Thirty-nine (39) hours from now, I will be suffering from shortness of breath, my heart will be pounding, there’s a good chance I will be slightly intoxicated, and my head will be throbbing; because at that precise moment in time, I will be roaring as a football is kicked off. The Seahawks are facing off against the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship game. I am in shock that I will be attending my second NFC Championship game in Seattle, let alone a consecutive NFC Championship home game. I mean, I still have all of last year’s (2013) episodes of Seahawks All Access saved on my DVR. I was planning on taking a sentimental trip by watching the shows years from now, just to remember winning a Super Bowl. It turns out that I may have needed to save all of the episodes from this season (2014). That is yet to be determined.
Never in my wildest of dreams did I think I would witness such a moment. As Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke said when introducing head coach Pete Carroll as the new coach, “There’s an opportunity again to dream about Championships.” These are unchartered seas for 12s as their beloved team battles for the opportunity to defend their Super Bowl crown.
The buildup to this NFC Championship game has a completely different feel than the game last year against the Santa Clara 49ers. A year ago, I was preparing for an epic trip to Seattle. Little did I know that the climax of the trip would be a tip by the best corner in the game against a mediocre receiver. It was a gut-wrenching win that punched the team’s ticket to New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII. Holy catfish!
I equate the NFC Championship game against the 49ers to getting a root canal. The anxiety level preceding the game was high. Sleep was sporadic. Appetites were suppressed. The vision of Collin Kaepernick and Jim Harbaugh hoisting the George Halas trophy mid-field on the Seahawks logo made me break out in cold sweats at night. Wining that game meant more than punching a ticket to the Super Bowl. It was about defeating your enemy as he attempted to destroy your home.
This year, the feelings of anxiety are gone. Although, I know come Sunday morning as I am drinking a Manny’s Pale Ale at the Hawks Nest Bar and Grill, that old familiar feeling of angst will creep into my soul. However, this time it will be different. They say act like you’ve been here before. It turns out that I’ve been here before, and I am ready.