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Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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And the Super Bowl champion Seahawks open the 2014 season against …

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Drumroll please ….

Wednesday night, ladies and gentleman, is the night many of you have been waiting for. We’re just a little over three hours away and I can feel the excitement building. The world might stop spinning for a few minutes.

I’m sure some of you have planned NFL Schedule Release parties. The NFL Network has a three-hour show planned, starting at 5 p.m. ESPN2 is also televising the announcements live. Can’t get enough of that NFL, you know. NBA TV ratings, no doubt, will take a hit. The Seattle Mariners are lucky they played a day game on Wednesday. Well, maybe it doesn’t matter when the Mariners play. Seattle and all of the surrounding towns are all about the Seahawks these days.

Tonight we find out who the Seahawks will open defense of their Super Bowl title against. It’ll be a Thursday night game on Sept. 4. Will it be the rival 49ers, or will the league give us a Seattle-Denver rematch? How about a You Mad Bro II — Tom Brady and the Patriots against Sherm and the Legion of Boom? Or maybe the  NFL will send the Green Bay Packers back to the Northwest?

We already know the opponents. Tonight, we find out the times and dates of their games.

Seattle’s home games will be against: Dallas, NY Giants, Denver, Oakland, Green Bay and the NFC West rivals Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis.

Seattle road games: Philadelphia, Washington, Kansas City, San Diego, Carolina and NFC West rivals Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis.

Will the Seattle Seahawks play on Thanksgiving? Will they end the season against the 49ers? Regardless of who and when they play, I’ve got a feeling it’ll seem like it’s prime time all the time for the Hawks. Will their long trips — at Philadelphia, at Washington and at Carolina — be spread out? Will the Seahawks get the Chargers in September when the sunny weather could make for a nice road trip? 

Once the schedules are announced, get ready for  the hype and analysis. If you’re an NFL fan, it’s one of the best days of the off-season. At least, it’ll give you something to talk about until the NFL Draft on May 8-10.

This schedule stuff is so big that news outlets are trying to be first when it comes to digging up information:

The New York Giants schedule has apparently leaked and shows them playing at Seattle on Nov. 9: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/giants/prime-time-players-giants-night-games-2014-schedule-blog-entry-1.1766624 …


Baseball, father-sons & other Thursday stuff

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Attended the Mariners’ home opener on Tuesday with my dad and son. Something about baseball and dads and sons that’s special. Mix in my best friend, who is like a brother to me, another son to my dad and another dad to my son and it was a really special day.

But back to that original thought about baseball and dads and sons. Baseball’s different than any other sport and it all starts, I think, with playing catch.  No words are necessary. There’s just something magical about it and the sound of the ball popping in the leather glove.

My dad, now 89, would probably have a tough time playing catch today, mostly because he blew out his arm while throwing so much batting practice pitches to me and my friends while growing up.

Some quick thoughts on the Mariners:

You can’t help but be impressed with the easy-going, relaxed way Robinson Cano plays the game. He oozes confidence and that’s going to rub off on some of his teammates. I think it already has.

It’s so early, but manager Lloyd McClendon seems to be making all of the right moves. We’ll see, but he seems to have a good eye for talent. I like that he settled on Abraham Almonte as his center fielder and leadoff hitter early on. I rolled my eyes at first when he handed the first base job to Justin Smoak, but it retrospect that was a good, confidence-building move. If guys don’t produce, I think McClendon has a deep enough bench and enough talent at Tacoma — Nick Franklin, Endy Chavez, Cole Gillespie — that he won’t hesitate to make a move. He’s already rotating Michael Saunders, Logan Morrison and Stefen Romero in right field.

I was the guy who predicted the M’s would win the AL West. That was mostly predicated on the rest of the division slipping back some, and the M’s strong starting pitching. If it stays healthy, I think Seattle stays in the race all the way. James Paxton’s visit to the DL for a strained lat doesn’t seem serious, but he’s a key element to the rotation. I think the big lefty is just as good as Taijuan Walker, who is working his way back from injury, as is Hisashi Iwakuma. If they stay healthy, I’m sticking to my pick.

Corey Hart gave us a glimpse of what he could do for the M’s on Tuesday. I wasn’t impressed with his first two swings as he fell in an 0-2 hole against Angels starter Hector Santiago. I turned to my son and said, “Is this guy going to be the next Richie Sexson?” A couple seconds later he Hart crushed a pitch for a three-run moonshot home run to left. He lined a ball over the dead center-field fence for a homer in his next at bat. It got out about thisquick. If he stays healthy, Hart could be a steal at $6 million plus incentives.

One more M’s thought: Felix Hernandez is among a lot of MLB players who wear their baseball hats a little crooked, but new closer Fernando Rodney takes that look to a new level. His hat is practically sideways. How does it stay on his head?

More stuff

South Kitsap grad and Chicago Cubs’ starter Jason Hammel got his second win and had a little fun with first baseman Anthony Rizzo after the game.

North Mason grad and Central Washington infielder Kasey Bielec is third in batting (.398) in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Bielec, a junior, has five home runs and 28 RBI for the Wildcats (18-13, 11-9 GNAC). He was 4-for-6 on Sunday in a split with Western Oregon.

North Kitsap grad and former Kitsap BlueJacket Dan Jewitt of the Omaha Mavericks was the Summit League Player of the Week last week. The junior outfielder hit .526 (10-for-19) with six RBI and two doubles. Jewitt’s hitting a team-high .400 for the Mavericks (14-12, 3-3 Summit), starting 15 of the 18 games he’s played.

Drew Vettleson’s still looking for his first hit at Double-A Harrisburg. The Senators outfielder is hitless in 16 at bats. The former Central Kitsap star  was traded to the Washington Nationals by the Tampa Bay Rays organization prior to the start of spring training.

Jason Day and Steve Stricker. If I was in a Masters’ pool, I wish I had one of those guys. Wonder how long Fred Couples will contend? You know he will. He’s always on the top of the leaderboard for a couple days, then he fades. Maybe this is the year he hangs tough?

Richard Sherman’s second annual celebrity softball game will be July 20 at Safeco Field. More information here.

Don’t forget, Willie Bloomquist and Bree Schaaf will be at Port Orchard’s McCormick Woods on Thursday night, helping the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable raise money for the Elton Goodwin scoreboard and Elton Goodwin Foundation. Starts at 6 p.m. Everyone’s welcome. Lots of silent auction items available: Robinson Cano signed jersey and bat, Felix Hernandez signed jersey and ball, Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners tickets etc…


Seahawks and DeSean Jackson? Read the latest buzz

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The Jared Allen watch has ended for Seahawks’ fans, but it’s time to start a DeSean Jackson watch.

The Eagles released the star wide receiver on Friday, and it didn’t take long for everybody to start speculating on Seattle’s chances of signing him.

Here’s some of the buzz:

Here’s what Doug Farrar of SI.com wrote about the Seahawks’ possible interest in Jackson:

There are two things we know about Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll — they’ll turn every stone to improve their team, and they will take risks on players with “interesting” pasts. They took a shot on Marshawn Lynch in 2010, and Lynch rewarded the team by becoming the heart of the franchise. Lynch played with Jackson at Cal, and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane has Cal ties as well. The Seahawks need a speed receiver with Golden Tate moving on to the Lions and Percy Harvin’s injury status as a constant variable. This is a team with a fairly strong locker room, which could help. And if Jackson is looking to sign with a winner and will take a “prove-it” deal to do so, there are few better options.”

Farrar also lists some other possible landing spots for Jackson.

Here’s what USA Today had to say why Seattle might be interested in Jackson:

They have to replace Golden Tate. The combination of DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin would be both scary for opponents and scary for the Seahawks. It would be must see TV.”

Thirty minutes after the Eagles released him, Jackson’ spokesperson told USA Today that six teams had called inquiring about his services. Jackson also released a statement denying any involvement with gangs.

From RantSports.com:

“If signed with the Seahawks, Jackson would immediately take over as Seattle’s top receiver. While they have Percey Harvin, he’s an injury waiting to happen and can’t be relied upon. Doug Baldwin showed some promise during their run to the Super Bowl, but is best suited as a No. 3 receiver. After that, the amount of talent is questionable at best. Jackson would bring legitimate No. 1 receiver ability to the Seahawks.

“The only issue standing in the way of a dealis Jackson’s alleged ties to a Los Angeles area gang, which are believed to have played a role in the Eagles’ decision to release him. The Cal product has vehemently denied such ties, but concerns will obviously linger. Before they get seriously involved in talks, expect the Seahawks to do their due diligence.

“Having Jackson in their offense would certainly make things easier for Russell Wilson moving forward, but off-field concerns must be alleviated first. Assuming there’s little to the gang ties story, expect the Seahawks to be big players in signing Jackson.”

More links:

Danny Kelly of fieldgulls.com wraps it up pretty good in this piece. It even includes a photo of Carroll and Jackson in Jackson’s living room when he was a high school all-american. Jackson originally posted the photo on Instagram.

Brady Henderson of 710 ESPN Seattle writes, among other things, about Jackson’s connection to Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll — he recruited Jackson when he was at USC — and to former Cal teammates Marshawn Lynch and Brandon Mebane.

Five days ago, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.nbc.com reported that the Seahawks had no interest in Jackson. Friday, after Jackson was released, Florio had changed his tune, writing that the Seahawks were one of the teams previously interested.


Jared Allen takes the money, and who can blame him?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Let’s see, Super Bowl or a four-year, $32 million deal with $15.5 million of it guaranteed?

You can’t blame defensive end Jared Allen for taking the money the Chicago Bears threw at him. That’s a lot of dough.

Besides — and you might not want to hear this — there’s no guarantee the Seattle Seahawks are going to win the Super Bowl next year? The New England Patriots (2004 and 2005) are the last team to repeat. The Hawks might be the favorite going in, and deservedly so, but repeating will not be easy.

If you believe what you read, Seattle offered Allen a two-year, $12 million contract — and about $8 million of it was guaranteed. Not chump change, but it’s not $32 million and the guaranteed money is the big thing. He’s getting nearly twice as much guaranteed money in Chicago.

Hey, it would have been nice to throw Allen in the mix with Michael Bennett, Brandon Mebane and the rest of Seattle’s defensive linemen, but you can’t blame the former Vikings’ star for saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

It’ll be interesting to hear what Allen has to say during his press conference with the Bears’ on Monday.

And it’ll be interesting to see what the Seahawks do in the draft. If they were willing to pay Allen that much, it tells me they must feel there have a need for another top defensive end. There’s also a need for another offensive lineman, and the Seahawks could use another wide receiver, too. They are reportedly still in the mix to bring back Sidney Rice, whom they released.

Here’s a look at the Seahawks free agency scorecard:

Free agents lost: Wide receiver Golden Tate (Detroit), defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (Tampa Bay), cornerbacks Brandon Browner  (New England) and Walter Thurmond (NY Giants), offensive linemen Breno Giacomino (NY Jets) and Paul McQuistan (Cleveland) and safety Chris Maragos (Philadelphia).

Players released: Defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, wide receiver Sidney Rice.

Free agents re-signed: Defensive end Michael Bennett, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, kicker Steven Hauschka,  defensive tackle Tony McDaniel and tight end Anthony McCoy.

Free agents signed from other teams: Former Jacksonville WR Taylor Price, CFL wide receiver Chris Matthews.

 

 


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

Friday, March 7th, 2014

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Meet the 12th Mann

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

We wrote about Poulsbo’s Patrick Seahawk Duncan a couple weeks ago.

Yeah, Seahawk is his legal middle name.

Here’s another one for you. Seattle Seahawks fans named their baby Cydnee Leigh 12th Mann. Yep, read about it here. She’s adorable.

 


Prime Time gets primo interview with Beast Mode at Media Day

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

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.


Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman …

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Everybody’s got an opinion about Richard Sherman, who has become the face, ah, make that the voice, of the Seattle Seahawks. The Internet is full of Sherman stories. Before we get to some of them, here’s my quick thought on what transpired at the end of Sunday’s game at CenturyLink:

It’s an emotional game, and Sherman clearly got caught up in the excitement and energy of making a game-saving play in the biggest game of his life, but he’s apologized for taking the attention away from his teammates. I didn’t mind the post-game rant, I rather enjoyed it and I’m a card-carrying AARP-member. I didn’t like the choke sign. That was bush-league. Can he tone it down? Sure, but this is a supremely confident athlete. He’s a smack-talker, but he’s not a thug. He wears his bravado on his sleeve like Muhammad Ali. He’s the mouth that roars, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the bright lights of Super Bowl media week in New York. You’re not going to get a lot of boring, cliche-like answers from him, but I don’t think he’ll give Peyton Manning and the Broncos any bulletin board material either. Richard Sherman’s too smart for that, and I think he’ll learn from how he reacted following the Seahawks’ NFC Championship game.

The most disturbing part of the Richard Sherman saga? Reading some of the ignorant and racially-implied online comments directed toward Sherman on the Internet. That tells me more about their character than his.

He talks about that and more in this revealing interview with Rachel Nichols of CNN.com.

Love him or hate him, Peter King of mmqbSI.com says everybody is fascinated about the Seahawks’ cornerback.

“I think this story has really caught on because everyone loves a villain,’’ said Dr. Annemarie Farrell, a professor of sports management and media at Ithaca College. She is an expert in fan behavior. “There’s not a ton of villains on either of these teams that people can talk about. We can’t all talk about Peyton Manning every day all the time. That’s boring. Sherman, on the other hand, put himself out there, and America really latched on. That’s why it became a bigger story than the game.

“There’s a lot of different storylines with Richard and reasons for why this blew up, but I think a really important one here is race. This seethes into this narrative of race in America and race logic. Think about who Richard Sherman is. He’s a kid from Compton who graduated second in his class and went to Stanford to earn a degree in Communications. He’s at a critical point in his football career, makes a huge play, then a reporter sticks a mike in his face. What does he do? He not only speaks, he shouts. And now you have an angry, almost violent black man, in a very passionate moment, yelling on national television.’’

Stanford coach David Shaw was the defensive coordinator when Sherman played for the Cardinal. Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News asked him about Sherman.

“Bill Walsh said you want guys with high character who are great players and great people,” Shaw said.  “But every once in a while, you have to line up and defend Jerry Rice. And the guy who does that has to be on the edge. That’s where Richard is.”

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes:

There is nothing wrong with not liking Sherman. As sure as he is free to act as he chooses, fans are free to judge him on that and react accordingly. That’s part of the deal. The only mistake is to assume that everyone in the NFL should act the same way – or more specifically act like you think you would act if it were you who was playing the game.

Jamie Fritz, who manages Sherman’s marketing deals, told ESPN.com: “We live in a world where so many are politically correct, so many are all about media training. There’s one thing that you can count on from Richard, and that is that he’s always going to speak his mind.”

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times defends Sherman. He writes:

“… he is the example of everything that is wrong with some modern professional football fans. A guy fights for three hours and winds up throwing the punch of his life in the most important professional moment of his life, and America expects him to immediately start blowing kisses?”

Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune is among those who finds Sherman refreshing:

“You want classy? Go to the opera. Sherman sounded like football. Good for him. Good for our entertainment.

“Admit it, you loved it, too. Stop lying to yourselves. It’s a bad habit, it’s patently phony, and people are already pointing at you and talking about you.

“Sherman was himself. He was a thing, and it was hysterical. He was funny, colorful, entertaining. This is not a G-8 meeting, people. It’s entertainment.

“It’s entertainment that includes a guy suffering a torn ACL for our pleasure.

“It’s entertainment that includes players welcoming the early stages of brain damage for our pleasure.

“Wise up, folks. When you’re asking people to bring on early dementia and early death, yeah, there’s a chance they’ll be geeked up.

“And when a player makes the key play in a conference championship game and has a live mic stuck in front of him, then yeah, there’s a chance he’ll still be geeked up.”

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News writes that Sherman has made it all about himself.

“Richard Sherman may make you root against him, against his team, root even harder for Peyton Manning to come win the big game in Eli’s house. But Sherman’s face was as much the face of his sport as Peyton’s was on championship Sunday. His voice, like it or not, drowned out everything else, even all that noise in Seattle.

“He hits town in a week. It is more likely Richard Sherman runs out of saliva before he runs out of material. Peyton may light him up in the game, it’s happened to loudmouth defensive backs in Super Bowls before. Until then, Sherman will think all the bright lights of the big city are about him.”

ALSO: According to vegasinsider.com, the favorite is just 1-5 in the last six Super Bowls and 3-9 in the last 12 against the spread. Several Vegas bookies had the Seahawks as early favorites, but the line moved in Denver’s favor and the Broncos are now 2-point favorites. That line, of course, could move as we get closer to the game.


Blue Friday links

Friday, January 17th, 2014

You might have heard about the football game that’s going to be played on Sunday in Seattle: Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers (3:30 p.m. FOX) for the right to advance to the Super Bowl.

I’m working on a story about Poulsbo’s Patrick Seahawk Duncan (yes, he changed in middle name to Seahawk). In the meantime,  here’s a few samples of what people are writing about the game. No, wait, I mean THE game:

Gonna start with this piece about the culture of the 12th Man as witnessed by an outsider. Really captures the passion of the Seahawks’ fans, and includes a video of the Seahawks anthem, or at least one of the anthems that’s been recorded by local artists.

Pete Carroll or Jim  Harbaugh? Who’s the better man? Who’s the better coach? Rick Reilly tackles those questions in this column on ESPN.com.

John Clayton, ESPN.com’s professor of football, calls the Seahawks-49ers rivalry one of the best in the NFL since he started covering the league in the early 1970s. He rates the top five rivalries in that time.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com studies the tapes of the first two meetings between the Seahawks and 49ers and he has some interesting thoughts on the matchup.

“I don’t know if there’s going to be handshakes after this one,” says Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.

Sherman praises fellow cornerback Byron Maxwell in his MMQB.com column. He writes: “At this point, he’s well-prepared, and he’s playing as well as any corner in the NFL …”

Who has the edge? NFL.com experts break it down position-by-position.

This Associated Press story deals with how the 49ers are going to try and handle the noise-factor at CenturyLink.

And this Associated Press story addresses the noise issue from a Seahawks’ defensive standpoint.

Want stats? Here’s AP’s capsule look at the 49ers and Hawks.

The year’s Final Four — Seahawks vs. 49ers in the NFC, and Broncos vs. the Patriots in the AFC — doesn’t get much better. Check out CBS.com’s rundown of the two games.

Writers — one who covers the Seahawks and one who covers the Niners — break it all down.

And a late story: Brendon Mebane, the unsung hero on Seattle’s defensive line, a story by Doug Farrar for SI.com’s MMQB.


49ers-Seahawks: Greatest rivalry in sports?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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