There’s no lack of confidence in Seattle right now — an 11-1 start will usually do that to a team. But the Seahawks have a different sort of swagger altogether when they have the comfort of their home crowd behind them.
At times throughout their 34-7 spanking of the Saints on Monday night, Seahawks players and coaches could be seen pumping up the crowd, bumping chests and even yucking it up with teammates along the sideline. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas were bouncing around together after every big play in the secondary. Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate could be spotted doing a little celebratory shimmy after any big play on offense. Heck, even Pete Carroll got in on the action, moonwalking his way down the sideline midway through the third quarter.
It’s not unusual for players to celebrate big plays or even have a little fun on the sidelines from time to time during a blowout, so it’s not like the Seahawks are the only team overrun with confidence. But no one else swags out quite like they do.
The Seahawks improved to 14-0 at home over the last two seasons, but their record isn’t the only impressive aspect of their home-field advantage. Russell Wilson has been effective in almost any environment he’s been thrust into since making his first start in Week 1 last season. While he’s been good even on the road, he’s been stellar at home. In 14 road games over the last two season, Wilson has completed 62.9 percent of his passes (245 of 389) and thrown 19 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. However, in the same amount of games at CenturyLink Field, Wilson is completing 66.3 percent of his passes and has thrown for 29 touchdowns compared to only seven picks.
The team as a whole has been much better in front of the home crowd during that stretch as well. In the 14 road games, the Seahawks have scored an average of 22.3 points per game (313 total) while allowing 20.4 points per game (286 total) in the last two season. At home, though, there is a stark contrast.
During its 14 games at CenturyLink over the last two years, Seattle has averaged 31.3 points per game (439 total) and allowed just 12.8 per game (179). So, while there’s about a two-point difference in the Seahawks’ favor on the road, that number blows up to more than 18 points when at home.
Much of the Seahawks’ edge at home is credited to their rabid fanbase, endearingly known as “the 12th Man.” While they are among the most avid, and once the single loudest fans in all of the sports world Guinness World Records-approved), the Seahawks’ home advantage comes down to more than just the crowd.
Since his first days with the team, some four seasons ago now, Carroll has brought a different dynamic to the Seahawks. He’s instilled a new energy into the organization and cultivated not only a winning culture but one built on fun. The environment mirrors something similar to Carroll’s program at USC, and that atmosphere, along with an influx of great talent, has developed the swagger that the these Seahawks now thrive off.
Heading into Monday night’s game with the NFC’s supposed second-best team in the Saints, the Seahawk were thought to finally be challenged by another championship contender — and maybe they would have been if the game were in New Orleans. But, with a record-breaking crowd on their feet for almost the full four hours, the Seahawks came out energized, determined and full of championship swagger.
Even after a 29-3 beatdown on the 49ers earlier this season, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if the Seahawks fell in San Francisco this weekend. However, even a division loss wouldn’t be enough to take the wind out of Seattle’s sails. Heading toward the playoffs, it seems that the Seahawks are in a class all their own in the NFC. They’ve already beaten three of the other five playoff teams (through Week 13 at least) in the Panthers, Niners and Saints, and they dropped the Cardinals, who are still very much in contention, in impressive fashion in Arizona just a few weeks ago.
Barring any major injuries or an unexpected turn of events in the standings, the Seahawks can at least start getting their travel plans together for February in New York. Sure, the NFC is full of talented teams and anything can happen in the postseason, but there doesn’t seem to be a team in either conference that could take down the Hawks at home right now.
The NFC playoffs run through Seattle, and the swagger on display in that stadium just seems like it would be too much for any team to overcome.