I’ve been sitting here thinking about the events that transpired in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. It’s taken a couple of days for my mind to process what went down at Seahawks Stadium. If you were anything like me, you were in shock after witnessing what is being dubbed as “The Emerald City Miracle”.
A miracle is defined as an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs. Or in this case, the affairs of the 12th Man. There is no other way to describe when the impossible becomes the possible. People will say the Hawks were lucky. No, that wasn’t luck. That was divine intervention. Do you know what divine intervention means?
Divine intervention means that God came down from football heaven and made Steven Hauschka’s (#4) on-side kick bounce off the helmet of Packers Brandon Bostick and land into the waiting hands of Seahawks back up receiver Chris Matthews (#13) with 2:09 left in the game. Before that moment, I thought Chris Matthews was a journalist.
Divine intervention was the collective prayers of the 12th Man being answered when a two yard Hail Mary throw from Russell Wilson found itself in the palms of Luke Willson, resulting in a 2 point conversion to take the lead 22-19 with l:25 remaining in regulation.
Divine intervention was when backup quarterback Tavaris Jackson went out to mid-field to win the coin toss. Then again, maybe that part isn’t divine intervention. Jackson is just this team’s good luck charm in those moments. He’s our rabbit’s foot.
But what about the game winning touchdown throw from Wilson to Kearse? Was that an act of divine intervention? No, that was an act of redemption. The two players atoned for their misgivings throughout the first four quarters and brought salvation to this team, fan base, and city. Wilson had an overtime 35 yard throw, in which you could hear a pin drop as spiraled thought the air, that landed in the grasp of Jermaine Kearse as he fell into the blue south end zone. The game was over. The 12th Man experienced a moment of rapture that may never be felt again in your lifetime. We all know the game had to end that way, there was no other way it could turn out. Kearse and Wilson had to win it.
I’ve seen that exact play in Wilson’s rookie season as he threw the game winning touchdown to Sidney Rice to defeat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in dramatic fashion at the end of the 4th quarter.
Many of us broke down with tears at that moment, including Wilson in his post-game interview where you could hear the raw emotion in his voice and see it on his face. Some of us didn’t cry, those tears will be shed in the future when we are watching highlights of this game. We will experience an emotional awakening. When you do find yourself watching the game, it would be a sin to only watch the last ten minutes. You have to endure the first 3 3/4 quarters in order to feel the sting in order to appreciate the win.
People were hugging each other in the stands, high fives were flying, it was a moment of pure unadulterated joy. It was like learning a loved one was a passenger on a plane that crashed into the ocean. Only moments later your loved one calls and tells you they missed their flight. Conversely, if you were a Packer fan, it must have felt like your heart was ripped out of your chest and held in front of your eyes as you bled out. I can’t imagine the anguish. The feeling might equate to the loss against the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs two years ago.
It was not just divine intervention, this team had resolve and courage which is a trait that is personified by their coach Pete Carroll, who loves to say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And finishing is what the Seahawks are good at, the Packers, not so much. Carroll wants his players to have grit.
True grit is what Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman displayed by finishing the game after suffering injuries. Thomas separated his shoulder and Sherman sprained his elbow. It looked like a chicken wing dangling from his body. Those guys were warriors. As Thomas likes to say, “They don’t make them like us.”
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews didn’t have grit. He sat out the final two drives in regulation due to exhaustion. Maybe the Packers equipment staff should have gotten him some orange slices and a Capri Sun.
Clay must have worn himself out when he went hunting for Wilson’s head after he threw an interception.
Everything was going wrong for the Seahawks. Interceptions, a fumble, penalties galore, and a lack of offense. Things were looking bleak. The Packers confidence was high, perhaps too high as their kickoff coverage team ran towards the seats in the end zones taunting the 12th Man.
The game was a grinder, much like last year’s NFC Championship game against the Santa Clara 49ers. Just like last year, I found myself praying and I am not religious. Even thought things were looking grave and the season may have soon been fading to black, I wasn’t about to get up and leave my seat like a handful of so-called 12s did as reported. I suspect this story is over exaggerated by the media. Nonetheless, as Seahawks Coach Chuck Knox said, “The bandwagon is a crowded ride, we all know that, whether it’s football or life. The faint hearted are the first to get off the ship.”
Now we know who has a faint heart, and I feel sorry for you because you missed out on an epic moment in Seattle sports history. At the end of the day, it’s probably a good thing you left removing negative energy from the stadium.
The 12s that stayed never wavered and brought the noise and passion the entire second half. We were not going to go quietly as the Packers tried to end our dreams of another championship. We were prepared to stay to the bitter end out of respect to the players, coaches, and ourselves irregardless of the outcome.
The defense had the fortitude to hold the Packers to only two field goals off those turnovers, and only one field goal in the second half. They held the Pack off just long enough for the offense to find their rhythm and allow some divine intervention to take place.
Don’t blow this off, what just happened here was a miracle. We should be suffering from Post Traumatic Seahawks Disorder. Instead, there was a miracle of biblical fashion! My eyes are wide open, the Seahawks are going to win Super Bowl XLIX.