Ryan's Place

Thursday, January 13, 2005

My First Lambeau Experience

I attended my first Seahawks game of the year this past Monday at Green Bay. Hopefully it will not be my last this year. After putting on my Anthony Simmons jersey, I crammed into an already packed Ford Escape with my brother, mother, father, and longtime friend Adam. There was an excitement in the air that day. It would be my first Lambeau experience.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ryan (aka BBlades89 on the forums). I was born in Washington and have lived in Lynnwood and Kennewick. However my parents moved our family to Wisconsin. Although I have lived in Packer Country for most of my life, I remain a diehard Seahawks fan. I have taken a lot of heat throughout my years of school for being a Seahawks fan. I really wanted to catch a game in Green Bay last year, but just couldn’t get it done. Fortunately for me, luck was on my side. I was finally able to snag some tickets for the Monday night game. It seemed as if everything was going my way.

However, Murphy’s Law was in full effect for much of August 16. First, we hit a traffic jam in Oshkosh. It took over an hour to move 2 miles. Once the traffic finally picked up, we were almost hit TWICE by the same vehicle. I don’t know what happened to the driver (fell asleep, stroke, heart attack?), but when I looked over, her head was down and her eyes were closed. The lady went into the median twice and almost nailed a semi among other things. After flooring it out of there and dialing 911, we finally made it to Lombardi Avenue.

All obstacles aside, we made it to the game on time and in one piece. I found the MidWest Seahawkers and tailgated with them for a while and even won a Marcus Trufant autograph. Let me tell you all…Green Bay knows how to tailgate (I’m sure you were all aware of that though)! It is an experience that can’t really be described, but everyone should go through it at least once firsthand. A mini-Packer band even came over to us and started playing songs. Nobody cared that we were Seahawks fans, they still treated us like everyone else (minus some good natured ribbing). Since I live in Wisconsin, I basically knew that most Packer fans aren’t too bad, but it got pretty interesting once the National Anthem was finished.

Matt Hasselbeck was booed two or three times during the game. I guess that’s not saying much, because Tim Couch was also constantly booed. There were two drunk ladies behind us who, during the course of the game, spilled beer on my brother’s shirt, hit on my brother, hit on my friend, and hit on my brother again. That wouldn’t normally be too bad except for the fact that they were all old enough to be my mother. If that wasn’t bad enough, we had to listen to a guy behind us yelling about how the season was over by the 3rd Quarter. Other than these minor setbacks, the game was very enjoyable. Not to mention, the Seahawks put on a good show.

Market Predicts the NFL? (2004)

I wrote this for Seahawks.net....It was also posted on Yahoo Sports.

It seems like I am seeing more forecasts these days than I can count. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I decided to make my own unique forecast. I was just lying in bed the other night and an idea popped in my head. This has nothing to do with football knowledge or win/loss records. I decided to find the closest ticker symbol for each team and am using the annual yield (current as of when I wrote the article) to determine who will win the Super Bowl. This is all in fun and fictional for the most part. I will tell you what I think occasionally (oh no!), but I want this to be more of a fun forecast of how the NFL season will play out. I hope you enjoy my version of Market NFL.

AFC East
1. New England Patriots: Symbol – PATS.NS (Patspin India Ltd); Yield – 5.79%
2. Buffalo Bills: Symbol – BUFBX (Buffalo Balanced); Yield – 3.12%
3. New York Jets: Symbol – JETS.KL (Kumpulan Jetson Bhd); Yield – 2%
4. Miami Dolphins: Symbol – MIAEX (Mercantile International Equity A); Yield - .31%

This one looks like it could actually happen. Nothing really new here: The Pats are on top and it sucks to be a Dolphins fan (this year at least). The Bills are right where I would have them anyways. I personally think the Bills will make the playoffs this year. Watch out New England!

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Symbol – PIT.L (Pilkington's Tiles Group PLC); Yield – 14.54%
2. Cincinnati Bengals: Symbol – CIN (Cinergy Corp); Yield – 4.70%
3. Baltimore Ravens: Symbol – BA.L (BAE Systems PLC); Yield – 4.38%
4. Cleveland Browns: Symbol – CLE (Claire's Stores Inc); Yield – 1.21%

The Steelers completely dominate this one! They look to be contenders late in January. The Bengals & Ravens look to have a tight race (which just might happen this year). However, the Browns are still stuck at the bottom. Don’t worry Cleveland, your stock may be rising (pun intended).

AFC South
1. Tennessee Titans: Symbol – TEN.AX (Ten Network Holdings Ltd); Yield – 7.03%
2. Indianapolis Colts: Symbol – IND (ING GROEP NV); Yield – 6.70%
3. Houston Texans: Symbol – TXN (Texas Instruments Inc); Yield - .43%
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Symbol – JAGIX (Janus Growth & Income); Yield - .32%

Although I like the Colts over the Titans this year, I can definitely see this one happening. Look at the drop off from the top two to the bottom two teams. This seems pretty realistic to me as well. While I like the Texans & Jags (and have high hopes for them), they are nowhere near the Colts & Titans yet.

AFC West
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Symbol – KCTX.BO (K C TEXTILES-Z); Yield – 7.90%
2. Oakland Raiders: Symbol – OAKF; Yield – 1.82%
3. San Diego Chargers: Symbol – SDCDX (SEI Asset Alloc Divr Conserv Income D); Yield – 1.18%
4. Denver Broncos: Symbol – BRO (Brown & Brown Inc); Yield - .65%

So much for the Broncos taking first place in the West. The Chiefs are strong again this year with a solid 7.90%. They should be players come late January. The Raiders bounce back after an embarrassing 2003 outing and take second place in the division. However I don’t think it will be enough when the playoffs roll around.

Division Winners
New England Patriots
Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee Titans
Kansas City Chiefs

Wild Cards
Indianapolis Colts
Cincinnati Bengals

The Pats, Titans, Chiefs, and Colts were all in the playoffs last year, so that’s not a huge surprise, but the Bengals and Steelers put on solid performances to earn their spots. Now let’s see who’s going to the big dance.

AFC Championship Game
Pittsburgh Steelers over the Kansas City Chiefs

The AFC got a little weird, but actually came out quite normal considering. So without further delay, here’s my continuation of Market NFL.

NFC East
1. Philadelphia Eagles: Symbol – PHI_pa (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co); Yield – 8.56%
2. New York Giants: Symbol – NY (iShares Trust); Yield – 1.36%
3. Washington Redskins: Symbol – WASAX (Ivy Asset Strategy A); Yield – 1.23%
4. Dallas Cowboys: Symbol – DAL.MI (Datalogic SpA); Yield – 1.03%

There’s a huge drop off from the Eagles to the 2nd place team. Speaking of the 2nd place team: RON DAYNE! Yeah, I have been rooting for him (my Badger roots are showing), and hopefully he can finally come through for NY.

NFC North
1. Chicago Bears: Symbol – CHI (Calamos Convertible Opportunities and Income Fund); Yield – 9.17%
2. Green Bay Packers: Symbol – GBP (Gables Residential Trust); Yield – 7.60%
3. Minnesota Vikings: Symbol – MIN (MFS Intermediate Income Trust); Yield – 5.47%
4. Detroit Lions: Symbol – DET.L (Deltron Electronics PLC); Yield – 2.63%

This is a very good division. Bears fans finally have something to cheer about! The Lions would’ve been in 2nd place in any of the other NFC divisions. The Packers and Vikings will both have a chance for playoffs due to everyone else pretty much stinking it up in the conference.

NFC South
1. Carolina Panthers: Symbol – CAR.L (Carclo PLC); Yield – 2.76%
2. New Orleans Saints: Symbol – SAIN.PA (Sasa Industrie); Yield – 2.38%
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Symbol – BUC.S (Bucher Industries AG); Yield – 2.28%
4. Atlanta Falcons: Symbol – ATL.L (Atlantic Global PLC); Yield – 1.87%

Hey, both Championship teams from last year are division winners. This thing is working all right. The race between the Saints and Bucs is a close one, but the Saints just edged them out by one tenth.

NFC West
1. St. Louis Rams: Symbol – STL (Sterling Bancorp); Yield – 2.86%
2. Arizona Cardinals: Symbol – AZ (ALLIANZ AKTIENG); Yield – 1.86%
Seattle Seahawks: Symbol – SHW (Sherwin-Williams Co); Yield – 1.70%
4. San Francisco 49ers: Symbol – SF.BK (Siam Future Development PCL); Yield – 1.36%

It was a tight race for the bottom of the NFC West, but the 49ers won. The Cardinals surprised with 2nd place in the division, while the Seahawks disappointed with a poor at best 1.70%.

Division Winners
Philadelphia Eagles
Chicago Bears
Carolina Panthers
St. Louis Rams

Wild Cards
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings

Just like the AFC, four of these teams made the playoffs last year and one of them missed it by a last minute TD. The Bears are the huge shocker in this one, and they will not disappoint when given a chance to make it to the big show.

NFC Championship Game
Chicago Bears over Philadelphia Eagles

Super Bowl
Pittsburgh Steelers over Chicago Bears

It’s a BLOWOUT! The Steelers have the Bears whooped by over 5%.

Super Bowl MVP
Hines Ward OF COURSE!

Brian Blades

I wrote this for Seahawks.net....It was also posted on Yahoo Sports and FoxSports:

With the 49th pick in the 1988 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks selected Brian Blades from Miami University. Brian Blades came into the Seahawks organization just as Steve Largent was about to leave it. Brian had enormous shoes to fill with the departure of Largent in 1989. However, Brian made a valiant effort to make people not miss Largent, and even broke one of Steve’s records in the process. Shadowed by off-field troubles, Brian had a bad reputation to the casual observer. On second look, however, Brian was one of the hardest and most dedicated workers to play for the Seahawks in his time.

“The thing I liked best about Blades was that he was fearless on the field, and he never quit. He loved to play and he gave his body to the game” – “The Hawkstorian”, Seahawks.NET

Brian Blades had an incredible work ethic that put others to shame. Often praised by coaches for his effort, Blades became a favorite target due to his precise route running and great hands. On the other hand, Blades rarely made big plays and didn’t score many touchdowns. All of the hard work paid off when Blades made the Pro Bowl in 1989. Furthermore, Brian is the only Seahawks wide receiver to ever catch over 80 balls in one season. Brian posted 80 in 1993 and 81 in 1994. Few have come close (Largent had 79 in 1985 and Koren Robinson posted 78 in 2002), but Brian’s record for most receptions in a season has yet to be broken. Brian’s most productive seasons came in 1993-1995, where he averaged over 1,000 yards per season. However, Brian was constantly taking shots over the middle and off-field problems started to set in. Even with all of the problems and health concerns, Brian showed no fear on the field and worked hard to make up for his troubles off the field.

“I remember going to a game in Kansas City a couple of years ago. I was standing above the tunnel that the players walk through to get to the field. There weren't many Seahawk fans around but there were plenty of Chief fans wanting autographs. Several players signed, but it was Blades who kept signing...and signing...and signing...and signing. I remember that he talked to the fans, laughed with them, and lit up the eyes of the children he spoke with. I didn't get Brian's autograph that day, but I stood back watching with amazement as he was so congenial with fans...so classy...such a hero!” – Becky, beckys-place.com.

It’s sad to think that some people I have talked to only remember the bad, or perhaps unlucky Brian. However, many people have no idea how involved Brian was (and still is) with the community. Here is a short list of things Brian has done:

• Organized the Fort Lauderdale Youth Track Club;
• Volunteered as a sprint coach at Coral Springs High School;
• Hosted a Christmas party for homeless children many years in a row;
• Paid utility bills for the elderly;
• Sponsored football camps for kids;
• Provided toys to children in hospitals.

That isn’t all of it either. However, Brian’s crowning achievement is something that he put together with his brother Bennie called The Blades Foundation. The Blades Foundation provides scholarships to minority students who plan to go to college or further their education. If you would like more information about The Blades Foundation, please visit the website: http://www.ycwf.org/blades.htm.

While part of Brian’s career was overshadowed by health problems and off-field troubles, he overcame adversity and succeeded. Brian helped better the lives of people in need with his charitable work while being one of the best Seahawk wide receivers in history. So to put it simply, not only did Brian succeed as a football player, but also as a person.