Seattle Noir: The Downfall of Babyface

Monday – Manager’s Office

The Seahawk sat quietly as Ol’ Pete worked busily to outline a defensive strategy for Thursday night. Once it was complete, he’d work with the staff to craft the full game plan. The offensive strategy, he felt, could wait. There were only so many running plays to choose from.

The Seahawk was worried. The Rams. It was bad enough to sometimes look the fool against the Fisherman and his fake punt treachery. But Babyface McVay, well, he had Ol’ Pete’s number so far. Babyface could scheme open receivers and pick and choose his running plays and score on Ol’ Pete in a way few could. The Seahawk shuddered as he remembered the battle two years prior, when the Rams came to town and beat him to a pulp. Stomped by the Goof Troop. The Seahawk had rarely been so humiliated in his own home.

Ol’ Pete’s phone buzzed. “There’s someone here to see you, sir,” crackled a voice on the line.

“I’m busy,” grouched Pete, as he stared at a mess of blitz packages. Blitzing. It wasn’t terribly sporting, he felt. He liked a good, honest win built more on toughness and less on trying to outwit the opponent. But against his new nemesis and his puppet quarterback…

The door burst open. The Seahawk and Ol’ Pete looked up, startled. The manager’s look of surprise turned to a scowl when he saw who it was.

“Well, well, well, look who we have here,” said Babyface McVay, as if he shouldn’t expect Ol’ Pete to be in his office. He was followed closely by the Goof himself, who could never seem to function whenever Babyface wasn’t around.

Babyface took a seat across from Pete. When the Goof remained standing, Babyface discreetly made a sitting motion with his hand. The Goof sat without taking his eyes off his coach, still in search of guidance.

“He’s a good lapdog, Babyface, I’ll give you that,” Ol’ Pete said. He poured himself and the Seahawk a whiskey. “I’d, uh, offer you one, but I’m not sure I wouldn’t go to jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

“You know I’m old enough,” Babyface growled, raising his voice slightly. After a moment, he settled down, scratching his chin stubble. “Trying to get a rise out of me, are you? Well, I only came here to wish you luck. I look forward to beating you and your outdated tactics yet again.” He laughed. “Run the ball into my eight-man box again, please!”

Old Pete stood up, eyes flashing. “You come into my office and boast about victories you haven’t even earned yet? Have you already forgotten the last Big Game, against the Dark Lord Belichick? You aren’t invincible.” 

Babyface himself stood up, no longer laughing. “You aren’t in any place to bring that up.”

A couple young staffers peeked into the office. “Oh, wow,” gasped one. “It’s Babyface McVay! I heard he’s a genius that schemed his first touchdown at the age of ten!”

“I heard that when he was in high school, he never once called a running play against a stacked box, and his teams scored over a hundred points per game!”

Ol’ Pete waved them away, but their interruption had calmed him down from fiery anger to mere consternation. “None of that shit’s even true, why do you let people talk about you like that?”

“Tell him, Goof,” snapped Babyface.

“Coach McVay is too modest to encourage praise, but he accepts it gracefully,” said the Goof. Babyface nodded, acting the saint as if the media were around. They ate him up.

The Seahawk shook his head. He’d never seen such a pathetic creature as the Goof. It seemed he had a rather unhealthy dependence on Babyface, and really needed to be socialized with other people. This was supposedly one of the game’s best quarterbacks, but he could barely decide to breathe on his own.

Ol’ Pete sighed, sat back down, and sipped some whiskey. “Get outta here, Babyface.”

Babyface smiled a smile as insincere as his supposed modesty. “See you postgame, old man.” He glanced at the Seahawk. “Let me give you a word of advice. The sooner you move on from this old dinosaur, the better it will be for you. Join us in the modern world.”

Once Babyface was gone, Ol’ Pete snarled to the Seahawk, “Gather the men. We’re not losing to that damn young upstart again.”

Thursday, Postgame – Alki Beach

“Dinosaur, huh. Well, then I’m a four-and-one-asaurus.” said Ol’ Pete, smoking a celebratory cigar on the shores of Elliot Bay. Clouds hid the moonlight. Only faint street lighting provided any illumination in the dark night. He and the Seahawk were riding the high of an unbelievable victory, a whirlwind match full of back and forth. All in attendance agreed it was one of the Seahawk’s finest victories.

“Did you see the look on Babyface? Ha! He couldn’t believe his kicker missed.” Ol’ Pete relished the memory. The Seahawk was happy, but slightly troubled. The genius was vanquished, for now. But still, the Seahawk wondered if it was really vindication for Pete’s methods.

Ol’ Pete could tell something was off about the Seahawk. “You’re thinking of the kick we missed, aren’t you?” He was silent for a time, the only sounds coming from the gentle crash of the waves and the rhythmic puffs of the two cigars. “You think I should have gone for it on 4th and 1 instead of kicking, like the calculators said.”

The Seahawk did not look Ol’ Pete in the eye. 

“I see,” he said. “And you probably think we shouldn’t have called three straight runs after Teddy’s pick? Maybe you think we called too many runs, total? We should have let Russell air it out, put the team on his back? That we got lucky to win, maybe even that we won in spite of me?”

Still the Seahawk could not make eye contact with Ol’ Pete.

“Well, I’ll tell you what. I did it my way, just as I always do.” Ol’ Pete threw an arm around the Seahawk’s shoulder and squeezed. “You might want me to be more aggressive. You might want more passes. You might think I’m lucky. Doubt me if you so choose. But I have spent my entire life winning my way. I’m your dinosaur. And I’m never going to fucking change.”

The Seahawk stared out into the chilly, marine night. Ol’ Pete was right, he would always observe the old ways. The Seahawk had to hope that was good enough in the new world of Babyfaces and calculators. On this night, this glorious night, it was.