For a great overview of the game that I am talking about in this post, please read this awesome article.
He would sit, dejected, for hours in the off season, wondering if all of the success had been a fluke. Four interceptions on balls thrown to him. Four. In one playoff game. It was no wonder that, in the final minutes, his QB threw to other people. Who in their right mind would continue to risk throwing to a four-time loser in the biggest game to date for this young team?
Years later, his football career behind him, he would still ruefully recall those misses and how his team had so rightfully turned their back on him. How they had gone with another option, and lost that night to a ferocious competitor. He would realize, much later, that this was where he started to doubt himself because his team had doubted him. Where he would think that maybe he really just was some kid from Lakewood, not a hero. Not a great football player.
And years later the QB, sitting in front of a fire, would recall that game as well. He would wonder what had gone wrong that day… And he would realize that the doubt that had entered into the team in January of 2015 slowly but surely eroded the team from within. The brotherhood he had been a part of, a brotherhood instilled in them from the bottom to the top of the organization, had started to unravel. What might have become a dynasty became just a statistical fluke.
This, of course, is not what actually happened.
What happened yesterday was two men who were directly or indirectly responsible for the worst performances of both of their careers made a choice. Russell Wilson threw, in the most important play of the game, to a man who had turned the ball over 4 times. Pete Carroll supported that play, Jermaine Kearse made the catch and the Hawks won the game.
If Jermaine had dropped that ball – or god forbid had turned it over again – we would all be questioning team leadership across the board.
Which, as it turns out, would be the wrong thing to do. Wilson had to throw to Jermaine because he was the right man to make the play, no matter what had just happened before. And I like to think that it’s because in the long game a Jermaine who has redeemed himself by doing his job well is just as valuable to the team in future seasons as this win was.
Perhaps it’s even more valuable – every man on the team will be looking at this and they will be thinking, as contracts roll around – “would any other other team continue to trust me after I had repeatedly and drastically failed to do my job? will they ever trust me that much?”
This is what makes this such a remarkable event. Jermaine Kearse was never a 4 time loser – he is an extremely good receiver who happened to have a few bad misses. By refusing to allow the narrative to change into Jermaine’s failures the Seahawks showed a level of depth that will last them well into the future.
The Seahawks showed that good teams win together – even teams whose individual players are having really, really, REALLY bad days.