The NFL doesn’t see too many dynasties any more. The last dynasty may have been the New England Patriots of the early 2000s, who won three Super Bowls in a four-year stretch from 2001 to 2004. Despite the Patriots dominance, naysayers were given the opportunity to discredit the team’s dynastic feat as a result of the “Spygate” scandal in 2007 when the Patriots were caught videotaping the defensive signals of their opponent from the sidelines during a game with the New York Jets (i.e.cheating).

So if you’re looking for the NFL’s  last unquestioned, dominant team, you would probably have to go back to the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys of the 1980s and 1990s. Until now, the effects of modern free agency have ripped the word “dynasty” from the lips of NFL pundits. But that trend may be changing since the stars, talent and depth appear to have aligned for the Seattle Seahawks to start a new reign of terror.

Recent Super Bowl champions have had experience on their side; all had important veterans playing key roles at their heart of their roster. But with an average team age of 26.4 years, the Seahawks has become the second youngest team to win a championship. That placed them in elite company. Their average age nearly matches the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins and barely edges out the 1981 49ers (average age of 26.5) and 1974 Steelers (26.6). That’s a select, prestigious crowd. When you factor in the age of Seattle’s most important players, such as Russell Wilson (25), Richard Sherman (26), Kam Chancellor (26), Earl Thomas (25) and Percy Harvin (26), Seattle has the young nucleus to run off multiple Super Bowl appearances. Their youth, combined with head coach Pete Carroll’s savvy and charisma and a raucous home crowd, gives them an advantage that most teams can’t duplicate.

Defense wins championships and Seattle’s is the best in the league—and could be for the foreseeable future as long as Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas are roaming the defensive backfield. Their talent allows Seattle to load up on speedy pass rushers, and possessing a dynamic secondary gives Seattle the ultimate edge in a league where passing dominates offensive game plans. San Francisco and New Orleans, two other top NFC teams, have both been mauled in visits to Seattle. Without a clear rival in the conference, a string of Super Bowl runs is within reach of a young, talented and confident Seahawks bunch. Wilson has the moxie, the smarts and the production to become the next great quarterback. The sky is the limit and Wilson’s humbleness and determination could certainly propel him there.

Seattle arrives atop the NFL power chart at an opportune time. With league’s top three quarterbacks, Tom Brady (37), Peyton Manning (38) and Drew Brees (35), all on the wrong side of 30, the time is ripe for Wilson and his young teammates to run the NFL. Young stars such as Wilson, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan may be the league’s next torch carriers, but only Wilson and Flacco have championship rings. But the Ravens endured a nose dive last year with Flacco at the helm, and their return to prominence may take a few years. Seattle, backed by the ultimate player’s coach in Carroll, could be on the verge of greatness.

Their shellacking of the Green Bay Packers on the league’s opening night Sept. 4 merely served as a reminder of what this team can do. Seattle routed Green Bay 36-16, going on a rampage after falling into an early 10-3 deficit. What’s scary is that the Seahawks appeared to actually cruise through the game while dominating a talented Packers squad.

The Seattle Seahawks are here to stay—that’s easy to say. Predicting just how many championships Carroll, Wilson, Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor will win is the only question.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO