The Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl LXVIII in approximately 24 hours. The "main" tenant of CenturyLink Field (though technically the Seattle Sounders played there first) has returned to the biggest stage in football, after an 8-year absence. This is a huge deal for the team . . . and the club they partner with. Lets take a look at what the Superb Owl means for our guys in Rave Green.
The Seahawks have made the Cup Final with an aggressive, tactically sound, physical and speedy defense, and a possession-based offense that is hyper efficient. If you don't believe me, click on a few random articles over at Field Gulls and you'll get the picture. Does that Seattle team sound like another to you? No? Are you trying to tell me that the Sounders were not tactically sound at the end of 2013? Oh, well, I guess you're right. And the offense was not hyper efficient, and was not even really that great with possession? Yeah... I see your point. I guess the teams really haven't been playing that similarly, though I'd bet your bottom dollar that the Sounders would love to play lock-down defense and use a patient attack that employed creativity at crucial moments to deliver the knockout blows.
So, okay, they don't really have the same styles of play. How about roster construction? The Seahawks are a group of guys who were overlooked, doubted and criticized until the Hawks picked most of them off the scrap heap and turned them into stars. 3rd Round QB, 5th Round CB, 1st Round picks that were seen as incredible reaches, undrafted free agents who are now key starters. You've heard the stories. How about the Sounders? Yedlin was undrafted, and look at him! What? The Sounders got to skip the draft for Yedlin? Oh. Umm... Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins weren't good enough for the EPL and La Liga! Wait, you're telling me we spent a ton of money to buy them? Hmmm, well we did find Osvaldo Alonso as a diamond in the rough, we're currently trying to reclaim Stefan Frei, and Neagle was signed without going through the draft. But overall, yeah I guess we aren't really built the same way.
Okay, well, I'm writing this for a reason, so, how does the Hawks being in the big game involve the Sounders? It all comes down to attitude. Pete Carroll, and now the Hawks, is known for his fierce competitiveness. This is #WinForever and #AlwaysCompete and now with Wilson's spin on it, #LeaveNoDoubt. This is Competition Wednesdays and Turnover Thursdays. It is #NoTime4Sleep and #LOB. It is an environment where every single guy on the roster is important and is expected to step up on game day when he is called. They usually do.
Just as the Seahawks are no ordinary team, they have no ordinary relationship with the Sounders. Football got CenturyLink Field built with taxpayers' money, but soccer was also necessary to ensure it passed. If Washington wasn't mad about soccer, and people in the Seahawks organization weren't smart enough to realize it, some other set of fans might be cheering on the Los Angeles Seahawks instead. The Seahawks and Sounders share staff for many of their functions - it is a unified organization that is highly successful at two different sports. As only one example, some of the Sounders' preseason training this past week was at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, training home of the Seahawks. For more on this, as with everyone else I highly recommend reading Authentic Masterpiece. So, as the Seahawks succeed, there is a trickle-down effect that provides the Sounders with some of the benefits of that success.
DeAndre Yedlin (@yedlinny) February 1, 2014
More importantly, I firmly believe that the attitude of the Seahawks is rubbing off on the Sounders, especially amongst the younger guys from Seattle. This will only grow stronger once the Seahawks capture their first Lombardi Trophy. It is no secret that Yedlin and Neagle are big Seahawks fans, but did you know that Neagle met Shaun Alexander and Walter Jones? That he feels a connection to Baldwin, Tate, and Kearse as guys who rose up out of the ranks, unheralded? Remick is a fan too.
Did you also know that many of the Seahawks players are fans of the Sounders?
@yedlinny appreciate that my guy! Much respect!— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) January 20, 2014
@LamarNeagle Man, you just don't know bruh. I appreciate you!— Doug Baldwin Jr (@DougBaldwinJr) January 19, 2014
This Sounders game is turnin up right now!— Jermaine Kearse (@chopchop_15) October 10, 2013
And Tate is paying attention, while Wilson has been hanging out with James Riley??
What does this mean? Maybe nothing, maybe everything, but most likely it means something. If these young Sounders guys adopt the mentality of the Seahawks--work like champions every day, play like champions every game, and don't be afraid to be yourself--we could see similar results here. There is no doubt that the Sounders have the tools to be the best team in the league. Their players are athletic, their defenders are strong, they have speed, they have technical prowess and they have tactical awareness. Their coach is one of the best American coaches of all-time. The only question is whether these tools can be honed into a humming machine, in whatever configuration Schmid and Schmetzer come up with.
Players who adopt the mentality of the Seahawks will be more likely to make that work. Guys who are willing to be "indoctrinated" into the system (that's what Carroll says he does with DBs), guys who are ALL IN. This isn't some PR coach-speak used to fill air and columns and press-conference time. This Carroll's way of motivating players and getting them to perform at their highest level. This is at least one of the reasons why the Seahawks work harder than their opposition and play harder than their opposition. Why they hustle to the ball on every play,* why they usually play with more intelligence than the opponent. These traits have clearly been important to the Sounders this offseason in choosing who to keep and who could be let go.
*I am not trying to suggest that soccer players should hustle to the ball on every play, just that guys should play as hard as they can, staying alert and active and not taking plays off.
I called this article the Legion of Zoom mostly as a pun, partially as a reference to the fact that we have some speedy defenders on our team, but also because I believe the Legion of Boom has come to represent the mentality of the Seahawks: an overwhelming confidence in themselves, a will to work harder than the opponent, a commitment to the team, and a lack of fear of any opponent. This is a mentality I believe is rubbing off on the Sounders. This is a very good thing. L.O.Z.
Oh, and one more thing.