There is a significant difference between the Seahawks and the previous two Super Bowl winners.
Seattle is in prime position to defend its crown.
Baltimore and the New York Giants both felt the effects of age the season after winning Super Bowls 47 and 46, respectively. The Seahawks fielded the second-youngest Super Bowl roster ever with the average player at 26.4 years of age. That includes 25-year-old Russell Wilson, who became the third-youngest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl behind Ben Roethlisberger (23) and Tom Brady (24).
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner both told me that Seahawks players have openly discussed the possibility of building a dynasty because so many are just entering their prime.
This isn’t wishful thinking.
Most of the players who participated in Seattle’s 43-8 pasting of Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII are back. Plus, Seattle’s offense will receive a major boost if wide receiver Percy Harvin can stay healthy after missing almost all of the 2013 season following hip surgery. Harvin’s 137 all-purpose yards against the Broncos â highlighted by an 87-yard kickoff return — served as a reminder of what he can provide to an offense that lacked big-play punch in his absence.
Seattle, though, is far from a shoe-in to repeat. The Seahawks must do a better job protecting Wilson. He was sacked, pressured or knocked down on an NFL-high 52.9 percent of his pass attempts last season, according to STATS LLC. Right tackle is the biggest concern, with youngsters Michael Bowie and rookie Justin Britt battling to replace the departed Breno Giacomini (Jets). The Seahawks need a third receiver to emerge after Golden Tate left for Detroit and for backups to fill the spots vacated by cornerbacks Brandon Browner (Patriots) and Walter Thurmond (Giants).
But the biggest challenges Seattle may have are the same ones faced by every defending Super Bowl champion. How will the Seahawks handle the weekly pressure that comes with that status? Will players who feel they are underpaid, such as running back Marshawn Lynch, still buy into the team concept now that they have a Super Bowl ring? And in Seattle’s case, can the Seahawks soar once again in the NFL’s toughest division?
The answers will go a long way toward determining whether Seattle becomes the first franchise since New England in 2003 and 2004 to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles.