We're sorry, Patriots supporters, if we can’t understand why you’d boo a team that loses one game following 21 straight regular-season victories. Even if the sun is setting on your dynasty, at least you had one.
We apologize to you, Ohio State football fans, for we fail to understand why you constantly wring your hands. You won the championship in 2002, and we do hope your Buckeyes win the big one again some day. Then please tell our local team how to win a game.
Perhaps most deserving of pity is you, the basketball fans of Oklahoma City. Because if you decide at some point in the future that the tax dollars you are currently throwing at your new NBA team would be better spent on roads or schools or public safety, then you, too, could end up feeling our pain.
With all due respect to all of those mentioned above, you don’t have a clue about misery. You really want to know pain? Stare into the sad, shell-shocked eyes of a Seattle sports fan.
No region has more lovely sights than the Puget Sound. And no region has a collection of sports teams this grotesque.
How low has Seattle fallen? The River Styx has already been crossed, and Hades is on the horizon. At least it feels that way.
The list of unpleasantness is long and painful, but since football is in full swing, we’ll begin on the gridiron.
Ah, the Seahawks. Just three seasons removed from a trip to the Super Bowl (they lost, of course), the Seahawks find themselves with a 2-5 record, somehow good for a tie for second place in the NFC West.
This is a division so bad, the Seahawks have won it four straight times despite being outscored over the course of two of those seasons. This sorry bunch includes the Cardinals (best known for Matt Leinart’s beer bong parties) the Rams (lamest show on turf) and the 49ers (quarterbacked by guys named J.T. O’Sullivan and Shaun Hill).
The fall has been alarming since the Super Bowl, but essentially boils down to this equation:
To make matters worse, the 49ers might be trying to steal coach Mike Holmgren, who says he’s ready to retire — but only from the Seahawks. Hard to blame him at this point.
In 2004, Tyrone Willingham was called in to lend stability to a mess left by previous coaches Rick Neuheisel and Keith Gilbertson, whose combined missteps helped turn a once-strong program into a national laughingstock.
Willingham accomplished his job initially, cleaning up the program and bringing in a wealth of fine young student-athletes (as he would call them). They’re not particularly big, and not particularly fast. But they go to class, play very hard, and never give up, which is a nice way of saying that they’re also not particularly skilled.
A lack of skill, however, does not apply to quarterback Jake Locker. The recruiting jewel of Willingham’s time at Washington, Locker could develop into a modern-day Fran Tarkenton, only bigger and faster, and without all the touchdown passes.
At this point, however, it appears more likely he’ll develop into a physical therapist. You see, Locker broke the thumb on his throwing hand — while blocking on a reverse play, of all things — and is probably done for the season.
It’s too bad for Willingham that he had to be fired, but when so few of his fine student-athletes can play football, that's the way it goes.
The good news for Huskies fans is that their squad is not the worst team in the state. That honor belongs to their rivals across the mountains.
The Cougars are not, technically, a Seattle team. Their campus is located across the state, nestled amongst the rolling fields of the Palouse, just a Ryan Leaf Hail Mary from the Idaho border. But as many young and eager WSU graduates settle in the Puget Sound region, there is hardly a shortage of Cougar-related angst in Seattle these days.
Washington State’s football program has never been able to sustain occasional flashes of promise. Look up the phrase “Cougin It” in the urban dictionary and there is a rather colorful description of Wazzu’s amazing ability to find new and creative ways to blow surefire victories. Thoughts of surrendering late leads must give the current fan base a warm sense of nostalgia.
This season’s problems started in May, when new coach Paul Wulff lost eight scholarships, punished by the NCAA for the program’s poor academic record. By the time autumn rolled around, you wondered if the Cougars only had eight scholarship players to begin with.
Washington State's lone victory came against Portland State, a Championship Subdivision team (formerly Div. I-AA) that is 3-4. In the other seven games, the Cougars have lost by an average score of 54-9.
Worst team in Pac-10 history? That honor could be decided in the Apple Cup.
The Mariners were thought to be contenders after a solid 2007 season. They traded for ace Erik Bedard, giving up a load of young talent in the deal, and signed Carlos Silva. What a rotation! Here come the playoffs!
Instead, the Mariners finished dead last, 14 1/2 games out of third place. On the bright side, they did make history … as the first team with a payroll of more than $100 million to lose at least 100 games. The Mariners paid nearly $2 million for each victory (second only to the Yankees). So at least that’s something they’re good at.
But this sorry bunch doesn’t even know how to lose properly, handing the No. 1 overall draft pick to the Nats after a pointless, season-ending sweep of the Oakland A’s.
Think the future is bright? Well, let’s just say new general manager Jack Zduriencik has his hands full. Only two of the franchise’s seven minor league teams made the postseason in 2008.
The Sonics are currently masquerading as the Oklahoma City Thunder, and it's difficult to see why no one saw it coming.
Rich man from Oklahoma City buys Sonics. Oklahoma City has an unused arena, a city that had just successfully hosted the Hornets when Hurricane Katrina chased the team out of New Orleans.
But the rich man said he was committed to making things work in Seattle. He wouldn’t lie would he?
You’ve heard the line from The Godfather right? “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Well, Sonics owner Clay Bennett was going to make Seattle an offer it couldn’t accept.
He insisted he wanted to stay in Seattle. All he needed was $500 million in taxpayer funds to build a new arena in Renton, about 20 minutes (in good traffic) south of Seattle.
If he had expected the public to actually go for that wonderful idea, then he would’ve instead asked for $1 billion to build an arena in Walla Walla. And throw in a free Starbucks every day, too.
Then, after being rejected, he could throw his hands up in the air and whine to David Stern. “See what I’m dealing with here? These people are impossible! Well, at least I tried. Hmmm, wonder what’s going on in OKC?”
Bennett also spoke about how much he loved Staples Center, home of the Lakers and Clippers, and how nice it would be to have such a beautiful palace in Seattle. He failed to mention that Staples Center was privately financed.
Stern, a buddy of Bennett’s who will occasionally lob thinly veiled threats at cities with what he deems inadequate facilities (you’re next Milwaukee!), has been amazingly sympathetic and kind-hearted toward Seattle fans.
Recently, he offered this helpful advice: “You know, we have something over 900 games available on NBA League Pass … So there’s a lot out there in terms of content and a lot of an ability to follow our league. If they are so inclined, then we certainly invite them and welcome them.”
So the team is gone, but at least we can still watch them play on TV … for a small fee. Wonderful.
Forgive us, Mr. Stern, if we pass on that generous offer. We’ll be too busy watching junior hockey. We hear the Seattle Thunderbirds aren’t in last place. Yet.