Category Archives: Marshawn Lynch

Links: The selling of ‘Beast Mode’ & Shaq & Tark & More

The debates rage about the future of Marshawn Lynch, but there’s no question about his growing brand. The Seahawks’ running back is cashing in off the field.

Lynnley Browning of Newsweek writes about how you market an athlete who doesn’t talk to the media:

The less Lynch speaks to the media, the more his popularity grows. He doesn’t even want to talk about his company right now. Mitch Grossbach, president of M3/Relativity, which oversees the development of BeastModeonline, says Lynch couldn’t speak to Newsweek for this story because he was “in no mood to talk right now. He’s emotionally debilitated by [the loss]—he needs a week to recover.”

In a world of professional athletes happily shilling everything from Cialis to car insurance, Lynch’s verbal striptease is a test case for how to grow an emerging rock-star athlete into a brand worth millions. “He’s maintaining the irony of not talking, and that has made him more marketable and more endearing with fans and consumers,” says Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert who is executive creative director at Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco. “It’s the antithesis of how you would go about becoming a marketable star, and it’s working.”

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Washington Huskies star Shaq Thompson figures to a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB recently caught up with Thompson:

The NFL is still trying to figure out what position best fits Thompson, who wasn’t a good fit for baseball. He went 0- for-39 with 37 strikeouts during his pro baseball career:

King writes:

… In his freshman year at Washington, coaches created a hybrid safety/linebacker position just to get him on the field. Over the next three years, he played five other positions. His mere presence was a weapon. “We put him at personal protector, not only because he’d be good at it,” says Huskies coach Chris Petersen, “but also, teams would be so worried about us snapping the ball to Shaq that they backed off on trying to block our punts.”

That’s the paradox of Shaq Thompson: Nobody knows exactly what he is. They just know they want him.

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Alexander Wolff of Sports Illustrated  writes about Jerry Tarkanian, the former UNLV basketball coach who died Wednesday. He was 84.

The headline says it all: Always A Rebel: Jerry Tarkanian was college sports’ original honest man

Wolff writes:

Tarkanian spent most of his professional life as a poster boy for disreputability. Today, with the NCAA itself in broad disrepute, it’s almost as if he lived just long enough for public opinion to catch up to him. There would be much worse things than if, in death, Tarkanian were to earn something like vindication.

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You want more offense in baseball? Raise the strike zone. MLB is taking a look at doing just that. Read this story by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

Passan writes:

At baseball’s GM meetings last November, the room of executives teemed with discussions about how to jolt offense in a game lacking it. Radical ideas were proposed, from putting rules into place on defensive shifts to the possibility of forcing relief pitchers to throw to more than one batter. Generating the most agreement was the problem of the low strike.

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Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes about college football’s most intriguing head coach. Tony Sanchez guided Bishop Gorman HS to an 85-5 record in eight seasons.

Wetzel writes:

Sanchez is a rare breed; the college football coach hired directly from the high school ranks. He’s just the fifth in the modern era – Jim Bradley to New Mexico State in 1973, Bob Commings to Iowa in 1974, Gerry Faust to Notre Dame in 1981 and Todd Dodge to North Texas in 2007.

None lasted very long.

UNLV is arguably the worst program in the country, posting a pathetic eight two-win seasons across the last 11 years. It’s been to four bowl games … ever. The glory days are that time they finished tied for third in their division of the Mountain West.

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Charles Barkley doesn’t like analytics, but analytics like him. Neal Paine of FiveThirtyEight.com compared Barkley to power forward greats Karl Malone and Tim Duncan.

The numbers breakdown came after Barkley ripped Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey for his over-reliance on analytics. Morey in turn ripped Barkley on Twitter:

Best part of being at a TNT game live is it is easy to avoid Charles spewing misinformed biased vitriol disguised as entertainment

Here’s Sir Charles’ words that sparked the debate:

“I’ve always believed analytics was crap. … I never mention the Rockets as legitimate contenders ’cause they’re not. And, listen, I wouldn’t know Daryl Morey if he walked into this room right now.”

“The NBA is about talent,” Barkley added. “All these guys who run these organizations who talk about analytics, they have one thing in common — they’re a bunch of guys who have never played the game, and they never got the girls in high school, and they just want to get in the game.”

Some Super Bowl storylines

Coming to you live from Arizona (no, I’m not staying for the Super Bowl), where the locals seem pretty pumped up about XLIX.

This is Cardinals country, and a lot of Arizona football fans don’t like the Seattle Seahawks, but judging by the comments I heard on Monday and the tone of the reports I’m hearing on the local television stations, there seems to be a lot of respect for the Hawks.

That said here are a few storylines you’ll be reading and hearing about in the days leading up to the Feb. 1 game against New England at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale:

Tom Brady vs. Russell Wilson: The Patriots quarterback will play in a record sixth Super Bowl and will be going for his fourth ring. That’s Joe Montana (and Terry Bradshaw) territory. Wilson, meanwhile, is back for this second straight Super Bowl and has a shot to do something no quarterback has ever done: Win two Super Bowls in his first three seasons. It’s the classic drop back passer (Brady) against the elusive play-maker (Wilson) who can beat you with his arm and his legs. A story in USA Today bills it as old-school vs. new-age QBs.

Richard Sherman vs. Tom Brady: Sherman will get more than his share of news, and not all of it will revolve around the elbow injury he played with over the final minutes of Seattle’s OT win against Green Bay. Remember the “You Mad Bro” moment following Seattle’s regular-season upset victory over the Patriots in October of 2012 at CenturyLink? It was, more or less, Sherman’s coming out party as a big-time trash-talker who has shown that he can back up all of that talk.

Former Legion of Boom member Brandon Browner vs. his old team: Browner’s now a cornerback with the Patriot. He was a big part of the LOB, but had to sit out the big game a year ago because of violating the NFL’s substance abuse violation. After Sunday’s games, Browner said he felt all along that a New England-Seattle matchup in Arizona was inevitable. 

Pete Carroll vs. Bill Belichick: Carroll was fired by Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 1999 after an 8-8 record in his third season.  Kraft then hired Bill Belichick and we all know how that worked out: six Super Bowls in 14 seasons. Carroll went on to turn USC into a powerhouse and now has the Seahawks knocking on dynasty’s door. Carroll’s youthful appearance and emotional coaching style seems the opposite of the dour-looking Patriots’ boss. There’s a mutual respect between the two. “I like Pete. I like him a lot,” Belichick told ESPN.com.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski vs. Seattle safety Kam Chancellor: Everybody’s waiting for The Collision in the Desert between those two hombres. If it happens, you might feel it back in Seattle.

Finally, Marshawn Lynch vs. the media: Will he talk? You remember Lynch’s memorable Super Bowl Media Day interview with Deion Sanders a year ago in New Jersey? “I’m just about that actin boss?” Can he top that one? Here’ s what I wrote a year ago after listening to that exchange:

Marshawn Lynch lasted 6 minutes, 20 seconds at Super Bowl Media Day before escaping the big stage.

Deion “Prime Time” Sanders of NFL Network hunted Beast Mode down, and the interview with the Seattle Seahawks star was priceless. Here’s a portion of it.

“You look good,” Sanders told Lynch, who was wearing sunglasses and had the hood of his Seahawks’ jacket pulled up.

“(Bleep), so do you,” said Lynch, fingering Prime Time’s suit coat.

Sanders told Lynch it looked like he was ready to play.

Lynch: “Yep, that’s what time it is.”

Sanders then asked if Lynch was a little shy.

Lynch: “I’m just about that action boss. … I ain’t never seen no talk win ya nothing. Been like that since I was a little kid. I was raised like that.”

Asked if he was excited about the game, Lynch, wearing sunglasses, said, “Hell, yeah. … yeaaahh!”

Sanders then said some think the Seahawks will be in trouble if Lynch doesn’t get untracked.

Lynch: “They gonna have to stop all of us. I’m a beast, but we got some dogs.”

Sanders: You don’t like podiums do you? What is your thing?

Lynch: “Lay back, kick back, mind my business, stay in my own lane.”

Sanders: He told Lynch that NFL Network and former star back Marshall Faust loved him.

Lynch: “That’s huge. He’s a great.”

Sanders: “We all love you.”

Lynch then went third-person on us.

“That’s big time. Beast Mode love and appreciate that.”

 

 

Marshawn link; Mariners lineup; Kitsap’s Umpqua connection rolling

A Marshawn Kind of Way: This is an intriguing profile of Beast Mode. Lynch didn’t agree to an interview following the Seattle Seahawks win over the Eagles on Sunday, but MMQB writer Robert Klemko does a pretty good job of telling Marshawn’s story from people who know him and understand him. .

“He’s an introvert, but he doesn’t want to conform,” says former Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. “What made Seattle perfect, and allowed him to flourish, was the fact that Pete Carroll never made him conform. Pete never gave him a dress code. Him talking to the media was not treated like part of the main thing. It’s a set of rules somebody at Park Avenue came up with, and they mean nothing to him.”

“The best teammate I’ve ever had,” said Seattle linebacker Malcomb Smith.

“There are days when I don’t feel like dealing with media,” says Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith, a friend of Lynch’s. “People think he’s hiding something because he doesn’t want to talk. He does his job and does it well, and he’s not interested in other things. There are people who use the media to give false perceptions of who they are. He’s not interested in any of that. He just wants to ball.”

Mariners Lineup

Would you be happy if the Seattle Mariners 2015 Opening Day lineup looked something like this?

1. Austin Jackson, CF

2. Melky Cabrera or Alex Rios, RF

3. Robinson Cano, 2B

4. Nelson Cruz, DH

5. Kyle Seager, 3B

6. Logan Morrison, 1B

7. Dustin Ackley, LF

8. Mike Zunino, C

9. Chris Taylor or Brad Miller, SS

Felix Hernandez, P

Everything’s in place except for the No. 2 spot in the batting order. The Mariners are believed to be the front-runners to sign Cabrera, who is coming off a year in which he hit .301 with 16 home runs and an .808 OPS for Toronto. The switch-hitter seems like an ideal  fit. The M’s are also believed to have targeted Alex Rios, who hit .280 with a .709 OPS for Texas last year. Either would be a significant upgrade, although I’m still intrigued about the upside of James Jones. He stole 27 bases in 108 games a year ago and we saw the excitement he brings to the game when he’s putting the ball in play.

Maybe the M’s will pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade and wind up with Matt Kemp or Justin Upton? Lookout Landing takes a look at which player would provide you with the best value going forward.

Lighting it up for Umpqua

Umpqua Community College’s Ashli Payne (so., Olympic High) had 35 points and 10 rebounds, and Sawyer Kluge (fr., Bremerton) added 16 points and seven rebounds in a 69-63 win over Lane in the championship game of the Bellevue College Bulldog Classic this weekend. Kluge had 31 points and eight rebounds against Big Bend; Payne went for 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists in that game. Umpqua, second at the NWAC Championships a year ago, is off to a 6-0 start. Payne’s averaging 19.2 points and 8.3 rebounds; Kluge 16.3 and 5.3.

Sherman, Baldwin mock the NFL

Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin mocked the NFL’s player policies and took the league to task for making players play two games in five days during a skit on Tuesday.

The Stanford guys came to the defense of Seattle Seahawks’ teammate Marshawn Lynch, who was fined $100,000 for not talking to the media.

The two didn’t take any questions after their performance.

Well, done gentlemen. That was pretty creative.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of play this story gets in the national media. Will the No Fun League fine the two Seahawks?

 

 

Morning reading after a pretty impressive Week 1 Seahawks’ victory

Earl Thomas needs to call some fair catches.

If that’s the biggest criticism of the Seattle Seahawks following Thursday night’s 36-16 victory over Green Bay — and Peter King of mmqb.si.com writes that it is — then it’s safe to say that this is going to be another fun season for the 12s. He also writes about that read-option pass play where Russell Wilson pulled the ball out of Marshawn Lynch’s belly and instead of running it, he threw a quick pass to Ricardo Lockette for a 33-yard touchdown. The story details how the Seahawks came by the play, which was used by Auburn and other college programs. Look for it at the high-school level, too. When I talked to Bremerton coach Nate Gillam about his team a couple weeks ago, he said they were installing the same play. The Knights got it from UCLA.

Before I get to the links, Zach Miller gets my vote for most underrated Seahawk. He’s the perfect fit for their offense. Here’s another look at that catch he made against the Packers.

And here’s what Vic Ketchman, editor of Packer.com had to say about the Seahawks in a Q&A column with Green Bay fans:

” You can run any scheme you want if you have the talent to run it well. That’s a college offense: Bootlegs, spread-option fakes, jet sweeps. They made it work, though, didn’t they? On defense, the Seahawks were pure vanilla. The Seahawks are a breath of fresh air. That’s not a Madden team, that’s an old-fashioned, line up and knock your block off team.”

OK, here we go. Here’s what some others are saying about the Hawks:

Mike Silver of NFL.com wrote this about Marshawn Lynch:

The question I asked was this: After all the talk coming out of Seattle over the offseason, and particularly during his short-lived training camp holdout, that the Seahawks were preparing for life without the eighth-year runner, that he’d be splitting carries with young understudies Christine Michael and Robert Turbin, that he plays a position that simply isn’t that valuable, was Thursday night’s performance a de facto rebuttal?

“Well, you know … people say stuff,” Lynch said, shaking his head before offering up an abiding smile. “(Screw) ’em.”

You’ve got to admit, the Beast looked really good. Maybe better than ever. He was hitting the hole fast, reading his blocks, cutting when he needed to and dragging people all over the field.

Speaking of offensive weapons, how about Percy Harvin? That “jet sweep” was pretty effective, huh? Here’s what Terry Blount of ESPN.com wrote about Harvin.

Art Thiel of Sportspress.nw.com writes: ” … No Golden Tate, No Breno Giacomini, no Red Bryant . . . nobody noticed.” No hangover for the Seahawks was the theme of his column.

The Packers didn’t test Richard Sherman. No once. They never threw at him. Kevin Petra of NFL.com addresses that angle.

Here’s another story that I came across later in the day. Andrew Sharp of Grantland.com writes about Marshawn and Percy and how they’re proving some skeptics wrong.

 

Memorial Day & other stuff I was thinking about

Shooting from the hip as the sun sets on Memorial Day and I’m thinking about my dad sitting in the back of a plane, landing and taking off escort carriers — known as “baby flat tops” or “jeep carriers” — in the Pacific and Atlantic during World War II. He was a radarman/gunner on torpedo bombers. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like. He tells the story of looking out the small window where he sat in the plane and he could see what looked like the entire Pacific fleet — big carriers, cruisers, destroyers — chugging towards the Philippines and Okinawa. Everywhere he looked, he said, he could see U.S. ships.

“I was never so proud to be an American,” he said.

Here’s some other things I was thinking about while driving home from Longview, where I watched the final day of the NWAACC baseball championships on Monday:

* NWAACC baseball, at the championship level, is about as good as it gets. I’d rather watch good college baseball than the pros. The emotion and energy is unreal. And when you get two rivals like Edmonds and Bellevue going head-to-head, you never know what’s going to happen. They met for the eighth time this season and Edmonds prevailed 7-6 in a  back-and-forth, momentum-changing game. It was the sixth NWAACC title in eight years for the powerful North region. Everett won it all in 2013. My son’s an assistant athletic director at Edmonds and Paul Gehring, the former Bremerton High/Centralia CC/York College catcher who assisted at Olympic College before taking an assistants job at Edmonds, is the strength and conditioning and catcher’s coach at Edmonds. Casey Bohlmann, a Central Kitsap/Bellevue CC/Hawaii-Hilo pitcher, is a first-year assistant at Bellevue, where his responsibilities include recruiting and helping coach pitchers.

* I admit it. I never appreciated Ray Allen as much as I should have when he was with the Sonics. Best clutch shooter of all time.

* Marshawn Lynch was a no-show when the Seahawks visited the White House last week. His mom told the Seattle Times the Seahawks’ running back “just didn’t want to go.” A lack of respect for President Obama? Not at all. It was consistent with how he handles off-the-field things. He doesn’t give many interviews and makes few public appearances. He had no obligation to show up in D.C.

* U.S. soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t coming clean with his reasoning for leaving Landon Donovan off the World Cup team. Klinsmann said: ‘The ones we chose are just that inch ahead of ones we didn’t choose in performance terms.” An inch? Donovan came up an inch short. I’m not buying it. If there are 23 U.S. players better than the 32-year-old Donovan, then the U.S. should not be an underdog at all; they should contend for the title.

* Some former NFL players are suing the league, alleging that professional football knowingly supplied them with illegal narcotics and addictive painkillers. Even if the NFL encouraged it, nobody held a gun to the players heads and forced them to take pills or have someone poke needles in their bodies.

* Willie Bloomquist is the Mariners’ best option at shortstop right now, especially against left-handed pitching. Everybody forgets that he was a regular most of 2011 (hit .266 in 381 at bats with 20 stolen bases) when he helped the Diamondbacks win the NL West. Bloomquist proved that he could play shortstop on an everyday basis and hit leadoff for Arizona. He hit .302 the following season (318 at bats) while serving as the everyday guy for an extended period, and hit .317 an injury-plagued 2013 season when he was limited to 48 games and 150 at bats. Yeah, I know he’s hitting .192, but that’ll go up in a hurry if he gets regular at bats. Besides, Brad Miller is hitting .150 and Nick Franklin’s at .138.i

* The Derek Jeter Farewell Tour comes to Safeco Field on June 10-11-12. He’s among the greatest Yankees in the storied history of that franchise. Nobody will wear No. 2 again. It’ll be retired alongside No. 3 (Babe Ruth), No. 4 (Lou Gehrig), No. 5 (Joe DiMaggio) and No. 7 (Mickey Mantle). Not sure where he ranks among those immortals. He’s never led the league in hitting or won an MVP, but has there ever been a more class act than Jeter? Oh, by the way, no Yankee in history has more hits or has played in more games than Jeter. There’s not a lot of players I’d pay money to see, but I’m gonna pay money to see Jeter when he passes through Safeco next month.

* The day was Oct. 28, 1988. I turned 36. The same day, I wrote a column for The Sun, explaining why the grandstands at Roosevelt Field should not have been torn down. It should have been refurbished. For newcomers, Roosevelt was a grand old stadium that sat where there’s now a parking lot at Olympic College next to the Warren Avenue Bridge. I’ll turn 62 this October and still cringe when I look at that parking lot. I’m still from the school that says when you have a piece of usable recreational property you hang onto it. You can’t replace a field in the core of the city. Twenty-six years later, we know that to be true.

* Yeah, I was going through some old boxes, trying to downsize a bit when I came across the column on Roosevelt Field. I also came across a 1946 Bremerton Bluejackets program. It cost 10 cents back in the day. That the was inaugural season of the Bluejackets (yes, lower case J; the current West Coast League Kitsap BlueJackets spell it with a capital J). The Bremerton Bluejackets were a member of the Western International League, a Class B professional team. They were managed by Sam Gibson and the team was referred to as the “Gibsonmen” at times. Pitcher Joe Sullivan and second baseman Frank Plouf were the only Bremerton players on the roster that year. Oh, by the way, the Bluejackets, who were only around three seasons, played their games at Roosevelt Field.

 

 

 

All Seahawks: Jersey No. 12 cracks NFL’s Top-10 list

The No. 12 jersey of the Seattle Seahawks, which honors its fans, is now the No. 10 selling jersey in the NFL. Russell Wilson’s No. 3 is No. 1, Marshawn’s Lynch’s No. 24 is No. 5 and Richard Sherman’s No. 25 comes in at No. 6.

Michael Bennett had a helluva year for the Seahawks and he’s going to test the free-agent market. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Just gotta ask, how many of you knew who Bennett was prior to the start of the 2013 season?

The 10-best NFL free-agent bargains? This story by Chris Wesseling at NFL.com rates Golden Tate No. 1 and Walter Thurmond No. 3.

Here’s ESPN’s primer on free agency as it pertains to the Seahawks.

The New York Daily News takes a look a the top 20 free agents and predicts that Bennett will wind up in … Seattle. The paper says Golden Tate will sign with the Jets.

Quarterback Russell Wilson worked out with the Texas Rangers earlier this week. Wilson played a season of Class A ball before, and he enjoyed the day. The Rangers also enjoyed having Wilson around. “He can teach kids about attitude and commitment and work ethic and application and I think that’s what life is about. Period,” said Texas manager Ron Washington.

Wilson was asked how much he wished he could have got in the spring game for an inning.

“How much did I want to play an inning? How much did I want to play the whole game is the question,” he said.

Cornerback Brandon Browner has been reinstated by the NFL and will face a four-game suspension, but somebody’s going to sign the free agent. According to this Bleacher Report, the onus is on Browner to prove that he is worthy of a multi-year contract.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prime Time gets primo interview with Beast Mode at Media Day

Marshawn Lynch lasted 6 minutes, 20 seconds at Super Bowl Media Day before escaping the big stage.

Deion “Prime Time” Sanders of NFL Network hunted Beast Mode down, and the interview with the Seattle Seahawks star was priceless. Here’s a portion of it.

“You look good,” Sanders told Lynch, who was wearing sunglasses and had the hood of his Seahawks’ jacket pulled up.

“(Bleep), so do you,” said Lynch, fingering Prime Time’s suit coat.

Sanders told Lynch it looked like he was ready to play.

Lynch: “Yep, that’s what time it is.”

Sanders then asked if Lynch was a little shy.

Lynch: “I’m just about that action boss. … I ain’t never seen no talk win ya nothing. Been like that since I was a little kid. I was raised like that.”

 Asked if he was excited about the game, Lynch, wearing sunglasses, said, “Hell, yeah.  yeaaahh!”

Sanders then said some think the Seahawks will be in trouble if Lynch doesn’t get untracked.

Lynch: “They gonna have to stop all of us. I’m a beast, but we got some dogs.”

Sanders: You don’t like podiums do you? What is your thing?

Lynch: “Lay back, kick back, mind my business, stay in my own lane.”

Sanders: He told Lynch that NFL Network and former star back Marshall Faust loved him.

Lynch: “That’s huge. He’s a great.”

Sanders: “We all love you.”

Lynch then went third-person on us.

“That’s big time. Beast Mode love and appreciate that.”

Here’s the full interview.

49ers-Seahawks: Greatest rivalry in sports?

Seahawks vs. 49ers: The Trilogy.

That’s what some are calling Sunday’s NFC Championship game (3:30 p.m., FOX). Granted, it’s the third meeting between the Hawks and Niners this season, but this rivalry goes back to 2007, when Pete Carroll was coaching at USC and Jim Harbaugh was coaching Stanford. Stanford upset the Trojans that day, and two years later the Cardinal did it again. The 2009 game featured the now-famous post-game meeting when Carroll, apparently upset that Harbaugh attempted a two-point conversation late in the game with a healthy lead.

Carroll asked Harbaugh: “What’s your deal?”

Harbaugh came back with: “What’s your deal?”

Here’s the deal. These coaches, and these teams,  don’t like each other.

There are those who believe that Manning vs. Brady is the greatest rivalry in the NFL. It dates back to when Peyton Manning was slinging passes for the Indianapolis Colts and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were the toast of football. Manning, now with the Broncos, will take another shot at Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday (noon, CBS). By the way, Brady’s won 10 of 14 career meetings against Manning.

I think the Seahawks-49ers rivalry has eclipsed the Manning-Brady rivalry. Maybe it’s just because we’re so close to it, but these two West Coast rivals have forged perhaps the greatest rivalry in all of professional sports. The survivor of this game will be a lot like the cowboy who manages to hang on for eight seconds against the biggest, toughest, most physical bull in the world.

The teams are similar in makeup, featuring the most complete and feared defenses in football. The Seahawks have the best defensive backfield, and they’re deep and talented in the other spots, too. The Niners are loaded along the defensive line, and like Seattle, don’t have any weaknesses on that side of the ball.

Knowing the defenses are so sound, the offenses don’t ask a lot out of young quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, although both have been electrifying at times.

The Seahawks ram Marshawn Lynch behind a pretty good offensive line; the 49ers have Frank Gore, and perhaps the best offensive line in football.

The Seahawks have Percy Harvin, providing he’s cleared after sustaining a concussion late in the first half of the win over the Saints on Saturday. We’ve only seem a glimpse of the guy, but it’s pretty clear that Harvin is a rare talent, and opens things up for the Seahawks on offense. The rest of the receivers are sure-handed and have shown an ability to make big plays when they get open,. The 49ers have Anquan Boldin, who is as clutch as they come, Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. As good as Seattle’s secondary is, these receivers will be tough to stop.

It’ll be interesting if any bulletin board material shows up during the week.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, who played for Harbaugh at Stanford, called his ex-coach a bully and said he was part of the reason why he dropped to the fifth-round in the NFL draft. Cornerback Brandon Browner said he wanted to “put his hands around Harbaugh’s neck.”

San Francisco running back Anthony Dixon, in a tweet before the Week 2 game, which turned out to be a 29-3 Seattle victory, tweeted: “Extra weight on the racks all week getting less sleep preparing for these She-Hawks,” he wrote. “I love hostile environments Imma feel right at home.”

Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright responded: “lol the she hawks!! I’ll be sure relay the message to the fellas. Its gone be a long night for you and the forty whiners.”

Dixon and Wright both deleted their tweets.

After San Francisco beat Carolina 23-10 to earn a shot at the Seahawks, Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin tweeted: “Wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Pete Carroll talked about the game on his ESPN 710 Seattle radio show Monday morning.

“I think it’s the matchup that everybody wanted like to see,” Carroll said. “We don’t mind it one bit and they don’t mind it, either. It’ll be a great one.

“These are the two teams everyone was talking about early in the year, so it’s interesting how accurate all the (soothsayers) were. There’s not a better matchup you could find right now in the NFC. We’re thrilled about it.”

The 49ers are peaking. They’ll bring an eight-game winning streak to CenturyLink. One of those wins was a 19-17 victory over the Hawks last month in San Francisco.

Nevada oddsmakers favor the Seahawks by three points. In other words, the bookies give Seattle the edge because of the home-field environment. As electric as the 12s have been in the past, you know it’ll be even louder and more boisterous on Sunday. That’s going to be tough for the 49ers to overcome.

This game might come down to the team that can control its emotions and be the most disciplined. Leave the smack-talk in the locker room. Now’s not the time to go all Jimmy Graham on the opposition. Keep your mouth shut and play. I don’t see the Seahawks or 49ers losing sight of that, not with what’s at stake.

Here’s something to chew on: The home team has won four straight int his series.

Here’s something else to chew on. Since Carroll and Harbaugh have been in the NFL, Harbaugh and the 49ers are 4-2 against the Seahawks, but they’ve been outscored 71-16 in their last games, both losses, at the Clink.

So here’s the deal: If you’re going to the game, bring some sani-wipes because this is going to be like sitting ringside at a  classic heavyweight championship  fight. Snot and sweat and blood are going to be flying.

And when Harbaugh and Carroll shake hands after the game, the winner, no doubt, will be tempted to say: “Hey, you know what the deal is? We’re going to the Super Bowl and you’re going home.”

Some links

Here’s another look at the Seahawks-49ers rivalry.

As I type this, 63% percent of the fans in this ESPN poll feel the Seahawks will beat the 49ers.

Are Seahawks trying to keep 49ers’ fans from buying tickets to Sunday’s championship game?

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that no team has an emotional leader like Jim Harbaugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitna’s gift; Edgar for HOF? Tanaka a good fit for Mariners? Knights ranked No. 9

Coolest story of the week: Lincoln High football coach and match teacher Jon Kitna, 41, signing with the Dallas Cowboys to be a backup quarterback. Wait, it gets better. It’s been reported that the Tacoma native is donating the $53,000 he earns this week to Lincoln High, his old school. His generosity probably doesn’t surprise those who know him. Kitna’s goal when he accepted the football job at Lincoln was to build “R.E.A.L. Men” who (R)eject passivity, (E)mpathize with others, (A)ccept responsibility and (L)ead courageously.

The case for and against Edgar Martinez when it comes to deciding if he’s a Hall of Famer or not. Since the DH has been part of the game for 30 years, it seems silly to me for voters to punish a player because he was a DH. And you can make a pretty good argument that Edgar’s the best DH in the history of the sport. What do you think?

Scott Weber of Looking Landing has some good thoughts on Masahiro Tanaka and why the Mariners would be better off spending big bucks to land the Japanese pitcher than on an outfielder like Nelson Cruz. You have to admit, a starting rotation of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tanaka, Taijuan Walker and Erasmo Ramirez or James Paxton looks pretty good on paper.

And Fangraphs.com has come up with some projections for the 2014 Seattle Mariners.

Recommended reading: Michael Bramberger of Sports Illustrated wrote a  pretty thought-provoking column about Tiger Woods in November. It all revovled around former Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee writing a piece where he questioned Tiger for being “a little cavalier with the rules.”

Tickets for the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Jan. 25 are on sale. They cost $30, not $35 as I wrote in a previous post. Sorry about that.

Bremerton High has cracked the Seattle Times’ Class 2A boys basketball top-10 rankings. The Knights (6-0) are No. 9 this week. I watched the Knights beat Port Angeles before Christmas (look for my story on senior Deonti Dixon on Friday) and this could be a special season if they keep improving. Fundamentally, they’ve got a ways to go on defense, but their quickness makes up for a lot of that.  Keep your eye on these guys. The Associated Press state rankings should be out after the first of the year.

Steve Sarkisian talks about why he left Washington and about winning a national championship at USC.

Don’t know how I missed this one, but I’ve got to share it. You’re a mean one, Marshawn Lynch. This is Dave Ross’ musical tribute to the Seahawks’ running back.

Are you having a tough time getting excited about the Washington Huskies and the Fight Hunger Bowl? Me too.  With the coaching change and the Tosh Lupoi situation and the UW losing out on prize recruit Budda Baker, the bowl game itself seems pretty meaningless. It’ll be interesting to see how Marques Tuiasosopo does as an interim head coach — you can’t help but pull for that guy — and the possibility of a nine-win season, I guess, is a big deal. But the opponent, BYU, doesn’t do it for me. The UW and Cougars, now an independent,  have never met in a bowl game, but they’ve played eight times, six since 1996 (the series is tied 4-4) with BYU winning the last three, including a 23-17 victory the last time the met in 2010.