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Seahawks' Hard Knocks would be a dream come true
A dream that we will never see come true, I'm sure: Seaside Joe 1571
The second episode of ‘season two’ of The Sound of the Seahawks was the best one yet. It was the simplicity and slight uptick in quality (it sounds like maybe they took my advice on not having Doug Baldwin record the voiceover through an iPhone) that made it far superior to most of what I’ve seen from the series thus far but I still think that the Seahawks have a long road to travel before reaching the intrigue and reach of their YouTube competitors.
The proof is in the views.
Despite Seattle having one of the best and most tech savvy/hungry for content fanbases in the NFL—look no further than Seaside Joe’s rising subscriber count!!!—the Seahawks have been going in the wrong direction on YouTube since debuting The Sound in the 2022 offseason.
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The first episode reached 84,000 people, which is still a modest total but only the beginning of a series that we had waited years for compared to some other franchises. It is also the tentpole episode of The Sound and it’s not even close. I believe that fans would happily watch something and share it with others if the quality was passable—we saw this happen years ago with the fan-made Rain City Redemption series—but episode two dropped to 57k.
Which then dropped to 45k, then 34k, falling all the way to 17,000 views by the season one finale.
Worse yet, I find YouTube view counts to be seriously misleading—how many views are based on autoplays and people watching for less than 5 minutes?—so 17,000 might in actuality be less than 10,000 Seahawks fans who watched the entire episode and paid attention.
Compare this to Inside the Den, the Detroit Lions YouTube series, and they had 446,000 views just for their episode on the 2022 draft last year and the Lions—yes, that team that hasn’t won a playoff game in 250 decades—are regularly over 140,000 for their docuseries. The Jets also go over 400,000 views for their first episode featuring Aaron Rodgers on Flight 23.
And it’s not as though the Seattle Seahawks don’t have news to share.
For a team that has made three first round picks, four second round picks, and traded Russell Wilson within the last 15 months alone, I’m sure that fans were ready to tune into a docuseries on their rapid rebuild in the current era of the franchise. Unfortunately, I think that for the most part The Sound has lacked the effort and financial commitment to at least partially resemble the quality that NFL fans have become accustomed to after two decades of Hard Knocks.
So…why not just go directly to the source?
For the first time that we know of, the NFL is having a difficult time getting a team to agree to be on Hard Knocks and reportedly three of the four teams that could be forced to participate have asked the league to leave them alone. According to Mike Florio, the Moons are the one team that might accept without protest:
Per multiple sources, the NFL has expanded its search for preseason Hard Knocks teams beyond the four that, by league rule, technically could be forced to do it — the Jets, Bears, Saints, and Commanders. The first three have made clear that they have no interest in doing it. The Commanders, we’re told, would do it if selected.
But the NFL also doesn’t want to force a team to do Hard Knocks if they would rather not do it, and in reality I think few teams could be less interesting to put on television than the Washington Camoonders…whether they are playing football or just practicing football.
I know that Hard Knocks isn’t necessarily always about the head coach, starting quarterback, and star players, often focusing on fringe guys just trying to make the roster, but I still want to be spared five episodes of Ron Rivera, Sam Howell, and Chase Young because all three could be obsolete or excommunicated by midseason.
Maybe that’s also part of the reason that the league is reportedly looking to expand beyond the four teams that could be forced to do it and hoping that an attractgive franchise will volunteer.
Selfishly—and I do admit that it is selfish because not all of you will agree with me—I wish it would be the Seattle Seahawks.
Oft cited as a needless distraction that does some harm and no good, I can’t help but want to see more content about the 2023 Seahawks. More content on Pete Carroll, who has kind of avoided a spotlight despite 14 years of being one of the most interesting and important American coaches of the last 25 years, and should have a well-made documentary record of his methods; more content on Geno Smith, the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year simply because he has a great story to tell; more content on Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, two of the highest-drafted players in Seattle history; more content on the return of Jamal Adams; more content on Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Kenneth Walker III, Dre’Mont Jones, Abe Lucas, Quandre Diggs, Riq Woolen, and of course the return of Bobby Wagner.
If you look at all 32 teams objectively, even if you are praying that it never happens, I can’t imagine that there are five better options for television than the 2023 Seattle Seahawks. And for the record, plenty of teams on Hard Knocks did indeed make the playoffs, some of them even won their divisions. The Rams were on Hard Knocks in 2020 and won the Super Bowl in 2021.
There’s going to be a good chance that the Seahawks don’t win the Super Bowl at the end of the season anyway, but a forever-record of their efforts to become a Super Bowl champion before anyone expects it would at least be something we could go back and watch many years from now. While it’s something that I know fans want to avoid forever, it’s also something we as fans have never had the opportunity to experience. Seattle had their chance to create a documentary record that was in their control, but The Sound fails to live up to the millions of fans who were eager for something to watch.
Maybe this last episode is a push in the right direction. But a season of Hard Knocks would make up for lost time.