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With first Super Bowl win, Seattle Seahawks take first step toward dynasty

John Schneider and Pete Carroll celebrate Seattle's 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2
John Schneider and Pete Carroll celebrate Seattle's 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Win forever.

That's what Pete Carroll did at USC, where he dominated college football for a decade. And it's what he and John Schneider plan to do with the Seahawks, who just dominated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

In four short years, Carroll and Schneider have torn down an aging, slumping franchise and rebuilt it into the youngest team to win the Super Bowl in the game's 48-year history.

The ascent has been as steady as Carroll's daily (heck, hourly) theme of competition, as the Hawks have gone from 7-9 in the first two years to 11-5 and 13-3 the past two. They have made the playoffs in three of Carroll's four years, going 5-2 in the postseason, and they lived up to every bit of hype and expectation that followed them into this season.

The Hawks fulfilled their destiny Sunday, dominating the Broncos in a way no one (except perhaps them) expected, winning 43-8 and claiming the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in the franchise's 38 years.

Fans will welcome the team home with a celebration unlike the city has ever seen.

And then – amid the cheers and tears of joy – people will giddily begin to ask: Can the Hawks do it again? Can they put together the kind of dynasty that has rarely been seen in the free agency era?

The answer, quite obviously, is yes. The Hawks are poised to do it – and it is at the front of their minds.

"Our guys will be surprised if we (don't win again next year)," Carroll told reporters. "We have an eye on what's coming. We won't dwell on what's happened. We'll have a celebration on Wednesday and we'll enjoy the heck out of it. But that doesn't mean we can't set the sights of where we can go. We are in a very fortunate situation."

Since the salary cap was created in 1993, few teams have been able to sustain success. The Dallas Cowboys of the early 1990s were a pre-cap dynasty (three Super Bowl wins in four years), but they haven't done anything in the free agency era.

The Broncos won consecutive Super Bowls in 1997-98 and then failed to get another playoff win until 2005. John Fox and Peyton Manning have led them to back-to-back 13-3 seasons, and they were back in the Super Bowl this season for the first time since John Elway finished his career with those two titles. But they have never been a dynasty.

Pittsburgh won two titles in four years, and the Giants somehow managed two in five seasons. Baltimore has won two recently, but they were separated by 12 years and two coaching regimes.

None of those teams would be classified as dynasties.

The only dynasty in the salary cap era has been the New England Patriots, who won three Super Bowls in four years in the early 2000s. They have been highly competitive since then, but they have lost their two other appearances (both to the Giants), including the season in which they were poised to become the first 19-0 team in NFL history.

Other teams have had some good runs. St. Louis won a Super Bowl and lost one with its spectacular Greatest Show on Turf, and Manning's Colts were 1-1 in the Super Bowl in the late 2000s. But the Rams faded after a great three-year run, and the Colts couldn't get to the title game more than twice despite being the league's best regular-season team in the 2000s.

It all reflects just how hard it is to create a dynasty in this era of parity. The Patriots have been the best, and even they have not won since 2004.

The Seahawks' 43-8 destruction of the Broncos harkened back to the NFC dominance over the AFC in the 1980s and 1990s – when San Francisco and Dallas led the way with blowout wins over Miami, Denver and Buffalo in their respective dynasty years.

These Hawks – led by Carroll and Schneider -- have the right combination of scouting, coaching and financial savvy and appear poised to build the next NFL dynasty, joining those 1980s 49ers, 1990s Cowboys and 2000s Patriots.

The Hawks all talked about it after winning XLVIII. Quarterback Russell Wilson told NFL Network he and the Hawks plan to win multiple Super Bowls. "You just have to win the first one first," he said.

He added to "Nobody here thinks we're done. And we really think we have such a great chance here to keep it going. That's how you distinguish yourself in this game."

Owner Paul Allen agreed.

"I'm someone that's kind of notorious for thinking ahead," Allen told USA Today. "So, I've already started to talk to John about getting back."

Schneider has a lot of work to do, but he began preparing last spring.

“You know, we are looking two to three years ahead," he told reporters the week after the Seahawks beat San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game. "So last year we knew we were going to have some things coming and how to handle certain players and to know just where we are headed.’’

Even though they will have 19 free agents this offseason, the core of their team will remain intact in 2014. Their biggest pending free agents are Michael Bennett, Golden Tate and Breno Giacomini. It would be great to retain them all – and they certainly will prioritize Bennett -- but they could get along without any of them if they really had to.

"John Schneider has done an extraordinary job of structuring this roster of looking ahead so that we keep our guys together," Carroll said. "A lot of times what happens is that teams have a big fallout after the Super Bowl. We don't need to be in that situation. We've done that with foresight so that we'll be ahead. We'll get going for the next challenge."

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