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Seahawks' early success: why some fans act like 'jilted lovers'

When it comes to getting their hopes up early on in the season for any Seattle sports team, many fans instead put up their defenses. That may be happening to some people in the wake of the Seahawks' perfect preseason record of 4-0.

As the Hawks gear up for the start of the regular season Sunday in Arizona, some fans are keeping the team at arms' length. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel explains why.

Been wronged before

It's something that Art calls the Seattle sports fans' trauma.

"There's been so much disappointment here. Championships are so few and success so rare that there's a real reluctance for some in the fan base to say 'You know what, I think the Seahawks are going to be great this year.'"

Art says it's not unlike a romance that's gone south.

"We've developed this sort of hard shell. It's like if you've been jilted in a relationship, you don't want to get too close to anybody else because you'll find out that this new person has eight kids by four spouses somewhere else. So, everybody locks elbows and says 'Well, show me something and get back to me in December.'"

Ready to risk it

Art says he's willing to take a chance on the Seahawks this season.

"I'm going to shed the usual Seattle sports follower's reticence. I'm going to bend the elbow and embrace the idea that the Seahawks are a playoff team and I'm going to guess they're going to go 10 and 6."

Stellar defense

Art expects the Seahawks to shine on defense.

"They were a Top 10 defense last year. I think they're better this year. They've added a rookie pass rusher Bruce Irvin with the No. 1 pick. He's got a lot to learn but he's going to be an asset, I think, down the road."

Running game strong  - if Lynch is healthy

Star running back Marshawn Lynch has been beset with back spasms. Art says the Hawks have built their offense around him, but there's also a rookie waiting in the wings.

"He's been out of preseason because of these ongoing back spasms. And if he doesn't play (Sunday), then they have a very good backup guy in rookie Robert Turbin. So there's a little side drama going on there."

Rookie quarterback a 'special guy'

A lot of fans are excited about starting quarterback Russell Wilson - despite the fact that he's one of the shortest quarterbacks to ever play professional football.

The 5'11" rookie from Wisconsin astounded the NFL world by coming from the third round in the draft this year to the role of Seahawks starter ahead of veteran free agent Matt Flynn, who was signed in the off-season and expected to be the new starting quarterback.

Art says there's a lot riding on head coach Pete Carroll's "risk taking" in putting Wilson in charge.

"He's a special guy. In terms of the intangible things like leadership, communications skills, passion, work ethic - all these things seem to really trump the fact that he's one of the shortest quarterbacks ever in the NFL. But Sunday is his first game against big, sweaty mean guys who are game planning against him and he's got to go through the rookie initiation."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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