As the 2012 season kicked off for the Seattle Seahawks there was some level of expectation that the team might be good, but no one really knew how good. 2013 is a whole different story however, this year Seattle is entering the season as a popular Super Bowl pick and with high expectations.
High expectations are not familiar ground in Seattle sports. Seattle has had a rough recent history all around, and doesn’t look much better when you look way back either; consider for example that our only title winning team moved to Oklahoma City. Nonetheless the Seahawks will enter the season expected to win, and on the first Sunday of the year they did not disappoint. This next Sunday night however will feature a sure to be tough match-up between the Seahawks and the 49ers. The Seahawks may well lose this game. It’s not the end of the world if they do.
As a fan of sports in Seattle disappointment has become the norm, the greatest sports moments I have experienced have invariably been singular moments of greatest, most enjoyable when removed from the context of disappointment and defeat that they inhabit. Take for example my personal favorites, Felix’s perfect game, Ichiro’s hits record, or my personal favorite, the Sonics’ brief run of contention in 2005. In fact maybe the most outstanding memory of sports I have is the Seahawks loss in the 2006 Super Bowl, made so much the worse by the endless hype that leads up to the Super Bowl and the speed with which dreams of Championship glory were crushed.
I think it’s fair to say that for most of us fans in Seattle we always expect the other shoe to drop. Sure we might be good now, but the next below .500 season is right around the corner. Years of brief success, or singular moments of greatness have taught us not to trust in our teams, after all, it never really lasts. But that isn’t the case with this Seahawks team, this team is different. For once one of our hapless franchises has a plan, and it’s long term.
The Seahawks in 2012 clocked in with an average snap adjusted age of 25.8 according to Football Outsiders, good for first in the league. This isn’t likely to change anytime soon, because a key aspect of the Seahawks front office philosophy is to stay constantly young. Pete Carroll loves to talk about this as his other philosophy that accompanies his “Always Compete” motto, It’s the “WinForever” motto that gives his website it’s name. This regime is much different than past Seahawks regimes, and many other Seattle sports front offices, they will never sacrifice the future for the present. This model of thinking is the reason that some surprising cuts like Michael Robinson and Antione Winfield were made. The improvement that those guys could potentially offer was weighed against the value of incorporating talented young players and youth won out, WinForever was the most important thing.
Last season I stressed over every single game, I held my breath any time we weren’t leading the game, I paced endlessly, and I cheered every score. This year’s different, I believe in this team, now and for as long as they follow the path set by Pete Carroll and John Schneider, I believe that a loss isn’t the end of the world. So if the Seahawks lose this Sunday to the 49ers, or next Sunday to the Jaguars, or even on Super Bowl Sunday; just remember, this team is different, they don’t think in terms of championships, they think in terms of dynasties and you’d best believe that they’ll be back stronger every year.