Seahawks also lose a culture war

T.A. Barnhart

As well as being the victims of the worst officiating in Super Bowl history, it's possible the Seahawks are also the victims of a culture war that says those of us on the Left Coast are less American than the rest of the country.

During the pre-game show, of which I saw smatterings, there was an homage to Pittsburgh, the Steel City.  The hard working men of the great steel mills, the men who make the stuff that makes America great (except the Koreans make it cheaper).  I don't think I missed the similar tribute to Seattle: eight years of college and grad school, 16-hour days in front of a computer banging out code, the kind of work no one recognizes as legitimate, even though it's now the real foundation of American economic greatness.  It's not manly work, no matter how hard it is.

In Pittsburgh, they drink real bear, eat real food, lead real lives.  This is how they live in the "Heartland," the vast middle of the nation that begins and ends about 107 miles from either coast.  They raise the cattle, grow the crops, build the cars, do the work; we foam up the lattes for the lawyers and lazy-ass webheads.  For all the noise made about Hollywood's alleged liberal nature, the movie picture of America that is most American has almost nothing to do with life as it is in the Pacific Northwest -- at least, in the eyes of the real America.

Forget that we have provided their lumber, that we bring their goods to our docks, that we grow the apples they need for their patriotic pies.  Forget that we supply boys and girls to die in Bush's illegal war just as freely as they.  Forget that in the most liberal sinkholes of depravity on the Left Coast -- Seattle, Eugene, San Francisco, Portland -- we display the flag, say the pledge, worship God(s) and pay our taxes.  Forget all that.  We're not manly.

Compare the coaches for the real story.  Bill Cowher, now seen as one of the greats, should have been a two-time loser; Bill Cowher, he of the chin and histrionics, is a Pittsburgh man.  I mean, Man.  Strong, tough, no-nonsense.  Ok, it took him forever to find enough teams to roll over and play dead (the Hawks played their worse game of the year) so his team could win, but golt damn, he's a Man, and he looks it.  Mike Holmgren, though...Coached in San Francisco, now in Seattle, apparently couldn't hack it in the Heartland (where he sorta won a Super Bowl, but that was because of Bret Favre, after all).  First thing he did in Seattle, by the way, was get a quarterback from Boston.  Boston, the Seattle of the East.  Full of pinkos and liberals and not that many manly men.  The Kennedys are from Boston, and that pretty much sums it up.

The Seahawks had no heros from the Heartland; the Steelers had The Bus.  Old guy playing in his home town.  Pretty much a decoration on the team these days, and damn near cost them the championship when he fumbled at the goal line in Indy.  But he's a feel-good story, and the NFL loves feel-good stories more than anything but its revenue.  The Bus won his championship in his final game; how great is that?  That's what America is all about, feel-good stories about people not from Pinkoland. 

We're not part of the Real America here on the Left Coast.  We never will be.  We just don't fit the mold.  Seattle did not lose because the NFL decided Pittsburgh had to win (at least, you'd never actually be able to prove it...) but they had lost before the game was played.  If they had scored more points, it still would have been about Pittsburgh, only instead of the Happy Story, it would have been the Sad But Proud Story.  Real Americans are winners, even when they lose; fake pinko Left Coast Americans are not real Americans anyway, so they can never win.

Let the Mariners be warned.

  • c2tbf (unverified)

    TA - Leave out the gratuitous Bush-bashing and that was a good column. Good stuff.

  • Tom Keffer (unverified)

    Get a grip, man! Now you're sounding like one of those "liberal bias media" types.

  • Charlie in Gresham (unverified)

    There were a WHOLE LOT of people in the Portland area rooting for Pittsburgh yesterday....becasue a lot of people like their brand of football OR don't have a whole lot of use for Seattle.

    WOW TA....your usual paranoia even edges into something as mundane as a football game! You need a three week vacation my friend. There are some great get away packages on the other side of the mountains this time of year! Do yourself a favor and book yourself into Pendleton for some R&R soon! Consider it rehab!

  • Duh (unverified)

    For the record, Allegheny County, PA, where Pittsburgh is located, voted for Kerry over Bush by a 57% to 42% margin. Pennsylvania, like Washington, was a BLUE battleground state in the 2004 election.

    So... what is this post about again?

    (For more info, go here.)

  • sasha (unverified)

    Quit whining.

    Oh, I forgot. That's what liberals consider logical argument.

  • Steve (unverified)

    Man, you are strange. The only thing stranger would have been if Holmgren wore a dress on the sidelines. Of course, I do wonder about John Madden's obsession with Brett Favre.

  • Bash Bush Good (unverified)

    That's a bold column, Barnhart.

    I'm a Steeler fan, and I'm sick to my stomach this morning over that pathetic game yesterday.

    First of all, the Seahawks won Time of Possession, Turnovers, AND Yardage, and they lost the game?

    That officiating was as crooked as a Diebold voting machine.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)

    Those officials must have been hired by Bill Bradbury.

  • michaelsean (unverified)

    "Get over it" Maybe if the game was decided on how it was played, not called, I would get over it. It is not like me to be a a bitchy fan. That officiating was beyond bad. I will stand by my statement that the the NFL should be ashamed of this game.

  • jami (unverified)

    first, i saw matthew yglesias calling seattle "frou frou." coming from him, so what? but then the governor of pennsylvania said on air america that seattle-ites were brie-eaters, and i realized we had a talking point. and it was people on the left who were putting us down, in their minds.

    except they weren't. brie is good. we had some along with the chip and dips and beer yesterday. good stuff! working a lucrative technology job and drinking good coffee are nothing to be ashamed of. these jerks were implying that we were not macho enought to win football games.

    but can the seahawks catch the hell out of a football? they sure can. awful officiating aside, it was a great game, well-played by both teams.

  • (Show?)

    TA, your ire is misplaced. Seattle got the same treatment any city with no winning history would get if it were facing a storied franchise. The Patriots, before earning their respect on the field, were batted around as lightweights for decades. Even into their second superbowl season, they were still fighting the characterizations you describe as Seattle bias. Nonsense.

    As to the crappy officiating: definitely. (It did go both ways, though Seattle's robbery on the "push off" was worse than the Steel slights.) On the other hand, Seattle didn't grab the game, and they had the chances. It's ironic that you chafe at the claims that Seattle isn't soft, when in the end, their lack of hardness was what did them in.

  • Oscar (unverified)

    Jeremy Stevens' hands were hard.

  • sasha (unverified)

    jami wrote: "but can the seahawks catch the hell out of a football? they sure can. awful officiating aside, it was a great game, well-played by both teams."

    Did you watch the game? Both teams played like crap. Seattle can't call a play as the first half ends, finish with a deperation field goal and a timeout in the bank. 70 yards in penalties. Roethlisberger throws an AWFUL interception, only to be outdone by Hassleback's AWFUL interception. Steelers looked pathetic in the first half, no first down until well into the 2nd quarter. The Seahawks fizzled every time the got in Steeler territory, mostly self destructing.

    Well played? This was one of the worst Superbowls ever, top to bottom. Starting with the embarrasing national anthem. What the hell was that? I've heard better renditions from my dog whining for table scraps.

    And the officiating sucked, too.

  • Sid (unverified)

    TA, this is officially my favorite post you have ever written... I luv cynicism mixed in with snarky humor. The "lazy ass webheads" was great. My husband became one of those after eight years of intense dedication and hard work at his BA, MS and PhD. He and his fellow lazy ass webheads hardly have a life they work so hard, but like you said, they drink foamy lattes and live on the left coast, not to mention the fact that most of his colleagues showed up at the war protests with their babies and dogs in tow in '03. How un-American!

  • Levon (unverified)

    The insecurity and victimization mentality of some in the Pacific Northwest appears insatiable.

  • Todd (unverified)

    Wow, I thought I was watching a football game. Make no mistake, PA is just as blue as Oregon or soon will be come the 2006 elections, thankfully Santorum's days are numbered.

    Now back to the game. The game itself sucked, the officiating sucked, both teams played horribly, and I don't think the better team won. With that said, in spite of the officiating Seattle had multiple chances at putting points on the board and/or keep drives alive. Where to start: Two missed field goals, Jeremy "Brick Hands" Stevens, someone please let Jackson know that it take two feet in bounds in the NFL, clock management? (WTF is that?), Hassleback's duck that gives dead ducks a bad name, how about trying to punt the ball inside the 10 yard line as opposed to the end zone, no Pittsburgh NEVER runs trick plays, and I'm sure I could think of some more.

    My only regret is that I have to listen to all my Seattle fan friends claim they got "jobbed" for the next few months and they may (or may not) be right. GO STEELERS, lets start working on the other hand.

  • (Show?)

    The Patriots, before earning their respect on the field, were batted around as lightweights for decades. Even into their second superbowl season, they were still fighting the characterizations you describe as Seattle bias. Nonsense.

    Jeff, you might want to read the post a little more carefully before you comment. The Patriots hail from Taxachusetts--you know, Boston, the Kennedy family, etc. Your comments are an argument for, not against, TA's thesis.

  • (Show?)

    Wonderful article, TA. Sam Clemens would have loved it.

    Hint for the clue impaired: it ain't always about facts and logic.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    I have no idea why, but the SuperBowl officiating was one-sided in the extreme. Holding? I saw more holding by the Steelers on the plays when the Seahawks were penalized. Pass interference in the endzone? He had to be kidding, especially after the defender used his hands first. Hitting a blocker below the waist? Seattle's QB made a sterling open-field tackle and was called for light contact with a blocker.

    Seattle did look disorgainized in the last 2 minutes of each half, and they did allow a few big gains on defensive lapses, but they'd be champs if the officiating was reasonable. It's a good thing it's only a silly game, or I'd be majorly pissed.

  • Charlie in Gresham (unverified)

    OK OK....the officating was below par, but Seattle benefittd more from the bad calls than did Pittsburgh. Seattle's only touchdown was the result of an illegal pick in the secondary that should have been called and nullified the touchdown.

    Seattle also was guilty of two uncalled blocks in the back during punt returns and one clear uncalled defensive pass interference penalty.

    Pitssburgh benefitted from a terrible call at the goal line HOWEVER, if it had been called correctly they may have scored anyway. The ball would have been on the one inch line and a QB sneak likely would have resulted in a TD on the next play.

    Seattle's TE Stevens has been dropping balls for three years and dropped four yesterday, 3 of them CRUCUIAL drops. The Seahawk's placekicker was terrible....shanking kicks to the right and the left. The hawk's coaching staff seemed to freeze up in the big game and totally mess up the clock management at the end of both halves.

    All in all, Pittsburgh was far more physical and made fewer mistakes. They deserved to win......pure and simple.

  • (Show?)

    this may only make things worse for me, but i'm a 49ers fan.

  • Charlie in Gresham (unverified)

    Awwwwww....then there is hope for you TA!!!!

  • TK (unverified)

    Those who have snickered at TA's post are not getting the point. It's not paranoia, it's just simply true. Conventional wisdom tells us Pittsburgh is a 'blue-collar' town, does it not? Conventional wisdom tells us Seattle brought us Microsoft, Starbucks, salmon and Cobain, does it not? Conventional wisdom tells us that this country likes to fashion itself as a place of 'blue-collar' values (you can judge whether that's true or not), so it should be no surprise when the media and sponsors seize the feel-good stories and create hero/villain plots for those of us who could care less about these teams every other day of the year.

    We live increasingly complex lives, in a world becoming more complicated by the minute. Our mass media continues to dumb-down and oversimplify these realities, and nuance is one primary casualty. Truth is another. The evidence is everywhere, from our local evening news to the Super Bowl, and everything in between.

    I think we all know Seattle is actually a diverse economy/demographic, and Pittsburgh isn't exactly a heroic city for right-wingers the MSM wanted so badly. If everything was so black and white, our society would be devoid of anything interesting or unique. It's a tragedy our mass media is shaping society to think superficially.

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