Moore: Seahawks can use slights from Pro Bowl, national media as fuel
Many people are up in arms that the 11-3 Seahawks had only two players, Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, selected to the Pro Bowl. The Ravens had 12 players chosen, and the 7-7 Eagles will have five players in the NFL’s annual All-Star Game. The 49ers had twice as many players as the Seahawks chosen with four, including Richard Sherman.
I also woke up to an ESPN show called “Get Up,” and listened to some former player I’ve never heard of – Dominique Foxworth – trashing the Seahawks. And another, Ryan Clark, agreed with him. Neither one had the Seahawks on their lists of five teams they felt could win the Super Bowl.
Earlier this season, Foxworth predicted the Seahawks would not make the playoffs and admitted he was wrong about that. “But I still don’t think they’re a very good football team,” he said. “Russell Wilson blacks out in the fourth quarter and saves games for them. If they have to go down to Dallas, I don’t think they get out of the first round.”
Clark feels the same way mainly because “they haven’t improved defensively.”
It’s a common negative perception. I’ve heard at least two national broadcasters call the Seahawks “the luckiest team ever,” pointing to their plus-26 point differential. If you have a plus-26 point differential, you’re typically an 8-6 team, maybe even a 7-7 team. The 7-7 Cowboys are plus-90.
And even though the Seahawks are the No. 1 NFC seed right now and projected to remain the No. 1 seed based on tiebreaker formulas, most consider the Saints the best of the four 11-3 teams in the conference. In a post earlier this week, I ranked New Orleans No. 1, San Francisco No. 2, Seattle No. 3 and Green Bay No. 4.
You could argue that my rankings are out of whack by asking: “How could you rank the 49ers ahead of the Seahawks when the Seahawks beat them in overtime last month? And didn’t they just lose at home to the Falcons?” I’d counter by saying: “I get where you’re coming from, but overall, I still think the 49ers have the better team.”
I’m bringing up all of this stuff for one reason. If I’m Pete Carroll, I’m calling a special meeting and mentioning these slights to my players. As you may or may not know, I’m a big believer in the power of Human Nature. It always seems like players are extra motivated when they have a chip on their shoulder.
In this case, it’s more like a boulder than a chip. When I hear criticisms of the Seahawks, it’s sounds like people are talking about a 3-11 team instead of an 11-3 team. It’s really strange when you consider that their three losses came to the 12-2 Ravens, 11-3 Saints and 8-6 Rams. But it’s also somewhat understandable because of a shaky defense that doesn’t figure to hold up in the postseason, facing one quality team after another.
If the Seahawks were in the AFC, I’d think they’d have no shot to make the Super Bowl because the Ravens are the clearly superior team in that conference. In the NFC it’s wide open. The Vikings could be the No. 6 team this year, and I’d give them a decent-to-good chance of making it to the Super Bowl.
But the combination of the Seahawks being doubted in a year in which no one has truly stood out as an NFC favorite is something they could use to ultimately shove it in non-believers’ faces.