There are rules in the NFL regarding SB champions. The first and foremost of those is – "There is always a step back the following year".
There are a few factors contributing to the above rules:
Loss of players – Everybody wants a piece of the new champions. Free agents are offered better deals then the team can afford. Players under contract are pressing for better deals and limiting the available budget to keep the roster intact. In many cases championship teams got there by mortgaging their future for immediate success and it's time to take the hit and rebuild.
Loss of coaching stuff – Just like the players above, coaching stuff is also poached and some are lost to better positions else ware.
Loss of motivation – It takes 110% of everything you got to win it. Now that you have won it what else is there to drive you to take all the pain and hardships when everybody around you is so eager to help you celebrate your victory.
Over the past decade very few SB champions had a post season victory. You have to go back to the 2005 Patriots to find the last SB champions who actually won a post season game after winning the SB. Rules are rules and the Seahawks are not above the rules.
When the time comes to publish forecasts for the 2014 season expect to see the Seahawks ranked high but most experts will be quick to point out that they are "still" a good team but unlikely to repeat their 2013 glory days. It is an easy prediction to make and once you have your mind set you'll find the reasons to back your opinion. (Tate/Breno gone from the offense, Browner/Thurmond/Red/Clem/McDonald gone from the defense, Lynch unhappy, Sherman and Thomas already having their big pay day…)
I'm here to boldly state the opposite. I am not talking about – "They should not regress too much" type of prediction. I'm here to say – "You ain't seen nothing yet…".
This team was built outside the common path. They did things their own way for better or worse. It turned out for the best. Don't dismiss them just because it's the rule. They don't play by those rules. It starts with the rules they broke to get to win the SB.
Rule 1 – SB champions are usually teams that did not suffer devastating injuries and managed to keep most of their key players along the year.
Rule 2 – Young teams lack the experience needed to win the hard post season battles because most of the players have never played on such a big stage or faced that kind of pressure.
Rule 3 – There is a mold for NFL players. MLBs are slow, corners are small but lightening fast, QBs are tall, corners can't tackle, etc. etc. etc.
We are very young, we did suffer a horrendous list of injuries from the start of the season and all along, our corners are taller then our QB and we are the SB champions. Deal with it.
Once you open your eyes and look at this team without a preconceived opinion you will find the following:
Yes, we lost 2 leading CBs but both were gone in the 2nd half of the championship year. The starters are there and their backups look as good as ever. The LBs are all back with reinforcement. The DL lost Red and Clem who did not have a stellar 2013 season, McDonald is gone too. KW was added and lots of red shirts are fighting for their place on the team. If you did not know this was one of the best defenses in the history of the game you might be thinking that those guys should be better next year.
The OL sucks. Well, maybe it did in 2013 decimated by injuries at all key positions etc. Just being mostly healthy should be an improvement. Both Guards look primed for a major career year. The 2 leading receivers for 2013 – Rice and Harvin played 10 games combined. Most of those by a banged up Rice who missed the whole preseason and it showed. A better OL protecting a year older young QB with a highly improved array of targets sounds like a major reason to expect improvement. Not just a small step for offense men, I'm talking a giant leap for the offense kind.
Attitude and commitment –
Everything we see and hear so far does not hint at a "loss of fire". On the contrary, it sounds like the SB rings has put a final staple on buying into the Seahawks way. There are no doubts. We fight every minute of every day. We compete. We do it faster, stronger and harder then anyone else and it pays. No leading veterans trying to keep their body rested for the hardships to come, No players saving their body with a new contract in their pocket. This team is not done, not by a long shot.
The NFL has always been unpredictable, more so then any other professional sport. Teams rise and fall dramatically and drastically. It could happen to us just like it happened to many others. (Remember 2007?)
With a very tough schedule on paper right now you can't argue against predictions of 10-6 season or even worse. It could happen. Is it likely to happen with the picture as it is right now? Hell NO. A 16-0 season is more likely then a 10-6 one.
A lot will happen between now and the GB game. A lot can happen during a full season. However, right now and until whatever could happen does happen, we are actually a better team then the 2013 SB champions. It's all on paper and a lot of papers will be printed till September. Houston and Atlanta were formidable paper tigers this time a year ago and we know how it ended for them. Still, until proven wrong – We are the biggest and meanest paper tiger in this paper jungle. When it's time to unleash this tiger onto the grass fields we'll know more.