Stop what you’re doing and appreciate Seahawks’ unprecedented run
As their playoff opener looms, there’s nothing wrong with looking back at a special era that includes two Super Bowls and seven playoff appearances.
Times staff columnist
You almost forget this isn’t normal. You’re living in a period of unprecedented success in Seahawks history, and the possibilities are unrestrained, and you want to reach for more, more, more.
That’s the thing about greatness. You can never have enough of it. It’s going to make you cocky. And perspective can get lost while you’re floating in the good times.
But while focusing on another potential Seattle championship run, take a look behind you. Take a look around you. Bask for a minute in what the Seahawks have become.
At 5:15 p.m. Saturday, a decade of dominance continues. Over the past 10 years, the Seahawks have turned into something they’ve never been before. They’ve done a greater job of sustaining a high level of play, and the success they’ve enjoyed has been more meaningful than at any point in their history.
When the Seahawks take the field to play Carolina in the divisional playoff round, they’ll do so with more credibility than they’ve ever had. Last season’s Super Bowl triumph cemented it. But that just wasn’t a random moment of excellence. That was the culmination of a long pursuit that began soon after Paul Allen bought the team from Ken Behring in 1997 and helped save the Seahawks from relocation to Southern California.
The rise began with Allen luring Mike Holmgren to Seattle in 1999. It took time, but Holmgren infused the organization with consistency and a championship ethic over his 10 seasons. Then, after Jim Mora’s one-year stint as Holmgren’s successor, Allen brought Pete Carroll back to the NFL, and they’re more dominant than ever.
Consider the glory of the past 10 years. The Seahawks have made seven of their 14 all-time playoff appearances. They have a 9-5 playoff record during that span; in the 29 seasons before that, the Seahawks were 3-7 in the postseason.
Seattle has made its only two Super Bowls during this time. If the Seahawks beat the Panthers, they will reach their third NFC Championship Game since 2005. Before that, they had been to one conference title game, in 1984 when they lost to the Los Angeles Raiders in the AFC Championship Game.
In this era, their record is 91-69, the best stretch in franchise history. Extend the sample size by two years, and the Seahawks have been to the playoffs in nine of the past 12 years, which puts them among the more consistent teams in a league built on parity.
The Seahawks haven’t been merely a playoff qualifier, either. They’ve won at least one playoff game in their past six visits to the postseason. They’ve won seven consecutive home playoff games.
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who made the All-Pro team for the third consecutive season, was asked this week if he’ll ever take the honor for granted. After a few quick thoughts, he paused for a second before finishing.
“Legacy,” he said. “I’m grateful for everything that this game brings.”
The Seahawks are a grown NFL franchise now. They’re still young. They’ll turn just 40 next season. But this is a franchise that now understands how to achieve.
This isn’t normal. This is exceptional. You’ve never gone into a postseason with this much confidence that the Seahawks will play in the NFC title game. You’ve never expected a Super Bowl appearance. You’ve never talked aloud about winning two titles and had passing thoughts of winning three.
The nervous fan doesn’t want to think that far ahead. After watching the Seahawks lose the magic and recapture it during the regular season, it’s wise to respect how difficult it is to win in the NFL. You have to stay in the moment and respect Carolina for its hard-nosed defensive style and its immensely gifted quarterback, Cam Newton.
But there’s nothing wrong with thinking back and gaining perspective on how special this era is. If the Seahawks beat Carolina, it would be just the second time they’ve won at least one playoff game in three consecutive years. Until now, the franchise had never posted a 36-12 record in a three-year span.
The Seahawks are doing things that they may never be able to repeat. And with the way Carroll and general manager John Schneider have built the team, they seem certain to add to the glory.
It’s hard to reflect during the playoffs, because every game means so much. You’re one loss from a harsh reality check. But take a minute right now, just a minute, to appreciate what the Seahawks have become.
Bask in the dominance. It won’t last forever.
About Jerry Brewer
Jerry Brewer offers a unique perspective on the world of sports.
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