The savvy fan asks some key questions before making the critical decision. How old is this player? How high was he drafted? How much longer is his contract? What does PETA think about him? Most fans will take the easy route, selecting one of the team’s star players that makes them less likely to be wearing a ghost jersey, for a player no longer on the squad. The cocky fans, the ones that fancy themselves football scouting experts, play the higher stakes game of choosing a new player without enough time on the team to comfortably predict their future. I am that guy, and let me tell you, my track record ain’t too hot.
Back when I moved to Seattle in 1997, my first act was to rent an apartment, my second was to buy season tickets to the Seahawks ($200 for two tickets back then!), and my third was to pick which jersey to buy. Dennis Erickson was the coach, and the easy choices would have been Warren Moon, Ricky Watters, Joey Galloway, Shawn Springs, or Chad Brown. They all felt too obvious for me, and $60 for jersey seemed too steep to screw around. I ended up waiting until 1998, and I was glad I did. The Seahawks drafted a dynamic new running back that ran his way into my heart. His name with Ahman Green, and he had a glowing 6.0 yards per carry and rocket speed. He only got 35 of the teams 426 rushing attempts, but I had seen enough to know this was my guy. I plunked down my cash for a #30 jersey, and wore it proudly…for one season (1999) before he was traded to Green Bay.
The sting of guessing wrong stuck with me for a bit. Seeing Green go on to multiple Pro Bowl and All-Pro seasons convinced me I knew how to pick the talent, I just had bad luck the first go-around. I set out looking for the next guy to earn my cash. He appeared in 2001. This player had a modest rookie season, but like Green, caught my eye with his penchant for big plays. I plunked down another chunk of change to bet big on #81, Koren Robinson. It looked like a great choice as he exploded for 78 receptions and 1240 yards in his second season, averaging almost 16 yards per catch. Two years, and handful of DUIs later, he was gone as well. Sigh…
After that, I decided to never buy a jersey again because I clearly was doing more harm than good to my favorite team. As we enter the 2011 season, the most common jerseys you will see in the stands will be Matt Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry. One of my favorite jerseys is a guy in my section that got a custom “AaronFuckingCurry” jersey. How’s he going to feel next year? At least my embarrassing jersey’s weren’t so emphatic. Misery loves company, so tell me your worst jersey, and tell me who you are considering buying now.