D.A.: Earl Thomas' Finger Officially Ends The Seahawks Era

Seattle has been in free fall since losing the Super Bowl, Damon Amendolara says

Damon Amendolara
October 01, 2018 - 1:14 pm

USA Today Images

It will live forever, etched in our minds, a snapshot of the best of times collapsing into the worst of times. A potential future Hall of Famer, synonymous with his team, giving his sideline the middle-finger salute as he's carted off into his murky future. It's not just a jarring sight, a veteran so outwardly showing contempt for his organization, but a sad one as well that clearly sounded the bull horn on the end of an era. 

Earl Thomas has been in the NFL eight seasons; six of them ended in a Pro Bowl nod. He's been All-Pro three times, and the heart and soul of one of the most badass defenses in league history. The Legion of Boom swaggered, and talked smack, and out-muscled you into the turf, then took your belongings and laughed. The Seahawks of '12-'17 were a throwback defense, one the Steel Curtain or the Purple People Eaters could appreciate. 

The NFL has devolved into a pinball game machine, arcade numbers, sounds and lights purring and whizzing, as average quarterbacks throw for dizzying yards and touchdowns. The rules of the game have completely neutered the defense, punishing corners and safeties for hitting too high, too low, too late, or just too much. Yet, here were the modern Seahawks spitting in the eye of judiciousness. "You can't flag for pass interference on every play. So we'll call you on your bluff." Mel Blount, and Dick Lane, and Rod Woodson would be proud.   

Because of an ugly contractual standoff, and the festering resentment that reached all corners of the Seattle locker room, we knew Thomas wouldn't be with the team much longer. But to see a player who achieved such great heights with that team, and that staff, and that coach, essentially spitting in their eye was miserable for everyone. Thomas' desperate need for a new contract, or a new team that gave him what he wanted, was understandable. His broken leg hammered that home. That middle finger was Thomas saying, "See? I get injured, I lose money. And I just got really injured." But it was still the wrong move to flip the bird to his sideline, because it's a childish, vulgar finale to a once-magical time. It's what everyone will remember instead of the Super Bowls and the great defenses. It's the valedictorian ending his speech with a bathroom joke. 

It's over, so over, and it's perfectly symbolic for it to have happened in Arizona. The same stadium which witnessed the Seahawks make the worst coaching decision in NFL history, now watched the end of the Seahawks. Since February 1, 2015, Seattle has been in free fall mode, veterans retiring, being traded, or signing with new teams. The hard feelings toward the coaches and the quarterback never went away. And with Beast Mode in Oakland, and Kam retiring, and Sherm in San Fran, everything kept getting farther and farther away from the good old days. The Seahawks had a chance to be back-to-back champs, remembered forever as a historic team. Instead, they end with a whimper. 

Russell Wilson is still under center, and that's the centerpiece of the Seahawks now. The front office is trying to adjust on the fly, build a new team while not completely tearing down the old one. And each day brings another round of plugging their ears from all the negativity from inside the locker room. But the guts of those Super Bowl teams are now all gone, and Thomas' salute guaranteed he's on that tombstone too. Once upon a time we wondered if Seattle was the next great dynasty in the NFL. Today, it's a cruel memory. The Seahawks as we know it died in Arizona. Again. 

Damon Amendolara, known by his fans as D.A., hosts “The D.A. Show,” from 9:00AM-12:00PM, ET, across the country on the nation’s largest 24/7 major-market radio network. “The D.A. Show” is known for its unique perspective on sports, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, colorful listener interaction, and candid interviews with athletes and coaches. Amendolara also appears regularly on NFL Network as part of the “NFL Top 10” documentary film series, CBS television and SNY TV. He is a Syracuse University grad and native of Warwick, N.Y.