Note: I haven’t been commenting much on the Seattle Seahawks so far this season. With the year ending injuries to key defensive stars Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, plus the problems with the offensive line and the running game, I have been, more or less, in “wait and see” mode as regards this […]Read the Rest →
Well, Hawks fans, it seems its déjà vu all over again. At this time last year most of us “Twelves” were in a state of high anxiety, wondering if our Seattle Seahawks had what it would take to defeat in the Super Bowl, a team and a legendary quarterback, the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, that had just completed the most dominant offensive season in NFL history. As the Seahawks then demonstrated, never has there been so much apprehension for so little reason. From the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII, to the final whistle, with an efficient offense and as ferocious a defense as the Big Game has ever seen, Seattle throttled the Broncos; and in the process left no doubt that they were, for the moment, the best team in the NFL.
Now here we are a year later, with the 2014 NFL regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs under our belts; and once again our Seahawks have negotiated every barrier placed before them and have arrived at the Super Bowl. They did it by rallying from what was, for them, a slow start to the season. After a Week 11 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs left them with a 6-4 record and a real danger of not making the playoffs, head coach Pete Carroll invited 12 of his core players into his office for a heart to heart chat. In that meeting, which must go down as one of the great meetings in team sports history, Carroll issued a challenge to his players. He told them he thought that their effort was there, but that something was missing, and he told them they needed to find it. Those 12 players, along with the rest of the team, took it from there, and that they succeeded is evident in what the Seahawks have done since: 6 straight victories to end the season while coming from 3 games down to claim the NFC West Title and the NFC’s number 1 playoff seed; and playoff victories over the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers, the last for the NFC Championship in miraculous fashion. (It’s been two weeks and I still can’t get that game out of my head.)
At Carroll’s prompting, what the Seahawks players discovered about themselves was that thing that was lost somewhere in the turmoil surrounding whatever went on with Percy Harvin and the “Russell Wilson is not black enough” row, and that is that these guys are at their best when they are playing for each other. Sure, the goal is to repeat last year’s Super Bowl victory, but how you go about that is by forging the bond of a true team; and that must be held inviolate. When a group accomplishes this, personal stats become secondary, as do personal goals—you play for your brother, you depend on him, and he plays for and depends upon you. Make this happen and a power develops, exponential in nature, many times the power of even the best individual player, and that is the real secret of those teams that truly live up to the term “champion.”
Many teams are full of great players that never do discover this about themselves, and so never do tap into that potential power. Never having experienced it, they don’t even know it should be there. And that is the genius of Pete Carroll as a coach; that he could be so in tune with his team that he could see that it was missing its most essential quality—trust, belief and faith in each other—and had the courage and wisdom to help his team see that and discover it for themselves.
Tomorrow, in Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the Seahawks take on another legendary quarterback and team in Super Bowl XLIX. Since Brady was drafted by the Patriots in 2000 he has led them to 5 Super Bowls and has won 3; more than any other team and quarterback in the new millennium. Tomorrow’s Big Game will be his 6th, and at 37 years old he well knows this may be his last shot to cement his legacy by joining Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks with 4 Super Bowl victories in their careers. Tom Brady wants this game bad, and so do his coach Bill Bellichick and the Patriots.
Standing in their way, however, are the Seattle Seahawks, a true TEAM; and one intent on ending the era of the Patriots, and launching one of their own.
I wouldn’t bet against them.
And neither should you.
Copyright © 2015
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved