The Seattle Seahawks were a goal-line interception away from possibly repeating as Super Bowl champions and officially starting the engine of an NFL dynasty. Instead, they fell short of that repeat following one of the most questionable play calls in Super Bowl history, then failed to reach the NFC Championship game the next two years and didn’t even make the postseason in 2017.
As the Seahawks try to bounce back from their first non-playoff season since 2011, even after a 9-7 finish, it’s surfaced that Pete Carroll’s players might have lost faith in their boss. Now, this is coming from former Seahawk Cliff Avril, who may still be smarting from his release. But Seahawks players and fans have the right to question Carroll for the team’s underachievement since winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl in dominating fashion over the Denver Broncos to conclude the 2013 season.
Times are a changing
Five straight playoff appearances and a winning campaign that did not result in a postseason berth would likely play well for most NFL teams, and at the least define consistency. However, in Seattle, that run included two trips to the Super Bowl, which as we know resulted in a split that still bothers Seahawks’ fans. Even with that near Super Bowl miss against the New England Patriots, the Seahawks expected to remain the class of the NFC, but that’s no longer the case and frustration is mounting.
The lack of a true running game (ranked 25th in 2016 and 23rd in 2017) and a defense that no longer seems that daunting (allowed 30 or more points five times last season) shows Seattle’s dynasty window has closed. The Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings now appear to be the gold standard in the NFC. And with Aaron Rodgers healthy in Green Bay, Drew Brees still running the show in New Orleans, the Carolina Panthers a consistent threat and the Los Angeles Rams the new kings of the NFC West, the Seahawks seem like an afterthought in a conference they once dominated.
The rise of the Rams has already knocked the Seahawks off their perch atop the West. Now, the improvement of the San Francisco 49ers and the consistent competitiveness of the Arizona Cardinals won’t make it easy for this current group of Seahawks to contend for a division title. It’s not entirely Carroll’s fault, but that’s any easy place to start, especially if what Avril says really is the truth.
Where do they go from here?
Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch and Michael Bennett, all members of the Seahawks’ core from those Super Bowl teams, are gone. The Legion of Boom is falling apart and the running game is still not guaranteed to be better. Throw in Earl Thomas’ uncertain future, and it’s understandable that players might not be happy in Seattle, where the dominance is gone and the franchise is nearing a possible crossroads with a coach apparently not everybody is behind. But hey, Sebastian Janikowski is the new kicker.
If the Seahawks have one thing in their favor, the 2018 schedule is favorable outside the division. Road games at Denver and Carolina appear to be the toughest tests that await away from home in non-conference play while the Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Packers and Vikings must play in front of the 12th man. The question is whether the Seahawks have the talent and confidence to take care of business and regain the swagger that’s gone missing of late.
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