Today, I have a special guest on Coach Daddy: Me.
Me, age 8, that is. A Seattle Seahawks fan. Today, we’re going to talk about the Super Bowl. You might have heard that my current favorite team, my home-state Denver Broncos, will face Seattle in the Super Bowl in less than a week.
I chose Seattle as my favorite team at age 6.
At age 15, when my family moved to North Carolina, I converted to a Broncos fan.
This is the first time Eli, 8, has spoken with Eli, 42. Even though Grace still wear’s the same Seahawks shirt Little E wore at her age.
Little E: Hey man!
Big E: Hey dude. Big game Sunday.
Little E: Yeah. How the heck are the Seahawks and Broncos in the Super Bowl? I thought they were in the same division.
Big E: They were. OK, a few things have changed since you watched football.
There are four divisions in each league, four teams in each division, and 32 teams. Seattle moved to the NFC West. The Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis. The Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. The NFL expanded to Charlotte and Jacksonville first, then to Houston and Cleveland, who took the Browns name. The Cardinals move to Arizona, the Rams moved to St. Louis, and they’re both in the NFC West. Indianapolis is in the AFC South, with makes tons of sense. At least the Tennessee Titans – who used to be the Houston Oilers – belong there.
And the raiders still stink.
Little E: Cool. But, how’d you – I – become a Broncos fan?
Big E: We moved from Colorado to North Carolina when I was 15. I got on the plane as a Seahawks fan. Weeks after the move, Denver played the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl.
I had to sit on a cold, dank bus with a bunch of southern kids talking smack about the Broncos. This was before Carolina had a team, so most people here were Redskins fans.
I put on the Broncos shirt, and it felt right. I remember the moment it became official. Denver led 10-0 in the first quarter, and Redskins quarterback Doug Williams fumbled. Rulon Jones recovered it, and I felt like the route was on.
But, it wasn’t. Officials gave the ball back to Washington. They said he “gave himself up,” and the play was dead. I fumed. Like, really fumed.
Little E: Like when dad put a sidewalk over where I buried my plastic dinosaurs?
Big E: Ha … yeah, just like that!
Little E: I never got that mad at Seahawks games. Just sad. Like, when they got to play on Thanksgiving, and lost 51-7 to Dallas. Or, when they beat Denver 13-10 when Rick Karlis missed a field goal, and I jumped up in the air – but ended up running from dad into the bathroom!
Big E: He was pissed. I mean, angry! Why did you ever pick the Seahawks?
Little E: Jim Zorn. He was my hero. He was a left-handed quarterback, like me. And the helmets were SO cool.
Big E: Have you seen them now?
Little E: Woah!
Big E: I like the old ones better. Did I tell you I met Jim Zorn?
Little E: Uh-uh.
Big E: Uh-huh! I was so nervous. He was an assistant coach with the Seahawks, and after a game I covered at Carolina, I caught up with him in the tunnel on the way to the team bus.
Little E: Did you tell him your nickname was Zorn when you were a kid?
Big E: He didn’t even freak out.
Little E: I still can’t believe Denver and Seattle are in the Super Bowl.
Big E: It’s the first time Denver’s been in since they won two straight!
Little E: Wait – they’ve won the Super Bowl??
Big E: Back to back! First, they beat Green Bay, and then Atlanta.
Little E: Wait – Atlanta went to a Super Bowl?
Big E: You’ve missed so much, kid. I wish dad could see this. When Denver beat Atlanta, John Elway was MVP. It was the last Broncos game dad ever saw.
Little E: Wait … what do you mean, the last game?
Big E: Oh, man. Hey, can I have a minute here with the kid?
(two hours later)
Big E: You OK?
Little E: Yeah. I just can’t believe he’s gone.
Big E: Me either. There’s hardly a day that I don’t think of what life would be like with him here still. Barbecues. Broncos games. The girls’ soccer games. But, you should know this: Things will get better between you two. When you get bigger.
You’ll become closer. He’ll become your best friend.
Little E: Cool.
Big E: I’m nervous about this game.
Little E: Me too. Are you going to root for Seattle, even a little?
Big E: No. I’m a Broncos fan now. Zorn’s gone. The Kingdome’s gone. But, I’m glad I was you. You taught me courage, faith, being comfortable with who you are. You wore your personality so proudly.
That takes courage, kid. I am who I am because of you, and the Seahawks, in a way.
Little E: I’m glad we talked. I am happy someone actually likes me enough to have a family with me and I become a dad. And a sports writer! How cool is that? That’s like a dream come true. I’m happy I will turn out OK. I worry sometimes I won’t. That a girl won’t ever like me. That I’m always just going to be a weird kid.
Big E: We’re both weird, don’t forget that.
Little E: You might be.
Big E: You little … Good luck on Sunday, kid. I love you.
Little E: I love you too. Good luck. Is it true you still have my Star Wars figures?
Big E: Every single one, kid.
Every single one.