SANTA CLARA, Calif.—The Seahawks, like every NFL team, had their issues this season. They battled through some ups and downs, saw some of their best players sidelined by injuries, including season-enders for Earl Thomas and Tyler Lockett, and of late have been searching for more consistency on both sides of the ball.
Yet after 16 games, the Seahawks are again playoff bound, they're NFC West champs once again, and at 10-5-1, they have a double-digit win total for the fifth straight year. To put all of that in perspective, consider that the Seahawks won six NFC West titles in their 34-year history before Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010, and they have won four in the past seven years. Even more impressive, those five straight seasons of 10 or more wins matches the total the franchise had from its inaugural season in 1976 through the 2011 season. And prior to this run, the Seahawks had never posted double-digit win totals in consecutive seasons.
"I'm real proud of the statement of winning 10 games for five years in a row," said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. "I think that's pretty darn good, 10 or more. It just shows you the commitment of these guys and their ability to keep coming back, staying with it. It doesn't mean a whole lot to anybody else, but just for the consistency part of it, it's something that we're proud of. I like that.
"We're really, really proud of that. I think it speaks to a lot of facets to our program—the job that John has done to keep our roster strong and competitive, our core players who have led this thing for years. They're the ones who have done this, and that's a great accomplishment for these guys. That's a terrific statement of positioning ourselves to have a chance to do great things and the end of the year, and here we go again."
With all the scrutiny placed on each individual game, it can be easy within the course of a season to lose sight of the big picture, but in a league that is structured to create parity, winning that many games year after year is incredibly rare, making what the Seahawks have done of late—and what the New England Patriots have done for more than a decade under Bill Belichick and what the Packers have accomplished under Mike McCarthy—rather remarkable achievements.
"A lot of the time, with the struggles that we've had during the season, those 10 wins get lost in that, but we're thankful for that," said receiver Doug Baldwin, who tied Bobby Engram's franchise record with 94 receptions this season. "That is a huge accomplishment, so we want to build on that as we continue."
Added cornerback Richard Sherman: "I guess we've been pretty good. I'll let other people decide what that means. We'll just go out there and keep playing and keep giving ourselves a chance."
And as Carroll noted, giving themselves a chance in the postseason is what this year-after-year success is all about. The reason Carroll makes owning the NFC West such a big goal is that winning the division comes with the guarantee of at least one home playoff game.
"Another 10-win season, that's obviously huge," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "Ten wins or more every year, that's not easy to do in the National Football League. It comes down to consistency, hard work, players playing for one another, our coaching staff is unbelievable, and then having the best fans in the National Football League. Obviously we're going to the playoffs again, that's an exciting thing, we're pumped up for that. It's a new season, starting 0-0, and whoever we play, we're excited about the opportunity to play at home in front of our amazing fans."
Action photos from Seahawks vs 49ers during Week 17 at Levi's Stadium.