants to run the football more, well going for it on 4th down allows them to do that without having to change any of Shane Waldron’s philosophy on 1st and 2nd down. If you are going for it on 4th down you can run the ball on 3rd and 7, pick up 5 or 6 yards but we’ll short of a first down, and then run again on 4th and short. Just taking an extra offensive play is probably beneficial as the hawks suck at time of possession and even if a punt has technically been counted in their play numbers, it hasn’t been an offensive play. They just need more attempts at making forward progress, period. And right now the whole NFL has to be thinking “if we can just hold them on first and 2nd down they will fold in 3rd down.” Now you flip the script and make those defenses sweat knowing they will have to prepare to defend on 4th down every series. Also the defense has actually been decent keeping teams out of the end zone. They play better with a short field anyway. It’s the 12 play 80 yard 10 minute long drives that are killing the Seahawks defense. If those drives are only 30 yard 5 play drives taking 3 minutes, that saves the defense. Just having less field to cover is a boon to this defense. And if they lose spectacularly as a result, then at least we are blaming the “4th down experiment” and not lamenting the same old excruciating deficiencies week after week.
The only down side might be depriving all world punter Michael Dickerson from being Team MVP this year. As if he or anyone else wants to immortalize this season thus far. But all that could change despite the fact the Hawks are outside the playoff hunt with 6 games to play.
Intentionally Challenging the conventional conservative 4th down philosophy of 75 years of Pro Football could turn this team, the worst Seahawks team in a decade, into one of the most important and influential teams of all time. If the Seahawks have any degree of success with going for it on 4th down it could revolutionize quickly in a copy cat league. Maybe that is a long shot. But frankly the odds of them ushering in a new era of football are vastly better than their odds of competing for a championship this year. They don’t even have a 1st round pick to tank for. Testing a new 4th down philosophy over the course of the rest of their season in what will be meaningful NFL games gives the entire team, it’s fan base, all the other NFL teams, and even the casual football fan across the nation a reason to care down the stretch of what is otherwise a lost season. Imagine the excitement and intrigue if the 4th down experiment pays off and suddenly the Seahawks find themselves leading 21-20 with under 2 minutes left in a game against the Rams or Cardinals and suddenly it is 4th and 5 from their own 30. What do they do? Do they abandon the 4th down strategy that has served them so far this game for conventional wisdom? Do they double down on their 4th down conviction even though it basically means this is the final play of the game? Do they fake a punt? Do they line up and run a pitch to a running back who secretly is a pretty decent punter. That’s the kind of play that would never work in the conventional NFL, but the Seahawks would be opening up a whole new football world. Imagine what Chris Collinsworth might say in the moment about that. Imagine what Stephen A Smith will say about that the next morning. Think of the human drama of Pete Carrol in that moment. Will he be seen as an old senile coach whom the game has from ball passed by, or the cement of his football genius and another step towards Canton as a coach, all as a result of this one play. Think of Russell Wilson. Think of what the “go for it” philosophy would be paired with the “why not me” man. Wilson has made his reputation from overcoming mistakes, blown protection, spinning out of a sure sack, scrambling, crawling, clawing at any scrap of opportunity until he finally busts through with a big play. He lives for those frantic moments. And now you hand him 4th down: Roughly 10 more opportunities a game for DangeRUSS to do what he seems born to do.
From the rumblings it is possible either or both of Carrol and Wilson may be gone by the Draft.
As it stands, if the Seahawks maintain corse and play respectable football, the reality is they are an average football team. They are better than their current records but a .500 team is a .500 team. So it’s likely if they play as they are they win half of their 6 remaining games, they will finish 6 and 11. That isn’t going to save either of them if the wind really is blowing against them. Even if they some how won out and looked like a quality contender in the last 6 weeks, then the verdict would likely be “how did you 2 screw up the team so badly in the first places lol? Honestly not embracing some kind of radical change at this point is career suicide for both.
What is the down side to this?
As I have been writing all of these 40 for 40 posts I have been aware that my wife has been slightly unnerved at what I might say. The post on my grandparents, and Piotr from Poland probably perturbed her slightly.
Certainly she has known me to put my foot in my mouth more than once. Things don't often come out of my mouth as I intended them, nor are they always interpreted with the meaning I wished to convey. My ability to convery sincerity in person leave a lot ot be desired. I get a little shy and it comes across as if I am unsure and have something to hide.
I think my fascination and appreciation for the works of JRR Tolkien is a little different than the typical Tolkien fan.
Admittedly my love of Tolkien side steps his scholarship and ignores his love of languages. But I am not a scholar of medieval literature, a professor of Anglo-Saxon, nor a philologist. And at this point I am not really a Christian much less a Catholic. These are the lenses, the contexts in which Tolkien’s work is typically studied and critiqued.
Long story short is the themes of this post.
My 2 sons are all I ever talk about with my wife. All I ever talk about with family. All I ever talk about with coworkers at work, that isn’t work related. So why drone on about them now, when I can treat them like the celebrity posts in here and just post a bunch of pics and clips? So....
Some of my fondest memories from my childhood were Saturday nights when my family would order Pizza Hut Pizza, because my dad liked a pan pizza supreme (yuck!) and we would watch Star Trek the Next Generation together as a family. Geordi Laforge was always my favorite. He was the engineer who usually figured out how to use science to do everything that had to be done each episode to save the Galaxy!
I am the oldest of 4 children. I have a brother Brian and 2 sisters, Stephanie and Jaclyn.
We grew up together in 2 bedrooms. The boys room in blue, and the girls room in pink. As I said in my parents post, we had perfect balance and symmetry as a family. Well not quite symmetry. It went boy, boy, girl, girl, not girl, boy, boy, girl (like on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) but you get the idea.
I am about 3 and a half years older than my brother which I think is just about the worst gap you can have. We were never really in the same phase of life growing up, but we were close enough that we always were expected to play together. And then Brian and Stephanie were about 2 and a half years apart, which is closer to what psychology says is ideal for development between too stage-separate and too competitively close. Then my baby sister Jaly was again about 4 years younger that Stephanie which was just bad because there is clearly an age and maturity difference great enough to cause major problems but it is not significant enough of a gap that the older sibling can be viewed as a parentified authority.
But we all survived and have remained on good terms. At this point in time we are all living in the same town again for the first time since I was in high school. As a guy who hasn’t made a whole lot of new friends as an adult, and has lost touch with most of my friends from childhood, I am very blessed to have had 3 siblings that have always been there for me.
So I am going to break them down briefly one by one. Starting with my sister Stephanie, because as a middle child she deserves Top billing every once in a while.
I had Will Smith in the original aborted 30 for 30. At the time I said I was referring more to the character he played in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air tv show more-so than Willard Smith the actor (yeah that's right Willard is his real name). That all holds up. Everything I said about making every personal interaction with others a free performance is a lesson I wish I paid more attention to today. It's very "carpe diem," and "you never know how much time you have with the ones you love. " Both are sentiments that absolutely saturate the lead up to a 40th Birthday.
Thus far in the countdown it has been pretty straight forward to reminisce, recall fond memories, tell some less than flattering stories about people I haven't seen in 20 years , express some regret that ultimately dissipates "in the grand scheme of things," and let my inferiority complex run rampant as I state the qualities of individuals I aspire to, but will never equal.
That formula doesn't strike the right tone for people with whom I have regular contact and share DNA. And at this point I am down to my nuclear family. Begrudging admiration for a no-nonsense teacher or a tough-as-nails coach seems appropriate. It is not the sentiment I want to engender towards my family. Gratitude is.
Aging and birthdays walk hand in hand with reflection, and reflection can spur regret. But that isn't really the sentiment I want to convey either. Also as the day approaches, I am counting the days and feeling older. That makes for a more somber attitude than the glory day reminiscing earlier in the countdown when my birthday was still months away.
When it comes to my family, I have few if any regrets. I have no complaints. I feel blessed beyond measure. But when I do sit back and look at my family, I do have this strong feeling of just "wishing things were different." I find myself raging against reality as I try to write this. The aspect of my life that I cherish most is my family, and that means it's also the place I have had the highest hopes and expectations. This birthday, as all birthdays ultimately do, forces me to accept life for what it is, not what I want it to be. And nowhere is that more apparent than with my dad.
Of course the entire premise of Dr Fraser Crane is that he is a pompous, self-important, quasi narcissist that actively wants to be highbrow, out of touch with the common man, and yet, it's the common man either in the form of his friends at Cheers, or his callers and patients and family in Seattle that are his salvation. But I tend to turn all that on it's head, and just aspire to be a loveable snob. As if such a thing exists.
Both of my parents came from families of 6 kids each. So that right there says quite a bit about my grandparents. Corralling 6 kids is a challenge in any era ever. The fact that they were able to raise such large families devoid of instances of drugs, crime, or trauma is a credit to them and a blessing for me and all of my fellow grandchildren.