On Sunday January 19th, the Seattle Seahawk beat the San Francisco 49ers to make their way to the second Super Bowl of franchise history. Then, we all watched total domination over the prolific offense of the Denver Broncos shortly after. It is a great accomplishment for a team that a few years ago were down-right awful. The much hyped 12th man had a flag, but not much to cheer for on the field. Not like today. The Seahawks not only won the Super Bowl, but absolutely looked like the best team in the league the day they did it. The owner and Chairman Paul Allen really has done a great job.
Over the last three years (the Pete Carroll era) the Seahawks have become very polarizing. You either love them or you hate them. They have loud, brash personalities both in players and coaches. They have talent and they know it. This franchise which has put itself in a position to be competitive for the foreseeable future. The people of the Pacific Northwest love this team. Most people outside of the area seem to be on the side of hate. For the life of me, I can’t see why. I think we should all be fans of a team that can turn from after-thought to champion.
Just to make it clear, I am not from the Seattle area and am actually an East Coaster (Giants fan!). I have no ties to Seattle. In 2010 I moved west for work, and went to Seattle see an NFL game. It was Pete Carrolls first season as head coach of Seattle. The Seahawks were playing the Giants and Charlie Whitehurst was suiting up for Seattle. Remember those days? The Seahawks were nowhere near the team they are today. New York rolled Seattle that day. It wasn’t close, 41-7. A man beside me left at half because he had “better things to do, like go back to Tacoma and clean his yard”. It was a hard team to cheer for. They were awful that day. They had finished 5-11 the year before and it felt like more of the same. Turning around a bad NFL franchise is hard work (see: Cleveland Browns).
Somehow, the Seahawks finished the year 7-9 (good for first in an awful NFC West), Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown in the playoffs, “Beast Mode” took off, and people in the city began to believe in Pete Carroll, Paul Allen and the Seahawks. Although they lost in the next round to the Bears, it was easy to see, this was a team heading in the right direction.
Since then, the Seahawks have become an incredibly strong team. Piloted by great ownership and coaching they have drafted well and made smart free agent pick-ups. They finished 13-3 this year, first in the NFC. Even as the injuries pile up (Rice, Harvin, etc.) they are still finding ways to win. Most importantly the fans believe in their team. To go to Century Link Field and watch a game is amazing, famously designed for noise, it delivers. I have been fortunate enough to see two games this year (vs. Tennessee, Jacksonville) and it was phenomenal. There has been a lot made about the “12th man” this year, but it far surpasses just the stadium experience. You can’t go to Seattle without seeing people dressed up and cheering and just generally going insane for their team. Everywhere.
A lot of people think this team is loud and obnoxious, and, with guys like Richard Sherman on the team, at a quick glance it is easy to see why. They are looked upon as trash talkers and “dirty” players. Fans of many other teams say they don’t respect them. But look a little closer. This behavior people hate is on the field tactics and people seem to ignore that. When problems occur off field, those players have been released (eg. Brandon Browner). Watch an interview with Richard Sherman off the field and you will see a well-spoken, thought-provoking and yes, opinionated person. Like it or not, he knows what he is talking about. He has a degree from Stanford (a school that doesn’t use academic exceptions on players), that should get a bit of respect (I certainly don’t have one of those). Oh yeah, he lead the NFL in interceptions too. Sherman is a focal point of the team, he is loud, incredibly skilled, brash and gets under the skin of opponents…and gives tons of credit to his teammates and coaches. The Seahawks have personality, with that comes critics. But as a fan of any team, ask yourself one question. Wouldn’t you want him on your team? I know I would. He is just one of many young and talented players on the Seahawks.
The Seahawks are winning. Two years ago they weren’t even close. Paul Allen and the Seahawks organization have put a great product on the field. He cares about this team. He cares about his city. As a fan of football, you get your money’s worth when you tune in to the Seahawks. The people in charge should be congratulated. I bet fans of the downtrodden teams like the Browns, Jets, Raiders, Jaguars, Redskins etc. would love to be in this situation. They have an owner who is delivering a winner. In my mind, Seattle is a model franchise, and as a fan of football, I am a fan of the Seahawks. We should all be so lucky to have a team like this in our neighborhood. We should all be fans of the Seahawks.