The Elephant in the Locker Room: Destroying the Opposition


By Greg Wright

A funny thing happened on the way back to the Super Bowl during the 2014 season. “The Seahawks do not just beat other teams,” I wrote four years ago. “They effectively end careers, and change the destinies of entire franchises.”

And this was before San Francisco fired Jim Harbaugh. This was before the magnificent and lauded Bruce Arians Cardinals withered and died in the Arizona heat. This was before the Rams abandoned its entire fan base, moved to L.A., fired the only coach in the NFL who knew how to beat Seattle, and went all-in on remaking the team in an entirely new mode.

I do miss Jim Harbaugh, and the rivalry that represented. But it’s hard to maintain rivalries when you consistently demoralize your opponents.

One of the trends that developed in 2014 was the double-loss pattern. Of the Seahawks final nine opportunities that year, they not only beat their opponent but saw their opponent lose the following week as well. To restate: teams facing Seattle would not only lose to Seattle, but would also lose the following week. This was particularly bad news for division foes.

This trend is developing again with Seattle, and with especially devastating consequences–for three teams in particular, all of whom were in the same Wild Card hunt as Seattle… until they faced Seattle.

First it was Detroit… which not only lost to Seattle, but saw the writing on the wall as well. They immediately traded away their top offensive weapon, Golden Tate, and proceeded to lose again. Effectively done for the season. It was as if Seattle came to town, and the Detroit brass immediately started thinking about 2019.

A couple weeks later, with everything on the line for both teams, Green Bay came to Seattle. The Packers and Seahawks both looked like contenders… until the fourth quarter, when Aaron Rodgers started looking like a scared preschooler, and Mike McCarthy folded.

Green Bay lost again the next week, and McCarthy’s career–McCarthy’s legendary career presiding over Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers–was over. The Packers had finally had enough of losing to Seattle.

Meanwhile, Carolina was getting pantsed at home by Seattle yet again. With one notable exception, when Seattle staked Carolina to a 31-point lead in the playoffs and still nearly won–Wilson’s Seahawks have consistently frustrated Cam Newton’s Panthers. After that loss, and losing another game as part of a four-game slide to yet again jeopardize any hopes of the playoffs, Carolina sacked two of its key defensive coaches. “Losing makes people stupid,” says the press in Charlotte this week. “Perhaps the biggest reactionary takes have concerned head coach Ron Rivera, who in four weeks’ time has gone from widely regarded as the best coach in the history of the team to the target of angry Internet and sports radio mobs calling for his job.”

And now, just a few days after being embarrassed by Seattle, burr-under-the-saddle Russell Wilson, and old buddy Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman is talking about making a switch to safety.

Yes, if you hadn’t heard that already, you heard that right. Facing Seattle’s buzz-saw has made Richard Sherman reconsider his future.

What are we coming to?

Well, I’ve got a hunch.

The big difference this year over 2014, of course, is that Seattle’s play has not been as dominating, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. And Seattle only has 7 wins to its credit.

But also consider this enormous difference: Seattle’s lowest point output this season has been 17, in losses to the Bears and the Chargers. These 2018 Seahawks are the highest-scoring that we have seen under Pete Carroll.

I believe that the Seahawks are not only going to beat the Vikings on Monday Night Football this week; I believe that they are going to run the table and enter the playoffs on a roll. Have you seen Bobby and Russell play lately? Yes, I think you have.

And I believe some other team–maybe more than one–will suffer some coaching casualties in their wake.

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