How will the off-season drama affect the Seahawks?
The Seahawks' veterans did a great job of sounding the part when taking turns commenting on their locker room situation, a hot-button discussion topic after an ESPN article detailing the team's dissension.
Doug Baldwin calmly told local media that Seattle has found an ability to not overstep the line between healthy and unhealthy tension. Russell Wilson agreed, adding that winning, which the Seahawks do plenty of, wouldn't happen if the team was indeed divided.
Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett admitted that, sure, there's preferential treatment toward Wilson, but claimed even that's nothing out of the ordinary seeing as he's the QB.
"I said this this morning, when I was the quarterback in seventh, sixth grade, I used to get more Lunchables than everybody, I got more jelly beans than everybody, because I was the quarterback – that's just how things go," Bennett said during mandatory minicamp.
Sherman, Baldwin and Bennett also identified that in the spring and summer months there aren't many NFL headlines that actually involve people playing football, crediting that factor as the reason for such an in-depth look into a team that's been one of the most successful franchises the past five years.
"I think everything's overblown in sports. I think you want to build stories. Stories are needed," Bennett said. "This is a drought in the media right now. This is a drought. The NFL does everything for the media when it comes to sports."
And just like a wise veteran, the Pro Bowl defensive end recognized that perceived outside attempts at creating division can, ironically, create unity, or as we like to say in sports, a chip on our shoulder.
"People want to be a part of a story, build up a controversy and so now we have a story, so thank you," Bennett said. "We have something to build upon. You already started our narrative. That's good for us. We already know where our story starts and we have to define the ending of our story."
So how is this story going to end? As Bennett said, this talk of locker room division could spawn a storybook season, one where the team takes what could have been a distraction and uses it to fuel a championship year. In that scenario, the national media would have provided what essentially to season-long bulletin board material.
Or, that dive into the team's inner workings could later appear prophetic if, say, Seattle stumbles out the gate this season and suffer a few losses. In the event of a losing season, the locker-room scene would immediately become worthy of a reality TV show.
At that point, the I-told-you-sos would start to pile up, likely to the tune of "see, they do hate each other!"
Of course, that could have happened regardless of whether anyone published an article about the teams' relationships, but it's almost certain to happen now if the team isn't its dominant self this year.
The safe bet is on the former scenario, seeing as this team has a history of managing contention and not allowing it to alter the on-field product. Even if every word of Seth Wickersham's piece was true, last season still ended in the divisional round of the playoffs. That'd count as a successful year for most every team in the league.
There's also the fact that Seattle's core group of players under coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider can accurately be described as a crop of chip-on-my-shoulder all-stars, making this entire situation just another day at the office for many of them.
Outsiders can birth as many narratives as they'd like, but it's the Seahawks themselves who will ultimately tell the tale. Will it be one of glory or gloom?
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