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PEP Talk with Tony Ventrella

Tony Ventrella talks about the new calender year.

What a great time of the year this is.  The slate is clean,  it's a new day, a fresh start, a second chance, a new beginning and with any luck a new set of cliches.

Not only is this the first part of a brand new year for all of us but it's playoff time for 12 teams in the NFL including our own Seattle Seahawks.

For a fleeting few days and maybe weeks we can set aside the trouble and strife in the world and concentrate on 53 guys grinding their way through this man made euphoria called the NFL playoffs.

Only two of these teams will get to the promised land we now know as the Super Bowl but at this stage of the game all of them can dream about getting there.

For the players this opportunity means so many things the least of which may be adding to an already impressive pay check. The colorful and affable Deon Grant put it best when at the end of along list of reasons why the playoffs are special said, "and we also get to re-calculate our paychecks when this is over."

This is the third stage of a long NFL season that includes training camp and the pre-season games, a 16 game regular schedule and now the playoffs.  As Deon put it, "we're fortunate enough to be special athletes, not everybody gets to do this so we can put a little soreness and a few bruises behind us to get to our goal."

For the coaches the playoffs mean even longer hours than usual.  For these guys there isn't much of a holiday until after the season is over. They were in early Monday morning putting a game plan together for the Wild Card game against the Redskins.

For the fans the playoffs are an extension of the holidays.  This is a perfect example of sports bringing people together like nothing else can.

During Christmas season we fret over a few trees at Sea-Tac airport offending people. During the playoffs there's no such egg walking around deep seated issues.  Everyone wears the color of their home team either in spirit or on their bodies.

People will plan their days even weeks around the playoffs. They'll gather family and friends for yet another round of chips and salsa, hot wings, barbecue ribs, pizza and other culinary delights that may shock the body temporarily but will also bolster the spirit.

Seahawks fans will celebrate "Blue Friday" this week with painted faces, team logos, banners, flags, posters, jerseys, jackets and caps. Some of them won't remove the paint until the game is over the next day.  Others haven't removed it all season. The players and coaches love that spirit and welcome it in large doses on Saturday.

I put the Christmas tree out in the back yard Monday marking the end of the  holiday season at my house.  Today a new season begins.  Let's be happy and loud Saturday. I'll see you at the game.

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