That’s what Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN.com wrote today, recounting some of the challenges that will face the Seahawks in trying to become the first team since the 2003-04 Patriots to try to repeat as Super Bowl champions
I Tweeted this story out earlier and some of you noted that Chadiha has written a few stories in the past skeptical about the Seahawks and Pete Carroll. I won’t try to judge that part of it.
I would agree with the other assessment a few of you gave that most of what he recounts are simply the challenges that face all Super Bowl-winning teams — namely, the hurdles present by the salary cap to keep the team together. The NFL is designed to bring the good teams back to the middle, while simultaneously raising the bad teams to that same middle. The year that all 32 teams are still alive for the playoffs the last week of the season will be the greatest season ever in the eyes of the NFL.
So in that sense, Chadiha isn’t wrong. But all of that is also far from unique when it comes to Super Bowl champs.
A point he makes that goes along with that, though, will be interesting to judge as we go forward — specifically, what he refers to as the team’s “impressive chemistry.”
I’m one of those who thinks chemistry is pretty overrated. I’ve covered some bad teams where the players insisted everyone liked each other, they just weren’t very good; and I’ve been around teams where some of the stars didn’t necessarily like each other all that much, or at the least had sort of a tenuous personal relationship, but where it all worked because they were really talented, and that talent overrode the rest of it.
That said, the 2013 Seahawks did seem to have a pretty impressive chemistry. As media, we get a pretty superficial look at things — more and more superficial with every year. We get locker room access for an hour or so two to three times a week, depending on the week, and then get to watch some of practice. Some of the areas where chemistry may matter most — the meeting rooms, the pre-game locker room — we don’t get to see.
But of what we could see, it was evident that the 2013 Seahawks had a pretty unique thing going on. In what is sort of a rarity in the NFL, they’d lost almost no one of real note from the 2012 season (Alan Branch and Leroy Hill being about it of players who really did much).
That obviously won’t be the case this year with the Seahawks losing some big-time leaders and strong personalities in the likes of Red Bryant, Golden Tate, Chris Clemons, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond and Breno Giacomini, all of whom were there when the ride really began in 2011.
The job of John Schneider, though, is to look at the team pretty unsentimentally and make what he thinks are the best moves for the franchise in the long-term (and I would say his ability to remove emotion from the equation is one of his real strengths). That’s what Seattle is obviously doing, preparing in this free agency period to save up the cash it needs to extend the likes of Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson for the long-term. The conclusion they have obviously made is that those three are the key to everything, and when tough decisions need to be made, those are the three who have to be saved no matter the cost.
They are decisions, though, similar to one the Patriots made in 2003 when they cut Lawyer Milloy, a move all the more surprising in that it happened shortly before the season was set to begin. There were lots of stories at the time about how that would impact the Patriots, questioning if the team’s chemistry would be the same without a player who had been a team captain the previous three seasons.
All the Patriots did was go on to win the next two Super Bowls.