By Eric Neel
Here's a sentence you haven't read in a while: The Seahawks are for real.
At least, we think so.
To be sure, we called up running back Shaun Alexander and subjected him to the grueling regimen of 10 Burning Questions.
Did he squirm? Are you kidding? Shaun saw his baby girl come into the world and played an NFL game on the same day. He's got rattles, but he's no easy rattle.
You know what? This is the first Iron Bowl in a long time that probably nobody cares about. Usually, someone's hot, and it's usually us that's hot. But Auburn, I know they're really excited because ... well, you know what A-u-b-u-r-n stands for, right? Alabama Usually Beats Us Red Necks! (laughs)
Your fullback, Heath Evans, is a War Eagle. You two have a bet going?
We always have a little side thing, with the loser cooking dinner for the winner or something. My wife doesn't really care about the game; but his wife was born and raised in Auburn, so it's fun to rub it in their faces when we win.
2. Your wife is too busy taking care of that new baby, right? Tell us about driving to the hospital on game day.
Driving to the hospital was wild. We got there, and she just looked beautiful, and she was really, really relaxed. And then it hit me, oh my goodness, I'm really about to be a father. I could hardly believe it. Next thing I know, we're talking, and our baby girl, Heaven, is sleeping, and my wife says, all right it's time for you to go. Time to win. And I was like, OK, let me go bring the crowd to their feet. I was getting hyped, thinking about how this was going to be the first game of my baby's life.
3. Let's talk football: You guys are dominant at home this year, but struggling on the road. What's missing outside of Seattle?
I think, as a group, we all have to get things done better, from me carrying the ball, to coach Holmgren calling plays, to Matt throwing passes, to D-Jack and Koren catching balls, to the O-line blocking. When you're on the road, there's no time for second-chances and messing yourself up. I look at myself first. I know in Green Bay, I had over 100 yards and a touchdown, but I also fumbled in the first quarter which killed our momentum. We all have to come and have no mistakes. Our defense has been doing a good job; it's the offense that has to just keep on playing.
Yeah, you know, we wore white the last three games last year and won 'em all, so we were like, let's go back to white-on-white again. But we gave the game away at Washington wearing them, so now we're like: Guess that's not it.
And the all-blue unis? Cool or too much?
I think when you're winning, your uniforms are cool. When we were struggling, everybody was like, "Uh, I don't know if I like 'em." And now we're 7-3 and everybody's like, "Oh, those things are hot!"
4. You had a five-TD game against the Vikings last year. What's your best-ever day on a football field?
I had a game in my junior year of high school when I think I had seven touchdowns and 350 yards in the first half. I think that was it. And I know my first start in college, I had five touchdowns. But that took the whole game.
The whole game ... that sounds rough. Sorry to hear that. What's your worst moment?
There are some days in the pros, days when you look up and have 10 carries and like 20 yards or something like that. But you learn in the pros that the whole game can't go around you like it could in high school or even college. You can't just take a game over in the pros like you once could.
5. Seattle was once a crazy Seahawks town, but it's been a Mariners town for a while now. Are you guys starting to win the fans back?
Slowly but surely. I think in the '80s, with Largent and Zorn, the fans had people to grab onto. Now, maybe it'll be me, or Hasselback, or Koren, or John Randle, you know. People are starting to get to the point where maybe they say, "That's my player, these are my guys." Little kids saying, "I want to be Matt Hasselback." That's what's going to pack the stands again. I think we're finally starting to get that back. We're starting to add a little flavor. We're the new generation.
Some people say you're one of the best-kept secrets in the NFL. Would you buy that?
Um, yeah, maybe I am. I might be a good secret.
I think he is the happiest when Matt throws for 500 yards; and if not 500, maybe 600. And it has to be in one game.
Has he changed now that he's just coaching and is no longer the GM?
No, not really. We don't see a difference. He's still the same, fired-up, want-to-fight-the-other-coach-on-the-50-yard-line guy we've always known.
7. If you could have one superpower -- you could fly, you could make yourself invisible, or you could have the strength of 100 men -- which would you choose and why?
If I could have one superpower, I'd want to have the power of mind over matter. I'd want to be able to move things and people with my mind. A person is running at me, Derrick Brooks is coming at me, and I could just move his left arm down a little bit to where I could step over it for a touchdown. Everybody would be like, "How'd he miss him?!" That would be sweet. I'd be like, "Ha, ha, ha ... mind over matter!" (laughs)
You're a TV host in Seattle, right? Who would your dream guest be?
I've had great people on, from Nelly to Will Ferrell to Governor Locke. If I could have anybody I haven't had, I'd want to interview somebody like Jay-Z or Puff Daddy, pick their minds a little bit. But you know who I'd really want? Bill Clinton. (laughs)
Why Bill? Why are you laughing?
Because Bill lives in Harlem, man! He cracks me up. You're like, "Bill, you can live anywhere you want." And he was like, "Ummmm, you know, Harlem's nice!" Cracks me up. I'd want to ask him, "Bill, what's up with that?" I always like to know why people do what they do. I'm not into judging. I just want to know what people are going through, what leads to them making one decision or another. If somebody's right or wrong, God takes care of that. I just like to know. I just want information, you know?
If you could have a mulligan for one moment in your career -- one thing you'd like to differently -- what would it be and why?
Wow. I'll tell you this, honestly, I really do believe ... I got hurt in the middle of the third quarter of the Tennessee game my senior year. And I was out for three games. And I really think that if I didn't get hurt, and if we'd won that game, I had a shot at the Heisman. I would love to have that moment back, that chance.
No. They respect me. Everyone knows me and my wife's story. We didn't have sex until we got married, so they're like, "Yeah, you can look, but no one can touch." We wanted that picture to be something that was hot, and beautiful; but at the same time, we wanted it to be, like, you know, married, Christian couples can be gorgeous and do it the right way. Bottom line was, the guys just looked at that and said, "Man, Shaun's lucky." They didn't give me any grief.
9. What's in your cd player right now?
I've got an underground guy right now. His name's Draze Millionaire. When he comes out, everybody's going to be like, "Man, that was Shaun's guy like two years ago!"
What's your favorite movie?
My two favorite movies are "Coming to America" and "Boomerang." My favorite sports movies ... I like "Remember the Titans" and "Hoosiers." Jimmy Chitwood, from the corner ... you know it's good.
10. The Seahawks look like they've got a decent shot at the playoffs this year. What would making it mean to this team?
You know what? From top to bottom, it would just be a deep breath of fresh air. When we got here, it was like if we lose, that's just what we do; and if we win, that's just luck. It was terrible. And you know all the pressure coach Holmgren's been under: We win and he's back; we lose and they're calling him names you don't want to repeat. We would just all be able to breathe again and say, "Let's go."