If Sunday was the last time Russell Wilson or Pete Carroll, or both, prowled Lumen Field in Seahawks blue, grey and green, they made it a memorable one. In a 51-29 victory over the Lions, the Seahawks put up their highest home points total since a 58-0 beatdown of the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. That win, now a decade ago, truly ushered in a golden age for the Seahawks. It’s appropriate if those two games serve as bookends of sorts to the Wilson-Carroll era in Seattle.
While some of the shine may have worn off the golden era of the Seahawks in recent years, it is worth remembering how far the franchise has come and to remind some more recent fans who are all too eager to see this era end that things could be much worse.
The Seahawks spent the better part of their first 25 years of existence being bad. Occasionally entertaining thanks to the likes of players like Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy, but mostly bad. They bounced from quarterback to quarterback, ever mired in mediocrity.
Ken Behring, who owned the team when the Seahawks still called the Kingdome home, nearly succeeded in moving the team to California before Paul Allen stepped in and set the franchise on a new course. Allen helped push through funding for a new stadium, then shortly after purchasing the team, he swung for the fences in luring Mike Holmgren from Green Bay to Seattle. Paired with quarterback Matt Hasselback, Holmgren had his own golden era, getting the team to the Super Bowl for the first time. When he could see the shine wearing off, he named Jim Mora as his handpicked successor and then stepped down following a 4-12 season in 2008 that broke a string of five straight playoff appearances. Mora lasted one year, made no friends, and got canned when Allen set his sights high again and lured Carroll away from USC. Carroll started his legacy with a 7-9 playoff appearance, the Marshawn Lynch “Beastquake” playoff win over New Orleans, then two years later Wilson arrived, the “Legion of Boom” was formed, and the rest is history.
I still remember that 2012 thrashing of Arizona. I was boarding a train across the street from what was then CenturyLink Field to head back from Seattle with my pregnant wife visiting my brother-in-law in Seattle. The roar of the crowd as the seemingly unstoppable Seahawks came into an identity that would define them through back-to-back Super Bowl appearances is still etched in my mind, even though it now seems like a lifetime ago.
True, Carroll is no longer the motivational genius he was a decade ago, and Wilson no longer possesses all of the tools that made him a football magician in the early part of his career. It may be time for one or both to move on. The NFL doesn’t afford very long runways to rest on your laurels. It is the ultimate “what have you done for me lately” league. Players can have a fantastic year or two, then disappear. Coaches can appear with the most recent flash-in-the-plan scheme and dominate for a year, only to have everyone else in the league quickly adapt as their future plans for league domination quickly fade into a mirage.
That the Seahawks have kept the good times rolling for nine playoff appearances in the last 12 seasons is remarkable. Look at hapless franchises like the Jaguars or Lions to see just how hard of an accomplishment that is to manage. When the time comes, both Carroll and Wilson will have earned a spot in the team’s Ring of Honor.
Whichever direction the Seahawks go next, the team’s “12’s” can only hope it’s as good as they have had it for the past 12 years.