With a couple of days to catch our breath with the season completed and before things get really busy again in a few weeks with the NFL Combine, free agency and the draft — and we’ll have a lot of coverage of all of that when it arrives — I spent the day cleaning out a bunch of media guides and other stuff accumulated during the season.
Along the way, I found a few pre-season magazines, as well as the Seattle Times special Seahawks section, which all offered predictions on the season — including those of a few of us writers at the Times.
I thought it might be interesting to pass along how we all did, now that we know how it turned out.
My own Super Bowl pick, published in the Times on Sept. 8, was Seahawks vs. Broncos. Not an out-of-the-box pick, to be sure, but I’ll still take a few kudos for getting that right.
Now the bad news — I picked the Broncos to win the Super Bowl.
We weren’t required to explain our picks, but I remember at the time deciding to go with the Broncos due to their greater experience, and a general feeling that they would be readier to win the big one this year — essentially, that the Seahawks might just be a year away.
If I learned one thing in my first year covering the NFL on a full-time basis, though, it’s that so much of what people perceive to be important — in this case, experience— isn’t really as big of a deal as merely being good. The Seahawks have a great defense — a defense that right now is the single best unit in the NFL — and that mattered a lot more than the experience of a Peyton Manning, or that Denver had more players with overall playoff experience than Seattle. As I noted in my story on Sunday, there is zero statistical evidence to back up the notion that experience matters once it comes to the Super Bowl.
Seattle was better than Denver, period, and ultimately that’s what made the difference.
Times columnist Jerry Brewer had the exact same pick as I did — a Denver-Seattle Super Bowl with the Broncos winning.
Two other Times writers, meanwhile, can take a bow for picking the Seahawks to win it all — Jayson Jenks and Larry Stone.
Jenks, though, can’t exactly ride off into the sunset since he picked the Seahawks to beat the Texans, one of several dubious selections he made (he also picked the 49ers to win the NFC West and the Giants to win the NFC East). Stone, at least, picked Seattle to beat a team in the Super Bowl that didn’t end up as the worst in the NFL, predicting that the Seahawks would defeat the Bengals/
As for a few other pre-season picks:
— Sports Illustrated’s Peter King predicted that the Seahawks would make the Super Bowl but had New England beating Seattle, 30-23. Give King credit, though, for getting all four of the conference title game participants right, picking Seattle to beat the 49ers 27-22 and the Patriots to beat Denver 30-27.
— Lindy’s also had Denver in the Super Bowl, but picked the Broncos to beat the Packers, having predicted that Seattle would have to settle for the wild card round and that Atlanta would play Green Bay in the NFL title game.
— Athlon’s also picked Denver to go to the Super Bowl but had the Broncos losing there to the 49ers, having picked Seattle to qualify as a wild card and then lose to San Francisco in the Divisional round.
— Finally, huge applause for one that got it right, The Sporting News, which picked a Seattle-Denver Super Bowl and then had the Seahawks beating the Broncos 31-27 (hey, no one anywhere saw 43-8 coming).