The Seahawks got their first win of Super Bowl weekend on Saturday and also were provided with a little more motivation to take it to the Denver Broncos and finally claim their first NFL title Sunday.
Walter Jones got the weekend off to a great start, being voted into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot and giving the current Hawks added incentive to make this weekend all about Seattle.
Jones leads a class of seven Hall of Famers that includes fellow first-timer Derrick Brooks plus Michael Strahan, Aeneas Williams, Andre Reed, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey.
Meanwhile, the Seattle secondary might be even more amped to shut down NFL MVP and offensive player of the year Peyton Manning and the Denver offense after Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman finished third and fifth in voting for defensive player of the year. Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly won the award – and then reportedly made the mistake of picking the Broncos to beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Thomas reportedly finished third in voting and Sherman fifth, with this breakdown: Kuechly 19, Robert Mathis 11.5, Thomas 7.5, Robert Quinn 6, Sherman 4, J.J. Watt 2.
Carolina pulled off the exacta when Ron Rivera was named coach of the year. Pete Carroll – never a serious candidate because of the steady way the Seahawks have been built and developed -- was fifth, behind Rivera, Andy Reid, Bill Belichick and Chip Kelly.
Jones was a six-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowl player and the best left tackle of the 2000s -- he was named to the all-decade team with Jonathan Ogden, who was inducted into the Hall in his first year of eligibility in 2013.
Jones also was the best player on what became the best offensive line in the NFL by 2005, when the Hawks made their first Super Bowl appearance. Coach Mike Holmgren said Jones is the best offensive player he has ever coached -- a list that includes Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Steve Young and Brett Favre.
In addition to being a stellar pass blocker, Jones helped lead the way for Shaun Alexander to rush for 5,011 yards between 2003 and 2005 -- just six backs in NFL history have amassed 5,000 yards over a three-season span. Jones and his linemates also helped Alexander set the NFL touchdown record in 2005.
Jones was such a rare athlete that he didn't even need training camp to come in and dominate -- he missed camp for three straight years as the franchise player and stepped right in upon his return and was back to his dominant self by the second or third game.
Bottom line: Jones is easily one of the greatest athletes to ever play left tackle in the NFL and completely deserving of being a first-ballot inductee (just 72 of the 287 Hall of Famers did that, including Brooks this year).
The Hall has been friendly to offensive linemen in recent years -- Russ Grimm in 2010, Dermontti Dawson and Willie Roaf in 2012, Larry Allen and Ogden in 2013 (both in first year).
Jones was the second-most honored player (Pro Bowls, All-Pros, all-decades, POYs, MVPs) among this year's semifinalists.
With Jones in his proper place as the best of his generation, it is time for Thomas and Sherman to show everyone why they are the best of theirs by shutting down the league MVP and shutting up Kuechly and anyone else who doubted these Seahawks.
Remember, Jones was destined to make the Hall of Fame and these Seahawks are destined to win Super Bowl XLVIII. When they do, this weekend will go down as the best in Seahawks history.