It’s hard to imagine that anything could be bigger for the Seattle Seahawks than winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. After all, anything that gets around 700,000 people lining the streets of downtown Seattle must be a enormous event. However, now that the confetti has settled and the Space Needle is back to it’s usual color, it might be time to look at the big picture in Seattle. The truth is in many ways the Seattle Seahawks organization is providing a blueprint for the future of the NFL.
Not too long ago, Seattle free agent Michael Bennett dubbed the Seahawks the “Google of the NFL.” That may seem like just a silly comment made by a player whose known for his playful personality, but there might be some truth to that statement. The Seahawks amazing facilities combined with Pete Carroll’s philosophy of allowing players to be themselves in order to reach their full potential bares a striking resemblance to the way Google seems to run their forward thinking business.
But in order to operate the way Seattle does, it takes a wide range of personalities working together toward a common goal. And it seems like no one is better at finding and utilizing varying personalities than John Schneider. Creativity has been his calling card during his time in Seattle. The type of creativity that turned J.R. Sweezy into a starting guard after playing on the defensive line in college. Or the type of creativity that allowed Schneider to find a big receiver in the CFL like recently acquired Chris Matthews from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (let’s hope this works out). General Manager’s across the NFL should be taking notes on what John Schneider has done in the Great Northwest.
Of course, it should be obvious by now that Seattle is showing it’s progressive nature on the field as well at this point. In a league that seems to be more and more offensively focused the Seahawks have shown that defensive football still reigns supreme. But more importantly than that, Seattle is showing that tough physical football doesn’t have to continually lead to the injuries that are associated with aggressive play. Seahawks defenders like Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are lighting players up all over the field but they’re doing it in an injury friendly way. Through the use of sound technique, Seattle defenders are doing a better job at hitting hard without hitting too low or too high. This style of play appears to be the best way for the NFL to keep it’s aggressive edge and promote player safety so teams should pay attention.
Finally, I think it’s important to note the way the Seahawks locker room conducts itself. Seattle’s philosophy of constant competition encourages players to push each other to reach their full potential. That in turn creates an atmosphere of inclusion and support. This is probably why it’s no surprise that ESPN analyst Ashley Fox recently reported that Seattle is one of a handful of teams that would be a solid fit for openly gay draft hopeful Michael Sam. The NFL is aiming to be an organization where athletes of all backgrounds are accepted and it takes a tight knit locker room to welcome players from all walks of life. The Seattle Seahawks appear to be that type of locker room right now and hopefully other teams will follow suit.
It’s easy to say people should follow the team that just won the Superbowl. But in this case it seems like the Seahawks are doing more than just win football games. There appears to be a conscious effort on the part of the Seahawks franchise to further the progress of the NFL as a whole. Hopefully the rest of the league will notice and follow suit.