My oh my, what's this? Why, it appears we have the allegedly "dead and buried" Seattle Seahawks once more in the playoffs. Yes, the Seahawks. A team the national media, fans, and football analysts everywhere were all writing premature obituaries for.
Seattle was supposed to utterly collapse after missing the playoffs last year. Pete Carroll was supposed to be run out of town. The Seahawks were supposed to only win four games. As ludicrous as it sounds, teams like the San Francisco 49ers and even the ARIZONA CARDINALS were supposed to pass them in the standings. One "genius" even pegged them to contend for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Unlike fine wine, those opinions did not age well. Over the summer I wrote an article explaining why the Seahawks would not be as bad as everyone thinks and why they would still be competing for a playoff spot. In the article I addressed the arguments in question, and to quote myself:
"Poppycock, I say. Hogwash. Balderdash. Needless drivel that amounts to a big ole pile of malarkey and other nonsensical words."
I received a little pushback by bucking the national narrative surrounding the Seahawks, but I am glad Seattle proved me right. I made my case in the summer with three factors for this team: Russell Wilson, an improved offensive line, and a defense which would still be fine without former star players.
Indeed, Russell Wilson went on to have one of his best seasons to date, the offensive line paved the way for the No. 1 rushing attack in football, and the defense managed to weather the storm without Richard Sherman or Michael Bennett.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner, safety Bradley McDougald, and defensive end Frank Clark stepped up in a big way when it came to being leaders. Players like receiver Tyler Lockett and running back Chris Carson turned into unexpected critical players. Oft-criticized offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer made the necessary adjustments to create one of the league's more consistent offenses. All of this helped guide the Seahawks back to the playoffs in a year when they weren't supposed to make it.
Of course, this team is far from perfect. The inexperience of the secondary still gets exposed, the run defense is leaky at times, the play-calling can be too conservative at times, and the kicking game is an adventure at best. But more importantly, this team is fun and it has been a joy watching them.
The Seahawks are young, hungry, and well ahead of schedule when it comes to transitioning to the next stage. I don't know what the remainder of this year has in store for them. Could they make a surprisingly deep postseason run? Or will they be one-and-done? Only time will tell.
All I know is that it's always a heckuva lot more fun to watch your team play in January instead of someone else's. Go Hawks.