Jan 13, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) warms up before the NFC divisional playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Well Seahawks fans, I don’t know how this could have turned out worse for us. It’s bad enough that the 49ers and their king sized jerk of a coach got to the Superbowl when the Seahawks are a better team, but now we have another Harbaugh in it…Brother John. The only good thing about this is by all accounts John is not quite the turd in the punch bowl his brother is.
It’s too bad the NFL won’t have the Superbowl on the east coast and make the 49ers play at the equivalent west coast time of 7:00 AM after getting up at 4:00 AM like they did to the Seahawks in Atlanta. Yes, I’m still bellyaching about that even though it goes against the Pete Carroll philosophy. I think it borders on unethical of the NFL to give the first seed team both home field advantage and a time zone advantage and then force the west coast visitors to play the early game on top of that!
I heard Carroll on the last Seahawks Saturday talk about “if we had just gotten ONE of those 4 road losses other than the 49ers loss”. Yes, it sucks. My column on “4 plays that could have made the Seahawks the #1 seed” comes back to haunt us again. Just ONE play of ONE of those games would have given them the NFC West title and at least one home game. What difference would it have made not to have to fly to the east coast TWICE in 8 days? How much more would the Hawks have had in the tank in the 4th quarter against Atlanta? We’ll never know. I just know it sucks. Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now…
Well, so as not to be a Negative Nellie for this entire column and acting on instructions from our fearless leader Keith, I’m supposed to do some kind of look back on the year. I thought I would take a look back at what some pretty widely read sports personalities and writers had to say about Russell Wilson at the beginning of the year.
Wes Bunting – formerly of the National Football Post: Wilson is a plus athlete who can spin the football and gives you a nice run/pass threat. However he’s undersized, is going to struggle to consistently make plays from the pocket and is still learning how to work his way through defenses. He is worth a pick late, but I don’t see the guy as a potential starter in the NFL. Reserve only.
Well, he was a little right and a lot wrong. Yes he wasn’t a great pocket passer, but everything else Wilson nailed down by mid-season.
Tony Softli – former personnel evaluator for the Panthers and Rams said; Wilson is an “immediate threat” to Flynn, and called Wilson “future star”. “Flynn will have his hands full in a training camp competition against this star in the making”.
That’s more like it! He saw in Wilson what I saw. A guy who will simply overcome his height disadvantage and win on brains and preparation.
Matt Bowen of the National Football Post – I’m curious about this one. Flynn was just handed some new money to come over to Seattle as a free agent and Jackson has plenty of starting experience in this offensive system. Maybe the rookie eventually can jump Jackson on the depth chart, but to beat out Flynn? That’s tough.
Well, you can’t blame Matt. There was the assumption Flynn would be “the guy” and all that money is hard to watch sitting on the bench.
Tom Fortenbaugh of National Football Post – Time to put my money where my mouth is. I’ve got nothing against Russell Wilson as a person. He’s dedicated, hard-working and intelligent. But I believe he’s a vastly overrated quarterback and I think the twitter universe is putting way too much emphasis on what he’s done in meaningless preseason games. Wilson isn’t a fourth quarter closer (Oregon & Ohio State games in 2011, Virginia Tech game in 2010) and is going to struggle once the games start counting. I’m going to sit tight for a few days to see if the hype forces oddsmakers to adjust north before I lock this one in, but rest assured, I’m making this play.
Tom actually KNEW about Wilson and still got this wrong! To Fortenbaughs’ credit, he fessed up to this forecast of Wilson’s career in a recent column, admitting his article was a “Swing and a Miss”. Funny stuff!
John Clayton of ESPN – “I see Matt Flynn as the starter. They brought him in at $6 1/2 million dollars a year , he’s a quick decision maker, he can make all the throws, and he seems to be very accurate. He just hasn’t wowed anyone yet…, but I expect that to happen.”
Clayton is pretty consistent in giving the conservative or “conventional wisdom” aspect of any story. With Pete Carroll one thing you can never do is assume “conventional wisdom”.
Don Banks of SI.com nailed it with this prediction – “With Russell-mania raging out of control early on in the season, the Seahawks will feed off the energy and veteran-like execution of their rookie quarterback (Russell Wilson) and emerge as one of the surprise teams of the year in the NFL. Seattle will compete with San Francisco for supremacy in the NFC West all season, before settling for a wild-card slot. While Wilson will be a huge part of the story, the Seahawks’ stout young defense will come to the fore down the stretch.”
I was hoping to find more totally off the mark predictions on Wilson, but they have mysteriously disappeared from the web…. Oh well… If anyone can remember the big shot former NFL General Manager who smugly forecast Wilson as a “career backup” at best, feel free to name names, I know I heard that in the pre-season. It’s not enough to say that the Seahawks were THE surprise team this season. They started in the power rankings at around 19th, and ended it in the top 6. Had the Seahawks been anywhere near their week 9 form earlier in the season this season would have been ridiculous. Which brings me to looking forward to next year.
The 49ers are the 7th oldest team in the league. OK, I guess they’re still pretty good this year, and adding Kaepernick made them better, but how long will Gore and Justin Smith be around? One-two more years? The Seahawks are one of the youngest teams in the league and will get younger, and better, next year with Hill and Trufaunt most likely gone. This is a team growing up together, getting good together, and realizing they can be something special together. With the addition of a true #1 receiver and some youth in the defensive backfield the Seahawks are a legitimate rival to the 49ers starting immediately. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Seahawks the preseason favorite to win the NFC West even if the 49ers win the Superbowl. Most people know next September the Seahawks will be far ahead of where they started last September. That’s got to be worth at least 2-3 more wins on the road. I also expect another 8 win home schedule too.