Yes, I watched the Super Bowl. I could claim it was for the ads, but that would be stretching the truth. As I’ve said elsewhere, as a Seattleite-in-exile, I was contractually obligated to watch.
Living hundreds of miles away from one’s home city can increase your attachment to things that remind you of home, sometimes to irrational levels. All part of the mind’s way of maintaining a connection to the people and places you love.
So, yeah. I watched. And I was disappointed, although not as much as my nephew, who declared that Sunday was “the worst day of my life.” (Keep in mind that he’s five years old. When your baseline is that short, any day can easily be your worst day ever.)
Simon is the victim of his expectations, which were warped by last year’s Seahawks triumph. Those of us who have more experience with Seattle’s sports tradition weren’t surprised. To some extent, we expected something to go seriously awry. The closer the clock got to zero, the closer our anticipation of disaster approached infinity.
Don’t believe me? Consider Seattle’s record when it comes to championships in the four major sports.
- The Seahawks, as we were reminded many times in the past couple of weeks, have one NFL championship–and two Super Bowl losses–to show for their fourteen playoff appearances.
- The Seattle SuperSonics had a good run in the late ’70s and ’80s. Their clashes with the Washington Bullets produced the enduring piece of Americana, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings,” but only one championship. Another run in the ’90s resulted in multiple playoff appearances, but no championships. In 2008, the Sonics moved to Oklahoma, leaving behind a pile of lawsuits.
- The Metropolitans lasted nine seasons, from 1915 to 1924. In that short span, they won their league title five times, and made the playoffs seven times. They reached the the Stanley Cup final (hockey’s equivalent of the World Series or Super Bowl) three times, racking up what has to be the oddest championship record in all of professional sports: one win, one loss, and one “no decision”–the 1919 Stanley Cup was cut short by a flu epidemic with the series tied at 2-2-1. In 1924, the team drew an average of 1000 spectators per game, lost in the first round of the playoffs, failed to renew their lease, and folded, taking the league down with them.
- The Pilots. How many non-Seattleites even remember that the Mariners are Seattle’s second major league team? They lasted one season, producing a 64-98 record, before leaving town under a cloud of lawsuits and bankruptcy filings. Their primary legacy is a civic grudge against MLB Commissioner-Emeritus, Bud Selig that makes Oakland’s vanish into triviality.
- The Mariners. Ah, the Mariners. Their thirty-seven seasons so far have produced four trips to the playoffs, a MLB record for most wins in a season–and no World Series appearances, let alone a championship.
With a history like that, is it any wonder that Seattleites don’t expect to win championships? History suggests that Simon will have no shortage of “worst days ever” in his future–and that if the Seahawks ever put together another Super Bowl winning season, the Cosmic Balance will be upset, causing Mount Rainier to erupt. An intrepid band of offensive linemen will have to fight an epic battle against lava, ash, and melted glaciers so that Russell Wilson can make his way to the crater, throw his Super Bowl ring in, and save the Pacific Northwest from total destruction.