The Seattle Seahawks were close to facing the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl this year. If Seattle would have gotten just one more stop against the Atlanta Falcons, they would have been one tough win away from a trip to New Orleans.
One has to imagine that there were a few Seahawks fans that watched the big game and wondered how Russell Wilson and company would have done against Ray Lewis and Joe Flacco.
Next year will be a different environment, and Seattle may still need to go through San Francisco in order to reach Super Bowl XLVIII.
Granted, drawing practical lessons from a unique event like the Super Bowl can be a challenge, but are these principles that may help the Seahawks in 2013? One can only hope in you root for the ‘Hawks.
Game plans are important. The right players are crucial. Clutch performances are vital.
What wins the Super Bowl? Just enough momentum. Realistically, momentum is a difficult aspect of the game to measure. In the early stages of the game, Baltimore had all of it.
After the strange power outage, San Francisco snatched that momentum back and was a pass interference call away from coming away with a comeback victory.
How is this relevant to the Seahawks? It is a reminder that Super Bowls are won with poised leaders who can manage some of that momentum and keep a team focused for the entire game.
Is Russell Wilson such a leader? He certainly looked like a player who could keep his head in the Super Bowl. Against the Falcons, Wilson did not give up when the team fell behind in the first half.
Fans hope that Wilson could demonstrate a similar level of ability on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Age and Treachery...
The Seattle Seahawks have an exciting, young team that is led by an electric young quarterback. Who won the Super Bowl this year? The older team. Granted, the 49ers are not exactly one of the younger teams in the league either.
At the beginning of the year, the Baltimore starters ranked fifth in age, and San Francisco ranked ninth (via ESPN.com).
What is the lesson to be learned? Making the Super Bowl and winning the big game is often accomplished by a team with a certain amount of veteran savvy.
In other words, the youth movement in Seattle is exciting, but it may take a bit more seasoning before this squad is ready to win the Lombardi Trophy.
Just a Game, and Yet Not
The Super Bowl is just another football game. And yet, it just isn’t. The Super Bowl is a mixture of hype, extended coverage, celebrities, endorsement opportunities, legendary players and parties.
Oh, and eventually there is a football game to be played, assuming the lights stay on.
Is two weeks enough to prepare for a football game? Certainly. Is two weeks enough to prepare for the hype? For some players, a lifetime is not long enough.
When you watch the Super Bowl, you can’t help but wonder whether certain players get lost in the sudden realization that this is the big game. Colin Kaepernick certainly looked a little unsettled in the first half. Eventually he pulled it together and led a rally, but if the ‘Niners had not regained their composure as a team, perhaps this could have been a 30-point blowout.
The lesson? Poise matters, not just in the game, but in the overall atmosphere of the hype that is the Super Bowl. Again, this isn’t just about Russell Wilson, but the QB is what makes the team go, particularly in the biggest game of the year.
Based on 2012, does Russell Wilson have the mental makeup to keep his focus in a Super Bowl environment? There is certainly evidence that he could handle the pressure.
Seattle fans hope that Wilson and the Seahawks were taking notes. We will find out if the lessons learned result in a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII next year.