TOP OF THE TOWN – Merry Christmas to all. It’s been a tough year, but that is life, full of ups and downs. That is what the Washington Husky football season looked like – ups and downs and a big pre-Christmas surprise at the end with coach Chris Petersen’s stunning resignation after six years. In hindsight his quitting should not have been a surprise. Petersen is a different cat from most coaches. He never really wanted to be a coach because he saw what it took after watching his father coach. He sort of fell into it and surprisingly found out he was good at it. So what the heck, he went with it and made millions. But like I said, he’s a different kind of cat. He really is interested in the whole individual and not just the football side of kids. Most coaches give lip service to the mantra that they are there to help the kids through life. Not so. They are there to make a good living on the backs of young kids who they can convince to put their bodies on the line for the greater good of a team. College football is a built-in system designed to make hundreds of millions of dollars for schools while giving exceptionally athletically gifted young men the chance to gain a classroom education.  It’s a rigged system in favor of the institutions. A guy like Petersen is the exception among college coaches. He designed his coaching to teach and educate ‘My Kind of Guy” just not football skills but life skills. Petersen is the rare bird who really did care for those he was responsible for in his program. Life, he taught, is more than just football. In an increasingly bitter world where politics has divided friends and family, Petersen was a bright light shining on the good things in life. If you watched the conclusion of the Huskies easy 38-7 victory over once-beaten Boise State in the Vegas Bowl Game, you saw how loved Petersen was as player after player from both teams raced up to hug him. They all knew what a gift he was to them and they wanted to make sure he knew. Now it’s Jimmy Lake who is tasked with carrying on what Petersen bought to the Husky program. It’s big shoes to fill and if he manages to instill the good life lessons Petersen did, the program will continue to shine a bright light on a path of goodness for the young men who will follow in the program. Thanks to Chris Petersen for showing the way. … Football historians will look back at the Seattle Seahawks 2019 season as one for the books. The Hawks have scratched by to the skin of their teeth to an 11-4 record in what only can be termed as a mystifying and magical run. It had to be magical because it was sprinkled with magic dust that turned sure defeats into victories. It was like the great illusionist Harry Houdini made one last great escape from his 1926 death and came alive once again. Houdini must have finally given it up, though, last Sunday (Jan. 22) when the Hawks could not make one more escape from certain defeat to gain victory. This time the so-so Arizona Cardinals smashed the Hawks 27-13 likely costing the Hawks a chance to have home field advantage throughout the upcoming playoffs. The Hawks were battered by injuries coming into the game and came out of it on life-support as running backs Chris Carson  (broken hip) and C.J. Prosise (broken arm) were lost to season-ending injuries. They were already operating without three key defensive players – Jadeveon Clowney, Shaquill Griffin and Quandre Diggs – and offensive lineman Duane Brown, who was to have knee surgery that will keep him out at least two weeks.

Pro football is a very violent sport and that violence has really torn through the Hawks’ roster with other players licking their many wounds and continuing to play.

The Seahawks were really like a bale of hay that was barely stuck together with loose strings and as it was picked up on Sunday it all came apart and fell into a big heap on the ground, useless as useless could be.

So now the 11-4 Hawks go into their last regular season game Sunday night against the 12-3 San Francisco 49ers looking like a patient in ICU gasping for breath into an oxygen mask.  If they can make one more Houdini-like escape against the 49ers, they would win the NFC West and maybe be a No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Or if the Saints get beat by Carolina and the Hawks win, they could still have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. But Carolina would have to search for Houdini for that to happen.

The Hawks are so desperate to escape the ICU that they are entertaining the idea of resigning Marshawn Lynch and bringing back not just Houdini, but the Beast Mode.

Wow, next the 76-year-old Gale Sayers, who suffers from dementia or the late Walter Payton, might appear in uniform.

That’s it for today

Be well pal

Be careful out there.

Have a great day, and Christmas.

You are loved.