Saturday, July 23, 2011

It has come to my attention that I never explained why I collect Seneca Wallace. Here's why!

I see it as a five step process.

1. It all started with Madden 2004. I've mentioned in the past that Madden 04 is my favorite sports game of all time, which meant I played it a ton during my senior year of high school and the ensuing years since then. I've since picked up a PS2 copy which I occasionally play here in Indiana (with Woody Dantzler at my QB now, which is a losing battle since you can't improve non-QB's at QB in the game, and Woody is technically a defensive back, but that's neither here nor there). I'm sure I am the only person in the world who has Madden 04 on three different consoles (I also have the computer version) and who still plays it 8 years after its release. What that says about me...I don't wanna know!

Anyways, my first introduction to Seneca Wallace was as the Seahawks backup quarterback with an 82 speed rating. 82 for a quarterback was REALLY good (second only to Michael Vick's 95), and I hated picking Vick because he was too good overall so I always picked Seneca to give myself a challenge. The first few years of a franchise were filled with tons of scrambling and a lot of interceptions, but as I improved Seneca's ratings over the years, he became an All Pro QB who would throw for 60 touchdowns a year. Plays like this one below became the norm (and yes that's my YouTube video):

2. Seneca became a Madden favorite of mine, and I used him in future incarnations of the game as well. So one day I figured I'd Google the guy to see what he had done in real life, and I came across "The Run," which is one of the single greatest plays I have ever seen in my entire life:

Amazing right? How could you not like a player who was capable of that kind of play? I put it right up there with Josh Cribb's Immaculate Deception, Woodrow Dantzler's KR TD against the 49ers, and Marshawn Lynch's 67 yard TD run against the Saints in last year's playoffs. All pure effort, all ridiculous shows of athleticism, and all made me at least semi-collect a guy (I once had a Cribbs PC and he first made me admire the Browns, I may someday consider a Dantzler PC, and I did pick up a Lynch card after his beastly display).

3. However, some Madden success and an excellent running play are not all it takes to create a PC for me. I did a little more research on Seneca and found out that he actually went into college at Sacramento State (to live close to his Mom, per her request) as a defensive back. It wasn't until he transferred to Iowa State in 2001 that he became the QB from YouTube and Madden. As many of you might know, this then led to him being drafted in the 4th round with visions of Seneca the Slot WR dancing in Mike Holmgren's head. Given all these positional switches/considered switches, Seneca had a hybrid quality to him, which is another thing that helps me root for a player. Kordell Stewart was one of my favorite players growing up for his athletic ability. I rooted for Michael Bishop for years to overtake Drew Bledsoe as the Patriots QB, and was confused when they went with some "Tom Brady" stiff instead of the rifle armed Bishop in 2001. I've mentioned Dantzler before (a former college QB, Pro QB/FS/RB/KR), and I was PSYCHED when Troy Brown played some defensive back for the Patriots a few years back when the team was in need. For whatever reason, athleticism to the point of multiple playing positions is something I find very cool in the sports I watch, and Seneca was certainly capable of that. Being a QB probably helped him especially, as I've always preferred QB's who can scramble to the pocket passing type (even though yes, Seneca is now more of a Pocket Passer. I can adapt!).

4. So we have Madden success, great college play, and hybrid quarterback. No collection yet. So now we have to throw in the underdog/backup QB factor (which often comes hand in hand with the hybrid factor). I had seen what Seneca was capable of in college, and I knew what he was capable of in Madden (though to be fair I once won a Super Bowl with Tim Hasselbeck, so...yeah), so I figured he had a pretty decent chance to someday unseat Matt Hasselbeck. I casually kept track of the Seahawks over the years, and watched as time and time again Wallace never got a shot. Now I like Matt Hasselbeck and have nothing against the guy, but there were times (especially after Hasselbeck was hurt in 06 and 08) that I figured Seneca had earned an extended look, only to have his job given right back to Hasselbeck. This KILLED me, as it always does in sports. It wasn't "Buccaneers sign Brad Johnson to start at QB, leaving Shaun King on the bench and in a few years out of the league" bad, but it was still pretty bad. Like Bishop* before him, I cheered for Seneca in spite of Hasselbeck for a few years, always in vain. And I must say, it was great when Seneca finally left the Hawks because then I could start liking Matt Hasselbeck again!

We now sit in early 2010, pre-Seneca coming to the Browns. I had finally come back to the hobby and had one autographed Seneca Wallace Autograph to my name. I wanted to pick up a card or two of most of my Madden Heroes, but didn't foresee any collections going much beyond that.

5. Then Seneca was traded to the Browns. The Browns, as I've mentioned before, became my favorite team for a few years starting in 2008 (I'm not sure they still in Indiana makes it pretty easy to root for the Patriots so I may have a 1A, 1B situation going). They're actually a fun team to watch when Josh Cribbs is healthy and the defense is clicking, as both special teams and defense then create plenty of opportunities for the offense to succeed. But aside from a one year blip, Derek Anderson/Brady Quinn and company were not getting it done. So when the Browns cut Anderson, traded Quinn for the Winnebago, and traded for Seneca Wallace, I was beyond psyched. A team with 2/3's of the equation solved finally had a quarterback with the potential to make it all happen! SENECA WAS GONNA BE A STAR ON MY FAVORITE TEAM! I was all like this:

At this point my collection started to grow...Seneca became one of my top player collections but I still wasn't applying myself to it too much for whatever reason. But then the Browns signed Jake Delhomme. And annoited him the starter. And I was...stunned. I became more like this:

That little dash of factor #4 added some intensity to my Seneca Wallace collecting. Then Delhomme went down with an injury and Seneca got to play so I was happy. A few games in, just as he was hitting stride Seneca was injured and replaced by Colt McCoy, which obviously sucked. Then to seal the deal, McCoy was hurt later and Delhomme got the start even though Seneca had been a much better QB when he played than Delhomme. The Browns predictably lost those games, and didn't start playing like they were capable of until McCoy rejoined the lineup. The entire time I was just thinking to myself, "Man, if only Seneca Wallace had played in those Delhomme games, we would've won." Essentially, like many Seahawks fans from 2003-2009, I had become a full fledged Seneca Wallace fan. And I do like Colt McCoy so I'm not terribly sad if Seneca is just the backup in Cleveland, but it would be nice to see him get some playing time from time to time given the threat he's capable of being in that offense (particularly now that it's going West Coast).

So does that crazy long-winded post help explain things? For comparison purposes, Fred McGriff (my favorite baseball player of all time) is lacking the video game familiarity, the flexibility, and the trials and tribulations (but did have the favorite team for a while and the highlight reel-ness), which might partially explain why that collection went away. Similarly, Tyronn Lue had the video game familiarity, flexibility, and backup issues, but he never had a lot of real nice highlights and played for a lot of teams I didn't like.

In other words, give me a scrappy, athletic backup who shows extreme potential in a few choice plays and put him on a team I prefer, and I'll give you a player I will watch on the football field/diamond/court/ice/etc. Put him on my favorite team and allow me to familiarize myself with that player through watching games and playing video games and I'll player collect that guy!

* I kept mentioning Michael Bishop, who I also Pc. Here's a video demonstrating his awesomeness backed by Kanye West. It's a little run heavy but still damn good:

1 comment:

  1. Good post! I learned more about you and Wallace than I ever thought I would.