Admit it: If you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan, it’s fun to be hated. Being hated adds a delicious, creamy layer of pleasure to the gloat cake.
That said, knowing you’re hated isn’t quite enough to satisfy the bottomless narcissism that goes with swaggering fanhood.
To be hated is fine, but to understand why, to engage in pointless analysis that serves no useful purpose, to look in the mirror, see your excellent qualities, and ask how anyone, anyone could possibly hate your Hawk love — that’s a pub-worthy topic.
Why, nation’s football fans? Why do you hate us?
I have some guesses, and I’ve fact-checked them with an official spokesperson for the national hostiles in preparation for the upcoming NFL season.
But first, ponder these two true stories of Seahawk fanhood:
Story 1: A few weeks ago, I stopped at a local convenience store to purchase an adult beverage. I had to stand in a small line.
As I waited, another customer came in and walked toward the cooler. The clerk said something to him.
“You know I can’t serve you when you’re wearing that hoodie,” she said.
The man smiled. So did I. He was wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers hoodie — a mortal sin in the eyes of any Seahawk fan, since everyone knows the Steelers robbed us in the 2006 Super Bowl. (No, stop, don’t try to debate this; the ref admitted it.)
Story 2: A few weeks ago, on a family trip to the Oregon Coast, we stopped at a local sports bar for a bite.
Memorabilia covered the walls. Near our table was a signed, framed jersey of Tom Brady, the New England Patriot’s quarterback, looming like some toxic religious artifact in a horror film. We shuddered. The arrogant aura was poisonous.
A family debate ensued: Should we deface it? Take a selfie in front of it with appropriate gestures and a suspiciously squishy football?
In the midst of this discussion, our server arrived. We asked her about the Brady jersey. She apologized and whispered that the bar got a lot of guff for it, but the owner was a Patriots fan.
Notice that I/we didn’t act on our anti-Brady impulses. Nor did I say anything to the guy in the Steelers hoodie, except in the fantasy conversation I held with myself later, during which I sprayed him with devastating putdowns and closed with a signature Marshawn Lynch dive.
So I didn’t actually do anything, but I didn’t have to.
Face it — we’re hated. The nation has spoken, over and over. A simple Google search for “Seahawk fans are annoying” gets 81,000 hits. Another search for anti-Seahawk fan memes generates 8.4 million hits, some of which are deeply, deeply unfair.
The national spokesman I mentioned hails from Wisconsin. He’s a real person, a writer, a car nut and a Green Bay Packers fan, which should lend force to his impeccable Hawk-fan-hating credentials.
I’ll call him John, which is not his name. I asked him why the darkness surrounds us. This was his answer:
“Most people have never met a true Seahawks fan. They’ve only met the bandwagoning, fair-weather, Seahawks-paraphernalia-owning brag machines that couldn’t pick (Jim) Zorn or (Steve) Largent out of a lineup, let alone greats like Rufus Porter.
“Seahawks fans exist, and I have met them, and they know exactly how lucky and blessed they are to have Lynch and Wilson, because they suffered through Dave Krieg and Curt Warner and the AFC.
“Those are damn good fans, and no one begrudges them any joy. It’s the rest of the crowd we hate. But they’re not, as far as the rest of the NFL is concerned, even fans.”
After regaining consciousness (fortunately, I fell on a foam Seahawk head), I have to unpack this a little.
For one thing, I’m divorcing myself from the description (I MET Steve Largent once), but I get it. For the uninitiated, here’s what John means, reflected back in authentic Seattle passive-aggressive, modern journalistic bullet-list fashion:
This one crops up again and again. It refers to the notion that the entire Seahawk fanbase didn’t exist until the current version of the team got good in 2012.
Assessment: Fair, sort of.
Yes, for many years the team sucked, apart from that Super Bowl trip in 2006. It’s not like the fans went away, but it might be true that when you mention Curt Warner to the average hollering Hawk fan in a 12th -an jersey, he’ll think you’re talking about a retired quarterback who played for Arizona.
▪ Brag machines
A tricky complaint, sometimes framed as the “new money” insult.
The idea is that Hawk fans are like the fat rich guy who just won the lottery and crashed the posh party wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sipping a cocktail with an umbrella.
Add our copyrighted brand of Seattle Smug and you’ve got the new-money charge nailed. But at least we don’t sell $336 steaks at our raucous stadium like they do in San Francisco.
▪ Not enough suffering
John didn’t come out and say it, but it’s a big one, closely linked to the bandwagon label.
The idea is that the current crop of Seattle fans has no history of years of rooting without a championship (like, say, New York Jets fans). It’s a faintly religious point — if you haven’t been through purgatory as a fan, you don’t deserve a ticket to paradise.
Assessment: Probably true.
You know who really suffers at our expense? Minnesota Vikings fans (since we habitually cherry-pick their roster).
▪ Online mobs
John didn’t say this either, but it might be the biggest complaint of all. Any national sportswriter will confirm it.
Pen a criticism of the Seahawks, however muted, and the Hawk Internet trolls invade. Whaddaya mean our goody-goody quarterback is just average? Let me roll out my Football Outsiders stat sheet.
Assessment: True, and deserved.
▪ Noise obsession
John didn’t have to mention this one. We’re loud, we think our loudness matters, and we willingly join loudness contests.
It’s as though we think our loudness is the equivalent of blocking, running and tackling.
We’re proud to be loud. But hey — better than the Wave, right?
Special thanks to John Krewson, a knowledgeable football fan.
Denver at Seattle
Friday, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field.
TV: Fox (Ch. 13).