Seattle’s dominant win over Philadelphia is, for now, the Seahawks most impressive performance of the roller coaster ride that is the 2017 season.
Underdogs at home by the largest margin in over six years, the Hawks were in control of this one the entire way. They held the best team in the NFL this year in check. The only time the Eagles got a little daylight was in the third quarter when they came one yard away from potentially tying the game before Carson Wentz fumbled away their lone chance to be a factor in this game.
For all its’ problems, the NFL (perhaps more than any league) truly sorts things out. Good teams (like the Eagles) don’t get to a 10 and 1 record by accident or fluke. They’ve earned their way there and they came into Seattle Sunday night intent on showing the Seahawks that there’s a new bird in the NFL aviary.
Seattle, on the other hand, came into the game with more questions than answers. Two hand-wringing losses in November left them with a 7 and 4 mark. A loss to Philly wouldn’t eliminate them from postseason contention but it also wouldn’t have helped (and wouldn’t have been all that surprising).
The win puts the Hawks back into a position where they control their own destiny. If they win out (a huge task given their tough December schedule) they will win the NFC West and at a minimum host a playoff game. In addition to that, the win also should serve as a reminder to fans of something we all can end up taking for granted.
This organization, from Paul Allen to Pete Carroll to John Schneider to Neil deGrasse Tyson, is one of the best in the NFL.
Sunday’s win was an organizational win. I’m always hesitant to take anything away from the players because they are the ones out on the field that ultimately must execute and create the success that leads to wins. But more than the players, Sunday’s win belongs to the organization.
It’s funny to think back to 2010 when the Seahawks somewhat sloppily fired Jim Mora and somewhat controversially hired Pete Carroll. The decision was not received with much confidence. Columnists, talk-show hosts, and fans all wondered aloud about Carroll’s NFL track record. He was a rah-rah college guy who had been fired twice in the NFL. People also were critical of Seattle going the opposite direction of the norm. They hired a coach, THEN hired the GM. It’s essentially allowing a guy to hire his boss and in lots of situations, that’s a recipe for disaster.
Eight seasons later, Carroll and Schneider have created an organization that is the envy of plenty of fans around the NFL. Seattle players occasionally say and do things that stir up emotions but their leaders have stayed completely in step with each other. Any disagreements they’ve had have been kept behind closed doors and they’ve shown nothing but a united front to the outside world.
In this day of saturated media coverage and instant opinions that sometimes aren’t even yet half-baked, the fact that Carroll and Schneider have not had one public spat in eight years is remarkable. The worries many had about how the duo was hired are now so far in the past that it’s become easy to forget that any of us had them in the first place.
Their partnership, their talent in evaluating players, and their ability to get the most out of people were all on display Sunday night. This year’s Seahawks team has suffered the kind of injuries to key players that fell most NFL teams. But each time someone has gone down, the Hawks have found another player to step in and do the job. They’ve used practice squad guys, free agents, and made trades and to this point always seem to find someone capable of keeping things rolling.
Again, the way the NFL works, that’s no accident. Good organizations consistently find the right guy while bad organizations just stay bad. How else to explain Byron Maxwell being out of work for three weeks before Richard Sherman’s injury necessitated his return to the Seahawks? No one’s saying Maxwell is Sherman’s equal, but he’s been very good. And 21 teams who have records worse than Seattle’s watched him sit and do nothing for three weeks after he was released by the Dolphins.
The Seahawks have proven themselves very good at talent acquisition and Carroll has a knack for getting the absolute best out of guys on the field. The defense on Sunday night was dominant against an offense that had been cruising to easy wins. Carroll and his staff have taken the new guys and coached them up to the point that if you didn’t know the Hawks were missing so many Pro Bowl caliber players on defense you would have just assumed they were out there.
There’s a reason that certain organizations in the NFL stay good for long periods of time despite a system that’s designed to bring good teams down. The organizations that stay good have good ownership and good people in key front office and coaching positions. That leads to a kind of stability where everyone is able to stay on the same page, weather any tough times together, and always stay focused on the next task.
The Seahawks are in that group. That was never more apparent than Sunday night.