How do Seahawks finish ahead of 49ers in 2023?
Kyle Shanahan has 'nepped' the NFC West in the bud
I’m sad to report that Kyle Shanahan has coached a team to more conference championship games than Pete Carroll has coached into the conference championships. This is Shanahan’s sixth season as a head coach and Carroll’s 17th, including his 13th with the Seahawks.
It pained me even more to write that intro than it hurt you to read it, I’m sure.
You hate the San Francisco 49ers and that’s good. Recent studies show that hating the 49ers reduces the risk of an early death by at least 22%. Nothing fuels the power to live like tense, ceaseless anger.
And something you’ve heard a lot of in the last three months as the 49ers have been on a 12-game winning streak is that San Francisco is due to fall apart. If not now, then next year. If not next year, then the year after that. If not the year after the year after next year, then surely at least the movie San Andreas was a foreshadowing documentary.
But talk of the 49ers pending demise feels somewhat desperate and exaggerated. I’m on board and I’m just as hopeful as you are, but in situations like this I always try to put myself in the shoes of the enemy by asking, “Would I feel this way about the Seahawks if roles were reversed?”
So… Would you feel like the 2023 and/or 2024 Seahawks were doomed if they had the exact same roster, coaching staff, front office, cap situation, draft picks, and recent history of the 49ers? Or would you defend all of the arguments against the team same as what actual 49ers fans are doing right now? I know the answer. You know the answer. Is anyone willing to admit the answer outloud?
Here are some NFC West tallies since the season after the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots:
Division Titles: Rams (3), 49ers (2), Seahawks (2), Cardinals (1)
Playoff Appearances: Seahawks (6), Rams (4), 49ers (3), Cardinals (2)
Playoff Wins: Rams (7), 49ers (6), Seahawks (3), Cardinals (1)
NFC Championship games: 49ers (3), Rams (2), Cardinals (1)
Super Bowl appearances: Rams (2), 49ers (1)
Super Bowl wins: Rams (1)
Though the Seahawks can boast the most playoff appearances, that makes it somewhat more concerning that Seattle has won considerably fewer playoff games in that time than the Rams and 49ers in the same period of time. And the Seahawks are the only NFC West team to not advance past the divisional round of the playoffs since 2015.
If the 49ers beat the Eagles next Sunday, then San Francisco and L.A. will have both reached two Super Bowls in the last five years.
When Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan were hired into the NFC West in 2017, Pete Carroll was easily the most accomplished head coach, as he was the only one with any experience. Now Shanahan is two wins shy of both he and McVay already matching Carroll in Super Bowl appearances and Super Bowl wins.
Shanahan has now been to more NFC Championship games than Carroll and despite Seattle finishing second in the division this season, they were well behind the 49ers in both wins and talent; perhaps only a few meters better than the defending champion Rams and maybe that wouldn’t have been the case if not for all of L.A.’s injuries.
Being better than the Arizona Cardinals? Who cares? And the Cardinals could even manage to hire a good head coach. I wouldn’t say it is probable by any means, but Bruce Arians turned out to be a pretty good head coach so I can’t rule it out entirely.
Since the San Francisco 49ers are the talk of Monday, let’s start with them: How can the Seahawks be better than the 49ers in 2023? This is a bonus article, with a regular Seaside Joe to come later today. Join the Regular Joes for less than $5/month if you sign up for a whole year to not only get a bunch of bonus content, but to support a small Seahawks news business that intends to be better than the other Seahawks news businesses.
And unlike others who try to create paid NFL content, you can guarantee I won’t tire out or slow down in a few weeks. We’re quickly approaching the four-year anniversary.