Sooner or later, all great franchises have a season they would like to forget. And no one wants to move on from that sad season quicker than the players, but the fans will be right behind them, ready to welcome the new year and the new opportunity. Every year is a new opportunity to win the Super Bowl, which means every year is a great opportunity. It really depends on the outlook the team has as a whole. They could look like the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and their coach could describe their on-field efforts like these quotes from former Tampa Bay coach John McKay:
“Every time I look up, it seems we’re punting.”
“If you have everyone back from a team that lost ten games, the experience isn’t too important.”
“As a person gets older, he doesn’t get faster. Our quarterback will run from fright or lack of protection.”
“We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.”
“Can’t stop the pass or the run. Otherwise, we’re in great shape.”
“There were times I felt like leaving the stadium and hitchhiking home.”
While it’s humorous to poke fun at a team that came well short of expectations following a 12-4 season, it’s more practical to find ways to move on. Take a quote from fictional Minnesota State head coach Hayden Fox as an example:
“You gotta bury it! Bury it with a shovel, and then bury the shovel!”
Coach Fox was not discussing football at the time but rather keeping secrets from your significant other, which we don’t recommend. But in terms of moving on from a bad season of football, it definitely applies. This past season, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell took Coach Fox’s advice literally and buried game film from their 44-6 loss in week eight to Philadelphia. Whether or not he also buried the shovel used in the incident will remain a mystery. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick used a literary analogy in 2014 after his team suffered a 41-14 loss to Kansas City in week 4. To help his team shift their focus, he offered this sentiment:
“We’re on to Cincinnati. We gotta turn the page.”
You definitely can’t obsess over one loss or even a season full of them. Review the film, find what you can fix, and move on. If you live in the past, you’re not going to ever have a bright future. You have to move on like the 1980 US Men’s Hockey team did following an embarrassing 10-3 defeat to the Soviet Union on February 9th. Exactly two weeks later, they faced the same team, and head coach Herb Brooks had them ready with a legendary speech full of great moments, none better than this one:
“Great moments are born from great opportunity.”
That’s what the Seahawks have heading into the 2022 season – a great opportunity. They can enter next season energized and focused, ready to put the league on notice. It will be year two of OC Shane Waldren’s system, so the offense as a whole should be more comfortable after several weeks of a lot of looking out of sorts against average teams. They can look at the 2018 Rams, 2019 49ers, and 2020 Packers as examples of what a team can look like once they get their new offense really cooking.
It’s really incredible what teams can do when the players on the field aren’t learning as they go and are just playing football. And there really isn’t anywhere to go but up for this team. They finished with the 7th worst record in team history and the only last-place finish in the NFC West since the team moved from the AFC in 2002. In their 45 years in the NFL, the Seahawks have posted 10 or more losses just 10 times; before this season, the most recent one was in 2009. So if they can rebound next year, it could be another ten or more years before they have another bad season.
You can’t automatically assume Seattle will be back just because it’s a new year, as they have never lost ten games in a season and made the playoffs the following year. They will need to break in a new defensive coordinator, and it will be just the fourth they have had since Pete Carroll was hired as head coach in 2010. Two of their former play callers on defense have gone on to successful head coaching gigs for other teams, and one of them (Dan Quinn) is likely getting a shot at a head coaching job this year after the great job he did in Dallas.
There are a lot of great defensive minds out there, and Carroll needs to make sure the next one is as good or better than the four he has brought to Seattle. If the defense can’t do their part, it may not matter how good the offense is.
It’s important for Seattle to set their sights on the 2018 Rams, 2019 49ers, and 2020 Packers, as two of those teams advanced to the Super Bowl, and one made it as far as the NFC Championship. Seattle hadn’t made it past the divisional round since January of 2015 when they had the top defense in the league. It’s not likely they will be a top-five defense next year, but it’s possible they could be top 10. If they also have a top 10 offense, they could be extremely dangerous.
The only thing holding back Seattle is themselves. If they can play to their potential next year and get their mojo back, there’s not a team out there that is more talented on paper. It’s going to take a lot of creativity from the front office to keep their current roster intact and add to it, but I think they will impress us with the moves they make.
No matter what happens, they need to move on from this season and just use it as motivation to be great next year. That’s the silver lining when the season ends – good, bad, or indifferent; there is always next year.