erik lundegaard

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Wednesday January 28, 2015

'Seahawks Outlast Packers': A Look at the Dullest NY Times Headline for the Thrillingest NFL Game

I meant to post this last week but better late than never. It's the New York Times' Jan. 18 headline/blurb for one of the most thrilling/heartbreaking championship games in the history of the NFL. The one on the right:

Seahawks Outlast Packers

Outlast? How about stun? Jujitsuflip? Mindboggle? Mindfuck?

I subscribe to and root for the Times, our paper of record, to make it through the digital times we're all stuck in. But c'mon, guys. Try a little. It's the dullest hed/synopsis imaginable for the most thrilling come-from-behind, unimaginable game I've seen. It actually makes me laugh. 

With 3 minutes left in the game, the Hawks were down 19-7, hadn't scored on offense (only through special teams), and FootballReference.com put their win probability at 0.1%. That's not 1%; that's point 1 percent. Which was probably higher than the percentage I was giving them. It seemed all but over to me. If I had been watching at home, I probably would've turned the game off. Thankfully I was watching at Ben's house. 

With 5 minutes left, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw to Jermaine Kearse over the middle, and the ball bounced off Kearse's hands and was picked off by Morgan Burnett who ran a few yards, and then, without a Seattle player nearby, slid to the ground. The Packers were thinking it was over, too. That's what you do when it's over. You cradle the ball like it's an NFC championship trophy and slide. Safe.  

But not. The Packers went three and out and suddenly the Super-Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, absent for most of the game, showed up. From their own 31, they scored in four plays. Except Marshawn Lynch was ruled out of bounds at the 9 on the 35-yard pass and run. So many of these calls went against the Hawks. It was a good call but it seemed more of the same. We just couldn't score.

Then we did—three runs later. 

Before the onside kick, Ben's teenage daughter asked about onside kicks and their probabilities, and we all agreed they were fairly improbable. 

Which is when the improbable happened. Then the impossible happened: run, run, pass, run, touchdown. Out of nowhere, from the depths, we were suddenly ahead by 1. Then we coverted another improbable 2-point conversion to go ahead by 3. The Packers got their field goal but they must've been stunned. They should've been walking off the field in triumph rather than heading out into the middle of it for a coin toss. We won that one, too, and started on our own 13-yard line. Four plays later it was 3rd and 7 at our own 30. Two plays later the game was over: a 35-yard pass to Doug Baldwin and a 35-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse over the middle. And Seattle, and the sports world, went crazy. Everyone went crazy except the New York Times headline writer.  

Outlast. I don't think I'll ever look at that word the same way again. 

See you Sunday. 

Seattle Seahawks: Legion of Boom Sports Illustrated cover

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Posted at 11:13 AM on Jan 28, 2015 in category Sports
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Monday January 19, 2015

The Most Seattle Moment Ever

Michael Bennett on a bike

Announcer: Hey Michael Bennett! You and the Seattle Seahawks just won the NFC Championship Game! What do you plan to do now?
Michael Bennett: I'm gonna ride my bike!

Although not his, apparently. Apparently it was a bike cop's. He just took it. He said when you go to the Super Bowl in Seattle you get to do what you want, and that's pretty much right. 

The game yesterday was the craziest, most unbelievable, most beautiful game I've ever seen. I can't remember a great team looking so bad for 55 minutes and so invincible for six. Everyone today in Seattle feels like they just won something. We're all hoisting Oscars aloft. We all want to thank our parents, and God, and Marshawn Lynch.  

I grew up in Minneapolis and became a football fan in the early 1970s when Gary Cuozzo was the Vikings quarterback, before we got Fran Tarkenton back. That was a great team that lost three Super Bowls in four years but the toughest loss from was the year we didn't go to the Super Bowl, 1975, when we lost in the first round to the Dallas Cowboys and the “Hail Mary” pass from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson. No flag? What was that orange thing flying across the screen? (Turns out it was an orange peel.) But surely, surely offensive interference. Nope. Nothing. Just stunned silence. Just an awful emptiness inside. I remember afterwards walking down 54th street in the cold and dim light of late December to Salk Drugs and just staring at the candy counter, and hearing some guy nonchalantly mentioning the Vikings loss, like it was no big deal, and hating, hating, hating. 

I stopped watching football before I graduated high school in 1981 (the Super Bowl now and again) but I've been keeping track of the Seahawks this year. To me, yesterday's game, the impossble come-from-behind victory, almost had the feeling of catharsis.

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Posted at 08:49 AM on Jan 19, 2015 in category Sports
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Sunday January 19, 2014

A Pre-Game Anecdote

I was walking in downtown Seattle yesterday on my way to Nordstrom to buy a dress shirt when I saw a hubub in front of the Grand Hyatt on 7th, between Pike and Pine. There were several chartered buses in front of the hotel and people, in groups, were rushing forward and then standing with smart phones held aloft for pictures and/or vidoes. “What's going on?” I asked the guy next to me. He nodded his head contempuously in the direction of the commotion. “Fucking Niners,” he said.

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Posted at 01:20 PM on Jan 19, 2014 in category Sports
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Saturday January 11, 2014

The 7 Millionth Man

I'm not a huge football fan but it's tough to live in Seattle and not know that the Seahawks are in the playoffs today against the New Orlean Saints at CenturyLink Field, 1:35 start. In honor, a recently digitized slide photo from my childhood. That's my older brother Chris on the left, me on the right, little sister Karen with the ball. I think this was the toughest I've ever looked. 

Karen with football, Chris and I not amused

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Posted at 08:25 AM on Jan 11, 2014 in category Sports
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Sunday August 05, 2012

What the Olympics Needs

A ninth lane, where someone like me swims.

Seriously. Here, for example, are the results from the Men's 50m Freestyle on Friday:

1 07 France MANAUDOU Florent 21.34 - +
2 05 United States of America JONES Cullen 21.54 +0.20 +
3 04 Brazil CIELO Cesar 21.59 +0.25 +
4 06 Brazil FRATUS Bruno 21.61 +0.27 +
5 03 United States of America ERVIN Anthony 21.78 +0.44 +
6 08 South Africa SCHOEMAN Roland 21.80 +0.46 +
7 02 Trinidad and Tobago BOVELL George Richard 21.82 +0.48 +
8 01 Australia SULLIVAN Eamon 21.98 +0.64 +

First place was 21.34. Eighth place was 21.98. Not even a second's difference. A sixth of a second. Boom.

There's no perspective to that. We may sense, a bit, how fast they're going, but we don't see it because they're all racing against the other seven fastest swimmers in the world.

People at home, slumping on their couches, look at Eamon Sulivan and think he's the worst when he's the 8th best in the world. And he'd be the best, the fastest in the world, but for .65 of a second.

With me in lane 9, probably doing the sidestroke, suggesting, as George Orwell once wrote of an outdated missile, “nothing so much as a man riding along on a bicycle and whistling,”you'd see how fast all of these athletes really are. You'd get results like this:

1 07 France MANAUDOU Florent 21.34 - +
2 05 United States of America JONES Cullen 21.54 +0.20 +
3 04 Brazil CIELO Cesar 21.59 +0.25 +
4 06 Brazil FRATUS Bruno 21.61 +0.27 +
5 03 United States of America ERVIN Anthony 21.78 +0.44 +
6 08 South Africa SCHOEMAN Roland 21.80 +0.46 +
7 02 Trinidad and Tobago BOVELL George Richard 21.82 +0.48 +
8 01 Australia SULLIVAN Eamon 21.98 +0.64 +
9 09 United States of America LUNDEGAARD Erik 1.01.99 +40.65 +

We'll all have a greater appreciation for Eamon Sullivan in lane 1.

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Posted at 08:47 AM on Aug 05, 2012 in category Sports
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