What it takes to be great

We are all excited about Hasselbeck's dominating 4-TD return on Sunday and the implications for the season that so recently seemed lost. I am going to present an analysis of the Seahawks last 4+ seasons that addresses the potential presence of greatness in the Seahawks. I will not be concerned with whether the Seahawks are 'physical' or 'know howto win', instead I focus on one simple question: Can the Seahawks win on the road against a good team?

I presented a similar analysis last season, but there is new data here and a new context so I feel it deserves a new post. Many remember last season when we were in disbelief about the Seahawks terrible performance. A lot of us looked back on the supposedly succesful years prior and noticed something alarming: The Seahawks have won only one road game against a better than .500 team in 2005-present. That game was against Denver in 2006. It was Jay Cutler's first ever NFL start and he created three turnovers himself in a game in which the Seahawks were outgained. We slid by with a 23-20 win. Here is the rest of the data: Note that I looked at the entire 16 game record of the team, not their record in the other 14 or 15 games not against the Seahawks. So, for example, if the Hawks beat a team that goes on to be 8-8 (8-7 excluding the hawks game), they are not included.


2005 (0-2)
L - Jacksonville (12-4)
L - Washington (10-6)

2006 (1-2)
L - Chicago (13-3)
L - Kansas City (9-7)
W - Denver (9-7)

2007 (0-2)
L - Pittsburgh (10-6)
L - Cleveland (10-6)

2008 (0-5)
L - NY Giants (12-4)
L - Tampa Bay (9-7)
L - Miami (11-5)
L - Dallas (9-7)
L - Arizona (9-7)


This comes out to a combined 1-11 against good teams on the road. Even if we call 2008 a fluke that is 1-6 in the other three years. We could add as many as three more such losses if we include playoffs. An interesting thing to note is that we had by far the largest number of these games in 2008 (5), with only 3, 2, and 2 in the other years. My point with all of this is that it has seemed to me for some time that the ability to beat a good team on the road is something a great team must be able to do. Obviously no team is going to bat 1.000 in such games, but it has to win some games. The Seahawks have been a strange team over the last few years in that we made the playoffs in 2005-2007 with only one such win. It is strange to me that we have been so good at home. Last year we were only -10 point differential at home for the season. We also have shown the ability to play near-perfect football against bad teams. I am waiting for the moment to come when we go out an beat a good team in their stadium. I do not think I am harping on some small sample size anomaly. Year after year I like our roster on paper and see what it can do at home against a bad team, and then see a totally different team in any tough road game.

I think right now is an exciting time because the Seahawks just played some of the best football we have seen from them and the season is still young. If the Hawks can sustain a level of play similar to what we saw Sunday, the sky is the limit. I do not think Jacksonville is a Rams type stinker, they are a halfway decent team. I see the next two weeks as follows:

ARI: We have to win this game if we are gonna sneak into the playoffs 9-7. Divisonal home game. I don't think beating the Cards at home (they probably won't even be .500 this year) proves anything, we just have to win. It seems like the playoff sneak-in requires that we win these gimme and almost-gimme games:


giving up @ARI, @DAL, @MIN, @GB.

DAL: This is where, I think, things get very interesting. Even if we still only finish with 9 wins. It would be awesome to win one of the four remaining road games against a team likely to finish the season above .500. That sort of win makes me believe we have a chance of winning a road playoff game and making this a very special year. I would not say I am expecting this win, but I think it would be more than just a win...

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