While many fans of the Chicago Blackhawks were saddened to see the the Bears fail to qualify for the playoffs, the games continue, and what fun is watching the NFL Playoffs as a neutral? The games are much more fun if you have an interest in seeing one of the teams win. For Blackhawk fans, the Seattle Seahawks are a team that is eerily similar to the Hawks, in many ways.
1. The Team is Deep
Just like last season when the Blackhawks rode great play from four different lines to a Stanley Cup Championship, the Seahawks are the deepest team in the NFL, especially on the defensive side on the ball. The Defensive Line contains players such as Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, and Brandon Mebane, while the secondary hosts Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, as well as Brandon Browner, who is currently sitting out due to a suspension by Commissioner Roger Goodell. The team is deep, and as we’ve seen, having a great bench can make a huge difference.
2. One of the Best Defenses in their League
The Blackhawks not only held six extremely solid defensemen: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, and Michal Rozsival, but also two of the best defensive forwards in the game in Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. This year’s Seahawks have the best defense statistically, as well as being an obvious choice through the eye test. Between the aforementioned stars, including Avril, Mebane, Sherman, and Thomas, the Seahawks also have a good Linebacking crew in Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, and Malcolm Smith. Those three combine with the others to make as formidable a defense as we’ve seen in the past decade.
3. They Have a Small, Scrappy, Tough Guy
Andrew Shaw became one of the most likable players on the Blackhawks last season. A smaller player, at only 5’11″, Shaw would position himself in fronto of the Goalie and take up as much space as his small frame could. In Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, he tipped in the game winner in Triple Overtime, while he cemented his legacy in Game 6 playing through pain as his cheek was cut open early in the game. The Seahawks have another guy who is considered by many too small to play his position, yet still puts his body on the line on many plays. That player is Quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson, also 5’11″, is by far one of the shortest Quarterbacks in the NFL. Wilson is a full four inches shorter than the average NFL Quarterback, and when you’re standing behind the much larger Offensive Line, it could put you at a disadvantage. Even with his size, Wilson runs a Read Option a lot, which could end up with he himself running the football.
4. A Young Captain
Wilson also has another thing in common with last year’s Blackhawks, as he was named Captain during his second season, just like last year’s Blackhawk’s Captain Jonathan Toews was. Wilson has proven to be a leader for the Seahawks, and has earned the “C” he wears on his chest, just like Toews did. Both of them have led their teams to terrific turnarounds since earning Captaincy. The Seahawks finishing 7-9 in 2011. Since Wilson has taken over under Center, the team is 26-9, including the playoffs, and are 16-1 at home.
5. A Star who Makes Headlines, for the Wrong Reasons
Like Patrick Kane, who did a little too much partying, formerly mentioned Richard Sherman might do a little too much trash talking. Sherman became a household name for walking up to Tom Brady after the Seahawks upset the New England Patriots last season, asking, “You mad?!” Sherman claimed Brady had been trash talking all game and told Sherman to see him once the Patriots won. As Brady was walking off the field, Sherman did go and see him. His NFL Sound FX videos are also very entertaining, as Sherman will trash talk any and every player, claiming it gets him ready for the games.
6. They’re the Internet Darlings
Last season, it seemed that most people on internet forums were actually rooting for the Blackhawks. As opposed to some top-tier teams, it seemed that no fan base really hated them, besides the common rivals such as Detroit, St. Louis, and Vancouver. A survey posted on the NFL sub-Reddit showed that the Seahawks had the highest percentage of fans stating they “loved” the team. Their fun play style and entertaining players make them a fan favorite.
7. Plenty of Names to Create Puns with
I can’t name one Blackhawk fan who was still laughing at “O-Du-YA!” by the end of the season. Yes, it was a pun, but by the end it was not funny anymore. If you do still enjoy those puns, the Seahawks have plenty of options. Wide Receiver Golden Tate (A Golden catch by Tate), Special Teams player Jeremy Lane (I hope he fills his Lane well), and even J.R. Sweezy who can probably make some Sweezy, or sweet, blocks. If you make all these puns and miss Johnny Oduya, don’t forget about Offensive Tackle Russell Okung. That’s pronounced, O-Koon.
8. Relying on an Unproven Talent
While the Defense is great, the suspension of Browner has created a hole on one side of the field. Unproven Byron Maxwell will be the #2 Corner Back for the Seahawks, and he has yet to be really tested. Could one big play be his un-doing? This reminds me of Corey Crawford, who had done nothing worthwhile in the playoffs before the Stanley Cup run. The season before, he gave up plenty of soft goals on the way to getting bumped in the first round by the Phoenix Coyotes. Maxwell could make or break the Seahawks, like Crawford did the Blackhawks.
9. Owned an Amazing Winning Streak
The Blackhawks got a point in their first 28 games last season, smashing the record previously held by the Anaheim Ducks. The Seahawks just recently lost a game at CenturyLink Field to the Arizona Cardinals. This is notable because they had won the first 14 games with Russell Wilson as Quarterback at Home. The team went 8-0 last season and then 7-1 this season at CenturyLink, the home of the 12th Man. Sorry Texas A&M and Kyle Field, but this stadium is so loud it has created earthquakes. Multiple earthquakes.
10. They’re the Favorites, just like the Blackhawks were
Even with Peyton Manning breaking records in Denver, the Seahawks’ defense makes them the favorites. There’s no reason to think they can’t hold any offense under 24 points, a number they’ve exceeded only once this season, a 34-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Any team who can keep another under 24 points has a great chance to win. With Wilson and Running Back Marshawn Lynch leading the Offense, they’re considered the best team left and will probably be favored over any team they meet.