The Pass-Catching Jimmy Graham

by A.J. Coltrane

You may have heard that the Seahawks traded for “Pro Bowl TE Jimmy Graham”. What that means is that during a game this fall you’ll hear an announcer say something like “Last season Jimmy Graham was 2nd among Tight Ends in receiving yards.”

Categorically ignore those statements. Jimmy Graham isn’t really a Tight End. He lined up wide on 67% of snaps in 2013. He doesn’t block much. During his last salary negotiations an arbitrator ruled that he was a Tight End, but that’s really just because the NFL nomenclature for hybrid Tight End/Wide Receiver pass-catchers hasn’t caught up to reality.

Graham is 6’7″ and 265 pounds. He’s more of the class of Tight Ends that includes Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates — guys who are basically great big basketball players who don’t quite fit in the NBA and aren’t really asked to block like a traditional Tight End. Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson are reasonable comps too.

They’re all just pass-catchers who are matchup nightmares — too big to be covered by a Defensive Back and too fast for a Linebacker.

For fun:

Player Height Weight Nominal Position
Jimmy Graham 6’7” 265 TE
Rob Gronkowski 6’6” 265 TE
Greg Olson 6’5” 253 TE
Antonio Gates 6’4” 255 TE
Tony Gonzalez 6’5” 247 TE
Calvin Johnson 6’5” 236 WR
Andre Johnson 6’3” 230 WR

From there it’s a sliding scale to the big, pure wide receivers like Dez Bryant and Julio Jones at 6’2″, 220 pounds.

Given that Wide Receivers make more money than Tight Ends, the odds are high that the next “Jimmy Graham” insists he’s a Wide Receiver from the get go.


A special shout-out to Harold Carmichael, one of my favorite Wide Receivers of the 70’s and early 80’s. Carmichael played at 6’8″ and 225 pounds. He was a four time Pro Bowler, was named to the NFL’s “70’s All-Decade Team”, and is in the Eagles Hall of Fame. Excellent, fun, and unique player.

NFL Historical Imagery


How do I Hate Thee, Let Me Count the Ways

By Blaidd Drwg


Super Bowl 49 is a worst case scenario for me – the two teams I despise the most are playing each other in a game that I couldn’t give a crap about. I figured that I should pick a team to cheer for, but every fiber of my being is telling me I should be rooting for a giant space rock to destroy the stadium with both teams in it.

So, absent the space rock, who do I choose. Let’s figure out which team I hate the least.

Coaches – I cannot stand either Bill Belichick or Pete Carroll. Both will do anything they can do to gain a competitive advantage (i.e. cheat). Belichick has gotten caught taping the opposing team’s play, is suspected in deflate gate, will find some obscure formation that is technically legal to confuse the other team (well, I have to give him credit for that one) and that is just what he has been caught doing. Carroll broke just about every rule at USC and then bailed just as the NCAA was going to come down on him and his entire defensive game plan is to commit offsides, holding and/or pass interference on every play knowing full well that the refs are not going to throw the flag on every play. Think I am just making that one up? Well check out this article. I have the feeling that this is the game that the lets commit a foul is going to come back and bite the Seahawks. Belichick has a tendency to get inside the refs heads so I expect to see one of 2 things – either the Hawks get flagged on 3 consecutive plays and then back off their “style” of play or they keep getting flagged on critical plays. Either way, Belichick is smarter than Carroll, even though I can’t stand either of them, so that gets the Pats a rouge. The score: Pats 1, Hawks 0.

Players – The Seahawks players are a bunch of whiny douces who are basically hated outside of Seattle. Sherman does not know how to stop talking, Lynch acts like a freaking 5 year old with his antics around the media (although he seems to have no problem speaking when he is getting paid for it), the comments about the random drug testing (which I am shocked that none of the players who were tested got nailed for anything, although it was probably their first offenses which don’t get reported), and just the general idiocy of what comes out of their mouths. Quick – name another player on the Patriots besides Brady and Gronkowski. I bet you can’t without looking it up. The Pats get a field goal for just keeping their mouths shut. The score: Pats 4, Hawks 0

Cities – Boston is an historic town that is famous for things like Paul Revere, clam chowder, baked beans and the Standell’s “Dirty Water”. Seattle is famous for Bill Gates, smoked salmon and Nirvana. Boston educates the smartest people in the country and then they all come out here and work for Microsoft. Seattle has the reputation for being rainy and Boston is snows, sometimes a lot. Both cities have a major inferiority complex to a neighbor to the south of them. Having lived in both places for roughly the same amount of time, weather trumps history and gets the Seahawks a quick strike touchdown and the PAT is good. The score: Hawks 7, Pats 4.

Nicknames – the team nicknames are both appropriate for their regions the Pats harkening back to the American revolution and the Hawks representing the plethora of raptors in Washington. The Seahawks get the edge on the better current logo (although the Pats would win for the old Pat the Patriot logo), but I do love that the Pats are referred to as the Flying Elvii on ESPN (with that in mind, tell me the face on the Pats logo does not look like Elvis). The Pats are going to win this one for on simple reason – the Seahawks fly a raptor before every game. That bird is an Augur Hawk. Why does that matter. It is a bird that is found in Africa and is a plains hunter. I find it horrible that a team that is named the Seahawks has a mascot that is a bird from another continent and lives nowhere near water. The Pats score a safety for just sticking with a mascot with a giant, oversized head. The score: Hawks 7, Pats 6

The Bet – every year the governors of the state the teams are from make a bet. This year the Massachusetts governor is betting baked beans against the Washington governor betting…wait for it…calm chowder? See my previous point about the cities. You are going to give a city that is known for clam chowder, clam chowder if they win? Washington is known for a lot of things culinarily – salmon, cherries, apples, hot dogs with cream cheese, but really, chowder? Not that it matters, but the food is going to be donated regardless of the outcome of the game. And what is up with the New Hampshire governor getting involved in the bet? That mess is going to penalize both teams minus 10 points with the Seahawks losing another 5 for the stupidity of sending clam chowder to Boston. The score: Pats -4, Hawks -8.

Fans – the fans are obnoxious, whiny, boorish, and a bunch of band-wagoners. Which team am I referring to? Both of them. Boston sports fans are among the most obnoxious in the world and I am embarrassed most of the time to be around Red Sox fans in other cities. Patriot fans are actually more obnoxious, if that is all possible. Seahawks fans claim the unoriginal 12th man, which they actually stole and currently license from Texas A&M, and are mostly a bunch of band wagoners. How band wagon? They were one of the last NFL teams to not sell out a game (which is really hard to do), the almost failed to sell out a playoff game when they went to the Super Bowl in 2006, there was no season ticket waiting list until 3 years ago and they were actually leaving the game 2 weeks ago when they were down 17-0 to the Packers. Most Seahawks fans couldn’t tell you who the QB was before Russell Wilson let alone who their QB was in 1992. The best thing about Boston fans is that they don’t live in Seattle. The problem is they just never go away since they do travel well. At least Seattle will go back to not giving a crap about the Seahawks once this stretch of them being good is over. I hate sore winners, and that describes both groups of fans. Both sets of fans are annoying to the point of me not being able to stand either of them, so no one gets any points for this. They are both lucky that I didn’t dock them both about 1 million points, so lets say negative 6 TD’s for the Pats and negative 8 for the Hawks. The score, Pats -40, Hawks -56

Intangibles – Usually my playoff cheering hierarchy is determined by A)the steelers are in the playoffs, B)The team with the most Boston College alumni on their roster C) which team I dislike the least. This year, the Steelers got eliminated, neither NE or  SEA have any BC Alums on their roster (although Seattle does have Kevin Pierre-Louis on their IR) and I hate both teams equally. I guess I can award a safety for having a BC Alum on IR, but he is not active, so there is no automatic rooting for the Hawks.

As the horn sounds, the final score is the Pats -40, the Hawks -54.

The conclusion is that I am rooting for the giant space rock first and then, very reluctantly, the Pats. At least with the Pats, I can just ignore all the Pats fans I know Facebook posts. I don’t want to go through another 2 weeks of Seahawks obnoxiousness if they win. My guess, the Pats win this bad boy 23-20. Go Flying Elvii, I think.

NFL Playoff Odds

by A.J. Coltrane

From Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight site. NFL playoff odds based on current record:

resized chart

The most interesting thing to me is the huge swings in probability that can take place early in the season — a season can functionally be over after the first three games.

3-0 — 75% playoff odds.

2-1  — 53% playoff odds.

1-2  — 25% playoff odds.

0-3  — 2% playoff odds.

If at any point a team is .500 or below then they’re worse than a coin flip to make the playoffs. Really, a team needs to have at least two more wins than losses to feel reasonably comfortable about their postseason hopes.

I’m guessing there’s going to be a fair amount of freaking out around Seattle if Sunday doesn’t go well for the Seahawks. After seeing this chart I might be a little less inclined to ignore the freakout.

Still, the 1-1 Seahawks are making the playoffs regardless of what happens against the Broncos.


I Saw It In The Window And I Couldn’t Resist It

by A.J. Coltrane

From ESPN:

Seattle Seahawks jerseys with “FAN” on the name plate and the No. 12 are now the 10th best-selling jersey this season, according to sales on from April 1, 2013, through Feb. 28, 2014.

Thanks in part to a Super Bowl victory, only two jerseys sold better in February on the league’s official online store than the 12th Fan jerseys — those of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The strong month of sales brought the No. 12 jersey into the No. 10 spot…

(The 3:32 mark for those in a hurry.)

Will … What?

by A.J. Coltrane

As I was driving home from work tonight I saw a couple in their 20’s holding up a sign. The font was very loopy and hard to read. It said:


Like I said, it was hard to read. My first thought was that it said something else.

I think they’ll be waiting a while for tickets considering what they’re really offering…

Happy Playoffs everyone!


The NFL Fan Base

By Blaidd Drwg

A few weeks ago, Annie S. nephew tried to convince me that Seahawks fans are as loyal and supportive of their team as anyone else. He is young (under 25), so his memory doesn’t go too far back into history.  I didn’t buy his argument.

I moved to Seattle in 2003 and got the opportunity to see my beloved Steelers in Seattle in November. I bought a ticket through the Seahawks website about 2 weeks before the game and there were a good number of seats available, so I had my pick. I took a bus down to Pioneer Square and walked to the stadium and virtually everyone I saw was clad in black and gold – not a single Seahawks jersey in sight. At the game, I would say there were probably 15-20 thousand Steelers fans, removing most of the home field advantage.

You may want to argue that this was an isolated incident, but it wasn’t.  I did a bit of digging and found some interesting tidbits:

From the 2/14/2002 Seattle-PI:

State House members sent Seattle football fans a sweet Valentine: they passed a bill yesterday to end NFL blackouts of Seahawks games.

None of the Seahawks’ 2001-02 home games, played in Husky Stadium, sold out. Only one of those games was televised, Sept. 23 vs. the Eagles, because the NFL waived the blackout rule for the week following the disruption of the schedule due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Hawks received so little fan support in the early 2000’s that the state legislature tried to actually do something about it.

I thought this one was more interesting

From the 1/5/2005 Seattle-PI:


KIRKLAND — The Seahawks were granted a 24-hour extension today on the NFL’s blackout deadline because 5,000 tickets remain for Saturday’s playoff game against the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field.

The league specifies that games must be sold out 72 hours in advance to avoid being blacked out on local television. The Seahawks were granted the extension because of the short turnaround from Sunday’s game, when the Seahawks beat the Atlanta Falcons to clinch the NFC West championship and home game in the first round of the playoffs — the first in Seattle since 1999.

The team has sold 61,000 tickets since Sunday, but must either sell the remaining tickets or have a sellout guaranteed by a sponsor by 1:30 p.m. Thursday for the game to be televised in the greater Seattle area.

Yep – the Seahawks almost failed to sell out a playoff game. They managed to avert the blackout, but just barely:

The playoff game was in danger of being blacked out in the Seattle area because about 6,000 tickets remained yesterday, but the NFL extended its deadline 24 hours. By Thursday afternoon, less than 1,000 tickets remained a sellout by NFL standards.

About 66,000 tickets were purchased over a 72-hour span, giving the Seahawks 16 consecutive home sellouts. Seattle’s record over that span, the team’s longest string of sellouts since 1992, is 12-3.

That doesn’t seem like great fan support and I am sure it will swing that way again once the team is no longer good in a couple of years. History doesn’t suggest that fans will support the Seahawks during a prolonged lousy streak.

Oh and about the “12th Man” being the supposed best in the NFL. Go to a Steelers or Packers or Bears game and see how rabid their fans are. They make the Seahawks fans look like amateurs. Besides, the Seahawks were so unoriginal with coming up with the 12th man thing that they stole it from the Texas A&M, who coined the term back in… wait for it… 1922.

The Book On The Seahawks

by A.J. Coltrane

Until the Seahawks prove otherwise they’re going to get a steady diet of what they got last night. The Rams defense packed eight players “into the box”, rushed the lanes on either side of the Center, and dared the Seahawks to throw. Teams have been doing that off and on the this year and last year, but I think the rest of the league will watch that game and say “Oh, ok…”

Marshawn Lynch wound up with 8 carries for 23 yards, and a big case of the grumpies.

Wilson was 10 of 18 for 139 yards — 80 of which was on one long touchdown pass. He was also sacked seven times;  he’s currently 2nd (worst in the NFL) in sacks as a percentage of pass attempts. Seattle has allowed the 7th most sacks overall, mainly because they rarely throw the ball. They’re on pace to allow 54 sacks. Wilson won’t survive the season if it continues.

It’s a simple, obvious formula for the defense, and it’s something that’s been coming for a while. Wilson is too short to see over the line when pressure comes up the middle. Now we get to see how the Seahawks adjust.

What’s the adjustment?

“Get healthier at wide receiver and offensive line.”



They *are* 7-1, however. So there’s that. Just don’t count me among the believers.

What are the Seahawks?

by A.J. Coltrane

Expectations for the Seahawks have been sky-high this year, but are they a great team or just a good team? Popular opinion says “Great defense, great running game, great quarterback, they added a stud wide receiver in Percy Harvin, the young guys are maturing and improving …  Super Bowl here we come!” 

As the season has rolled on, the team health has been less than ideal. Most people I’ve talked to feel like the offense and defense will get a *lot* better when the starters return from injury. That remains to be seen, and it assumes that the collective team health actually improves and that nobody else gets newly hurt.

Bill Barnwell at Grantland offers this opinion:

Are the Seahawks a good team or are they the caliber of the best team in football? So far, it seems like the former. In the best-team pocket, they have that blowout win over the 49ers at home. In the other, they have narrow victories over the Panthers, Texans, and Titans, and a close loss to the Colts. I think they have the talent level to be the best team in football, and they’re only going to get better as their injured/suspended players (Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, and soon Percy Harvin) come back and get back in the swing of things. But the results haven’t been there yet. 

Concerns:  (As a refresher, there are now 32 NFL teams)

1.  The Seahawks are 24th in passing yards per game.

2.  They’re 5th worst in offensive sack percentage (Sacks divided by attempts.)

3.  They’re 28th in offensive 3rd down conversion percentage. (link)  (Or 5th worst again.)

4.  They have the 5th most penalties on the year, and they’re 3rd in penalty yards. (same link as #3.)

5.  Last year the Seahawks had the 4th healthiest team in the league. They’re not nearly that healthy this year.

The Good Stuff:

1.  They’re 2nd in rushing yards/ game.

2.  They’re 8th in rushing yards/ attempt.

3.  The defense is 2nd in yards allowed per game.  It breaks out to 2nd in passing yards allowed, 11th in rushing yards allowed.

4.  They’re 3rd in points allowed per game.


I’m of the opinion that the Seahawks have a great defense, a good running game, and a fringy passing game. Overall I’d go with “good” or “very good”. We’ll see if that’s enough.

Round Two

by A.J. Coltrane

Atlanta represents a very different opponent. They’re going to throw the ball. A lot.

  Run Pass Overall
Seahawks Offense 3rd 27th 17th
Falcons Defense 21st 23rd 24th
Falcons Offense 29th 6th 8th
Seahawks Defense 6th 10th 4th
The line is Atlanta by 2.5. The Over/Under is 46.
According to Scouts, Inc., DE Chris Clemons is Seattle’s best player, and he’s out with an ACL injury.
I don’t see either team really stopping the other. The Seattle defensive backs and linebackers are going to have a rough time covering Jones, White, and Gonzalez. Atlanta probably won’t really be able to shut down the Seattle running game.
The Washington and over didn’t work out last week, but this week the Seahawks won’t be facing a crippled quarterback. If this week’s game comes down to a shootout I’d put my fictional money on the more proven quarterback with the vastly superior receiving corps. For silly prediction purposes I’ll take Atlanta and the Over.

Round One

by A.J. Coltrane

The line is Seahawks by 3, even though they’re the lower seed and they’re playing on the road. The Over/Under is 46. This is exactly the kind of game that I don’t like to gamble on — see the chart below.
  Run Pass Overall
Seahawks Offense 3rd 27th 17th
Redskins Defense 5th 30th 28th
Redskins Offense 1st 20th 5th
Seahawks Defense 6th 10th 4th

Both teams prefer to run and have strong run games. Both teams are good at stopping the run. Either one or both teams may be forced to throw more than they’d like, and the game may come down to which quarterback has the better day.

…and to make it more interesting…

Both quarterbacks are rookies, and each has had an efficient season to this point — they’re 3rd and 4th in Quarterback Rating, behind only Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. Maybe they’re both capable of a big day. At the very least each will provide a direct-comparison yardstick to use in evaluating the other. To me that’s going to be the most interesting part of watching the game.

This is likely one of those games that the team giving up the fewest turnovers wins.

Which is why I don’t like to gamble on this kind of game. I visualize a lot of cringing happening on Sunday, no matter what outcome you’re rooting for.


For the purposes of silly predictions: I’ll take the Redskins and the 3 points and the Over.