Image Credit: USA Today Sports
Frank Clark and the Celebration of Mediocrity
Over the last 18 years, the millennial push to celebrate mediocrity, half-assedness, and participation has infected society.
Decades ago, businesses, schools, and youth sports were mediums that turned boys and girls from runny bowls of cold Turkish gruel into men and women carved from a granite batholith. Today, these venues rest the forgotten bones of blood, sweat, and sacrifice - a soft underbelly of society that will ultimately bring about our demise.
There was a sacred place that was immune to the millennial disease, but it appears that even professional football has succumbed to the plague.
Following a Week 14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark stated that Seattle’s defense was his and it was now his team.
“[Sherman is] not in this locker room no more, so his opinion really doesn't matter," Clark said. "They've got some problems over there in San Fran that he needs to be worried about.”
Clark continued stating that “... This is my team now. This is my defense. Richard Sherman, his era is over here.”
Clark was responding to comments Sherman made, calling Seattle’s defense “middle-of-the-road.”
The San Francisco 49ers have had a season cursed by Cronus. A host of injuries and a general lack of roster depth took a team destined for a winning record and cast it down into Tartarus.
Seattle, so desperate to avoid building an offensive line, signed linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who had pled guilty to insider trading. The team went further and had the stones to play Kendricks in three games this year before Commissioner Roger Goodell had the common sense to suspend him.
The 49ers might have treated quarterback Tom Savage like a scorned prom date throughout the middle of the season, but at least all these supposed “problems” didn’t drive the 49ers to sign a guilty man facing up to 25 years in prison.
Clark has every right to claim his greatness and shout atop Olympus about the NFL's sixth-ranked defense. That's the world we live in, even though an undrafted free agent from Southern Miss has thrown for 689 yards and three touchdowns against Clark's squad.
And, I’ll own the fact that I have not won a single award since December 1997 when I was named to the Turlock Journal’s All-Area football team as the utility player.
“Rumbeck was a jack-of-all-trades for the Bulldogs returning kicks, punts, playing tight end and running back….” I reached my zenith that day, and continue to hang my hat on the achievement.
But let’s not allow today's Frank Clark Dynasty to tarnish the Richard Sherman Era in Seattle.
Between 2012-2014, Sherman was named as a first-team All-Pro three times and Seattle’s defense reigned atop the NFL.
In 2012, Seattle gave up a league-low 245 points but didn’t lead the league in other key defensive statistics like passing yards allowed, interceptions or sacks. Opposing teams' bowels turned to cold Starbuck's coffee when trying to run or throw against Seattle.
The Legion of Boom peaked in 2013 when Seattle led the NFL in fewest points allowed, total yards allowed, yards allowed per offensive play, takeaways, interceptions, net yards gained per pass attempt, the fewest number of passing first downs allowed, and the fewest number of rushing touchdowns.
Oh, and Seattle throttled Denver in the Super Bowl.
Richard Sherman’s defense still dominated in 2014, allowing only 254 points, 2,970 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, and 3.4 yards per rush attempt. Seattle topped the NFL again in 2015 and was a top-three defense in 2016.
Never trust my math, but I believe that’s a five-year run of defensive domination under Sherman and his Legion of Boom.
We cannot live in the past, and like it or not, it is the Frank Clark Dynasty. Seattle’s defense ranks eighth in the NFL and does not lead the NFL in any defensive category. Today, the 49ers have given up fewer total yards on defense (4,844) than Seattle (5,036), have allowed fewer pass yards, and have a better run defense than Seattle.
But, never forget! “San Fran has a lot of problems.”
A lot of problems that resulted in a huge win for the 49ers on Sunday.
I understand Clark’s need for bloviating and machismo. The 12s feed off of nonsensical statements from its players. They all went out and bought quarterback Russell Wilson’s nanobubbles in a vain hope to cure themselves of medical ailments like concussions, leprosy, typhoid fever, and dysentery.
Clark was just giving the sheep what they wanted to hear, even if he lacked any facts or the tenth straight victory over the 49ers to remain as the self-appointed king of his new defensive dynasty.
You can follow Bret on Twitter here!
Stay tuned to 49ersHub for more great game day analysis!