With the Seahawks heading into their second straight NFC Championship, the bandwagon is again bursting with fans climbing aboard for what everyone hopes is a return trip to the Super Bowl.
But even though everyone around town seems to be sporting a 12 jersey, sweatshirt or hat, few want to admit a dirty little secret: not everyone’s that hardcore about the Hawks.
So what do you do if you have a passing interest or just started following the team in recent weeks and don’t want to sound like a complete idiot?
“You do not have to be a lifelong Seahawks fan to have permission to talk about the Hawks,” says Jen Mueller.
Mueller is the Seahawks sideline radio reporter, professional speaking coach and author of two books including the upcoming “Talk Sporty To Me.”
She says it’s easy to get intimidated if you don’t know that much about the Seahawks or even football in general. But you don’t have to be if you just follow a few basic tips.
The first thing is simply deciding why you want to talk about the Seahawks.
“Are you just wanting to join the conversation or are you trying to impress somebody like a colleague or a significant other or a friend?” she asks. “Or are you trying to network with key influencers like a CEO who has season tickets?”
That will determine whether you need to do much homework. Regardless of how much you know, Mueller says an easy approach is to rely on common sense details that don’t require a deep knowledge of the team or the game.
“For example, the Seahawks are hosting the game. It’s outdoors, in Seattle, in January. So you don’t have to know anything about either team to know that weather could play a factor,” she says.
Another easy topic is the impact of the 12th Man. You don’t need to know much to know 68,000 screaming fans can make for a miserable afternoon for the opposing team.
What happens when the football talk gets more complex, such as the boss bringing up the impact of center Max Unger’s return to the running game and protection schemes for Russell Wilson?
“It’s okay to say I’ve just had a chance to watch the last couple of games, I don’t know about all those details,” says Mueller. “It’ll help bring the conversation back around to something you can talk about and especially in a business setting help you maintain your credibility by keeping your calm.”
Talking football, or any sports for that matter, can be especially tough for men who might not be that into it. Mueller says it’s a big reason she wrote her first book “Game Time: Learn To Talk Sports in 5 Minutes a Day for Business.”
“There is an expectation and an assumption that all men talk about sports, which is really unfortunate for guys who have not grown up watching sports and it’s unfortunate for women who have often been shut out of conversations because men think they don’t know sports,” says Mueller.
With kickoff slated for 12:05 p.m. Sunday, you’ve still got time to brush up on some of the basics. But if you need a little bit of help to sound like you know what you’re talking about before then, Mueller is kind enough to share the following analysis for why the Seahawks should win:
“Number one, they’re playing at home. The Seahawks have only lost two home games in the last three seasons. It is really tough for anybody to come here and win. The defense is playing incredibly well and the offense is cranking out yards and Aaron Rogers is playing on a bad leg. So you add all that together along with the weather and the 12s and I think it’s a pretty good recipe for success.”
You can be thankful you don’t have worry about the Packers quarterback being named something like Favre.
You can catch Mueller and the rest of the Seahawks broadcast team live on 710 ESPN Seattle and KIRO Radio 97.3 FM Sunday. Pre-game coverage begins at 9 a.m.