Well, Super Bowl XLVIII is in the books and it will be remembered as a one-sided affair, as Seattle crushed Denver 43-8. From the opening snap for Denver (which turned into a Seahawks’ safety), the Broncos seemed overwhelmed by Seattle’s incredible team speed. The result was a whipping. Denver came into the game sporting the NFL’s all-time best offense, but left with a deer-in-the-headlights look, as they had no answer for the opportunistic Seahawks, who became the first team in NFL history to record a safety, a defensive touchdown, an offensive touchdown, and a special teams touchdown. You get the picture; it was a beat-down of epic proportions. So, how did Seattle do it?
First, they did not always listen to the so-called experts. Seattle is a team littered with players that most casual fans have never heard of. Even their superstars were not highly coveted coming out of college. Take a look at their defensive leaders and where they were taken in the draft.
Cliff Avril (DE) – Third round
Avril harassed Manning all night and helped cause an interception and a fumble.
Malcolm Smith (LB) – Seventh round
Smith was the game’s MVP with a fumble recovery and a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown
Richard Sherman (CB) – Fifth round
He talks a lot, but he backs it up, too. His leaping pass breakup in the NFC title game put the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Kam Chancellor (Safety) – Fifth round
He had an interception and a couple of big hits early that set the tone of the game for Seattle.
What about Offense?
Russell Wilson (QB) – Third round
The second-year pro threw a pair of second-half TDs and was outstanding on third Down.
Doug Baldwin (WR) – Undrafted free agent
Was huge throughout the postseason for Seattle. Had the two huge plays to set up scores in the NFC title game.
As a matter of fact, only one of the Seahawks receivers who caught a pass in the Super Bowl was drafted at all.
The draft experts do their homework, but there is no sure-fire way to tell if a player will pan out in the NFL. In today’s NFL, the all-time leading rusher (Emmitt Smith) and the greatest wide receiver of all-time (Jerry Rice) would be widely criticized heading into the draft and likely fall into the middle rounds. Smith ran a 4.67 40 yard dash and Rice ran in the 4.65-4.7 range. In today’s meat-market NFL those times would doom a player. And, those are two of the best to ever strap on a chin strap. Well, Seattle is full of players that fell through the cracks. Players that most draft experts turned up their nose at prior to the draft.
Now, back to Seattle’s young quarterback, Russell Wilson. At only 5-11, most experts scoffed at the idea of him being a starter in the NFL, where measurements often count more than accomplishments. Well, they sure forgot to measure his heart and his moxy. If there was a test for that, Wilson would have tested off the charts. And, here’s the craziest part of Wilson leading Seattle to the title. He is the lowest-paid starting QB in the league. That’s right, of all 32 NFL starters he is, by far, the lowest paid. In 2013, Wilson pulled in a modest $526,000. That’s great money for the average person, but it pales in comparison to the money made by your average NFL signal caller, which is over $12 million.
In 2013 the highest paid quarterbacks were:
Aaron Rodgers ($40 million)
Matthew Stafford ($31.5 million)
Joe Flacco ($30 million)
Tony Romo ($26.5 million)
That means Aaron Rodgers made $1.6 million per quarter this year (Wilson made $526,000 for the year). And, take a look at the four quarterbacks above. What do they have in common? None of them won a playoff game this year. Heck, only one of the three (Rodgers), even made the playoffs. Yet, there sits little Russell Wilson with a Lombardi Trophy.
You see, because Seattle does not have a $20-$25 million dollar salary going to a quarterback, they were able to go out in the offseason and pick up pass rushers like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. They were also able to open the pocket book for a large contract for Percy Harvin. Harvin only played 37 snaps during the regular season, but most Seattle fans would say he was well worth his contract after his stellar Super Bowl performance, which included an 87-yard kickoff return for a score.
My point? Well, sometimes it does not matter how tall a player is, or how many reps of 225 pounds he can do. It does not always matter who the highest paid players are. Most of the time things like heart, desire, and team chemistry decide who comes out on top in sports, and the Seattle Seahawks are a great example of that.