In 1976, their expansion season, us fans were merely excited to see the team on the field, playing NFC powerhouses such as the Cowboys, Vikings and Rams. This year the Seahawks are one of the NFC powerhouses.

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It used to be that when one turned 40, it represented the transition to middle age. You no longer would be considered even remotely young, and greeting-card companies had whole lines of snarky cards designed to mock you of that fate.  But now 40 is the new 30, or at least that’s what everyone over 40 thinks.

The Seahawks turn 40 this year, and they truly are an example of 40 being young. Their coach is the oldest in the NFL, but the pop standard “Young At Heart” could have been written about Pete Carroll.

In 1976, their expansion season, us fans were merely excited to see the team on the field, playing NFC powerhouses such as the Cowboys, Vikings and Rams.  This year the Seahawks are one of the NFC powerhouses, and expectations for a long postseason run are high.

In 1976, opening day was Sept. 12, just one day off this season’s opener. The difference being they played six preseason games back then. Yes, you read that right. Six. Ugh.

Actually, for the Hawks that season, six was a good amount because they were an expansion team with players and coaches having very little knowledge each other.  The Seahawks probably needed six games to get acclimated.  Quarterback Jim Zorn was down on the depth chart at the beginning of camp.  But after a couple of preseason games, he was entrenched as the starter.

The 2016 Seattle defense has a chance to make history.  The squad has led the NFL in scoring defense for four consecutive years. If they can do it again this year, they will match a mark set by Cleveland Browns of 1953-57.  You think Carroll has mentioned that to his team? Trying to do something historic usually is a solid motivating force.

Not that this team needs any more motivation.  Last season ended with the Hawks trying to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history and falling just short in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs at Carolina. Four seasons ago, Seattle almost staged an amazing comeback in the divisional round of NFC playoffs at Atlanta.  The following season they won the Super Bowl.

Can history repeat itself?

Many pigskin prognosticators indeed are picking the Seahawks to do just that. However, I am going into the season with my eyes wide open. Of course, I might close my eyes when the pocket collapses around Russell Wilson.

For the second consecutive year the biggest question mark with the Hawks will be the offensive line.  A unit that is even greener than last year’s model.  In fact, not a single member of the line from our Super Bowl-winning team is still in Seattle.

Offensive-line coach Tom Cable did a very good job of improving the line during the second half of last season.  He faces an even bigger challenge this year.

Seahawks fans are aware of the potential dangers of the offensive line, but they also know the team is blessed with one of the best scrambling quarterbacks in NFL history.  A regular gridiron Houdini who often escapes from the shackles of defensive linemen.

Looking at the schedule, we are fortunate to have only two of those dreaded 10 a.m. kickoffs.  We play Los Angeles for first time since the Hawks drubbed the Raiders 38-9 in one of quarterback Rick Mirer’s better games. That was 22 years ago. There’s also the Super Bowl XLIX rematch with the Patriots on a Sunday night in Foxboro, Mass. No doubt NBC will torture us 12s with a replay of the most heartbreaking play in Hawk history.

The Seahawks have tallied 53 victories during the Russell Wilson era. Only the Broncos (55) and Patriots (54) have more wins during that span.

But numbers are not what define our Hawks.  It’s the heart and the never-give-up spirit. Last season in the middle of November, the Seahawks were 4-5 and reeling after blowing leads against Cincinnati, Carolina and Arizona. They finished the regular season by winning six of seven.

So we will watch as the Seahawks metaphorically blow out the candles on their 40th birthday cake this season.  And hopefully blow out the competition in the process.

Go Hawks!

Mark Tye Turner is the author of “Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks” and “Seattle Seahawks Super Season,” both available on Amazon. Follow Turner on Twitter @mtthawk

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