After years of suffering, the city of Seattle has its first major professional sports championship since 1979, when the SuperSonics won the NBA title. It was one that was not only well-deserved but built through a very specific formula that worked beautifully.
Talks of a dynasty are still years away for the Seattle Seahawks, but the system Pete Carroll has put together is one that will lead to several more successful years.
Following a smackdown of the Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning and the No. 1 offense in the NFL, Seattle looked like the more dominant team during all four quarters. Not only was the defense superb, but the offense was masterful behind second-year quarterback Russell Wilson, as ESPN Stats and Info notes:
Russell Wilson posted a 88.1 Total QBR, the 2nd-highest in the Super Bowl since 2006 (Joe Flacco, 93.4).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 3, 2014
As for Wilson himself, he predicted that he would win much more than just one Super Bowl before his time was up in the NFL. In an interview at N.C. State leading up to the 2012 NFL draft, Wilson spoke about winning multiple titles in the league, according to Ryan Tice of The Wolfpacker:
Yeah, I'm just focused on football, 100 percent football. There's no need to have a plan B if you have a plan A. I'm excited about football and playing in the NFL. Hopefully, I can play 12-15 years and win a couple of Super Bowls.
While great quarterback play is crucial for any team's success at the NFL level, it's the players around him that embody this team's bright future.
The same receiving corps that's been questioned all season has grown throughout the playoffs. Doug Baldwin averaged 86 yards and hauled in a touchdown during the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl. Jermaine Kearse had over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns over that same stretch.
Let's not forget that Golden Tate led the team during the regular season and Sidney Rice missed the last three months due to a torn ACL. Oh, and then there's Percy Harvin, the guy who provided an electric return in the Super Bowl and only played in three total games this season.
Needless to say, there's plenty of firepower in the receiving corps.
What's more ridiculous for this team is that the players are all a bunch of misfits who simply work. The Super Bowl MVP was Malcolm Smith, a seventh-round selection in 2011. Wilson was a third-rounder in 2012. Richard Sherman was a fifth-rounder, and Baldwin went undrafted in 2011.
Then there's the age factor. Several of the key players in the Seahawks' run to the Super Bowl—Sherman, Wilson, Tate, Harvin and Kam Chancellor—are all just 25 years old. As ESPN Stats and Info notes, the 'Hawks are the youngest team to win in nearly three decades:
Seahawks are youngest team by average age to win a Super Bowl since 1985 Bears.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 3, 2014
But the difficult part comes when each of these players begins demanding money. Wilson and Sherman are both making less than $850,000 per year, Earl Thomas is hauling in $4.5 million, and Chancellor demands just $5.7 million.
With that contract window closing, Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes points out that Wilson alone will be due a huge contract when his current one is up after 2014:
Wilson is represented by baseball agent Mark Rodgers of Frontline Athlete Management. Rodgers can look to recent Super Bowl QB winners for guidance where contracts invariably hit nine figures.
Last year’s Super Bowl winning QB, Joe Flacco, inked a six-year, $120.6 million contract in March, including $52 million guaranteed with the Baltimore Ravens. Rodgers, who won the Super Bowl in Feb. 2011, signed a five-year, $110 million contract extension with the Green Bay Packers in April that included a record $62.5 million guaranteed. Brees won the Super Bowl in 2010 and signed a $100 million deal two years later.
Given these huge contracts that are sure to come, it looks like keeping the same core together for Seattle will be ambitious, but it's not something to worry about under Carroll and Seahawks management.
The same staff that brought in the current group of overlooked stars seems capable of doing the same in the future. With several tough decisions to come, it appears this administration should have no issues with that strenuous task.
This entire basis for Seattle's future success is just looking at its offense because we already know what the NFL's No. 1 defense is capable of—and now Manning is well aware, too. That same gritty style of defense is shared by every team in the NFC West, which could be another obstacle in years to come.
Can the Seahawks repeat?
But after proving that they were the better defense against each of those teams this season, the Seahawks showed even the NFC West can't contend with their dominance. The San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams will all continue to improve, but Seattle is simply better right now.
Carroll was told he couldn't coach in the NFL after failing earlier in his career. Wilson was told he was too short and couldn't be a signal-caller at football's highest level. Several defensive players were told they wouldn't be able to succeed before getting to this stage.
Seattle might be celebrating its first major title in 35 years, but the city won't have to wait that long for another one from the Seahawks. Just tell them they can't.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: