The Seattle Seahawks turned what many figured to be a closely contested Super Bowl into a rout, punishing the Denver Broncos en-route to a commanding 43-8 victory. Along the way, many figure the Seahawks may have changed the blueprint for building an NFL team.
Behind an aggressive, big-play defense, a mobile quarterback and tough mentality, Seattle has redefined the mold for successful football. The Detroit Lions should have been all eyes and ears last night, as they're chasing Seattle in the NFC and the NFL is a copycat league. What has Seattle done that the Lions can learn? Here are five thoughts after a dominating Super Bowl.
1. Size And Speed Kill. All night long, the Seahawks were the faster, bigger team, flying to the ball, hitting hard and covering everyone. Peyton Manning couldn't get free from Cliff Avril long enough to find anyone down field. When he did, players like Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas were erasers. Offensively, Seattle was a step ahead all night as well. The Lions have to get faster and tougher, especially on the back end of their defensive secondary. The swagger they have up front is lost because of holes on the back end. They need a few faster players on offense and tougher players in the secondary.
2. Name And Round Don't Matter, Only Scheme And Coaching Do. Between Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith (seventh round), Doug Baldwin (undrafted), Jermaine Kearse, (undrafted), Chancellor (fifth round), Sherman (fifth round), Russell Wilson (third round), the Seahawks have plenty of players who haven't come with a high draft pedigree. No matter. Seattle's scheme is toughness, size, aggressiveness and competitiveness, and they take the players who best personify those traits, regardless of round. Those players come in with a chip on their shoulder and perform. The Lions need to have more drafts like this and mine more gold in the middle and later rounds.
3. Imagination Helps. The Seahawks periodically got creative, running a few sweeps, reverses and fast plays. Denver's offense, by comparison, looked timid, running the same type of simple slant plays, crossing routes and runs. Offensively, there's a great deal to be gained by imagination. The Lions need to take a page from this book, and find a way to get faster play makers who can impact the game across the field. Additionally, they need to show offensive creativity to maximize the talent of the players on the field.
4. Fan Passion Counts. The Seahawks rabid fan base, nicknamed the "12th Man," has made a big difference, both at home and on the road. Their fans make it nearly impossible for road teams to emerge victorious, and when it comes time to travel, they get the job done. Yesterday, they impacted the Super Bowl in a huge way with noise and passion most of the evening. There's a great lesson here for the Lions, who have to do the same type of things to galvanize their fan base. "The Pride" has to make themselves as heard and felt as the "12th Man" does, because the team does feed off positive energy and emotion.
5. There's No Substitute For Excitement. Pete Carroll is an excitable, passionate man. As a result, his team plays with the same type of excitement and attitude. Jim Caldwell, admittedly, isn't a "rah-rah" type of guy capable of jumping all over the sidelines, but nonetheless, his teams will have to play with a quiet excitement and urgency. Instilling this is key, as it gives the team a purpose to drive them through tough games. The Lions need to play with excitement and energy unseen recently, and that needs to come from the coach.
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