“We all we got,” Lawyer Milloy bellowed in the Seahawks’ locker room.
“We all we need,” his teammates responded.
“We all we got,” he repeated.
“We all we need,” the Seahawks said.
That wasn’t the sound of a celebration in Seattle’s locker room, but a statement of defiance after the Seahawks’ playoff victory over the defending world champion New Orleans Saints. A team full of spare parts and castoffs had finally found one thing to count on: itself.
The Seahawks have been mocked for being the first NFL team to win its division with a losing record. Their quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, was asked before the postseason started if he felt the need to apologize for being in the playoffs. But at 10 a.m. (PST) today, Seattle will take the field in Chicago against the Bears in a divisional playoff game no one saw coming.
The top wide receiver, Mike Williams, was overweight and unemployed in the NFL for the previous two years before reviving his career in Seattle. Defensive end Raheem Brock was signed by the Seahawks one week before the season started, after he was cut by Tennessee. And last Saturday he was one of Seattle’s best defensive players against New Orleans, recording the Seahawks’ only sack and forcing a fumble.
In some ways, the Seahawks have been making things up as they go along. When Seattle reached the Super Bowl five years ago, only one of its starters on offense was in his first year with the team. This season, the Seahawks have six.
Of the 53 players on Seattle’s roster, 32 have been acquired in the year since coach Pete Carroll took over, a turnover that is severe even by the volatile standards of today’s NFL. Eighteen players on the team for this game were added after the season began.
So you’ll have to pardon Carroll for laughing Wednesday when he was asked if his team – the largest underdog on the playoff schedule for a second consecutive week – might be overconfident.
“Have you seen our season?” he asked.
For more than four months it has been impossible to know just what to make of this football team, with its first-year coach, retooled roster and Lazarus-like playoff run.
And through it all, the coach has remained unrelentingly positive. Carroll can’t get through a news conference without using words such as “beautiful” or “glorious,” and he specializes in two-word slogans that urge maximum effort.
The Seahawks were 10-1/2-point underdogs against the Saints, and they’re 10-point underdogs at Chicago.