Welcome to the real season.
Now that the Super Bowl is over and the NFL finally fades into the background of the American sports scene, many casual sports fans turn their attention to the NBA, as if the only sport that existed from Mondays to Saturdays in January was Herm Edwards and Ron Jaworski yelling hyperbolic nonsense at each other.
Football’s bloated specter can be overbearing at times, especially with The Worldwide Leader making Daily Mail stories out of day-to-day NFL occurrences. But sometimes, it can provide a brilliant bastion from which basketball players can draw inspiration.
Watching Seattle’s 43-8 beatdown of Denver on Sunday night, I couldn’t help but marvel at the way the Seahawks do things.
The Seahawks get it.
Pete Carroll gets it.
Here they were, the third-youngest team in Super Bowl history, mauling the legendary Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on the biggest of stages. The moment wasn’t too big for them. They played awesome.
In fact, you could argue that there’s no way they possibly could have played better. Everyone on that defense was on point, all game long, doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing.
LeBron James would have been proud.
In the next few weeks, you will probably hear a lot about how Carroll “loves his players up,” and preaches positivity and holistic wellness. His teams eat right, stretch right, exercise right – hell, they even meditate before practice.
He asks his guys how they’re doing in their personal lives and tries to help them if they’re going through a tough time or not feeling right. No, seriously.
Carroll’s belief is that happier players make better players. But it goes deeper than that.
He knows that if you want to be successful in athletics, you have to work hard. Really hard.
You have to be mature, responsible and accountable. You have to have a kid-like passion, a joyful enthusiasm that gives meaning and reason to the sacrifices you’re putting yourself through. Maybe that’s why the 62-year old Carroll acts like he’s 26.
You need to find that athletic state of mind that only comes with repetition; refine your mental and physical approach so that there is no wasted movement, no wasted thoughts.
And then you need to repeat it. Over and over and over again, until it comes so naturally that you can call on it, on command in any city, any setting in the world, in front of tens of thousands of people and millions more watching at home.
You have to stay positive about what you’re looking to accomplish, even in the face of doubters and negative thinkers.
You have to take a chance and buy in.
If you listened to the Seahawks in their postgame interviews Sunday, they said things like, “We believed we could be a great team. We didn’t know how it was going to work out, but we believed.”
That’s what improvement is about. That’s what life is about.
And that’s why what the Seahawks did on Sunday was so special.
On to the rankings.