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Things pre-ordained (but mostly about the SuperBowl)

Watched the SuperBowl last night. First football game I’ve seen in 20 years. But I used to love pro football and with “my” Seahawks playing (not to mention this being the Stoner Bowl), I had to tune in on the computer.

Funny how the game seemed pre-ordained to go the Seahawks way from its first seconds. The instant that flubbed first snap flew over Peyton Manning’s head and the ‘Hawks fell on it for a safety just 12 seconds into the game (earliest score ever in a SuperBowl), the Broncos seemed out of focus, off their game — and doomed.

And sure enough, from then on, the Seahawks could do no wrong and the Broncos could do no right. Or rather, even when the Broncos weren’t making awful mistakes, even when a Manning pass hit its intended receiver smack in the gloves, Seahawk defenders were right there to knock the receiver down. Manning actually passed for more yardage than Russell Wilson,IIRC, but you’d hardly have known it by watching the game. The Seahawks pwned the Broncos.

Of course, the doom could have reversed any time in the first half. Or during the half-time break. But it was sealed when — just 12 seconds into the second half — the Seahawk’s Percy Harvin returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown (and made it look like a perfectly choreographed bit of football ballet).

If I were superstitious, I’d even note that Denver’s doom came with two 12s. The Seahawks are so famous for their “12th man” (their ever-faithful and very loud fans) that before the game they even charged onto the field waving a giant blue flag with nothing but a white numeral “12” on it. The fans love their Seahawks and the ‘Hawks know the fans are part of their team.

Yep, Denver was dooooooomed.


But of course, nothing was pre-ordained. It looked to me (I could be wrong) that, while they were also just overplayed by a team that was totally “on,” the Broncos doomed themselves by getting rattled. Every closeup of Manning’s face, from the get-go, showed consternation. I’m no football expert, obviously, and maybe Manning just looks that way all the time. But consternation often goes before destruction and a nervous spirit before a fall.


My point (and yes, I have one aside from merely yakking about football) is that there are so many things in life that seem destined to have happened — but of course only seem that way because they’ve already happened. In reality, things could have turned out radically different, and not just last night at the SuperBowl.

There are many things that seemed destined to happen — that didn’t. For instance, the “success” of gun control. Back in ’93 and ’94 some of us were the ones with the consternated faces. But our nobler fellows got a second wind. Doom averted.

Currently, a whole boatload of bad things seem destined to happen. Privacy seems doomed to be slain by the combo of technology and big institutions. Freedom seems doomed to fall under waves of ignorance, apathy, and powerlust. The U.S. economy appears doomed in the long run by fiscal and political folly.

But we don’t know. We can’t know. All we can know is that that crisis presents opportunity. As can new technology, black swan events, and … well, a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil.

And what we can do is keep breathing, not get ourselves too consternated to function, take a break now and then — and hope to fly like a Seahawk when the wind is right.


  1. Pat
    Pat February 3, 2014 11:12 am

    No… let’s talk football. 🙂 I saw the game last night on computer, too ― and was delighted by Seattle’s _offense_. We don’t hear about that, but I was pleasantly surprised. They have an excellent all-round team; now, if “destiny” holds, they have a great future. (Hope I haven’t jinxed them. I’ve been a Seahawks fan ― also Seattle Sounders fan! ― since they came into being. In fact I switched from AFC fan to NFC fan when the Seahawks were shifted.)

  2. Claire
    Claire February 3, 2014 11:25 am

    Pat — YES! You said it. Their defense is famous — best in the NFL, “Legion of Boom” and all that. But last night their offense was stellar. They were just stellar all around, weren’t they? What a terrific team. And as you note — young and with a potentially interesting future.

    It was fun getting excited over such excellent play. (Though by the last quarter I was feeling pretty sorry for Denver.)

  3. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth February 3, 2014 11:30 am

    Nice observation, Claire. Another example of why your work is so valuable to me. 🙂

    A little eerie, as well: I came into the game at the beginning of the second quarter and almost immediately the thought came to me that both teams were playing as though they already knew what the outcome of the game would be. As I was relating this to my wife later, I realized how tinfoil-hattish it sounded just saying it, but that wasn’t what was behind the thought at all. Instead, it was just what you are saying here–the psychologies of winning and losing were simply on full, pluperfect display, nearly from the beginning. (For me at least, the depth of contrast between watching these two teams yesterday, versus the same teams two weeks ago, is still difficult for me to reconcile. Holy cow!)

    I lived in Denver metro for 15 years and had a soft spot for the Broncos even before that. So, at a tribal level (yeah, I’m afflicted by this from time to time), it was a disappointing outcome. But, if I detach from that, I have to hand it to the Seahawks as playing very nearly a perfect game: they beat the Broncos in nearly every way that I’m aware you can beat an opponent in that game. If anything, the raw score understated just how lopsided it all was.

    Of course it was “just a game”. Still: I do find the psychology observation fascinating, and applicable to my life in ways beyond any real effect pro football actually has on it.

    Thanks again for giving voice to the idea. 🙂

  4. Claire
    Claire February 3, 2014 11:36 am

    ” … almost immediately the thought came to me that both teams were playing as though they already knew what the outcome of the game would be.”

    Another big yes. That was exactly it — a big part of the reason the outcome seemed so pre-ordained. Thank you for articulating it.

    At one point (third quarter, I think it was?) even the poor commentators, who were trying to keep the game relevant, wondered aloud why Denver wasn’t ramping up the energy and the risk-taking, given how far behind they were. You’re right, Denver was playing as if the outcome was known.

    At a couple of points, I even wondered if somebody had been bribed to throw the game. Don’t seriously believe that, but it looked as if Denver wasn’t even trying.

    And of course it also looked as if Seattle was having a ball and trying their little hearts out.

  5. Pat
    Pat February 3, 2014 1:18 pm

    Just talking here, and then I’ll get off football. That was NOT Manning’s usual face, he had no spark, no ‘life’ in his eyes. I thought he was sick at first, and the idea of bribery went through my head, too (though I wouldn’t believe it of him; he’s not just talented, but has integrity and pride) ― or possibly was worried about someone else. He looked like he had something else on his mind during the entire game.

  6. Karen
    Karen February 3, 2014 2:09 pm

    You flatlanders poisoned the Broncos with all of your fat oxygen down there.

  7. Claire
    Claire February 3, 2014 2:19 pm

    Pffffffffft! That was the sound of me blowing you and your anaerobic football team a raspberry.

    (But Karen, I do admit that’s the best excuse I’ve heard for the Broncos so far.)

  8. naturegirl
    naturegirl February 3, 2014 2:20 pm

    That’s happened quite often, the feeling that things are predestined to go a certain way. It’s decided before it’s begun. In all areas, not just sports games. The difference is that sometimes the 2 opposing whatevers actually put some effort into winning and make it an even attempt vs the times when one comes “to play” and the other one offers minimal-no resistance. I wonder if that’s karma or actual collusion.

    As for the Superbowl specifically – the whole week of hype is absolutely ridiculous pressure on even the best of the athletes. I don’t think any of them could not be affected by that circus. As for these 2 teams specifically, it all came down to heart – which one had the fire and desire to win no matter what. Talent is one thing, but mental focus and that desire fire is what separates the best from the not so best. I’ve watched Seattle mind play just about everyone they lined up against all year, they’ve gotten into their heads and intimidated them into jelly. LOL. (And I’m not a Seahawks fan.) For that aspect alone it has been intriguing to watch and study them in action this season. But hey, it’s time they FINALLY did win, in general terms.

    The only thing I learned from football this year is to not let someone get to you before you even begin. Fight the mind intimidation. At least keep your head together in times of attack, LOL. It’s not just enough to have a game plan, you have to have the mental winner part more. And this is in life, not just a sports game. If outcomes truly are predestined or karma in action, then whomever is the underdog needs to have that extra energy to at least fight back.

    Congrats Seattle and their bazillions of fans. A well earned win even if it did seem predetermined by something else. They worked hard for it as much as it all seemed to just come together magically.

  9. RickB
    RickB February 3, 2014 2:20 pm

    Yeah, Karen. That was my thought, too. The air was just too thick.

  10. Claire
    Claire February 3, 2014 2:26 pm

    Wellll, I dunno about the air, exactly. But I sense that something in the vicinity of our local Bronco fans is getting a bit thick. 😉

  11. Claire
    Claire February 3, 2014 2:30 pm

    “The only thing I learned from football this year is to not let someone get to you before you even begin. Fight the mind intimidation. At least keep your head together in times of attack, LOL. It’s not just enough to have a game plan, you have to have the mental winner part more. And this is in life, not just a sports game. If outcomes truly are predestined or karma in action, then whomever is the underdog needs to have that extra energy to at least fight back.”

    Bravo, naturegirl. Well said. That’s the important part … and the HARD part.

    I now wish I’d been watching the Seahawks all year long. Of course I’ve known what they’ve been up to (and that they have some cocky young players). You can’t live in this part of the world and not get at least a touch of the Seahawk mania. But I really, really enjoyed their energy on the field and the sidelines and their absolute confidence in their own game. It was a pure pleasure to see that hard-to-describe, but magnificent quality the team brought to the event.

  12. Shel
    Shel February 3, 2014 3:48 pm

    I, too, wasted time watching the game. The only thing I knew going into it was the cliche “defense wins championships” and general history meant the odds were on the Seahawks’ side. Championship games in general are prone to being lopsided contests, as the hype about being there becomes significant. This causes teams to have dreams; when those dreams start to fall apart, they really fall apart. The fact that Manning’s teammates were asking for his autograph in hindsight was a very bad sign. Many early Superbowls, with the two week interval after the previous games, fit this pattern. Then one year there was only a one week interval (I can’t remember which one) and the game was excellent. The two week delay will remain, however, obviously because of $$$.

    Organizations take on the personalities of those at the top. An author noted, even before Eli had won a Superbowl, that of the two he would prefer to have Eli in an important game, because in those games Peyton would have a look on his face as if he had just stepped in something unpleasant. And Peyton had been picked off for a Superbowl TD in a late 4th quarter drive against the Saints, in a situation where he usually succeeds. John Fox’s desperate challenge of a ruling of a forward pass early in the game was very unwise, as those things can be seen from the booth upstairs. It indicated to me that the coach was unraveling mentally. From there on out, the Broncos played as if they hoped something would happen, with the predictable result. When Knowshon Moreno just stood there and watched Manning’s deflected pass, it gave the Seahawk’s linebacker free rein, and resulted in a TD interception return.

    Ali used to say that the outcome of a fight was determined before the first punch was thrown, and he was one who would know. I agree completely with Nature Girl that a person has to keep trying no matter what, and with Claire’s assessment defining it as the hard part.

    Hans Rudel, the Famous WWII German Aviator noted in his autobiography Stuka Pilot which could very conservatively be defined as a classic that “Only he is lost who gives himself up for lost.” He made an escape after capture and found his way back to friendly lines under extremely harsh circumstances, detailed in part in the first of the two links in this paragraph.

    I’ve tended to read more about sports than watch, thinking the mental aspect was what was most interesting. At least that’s my excuse 🙂

  13. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau February 3, 2014 6:14 pm

    I didn’t even know who was in the Superbowl until after the game (still not sure of the losing side). I grew up in Wisconsin on Vince Lombardi. When he died, I lost all interest. Anyway despite all the glitz now compared to then, football had a lot more class then. If any Packer had tried a touchdown dance in the end zone, Lombardi would have had his head. The players acted like grownups back then.

  14. Claire
    Claire February 3, 2014 6:50 pm

    Well, I wouldn’t usually be the first person to defend the behavior of pro athletes. But I hear the NFL has put serious and tooth-filled restrictions on excessive end-zone celebrations. I also heard that Seahawks players have some sort of pact with each other to stay out of trouble in the real world to help keep the emphasis on teamwork and effectiveness. So all is not lost.

  15. Borepatch
    Borepatch February 3, 2014 7:07 pm

    All y’all are spoiling a beautiful thread about freedom with a bunch of football stuff.


  16. naturegirl
    naturegirl February 4, 2014 3:07 am

    Before I stop rambling about football, there’s one more observation I have from this season – and I’m not all info’d up on the game, just something I noticed along the way…..Quite possibly one of Seattle’s magic secrets is in how they were coached, which I didn’t follow intently but caught enough bits and pieces to make me wonder about coaching; apparently the coaching style there is to let the players be individuals. To let them shine in whatever talent it is that they have and guide from that beginning point. As opposed to making them format into whatever the coaches idea of a player really is……I don’t know how much of that is true, but taken further and in the context of personal and talent freedom, it makes sense. “Leaders” who see talent then take them into something other than how they are naturally talented is always going to cause a problem down the road somewhere. See talent, grab it, then set out to change/redo it makes no sense to me. Maybe Seattle coaches are onto something everyone else should pay attention to: if you see strong talent, leave it alone and stay strong. Create the army around those individual strengths 😉

  17. Pat
    Pat February 4, 2014 4:28 am

    “Maybe Seattle coaches are onto something everyone else should pay attention to: if you see strong talent, leave it alone and stay strong. Create the army around those individual strengths ;)”

    Not “coaches”, naturegirl ― only Pete Carroll has understood that fully. He’s been maligned and belittled for that for years. This time he has a team young enough to appreciate his knowledge, while talented and smart enough to listen to him. He knows how to let a man be an individual, while not devaluing his ego. The players obviously respect that and each other’s talent, and team effort ― and success ― is the payoff.

    Carroll is not afraid to let his players “be all that they can be”. Would that politicians understood that in dealing with their constituents!

  18. just waiting
    just waiting February 4, 2014 5:51 am

    I’m really surprised to see so many here that actually seem to be paying attention to football.

  19. naturegirl
    naturegirl February 4, 2014 12:52 pm

    A coach, main coach! Thanks Pat. Well, there’s some merit to that because I also witnessed this year what happens on the flip side of that – I’m a big Kaepernick fan, followed his career start when in northern NV. His then coach (Ault) let him do what he does and just sorta coached him on the points he didn’t know about. Tweaked his talents minimally. And he just soared. He ends up in San Fran with hothead Harbaugh (whom I remember from way back in Chicago) and the way Kaep plays has been stomped on from coach(es) more than what he’s encountered from opponents. That (and the sudden fame from last season) sorta set Kaep upside down this year…..Next year should be either the balancing or not year….

    Also couldn’t help but notice how the media just tore Sherman to pieces as a thug until everyone actually paid attention to how he talks when he isn’t hyper, LOL……

    And, can’t help but notice the women are talking more football than the guys are….

  20. Geoff Ross
    Geoff Ross February 4, 2014 1:05 pm

    I watched the Puppy Bowl!

  21. Claire
    Claire February 4, 2014 5:19 pm

    Puppy Bowl! I always wanted to see that, so after you mentioned it, I tried checking out this year’s results. Never could get past the idiot business with the White House dogs and Michelle Obama lecturing us about how getting outside with our dogs is Sooooooo Healthy.

    Yikes. Thought the Puppy Bowl was supposed to be cute fun. Definitely a sign of a decadent culture when every freakin thing gets turned political.

    And yeah … I noticed that most of the talk about the Super Bowl going on here is among the women. (And it’s not just because of all those … erm, tight ends.)

  22. Shel
    Shel February 4, 2014 7:09 pm

    IM(H/NSH)O sports are merely ritualized combat, such as what bucks engage in during rutting season. So historically males participate and females watch to see who wins.

    NB: For the past few years I’ve tried to see how long I can go before learning who won the Superbowl; usually my willful ignorance lasts until mid-morning on Monday. This year I just happened to be at the house of a friend who has satellite TV (I don’t), so I figured I might as well watch it.

  23. Geoff Ross
    Geoff Ross February 5, 2014 4:14 pm

    Oh c’mon. The Michell O stuff was before the fun part and the bowl itself was fun. Sometimes you have to put up with the chaff to get to the wheat, or something like that. Besides the pups get adopted which is good. I gave up on pro sports long ago, although I do follow my University’s team.(Bulldogs BTW)

    I read Rawles (Survival Blog) every day for the info he collects, even though I find bible thumping to be odious. Ignore the garbage, enjoy the good stuff.

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