The Seahawks’ Window is Still Wide Open

January 1, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (left) and quarterback Russell Wilson (3) talk against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Levi
January 1, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (left) and quarterback Russell Wilson (3) talk against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Levi /

The Seahawks’ “championship window” is still wide open, despite team flaws and frustrations the last two seasons.

Just stop. I’ve seen way too many doom and gloom tweets like this:

Now, I love Bill Wixey, and his article about the Seahawks‘ legacy being written this postseason is well-written and persuasive, but he’s wrong. The Seahawks’ window is by no means closing on our fingers, fans.

Sure, we have plenty to worry about with this team as it stands right now, but as the great Art Thiel pointed out on the excellent sports blogsite Sports Press Northwest, the Seahawks have the third-longest streak of consecutive playoff appearances in the NFL. Only the Packers and Patriots have made the playoffs for more consecutive seasons (both eight) than the Seahawks’ five straight seasons in the postseason. What makes the Seahawks so different from the Packers and Patriots as perennial contenders?

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Pete Carroll and John Schneider built a dominant roster that came a yard away from winning back-to-back Super Bowls using many of the same principles that the leadership of the Patriots and the Packers use: build through the draft, find role players at a discount, and get a franchise quarterback. It’s never that simple, of course, but in Green Bay, General Manager Ted Thompson is known for his almost obsessive focus on getting and keeping his guys in the draft. “His guys” are guys that can fit in and play well within the team’s system. This year, the Packers had to turn running back duties to converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery, who flourished as the feature back during their hot streak to end the season.

Ted Thompson builds depth through the draft to give head coach Mike McCarthy options. Bill Belichick uses his evil football genius powers to amass draft capital, then he fills his roster with role players who support his offensive and defensive schemes (especially defensive–this is one of the best defensive minds the sport of football has ever seen).

Pete Carroll is a defensive backs wizard and John Schneider might have one of the best eyes for talent (read: draft value) in the league. Since stopping the pass is not a style of defense that is likely to go out of style anytime soon, Carroll’s skill as a DB whisperer is a key piece of the Seahawks’ dynastic ambitions.

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The Seahawks are also similar to other “dynasties” (or at least consistently successful) franchises in the NFL because they too have a Chosen One. Russell Wilson doesn’t have the decades of success that both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have, but he has shown he has the skills to be a championship-winning quarterback. He’s won games on his own, he’s been incredibly productive for long stretches, and he already has one Super Bowl ring. In him, the Seahawks have their Rodgers/Brady.

Bill Wixey (again, huge fan) made an insightful point about how money can divide the locker room:

“When the big contracts start getting handed out, players look around the locker room and think: “How much did he get? I’m better than he is. I’m more valuable than he is. What is he driving now? Who is he dating now? What’s he doing wearing that? I’m richer than he is. I am more deserving.” It happens in every professional locker room. It’s not unique to Seattle.”

It’s true. Kam Chancellor‘s holdout last season may have had more lasting effects on the “Love Our Brothers” mentality than many of us previously realized. Even though the group of talented, young, scrappy, under-respected players that Schneider and Carroll amassed over the past several seasons has transformed into a group of decorated stars and veterans, most of the Seahawks’ best players are still under 30 years old:

Jan 1, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) dives after the fumble against Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) during the first quarter at Levis Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

Bobby Wagner: 26

K.J. Wright: 27

Richard Sherman: 28

Kam Chancellor: 28

Doug Baldwin: 28

Russell Wilson: 28

Earl Thomas: 27

Not exactly spring chickens, necessarily, but even if say, Baldwin loses a step at age 30, Sherman does the same at the same age, and Chancellor forgets how to hit people suddenly at age 29, this is still a talented group. They are all still in the prime of their careers, and given how many of this list who made the Pro Bowl this year (4–Wilson is an alternate), it’s not hard to imagine most of this core group playing at a high level for at least three or four more years.

And there is potential behind this group. Defensive end Frank Clark, despite his sordid past at Michigan, is emerging as a talented pass rusher and defensive leader. His attempt to ‘coach’ Jarran Reed after his San Francisco dust-up in Week 17 is evidence of his growing influence. C.J. Prosise, Thomas Rawls, and even Trevone Boykin have all played well when called upon this season, too.

Obviously, many things could still go wrong. Just look at the flaws of the 2016 Seahawks. They haven’t recovered from the loss of Marshawn Lynch, their attempt to coach up a cheap offensive line with Tom Cable has had… uneven results, and their defense, while still deep and talented, hasn’t recovered from Thomas’ broken leg.

Next: Seahawks vs. Lions Latest Odds and Stats

A deep run in this year’s postseason will obviously go a long way to proving the Seahawks’ championship window isn’t closing, but no matter what happens, the team still has the components of a championship roster and management team in place.