Updated Mar 10, 2014 - 4:20 pm
The Brock and Danny Show on 710 ESPN Seattle
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 4:40pm
By Brady Henderson
The initial salary-cap report from ESPN Stats & Information estimates that the Seahawks are more than $3 million over the projected 2014 threshold, which is a reminder of the tough decisions they'll have to make this offseason in order to maintain and add to their championship roster.
Potential subtraction, retention and addition were among the topics covered in the latest edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil. The full transcript can be found here. Highlights are below.
BlatantChipmunk asked if defensive end Red Bryant is a candidate to have his deal restructured.
Red Bryant (79) is scheduled to count $8.5 million against the Seahawks' salary cap in 2014, but who would fill his role as the team's run-stuffing defense end in his absence? (AP)
Beast asked about the possibility of Seattle trading Bryant and re-signing Michael Bennett with the intention of having him replace Bryant as the strong-side defensive end.
O'Neil: You're not going to trade Red Bryant because you would take the same significant cap hit you would as releasing him. And Michael Bennett is fully 50 pounds lighter. He's not going to be able to be that every-down five-technique.
Beast asked whether the speculation about the Seahawks cutting Zach Miller for financial reasons in premature based on how valuable the tight end's blocking is to Seattle's offense.
O'Neil: Yes, I think the discussion of letting Miller go is horribly premature and overblown. Hard for me to imagine him not on the team next year. He played 58 of 60 snaps in the Super Bowl.
MikeH asked if backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will be back next season or if he'll get a chance to start elsewhere.
O'Neil: Great question, and I don't know if anyone knows the answer to that. I don't think he'll get a starting spot, but could he be a veteran bridge for a team looking to break in a younger quarterback? And I look at a team like Jacksonville with Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert and I can't help but think that he would be better.
MikeH asked if fullback Michael Robinson is planning to play again next year.
O'Neil: Knowing Mike Rob, I would expect he's a competitor who is hoping to play next season. Knowing Mike Rob, I also know he's a realist who's not counting on that as a certainty.
Whidbey Mike marveled over Marshawn Lynch's running ability and wondered whether Christine Michael will ever be able to replicate it.
O'Neil: Do I think it's likely that Christine Michael will be as good as Marshawn Lynch? No. I don't think that's likely. I also think Marshawn Lynch is the best running back this franchise has had, and that's really saying something. I think that Michael can be an effective runner in the league, maybe even exceptional, but expecting him to be like Lynch is unrealistic.
kobe berg expressed confidence in Bruce Irvin's ability to be a good outside linebacker with more experience.
O'Neil: The problem is that Bruce Irvin's dominant skill is his pass rush, and he was in a role where that wasn't used – pretty much at all – the second half of the season. I would expect the Seahawks to try and get him back to some pass-rushing opportunities. I would agree with you, though, that he's a competent starting linebacker in this league. I just think that he's more talented than that.
Hozzzy said the Seahawks would be a great fit for Missouri's Michael Sam – who recently announced he's gay – even though they don't need much help at linebacker.
O'Neil: I don't think Seattle is the only place that would be great for the player, but I totally agree that Seattle would be a great environment. Everything about Pete Carroll's approach to coaching is not to "let" players be who they are, but to celebrate who they are. But I honestly have no idea how Seattle evaluates him. He seems stockier than they've typically liked their LEOs.
Mr. Triangle asked about Austin Seferian-Jenkins' blocking ability and whether the former Washington tight end would fit in Seattle's offense.
O'Neil: I don't think ASJ is a good blocker let alone a great one. His height actually poses kind of a problem in that department. The presence of Luke Willson makes it even more unlikely Seattle would choose a more receiving oriented tight end in that spot.
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 11:54am
"I think the problem is going to be the media that want to break the story," former Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck told the Brock and Danny Show on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday. "Now this is a political issue, so all the political groups out there are going to be wanting some fuel for their fire and fundraising."
Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from Missouri, publicly revealed he's gay on Sunday.
"I understand how big this is," Sam said in the ESPN interview. "It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL."
His disclosure was welcomed by a number of players, including Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith. The Super Bowl MVP praised Sam's courage in a Twitter post.
There is no room for bigotry in American sports. It takes courage to change the culture.— Malcolm Smith (@MalcSmitty) February 10, 2014
Tobeck says if Sam is sincere and acts like a professional football player in the locker room, he should be welcomed by most players. The 14-year veteran says he played with a closeted teammate he and his teammates knew about, and it posed no problem.
"If that's the case, and that's the attitude he takes into the locker room and says 'hey I want to be one of the guys, you know I just like guys,' I think it'll be just fine."
Sam said in interviews Sunday he told his Missouri teammates last August he was gay and had no problems or repercussions. It certainly didn't hurt him on the field, where along with being first team All-American, he was also named his team's most valuable player and the top defensive player in the Southeastern Conference, considered the nation's best.
"I hope he gets a fair football evaluation, but I worry for him a number of teams will consider it a distraction and not give him a shot," says 710 ESPN's Danny O'Neil.
That seems to be the consensus of a number of insiders, including Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated. Thamel tells Brock and Danny after speaking with eight different NFL insiders "the blunt expectation from NFL people is it will negatively effect his draft stock."
"People are going to be worried about a locker room element that's never been introduced. Obviously, the NFL is a risk averse place with risk averse people running it."
Thamel also says Sam isn't a "slam-dunk" like other top-rated players because of his size and specific skill set, which could also hurt his draft standing with teams that have any hesitation.
Former Seahawks quarterback Brock Huard says he thinks most players wouldn't make a big issue out of Sam's sexuality, if he could find some way to stay out of the spotlight.
"I would say behind closed doors the biggest thing is selfishness. When you've got somebody that wants to put himself ahead of the rest, when he wants his accolades and he wants his awards, when the pronouns become 'my' not 'we.'"
But now that Sam has come out, it's going to be virtually impossible to avoid the conversation. The story has been non-stop on outlets from ESPN to the Today Show. And Thamel says it's not likely to go away any time soon, continuing into the upcoming season if he does join a team.
"This is one of those really unique stories that transcends sports into pop culture. It's kind of like what the Manti Te'o story did. It brings in the Oprah crowd," he says. "It's going to be hard for the media to resist not talking about it."
Huard agrees many teams won't want the headache. "The NFL wants to talk football, not this," he says.
"I'm conflicted about the role of the media here," says O'Neil, a veteran NFL beat reporter who has spent plenty of time in the locker room.
"There's the element of watchdog and making sure he's not discriminated against, and people are going to be looking for things that are salacious," he says.
As for Tobeck, he remains confident Sam will ultimately be accepted if he can help them achieve their ultimate goal and not divide the team. And while there will always be conflicts and factions anytime you put 53 guys in a locker room, he doesn't think Sam's sexuality needs to be that wedge.
"You know the teams that are successful find a way to put those things aside and just concentrate on the task at hand. And the task at hand for any football team in the NFL is to try to win the Super Bowl."
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 9:26am
By Danny O'Neil
The Seahawks played 19 games over the span of five months en route to the franchise's first Super Bowl. Here's a look at 10 of the most pivotal, most impressive moments along the way arranged chronologically, not necessarily in order of importance:
Week 1 | Sept. 8, 2013, Bank of America Stadium
Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman force the game-saving fumble
Back in Week 1, it looked like the Seahawks escaped their season opener when they forced a fumble with less than 6 minutes left in the game and the Panthers driving inside Seattle's 10. After the season? Well, that was Seattle's most impressive road win of the year and the only time Carolina lost at home. The Panthers were positioned for first-and-10 at Seattle's 8 when safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman combined on the tackle that forced DeAngelo Williams to fumble the ball. Seattle ran out the final 5:25 to win the game, 12-7.
Week 2 | Sept. 15, 2013, CenturyLink Field
Marshawn Lynch's 7-yard touchdown catch
Marshawn Lynch already had one rushing touchdown when he walked across the goal line in the second minute of the fourth quarter, turning to stare down the rest of the 49ers' defense with utter indifference. That 7-yard touchdown catch was part of a second-half onslaught in which Seattle turned a 5-0 halftime lead into a second consecutive blowout of the 49ers, winning 29-3.
Week 4 | Sept. 29, 2013, Reliant Stadium
Sherman 58-yard interception return
The Seahawks were a play away from forcing the Texans to punt the ball away in the final 3 minutes, giving Seattle's offense one last chance to tie the game. Instead, Sherman took care of it himself. He ran in front of tight end Owen Daniels, picking off a pass quarterback Matt Schaub lobbed toward him. Sherman ran it back 58 yards for a touchdown, reaching the end zone missing a shoe that was lost during the return. Seattle tied the game 20-20 and forced overtime, which Seattle won with a field goal.
Golden Tate accounted for the Seahawks' only two scores in their 14-9 win over the Rams in Week 8, including an 80-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. (AP)
Golden Tate's 80-yard touchdown catch
The Seahawks finished their 14-9 win with 135 yards of total offense, their fewest in any regular-season game under coach Pete Carroll. Eighty of those yards were gained on a single play as Golden Tate first outleaped cornerback Janoris Jenkins and then outran safety Rodney McLeod to the end zone for a third-quarter touchdown. Tate also waved off McLeod before scoring, drawing a penalty in what turned out to be the second-most conspicuous taunt from the Seahawks this season.
Heath Farwell's goal-line tackle
Heath Farwell did not have a tackle for Seattle's defense in the first seven games. In fact, the Seahawks' special-teams captain was on the field for only 21 defensive snaps in the first seven games. He was on the field for the final defensive stand as Seattle held the Rams out of the end zone. On third-and-1, the Rams handed the ball to Darryl Richardson and Farwell shot the gap, making contact in the backfield and helping to blow up the play. The Seahawks held on for the victory after Kellen Clemens' incomplete pass on fourth down on the final play of the game.
Week 10 | Nov. 10, 2013, at Georgia Dome
Tate's 6-yard touchdown catch
You've got to hand it to Golden Tate. And yes, that's hand. Singular. Because one hand is all Tate needed to grab hold of a 6-yard touchdown catch with 8 seconds left in the first half of Seattle's 33-10 win. It was amazing enough that it was reviewed by the officials who looked and saw him stick that catch with a single hand before his momentum carried him out of bounds.
Week 13 | Dec. 2, 2013, at CenturyLink Field
Michael Bennett's 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown
Pass rushers, plural. That's what coach Pete Carroll said his team needed to add in January 2013. Pass rushers, plural. That's what Seattle got when it signed first Cliff Avril in free agency and then Michael Bennett. Those two pass rushers combined to score the Seahawks' first touchdown in their 34-17 blowout of the Saints on "Monday Night Football". Avril knocked the ball loose from Saints quarterback Drew Brees, it fluttering into the arms of Bennett, who ran it into the end zone.
Divisional round | Jan. 11, 2014, at CenturyLink Field
Doug Baldwin's 24-yard catch on third-and-3
Richard Sherman's tip to Malcolm Smith in the end zone was the decisive play of the NFC Championship Game, helping the Seahawks punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. (AP)
NFC title Game | Jan. 19, 2014, CenturyLink Field
Sherman's game-saving tip to Malcolm Smith
Eighteen yards separated San Francisco from the winning touchdown in the final minute of the conference title game. The difference came down to a matter of inches, though, as Sherman leaped up, twisting in the air and stretching every inch of his 6-foot-3 frame to deflect a pass intended for Michael Crabtree back into the field of play, where linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted it to seal Seattle's 23-17 win.
Super Bowl XLVIII | Feb. 2, 2014, MetLife Stadium
Percy Harvin's 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
The Seahawks would have been a Super Bowl favorite without acquiring Percy Harvin. They would have won the Super Bowl without him, too. But it was a whole lot easier with him. Harvin carried the ball twice during Seattle's 43-8 win, gaining 45 yards – the most of any player in the game. Then came his kickoff return, which erased any shadow of doubt remaining over the outcome. Harvin appeared in three games this season, playing 10 quarters, but the two kickoffs he did return this season, he ran each back more than 50 yards.
Friday, February 7, 2014 @ 10:54am
By Brady Henderson
The Seahawks got more than a wide receiver when they traded three draft picks to Minnesota for the right to give Percy Harvin the richest contract in franchise history. They got one of the NFL's most versatile offensive players.
Finally healthy after missing all but two games in his first season in Seattle, Harvin was able to put his full set of skills on display in the Super Bowl. He did it all, starting with a 30-yard gain on a fly-sweep handoff on the Seahawks' second offensive snap. That play is the focus of this season's final edition of "Chalk Talk" with Brock Huard.
The situation: A safety on the first play from scrimmage spotted Seattle a two-point lead, and after Marshawn Lynch gained 3 yards to set up a second-and-7 from Denver's 39, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell pulled the Swiss Army Knife out of his pocket.
The play: Having lined up mostly in the slot during his two games this season, Harvin was split out wide to the right before Russell Wilson sent him in motion across the formation. He took the handoff, got a block from Doug Baldwin and nearly took it the distance, barely stepping out of bounds as he was spun around by safety Duke Ihenacho.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Highlights | Interviews||• O'Neil: What we learned from Seahawks' win||• O'Neil: Seahawks ‘D' continues domination in title win||• O'Neil: Seahawks' Super Bowl MVP? Take your pick||• Henderson: Title extra sweet for Harvin, receivers||• Henderson: Russell Wilson makes history in victory||• Henderson: Malcom Smith takes MVP honors|
The statement: The Seahawks ran the same play in their divisional-round playoff game. Well, almost the same play.
"We used it in the New Orleans game, but we did it out of a different formation. We were in a shotgun," Bevell said. "We just put a different wrinkle on it. We thought it was something that was going to be there, and we were able to get a nice gain out of it."
While it produced 30 yards – and then another 15 when Seattle ran it again later – Bevell said it also opened up other plays for Seattle's offense and left the Broncos on their heels.
"It just kind of showed that you better pay attention to where Percy is," Bevell said. "Then we were able to do it again, and then we kind of had a couple things off of it as well. So it had them thinking and had them trying to adjust. We really wanted to be offensive, we really wanted to put the pressure on them, kind of moving them around and doing the things we did. I think they were over there trying to adjust to it."
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 @ 8:10pm
By Danny O'Neil
It's not imitation that is the highest form of flattery in the NFL, but acquisition.
And after winning the first Super Bowl in franchise history, the Seahawks enter this offseason not concerned with making any additions nearly so much as they will be trying to avoid subtraction.
"We want this team together," coach Pete Carroll said. "We want to see if we can keep this team together."
That's not going to be easy. Not in a league with a hard salary cap like the NFL has, and not for a team that is as talented and as young as these Seahawks.
A year ago, Seattle entered the offseason knowing it needed pass rushers – plural – after coming 31 seconds from advancing to the NFC Championship Game. This offseason, the Seahawks aren't looking to add anyone nearly so much as they will be concerned about losing personnel.
Receiver Golden Tate is at the end of a four-year contract in which he went from being a rookie disappointment to becoming the team's leading receiver in this Super Bowl season. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett is also scheduled to return to the open market after leading the team in sacks.
Receiver Doug Baldwin and tackle Breno Giacomini are two starters also unsigned for next season as is cornerback Walter Thurmond.
"Every decision is difficult that we have to face," Carroll said. "And guys that are at the end of their contracts, those are big issues for us. We love the guys. We love what they do and what they bring, and we'd like it to keep it together the best we can."
|• DL Michael Bennett: Led Seattle with 8.5 sacks while playing defensive end and tackle.||• DT Tony McDaniel: Had a career year after being given his first chance to start.||• DT Clinton McDonald: Third on the team with a career-high 5.5 sacks as a backup.||• CB Walter Thurmond: Showed he's good enough to start in his first injury-free season.||• WR Golden Tate: Developed into Seattle's leading receiver and one of the NFL's best punt returners after a slow start to his career.||• WR Doug Baldwin: Made several key catches while showing he can play on the outside in addition to the slot. (Restricted free agent)||• RT Breno Giacomini: A starter the past three seasons and the offensive line's enforcer.||• OL Paul McQuistan: Showed versatility while starting 14 games between guard and tackle.||• FB Michael Robinson: Resumed his roles as starting fullback and core special teams player once he was re-signed midseason.||• K Steven Hauschka: Connected on 33 of 35 attempts and showed increased leg strength.||– Brady Henderson|
"I definitely want to be back," Bennett said.
"I would love to be a part of it," Tate said. "I definitely do not want to play against Seattle, I'll tell you that."
The reality is that over the next month, the business of the NFL becomes just that.
"It's a business," Bennett said.
That doesn't mean money is the only consideration, but it's naïve not to think it's a consideration as Tate made clear when asked about a previous report that he would take a so-called discount to stay in Seattle.
"To an extent," Tate said. "I've still got to take care of myself and my family. I kind of have a number in my mind."
Seattle undoubtedly has a number, too. It's getting those numbers to match up that will be the challenge over the next month and a half on up through the start of free agency on March 11.
There is a price to success in the NFL, and that price is the rising labor costs. Not only do players seek to be rewarded for their contributions to championship teams, but opponents are increasingly willing to pay a premium for parts of championship teams.
It is difficult to assemble a nucleus of young talent like Seattle has. It is downright impossible to retain it all.
And the bill for the Seahawks' success is only beginning to come due. Cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas are entering the final years of their respective contracts and are eligible for extensions. Russell Wilson and Russell Okung will be in that same situation next year.
It puts Seattle in the situation of not just putting a price tag on what the contributions of a player like Tate are worth, but what a contract given out this offseason will prevent the team from doing next year.
The Seahawks aren't facing the same crunch the Ravens did after winning last year's Super Bowl when a number of key players were unsigned, foremost among them quarterback Joe Flacco.
That doesn't mean the Seahawks' job will be easy, though. The trophy they brought back to Seattle is proof that this team isn't missing anything.
"We have what we need," Carroll said.
Now, the Seahawks will try to hold onto it.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 @ 7:21am
By Danny O'Neil
"It's rare in sports that virtually every move you make works out like you hope it's going to work out," owner Paul Allen said Sunday night amidst a raucous Seahawks locker room. "That just doesn't always happen."
In fact, it never happens.
At least not in Seattle over the past 30 some odd years in which prolonged bouts of professional mediocrity were interrupted only by a truly putrid season every now and again (most often belonging to the Mariners) and the occasional crushing playoff exit of a championship contender.
The SuperSonics finishing with the most regular-season victories in the NBA in 1994 only to lose in the first round. The 2001 Mariners setting an American League record for victories only to fail to reach the World Series. The 2005 Seahawks, their Super Bowl loss and a referee whose name we won't mention. Even Big Bertha got stuck on a rock last year.
Maybe it's the ashen taste of those disappointments that sweetens this victory as the Seahawks team that entered this season bearing the weight of unprecedented expectations and somehow succeeded them.
For once in Seattle, things went as hoped.
That was true for Allen, who four years ago decided to hit the reset button on his football franchise, courting Pete Carroll out of USC.
It was true for general manager John Schneider, who could have looked at the team's success last season and decided to let this contender ripen over time, but instead saw a unique opportunity to make a trio of aggressive open-market acquisitions, first trading for receiver Percy Harvin and then signing defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency.
And it was true for an entire city full of fans, whose optimism entering the season was fulfilled by a team that won the franchise's first Super Bowl in Allen's 16th season as owner.
After it was over, and Allen's team won a title, he was asked what this meant to him personally.
"It's just an unbelievable feeling," Allen said. "I just think about all the fans, and the players and the coaches. I'm just really happy for them and everybody else in the organization that's worked so hard to make this possible. When you become the owner of a franchise, you really are representing the community and you're trying to do your best to represent your community and bring the community a winning team.
"So when you win a championship, you have to feel pretty good about the job you've done."
Actually, Allen and this team that was assembled have every reason to feel even better than that.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 @ 2:59pm
By Danny O'Neil
Three things we learned:
1. That Seahawks defense will knock you on your asterisk.
No team allowed fewer points than Seattle during the regular season, but that fact came with the caveat that of the teams that finished among the NFL's top 10 in yards gained, the Seahawks faced only one: the Saints. Turns out that was a pretty telling precedent. The Broncos were held to a single touchdown. Just like the Saints. The Broncos were manhandled by the Seahawks. Just like the Saints. And when Sunday's game was over, there was no doubt that the matchup between the league's top offense and the top defense was a first-round TKO. The Seahawks are heavyweights, and totally undisputed.
2. There is no more valuable player in the NFL than Russell Wilson.
That's not to say he should have been named the regular-season MVP. Peyton Manning earned that honor with a league-record 55 touchdown passes. Manning played a larger role in Denver's success than Wilson did in Seattle's. But if we're really talking value, let's consider that Wilson made $526,217 this season, which is only about $17 million less than Manning made. The value of that $17 million is accentuated in a league with a hard cap like the NFL because Seattle could take that $17 million it wasn't spending on its Pro Bowl quarterback and pay it to Cliff Avril. And Michael Bennett. And Percy Harvin. Now tell me who's more valuable.
3. That is why the Seahawks traded for Percy Harvin.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Highlights | Interviews||• O'Neil: Seahawks ‘D' continues domination in title win||• O'Neil: Seahawks' Super Bowl MVP? Take your pick||• Huard: Breaking down the fly sweep in ‘Chalk Talk'||• Henderson: Title extra sweet for Harvin, receivers||• Henderson: Russell Wilson makes history in victory||• Henderson: Malcom Smith takes MVP honors|
This season isn't at all what the Seahawks had in mind when they traded three draft picks – including a first-rounder – for the right to pay Percy Harvin. He underwent surgery before he played a down and then came back too soon to be able to finish out the regular season. But those four times that Harvin touched the ball in the Super Bowl showed exactly why the Seahawks thought he was worth the power-play acquisition. He has not only the speed but the explosive change of direction to change the angles and geometry of a defense. Just look at Harvin's first carry, that 30-yard gain on the end-around, and watch how he outruns a safety who thought he had an angle on him only to end up with a fistful of nothing. If the field was 2 feet wider Harvin might have had two touchdowns of more than 50 yards in a game that insured he won't be remembered as another one of this franchise's big-budget busts at receiver.
Three things we're trying to figure out:
1. Why didn't we recognize the importance of Kam Chancellor's contract extension earlier?
The deal – especially its size at more than $20 million guaranteed – came as a bit of a surprise last year with players like Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and – yes – Wilson nearing the ends of their contracts over the next few years. Chancellor – perhaps more than anyone else on this roster – embodies the overwhelming physical style of play that coach Pete Carroll considers the bedrock of his team. And when Chancellor hit receiver Demaryius Thomas on Denver's third play from scrimmage, knocking the Broncos' 225-pound Adonis 5 yards backward, it embodied the advantage that Carroll believed his team had in this game. "We really felt like we could knock the crud out of these guys," Carroll said. Chancellor certainly did on that play.
2. Is this just the beginning?
The average age of Seattle's team: 26 years, 175 days. That's the fourth-youngest of any Super Bowl champion. The Seahawks have the franchise quarterback that is the closest thing the league comes to having a golden ticket to perennial playoff contention, and they have a front office that has hit way too often on late-round draft choices like Chancellor, Sherman and Byron Maxwell to consider that a fluke. The Seahawks will have tough decisions to make, starting with whether or not to retain unrestricted free agents like Michael Bennett and Golden Tate, but this team is in a distinctly different position than last year's Ravens, who didn't even have their quarterback signed for the following season. The Seahawks aren't going to experience the free-agent attrition Baltimore did.
3. Which was more exciting: The last-minute victory over the 49ers or the Super Bowl landslide?
Obviously, the victory over the Broncos was more significant. It was more satisfying, too, given the door-to-door domination on display as Seattle won its first Super Bowl. But was it as exciting, as exhilarating as the victory over the divisional-rival 49ers with its singular defining moment? That was a game sweetened by the anxiety that preceded it, the 49ers only 19 yards from a potential victory only to be denied by Sherman, Seattle's weapon of mass deflection. A city went from anxious to exhilarated in a matter of seconds. Compare that to the Super Bowl, which was as close as a football game will come to a parade. Which was more exciting? It's a matter of personal preference.
Sunday, February 2, 2014 @ 9:58pm
By Danny O'Neil
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The most difficult thing about Seattle's Super Bowl victory: Picking an MVP.
That should give you an idea of just how little suspense there was regarding the outcome and how well-rounded Seattle's effort was.
Kam Chancellor had one of the Seahawks two interceptions, plus a tone-setting hit on Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas in the first quarter of their Super Bowl win. (AP)
Percy Harvin led all players in rushing and ran a kickoff back 87 yards to score a touchdown, Russell Wilson had the ninth-best quarterback rating ever in the game and became the third-youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl, while all Malcolm Smith did is return an interception 69 yards for what turned out to be Peyton Manning's most important pass of the game.
But as important as each of those individual efforts was, Seattle's victory was so completely overwhelming that my decision wasn't based on which one player was most responsible for the third-largest blowout in Super Bowl history, but the player who best embodied the reason for that victory.
Bigger, faster, stronger. It's the motto this team was rebuilt around, and a reality that Chancellor personifies at 6 feet 3, 232 pounds.
And his first-quarter hit on Demaryius Thomas was the kind of blow that literally knocked Thomas backward, short of the first down, and figuratively stopped the Broncos cold.
"We knew tackling after the catch was going to be as big as anything," said Dan Quinn, Seattle's defensive coordinator. "Nobody embodies outhitting an opponent more than Kam Chancellor. He's as physical as they come. He does it week in and week out."
Just ask San Francisco's Vernon Davis. Or New Orleans' Jimmy Graham.
"All these other guys know that's coming," Quinn said.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Highlights | Interviews||• O'Neil: What we learned from Seahawks' win||• O'Neil: Seahawks ‘D' continues domination in title win||• Huard: Breaking down the fly sweep in ‘Chalk Talk'||• Henderson: Title extra sweet for Harvin, receivers||• Henderson: Russell Wilson makes history in victory||• Henderson: Malcom Smith takes MVP honors|
And on Sunday's turn it was Thomas and the rest of Denver's passing offense asked to navigate between Earl Thomas' range as a centerfielder at the back of Seattle's defense while Chancellor was poised to play the sledgehammer.
He finished with nine tackles, tied for second-most on the team with Smith.
As explosive as Harvin was in this game – and he was every bit the game-breaker Seattle had hoped to have throughout this season – and as efficient as Wilson was, Seattle won this game because of this defense that was both unapologetic and unrelenting.
"We just came out and played Seahawks football," said linebacker Bobby Wagner, who led Seattle with 10 tackles. "That's all it is. We came and hit them in the mouth."
And no one on this defense hits harder than Chancellor, who is bigger, faster, stronger and on Sunday, no one was better.
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