One is not enough.
The Seahawks would rather watch a San Francisco 49ers highlight reel than settle for just one Lombardi Trophy. The defending champions are so hungry they could mimic those classic Lay’s potato chips ads. Betcha can’t win just one. They’re hooked on success.
During this era of Seahawks football, the youngest Super Bowl champion in NFL history should follow up with at least one more title. Failure to do so would be a disappointment.
How’s that for pressure? Just go out and do the hardest thing in American professional team sports again. And again, if you can. That’s all.
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The Seahawks don’t shy away from those expectations. In fact, they welcome the challenge. Less than an hour after they won Super Bowl XLVIII with a jaw-dropping 43-8 demolition of the Denver Broncos and their Best Offense Ever, the Seahawks were already craving more. It was amazing that, as a first-time champ, they seemed so famished.
“I think this group can be a special team,” strong safety Kam Chancellor said that night in East Rutherford, N.J. “Like we say, ‘Play for your brothers.’ That’s how close we are. I think the sky’s the limit for this team.
“Win it again? Yeah, that thought has already crossed our minds. We’re young, man. We’re still hungry. We think this is our new reality. We just won the Super Bowl by (35 points). Why put any limitations on ourselves?”
A few days later, coach Pete Carroll was at the victory parade, declaring, “We’re just getting warmed up, if you know what I’m talking about.” And in his presidential manner, Russell Wilson was throwing out the phrase “multiple championships” as freely as Marshawn Lynch tossed Skittles to the fans.
Since then, the Seahawks have had a uniform response about last season’s success: Yeah, that was last year. They won the Super Bowl while on the ascent. They believe they’re still rising, still improving. Even if they were ready to come down, it might not be possible.
They don’t have to win it all again this season and become the first NFL team in a decade to win back-to-back championships. There will be other chances. This is a team whose run shouldn’t end abruptly.
The Seahawks fit the profile of a team that can sustain success for a long period and win multiple titles. In Wilson, they have a franchise quarterback who cracked the title code early in his career. They have a core of young stars (Max Unger, Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, to name a few) that they have rewarded with contract extensions, and they have plans to extend more players and remain salary-cap compliant. They draft well. They have a good system. They have a clear organizational philosophy. And they have Carroll, a coach who won’t get stale.
For the first time in Seattle sports history, there’s the potential for a dynasty. The NFL, with its parity-driven principles, has a way of snuffing out such a movement. The Seahawks must buck convention to be that kind of beast, but going against the norm is their specialty.
“One championship is special. Two is historic. Three is a dynasty,” middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “How cool would it be if, 30 years from now, we’re sitting with our kids and grandkids and telling them about how we did something extraordinary?”
There are dozens of little things that could get in the way, of course. Jealousy. Selfishness. Injuries. Bad chemistry. Lack of leadership. Complacency. The list is long, and danger can strike at the most unexpected time. The Seahawks averted a potential disaster this season when Marshawn Lynch held out at the beginning of training camp, but sensibility prevailed in the end.
The champions will open the 2014 season having acquired rock-star status and the deafening noise that accompanies it. The ticker tape has fallen, the Champagne has been consumed, and the rings have been awarded. But amid all the fresh hype, the Seahawks still appear to be a competitive, blue-collar team.
“I never want to go back to where I was,” Thomas said. “Now that I’ve tasted the success and gotten to the highest level, that’s all I want. And I know where it is now. I know where to find it. I know how to get there and everything that it takes. We have the map, and we’ve traveled the route. We have to make it happen.”
Four years ago, the Seahawks were a reeling franchise that seemingly took a huge risk hiring Carroll, whose college dominance belied his mediocre NFL record.
Now, they are the NFL’s new standard.
And they’re just getting warmed up.
One is not enough.