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Seahawks Cut Day 2013: Saying goodbye to Michael Robinson

Photo courtesy of Seahawks.com

Photo courtesy of Seahawks.com

Last night I found myself on the corner of FANatic and logical human. In that moment, and despite my internal GPS yelling “re-calculating”, my fandom got the best of me and I made a decision…head down emotion street.

Michael Robinson was my favorite.. A 12thMan favorite and probably the favorite of most of his teammates on this Seattle Seahawks team.

For those on social media last night that think I don’t understand the business of football you couldn’t be further from the truth. I understand the business of football very well. What I couldn’t get my arms around was Pete Carroll‘s apparent departure from the “best guy wins the position battle no matter what” deal. I find it hard to believe that Michael Robinson was not the best Fullback on this roster.

However, looking long-term I can’t escape the fact that the money saved by Michael Robinson leaving could help pay other players that are going to need big paychecks down the road. Guys like Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner and Earl Thomas come to mind.

Still, because I believe that Pete Carroll means what he says,  there has to be more to this decision than just money for other players later…Mike Rob must be hurt.

What made Michael Robinson unique was not just his pro bowl quality play on the field but his ability to bring us into the locker room like we’ve never been before.

I’ll admit I’m being selfish here and I’m okay with that.

That’s what got me. That’s what got me a tad emotional last night on Twitter and it’s what makes me sad today. That access is gone. Probably forever unless it’s produced professionally by the Seahawks media relations staff.  Even so, I would imagine it will never be quite as organic as when Michael Robinson walked around with his Real Rob report microphone.

Michael Robinson was more than the Seahawks fullback. He was more than just a replaceable leader on a football team. He was the perfect match for Pete Carroll’s new way of doing things and his walks around the locker room allowed us to see what Pete was building behind the scenes and be “All In”. It was amazing.

From John Moffitt’s hilarity to Marshawn Lynch‘s attempt to completely ignore the camera in seemingly every video, the team became more than just football players we cheer for on Sunday, they became actual people. It is because of that exposure I love the Seahawks even more today. Which for a fan of the team for over 30 years it’s crazy for me to say. I’m connected now on a different level.

So as a tribute to Michael Robinson I gathered some of my favorite youtube clips from his Real Rob report and as a Seahawks football player. I hope you guys enjoy.

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Mike Williams is gone and all I got was Twitter blocked

Mike Williams.. Former Seattle Seahawks receiver.

It was a rather unlucky Friday the 13th for now-former Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams as the team announced today they have released him.

Word around the Twitterverse is that Big Mike Williams (also known as “BMW,” which I’m sure really helped his ego) had expected it “for some time now“. I expected it from the day he blocked me on Twitter, but we’ll get to that (so that I may show you just exactly how too seriously I take both 140-character social media and professional athlete maturity. And myself).

In a way, I feel bad for Williams, who had one of those redemptions stories in 2010 fans eat up like stadium nachos. You know, all gooey, messy but you really want more. The only difference is that Williams came cheap to the Seahawks in comparison to those nachos to your wallet.

I, too, was enthralled by the story. Williams, who had basically been blacklisted by NFL teams after becoming overweight and pretentious, had been given a second chance by the Big Man in the Hawks Nest – Pete Carroll. The Seahawks head coach has quickly made a name for himself these few years back in the pros by providing said redemption to lost athletic souls.

And it paid off. Williams was the Seahawks’ top receiver in 2010, with a respectable 65 catches and 751 yards for the team. Big Mike’s size allowed him to win match-ups in the air for catches and he appeared to have hands of steel. Not even a broken finger stopped him from catching nearly everything thrown his way that season.

The 12th Man had found its very own Magic Mike, you know, without all of the body oil, gyration and 40-year-old women screaming for more. Okay, there was probably some of the lady screaming.

But 2011 was a different story. Along with a change in quarterback, which didn’t appear to help, Williams’ production plummeted and he instead became Tragic MIke. Us casual, armchair quarterbacks out in Hawk Land can’t be sure if it was a failure of Williams or mash potatoes QB Tarvaris Jackson not getting him the ball.

Toward the end of the year, Williams left the season with a broken leg.

And now he’s gone. We knew it couldn’t last, the question was whether one more year with the team would bring back that fairy tale BMW we had all grown to love.

Well, at least, most of us had grown to love. You see, Mike Williams blocked me on Twitter last year. It was literally July 2011 when he and I got into a bit of an electronic spat over his attitude on the social media platform.

You see, I take Twitter way too seriously, and I’m a very odd sports fan. Here’s the thing: I believe professional athletes owe some respect to fans, the people who make what they do even possible.

That’s not a sentiment held by a lot of people. Most fans would tell me to shut my face and just watch the game. I can’t do it. In a world where athletes work to brand themselves and demand attention on social networks, I swoop in as some type of hell bent hall monitor calling them out when I think they’re being, well, asshats.

And Mike Williams was an asshat with this tweet:

Image

The rest is lost in the Twitterscape because archiving doesn’t go back that far and I can’t find keywords. But it went something like this:

My response was something very cordial and similar to “I do say, my good man, I take a smidgen of umbrage at your fairly racial tone. Please do appreciate that we’re all created equal and even the fair-skinned folk who have derived from the European continent enjoy watching you on the professional football sport pitch. Huzzah!”

Williams didn’t like my extremely-polite response and tweeted something else along the lines of “Sit on a bowling pin, biiiiiiitch!”

And then I said something along the lines of “blah, blah, blah, you’re an asshole who only cares about money blah, blah, blah.”

The next thing you know, my BFF Big Mike Williams has blocked me. It was an invigorating exchange of mature words, I assure you.

So, for nearly a year, I’ve not had the pleasure of following the “raw” thoughts of this consummate professional. Needless to say, he liked to brag about simply speaking his mind, whereas I thought he could have use a tad bit more humility, considering this was a shot at redemption, and he was not yet a star.

In the grand scheme of things, the argument was trivial, and his blocking of me was simply another day in the life of this armchair quarterback.

But there’s a big difference between Mike Williams and this writer: I still have a stake in the Seattle Seahawks this Friday the 13th.

Now excuse me while I go police Twitter for some athlete using curse words like “darn it” and “shucks.”

The establishment sports reporter vs the basement dwelling sports blogger. Can we coexist peacefully?

The basement dwelling sports blogger Pat Kirwin imagines when he closes his eyes.

Over the past few years the number of NFL and scouting blogs have grown exponentially. It seems as though that’s not the only thing that has grown. The disdain by the professional sports journalism and commentator establishment of this new media movement has grown as well. Can the two worlds ever coexist? Should they even try?

Just the other day Pat Kirwan of CBS sports posted this on Twitter:

Obviously this set off an understandable backlash from all of the hard-working scouts and bloggers who run several websites in their spare time.

Or this from  Phil Mackey of ESPN1500: “sports bloggers want to be friends w/ players and think they can be GMs” and “I appreciate the work of some sports bloggers. But at times I think some of their platforms are too large in 2012. No accountability.” (Shout out to firstroundbust.com for the quote )

Or this from MarK Cuban in 09 with Dan Patrick:

— Cuban said there are so many blogs, everyone has to really work hard to stand out. “The shortcut is just to make something up. Bloggers will claim an inside source when it’s not legitimate.”

— He also blamed traditional media for not trusting their own sources and abilities and following every blog rumor.

Were any of these comments justified?

I think one of the biggest gripes the establishment journalists have against the blogging community is the freedom and ease at which we operate.  For a professional sports writer, accountability and credibility are everything. Most go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the facts they report can be corroborated through multiple valid sources. They do that to protect themselves, and to protect their employers from a myriad of legal and credibility issues that could damage the brand. They also spend years devoted to building relationships with players, owners and management. This takes time, great people skills, trust, and attention to detail. I think there is a natural tendency to despise content and buzz created by less “professional” means.

While I agree with that premise, and can also appreciate the annoyance of having 15-20 blogs devoted to each NFL team spreading MSM viewership thin, I say get over it. In this digital media age, fans are savvy. They have enormous amounts of choices when it comes to sports content. This is one area I agree with Mark Cuban 100%. It is very hard to stand out, and the sites that do, earn it through credible, knowledgeable, insightful, and entertaining content. So for me, this argument falls a little flat. There is more than one way to deliver quality sports content, and good website owners are making that statement more true every day.

This brings me back to Pat Kirwin and his very laughably insecure Twitter post. There are a ton of us who love the game of football and spend hours reviewing game tape, writing articles, and communicating with thousands of fans through social media, all while working full-time. Moreover, most of the ex scouts, and coaches who run scouting websites do so for free because it’s their passion to do so.

When sports establishment professionals go out of their way to criticize the “fake FB guys” It tells me that we have a long way to go before both sides can find the middle ground needed to coexist peacefully. But fear not…A sports writing  revolution is coming, and the old and stale ratings centered MSM (enter Tim Tebow, Lebron James, Lakers, Yankees, Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, Jets and NFC East continual coverage as exhibit A) is beginning to take notice..

That’s a good thing. For fans everywhere.

We’re back!!!!

We’re back!!!!
Even though that statement may fall directly in the “if a tree falls in the woods” category, I felt it a necessary way to start today’s post. Life has a funny way of prioritizing one’s personal passions and these past few months have been exhibit A. This recent bout of balancing family-career-hobbies has been even more challenging to me personally when I consider its Seahawks draft season. Before I started to blog all things Seahawks, I would watch countless hours of youtube and any scouting tapes I could get my hand on of prospective Seahawks draftees and create my own “Big Board”. This inevitably left me screaming PG rated obscenities (I have 4 kids) at the TV when players I though fit Seattle perfectly in round 4 were passed over for a guy I had rated in the 6th. It also completely drove family members crazy…..
This is the first year in about 5 that I was unable to do any of that. My wife is understandably elated at this fact; however it has left a huge hole in my offseason. Because of this I have come to rely on a few of Seattle’s best twitter sources for their opinion on prospects I’ve not been able to scout myself. While I greatly value all opinions on prospects, it’s just not as fun when you don’t have your own opinion on that random guard in round 7 you think could develop from practice squad to starter in right system. It’s too late to start the process now, so I won’t waste your time with a half researched Seahawks Big Board and a mock draft where Seattle get’s all the players they want.. It’s too easy, and I just can’t bring myself to do it. Your readership and my integrity won’t allow it. But….
The MatchupsZone staff recently had a meeting to discuss the future of the site, and I couldn’t be happier with what the future holds. Admittedly, as in any rookie season, I feel we struggled at times to find our voice, but also managed to mix in some really superb pieces of writing. We have evaluated ourselves, reached out to some new and very talented writers, and are very excited to bring you even better content than before.
Starting in May the Matchups zone will bring you a refocused and more polished experience. From the pre game match up articles, to the STATS, to the hard hitting “Point After” series, you can expect a unique Seahawks blog experience.
For the everyday readers of this site, Thank you! And for any new ones that may stumble on here while google searching for anything from Match.com to Cricket, we hope you’ll settle in, check us out, and come back again.

Thanks!
Will McDougle, Matchups Zone Founder

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