The newly crowned NFC Champion Seahawks know all about challenges on their road to the Super Bowl - the least of which was Sunday's epic battle with their arch rivals from San Francisco - but one that really began in the aftermath of last year's crushing last-minute playoff loss in Atlanta. That heartbreaking defeat to the Falcons drove home the point to the Seahawks that the home field advantage was an edge they needed to give them their best chance to become Super Bowl champions.
Like Sunday's Pioneer Square brawl against San Francisco, the journey to where the Hawks are today wasn't nearly as pretty as their 13-3 regular season record might indicate.
Unlike Seattle's tunnel to nowhere, the Seahawks overcame the obstacles that could've blocked their way. Injuries that decimated their offensive line, cost them prized WR Percy Harvin for all but one game, lost players to suspension and the disappointment of their first home loss in two seasons were all brushed aside with perseverance "Bertha" would have to admire.
This season magnified how fine the line is between being a No. 1 seed and missing the playoffs outright.
Think about how different things would have been if in week 4 Doug Baldwin didn't make an incredible sideline catch in Houston in a game that saw Richard Sherman deliver a game-saving pick 6 as the Hawks rallied for an improbable overtime win.
In week 8 in St. Louis, with time running out, reserve linebacker Heath Farwell sacrificed his body lowering the boom to deny the Rams a short TD plunge that helped give the Seahawks a 14-9 NFC West win.
The following week they were stunned early at home trailing then winless Tampa Bay 21-0 in the second quarter before coming all the way back to win 27-24.
Any number of moments in any of those games could've changed the course of the Seahawks season and cost them the home field edge, superior to any other in the NFL that made all the difference in Sunday's game for the ages!
It's an advantage Pete Carroll's comeback club won't have against the Broncos. Of course Denver won't have it either. So what should we expect out of the Seahawks on a neutral field? A win!
There's no doubt with Peyton Manning playing in what could be his final game, or at least what might be his final Super Bowl, Denver will be for many the sentimental favorite. The young, brash, show-us-what-you-got Seahawks won't be America's team on Feb. 2 - and that's exactly the way they want it. In fact, come Super Bowl Sunday, beyond the 12th man, the Hawks may be as popular as khaki shorts and tee times during a polar vortex.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin represented a good number of his teammates last week when he said, "I don't have a chip on my shoulder. I have a boulder on my shoulder!" It's that mentality combined with championship talent that will crash the party next week in Jersey.
If you really think about this upcoming super clash of the titans, it had to happen didn't it? A closer more thoughtful look makes it seem so obvious. Something we should have seen it coming all along. The smoke signals were there to be read.
While most of the nation refers to the Seahawks-Broncos showdown as the Super Bowl, there are those who'd rather reefer than refer, would prefer we call it what they might. With the new pot laws in Colorado and Washington, it's no coincidence that Seattle and Denver are flying high into the biggest game of the year - what some pot advocates might call The Bong Bowl.
For that fan base this game would look just a bit different that it will on Feb. 2. In the Bong Bowl, Cheech and Chong would be honorary captains, who would have a difficult time answering the question "heads or tails?" Then after thinking long and hard would simply decide it's just too tough to pick one, so they'd rather just flip a coin.
Snoop Lion (or is he back to Snoop Dog) would perform the mellowest and likely longest national anthem in history, including a brief unscheduled stop about the midway point. The jerseys of course would be made of hemp and instead of cleats, worn-down, duct tape-repaired Birkenstocks would be the mandatory footwear. This game though could never be played for the simple reason that there's no real grass at MetLife Stadium.