It's been a long wait for Seahawk fans — from too many Sundays in the '80s crushed by a patented Dave Krieg inadvertent backward pass, to the day the zebras bum-rushed us during Super Bowl XL. (Yep, still bitter.)
Sunday's game — with a trip to the big one on the line — is a tale of two dynamic cities vying for supremacy. It's not just the 49ers vs. the Seahawks — it's Apple vs. Microsoft, sourdough vs. Starbucks, fog vs. rain.
But there's the tale of two coaches, too — new-agey Pete Carroll, who blasts hip-hop during practice and defies NFL conventions (he has linebacker-sized defensive backs and the shortest quarterback in the league), vs. uptight Midwesterner Jim Harbaugh, who coaches like somebody just ran over his puppy. (Still, Harbaugh's not as unhappy as Bill Belichick, who only smiled seven times all season — that's just 0.4 smiles per game, landing him in the Mr. Grumpy Hall of Fame.)
And of course it's the tale of two young quarterbacks from different galaxies. Just check their Instagram pages: Colin Kaepernick has a picture of himself, shirtless (ridiculously ripped and heavily tattooed), kissing his own bicep; Russell Wilson has pictures of his visits to sick kids in the hospital along with tributes to Nelson Mandela. Everybody loves Wilson, while Kaeper-chip-on-his-shoulder has decided that everybody hates him — often citing an imaginary horde of "haters" as his central motivation in life. Whatever works for you, man!
But the guy you can't take your eyes off is Richard Sherman, who leads the NFL's best defense — and the entire league in interceptions and trash-talking. In fact, when his high school coach banned him from trash-talking, he had his worst game ever. He hasn't shut up since.
You can't help but admire him. He says he's the first kid from Compton — one of the toughest addresses in SoCal — ever to graduate from Stanford. Other fun facts: He actually rehearses his trash-talk, testing out put-downs before games; and his dad still drives a garbage truck in L.A., keeping his son grounded to reality through all the fame.
Sherman even writes a column for Sports Illustrated, where he shows the same self-confidence he does on the field. One column, "If I Ruled the League," details what he would do if he was the Commish. He even dissed Tom Brady by leaving him off his list of the top five NFL quarterbacks.
Sherman has fun — and, remember, this is supposed to be entertainment. Thanks to this cast of characters, Sunday's game should deliver plenty of it. And if Sherman keeps backing up his talk with timely picks, he may rule the league yet. ♦