Clayton’s takeaways from SB week and preview of 2019: Officiating changes, Seahawks signings
After waking up from what was a pretty boring Super Bowl game, I wanted to take a few minutes reflecting on Super Bowl week.
It was great week being on radio row getting interview after interview. What a treat to have Evander Holyfield and Morten Anderson hand delivering steak before doing interviews for 710 ESPN Seattle. And I loved catching up with Michael Irvin, Leigh Steinberg, James Harrison and so many others.
Let’s fire off some quick notes from the Super Bowl and beyond:
• Steve Hutchinson should get into the Hall of Fame next year. In each of the past two years, we have had three first-ballot Hall of Famers. That left us with only two spots in each year to move players who had been on the list the previous year.
The other problem is we’ve had four offensive linemen — all deserving to go into the Hall — in the final 10 in each of the past two years. They take votes away from the other. Fortunately, we were able to advance one lineman, and he was a Seahawk: Kevin Mawae.
Steve Hutchinson and Alan Faneca, both of whom were guards, split votes and didn’t get in, while Tony Boselli was also in the top 10 as a left tackle.
Next year, safety Troy Polamalu is the only first-ballot candidate. Reggie Wayne is also up, but he won’t get in there as a first ballot, which means four spots are open. Hutchinson should make it then, possibly along with another offensive lineman.
• I had a great interview with Troy Vincent, executive director of NFL Football Operations. Though he can’t predict what will happen with officiating following the infamous New Orleans Saints non-call, I got the feeling the NFL might go to an eighth official who will work the video at the games. It makes sense; Vincent said the league and owners don’t like having officials in New York making calls in judgment situations. It could get messy changing rules to add non-calls and pass interference to coaching challenges.
• For those who call for full-time officiating, it’s slowly coming. There are 24 officials who were hired four times by the NFL. Six of the seven officials at the Super Bowl are fulltime. The problem is not the NFL wanting to pay officials to be fulltime, but rather that some officials in the NFL have full-time jobs and are reluctant to give them up just to work half the year.
• What will be interesting to see is how many teams will copy the Bill Belichick plan of stopping the Los Angeles Rams offense. Belichick used a “6-1’’ scheme to limit outside zone read runs and limit backs catching passes. It forced more inside runs that didn’t work. Belichick went to quarters coverage with the four defensive backs. The Rams and Jared Goff were stymied.
• The Mark Glowinski contract didn’t turn out to be three-years at $18 million. It was $5.4 million a year. I still think that gives the Seahawks a decent change of signing both J.R. Sweezy and D.J. Fluker.
• That Russell Wilson and the Seahawks haven’t started negotiations on a new contract is understandable. John Schneider has to take care of players who are up after this season, not Wilson, who is up after next season. Getting something done for Frank Clark, Fluker, Sweezy and Justin Coleman will take priority now.
• It’s a shame Mike Solari didn’t have more support to get Assistant Coach of the Year honors. Vic Fangio, defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, won the award and parlayed that into a head coaching job in Denver. Solari got a couple of votes, and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer did get a vote.
• Last year’s biggest Super Bowl mystery was why cornerback Malcolm Butler was a healthy scratch by Belichick. This year’s mystery is the quick demise of Rams running back Todd Gurley, who went from MVP to being virtually a backup to C.J. Anderson.
Gurley’s knee was fine. His play wasn’t. And there have been no explanations so far.