BY Art Thiel 06:30AM 07/31/2015

Thiel: Seahawks, world’s most interesting team

With epic failure following epic success, plus all the edgy characters, led by a coach Michael Bennett called Willy Wonka, the Seahawks are The World’s Most Interesting Team.

Pete Carroll: “I was built for this.” / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

It might have been when the Seahawks:

  • Let Pete Carroll’s opening remark at his first press conference as Seahawks coach go on for 11½ minutes. As far as any witness will testify, he never paused for a period, a comma or evenspacesbetweenwords
  • Became only the second team in NFL history to enter the playoffs with a losing record (7-9), then beat the defending champion New Orleans Saints

  • Blushed but did not stop Marshawn Lynch from grabbing his junk as he flopped backward into the end zone
  • Churned through 284 player transactions in their first season in Seattle for Carroll and GM John Schneider
  • Went for it late in the NFC Championship on fourth-and-seven at the 49ers 35-yard line and passed for the game-winning touchdown
  • Barked “Hut!” at the Broncos center to send a snap out of the end zone for the first two points in Super Bowl XLVIII
  • Smiled when DE Michael Bennett said at Super Bowl media day that his wife had the best butt in the world
  • Giggled as Lynch bought everyone on the team Gucci ski goggles, even though none of them are allowed to ski
  • Watched agape as their field leader, QB Russell Wilson, told a preacher in front of a congregation and a video camera that he and girlfriend Ciara weren’t having sex yet, but asked everyone to “pray for them”
  • Listened worriedly as Richard Sherman told an audience in Victoria, B.C., that “half the NFL is on Adderall”
  • Yelped in glee as punter Jon Ryan threw a pass for a much-needed first down against Green Bay in the NFC Championship, then criticized himself on Twitter for a photo showing a dorky expression upon releasing the ball: “Dear Self: Next time you do something awesome, make a less terrible face. Thank you.”
  • Dumbfounded the NFL by having Kam Chancellor jump over the offensive line in an attempt to block a field goal
  • Pulled a head fake on the world when Sherman’s post-NFC Championship hyperventilating, intimidating rant on national TV about 49ers WR Michael Crabtree included zero profanities
  • Threw away their most heavily invested player, WR Percy Harvin, in the middle of the season and still made the Super Bowl. And managed to keep Harvin’s fights with teammates Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin out of media sight until it was time to leak the news to justify his firing
  • Played their crappiest first 55 minutes in any game of the 2014 season, then beat Green Bay in the NFC Championship
  • Howled as they listened to Earl Thomas, the man of a thousand simultaneous thoughts but only a single mouth, explain why he was late to the press conference at the team’s Renton facility announcing his huge contract extension: “I don’t like distractions. Like today, being late to this meeting. I was like, ‘Come on, family, let’s go!’ I got pulled over by the police. I didn’t try to bulldog him and say, ‘My name is Earl Thomas.’ Because he’d be like, ‘Man, this guy is cocky,’ and give me a ticket. He let me off. That’s the moral of the story.”
  • Infuriated the NFL when an impudent Lynch drew a crowd of literally hundreds of reporters at Super Bowl media day in Phoenix to his podium to hear him say, over and over again, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” then at the same time had a pop-up store open in a Scottsdale mall to introduce his anti-hero line of “Beast Mode” clothing, which reportedly sold out its inventory within two hours
  • Said they did “tons of research” into draft pick Frank Clark’s episode in an Ohio hotel room that earned him an arrest for domestic violence, but didn’t bother to check with the hotel night manager or the people in the next room.

But finally, while the oddball stories are legion, what sealed the designation for me was the most significant single play in the history of the Super Bowl, and maybe in all of sports.

At the apex moment, the best team in the NFL the past three seasons, blew it.

That is why the Seattle Seahawks are the World’s Most Interesting Team.

Epic success. Epic failure. Potentially epic redemption.

Sure, they can slam a revolving door and parallel-park a train, like the Dos Equis guy. But can they slash through four fake games, 16 real hard ones, plus playoffs and get back to the Super Bowl to find The Lost Yard?

Who knows?

But anyone who cares about sports, and the psychology of redemption, will not take their eyes off this team.

Bright. Reckless. Contrarian. Funny. Puzzling. Edgy. O-damn-riginal.

The 12s may not be over the agony yet, but fans of good literature know a compelling protagonist when they see one.

I get why Carroll told Sports Illustrated this week, “I’m thrilled for this.”

Hey, he said much the same thing three days after the Super Bowl when Matt Lauer launched himself out of “The Today Show” studio in New York to Seattle in order to get the exclusive national TV interview. Carroll, who said, “I’m built for this,” then grudgingly admitted to the pesky Lauer that in that agonizing night . . . he cried.

Did I mention cornball, too?

For Team Forehead Slap, training camp begins Friday.


  • RunningRoy

    Art, you present a great case, Counselor.

    How about that rather interesting squad on the other corner of the land: the

    o Led by Tom “But I didn’t inhale any of that deflated air” Brady

    o Masterminded by Bill “I was only DVR’ing Downton Abbey on those videotapes when we’re on to Cincinnati” Belichick

    o Entertained by Rob “I like practicing my catch and spin move at the disco when I’m on IR” Gronkowski

    o And all bankrolled by owner Bob “even one-percentiles can get a buy-one, get-one free deal at Marshall’s for white collar shirts” Kraft.

    Don’t sell Roger Goodell short on his Brady suspension bombshell. He’s just building up the rematch of what will be the most brilliantly marketed Super Bowl of all time.

    • Effzee

      Don’t forget about the murdering murderer at tight end. Oh and also that whole Spygate thing. In fact, their whole “redemption” story (winning the SB for the first time since being outed as sneaky cheating bastards) spawned our possible redemption story. Interesting theory on the coming rematch. I can think of a few other conspiratorial reasons for it if we want to go that route…

      • art thiel

        One word for a rematch. Outstanding.

    • art thiel

      The Pats are definitely a close second, but Willy Wonka at the helm breaks any tie for Seattle. Unless of course, you give bonus points for a convicted murderer. THAT was interesting.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    Dos Equis “The most interesting man in the world” doesn’t have a thing on Pete Carroll.

    • art thiel

      Ah, but the DS guy never fails. That’s why he is fiction.

  • StephenBody

    All this reminds me of the old Chinese curse: “may you live in interesting times”. Okay, I’m just going to say it: I think the solution is to get rid of Michael Bennett. I know, I know, I love the guy, too. But he constantly says all this half-joking stuff about the $$$ being Job One and “get that check!” and “John Schneider doesn’t respect me!” because he won’t burp up money like Bennet’s own personal ATM and, even if he’s chuckling when he says it, his pals hear it and start…thinking. Ergo, Kam Chancellor not at start of training camp. Everybody doesn’t have to be so squeaky clean that only dogs can hear him fart, like Russell Wilson, but ya don’t have to look like a money-grubbin’ ass-hat, either. This team has, arguably, been built on everyone buying in and putting each other first. Bennett is whackin’ that envelope completely out of shape. He’d better hope his ass can cash that check his big pie-hole is writing now.

    • art thiel

      A bit harsh. Bennett and most guys won’t admit it, but they are running scared over concussions. They feel the need to max their few years in the game and get out before they are too abused. I have a hard time arguing the point.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        There was a game in 2013 (against the Texans I believe )where Bennett got his bell rung good and was carted off the field and to a local hospital.The players were noticably emotionally disturbed and a group fell to their knees praying for Bennetts recovery. It felt like we just lost Mike to a bad bad concussion~perhaps for the season perhaps career ending. The Next morning he was miraculously well and made it through the rest of the season without incident. MB was indeed a fortunate man to avoid missing additional playing time that sunday..
        Point is at ANY Time Mike knows he could be faced with the same situation and maybe next time lady luck fails him and he stays down for the count.
        You can see Mike enjoys the spotlight. He knows he has only so long to be on this stage pulling this kind of wage.
        Bennett could have played for more money in Chicago.The market on that day had two suitors trying to out duel for Bennetts services and Mike lamented in the end he just couldnt walk away from the best fan base in North America in playing in the spotlight for the 12s.He took a little less to stay in Seattle and was heaped with great pariase for this from People like me. I too Agree with you Art. Its hard to argue (not trying to get top dollar at your position because you are one of the best) from a sport that could end your career on the next play.
        Mike showed up for training camp. I for one am glad he is ours.

        • whoKarez

          Let’s not forget that the Houston game went into overtime and news from the hospital of Bennett’s condition is what jumpstarted the team’s come from behind victory. He actually came back to the stadium in the closing moments if I’m not mistaken. (But I could be)

          • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

            If what you surmise is true(he was an inspiration) and Bennett had a hand in Sherman losing his shoe enroute to the tying score and sending that baby into overtime then he is valuable in more ways than sacks.
            Its a violent sport and these guys all seem to treat each other as family on this Seahawk squad so I’m sure it was very uplifting to know Bennett wouldn’t spend the rest of his days paralyzed or something. Good point.

          • art thiel

            Dunno about the inspiration part. What I do know is that on NE’s first four plays of the SB, he played four different positions. Drove Brady/Belichick nuts. If Seahawks had won, Bennett should have been MVP.

        • art thiel

          Good point about the Houston episode. Guarantee neither he nor anyone in his family have forgotten.

      • StephenBody

        Getting rid of him is probably harsh. Laying the blame for this rash of “Show Me Da Money” is not. There’s gotta be a better, less divisive way for Bennett to address his limited time in the league than prattling on and on about “that check!” If he’s really that severely underpaid, he should work something quietly, WITH John Schneider instead of versus him, and try it that way. I don’t begrudge Bennett wanting more money, except in the same sense that we all do, as a guy who signed a contract with both eyes open and is now whining, when he’s making 1000 FREAKIN’ TIMES WHAT EVEN WELL-PAID AMERICAN WORKERS DO. If you made $7 million in one year, how long do you think you could make that last? I can tell you that $7M would fund my lifestyle for about 30 years. I’d have to dream up stuff to spend it on. I don’t want any football player to starve but they’re not likely to, as long as they’re not boneheads about managing their money. And boneheads don’t deserve even my miser’s store of empathy.

        • art thiel

          Michael’s not among the boneheads, and he’s trying to avoid being so by getting what he can and getting out.

          Going public has been a standard players tactic for decades, especially when they know they have little or no other leverage. No fan likes to read about it, for reasons you stated.

          But if you knew that the only big money you’ll ever make will end at age 30, wouldn’t you do everything possible to max your opportunity?

          • StephenBody

            Art, I don’t expect you or anybody else to believe this but no, I would not do anything even remotely like what Bennett is doing. If it’s naive of me to think that signing a contract and then having to honor it is not passe, then I accept the characterization. If I believe more strongly about preserving the relationships in a work situation than in strangling every nickle out of it, and that makes me ingenuous, I’ll live with that, too. I don’t think Bennett is a knucklehead; far from it. I think he’s one of those unfortunate individuals, like me, who is too smart and too analytical for his own good. I think he sees his production improve and starts thinking about how the contract that HE signed doesn’t measure up to his performance. And I even agree with him. Why should contracts he presumed to allow the team the option of releasing and not paying a guy if his production suffers but not allow for extra cash if he outplays the terms? I think, in the future, maybe the NFLPA should work on rebuilding players contracts to address that, so that this situation never has to happen. But for now, for this moment, I think Bennett is doing no one any good, least of all himself, because the Seahawks are not going to just tear up his contract and give him more money. That opens a door that NO team wants to walk through. So his gestures are purely symbolic, brand him as a d-bag to a LOT of us, and raise just another distraction, now that the Wilson extension elephants have left piles all over the circus floor. It’s time for the team to get to the business of football and if Bennett doesn’t want to be here, he should retire; something so that everyone’s minds can be on the field and not in the boardroom.

          • Ketch

            Art, I’m with StephenBody here. “It’s all about the money”, “Money is how you show respect”, “I have to take care of my family” (where $21,900,000 a year isn’t enough to do that, and gratefully). I respect like crazy the work our football heroes do to get here, and how much they risk. There are millions more of us who risk greatly for $50,000 a year, and raise our families on that. And EVERYBODY with a job KNOWS that salary is an important but just-one-of-many component of Quality of Life. Work environment, colleagues, family, town, neighbors, bosses, friends. Each is as, or almost as, important. Seahawks players have it GOOD. They play with great colleagues. They have great bosses. They live in and raise their families in one of the true gems of the country. They get paid great money–every single one of them. They are ADORED by Legions of 12’s: Grandmothers, kids, troubled teens, business executives, the rich and the poor alike, of all colors, arch conservatives and confirmed tree-huggers. Is there a single one of us 12’s who has such a supportive life around us? So, might we perhaps add to the monotone of “We’d all do the same” to say, No, we wouldn’t, and we don’t. Life is multi-colored and nuanced. I’d like us to note that when we go through the looking glass…

          • StephenBody

            I hate to think that we’ve actually gotten to the point, in this society, when a contract is not something we need to honor, that ANYTHING that ANYONE does should be held above reproach because they’re “just trying to max out your opportunity” In my own writing, I frequently whip on Anheuser Busch because they have a well-documented history of marketplace thuggery, amoral and unethical business practices, bribery, and tossing THOUSANDS of Americans out of work when they bought out some brewery, just to eliminate competition. Even today, while claiming to love “all brewers”, they sic gangs of feral lawyers on craft breweries in every region of this country. And I STILL get people who watch them buy up Elysian and say, “Oh, if they offered YOU that money, you’d sell in a hot minute!” NO, I would NOT. Because I am just old-fashioned enough to think that HOW you achieve your goals MATTERS. If Bennett and all the other pro athletes who sign ‘n’ whine would just say, “Y’know, screw the fans and the team. I’m out for me and anybody who doesn’t like it can pound sand”, I’d have more respect for that than trying to abandon ethics and expect to suffer no blow-back. Ketch is dead right: “We’d all do the same”? Maybe people who believe that should put it to a vote before making an all-inclusive declarations. I strongly suspect that it’s more than just me and Ketch who think otherwise.

  • juliusvrooder

    but fans of good literature know a compelling protagonist when they see one
    Art, THIS is why I have read damn near every word you have written since the early 80’s. The Old Man used to rage about you, but he read every word too. You ROCK

    • art thiel

      Julius, you made my day. Thanks.