Bart Starr, Bob Griese, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, John Elway and Tom Brady are members of an exclusive club.
They are the NFL quarterbacks who’ve won back-to-back Super Bowls. All are in the Hall of Fame except for Brady, who will be enshrined after he retires.
Three years ago, Russell Wilson of Seattle was a yard away from joining that club.
But the Seahawks decided not to have Wilson hand off to Marshawn Lynch on second down to get the yard that would have given the Seahawks the victory over New England and back-to-back titles.
Instead, the coaches told Wilson to throw a pass and it was intercepted and the fallout is still hanging over the Seahawks.
The Seahawks not only haven’t made it back to the Super Bowl the last two years, they haven’t even gotten to the conference title game. They lost to Carolina and Atlanta in the divisional round the last two years.
That one yard now seems like a mile.
The Seahawks lost their chance of being a dynasty and they keep getting reminded of what might have been. A recent ESPN article by Seth Wickersham painted a picture of an offseason of discontent with volatile Richard Sherman not being able to let the Super Bowl loss go. The article said there’s now a rift between him and Wilson and coach Pete Carroll.
A theme was that the players think Wilson is coddled by Carroll.
The article caused a firestorm of its own and the team went into damage control. Carroll called it “old news.’’ Sherman said was “just a made-up story” and said plenty of quarterbacks get treated differently.
And he said he has a good relationship with Wilson, saying, “It’s fantastic. We’re teammates. It’s like a family.’’ Sherman denied he asked for a trade, saying they just had a “conversation.’’
All this was very entertaining, but may not have much to do with the real challenge the team faces. They are probably not as good as they were three or four years ago.
An article in the Guardian last January didn’t get much notice, but it was a better examination of the challenges the Seahawks face.
They need to improve a running game that was 25th in the league last year. From 2012 through 2015, they ranked third, fourth, first and third in rushing.
They signed free agent running back Eddie Lacy from Green Bay, even though he played in just five games last year before being sidelined with an ankle injury that needed surgery.
And they signed tackle Luke Joeckel from Jacksonville, who was a near-bust and had injury problems after being the second player picked in 2013. The offensive line remains a major question mark.
In the draft, they traded down three times and selected defensive lineman Malik McDowell on the second round.
The lack of a running game helps explain why they scored one or no touchdowns in five games in a 10-5-1 season. And even the defense isn’t what it was. They allowed 231 points in their Super Bowl winning season and 292 in 2016 even though it was third best in the league.
Russell isn’t an elite quarterback, but he’s good enough to win with a good team. And his passing game was 10th in yardage in the league last year despite not having a good running game. He’s led them to five consecutive double-digit victory seasons and his victory total of 56 regular season wins since 2012 is second to Brady.
They’re a virtual lock to make the playoffs in a division with the 49ers and Rams.
But the Seahawks’ season will be judged on what they do in the playoffs.
Russell needs to carry the team more, but the Seattle’s real problem isn’t whether he’s coddled or whether Sherman likes him or whether they haven’t gotten past the Super Bowl game they gave away.
If they’re to get another Super Bowl trophy, they have to run the ball better.