The line between confidence and arrogance is ever-wavering. Seahawks fans all week have talked about the difference between this Super Bowl appearance and the franchise’s first during the 2005 season. Foremost on that list of differences is the confidence the often skittish Northwest sports fan carries with them this time around.
We had seen the Dallas Cowboys manhandle our receivers with tough press corners earlier in the season, and were fortunate to escape with a victory after Jordan Babineaux made a memorable interception late. We knew that the Seahawks had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL and the worst division by far. There was elation to make our first Super Bowl, but legitimate questions existed about what kind of Seahawks team would show up on this super stage.
Not this year. Not this team. We are confident because we have seen these Seahawks forged in the fire of the toughest division in the NFL, proudly adorning scars earned in vicious battles against the most physical teams in the land. We know each of these players fought their way to the position they hold, and they only continue to hold it because they win that right each and every day. Our eyes have watched the past two years as past demons were slain one-by-one: winning on the road, protecting late leads, coming from behind, game-winning drives, beating the best quarterbacks in the game. This Seahawks team has won games in Houston and St. Louis it had no business winning. It has crushed teams like San Francisco and New Orleans that have crushed many other teams. These men have overcome slow starts and questionable calls. Most importantly, they have come to play each and every game for four seasons.
There is no stage too big, no team too good, no challenge too great. There are no certainties when predicting the outcome of football games, only probabilities. The truth is that either team could win this game. The reason I enter with confidence which team that will be is because there is certainty Seattle will come to play. Even the most ardent Broncos supporter would have to acknowledge the Seahawks have the more talented roster from top-to-bottom. Their hopes are pinned on an advantage they have at one position. Most players agree football is the ultimate team sport. When the more talented team comes to play at a high level, the outcome is often predictable.
If the Denver Broncos win this game today, they will have to do it by being the better team. They will have to be better than the best defense in over a decade. They need beat the best safety in the game, the toughest safety in the game and the best cornerback in the game. They will have to be better than the toughest running back in the game, and the most ingenious quarterback. They will have to stop Golden Tate, and Doug Baldwin, and Jermaine Kearse, and Percy Harvin, and Zach Miller, and Luke Willson. They will need to overcome the best special teams unit in coverage, returns and kicking. They will need to be smarter than two defensive minds in Dan Quinn and Pete Carroll who specialize in making it difficult to move the ball through the air. It can be done. Very few are capable of it.
This is not 2005-06. This is not Detroit. Seahawks fans have made this city their own. There is intimidation in the eyes of the outnumbered Broncos fans. They, like so many others in the NFL, know little about the Seahawks. They now see our numbers, and our revelry that only comes from genuine confidence, and their eyes begin to betray them. One-by-one, you can see the ease of Seahawks fans cause doubt to creep into the heart of Broncos fans. Their meek attempts to rally behind chants of their quarterbacks or franchise name is quickly doused by “SEA!” and “HAWKS!” that can be sparked at any corner of Times Square.
The climb to get to this point has been long and treacherous. Fans deserve to savor every moment. Our shared history is marked by a collection of near-misses and nearly hopeless mediocrity. In a world permeated by equivocation and murkiness, we gather today to celebrate the opportunity for crystal clarity. One team will win. One franchise will walk away with an accomplishment that can never be undone. Seahawks fans know which team that will be. The rest of the world finds out tonight.