There have been 580 regular season games in the history of the franchise. They have lost more than they have won, but have generally been a team that hovers around .500. Household names for Seahawks fans are NFL afterthoughts in most cases. Chuck Knox, Kenny Easley, Jacob Green, and even the franchise’s lone MVP, Shaun Alexander, rarely come up in any national conversation about NFL greats. The heights of a mediocre franchise are the disappointments of a dominant one. The Patriots, Cowboys, and Packers are not likely to fondly remember seasons when their teams lost in the conference championship. The Seahawks play just their 20th playoff game in team history today. That means only 3% of the games in team history have happened in the post-season. That does not even truly capture how rare this moment is. This game, no matter the outcome, marks the beginning of the first true Seahawks championship window.
Seattle made the Super Bowl in 2005, but Tim Ruskell made sure there was no additional shots at the championship with his disastrous off-season. That was the most successful team in franchise history, but many key parts were never the same. Alexander spiraled into such a deep hole, he actually found work with the Redskins. Marcus Tubbs never played again. Even Matt Hasselbeck was closer to the end than the beginning.
This Seahawks team is all about beginnings. The first rookie quarterback that ever had a real shot at greatness is just one aspect. The coaches are still new enough to have the team’s ear. The personnel people are hungry instead of happy. The offensive line, receiving corps, linebacking unit, and secondary are all young, with long careers in front of them. Their talent and youth is so great that no amount of superstition or disappointment can derail their inevitable rise.
Washington may find a way to win this afternoon. The Seahawks may find a way to lose. That would end this season, but also start the climb into a season next year that will be the most anticipated team in Seattle since the Don James Huskies of the early 90s. Redskins fans would troll and boast, but it would mean nothing. Their defense is old and flawed. They are at least two years away from having a championship defense to pair with their superstar quarterback. Redskins fans don’t want to hear it, but today has little to do with their team.
Seattle is the precocious 12-year-old taking the early admissions test for college. A team this young, that was so bad so recently, has no business challenging for a Super Bowl. And yet, they begin that journey today. They will enter this game with swagger, and could leave with confidence that will propel them to unreasonable heights. At worst, they leave with lessons that will serve them well when they are ready to take the test again.
This has been a fantastic season. Every Seahawks fan wants to see it continue. Just remember to enjoy each beer, each crude joke, each big hit. We are privileged to have a team of this caliber to cheer for. Today marks the beginning. Tomorrow will be the next chapter.