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Malik (8/8/11)

Just a quick few thoughts today. I have little to talk about since I spent my weekend trying to be a good suburbanite type of person by building a new grill and making some BBQ. This left time for only a few smaller activities. The main one being sports.

On that note, I would love to say the Sounders FC amazing come from behind victory was just that (amazing). In reality, it was pretty damned sad. The Sounders were down 0-1 against Sporting Kansas City for a long stretch of the game. It wasn't until the final minute of regulation that the Sounders finally got on the board with a last minute, literally, goal. Then, in the brief stoppage time (how did a game with so many delays in the second half only get 3 minutes of stoppage time?) a second goal was quickly picked up by Seattle. It was an amazing ending to the game...or was it?

Kansas City was down a player after about 60-some minutes due to a red card. A red card, might I add, that should be given further penalty for how long Kansas City's player took to get his sorry ass off the field. That would receive a yellow in international play just for the time wasting. If that doesn't get some further penalty after an insanely reckless tackle that led to the red, then there is something wrong with MLS officiating. Later on, Kansas City was down another player when an injury left them in trouble after they wasted their three substitutions earlier in the match. So, Seattle was unable to tie when it was 11 Sounders versus their 10 players. It took Kansas City being down to nine players for Seattle to tie and then win the match. That is not the type of play that should be happening with a team like the Sounders, who are still quite active participants in getting the Supporters Shield (most points at the end of the regular season).

On a different note, the NFL is almost here. While the pre-season, which begins for the Seahawks on Thursday evening, is normally a waste, I can't help but feel excited. The season was almost lost due to bickering between the players and owners. More so, I can't wait since Pete Carroll and John Schneider are making some insane roster changes. While the QB situation is anything but amazing, I can't wait to see how the new O-line pans out and how the offensive acquisitions work out. Seriously, between some players stolen from the Vikings (Tarvaris Jackson and Sydney Rice) and the Raiders (Robert Gallery and Zack Miller) and some other less publicized moves, this is a team that cannot be ignored. Yes, no solid QB presence is not a good thing, but who knows? Maybe T-Jack has something that he is waiting to unleash on the world. Ok, that's unlikely. Still, maybe this will be a team that can still be entertaining, even without a solid QB.


Malik (8/12/11)

It might have been just a pre-season game, but I have to say the Seahawks kept things pretty entertaining last night. It's one thing to say they won. I mean a victory in the pre-season is a lot like playing a FPS death match against bots on easy settings while playing with your own control setup to find what works best for you. A victory in pre-season rarely translates to a victory in the regular season. How many times have the Seahawks done great (3-1 or 4-0) in the pre-season only to turn into losers in the usually lame NFC West? Too many for me to count.

It's another thing to make the first nationally televised game of the NFL year interesting and exciting. Seattle didn't show as much talent as they hopefully will have in the regular season, but they used back-up players and potential roster cuts to battle the second and third string Chargers and kept it close. The final quarter in particular was amazing to behold. Ending with a Chargers drive to the red zone in a final attempt to tie the game. Seattle, a team that has no idea of red zone defense the last five years came off with a huge stop with only 3 or 4 yards before it would be tied up with no time left to make another drive.

I think, beyond Phillip Rivers (who took his only drive to the end zone with total precision), the true excitement of the game came from the non-starters. While the backup QBs on both teams didn't look all that exciting (and T-Jack looked like ass on his one drive for the Seahawks), the third string guys both looked exciting to watch. Seattle actually appears to have some talent with Portis in the #3 spot at QB. He had the only passing TD for Seattle, and he definitely looked like a rookie eager to show that he should have been drafted. While he will not be seeing much, or most likely any, play time in the regular season, I can't wait to watch more of him in the pre-season. Who knows...he might even be able to make a case for being the backup instead of Whitehurst.

I also think the Seahawks did try a little too hard to play like the game mattered. I mean they even saw Okung come off the field on a cart. Isn't that what the regular season is for? Watching Okung suffer another leg/ankle injury. That isn't pre-season play to see a Seahawks go down with a non-contact injury. That is how the Seahawks play when it matters.

Anyway, I can't wait to see games that matter. In the meantime, it's great seeing some definite surprises on the overly large pre-season roster. A third string QB who looks amazing. Leon Washington playing a larger than normal (versus last year) amount of the downs instead of being the third string to Forsett and Lynch. Seeing Isaiah Stanback on the field again for a Seattle team (he was amazing as the UW QB back in the day) in a receiver role. Pre-season may not mean anything, but it sure can be fun to watch and consider who these players are who didn't even have a chance for a real training camp.

As I kept thinking all of last night; the NFL is back!

On a final note, after watching the return of football for the season, I have one lasting thought about what I saw. The game didn't mean too much and the might-be-cut-soon versus the might-be-cut-soon pre-season doesn't give too much real insight. The one thing it does show is that the kickoff game sucks with the changes. Yes, the Chargers could pick up a return for a TD, but that felt like a fluke. In reality, the changes of position for the kickoff just feels like it will make for a far less exciting game when special teams are doing what they should do best. The ball will find the end zone too many times on a kick and this means far less returns for significant yardage or for the always electric TD on a return. While I can see the NFL trying to have a safety image now (too many injuries in recent years), the solution is not to kill the one time when the game is entirely unpredictable and has so much potential to excite the fans and analysts alike.


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