History is against the chances of the Seattle Seahawks repeating their Super Bowl campaign of last year. The last champions, the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens, failed to even return to the playoffs in the following year. And for those prior champions that did manage to make it back to the playoffs, a Super Bowl winner hasn’t won a postseason game in the next season in eight years.
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) carries the ball as fullback Michael Robinson (26) blocks Packers safety Morgan Burnett (42) in the first half Monday. (Ted S. Warren/AP Photos)
But as they displayed in their opening night 36-16 thrashing of the Green Bay Packers, Seattle could be a different story. The Seahawks looked light years ahead of a Packers team that was well regarded entering this season. Although we’re not even a full weekend into the season, the question begs to be asked: could the Seattle Seahawks repeat? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.
Riley: Seattle has an excellent opportunity to secure home field advantage again, courtesy of a weakened NFC West. They’re already the gold standard in the conference, and another two-week stretch in Seattle in late January will yield the same results as it did last year when the Seahawks were simply unbeatable on their home turf in the postseason. The loss of St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and numerous defections and disciplinary problems among the San Francisco defense leaves both teams thin on paper. Arizona’s top runner Andre Ellington is currently dealing with a foot ailment, so the stars are aligned again for Seattle to rule the division. This team could easily get on a roll and storm its way to another championship. Remember, Seattle outscored its opponents by just a touchdown in conference postseason play before they dismembered the Denver Broncos in a 43-8 Super Bowl romp. The Seahawks’ roster returns largely intact and the team is still shockingly young—they were the second youngest team to ever win a Super Bowl. No one else in the NFC has drastically improved, and two AFC powers, Denver and New England, enter the season another year older. A repeat is guaranteed shy of injury.
Green: Repeats are never guaranteed, Riley. Teams make adjustments and coaches get every opportunity to study the Super Bowl champs. That’s why history has been so hard on title defenders. Week in and week out, you’re now some other team’s own personal Super Bowl matchup, and that can wear a team down fast. Their showing against Green Bay was impressive, but it also highlighted what a lot of teams will do this season—challenge boundary corner Byron Maxwell. The fourth year pro out of Clemson has played well, but he’s going to have to be elite to handle what’s headed his way as teams avoid Richard Sherman. The offense is an annual Percy Harvin-injury away from being devoid of playmakers. The Seahawks are a good team, but we can’t just pencil any team in for anything at this point of the season. Opposing coaches have studied the tape and already crafted game plans for Seattle this year. It’s not going to be a piece of cake.
Riley: I can’t understand why it won’t be easy. Seattle is younger, faster and simply better than a large percentage of teams, and as long as they maintain their hunger, which they appear to be doing, then I can’t see who’s going to chop this team down. There might not be a more efficient quarterback than Russell Wilson and he’s still getting better. Seattle’s loaded and could probably flirt with an undefeated season if they were truly committed to the task. They’re that talented, they’re amazing at home and possess a talented roster with a great defense, great quarterback and excellent coach. I’m all in on the Seattle Seahawks.
Green: You never know how the season will shape things, and I could easily envision a number of different teams holding the Lombardi Trophy when it’s all said and done. When the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012, everyone thought New England was a sure bet to return to the championship game that year. When the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2011, everyone expected a red-hot Aaron Rodgers and Packers to return to the big game. Point is, there are a lot of good teams out there that will challenge Seattle for the title. Let’s not write off the rest of the top teams in the league just yet.