Breda Report: Upon Further Review

Magic is in the air over the Seattle skyline these days. It's beginning to feel like the 2005 Seattle Seahawks are something very special indeed.

I remember the fall of 1995 like it was yesterday. The Seattle Mariners, usually good slapstick fodder for the highlights, was suddenly demonstrating the previously impossible:

They refused to lose.

When the Mariners defeated the despised New York Yankees in the playoffs to advance to the American League Championship Series, it was forever written into the hearts and history books of a city and team as a magical season to remember.

In fact, it became known as the magical season.

It's not often that the city of Seattle can boast bounties of bravado when it comes to their professional sports teams. That's why those native to the Pacific Northwest have an extra sense built-in that kicks in whenever another magical season is about to arrive.

The fall of 2005 may be a 10-year reunion of sorts. A different sport, but same town, same planets and stars seemingly all aligning just right to give the city what could be another magic carpet ride.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present your 2005 Seattle Seahawks.

At the end of the 2004 season, the Seahawks were in complete disarray. The despised St. Louis Rams had not only swept the Hawks during the regular season but adding great insult to injury, the Rams beat them in Seattle during the first round of the playoffs.

Owned.

From owned to owner, many off-season challenges faced Paul Allen. The teams top three (Matt Hasselbeck, Walter Jones and Shaun Alexander) were set to hit the free agency market while coach Mike Holmgren seriously contemplated retirement after the 2004 season had effectively shaved months off of his life.

Cruel and unusual defeats to the Rams and Cowboys at home played like a needle popping the collective team's balloon. A 9-7 NFC West division championship felt as hollow and unsatisfying as the 9-7 AFC West division championship did in Holmgren's freshman year with the team in 1999.

Seahawks fans were faced with a near and familiar certainty:

Several more seasons of mediocrity lie up ahead.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Paul Allen fired friend and team president Bob Whitsitt. The message was clear: Whitsitt's regime fostered division and compartmentalization in the front office, a paradigm that trickled down to the product on the field.

Allen had to choose: Basketball man who knew little about how to effectively run and build a championship professional football franchise, or respected Super Bowl-winning NFL head coach.

The choice was expeditiously made. Mike Holmgren stays, Bob Whitsitt goes.

From there, Paul Allen gathered his most trusted and loyal business associates and sat down in the think tank of Kirkland and methodically hunted for Whitsitt's replacement. This man would have to represent everything Whitsitt did not. Camaraderie instead of division. Teamwork instead of a team constantly being worked over.

A beautiful football mind instead of…

Well, anyways…

Yes, this was a decision that could effectively end the years of suffering, lapping upon the shores of disappointing seasons year in and year out.

This was the decision that brought Tim Ruskell to Seattle. Between Ruskell, Mike Reinfeldt and Tod Leiweke, the team quickly dealt with their top stars in effective and efficient fashion ensuring the team's primary weapon – the offense – remained intact.

Ruskell went to work on fixing the team's primary problem – defense – by drafting players who at first glance seemed like a reach, now paying dividends on the field in fall. Key free agents were brought in like former Tampa Bay WR Joe Jurevicius, who have stepped up and beyond the call of duty. Emphasis was placed heavily on team character and camaraderie over player's 40 times and long jumps.

As September and October wore on, it was becoming more and more obvious with each demon of years past being exorcised week by week that this season could indeed be something very special.

It appears that part of the Seahawks problems in recent seasons stemmed from the me-first attitudes in the clubhouse. Those players are no longer with the team. In their place are hard-working, blue-collar, team-first guys who are looking out for each other, on and off the field. Even in the face of adversity, this team is thriving and finding ways to win.

Players are stepping up on both sides of the ball. The only finger pointing going on is the raising of index fingers straight up into the heavens signifying number one.

As in, number one offense in the NFL.

Number one rusher in the NFL.

Number one in the NFC West by two games.

The latest exorcism came this past Sunday when the Seahawks took care of the division rival Arizona Cardinals, ending Mike Holmgren's discommodious record of games following a bye.

This team is learning to become champions. They are winning the games they are supposed to win. They are winning the games they would have lost in years past. They are winning ugly and they are winning beautiful. They are winning despite injuries and adversity.

The 2005 Seattle Seahawks have something here. It's hard to put your finger on it but it feels different than in any season gone by. I don't know quite just how to put it.

It feels special.

It feels unique.

It feels... magical.


Todd Breda is the Owner and Creative Director of Seahawks.Net. If you would like to e-mail Todd, send any and all love letters, hate mail, whimsical musings or your personal dealings with little green men to: toddbreda@comcast.net.


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