By John Boyle Herald Columnist
SEATTLE — It’s been an interesting year of sports in the Puget Sound region, to say the least.
The Seahawks established themselves as one of the best teams in the NFL, while the Mariners, were, well, the Mariners. The Husky basketball team once again missed the NCAA Tournament — and appears headed that direction again — while the UW football team lost a coach, but won nine games to break out of its 7-6 rut. The Sounders were bad at times, great at others, and disappointing down the stretch, ultimately falling short in the playoffs again, while the Storm was much better than expected minus its two best players, sneaking into the playoffs before an early exit.
Seattle, meanwhile, was used for leverage in order to get a new arena approved in Sacramento, and NHL flirtations came up empty as well.
There were notable departures like Eric Wedge, Steve Sarkisian, Matt Flynn (we hardly knew ye), Fredy Montero; and arrivals like Chris Petersen, Lloyd McClendon, Clint Dempsey, Robinson Cano and Percy Harvin.
But rather than rehash a past we all remember, let’s instead take a look ahead to the year of sports that awaits. Let’s make some predictions for 2014, some of which might work out, most of which will be wrong. Some of them are serious, most are ridiculous, and some I will certainly regret. With that, an incomplete timeline of Seattle sports in 2014.
Jan. 2 — Percy Harvin returns to practice to much fanfare, giving Seahawks fans hope of big plays throughout the postseason.
Jan. 3 — Harvin is held out of practice, panic ensues.
Jan. 19 — Eight years after facing each other in the NFC Championship game, the Seahawks and Panthers meet again, with Seattle again claiming victory. Roger Goodell also announces a retroactive fine for Lofa Tatupu for concussing Nick Goings in the previous meeting.
Feb. 1 — NBA commissioner David Stern retires. Fans in Sonics gear — already in New York for the Super Bowl — boo him on his way out of the office.
Feb. 2 — The Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII when Richard Sherman intercepts Peyton Manning on the Broncos’ final possession. “Thank U Manning, Bro” T-shirts become a best seller.
Feb. 12 — Mariners pitchers and catchers report, many area sports fans are unaware of this, however, still recovering from a 10-day hangover.
March 8 — Clint Dempsey scores twice as the Sounders open their 2014 campaign with a victory over defending champion Kansas City. DeAndre Yedlin’s latest wild hairdo, however, steals the show.
March 15 — Seattle U wins the WAC tournament, making the Redhawks, not the Huskies, the city’s lone team in the NCAA Tournament (note: this is a total homer pick from an SU alum).
March 31 — Robinson Cano homers, Felix Hernandez pitches a gem, and the Mariners win their season opener, leading Mariners fans to experience a weird feeling they can’t quite identify. Turns out it is optimism.
April 10-13 — Seattle native Fred Couples is a feel-good story, contending at the Masters at age 54, but ultimately falls short on Sunday. OK, this isn’t exactly a bold prediction.
May 21 — Mariners are swept in a two-game series in Texas, falling six games behind the first-place Rangers. Optimism fades.
July 27 — The Mariners win their seventh game in 10 days following the All-Star break to get over .500. Optimism returns.
Aug. 30 — The Huskies kick off the Chris Petersen era with a convincing victory in Hawaii. That win is marred, however, by the fact that six players defect, deciding the beach life is the life for them.
Sept. 4 — As defending champs, the Seahawks host the NFL kickoff game, which happens to be against rival San Francisco. Pete Carroll arranges to have the Lombardi Trophy positioned as close to Jim Harbaugh as possible on San Francisco sideline.
Sept. 15-25 — A brutal stretch of 11 road games in 11 days knocks the Mariners out of playoff contention. Nonetheless, a big year from Robinson Cano and a record just over .500 leads fans to feel, for the first time in a long time, that the Mariners just might be heading in the right direction.
Undetermined fall date — Chris Petersen shows that his mastery of Oregon carried over to Washington, leading the Huskies to a stunning upset in Eugene, ending Washington’s long losing streak to the Ducks. Plans for a Petersen statue at Husky Stadium are scrapped at the last minute when cooler heads prevail, realizing such an honor is a bit premature. He’ll get one after he beats Oregon twice.
A Saturday in early December — The Sounders finally make their first MLS Cup, beating the New York Red Bulls in front of 67,000 fans at CenturyLink Field. DeAndre Yedlin’s hair narrowly loses game MVP honors to Osvaldo Alonso, who takes the ball from opposing players with such frequency that Red Bulls players get fed up and quit in the 76th minute.
Dec. 28 — The Seahawks wrap up a second-straight NFC West Championship win a win over the St. Louis Rams, because the Seahawks always play the Rams in Week 17.
Dec. 30 — The Huskies play in the Holiday Bowl, and in a feel-good story, those players who defected after the season opener return to the team, noting that San Diego’s beach scene ain’t too bad either.
Dec. 31 — John gets an email with a link to this story, reminding him just how wrong he was making his 2014 predictions.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.