Like a lot of fans, several Seattle Seahawks have been looking forward to a long weekend of football-watching, starting Thursday with the New Year’s Day playoff and bowl games.
But unlike for a lot of fans, Thursday was a work day for the Seahawks.
“I don’t think in any part in my career we’ve really recognized holidays in football,” cornerback Richard Sherman said before his New Year’s Day practice. “Even like Pop Warner or in high school, you’re practicing on Thanksgiving most of the time, or playing. Usually they make it a little earlier, but you’re still going to work.”
The Seahawks are in what they say is a hard-earned bye week — their first since September.
However, it isn’t an off-week, as the team practiced on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day before breaking for a three-day weekend starting Friday, when they can finally enjoy their football from a couch.
Sherman said he was most interested in watching the college football playoff semifinals: Oregon-Florida State on Thursday afternoon and Alabama-Ohio State in the evening.
“It’s the first year of it happening, so I’m interested in seeing how it goes,” he said. “I think it’s going to be fun to watch.”
The timing didn’t work as well for quarterback Russell Wilson, who was at the Seahawks training facility Thursday morning while his alma mater and his almost alma mater were meeting in the Outback Bowl.
“It’s kind of funny that it’s Wisconsin-Auburn,” he said. “… I was considering (attending) either Wisconsin or Auburn. Obviously, I went to Wisconsin; so ‘On, Wisconsin.’ ”
Wilson eventually got the good news: Badgers 34, Tigers 31.
However, the quarterback was also looking forward to some more work-related football-watching as the weekend progressed to the NFL wild card weekend.
Seattle’s playoff-opening opponent will be the lowest-seeded survivor from among a pair of games: No. 5 Arizona at No. 4 Carolina on Saturday, and No. 6 Detroit at No. 3 Dallas on Sunday.
“It’s hard for me just to sit there and watch the games as a fan or anything like that: I play that quarterback position in my head,” Wilson said. “But that will be good to watch. There will be familiar teams that I’ll have to watch in Arizona and also the Panthers, and then also Detroit plays on Sunday, and that will be a good game to watch and see who wins that one.”
If Arizona emerges, the Seahawks’ playoff opener would mark the teams’ third meeting since Nov. 23.
Seattle swept the regular-season pairings. But despite the old adage about the difficulty of beating the same teams three times in one season, linebacker Bobby Wagner indicated that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for the Seahawks — especially the defense.
“From the mind standpoint it would be tough because you have a team that you’ve beaten that wants to come in and beat you,” he said. “… But at the same time, you look at the film and pick the tendencies of what you did against them and you try to get that as close to perfect as possible.”
After taking Tuesday off, several Seahawks agreed that their Wednesday practice was an especially sharp one. “I thought we were very smooth on offense, executing and tempowise,” Russell Wilson said. “The defense looked very good too. We’re exactly where we want to be.” … With several Seahawks coaches and administrators under consideration for jobs with other clubs, Richard Sherman put in a pitch for secondary coach Kris Richard. “He took like of a ragtag bunch of DBs in 2011 and made them perennial All-Pros and Pro Bowlers,” he said. “And you don’t hear his name mentioned being as much for D-coordinator jobs and things like that, which I think it should be. We obviously know what kind of coach he is and what he’s done, but obviously everybody else doesn’t.” … Sherman also took a positive tone when asked about Jim Harbaugh, his former coach at Stanford, moving from the San Francisco 49ers to his own alma mater: the University of Michigan. “I think that’s his dream job, so good luck to him,” Sherman said. “I think he’ll do well there. He’s always done well. He’s always won everywhere he’s went. I’m sure there will be some fun rivalries there. He’ll stir it up a little bit in the Big 10. I’m sure it will be a grand year for him. But he’s won, and I wish him nothing but the best.”