Pete Carroll, master motivator, did not attempt to inspire the Seattle Seahawks with underwhelming exhortations to “try your best” or “have fun out there” or “take it a game at a time,” for those are all examples of loser talk. No. Carroll, according to ESPN, gave his charges a training camp presentation about the 1972 Dolphins, the only undefeated team in NFL history, to make the point that they, too—the 2022 Seahawks—could have a perfect season, because why not?
You may be saying there are lots of reasons why not. Carroll, who also cited his undefeated USC teams, would even agree with you. Those loss-less teams played the likes of plumbers and milkmen and Arizona State, and the 2022 Seahawks are not very good. But Carroll did not say it was likely, though Seattle is already 1/17th of the way there. “I know it’s possible,” Carroll reportedly said.
Yes! It is possible! Anything is possible! It is technically possible for the Seahawks to go undefeated, just as it is technically possible that the entire roster of the New York Giants is injured in a freak septic tank explosion and Commissioner Roger Goodell, scrambling to find replacement players rather than cancel the Giants’ season (the networks must have their inventory), turns to the staff of Defector dot com in order to appeal to that all-important underworked-lawyer demographic. And if the Seahawks can go 17-0, why can’t we?
Neither of these things is so far-fetched. Would you bet your life savings against the Seahawks pulling out a win at the underwhelming 49ers this afternoon? Similarly, would you stake your 401(k) on the NFL not ordering the staff of Defector to suit up, knowing that we are already 1-0 in the college game after a Nebraska forfeit?
Would you wager against either squad catching lightning in a bottle? Do you really think it’s impossible that the Seahawks could sweep their games against a soft NFC South this season, or that Dan McQuade emerges as a workhorse running back the likes of whom the NFL hasn’t seen in decades? Would the Seahawks winning both their games against the defending-champion Rams be any weirder than Kelsey McKinney proving herself as an elite edge rusher who gives pass blockers fits? I submit that it would not.
Perhaps you think it improbable that Seattle—who needed some scared play-calling from the Broncos to win last week and who have a quarterback competition currently being won by Geno Smith—reels off 17 straight wins. Maybe you have serious doubts that a roster with which the front office is clearly attempting to tank manages to score an unbroken series of upsets over far superior teams for the next few months. That’s exactly the sort of pessimism I’d expect from someone who doubts my ability to stick to NFL wideouts like glue, even with no help in a Cover-0 that sees Kelsey wreaking havoc in the backfield.
All Pete Carroll was trying to do was create a room where 53 people all believe in their heart of hearts that they can win any game. Defector already has 24 people who believe that—24 is enough for a separate offense and defense, and we wouldn’t even really need special teams because we would go for it on every fourth down and two-point opportunity, and Ray Ratto will simply boot the ball out the back of the end zone on every kickoff, and yes he will be kicking barefoot—and we would aim to prove it after the unexpected hospitalization and quarantine of the entire current New York Giants roster.
By now you are convinced that the Seahawks and the staff of Defector, standing in for the New York Giants, can both achieve something special this year. Not “will,” mind you, but can.
There is one potential monkey wrench: Week 8, when Seattle is scheduled to play the Giants. Surely two teams, inspired and inspiring as they may be, cannot both win a game against each other? My friend, you have not heeded Pete Carroll’s words closely enough. “I know it’s possible,” he said. You simply have to believe.