With a roster heavy on youth, elite talent at crucial positions and an emerging superstar in quarterback (and recently named team captain) Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season. Lofty expectations have sunk a number of teams in recent years, however, with the so-called “Dream Team” of the 2011 Eagles the most recent example of the disparity between a team’s appearance on paper and the results on the field.
So how are the Seahawks managing to deal with the pressure that comes with having a roster full of championship-caliber talent? By focusing on the tiny details instead of the big picture.
“I make my own expectations, so I don’t really worry about what the media says or what other people say, to be honest with you,” Wilson recently told Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times. “My only expectation is to work as hard as I can, to be consistent, for our football team to be consistent and for our football team to play as hard as we can every Sunday, every practice and then see what happens.”
Wide receiver Golden Tate echoed those sentiments.
“We have a bunch of hardworking guys, and we just want to get that contagious,” Tate said “We want the whole team to believe in what we’re doing here and keep grinding.”
And coach Pete Carroll told Brewer that he wants his players to acclimate themselves to the idea of greatness.
“We understand that there’s high expectations, and I’ve tried to help these guys really understand that and embrace it and understand that we want that to be normal,” Carroll said. “That’s where we want to be, so we don’t look to duck from that or to try to get out of that at all. That’s part of what happens when you get to be pretty good. And managing that is important.”
The Seahawks will take the first step toward reaching their goals when they take on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte. Despite playing in one of the league’s toughest divisions, the Panthers are expected to improve upon their 7-9 record from last season. Fortunately for Seattle, the Panthers are just 6-12 in their season debut, the NFL’s worst record in season openers.
But like the team’s long-term mentality, Seattle isn’t taking anything for granted.
“[Panthers quarterback Cam Newton] is a heck of a football player, and he’s had the whole offseason to try and get better, just like we’re trying to get better,” Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner told the Tacoma News Tribune. “So we’ve got to bring our ‘A’ game, week in and week out. And it starts with Cam Newton.”