I don’t need to tell you that the Seattle Seahawks suffered one of the most heart-wrenching losses in the history of professional sports on Sunday. I don’t need to tell you how close they were and I also don’t need to tell you how remarkably legendary a second straight Lombardi trophy would have been. You already all know all of that. What you don’t know, however, is that amidst their mourning, these Seahawks fan have no reason to mourn. They are a dynasty built to last, in the mold of the 90s Bulls, 70s Steelers and present-day Spurs. What connects these dynasties, along with seemingly all major american sports dynasties of the modern era? Home grown talent, acquired via draft. The Seahawks have built from the ground up, and it’s why they will continue to thrive for years to come.
Over the course of 5 NFL Drafts from 1969-1974, Steelers coach Chuck Noll drafted 9 Hall of Fame players, including 4 in one draft class. Take a second to let that resonate. Nine. Those Steelers went on to win 4 Championships in what became known as the “Era of the Steel Curtain,” at one point boasting a defense so good that it prompted the NFL to make significant changes to the rule book in 1979, such as the introduction of pass-interference. In an era where free agency was not an option, these Steelers dominated because they got the draft right and were able to keep their talent in house. This is the blueprint for a sports dynasty. Let’s go over to basketball.
Say what you will about the Popovich system of ball movement and how it’s transcended the NBA. However, their teamwork is not the only reason they’ve won 5 championships since 1999 and won more than 50 games for the last 15 years (actually). The Spurs’ famed teamwork comes as a consequence of their even stronger team chemistry, built through the draft. Benchwarmer F/C Jeff Ayres is the only player on the Spurs’ roster in his first season with the team, and the Spurs’ core of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green were all drafted by the Spurs (except Green, who was traded after his rookie season). In the present state of the NBA, which has become defined by ground breaking trades and acquisitions, it is the Spurs who have not done so. who have continued to look to the draft for their answers. It is also the Spurs who have endured the most success. So what does this have to do with the Seahawks?
This has everything to do with the Seahawks, the next dynasty to hit the NFL. The Seahawks’ answer to the 74 Steelers’ draft class has been their 2012 Class, featuring Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, Russell Wilson, JR Sweezy and Jeremy Lane. Did I mention that the Seahawks drafted Richard Sherman in 5th round?
Seattle Seahawks notable draft picks since Carroll took over? Try this one: their entire starting defense.
I know, it was a lot easier to hang on to players for their whole careers in the 70s, but the Spurs have seemed to do a pretty nice job of it the NBA, where players seemingly play musical chairs to see where they’re playing next season. If the Seahawks can manage their cap situation and retain even a fraction of the young talent that they have now before their rookie contracts expire, this Seahawks team will define the decade. Peyton Manning might not be back next season, and I know Tom Brady thinks he’s invincible but he’ll have to walk away at some point, too. The path is clear for the next great home-grown team to take the stage as football’s perrenial front runner.
So pick your heads up, Seahawks fans, and calm down, everyone else, because losing this year’s Super Bowl– that pain will go away. That memory will fade. In will step the folkloric legends of the team that transcended football in the young 21st century. How do I know? The path the Seahawks is on is the same one that many greats have been on. It’s the draft. Sorry, Lebron.