On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks kick off the 2013 NFL season with a game in Charlotte, South Carolina. Expectations are through the roof for this team. After an incredible run down the stretch and a strong performance in the playoffs last year, many believe the Seahawks are destined for the Super Bowl this year. General Manager John Schneider and Head Coach Pete Carroll have built not just a winning team but an entire team culture. Team slogans like “Always Compete” and “Win Forever” aren’t just motivational phrases, they’re actually put into practice by the front office all the way down to the coaching staff.
One final loss, another season finished. A heartbreaking, emotional defeat at a time when we felt like we could conquer the world. We were going all the way, carried on the shoulders of DangeRuss, Beast Mode, and the Legion of Boom. We were the team of destiny (thank you Brian Billick). Those dreams were shattered in just 31 seconds.
Sports fans love to create narratives for their teams. The team of destiny, our team never quits, the perennial underachievers. These narratives help the sports fan connect with their team by allowing them to rationalize the performance of the team, whether the team is successful or unsuccessful. During the 1995 baseball season, the Seattle Mariners had a slogan that created a narrative for the fans to latch onto, “Two outs, so what?” This narrative described the Mariners as a team that never quit who could make the greatest of comebacks, even with two outs.
The Seattle Seahawks will play their first-round playoff game in Washington D.C. on Sunday afternoon. There are many narratives that we can ascribe to the Seahawks but one of them will be front and center this weekend and for the rest of the playoffs; The Seahawks are unbeatable at home but weak on the road. I think most Seahawk fans are familiar with this narrative. This year, the Seahawks were undefeated at home and 3-5 the road. Since Pete Carroll became coach, the Seahawks are 8-17 on the road, including a road loss in the playoffs against Chicago. Let’s take a deeper look at homefield advantage, with a specific focus on the playoffs.