There are moments in sports that transcend reality; what happened at Super Bowl XLVIII was beyond reality. Literally, from the opening snap of the game, the Denver Broncos were not only playing catchup but they were left scratching their heads all night. The Seattle Seahawks did it right, they played their game. They scored a safety and a whole lot more.
Lost in all the fanfare and the bright lights of the Super Bowl was a storyline that probably doesn’t get enough credit: the Seahawks were the underdog. What goes with the underdog status is the background story that is all too familiar in the Northwest sports scene. No matter how much success, how many awards or how many wins the Seahawks piled up, they were still an underdog.
Its such a striking name to have. Having everyone view you as essentially, the loser, and you haven’t even played the game yet. How many wins will it take to earn the respect of being the better team? Do you have to win it all before you get the respect you deserve? Tough call; the New England Patriots didn’t have to deal with the critics the way the Seahawks have had to. Once Tom Brady ushered in his era of dominance, and so early too, he was a winner and anything the Patriots accomplished was added to that success.
The Hawks had been to the Super Bowl only 8 seasons prior and were a threat that year too! But they weren’t favored to win. They were the underdog. Having a rushing leader in Shaun Alexander that season gave Seattle a legitimate shot at winning the big game that year. The Seahawks would lose to the Steelers and to this day it is still questioned on if the referees cost the Hawks the title.
When you live in British Columbia or Washington State or the surrounding areas, you have dealt with the rest of North America calling you less than worthy. The Seahawks in this case, have had success in a lot of ways and lay claim to a few Hall of Famers. One would think this would give some legitimacy to their franchise. How about making 2 Super Bowls in 8 years? Nope, still isn’t good enough. Sure, the Hawks have been contenders for many years, had some rough patches as well, but they are basically viewed as the team that still just isn’t at that elite level. Statistically, they deserve a lot more credit than they are getting but no one that matters is giving it to them.
If you cheer for the Vancouver Canucks, its a story all too familiar. So many years of dominance in the Northwest Division, awards, star players coming up through the ranks, and a few Stanley Cup appearances to their name. All of that, and they are still viewed as a team that doesn’t deserve to be a favorite. They aren’t the sexy Chicago Blackhawks or Pittsburgh Penguins. There is no credit where its due. Will winning a title change all that? Hopefully it will. The Canucks deserve to be thought of as elite and not just another team that didn’t win. Maybe not this season though.
Now that the Seahawks can call themselves Super Bowl Champions, maybe the rest of the NFL will finally see what us locals have seen for a long time: a team that deserves to be called Champion. There are no Tom Brady’s or Peyton Manning’s. No Jerry Rice Ok he did have a quick stint there, but lets not dwell on that. This is a team that was built from the ground up and bought into a family mentallity, not just a team. This is a team that had a defense that had less holes in it than a bowling ball.
The Seattle Seahawks are now part of an exclusive club and nothing can change that. No controversy to stain their win, no bad calls or non calls that could have cost the Denver Broncos the game. The Hawks just flat out annihilated the Broncos and they made it look easy. They made it look like just another game, just another opponent. They are now for real and will be taken seriously. It took a win to do it but they won’t be called underdog anymore.
It all started with a Safety. It started with Pete Carroll putting together a family. It started with the Seattle Seahawks not listening to the haters and showing them why they should be taken seriously.
Congratulations Seattle Seahawks! You are our heroes
Cover photo courtesy of yahoo.com