The last couple days, I've been thinking a lot about how this Seattle Seahawks team will go down in NFL history.
It's an exciting time for many Seahawks fans, but quietly, it could also very well be a swan song. Pete Carroll is 72 years old, just three years younger than Mike Holmgren, who hung up the headset a full 15 years ago now after a similarly illustrious career. Shane Waldron has already hit the shortlist of head coaching candidates regularly making the rounds on the rumor mill. Clint Hurtt may soon join Waldron in some capacity if the Seahawks keep up the pressure numbers this year.
It's certainly a seminal time in Seahawks history — what happens this season and next will likely dictate the direction of the franchise for years to come. Coach Carroll has so much energy and enthusiasm for life that it's hard to imagine anyone will see it coming when he does decide to call it a career, but it's also easy to envision him sticking around as long as the team under him keeps growing. There's still room in Geno Smith's game for improvement, particularly when it comes to timing his aggression properly. Most of the team is still young and has room to grow, for that matter.
If it all goes the way it seems like it could if everything goes right, there's no limit to what this team could do, even into the 2030s. If they can manage to keep the band together, both on the coaching staff and what can reasonably be kept on the roster, there's a lot of young talent in both aspects, and a world-class culture for it to develop in. We could be looking at multiple Super Bowl runs, even.
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On the other hand, as someone who follows the Mariners as closely as I follow the Seahawks, such boundless optimism for the best possible result is a fool's errand. You can't expect every player to develop, and you can't expect everyone to want to stick around, even if things are going well. And if things don't go well, it's not hard to imagine Carroll going out on his back like Holmgren, or like the great Bud Grant, perhaps the single closest comparison to Carroll that exists in NFL history, and one of his first and most significant mentors in the NFL.
In that sort of wake, it would be easy to imagine the team being liquidated quickly. Carroll sees things uniquely among the NFL landscape in many ways, and losing the team president and head coach could quickly bring with it a flood of exits, whether it's people moving on of their own volition or transactions brought on by a new regime. Who knows what may come with that, but it's unlikely to be an improvement over a football empire spanning nearly 15 years and counting.
In that sense, these next 13 games could prove vital to the future of the Seattle Seahawks. We are standing on the precipice of a potential rebirth for the Seahawks, and the reasons why are many. Which of these will keep this team soaring into unknown skies?