How Many Titles Can We Expect From The Seahawks & Russell Wilson?

The NBA has obviously been on a lot of minds recently, with the Michael Jordan documentary (still haven’t seen it, still probably won’t see it) coming to a conclusion. When you think about the greatest players in NBA history – Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, Shaq – you’re talking about guys with multiple championships (somehow, of the guys on that list, Bird has the fewest titles with three). One guy in the NBA can change things SO DRAMATICALLY for a franchise; you look at these players with their careers spanning 13-20 years and it would be fascinating to go back in time and be able to tell those fanbases: with this guy, you’re going to witness anywhere from 3-6 championships during his career.

It obviously doesn’t work that way in the NFL. The most important player is obviously the quarterback, and of the best all-time (since the merger in 1970), there have only been four NFL quarterbacks who’ve won more than 2 titles: Tom Brady (6), Joe Montana (4), Terry Bradshaw (4), and Troy Aikman (3) (I don’t count Steve Young here, because he was only the starter for one of his three championships).

For what it’s worth, you see A LOT of guys with 2: Peyton Manning, John Elway, Roger Staubach, Ben Roethlisberger; A LOT of guys with 1: Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Ken Stabler, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees; and A LOT of guys with 0: Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Philip Rivers.

In the middle of all of that, we have Russell Wilson with his one championship (the same number as Patrick Mahomes, probably the only quarterback most people would take over Russell Wilson if they had to start a franchise right now and could pick any player). Wilson is smack dab in the middle of his prime; he was the best he’s ever been in 2019, and we can expect right around that level of effectiveness for the next few years at least. He still hasn’t even surpassed 10 years in the league yet! And quarterbacks nowadays can play 20+ years.

But, it’s SO. FUCKING. HARD to win a championship in the NFL. Even for the very best players in the league! So much harder than it is for the very best NBA players. Which makes it reasonable to ask: how many more championships can we expect from Russell Wilson while he’s still in a Seahawks uniform? If Future Steven were to come back in time from 15 years down the line, how many Super Bowl titles would he be able to tell me I have to look forward to?

Odds are that number is ZERO! Odds are, I’ll have up to 15 more years with Russell Wilson (at the MOST; probably closer to only 10 more years) and I will see zero more championships for the Seattle Seahawks in that span. That feels just so damned demoralizing to think about, but that’s the nature of the beast. The Tom Bradys of the world are a once-in-a-generation breed. Wilson has played eight seasons; by this point in Brady’s career, he’d already won three championships. Montana had won twice. Bradshaw had also won twice and Aikman had nabbed all three of his. Wilson, again, just the one (and we’re all super-impressed that he’s already been to the Super Bowl a second time, but that fakakta play-call at the goalline obviously screwed the pooch).

I’m a firm believer that Russell Wilson will – when it’s all said and done – have a Hall of Fame career under his belt. That’s why I’m talking about him among these other all-time greats. I’m almost assuredly biased, but I think Wilson is a better player than all of those QBs I mentioned above who have one or fewer championships. I would like to think Wilson is among the elite level that Manning and Elway reached, which means I would HOPE he has at least one more title in him before he hangs ’em up.

If I’m right, then I think it’s reasonable to expect another Seahawks championship at some point in the next decade. Obviously, it’s unfair to put all of that on one guy; this is the NFL after all, there are 50+ other players on the team that need to pitch in to make this thing work. But, make no mistake, the quarterback gets all the credit and all the blame for a reason. The all-time greats find a way to come up big in the biggest moments. If Russell Wilson aims to be lumped in that category, then he’s going to need to find a way to take this team on his back and will them to victory.

I’ll say this: he’s on the right track. You can complain about play-calling and how the coaching staff is hamstringing him, but this is the organization we’ve got, and they’ve proven they can win in this league with their system. We’re not the Kansas City Chiefs, we’re not the New England Patriots; we’re the Seattle Fucking Seahawks, and Russell Wilson is being put in situations to succeed nearly every year. And, quite frankly, we haven’t been able to get it done in recent seasons. We haven’t been able to win enough regular season games to take the NFC West and lock down one of the top seeds in the conference, and we haven’t played our best on the road in these playoff games. At some point, we have to talk about Russell Wilson the way we talk about all of the other all-time greats, and stop making excuses. As everyone else needs to be better, so does Russell Wilson. Yes, he’s the best thing going for the Seahawks right now, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be better!

All I know is, I don’t want to wake up this time in 2030 and see the same number of championships next to Russell Wilson’s name. The clock is ticking. Yes, the Seahawks need to take advantage of Wilson’s prime, but you know who else does? Russell Wilson.

Seahawks Death Week: The Hangover Continues

What is Seahawks Death Week?  It’s an annual tradition ’round these parts where we mourn (and usually belabor) the fact that the Seahawks have been eliminated from Playoff Contention.  This can happen as early as the week in the regular season where the Seahawks’ record is so poor they’re mathemetically eliminated from the playoffs, or as late as the week following the Super Bowl when they’ve lost their playoff game and have returned to Seattle as Not-Champions once again.  In their 37 years of existence, there has always been a Seahawks Death Week.  This year is no different.

The further along the Seahawks make it, the worse the hangover.  A 7-9 team that’s eliminated in week 13 is fairly demoralizing, but it’s a helluva lot worse when the Seahawks are eliminated in the final week of the regular season.  If they happen to make the playoffs (which has happened in 12 of their 37 seasons), then the further along they make it, the worse we all feel after they inevitably lose.  When they made it all the way to the Super Bowl only to have it ripped from their clutches, I could hardly function for a solid month.  But, eventually, you get by.

I knew the overarching take-away from losing in Atlanta would be, “This is the start of something amazing.”  “It’s not an end, it’s only a beginning.”  “Just wait until next year, this team is going to be ELITE.”  However you want to phrase it, there’s more optimism than there is dejection.  But, you know why the hangover persists?  Because while all of that is true, I can’t help shake the feeling that:  I DON’T WANT THIS SEASON TO END!

I may be alone in this line of thinking, but I’m of the opinion that this is the greatest Seahawks team we’ve ever seen; even better than the Super Bowl team in 2005.  Pound for pound, this team was better on defense, and by the end of the regular season on into the post-season, this team was better on offense too.  This team was only getting BETTER as the season progressed.  You can’t say that about too many teams.  In fact, you can’t really say that about ANY team still remaining in the post-season.  Of course, that’s neither here nor there since they continue to play while the Seahawks, Broncos, and Redskins all have to watch from home, but it’s still pretty damned impressive to see a team playing its best in December and January.

This Seahawks team would’ve had no problem shutting down the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers.  That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

You also know why the hangover continues?  Because we should’ve WON that game!

It sucks, because objectively, that was probably one of the top five best football games I’ve ever seen.  It’s rotten to say that, because I can’t be objective about it; my team was on the losing-end of a disastrous finish.  But, everything leading up to that moment in the 4th quarter where their kicker nailed the game-winner was absolute brilliance.

It was the single greatest road comeback in playoff history!  The Seahawks didn’t just come back only to fall short at the end; the Seahawks came ALL THE WAY BACK to take the lead!  In 16:40, the Seahawks turned a 27-7 deficit into a 28-27 lead and seemingly had the win in the bag.  They were on to the NFC Championship game with a rubber match against the 49ers.

And in the blink of an eye, it was all taken away.  Not from refs, but from their own poor defensive play.  The Seahawks fell short because the Seahawks weren’t good enough when it mattered most.  Even the BEST Seahawks team of all time still wasn’t good enough to advance beyond the Divisional Round of the playoffs.  That’s the most depressing thing of all.

So, the greatest road playoff comeback is for naught.  It doesn’t matter for shit when you end up blowing your lead less than 30 seconds later.

I know we’re supposed to be upbeat about the future, and I will be in due time.  But, right now, I can’t help but feel a bubbling disgust.  Seattle fans are always the fans that look on the bright side.  “Well, it was fun while it lasted,” and all that.  Real hardcore fans accept nothing less than championships.  Losing isn’t fun, ever.  The Seahawks have done nothing BUT lose in their 37 years.  It’s time to stop being those panty-waisted West Coast fair-weather fans and it’s time to start expecting more.

2013 is Super Bowl or Bust.  No, scratch that, 2013 is World Champions or Bust.  Anything less is a complete and utter failure.  The time is now.

You know why the whole, “they’ll be great for a decade because now they’ve got their quarterback of the future” thing is full of shit?  Because it’s SUPER FUCKING HARD to win a Super Bowl!  It takes talent, it takes health, it takes unbelievable luck, it takes getting the right playoff matchups along the way … even the best teams have other teams they just don’t match up well against.

And you know what else?  It’s fucking hard to be a dynasty.  Who’s the big Dynasty right now, New England?  They’ve won three Super Bowls and lost two others with their current head coach and quarterback combo, so I guess that’s a Dynasty.  And yet, they haven’t won it all since the 2004 season.  For the biggest NFL Dyansty going right now, they’ve still gone 7 consecutive seasons without winning it all.  That’s 7 consecutive seasons that have ended in utter heartbreak.

I know as a Seahawks fan, I’d be ecstatic just to win ONE Super Bowl in my lifetime, but who knows if that’s even going to happen?  How many elite teams have there been throughout the decades that haven’t won a fucking thing?  Jim Kelly’s Bills spring instantly to mind.  Dan Marino’s Dolphins are another.  Boomer Esiason’s Bengals never won shit.  McNabb/Reid’s Eagles ditto.  How long were the Titans good under Jeff Fisher?  Or the guy everyone compares Russell Wilson to:  Fran Tarkenton and his winless Vikings teams of the 70s.

That’s my worst nightmare, you understand that, right?  Those dynastic teams I just mentioned, they were ALL – at one point or another – capable of winning the Super Bowl.  The Bills came to within a botched field goal in 1991 of beating the Giants in Super Bowl XXV.  What if these Seahawks find themselves perennially in the playoffs, but for one reason or another can’t get it up when it counts to win the Big Game?

That’s why you can’t take any season for granted.  I don’t care if this is the second-youngest team in the NFL.  I don’t care if this is the start of “something great”.  I’d rather win the Super Bowl THIS year and have everything fall apart for the next decade than be consistently good every year, but not quite good enough to go all the way.

There’s no joy in being the Atlanta Braves (and even they won a World Championship one year).  Don’t forget, the Seahawks just wrapped up a pseudo-elite streak from 2003 through 2007; what do we have to show for all of Holmgren’s hard work?  Four division championships, five trips to the playoffs, one Super Bowl defeat, with the rest ending in defeat in either the Wild Card or Divisional Rounds.  In other words, not a whole lot on which to hang one’s hat.

What Should The Seahawks Draft? – Quarterback

This one is a tricky one for me to wrap my head around.  I’d almost rather we totally tank, get the number one pick for NEXT year’s draft, and take the Andrew Luck Train all the way to multiple championships.  In which case, my previous point about bolstering the offensive line is pretty apt; better to have the solid O-line in place for the new quarterback than to get the new quarterback and watch him get killed season after season while you try to piecemeal some protection around his fragile, inexperienced body.

THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, really, we REALLY can’t keep putting this off.  REALLY!  Good teams have succession plans in place, so they can seamlessly transition from over-the-hill veteran to rising superstar tenderfoot.  Green Bay has been the NFL’s how-to manual in this regard with their Favre to Rodgers switch.  New England also hit the jackpot in going from Bledsoe to Brady.  San Francisco may have had the best quarterback hierarchy in history going from Montana to Young.

Of course, those teams are in the extreme minority.  Most of the time, teams wait too long with their veteran quarterbacks.  The more Hall of Fame-worthy they are, the longer they’re forced to wait for their legend to retire.  Oftentimes, the retirement comes all at once, with no plan whatsoever in place (see:  Elway, Marino, Esiason, Jim Kelly).  Those teams, for all intents and purposes, have never recovered from their all pro field generals; they’re still waiting for the quarterback transition to gain traction where the new guys start leading the teams to victory again.  Sometimes this takes many, many tries.

So, yeah, we can’t keep putting this off or else we’ll lose Hasselbeck and won’t have anyone good to replace him!  We’ll struggle to .500 records like we did all through the 90s, maybe we’ll take a flier on a hall of fame vet on his very last legs (like we did with Warren Moon), we’ll stick with an underachiever for too long because – in comparison to all the other stiffs we draft in that time – he looks the best (like we did with Jon Kitna).  I don’t want to go through the 90s again with my football team.  Because I don’t have the 90s Sonics to fall back on when NFL standings get me down.

That’s the immovable object in this whole equation.  Now, onto the unstoppable force:

Drafting a quarterback might as well be like playing the Lotto!  How could you possibly know which guy is the right guy?  Who could’ve seen Tom Brady coming?  What made Donovan McNabb a success while Akili Smith was a bust?  Why is Eli Manning a Super Bowl calibre guy while Joey Harrington is a flag football calibre guy?  Who’s going to be the huge talent with the biggest gun while simultaneously being the biggest headcase with a huge appetite for donuts?

I hate this.  I hate drafting quarterbacks higher than the 4th round.  The higher the round, the more expectations.  If they don’t come out of the box on fire, then fans get antsy and the quarterbacks themselves start to press and struggle.  If you go to all the trouble of drafting a quarterback in the first round, AND they suck, there’s always going to be incentive to keep giving them chance after chance after chance.  Hell, look at the professional arc of Ryan Leaf’s career; that’s really all you need to know.

On the plus side, teams seem to be getting better at drafting their higher end QBs.  Guys like Flacco, Ryan, Stafford, and Bradford are starting right out of the gate and producing at a high level.  Rookies are making playoff appearances and getting wins!

This begs the question, though:  did they just get lucky, or are teams REALLY drafting better?  We’ll find out this year.  It’s looking like a supremely DOWN year at the position.  I’m not buying Cam Newton for one buttfucking second.  Jake Locker is looking an awful lot like a faster version of Charlie Whitehurst.  The other guys all have their flaws and I think this year’s draft will be lucky to see one team actually get its “Quarterback of the Future” and have that future be anything but ass-sucking.

We draft at spot number 25.  Granted:  that’s right around where Rodgers went.  Will the next Aaron Rodgers fall in this year’s draft like he did in his?  If so, then In Schneider I Trust.  If not, this is NOT the year to start reaching for a “project”.  I’ve seen too damn many projects in my day.  Ever since Dave Krieg went down for the count, I’ve seen nothing but projects, game managers, and Matt Hasselbeck!  I want more!  And dammit, I DESERVE more!