hawks fans2

Seattle can be a loud place to play football. That is not surprising knowledge, and although it’s pretty damn cool, it’s also not exactly shocking stuff to see the camera shaking with the noise so deafening during a Seahawks home game. Hell, even the signs yell at you.

But the true measure of homefield advantage is when the local science community is so confident the noise generated will create seismic activity that two seismometers have been placed at Century Link Field.

That’s really a thing, and a viral thing that began making us both laugh and go woah yesterday. The University of Washington will place two devices that measure how much the Earth moves Saturday afternoon as a result of the collective roar when Drew Brees et al try to avoid another face plant after a 34-7 pummeling in Seattle earlier this season.

It’s pretty rare that a football stadium is the subject of science speak. But yeah, here we are… (from phys.org)

The experiment provides a test of equipment that will be used to monitor aftershocks following a traditional earthquake and will provide technical training for staff of the UW-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

“Because the fault ruptures that generate earthquake waves are almost always buried by miles of rocks, scientists aren’t sure about the action at the source that results in seismic shaking. In a way, the Seahawks’ 12th man provides us an opportunity to get inside the source that’s generating seismic waves,” said seismic network operations manager Paul Bodin, a UW research associate professor of Earth and space sciences.

“While the basic mechanics are quite different – earthquakes release energy stored in rocks by frictional sliding on a fault while the fans produce energy by excited jumping in reaction to events on the field – both of those processes produce organized seismic waves that may travel long distances and have similar characteristics,” Bodin said.

“We think that it’s actually the CenturyLink stadium structure itself that acts as the organized seismic source, energized by the excited, although disorganized, crowd movement.”

So you see, Seattle fans are helping more than just their Seahawks by yelling obscenities at Brees. They’re providing a service to the world, or something.

If seismic activity is indeed recorded tomorrow as expected, it won’t be the first time. Here’s how the bouncing needle looked during Marshawn Lynch’s famous Skittle-fueled pinball run two years ago against these same Saints in the playoffs…

lynch run


Good luck with that, Drew.

More notes, reading, stray thoughts, and other such randomness

The walking wounded march on

This might just be the best. Even in interpretive form, Bill Belichick and Vince Wilfork are the grittiest and most determined a man can be, while Rob Gronkowski gives very few cares.

Related: Belichick smiled exactly seven times this year (apparently, reportedly)

When asked to get an image of an incessantly enraged head coach in your mind’s eye, on the extreme end you likely see Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden, and among the slightly tamer yet still not sane you may see the recently departed Greg Schiano. A smile from any of those three was rare too, just like it is from Bill Belichick.

But while our boy Bill certainly has his moments of rage, his typical schtick is far more difficult to read. On the sidelines and during his press conferences, he simply displays no emotion whatsoever. Not through his facial expressions, or his voice, or his body language. I’m sure he is a regular human who experience normal feelings, but in our public glimpses of a very public man, we rarely see it.

So rarely that this study by the Wall Street Journal which should be completely ridiculous is actually quite fascinating. Some brave soul over there went through all 16 of Belichick’s regular-season post-game press conferences, and found only seven smiles. Seven.

Yep, that’s seven even freak instances of a smile over a 114.5 minute period, which is about once every 16 minutes. For perspective, to the surprise of absolutely no one Pete Carroll is on the other end, as he smiles nine times during just a single press conference.

Here’s the complete Belichick smile-by-smile breakdown…

belichick smiles

The Patriots’ record this season increases the ridiculousness. They earned their first-round bye last week by wining 12 games and the AFC East, and they did that even though they were ravaged by injuries all season, and still now.

Yet that’s not enough for a Belichick smile. We can assume he smiled at some point during the recently concluded jovial holiday season, because as Deadspin reminds us, the Patriots Jedi really, really enjoys Christmas music. So much that he even slightly smiled while describing his Jingle Bells delight…

That may be the first recorded occurrence of someone saying a thing puts a smile on their face, without actually smiling.

Some injury notes of importance

Alright then, that was a fun diversion. Back to matters that matter prior to this week’s divisional games, like the playing status of two really important wide receivers.

In Seattle, Percy Harvin has been practicing, and I know this because whenever my television is on any sports channel I see many pictures of him running and catching and stuff. Yesterday Pete Carroll said his shifty and speedy wideout will “absolutely” play, though surely in a limited capacity after being on the field for all of 20 snaps during the regular season. Remember how much Michael Crabtree was used in his first game back? Yeah, it’ll be something like that. But with Harvin, a limited capacity is far better than no capacity.

Elsewhere in concerning or relieving injury developments, Kam Chancellor will return for the Hawks, Ryan Mathews’ status is looking increasingly doubtful (and indeed, he may be officially given that tag later today), and although he’s expected to play, Steve Smith is getting pretty creative with injury percentages. If he’s out there against the 49ers, Smith will surely be limited too, leaving Cam Newton with his primary option in much less than top form during a touch matchup.

Lastly (and maybe most importantly), Pierre Thomas set foot on a practice field yesterday, and that alone is progress. But he was still limited, and the Saints will likely have to go forward with Mark Ingram getting the bulk of the carries again.

And so it begins

Jay Gruden (who was once called the “Michael Jordan of arena football“) feels like a boom or bust head coaching hire, and one who will only see success in Washington is he’s willing to be flexible. So basically, he’s your standard Dan Snyder hire.

On Day 1 yesterday, he may have already started to experience some Robert Griffin III fatigue. We feel you, Jay.


This was surely a hot seller during the holiday season…