With the opening of training camp now just about 24 hours away, it’s time to wrap up our countdown with one last question — will the Seahawks be able to handle the hype (exemplified in items such as the Sports Illustrated cover in the post below)?
That also may be the No. 1 most-asked question about this season, as well.
It’s one you are going to see addressed in every local and national preview of the team (such as this one today from the Associated Press) and bandied about constantly on TV and sports talk radio.
It’s also one that can’t really be answered until the season begins and we see how the Seahawks play on the field.
There will be a temptation to read into things that might happen along the way as possible indicators of whether the Seahawks are getting caught up in the hype or are going to be ready to handle it. Some analysts have used the PED suspensions of the last few years as proof that Seattle may not be mature enough yet to really deal with all that comes from a Super Bowl run.
But it seems a stretch to use one or two incidents to paint the maturity level of an entire team.
What we do know for certain is that the Seahawks are young, with players in their first few years in the league at key spots all over the field. But if the talent is good enough, won’t that be enough? That’s the hope in Seattle.
What makes such a question a tricky one, however, is figuring out how hype impacts a team in the first place. If the Seahawks lose a game or two early, is it succumbing to the hype that was the problem, or simply other tangible football factors such as injuries or a bad matchup somewhere?
While the end of the season domination is fueling much of the exciting about the Seahawks, it’s worth remembering that Seattle played 11 games last season (including playoffs) that were decided by a touchdown or less. Seattle went 5-6 in those games (so yes, that means never losing a game by more than a touchdown, something not even the Ravens or 49ers could claim), and the temptation as a fan is always to want to turn every close loss into a win, while assuming the close wins will again remain wins.
The broader point is that while Seattle was one of the hottest teams in the NFL at the end of last season, for much of the season the margin of error between victory and defeat wasn’t all that great. Seattle could simply lose a few games and it might not be anything more than simply life in the NFL, and not due to succumbing to the hype or any of that.
Like most of the rest of the questions in this list, though, a full accounting won’t really be possible until January.
The journey to that point, though, starts tomorrow.
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