Seattle exploded onto the NFL landscape with a resounding 43-8 win over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last year. They had to beat Drew Brees and then the bruising 49ers in order to get to the big game. This year started with an easier draw in the divisional round, but the next two games could vault Seattle into rarified air.
The boss level
Ask any expert who the four best quarterbacks in football are, and they will give you Brees, Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers is some order. Manning fell off precipitously late this year, but nobody was doubting his place at the top last season. Seattle vanquished Manning in perhaps his finest season as part of a record-setting offense.
They beat Brees twice last season, and Brady the year before. Manning went down again early this year, along with Rodgers. In all, the Seahawks are 7-0 when facing the big four since 2012. Rodgers comes back to town with his legend on the rise.
He just beat a team many considered the best in the NFC on one leg, and is the heavy favorite to be the league MVP for the second time in his career. He makes throws that nobody else in the league can make with two legs. No quarterback possesses a better combination of accuracy and velocity than Rodgers. He adds terrific decision-making and usually above average mobility. You see him make a back-shoulder fade to Jordy Nelson and wonder how he can stopped.
Seattle has done it twice. Rodgers, like the boss at the end of every level, has a weakness. His ego keeps him from taking the easy underneath throws that any quarterback can make. He wants to push the ball down the field, and will hold the ball to wait for those opportunities to emerge. Pete Carroll designed his defense to take those throws away. A player like Philip Rivers, who is willing to dink and dunk down the field, can often enjoy more success against Seattle than teams that want to pick up chunk yards.
Passing the torch
Should Seattle find their way past Rodgers and the Packers again, they are expected to face Tom Brady and the Patriots. The storyline could not have been written better than the way things fell last year with the Seahawks facing their arch nemesis in San Francisco to reach the Super Bowl. Not only were the 49ers the team that had stood in Seattle’s way the previous few years, but the franchise is one of the most storied in the NFL. The parallels to the 1980 49ers ascension, down to the final play dramatics in the back of the end zone, have already been discussed here a number of times.
And now the last team to repeat as champions, with a quarterback who has thrown more postseason touchdowns than any player in history, could be the next proof point for a Seahawks team looking to reach heights few have traversed.
Of course Seattle has to take care of business this week, and Brady must do the same. Just imagine, though. the resume the Seahawks could toss on the table if they manage to complete their mission this year.
The Patriots beat Steve McNair, Peyton Manning, and Jake Delhomme to win their ring in 2003. They beat Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Donovan McNabb to win it again the following year. None of those quarterbacks had a ring at the time. Seattle could conceivably face quarterbacks with a total of six rings between them if this plays out. Cam Newton would be the only QB they would have faced without an appearance in the Super Bowl.
There will be moments when you cringe at the thought of having to face these titanic foes. Cherish them. Seek out those tests. Legends accomplish the impossible.