I’m a huge NFL fan. I root for the Seattle Seahawks because I live in the greater Seattle area, so it’s the law. The Seahawks have been one of the best football teams in the NFL recently, going to the Super Bowl twice in the past four years.
After every win, the Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll steps up to the microphone and gives credit to his offense, his defense, and his assistant coaches for executing a great game plan. But not once does he ever mention the team’s primary reason for their victory: ME! That’s right, I don’t like to brag about this fact – because I am one of the most modest, humble people you’ll ever meet – but I am the secret weapon in their success.
In full disclosure, the players and coaches did play a part in last week’s victory by doing things like scoring points and keeping the other team from scoring. But week after week, season after season, Coach Carroll ignores what I believe is the single biggest factor whenever they pull out a win: I WASN’T WATCHING!
Oh, I know what you’re thinking. I’m just another freakishly superstitious football fanatic who thinks their quirky rituals influence the outcome of the game. Like the Carolina Panthers fan Nate Bosworth, who must always sit in the exact same spot on the couch and consume exactly 8 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (two per quarter) to ensure his team’s win. Or like Bert Flanderson, who cheers on his Cleveland Browns by wearing his lucky shoulder pads and 42-year old Browns helmet for every game. (Bert, I hate to break it to you, buddy. It’s not working.) Or even Ethel Lembke, a rabid New Orleans Saints fan, who belts out Gloria Gaynor’s feminist anthem ‘I Will Survive’ in full Saints regalia before every game, to nudge her team to victory.
These people, of course, are seriously delusional. Trust me, their peculiar rituals have about as much chance of affecting the game’s outcome as I have of convincing my wife to buy that Lamborghini I’ve been eyeing. But it’s a proven fact that MY viewership behavior directly influences, no, make that DICTATES the results. I became aware of my powers a few years ago, when I noticed a pattern. Whenever I’d watch my beloved Seahawks play, they’d lose – about 70% of the time. But when I didn’t watch, for any reason, they’d win in equal proportion.
You want proof? I’ll give you proof. It came in the form of the January 2015 NFC Championship game between my Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. The Seahawks fell behind 16 to 0, committing five turnovers – the most they’d done in five seasons. They were completely dominated in every phase of the game and even set a team record for penalties committed. Watching the game was excruciating. I was having a nervous breakdown. With 3 minutes and 37 seconds remaining, I could take no more. I turned off the TV.
Imagine my shock when I learned that immediately after I had turned off the TV, my Seahawks stormed back with several miracle plays, including a fluke, improbable onside kick, scoring 21 points to beat the Packers in overtime and advance to the Super Bowl – which they subsequently lost because, you guessed it, I decided to tune in that game. To this day, I continue to apologize to the players and Hawks fans everywhere for my rash decision to watch the Super Bowl. Terribly selfish of me.
Every week, I’m torn about what to do. I really love my Hawks and I want to root them on. But at what price to the team? I know that one day, I’ll catch the game, Seattle will lose in the final seconds, and Coach Carroll will grab the microphone and on national TV and point the finger of blame squarely at me.
I’ve tried altering my viewing options. For example, one game this season, the Seahawks were losing in the first half, their offense totally sputtering. I noticed I was wearing my quarterback Russell Wilson # 3 jersey, but it wasn’t working. So, I took off my shirt for the second half.
That seemed to help. But with time waning, they were still down by 9. Finally, I changed the channel and watched Antiques Road Show on PBS. I was desperate to change the karma. Indeed, to my shock and delight, my team came back from certain defeat to eke out a narrow victory – and Mrs. Thelma McNeely’s dusty, old painting of a Holstein cow, found in a trunk in her attic, was appraised at $50,000.
I am currently negotiating with Paul Allen, the owner of the Seahawks, to help the team make the playoffs. My offer is, I think, extremely reasonable: Pay me $25,000, and I won’t watch any more regular season games this year. If they make the playoffs (which would be a no brainer if I’m out of the picture), I’ll offer not to watch any of the post-season matches for an additional $50,000. If you ask me, $75,000 to guarantee a Super Bowl championship is chump change to any NFL owner. Strangely, I’ve not heard back from Paul. I suspect he’s deliberating over his counter offer.
I plan to play hardball. If they don’t meet my demands, I’m threatening to watch every game for the next five years, including the commercials. I won’t accept anything less than $20,000 – either that or a football signed by Russell Wilson himself. See, I’m a reasonable fan.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
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©Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2017