Moore: If history holds, Rams’ SB loss is good news for Seahawks
It’s funny how uncanny oddsmakers in Las Vegas can be at times and how far off they can be at others. This year’s Super Bowl was a lot of the latter — the Patriots were favored by 2 1/2 points and won 13-3, and the wise guys thought a total of 56 points would be scored in the game, 40 more than the actual total.
And as you probably know, I’m wide right — or left — with many of my own opinions and predictions, originally thinking it might be better for the Rams to win the Super Bowl from a Seahawks’ perspective. I thought if the Rams won the Lombardi Trophy, they’d experience a bigger Super Bowl hangover the following year than they would if they lost.
But Danny O’Neil, who I work with at 710 ESPN Seattle, pointed out that the team that loses the Super Bowl more frequently collapses the next year, either making a short run in the playoffs or not making the playoffs at all. I figured the team on top of the world would lose some of the focus and desire it took to get there in the first place, and maybe have offseason distractions and contract squabbles, but it’s the runner-up that has more difficulties.
Taking it one step farther with additional documentation, ESPN Stats Inc. shows that in the last 30 years, only two teams have won a Super Bowl within three years of losing in the Super Bowl. So if history holds, the Rams probably won’t win a Super Bowl in 2019, 2020 or 2021, which is great news for the Seahawks.
In keeping with the theme of this column, Pete Carroll’s team was supposed to go 6-10 or 7-9, maybe 8-8 or 9-7, but certainly not 10-6 in what was expected to be a rebuilding year. They even made the playoffs, and looking back at what happened in the postseason, if they had gotten a break here and there in Dallas and potentially beyond, you could make a reasonable case for the Seahawks making it all the way to the Super Bowl.
And as much as most of us thought the Super Bowl stunk, it was actually a positive sign for the Seahawks. The Rams aren’t as good as we thought they were in September and October. They looked more like a 3-13 team than a 13-3 team in the Super Bowl. And that offense that averaged nearly 33 points a game throughout the season? Three points in the biggest game of ’em all.
Then think about this: Even when the Rams were firing on all cylinders, the Seahawks lost to them 33-31 and 36-31. They were not only in both games, they could have won them both. And that Rams’ team we saw in the Super Bowl? They could certainly beat them.
Looking ahead to next year, the Rams will be hit harder in free agency than the Seahawks. Los Angeles could lose three of its top defensive players — Ndamukong Suh, Lamarcus Joyner and Dante Fowler. It could also lose starting offensive lineman Roger Saffold. Age is also catching up to the Rams with 37-year-old left tackle Andrew Whitworth, and Aqib Talib turning 33 on Feb. 13.
The 2019 season will also be the last one for Jared Goff on his four-year rookie contract. After that, the Rams must figure out if he’s their quarterback of the future — and you have to wonder about that after seeing him against the Patriots. If he is, they will have a harder time signing marquee free agents like they did this year and even having the ability to keep stars of their own.
Then there’s the mysterious goings-on with Todd Gurley, who didn’t play much in the Rams’ last two games. Was he hurt? Perhaps, but he wasn’t on the team’s injury report. Was it something else? And if so, what was it? An attitude issue? Or maybe it was nothing at all, and just that head coach Sean McVay felt like C.J. Anderson gave the Rams a better chance to win.
It’s hard to know what to think since the Rams gave Gurley a $60 million, four-year contract extension in the offseason. And he sure looked like he was worth it in the regular season with more than 1,800 rushing and receiving yards combined to go with 21 touchdowns. A guy like that isn’t usually replaced by a guy who was cut twice this year before ending up in L.A.
From a Seahawks’ perspective, you can hope that there’s some sort of disconnect between McVay and Gurley that will linger and adversely impact the Rams in 2019.
So many things did not make sense in the Super Bowl. A team that averages 33 points a game doesn’t all of a sudden score only three points, especially against a New England defense that was better in the playoffs but statistically so-so in the regular season. Maybe the absence of Cooper Kupp to a torn ACL at midseason crippled the Rams’ offense, but I have a hard time believing that a second-year receiver, as good as he is, could make that much of a difference.
In this day and age where it seems like every writer and yakker needs to have a hot take, my biggest one is a good one for the Seahawks: the Rams aren’t anywhere close to invincible anymore.