As I try to do most years, I read through the Deadspin “Why Your Team Sucks” post on the 2018 Seattle Seahawks. As usual, it’s pretty funny and forces me to deal with some hard truths about this team (there are also ways to pick apart its logic, but in what way is that fun?). At the end, they always have a list of comments from fans (pulled from Tweets or comments sections, I’m assuming), and it’s after reading through a bunch of these where I start to get bored and check out. But, one comment caught my eye. Someone named Trevor said, “This team is just a Russell Wilson preseason ACL tear away from an 0-16 season.”
That caught my eye because A) it’s absolutely true; can you imagine this team with Austin Davis or Alex McGough starting all 16 games? They’d make the 1992 Seahawks look like the greatest team in the history of football!
Also, B) I had some thoughts along this line of thinking earlier this week.
I was thinking about this Seahawks rebuild that we’re all involved in right now – even though no one wants to call it a rebuild, so call it whatever the fuck you want; just know that this Seahawks team isn’t as good as the one that was contending for championships from 2012-2016 – and wondering what’s the best way to rebuild?
In my opinion, you want to milk as much as you can out of your championship window, then you want one season where you suffer a total collapse, then you want to draft the best player on the planet and snap right back into the next championship window. Kinda like how the Colts were great with Peyton Manning, then sucked for a year when he was injured, then landed on Andrew Luck (which, jury is still out, but if he comes back to full health, he’s still a guy that can lead that team to the playoffs on the regular … even if he’s not as good a quarterback as Russell Wilson). What’s the best rebuild in the history of North American professional sports? Assuming you’re not the Packers, and you don’t have one hall of fame quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) pre-selected and on your roster already when you decide to move on from your previous hall of fame quarterback (Brett Favre), then you need the next best thing: one year of total ineptitude. The best rebuild of all time is the San Antonio Spurs of the 1990s.
Ever since David Robinson was taken in 1989, the Spurs were a legitimately great team, frequently winning 50+ games and making the playoffs every single year, except one. That was the 1996-1997 season, when David Robinson got injured and only played in 6 games; that year the Spurs went 20-62. The Spurs were so bad, they earned the #1 overall pick the following year. Who did they draft? Tim Duncan. They proceeded to make the playoffs for 21 years (and counting) and have been the model franchise in the NBA, winning 5 titles in the process. I’d say that’s a pretty fucking successful rebuild, and all they had to do was suffer one year where they were the absolute worst.
Would you trade one year of Russell Wilson’s prime, if you knew the Seahawks would go on to make the playoffs 21 years in a row (and counting) and win 5 Super Bowl championships? I’m not promising that will happen, but go with me a little bit.
The 2018 Seahawks aren’t going to do anything. You know it, I know it. Because it’s the pre-season, and games that count haven’t actually started yet, we’re deluding ourselves into believing they’ll be interesting – and that there’s always a chance when you have a quarterback as good as Russell Wilson – but he can’t literally do everything. He can’t even play defense! History is littered with great quarterbacks who failed to do anything with mediocre teams. Hell, that’s Dan Marino’s entire career! That’s Philip Rivers’ entire career! That’s the last decade for Drew Brees (post-Super Bowl), all but a few years for Brett Favre and John Elway and Steve Young and on and on and on. There’s only one Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson is no Tom Brady (saying nothing of the fact that Pete Carroll is no Bill Belichick). The best case scenario for the 2018 Seahawks is that enough of these prospects pan out that we jump ahead of schedule and MAYBE contend for a playoff spot in 2019; but really, it feels like a 2+ year thing in even the most optimistic of alternate universes.
Plus, all the while, we have a healthy Russell Wilson pulling our asses out of the fire just enough to get us to 8-8 this year. And every year after that until we luck into some magical 3-year run of drafting where we can supplement this team with talent becoming of his elite greatness. Do you trust this front office to re-build a championship roster armed with a consistent string of draft picks in the 18-20 range? Where we’ll ultimately trade some selections away in hopes of beefing up a depthless roster, while trading down enough times to re-fill our draft coffers?
It’s no coincidence that this team was at its best in the draft – 2010-2012 – when they were picking in the top 10 or early teens (even 2011 was mediocre when you consider our first two picks were James Carpenter and John Moffitt).
I’ll be the first to admit I have no idea what the 2019 NFL Draft will have to offer, but I can say this: an 0-16 Seahawks team with the #1 overall pick should be able to get some REALLY good players. On top of which, ACLs (and the like) heal faster than ever before in the history of the league, with advancements in surgeries and rehab techniques. Russell Wilson, by all accounts, should be back in plenty of time to start the 2019 season. On top of which, 2019 will be the final year of his deal, and a significant injury might just reduce the cost it takes to extend him long term.
I mean, can you imagine this roster in 2019, plus whoever the best pass rusher in college is right now? Plus, whatever stud we get at the top of the second round? Can you imagine what this front office would be able to do, armed with high picks in every round? Maybe we trade down from #1 to #3 and pick up a bounty of extra picks in the process, and STILL get that stud pass rusher!
Look, I’m just spitballing here. Obviously, I’m not ACTUALLY rooting for Russell Wilson to get injured. But, I’ll be damned if I’m not sick to my stomach at the thought of an endless string of .500 finishes as we squander the majority of our franchise quarterback’s prime in search of diamonds in the rough that turn out to be turds on the field. Maybe one year of a total collapse is just the thing to speed up the whole ordeal.