The Seattle Seahawks' fanbase has been ever so predictable over the past few years--our team doesn't get enough national coverage. This may have been true during the doldrums of the 90's, when the team was spinning its wheels and the only real attention came from the failures of Rick Mirer. Also there was that one time where Cortez Kennedy won Defensive Player of the Year on a 2-14 team, but certain fans like to ignore that because it doesn't fit their narrative.
Mike Holmgren rode in on a white horse and gave the team its first Super Bowl appearance ever. What was the response? Massive panic over the media giving more time to Jerome Bettis' swan song. That was annoying, yes, and the game itself still lives in infamy, but be honest with yourselves--what compelling storyline did Seattle provide that year? Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander were blander than Wonder Bread. Jerramy Stevens had a shady past at UW, and he should thank his lucky stars that was never brought up on Media Day. Who the hell was playing safety again? That was a magical year, but you're kidding yourself if you truly thought that team would bore its way into the national conversation.
As you all know, the team lost that game, and it went back to neutral as Holmgren's core group got older. Other than the hilarious Romo play, the Seahawks did little of note during his final years. He bailed at the right time as the team collapsed in 2008. Jim Mora was a failed experiment from the start, and it seemed like the franchise was aimless and headed for another run of boring mediocrity like in the 90's.
Does a team like that really deserve national recognition?
Enter Pete Carroll.
Seattle's turnaround didn't happen overnight, but Carroll's hire did force the national media to pay attention. Here was a coach who couldn't hack it in the NFL before, but built a legendary resume at USC, and then bailed right before the NCAA brought the hammer down. Few people expected it to be a good hire, but they thought it would be entertaining.
Carroll and GM John Schneider made things entertaining, all right. They also built a good football team to go along with it.
Pete Carroll is 61 years old. He has nothing left to prove at the college level. He didn't come back to the NFL to do a victory lap, he came back to prove everyone wrong. That he can win at the professional level as well. That the Patriots fans who despised him were wrong. That his laid-back, ADD-addled style can work just as well in the pros as it did in college.
His plan has worked masterfully so far. Stuck with a depleted roster in the wake of Tim Ruskell's departure, he and Schneider turned a rebuilding project into a legitimate Super Bowl contender in just three seasons. They used their draft savvy to find late round starters like Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, KJ Wright, and Russell Wilson. They plucked Brandon Browner out of the CFL. They bought low on Marshawn Lynch. All of these moves culminated in one of the most talented NFL rosters on paper. The Seahawks are legitimate favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season.
So what's the lesson here for Seattle fans? It's simple--don't complain about lack of national coverage ever again. If the team is good, it will get on ESPN. This has been true throughout the entire history of Seattle sports. As mentioned above, Tez won Defensive MVP on a 2-14 team. Ken Griffey Jr. got his own video game. Edgar Martinez has an award named after him. Ichiro and the 2001 M's were the darlings of national media. Felix Hernandez' perfect game got nonstop SportsCenter play.
You build a good team, the national media will cover you, no matter where you're from. Pete Carroll and John Schneider have built a good team that's getting tons of coverage. The Seahawks will be a media darling this year. Embrace it, stop your complaining.