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You see her at every Hawk game, with her blue peacock wig and crazy glasses. An iconic figure who watches over the Seahawks week after week. Year after year. Her real name is Patti Hammond but she is really known as Mama Blue. Everyone on this site is a big Seahawk fan but there is only one Mama Blue.
Raised in Portland, Patti met her future husband Dick in high school. It was the classic story of the star football player and the cheerleader. After school they were married and moved to Seattle where they would reside together for over a half century. In 1976 when the brand new Seattle Seahawks first started accepting season ticket orders, Patti and Dick (affectionately known also as Tricky) were among the first in line. Drawing from her own cheerleading experience, Mama Blue utilized her own unique pep spirit to get the crowd going from her 100 level seat. NFL Films cameramen soon were enchanted with Mama Blue’s style and were shooting her at nearly every game. (You can see footage of Mama Blue on many of the Seahawks NFL Films yearly highlights.)
When the Hawks were in serious danger of becoming the Los Angeles Seahawks, Patti became a pivotal member of the “Save Our Seahawks” campaign that helped stop the evil Ken Behring from moving the team. She has only missed two home games in the Hawks’ history. This means she has seen in person 268 out of 270 games (including playoffs) through October 2009.
In 1999, the NFL chose one fan from each of the 32 franchises to be inducted into a special section of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mama Blue was the choice of the Seahawks. When the team moved into Qwest Field in 2002, Mama was given her pick of where she wanted to sit. She choose the front row of the southwest corner of the south end zone section, right next to the tunnel where the Seahawks come out. Five years later, before the opening day game against Tampa Bay, Mama Blue was honored by raising the 12th Man flag.
Hanging out with Mama Blue before the Jaguar game a few weeks ago, I understand why she sits in that corner. Before the game, a number of Hawks came over and high fived Mama. One guy in street clothes came up and gave her a big hug. It was Walter Jones.
But Mama Blue at Qwest (and before that at the Kingdome) is only part of the story. Going to her house in the Seattle area is literally visiting a Seahawk museum. Entire walls are covered in Hawk memorabilia. Trophy cases are filled with footballs signed by various Seahawk teams over the years. Football gloves? Mama estimates she has collected 2000 pairs over the years from players. Most of these she has given away but she still a fair amount signed by Hawks. She is also in possession of a few pairs of Walter Jones’ shoes. In fact, Jones gave her the first pair (unused) of his set from last year.
The souvenirs around her house are impressive. However, what makes Mama Blue different from other rabid fans are her relationships with the players and coaches, past and present. When Kenny Easley was inducted into the Ring of Honor, he wanted Mama Blue standing next to him. In one hallway of her house hangs a large collage of photos. The pictures feature Mama (and often Dick) with a who’s who in Seahawk history. Every head coach, every member of the Ring of Honor, various other players and people associated with Seahawk history such as Bill the Beerman Scott. She even has a picture of herself with that toad Behring, who as they were taking the picture, promised he “would never move her team.”
She and Dick used to go bass fishing every summer with Chuck Knox and other Seahawks in Central Washington. Tricky and Chuck would stay up late telling football stories while knocking back cocktails next the campfire. Mama is so much part of the Seahawk family that she even stays in touch with Dave Krieg’s mom.
Dick passed away nearly two years ago. A devastating loss for certain. However, Mama Blue’s zest for life keeps her going. She has a large extended family of children and grandchildren. A hairdresser by trade (she had her own shop for 40 years), she still styles hair twice a week out of her own home salon (decorated in Seahawks and Marilyn Monroe artwork). Although she is in her late 70s, she is sharp as a tack with a great (and salty) sense of humor. Plus she makes the best garlic pickles you will ever eat.
If you ever run into Mama Blue at Qwest, be sure to say hello. If you want a picture with her, she’s always gracious enough to oblige. She is the embodiment of the 12th Man. A part of Seahawk history. A part of our history.[Comments taken in SeahawkBlue Forums]
Week Three: Green with N.V.
That's right. Last Sunday the Seahawks were green with N.V., as in No Victory.
They were green with envy too, playing a team without most of it's starters nursing injury, and already looking up at the Niners and Cardinals in the standings. But even though there were a lot of disappointments in this game, the team put forth a valiant effort, and Seneca Wallaceonce again proved that he's just good enough to deliver another close loss for the Seahawks.
But I'm not here to point out who didn't play well (cough-cough-olindo-mare-cough) I'm here to mentally review the game film and see who the lucky recipient of this week's Alba Dark Angel Award might be.
Actually, Seneca Wallace was the leading candidate in the first half. He came out sharp, lead the team on a touch down drive, and MAN did he look stylish rocking that neon green jersey! But we all know how the second half went for Wallace and the offense, so they'll just have to redouble their efforts next week in hopes of obtaining this honor.
This week's winner is coming from the defenisive side of the ball.
Second runner up is Aaron Curry. He seemed to play a little more in control this week, he was wrapping and tackling much better, and even forced a fumble. But we have much higher expectations for the #4 pick before we just go handing out trophies for playing a technically sound game.
First runner up is the entire Defensive Line. They pretty much shut down fantansy football stud Forte, and forced three fumbles of Jay Cutler, recovering one. Kerney and Tapp were active as ever, and the return of the rolling bag of knives, Bang-Bang Mebane was a major boost.
But this week's Alba's Dark Angel Award goes to the only guy on the field that was hotter than those neon green alternate jerseys...the Heater himself...David Hawthorne. For the second week in a row "Heater" filled in for Lofa Tatupu and was all over the field playing like a man possessed. He lead the team in tackles with 15 solo tackles, had a critical interception, and forced a fumbled near the goal line that should have never been overturned on review.
Lofa Tatupu may be returning to action, so here's a little something to keep David Hawthorne company if he finds himself relegated to his backup role this week in Indy.
[Comments taken in the SeahawkBlue Forum]
Week Two: The Inconvenient Truth
To cut right to the chase, here's a list of people who will NOT be receiving this award this week: Chris Spencer, Walter Jones, Matt Hasselbeck, Sean Locklear, Marcus Trufant, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, Josh Wilson, Brandon Mebane and any other Seahawk player who was already hurt or came out of that game nicked up.
Oh yea, an one other guy from yesterday's game who'll NEVER get any recognition from Seahawks Fans: Bill "my penalty flag is black and yellow" Leavy. Even though it was a fairly called contest yesterday, when I saw that "over-officious jerk" as the game official I knew Seattle would be in for a long day.
But before you think this is going to be another whiny Seahawks fan rant blaming the loss on injuries and officials, here's a list of those who SHOULD be getting an Alba Dark Angel Award this week, other than the fact they play for the wrong team: Mike Singletary, his O and D coordinators, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Shaun Hill, the entire 49er O-Line, Manny Lawson, Nate Clements, Dre Bly and the entire 49er defense.(except for Patrick Willis - sure it was a clean hit, but you can't put our starting QB out of a game and have me like you!)
The Seahawks got their asses kicked, plain and simple, and no spoonful of sugar will help this medicine go down. As a matter of fact, I was really concerned about how handily they dispatched the opponent last weekend, and feared that our young defense might think that the would pitch a shut-out EVERY week without breaking a sweat. Well, this is the NFL rookies, and we only get to play the Rams twice!
Yes, there *was* some good in Sundays games, and no, I'm not looking at you Mr. Babineaux and Mr. Grant, so you can just go on tending to those burn wounds.
Had Seneca Wallace come in and scored more than a gimme TD from inside the five, he would have probably won this Dark Angel Award, but alas, he's no Tom Brady or even Matt Cassell, so our backup QB was not riding in on his white stallion to save the day.
Giving up another career day to Frank Gore notwithstanding, I need to mention "Good" Will Herring and David "Heater" Hawthorne, two other backups who were thrown into starting roles, and found themselves equal to the task. Also worth mentioning was the play of Brandon Frye, who came in for an injured Locklear, who was already filling in for an injured Walter Jones. Honestly, I had no idea who Frye was, and when I saw #77 on the o-line, I thought Pork Chop had mysteriously reappeared.
Justin Forsett is the first-runner up for the award this week. When nothing else seemed to be clicking for the Seahawks, it seemed like it was the diminutive Forsett running through tackles, catching screens, fielding punts and carrying defenders for an extra yard or two. After watching highly compensated veterans Julius Jones and Edge James do their Shaun Alexander impressions, it was refreshing to see effort, determination and heart from the littlest guy in the backfield, both in terms of stature and paycheck.
So, if not Forsett, who draws A.D.A. Iron this week? A valid question, but one that any long-time Seahawks fan could answer if they stop and think about it for awhile. There was one other factor that was extremely significant in yesterday's game, and will seem to be a major contributor to the outcome of each game the rest of the way through the season.
This week's Alba's Dark Angel Award to ADVERSITY.
Mike Tyson once said "everyone has a plan, until you hit them in the mouth", and the 49ers landed jabs and combinations all game long, including two hay-makers from Frank Gore, which turned out to be the difference in the game. Seahawk optomists (of which I'm one) like to point out that if it weren't for those two big runs by Gore, the game was pretty even. However, that's like saying if it weren't for the two big hairy balls hanging out of her G-string, that tranny you picked up in the Castro district last night was one hot chick!
Seahawks fans have watched this team be faced with adversity over the years, and not always respond to the challenge. Most fans can even rattle off the laundry list of misfortune, the ref interfering with the D-Jack reception, the time clock snafu in Baltimore, Shaun's broken foot, Lofa's claw, and leaning on these excuses is what gets Seahawks fans branded as whiners. Hell, even will all the calls, Superbowl XL was a winnable game, had the Seahawks players and coaching staff kept their heads and had risen to the challenge, yet I'm one of the most vocal about "not getting over it".
It's time for this organization, including its fans, to stop relying on convenient excuses and bad karma as a justification for losing, and just go out and take care of business. The 49ers certainly were not concerned with the recent history of losing to the Seahawks. The Cardinals went out and laid a thumping on the Jaguars, even in the dreaded Eastern Time zone, after coming up short at home against the 49ers. And even the hapless Rams put up more of a fight this week after being embarrased at Qwest last Sunday.
If we want to salvage this season, we have to start by doing to the Bears what the Bears just did to the Steelers, which is forget about a dismal offensive performance, or injuries to the Pro Bowl middle linebacker, and go out and beat the team that is lining up on the other side of the ball, even if they are the defending Super Bowl champs.
So this week's Dark Angel Award goes to Adversity, and I'm hoping that the Seahawks organization also recognizes and embraces our old friend Adversity, and uses it as a motivating factor the rest of the season, instead of a crutch.
[Comments taken in the SeahawkBlue Forum]
Back from a two year hiatus, it's the Alba Dark Angel Award!
For anyone who wasn't around back in the 12 Seahawks Street hey-day, several of the contibutors to that blog would hand out weekly awards after each game, along with a companion blog post, highlighting different aspects of the competition.
Alba's Dark Angel Award recognizes the person who comes out of nowhere to have a dramatic impact on the game. This award was originally called the Moonlight Graham Award, after the Burt Lancaster character in Field of Dreams, who only got one official at-bat in his big league career, but made the most of his opportunity.
Now, on to those who were considered for the Week One Alba's Dark Angel Award!
There have been so many changes to this team and organization since the close of last season, that there are a lot of new names and faces among the coaches and players, which means that almost everyone is eligible for the award this year, from Jim Mora to Cameron Morrah.
If I could, I'd give the entire coaching staff a ADAA this week, for the aggressive, creative, relentless and successful gameplan that was developed and implemented for this opening game against a divisional opponent.
Kudos to Jim Mora for casting off the mantle of his predecessor, along with the 3rd-and-long draw play, and re-energizing a team that has a lot of unfinished business to attend to. God bless new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who understands that a lead is not something you fall back and try to protect, but something you use to even more aggressively attack and demoralize your opponent. And congratulations to Greg Knapp for making Seahawks fans fall in love with a former Raider by effectively using ALL the weapons on the field, and masterfully orchestrating the rotation at running back. All great signs for a Seahawks rebirth, however, not enough to draw Alba Iron in Week One.
There were four "runners-up" to this week's award. Like I said, with so many new names and faces, the possibilities were almost endless, but the Alba Dark Angel Award Selection Committee put in tireless hours reviewing the game film, checking the stats, and otherwise effing-off at work to arrive that these finalists.
The Offensive Line - much consternation and hand-wringing was done throughout the pre-season leading up to this game, especially with the abrupt retirement of Mike Wahle, the
Pardon me, your bust is showing! Of course, I'm talking about the voluptuous display of mounds of aggression, titalating speed and ample power by borderline first round bust Lawrence Jackson. Seemingly, whenever Lo-Jack was on the field, he was in the backfield disrupting the Ram Offense (is that redundant or an oxymoron?) and playing with wild abandon. However, we'll wait until he puts a couple pert red cherries on top of this performace before erecting an Alba Dark Angel in his honor.
Midway through the game, I could swear I heard the following emergency announcement over the Qwest Field PA system, "Will Mr. Herring and Mr. Hawthorne please report to the defensive huddle - STAT!" Trading away Julian Peterson seemed like a good idea when it allowed us to sign Leroy Hill to a long term deal. However, when both Hill and Tatupu had to leave the game, our pro-bowl bound three-headed-monster linebacking crew featured a rookie and two NFL journeymen. Granted, Curry seems like an early leader in the Defensive NFL Rookie of the Year running, but could roster bubble boys Hawthorne and Herring really step in for Tatupu and Hill? Ummm, the aswer is a 12th man decible breaking level "YES!" Both these reserve linebackers came in and played assignment correct football with the same aggressive style that they displayed in preseason. They really came close to drawing Alba Iron in Week One, but just not close enough.
"Having one's identity concealed; to avoid notice or formal attention; a fat slob with anger issues whose boneheaded outbursts consistently help his opponents" Of course, those are the dictionary definitions of the word Incognito, who was the fourth runner-up for this week's award. Fat Richie didn't disappoint in his return trip to Qwest field, racking up false start penalties and throwing in an unsportsmanlike conduct for good measure. Seemingly, he's done more for the Seahawks now 9-game winning streak against the Rams than anyone. But it'll be a cold day in hell when an Alba Dark Angel goes to an opponent, especially one from St. Loser.
No, this week's Alba Dark Angel Award goes to one man, who was instrumental in preserving the shutout, and ironically indicative of the changing of the guard at the helm of the Seahawks, ushering in a new era of optomism and hope for our favorite club. Of course, I'm talking about the Booth Official who called for the replay review of the blocked field goal. Mike Holmgren's run-ins and disdain for the officials was well documented and publicized, and his record at attempted challenges had been futile at best. There were many blown leads against the Rams throughout his career, where defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory by a bad call or weird bounce of the ball. And don't even get me started on Super Bowl XL!
However, on this pastoral September day at Qwest, the skies opened and a heavenly ray of sunshine pierced through the glass of whereever it is the Replay Booth Official is located, startling him from his slumber and causing him to accidentally hit the buzzer indicating to the field officials that something was amiss with the previous play. And as has been indicated by many of my fellow contibutors to SeahawkBlue.com, the Seahawks 12th man was introduced to the 12th man on the Rams FG block team, nullifying the touchdown with the penalty resulting in a Seahawks first down, which lead to a 14-0 halftime lead and the rout was on!
In the Holmgren years, that play would have been the first in a series of events that would have lead to Ram victory, and then a sheepishly worded apology from the league offices on Wednesday of the following week. (yes, I'm looking at you Baltimore time keeper!) But these are not your Walrus's Seahawks, and hopefully this is the start of a beautiful new relationship, between Jim Mora and the guys who wear the striped jerseys, including the unnamed booth review official who is the recipient of this week's Alba Dark Angel Award.
[Comments taken in the SeahawkBlue Forum]
THE NFL IN LA LA LAND
Recently I attended the NFL 101/201 event on the field at the Los Angeles Coliseum. This was the seventh year the league has coordinated this function with the L.A. Sports and Entertainment Commission. One of the main points of it is to keep an NFL presence in the second largest city in the country. Amazingly, it has been 15 years since an NFL game has been played in L.A. To give you an idea how long ago that was, Tom Flores was the Seahawks coach when the Raiders and Rams last called L.A. home.
The Coliseum is probably the most storied stadium in America. (Two Olympics , the first Super Bowl, numerous other great football games and even a World Series. Yankee Stadium can’t top those credits.) The most memorable Seahawk Coliseum appearance has to be the 1988 game against the Raiders that determined the AFC Western Division title. I actually walked the route of John L. Williams’ incredible 75 yard catch and run TD that helped the Hawks to their first division championship.
The NFL 101/201 event gave participants (who paid pretty good coin to attend) a chance to throw, catch and kick footballs on the field of the Coliseum with some former NFL players. (However, no Seahawks involved.) There were also a number of booths promoting various NFL-related enterprises. The swanky Wolfgang Puck catering company supplied all the food and booze at the event. It was rather gourmet to say the least. No pigs-in-a-blanket at this affair.
The main feature was a panel discussion with Warren Moon, Joe Theisman, Trent Dilfer, Carson Palmer, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Raider prez Amy Trask, head of officiating (and SB XL apologist) Mike Pereira, and Andrea Kremer, sideline reporter for NBC. The panel was pretty lively with Theisman surprisingly funny and Trask unsurprisingly defensive when asked about the questionable draft choices of the Raiders (all questions asked by the audience were written and submitted in advance). Both King and Palmer said they were very much against an 18 game schedule. Palmer also called TJ Houshmanzadeh “irreplaceable” and said he would never refer to Chad Johnson as “Ochocinco.” Dilfer admitted that when he was a 49er playing against the Hawks, he told the defense all the signals Hasselbeck was giving at the line. This is considered standard when you become “the enemy.” When the panel was asked which non-playoff team from 2008 was going to be in the postseason in ’09, Kremer said the Seahawks. Unfortunately, my question to Pereira asking him “if there were any plans to have Bill Leavy officiate a game at Qwest Field?” was not used.
Moon also signed free copies of his new book “Never Give Up Your Dream.” I was able to talk to him briefly during the signing about his old Husky days and my new book, which apparently he had heard about via an e mail the Seahawks sent out (which I thought was pretty cool).
Probably the biggest story of the evening was the upcoming groundbreaking for the new Los Angeles Stadium, a privately-funded billion dollar sports and entertainment complex in East L.A. County. The city is hoping to attract not one but two current NFL teams to the facility and they have a bullseye on seven franchises: Chargers, 49ers, Raiders, Rams, Jaguars, Vikings, and Bills. Personally, the team that should be coming here is the Rams. Los Angeles would have never lost the team if it were not for it’s now-dead owner Georgia Frontiere, a former showgirl who inherited the team from her husband. The franchise is up for sale and there have been no offers from St. Louis-based ownership groups. I would also like it to be the Rams because that would give Seahawks one guaranteed appearance a year in the city. And really, when it comes to anything about the NFL, it’s all about how it will affect the Seahawks and my selfish interests. Now I’m off to make some pigs-in-a-blanket.
Mark Tye Turner[Comments taken in SeahawkBlue Forums]
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