How do the Hawks repeatedly start so slow and finish so strong?

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Just like Muhammad Ali, says Richard Sherman. Just like the Greatest of All Time.

In his weekly news conference last Wednesday, Sherman was asked to compare the Seahawks to a boxer. And with the quickness of a drag-racer’s right foot, the cornerback said his team was just like Ali, because even when you thought he was washed up, he would knock somebody out and get that belt right back.

That response may sound a little theatrical if you didn’t know the Seahawks’ history, but it isn’t too far from the truth. Which, of course, begs the question: How do they keep doing this?


Seahawks @ Baltimore, 10 a.m., Ch. 13

How do the Hawks repeatedly start so slow and finish so strong?

It would be interesting to see what Sherman’s response would have been if he was asked to compare the Seahawks to a car, because it seems they go from 0 to 60 in about, oh, eight weeks. Their Super Bowl-winning season aside, take a look at three of the past four years.

In 2012, Seattle started 4-4 before finishing 11-5. In 2014, Seattle started 3-3 before finishing 12-4. And this year, Seattle started 2-4, has won five of its past six, and had its most dominant victory of the season in Minnesota last week.

Obviously, there are still four games that need to be played, but there aren’t too many pundits who think the Seahawks are anything but playoff-bound. And when this Bruce Banner-to-Incredible Hulk transformation takes place year after year — it can’t just be coincidence, can it?

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked this very question Wednesday, and, well, his answer wasn’t exactly Aristotle-deep. “We kind of started a little slower,” he said.

Carroll also dismissed the idea that the Seahawks are more experimental in the first half of the season, which might compromise wins for the sake of long-term improvement. To him, it’s been more about that incessant challenge of trying “to find it,” which the Seahawks often struggle to do before November. But what’s been so remarkable is that they always do find it — and once they do, they don’t let it go.

For instance, last year, Seattle not only won nine of its final 10 games — it won the final six by double digits. And in 2012, there were three straight games in December in which the Hawks averaged 50 points. There’s peaking, and then there’s Everesting, and Seattle seems to make a habit out of the latter.

At some point, you have to give some of the credit to team culture, don’t you?

“It’s a combination of things,” tight end Luke Willson said. “But while most teams would have panicked, we turned it around.”

Perhaps it sounds cliché for a player to say what “most teams” would have done compared to the one he plays for, but he might not be far off. What most stood out to me when I started covering Seattle was how tranquil the locker room was after losses.

I’ve been around NBA and MLB clubs that made you feel like you were at a wake after defeats — and they play five to 10 times as many games as NFL teams. But the Hawks have always maintained this Zoloft-ad serenity despite a series of fourth-quarter breakdowns.

At first, such a reaction seemed like indifference, but upon further review, it might be the difference — as in the difference between keeping a healthy perspective and spiraling out of control.

The coaching staff probably deserves some credit, too. This is a team with big-time talent and big-time personalities. The NFL is chock-full of stars who call out their coaches and disrupt the team environment when winning becomes a rarity, but that doesn’t seem to happen in Seattle. At least not yet, it hasn’t.

When the Seahawks dropped to 2-4, safety Earl Thomas actually embraced the record, saying it would just make the story that much sweeter when the team bounced back. And to Thomas’ credit, it appears a few cups of sugar get added to that story with each passing week.

Sherman added his two cents, saying he would have thought people would have learned to stopped counting the Seahawks out.

“Fool you once, fool you twice, fool you thrice,” Sherman said.

Well, people aren’t fooled anymore. Once again, Seattle is hitting its stride in the second half and dominating like a potential champ.

Or perhaps more fittingly — floating like a butterfly.