For your information: There was none

If you'd been unconscious for the past 8 days you probably have a better idea of what's happening with the Seahawks than if you had consumed every drip, drip, drip of "information" in that time.

There has never been more information more readily available for a sports fan than at this very moment right now.

I am not making a declaration on whether this is good or bad nor evaluating what this fact says about our values as a society. I am only stating definitively what seems fairly obvious. There are newspapers and their attendant Web sites, magazines and their attendant Web sites. There is Twitter. There are podcasts. There are Web sites you pay to subscribe to. There are Web sites managed by people who — while not conventional full-time media members — are very informative and newsletters sent out by people who’ve been fired. There is ESPN. There is the NFL Network. There are people, dubbed “insiders,” whose primary job is not to tell you what has happened or what occurred in a game, but to tell you who will play in future games and for which teams.

Yet last week, I would argue that this coverage apparatus combined to create more confusion than clarity for anyone interested in the Seahawks. In fact, if — before you went to bed on Sunday, Jan. 9 — you were struck on the head by a magical hammer which rendered you unconscious for the next eight days without inflicting either short-term or long-term cognitive damage, you would awaken this morning with a better understanding of the current state of the Seahawks than had you spent the previous eight days consuming each drip, drip, drip of “information.”

I’ll get to that in the rest of today’s newsletter, but first a little business. As mentioned last week, I am instituting a subscriber tier for this newsletter with its fancy new name at the cost of $5 per month or $50 if you purchase an annual subscription. You will receive (at least) two columns per week as a subscriber. Depending on the number of subscribers, this could expand to include a mailbag and/or podcast. There is also an option to become a “Founder” which will include one T-shirt of special design, the opportunity to be consulted for various public-opinion polls and your name will be listed with reverence on the founding documents.

OK. Where was I? Oh yeah. The magic hammer. If you had been rendered unconscious the night of Seattle’s 38-30 season-ending victory at Arizona (or less violently, decided to enter a self-induced information coma), here’s what you would have known when you went to bed:

You would have known Pete Carroll’s answer when he was asked if there was any doubt in his mind he would be back as Seattle coach next season.

You also would have known his answer to the question of what he expected his conversation with owner Jody Allen would be like.

You would not have known Carroll’s summary of how Allen has viewed this season because Carroll said he didn’t know and wasn’t going to wade any further into that subject.

If you had not been awake for any of the previous 8 days, what did you miss, you would wake up this morning with Carroll the coach of the Seattle Seahawks, John Schneider the general manager and you would be told that Ian Rapoport — No. 2 in the pecking order of the aforementioned “insiders” — had said Wilson planned to “explore his options” this offseason whatever the hell that means given the fact he’s not a free agent.

Now compare that to the poor sucker who sweated through every speculative update over the previous eight days. There was the observation from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that “the feeling in some league circles is that Pete Carroll is safe … but that it might be time to concede final personnel say to John Schneider.” I’m not sure when “some league circles” had the power to change organizational hierarchy, but whatever. On Thursday, Rapoport stated Carroll was going to meet with Allen Thursday but nothing “major, major” was expected. I thought Major Major was a “Catch-22” character. Then came three days of local angst before ESPN’s Chris Mortensen surveyed the scene over the weekend to say it appeared everyone was still standing.

In other words: nothing happened. Well, that’s not quite true. There was a meeting, but there’s no indication that was anything more than an annual formality. In fact, the best indication we have was from Carroll, who indicated it would be no different than normal.

What the past eight days illustrate most clearly is a fundamental issue in today’s information economy, which is that the economy has to keep running and if there’s no information. There’s an audience that has been created. In this case, that audience was restless, feeling let down by the most disappointing season in Carroll’s tenure. They were understandably curious, some going so far as to demand change. But there was no information forthcoming to fuel all of the different outlets that have been built to serve up that information buffet style. You can’t say, “There’s nothing to see here,” when you’ve built a business based on the premise, “There’s always something to see here.” So you start shoveling speculation instead of information or lowering the threshold of what is considered actual news to the point you’re reciting what John5687349 posted on Twitter or you can just verbalize day dreams about what you think a Zoom conversation might look like. It’s hard work trying to fill that vacuum.

And it’s at this point that the amount of information becomes an impediment to actually understanding what is happening, which I’m fairly certain is the definition of irony. I say that tentatively because I believe that there are few terms in the English language abused more regularly than the word irony, which should be reserved for a situation or statement that is directly contrary to what one would expect.

In this case, you would expect that having more information more readily available than ever would result in giving you a better idea of what was happening. In this case, the amount of information made it only more confusing. Honestly, it was enough to make you wish for a magic hammer that would knock you out for eight days.

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