Dec 28, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) hands the ball off to Seattle Seahawks running back Robert Turbin (22) during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated St. Louis 20-6. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Seattle Seahawks fans begin 2015 the way they started 2014 – on a playoff bye week, waiting to find out who they will play in the second round. Confidence exudes from fans, coaches and players alike that whoever that team is, they cannot defeat Seattle on their home turf.
It is almost lost to memory how hard it was though to get to this point. This season, unlike last season, started off with a resounding defeat of Green Bay, and then took a few detours. Unlike the relatively smooth and often miraculous ride of the 2013 season, injuries to key players and rumors of discord in the locker room dogged the team through the first 6 weeks of the season.
Opponents scoffed and national pundits waxed philosophic on how hard it is to repeat. Then came the news, and it was shocking, that Percy Harvin had been traded. Say what? But when the reasons came to light one was left to wonder why it hadn’t happened sooner.
By week 10, and sitting at 6-4, it appeared that the wheels might be coming off. Nothing seemed to be going right and we were left to look at the possibility that winning and fame come with a price that makes even the closest brotherhood cannot or could not overcome.
That’s when “Passionate” Doug Baldwin earned his “Angry” nickname. He confronted a couple of defensive linemen during a practice for what he perceived was a lack of work ethic, according to reports. This was followed by team meetings initiated by other players between their groups and the rest of the team to clear the air.
There has been no looking back since then. Even I had been resigned to not even making the playoffs this year. Never have I been so happy to be wrong. This team has navigated the potholes and bumps and come together to recapture what made them so successful last season. In the 6 final games they regained the fire that had been missing and made their opponents pay for it, holding them to just 39 points, total and 86 rushing yards per game.
Opponents and pundits are eating their words. Fans that jumped ship ask sheepishly for permission to re board the wagon. Teams once again have to plan for the best defense in the league (for the 2nd year in a row), try to figure out how to stop Russell Wilson from running and deal with the noise of Century Link Field and the 12th Man.
I am reminded of the following saying I saw earlier this year: “tough times don’t last, tough teams do”
The Road to Glendale starts in the Emerald City. Let’s hope that in 16 days the Seahawks and the 12th Man are standing proud, resilient and tough to the end, buying airline tickets and packing sunscreen.