Digging Into The NFL Draft

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10 Years of First-Round Picks

After 32 picks, the first round of the 2017 NFL draft was over. Teams had the chance to select the next big thing – from a new face for the franchise to a highly talented player in a position of need – from the most recently declared class college athletes. These picks may have represented the dreams of not just a team, but a city of fans, and the hope that success is on the horizon.

Just what has the history of first-round picks looked like over the past decade? What positions have been most coveted? Have any vindicated their draft position, or did the franchise that selected them ask for a redo? We profiled the last decade of NFL drafts to highlight the highs and lows across the 32 teams in the NFL.

Positions in Demand

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In nearly 350 picks made in the past ten years in the first round of the NFL draft, almost 100 were used on either a defensive end or defensive back. The Cleveland Browns and five other teams helped this cause by using their first-round picks this year on defensive ends. Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas, Derek Barnett, Jonathan Allen, Takkarist McKinley, and Taco Charlton all joined the NFL in this year’s draft class as their team’s latest addition in this position.

The future is now.

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Only 6 players from the three safety positions – free safety, safety, and strong safety – have been drafted in a decade of first rounds. And over 30 percent came from the 2017 NFL draft, with Jamal Adams from Louisiana State University to the New York Jets, Malik Hooker from Ohio State to the Indianapolis Colts, and Jabrill Peppers from Michigan to the Cleveland Browns.

NFL’s Farm System

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While Alabama head coach Nick Saban couldn’t unlock a winning formula as the Miami Dolphins head coach, posting a 15-17 record over 32 games, he has proven to be a master of player development. The Crimson Tide accounted for 22 first-round draft picks in the last decade.

History made. #BuiltByBama #rolltide #nfldraft

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Four Alabama players were drafted in the first round this year: Marlon Humphrey by the Baltimore Ravens, Jonathan Allen by the Washington Redskins, O.J. Howard by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Reuben Foster by the San Francisco 49ers.

The Southeastern Conference is well-represented in regard to total first-round picks over the last 10 years, with two other schools in the top five: the University of Florida and Louisiana State University. One of the biggest picks from these prestigious programs was the 2010 NFL draft’s 25th pick, Tim Tebow. He’d post an 8-6 record as a starter for the Denver Broncos before he’d begin a new line of work, but not before uncorking a beautiful Hail Mary against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011 AFC wild-card.

Adverse to First

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While some teams have had more picks in the first round, others have been less concerned about the glitz and glamour of those first 32. In fact, the New England Patriots have only had eight first-round picks in the last 10 years, but have had the league’s best record in the same period. With a 10-season record of 126-34, and 20 wins more than the second-place Green Bay Packers, the lack of first-round talent hasn’t hurt the five-time Super Bowl champions.

Only the Seattle Seahawks have had less draft picks in the first rounds – seven – and have made two trips to the Super Bowl, winning one. However, it wasn’t a first-round draft pick that came back to haunt them in their Super Bowl XLIX loss, but New England’s undrafted free agent cornerback, Malcolm Butler.

Who Goes Where?

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In seven of the last ten NFL drafts, a quarterback was selected as the number one overall pick, and four had a QB going in the second overall spot. In three drafts – 2012, 2015, 2016 – there were back-to-back quarterback selections in the top two positions.

If you’re looking for defenders to get drafted in the top 10, try and pay attention during the third and ninth picks. Defensive ends and linebackers have been picked most commonly over the past decade in these spots.

Stacking the Deck

While there’s plenty of roster moves that happen through free agency, many teams built their teams through their picks in the NFL draft. Just as there have been over-hyped players who never lived up to their potential, there were also stars who soared higher than anyone’s initial grades. Get all the best gear to represent your favorite NFL draft picks and team at Fanatics.com!

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The Super Bowl MVPs

Football is a team sport, but that doesn’t mean personal honors aren’t awarded. And while personal heroics are often awarded for the best performances over a season – All-Pro, Most Valuable Player, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year – there’s one game that’s a little bit different.

The NFL championship game between the winners of the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC) determines the best team of the season. However, the best individual player, whether offense or defense, is awarded MVP honors for his big plays on the big stage.

Do certain positions have a lock on this award? Does your team have to win the Big Game to earn the MVP? Here’s what you need to know about one of the greatest honors in professional football.

Positional Awareness

Fifty-one MVP awards have been issued after the final whistle, and over half of those were awarded to quarterbacks. While the belief is that defense wins championships, offensive players – quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers – have won the award over 75 percent of the time. However, 12 of the recipients played defense, and one was a special teams player.

Within this group of players, some individuals have won the award more than once. San Francisco 49ers Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Montana and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady have both won the award three times. If the New England Patriots can beat the Atlanta Falcons, Brady may be a large part of that victory – possibly earning him his fourth Big Game MVP honor.

Three other quarterbacks – Bart Starr, Eli Manning, and Terry Bradshaw – have all won the award twice. There’s only one special teams player, Green Bay’s Desmond Howard, who had an almost 100-yard kickoff return to propel The Pack past the Patriots.

The “I” in “Team”

Even though the Dallas Cowboys have only won five league championships, they have had seven players receive MVP honors. Defensive end Harvey Martin and defensive tackle Randy White share this honor as co-MVPs. Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley also received this honor during a game where his team lost, but he performed well with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Two of the last three awards have bucked the trend of quarterbacks winning. Linebackers Malcolm Smith, from the Seattle Seahawks, and Von Miller, of the Denver Broncos, have hoisted the trophy for playing a big part in their team’s victory. Smith made an interception and returned it for a touchdown, recovered a fumble, and completed 10 tackles. Miller completed six tackles, delivered two-and-a-half sacks, and defended one pass.

Body of Work

There are some average results players looking to receive an MVP trophy in 2017 should try to achieve. Quarterbacks who have received the Big Game MVP threw for over 270 yards and over two touchdowns. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young delivered an above-average performance when he earned this honor, throwing for 325 yards and six touchdowns. And Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach threw just shy of 120 yards and two touchdowns when he was awarded the MVP.

Running backs who earned the honor rushed, on average, for over 150 yards and over one-and-a-half touchdowns. The last running back to win this award was Terrell Davis of the Denver Broncos, who had 30 carries for over 150 yards and three touchdowns. There are a lot of powerful running backs on the Atlanta Falcons’ and the New England Patriots’ teams – Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Dion Lewis, and LeGarrette Blount – who might be looking to pick up an MVP award in February.

Perhaps the same can be said for the wide receivers heading to the Big Game in 2017. Whether it’s Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan for New England or Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu for Atlanta, these are explosive offensive wide receivers capable of reaching averages of 140 yards or close to a touchdown.

Big Game Glory

Will the Atlanta Falcons or the New England Patriots hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy and see one of their team’s players be recognized for being the biggest player in the biggest game? Regardless of who you’re rooting for, or against, get ready for the big day with the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel from Fanatics.com.

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NFL Playoff Pet Pick ‘Em – Wild Card

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Every year, 12 football teams vie for the ultimate victory at the end of the NFL season – the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The days leading up to each playoff weekend are rife with analysis and predictions from former players and experts. Predicting the outcome, however, isn’t an easy task, as games can go in either direction at the drop of a hat.

Here at Fanatics.com, we decided to turn to some experts of our own. In addition to random football fans and professionals who know a thing or two about the game, we checked in with some furry experts … and yes, we do indeed mean pets. Super cute and adorable pets.

Shorty debates which playoff team to pick
(Shorty faces a tough decision between the Seahawks and the Lions.)

Who Are the Experts?

Experts part one for the pick 'em.

We had a wide variety of experts on hand to pick the winners of each playoff game. In addition to Coiney, our trusted flip coin, and the data lab from FiveThirtyEight, we checked in with the “real” experts. This includes former player Mike Golic, who now opines for ESPN, and Michael Irvin, former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, who spends time roaming the desks at NFL Network.

We also put the expertise of a few sports journalists to task. FOX Sports writer Dieter Kurtenbach’s picks are here on display, as are Mike Florio’s (he’s a writer for and creator of Pro Football talk).

We also talked to a few amateur fans. Tyler is a huge Saints fan whose picks might be more from the heart than from strong statistical analysis. We also have 5-month-old Leo and a grandmother from the U.K. There are also a few non-fans, like Margie, who picked on a whim.

Pets for Playoff Pet Pick 'Em

The pets, though, may be stealing the show. Dogs, cats, fish, a gecko, and a bearded dragon made playoff picks. Obviously, these are no ordinary pets.

For example, 10-year-old Albert is a Yorkie who also answers to “Sir Snuggles,” and he’s just fine with that. Shorty, a miniature dachshund, may just be a bandwagon fan, but we’re not telling anyone. Another dog, named Kylo, is a very spoiled only child, much like his namesake. And Charley, who was rescued when he was 2 years old, spends his time trashing his owner’s bed and barking a whole bunch.

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One of our feline experts makes her selection.

As far as cats go, Molly is a catnip freak, and Roofus tends to fixate on laser pointers. Basil spent his youth chasing footballs and hockey pucks … on the TV screen (which obviously makes him an expert in NFL picks), and Korra spends her days perfecting her litter box skills.

Finally, Dibs – the bearded dragon – spends his days stressing out about his reflection, and Tunachi, the fish, is the perfect impartial picker.

Pet owners were given cutouts of the logos for each playoff team and asked to record their furry (or scaly) friends’ choices. Some owners chose to put the logos on the ground, while others placed them in bowls. There were no hard rules for how the choices had to be made, except that owners were not allowed to influence the choices.

Ranking the Contenders After Wild Card Weekend

The Wild Card Weekend has come and gone. How did our experts fare?

It seems our coin toss got them all – that’s right, the most random expert on the board was four for four. Check out amateur fan Matt, who avoided picking with his Southern Florida heart and was 100 percent on his picks last weekend. Former defensive lineman Mike Golic was also in the top spot.

We even had a few adorable animals bat 1.000. Korra, the cat, along with Kylo and Vinny, the dogs, were on fire with their picks. How did they complete this amazing feat? What are they eating that’s giving them all this brainpower? Most importantly, will they keep this trend going?

 

Playoff Pet Pick 'Em Pound

However, not every animal pal did well this past weekend. A couple of dogs failed pretty hard. Riggins, the pooch, chose all the losers in the contests, as did poor little Albert (a.k.a. “Sir Snuggles”). We can’t blame them, though, because they’re canines (also, Riggins can’t see out of one eye, so cut him some slack).

On the human side, one of our non-fan “experts” also put up a huge zero, so picking ’em wrong is not just limited to four-legged creatures. Even professional sports writer Mike Florio only correctly picked two out of four times.   

While Wild Card Weekend was a snoozefest and lacked a ton of drama (all four home teams and higher seeds won their respective contests), there were a few big moments as the winning teams all hit their stride while bowling over their opponents. On the AFC side, Le’Veon Bell certainly turned heads with his unique and super patient rushing attack, and Jadeveon Clowney demonstrated a circus-like acrobatic interception that defensive players dream of. For NFC teams, Aaron Rodgers threw a Hail Mary – again – that was caught for a touchdown – again. We also can’t overlook Doug Baldwin’s fantastic catch … with his butt.

This Weekend’s Games

This weekend is the divisional round when the winners of each of the four games will head to their respective conference championship. Houston rolls into Foxborough as a huge underdog, making New England an easy pick for most of our experts, but not everyone has Tom Brady fever – Vinny, the dog, threw caution to the wind, picking Houston to shock the world with a win in the Northeast.

The rest of the games are more evenly matched (at least, according to Vegas), and the picks coming in reflect that, with some going toward Kansas City. However, Shorty, one of the pups finding himself in the pick ’em pound this week, picked Pittsburgh instead.

Korra, the only feline with a perfect record is picking Seattle and Dallas to meet in the NFC championship game.

Who do you think is going to come out of this weekend with a win?

Cuteness Overload in the NFL

No matter what picks these pets make, they are all super cute (even the fish). Above all, they are loved very much by their humans, who are going to completely overlook their totally wrong NFL playoff picks and instead give them more smooches, catnip, crickets, or dog treats – because that’s what they deserve.

Our pets aren’t the only ones who deserve a treat. Did your team make the playoffs? Celebrate the occasion by buying some gear from Fanatics.com. Even if your team missed out, it’s never too early to start dreaming about next year.

Ella prepares to make her selection.
Elly May ponders who she will choose in the next round.
Garnet remains cheerful despite not being in first place.

Methodology

Our “animal experts” were pets submitted by members of the Fanatics.com team. Pet owners were given cutouts of the logos for each playoff team and asked to record their furry (or scaly) friends’ choices. Some owners chose to put the logos on the ground, while others put them in a bowl. There were no hard rules for how the choices had to be made, except that owners were not allowed to influence the choices.

The real experts included in this study were selected at random from a pool of former NFL players and sports journalists who currently cover the NFL across a variety of networks and mediums.

No real playoff prediction would be complete without a “wild-card” element, hence our inclusion of random people and inanimate objects, like our beloved Coiney.

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Coaching Arcs: Pete Carroll

Coaching Arcs: Pete Carroll

Being an NFL coach is considered the pinnacle of one’s coaching career in the U.S. However, it’s a demanding job that comes with an enormous amount of stress, especially on game day. Head coaches are responsible for many things on and off the field. In addition to implementing game-play strategies, NFL coaches must motivate their team and staff, make split-second decisions during game time, and always deal with pressures brought upon by ownership and media outlets. The journey to becoming a head coach is a long one and entails a great deal of hard work and patience from candidates looking to acquire this high-profile role.

Currently, there are 32 head coach positions in the NFL. With limited spots open for the job, competition is at an all-time high. Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, is one of the lucky 32 who guides his team, staff, and fans through thrilling seasons. Carroll has had tremendous success in Seattle and even led the Hawks to back-to-back Super Bowls – emerging victorious against the Denver Broncos (43-8) in 2013.

With two NFC championships and a Super Bowl victory under his belt, it goes without saying Carroll has had a significant impact on the Seahawks and the “12th Man” (the fans) since joining the organization. As the Seahawks gear up for a potential playoff run, now is the perfect time to explore the storied journey of their beloved head coach.

Pete Carroll’s Career

A timeline that shows in graphic form, Pete Caroll's head coaching journey.

Pete Carroll was born in 1951. After experiencing a childhood filled with sports (including football, basketball, and baseball), Carroll attended the University of the Pacific where he played as a free safety for two years (he played football at College of Marin before transferring). After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, he unsuccessfully tried out for the Honolulu Hawaiians of the World Football League due to his size.

After that, Carroll decided to give the real world a chance and picked up a job selling roofing material in the East Bay area. Realizing the roofing industry wasn’t for him, Carroll eventually came back to his alma mater, where he served as a graduate assistant and coached wide receivers and defensive backs.

In the years that followed, Carroll would go on to serve as an assistant and defensive coordinator for several universities, including Arkansas, Ohio State, and North Carolina State.

It wasn’t until 1984, though, that Carroll landed his first job in the NFL as a defensive back coach for the Buffalo Bills. He was then picked up as a defensive coach by the Minnesota Vikings the following season. However, the New York Jets were the first organization to give Carroll a shot as head coach in 1994 (after working with the team as a defensive coordinator for four seasons) – a position that would last only one season after the team finished 6-10. In 1997, he would become the 13th head coach of the New England Patriots and succeed Bill Parcells. Unfortunately, Carroll’s tenure with the Pats was short-lived after he was fired in 1999, achieving a 27-21 record and two playoff appearances.

Trojans’ Triumph

After hitting a roadblock in the NFL, Carroll returned to college football and was hired as head coach of the University of Southern California in 2001.

Although he wasn’t the Trojans’ first choice, Carroll rejuvenated the program – leading the team to national prominence. During his nine-year tenure with the SoCal team, he achieved a career record of 97-19 in addition to winning seven out of the nine bowl games the Trojans competed in. Carroll also received the Pac-10 Coach of the Year award three times (2003, 2005, and 2006) at the helm of the Trojans. The success of the school’s football program fueled the athletic department’s revenue as well – growing from $38.6 million in 2000 to more than $76 million in 2008.

Under Carroll’s reign, USC’s notable highlights included:

In January 2010, Pete Carroll announced his resignation as head coach of USC football. The sudden departure stemmed from the offer he received from the Seattle Seahawks to lead the team as their new head coach, which was accompanied by a hefty $33 million five-year contract.

The “Eighth Man”

On Jan. 11, 2010, Pete Carroll became the eighth head coach of the Seattle Seahawks franchise. With the recent retirement of Tom Coughlin – the former New York Giants head coach – Carroll is now the oldest living head coach in the NFL at age 65.

Carroll started things off on the right foot with the Seahawks after they defeated the defending Super Bowl champions – the New Orleans Saints – in the first round of the 2010 playoffs. During his third season with the Hawks (2012), Carroll would experience his first winning season alongside rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, going undefeated at CenturyLink Field. It wasn’t until the following season that Carroll would reach an impressive level of success in the NFL. The Carroll-led Seahawks finished with an exceptional 13-3 record in addition to downing the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII – bringing the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Seattle for the first time since their inception into the league.

Happy 12/12 day! We appreciate you #12s!! #GoHawks

A photo posted by Pete Carroll (@petecarroll) on

Carroll and his all-star line-up, consisting of players such as Russell Wilson, Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, and Richard Sherman, once again ventured to the Super Bowl during the 2014 season but fell at the hands of the Patriots. For the fourth year in a row, the Seahawks appeared in the playoffs and later fell to the Carolina Panthers during the divisional round.

It seems Carroll isn’t going away soon. Paul Allen, the team owner, recently announced the Seahawks had reached an agreement with their famed coach and extended his contract through the 2019 season.

A Future in Seattle

It goes without saying that Pete Carroll is an elite motivator on and off the field. Between pumping the Hawks up on game day and showing his gratitude to fans in the stadium – Carroll has proven to be a real staple in the franchise.

With the regular season winding down, the Seattle Seahawks are gearing up to make yet another hopeful playoff run. Before you #12s head over to CenturyLink Field, be sure to support the #SeahawksNation by rockin’ the latest Hawks gear! Fanatics has got you covered for all your green, gray, and navy blue needs!

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The Evolution of the Seattle Seahawks Logo

Seattle Seahawks Logo

The Seattle Seahawks were founded in Seattle, Washington, on June 4, 1974; however, they did not have a name. So they opened it up to the public. After receiving over 20,000 entries and 1,700 different names, the team picked the “Seahawks” on June 17, 1975.

Recent Success

Seattle fans have dealt with mediocrity for much of the team’s history. It wasn’t until 2005 that the city received its first NFC championship and went to its first Super Bowl. Under coach Mike Holmgren, the Seahawks went 13-3 – winning the NFC West division. As the NFC’s No. 1 seed, Seattle beat the Carolina Panthers in the NFC championship game but would eventually lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.

The Seahawks’ finest season would come in 2013 when they again finished with a record of 13-3. The Seahawks beat their division rival, the San Francisco 49ers, in the NFC championship game and advanced to the Super Bowl to face the Denver Broncos. Capping off their amazing season, Seattle beat the Broncos 43-8 to win their first-ever Super Bowl title.

The following season, the Seahawks would again reach the Super Bowl – this time facing the New England Patriots. The game would end in tragedy, however, for Seattle. Down four points in the final minutes of the game, quarterback Russell Wilson drove the offense all the way down to the one-yard line. With 26 seconds left, Wilson threw a game-ending interception. The play call was surrounded by controversy, as many thought the Seahawks should have run the ball with Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch.

Best of Seattle

When it comes to all-time great Seahawks players, you have to mention running back Shaun Alexander. Alexander is the franchise’s leading rusher, with 2,176 carries for 9,429 yards and 100 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl three times, and in 2005, he was a First Team All-Pro when he led the NFL with 27 rushing touchdowns. Another great running back in Seattle history is Marshawn Lynch. Lynch made the Pro Bowl from 2011 to 2014 and was a First Team All-Pro in 2012, rushing for over 1,200 yards in each of those seasons. Lynch also led the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2013 and 2014. A current star for the Seahawks is Russell Wilson, who has been the starting quarterback since his rookie season in 2012. He led the Seahawks to their first-ever Super Bowl championship in 2013 and made the Pro Bowl in 2012, 2013, and 2015.

When it comes to coaching greats in Seattle, two men come to mind: Mike Holmgren and Pete Carroll. Holmgren is the franchise’s winningest coach with a record of 86-74. He coached Seattle for 10 years and led the Seahawks to their first-ever NFC championship in 2005. The Seahawks’ current coach is Pete Carroll, who was hired in 2010 after reaping much success at the University of Southern California. In his first season, Carroll’s Seahawks didn’t have a winning record at 7-9, but they would still make the playoffs and subsequently win a game against the New Orleans Saints. Three seasons later, the Seahawks would win their first-ever Super Bowl title with Carroll at the helm.

Logo Evolution

Seattle Seahawks logo evolution

The Seahawks logo has not seen much change in the team’s 40-year history. The logo has always been a right-facing Seahawk and has only been altered twice. When the team selected the name “Seahawks” in 1975, then General Manager John Thompson described a Seahawk as a “tough, fish-eating bird.”

1976–2001: The original logo is derived from a picture of a transformation mask of the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe found in an art book called “Art of the Northwest Coast Indians.” After the Seahawks create their rendition of the mask, a local artist named Marvin Oliver sends the Seahawks his version of the logo, which he thinks better adheres to Northwest Coast design principles.

2002–2011: The original logo lasts over 20 years until it is modernized in 2002. The franchise wants to give the logo a fiercer look. It also changes the team’s colors from royal blue and green to navy blue, light blue, and green.

2012–2016: Ten years later, Seattle makes one slight change to the logo by swapping light blue for gray.

Be a Fanatic! You’re already on the internet, so head on over to Fanatics.com right now to get the latest Seahawks gear.

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The Evolution of the Seattle Seahawks Jersey

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The Seattle Seahawks joined the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1976 along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The team is the only one based in the Pacific Northwest region, which provides them with wide geographic support from surrounding areas. In fact, they are described as having some of the loudest fans in the league! The franchise is also the only one in NFL history to play in both the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC) championship games they played for 25 years in the AFC before switching over to the NFC in 2002 during the NFL alignment.

Throughout their history, Seattle has kept various shades of blue and green as the team’s staple colors, and they became the first NFL team to use lime green on the uniforms.

Let’s take a look back at the Seahawks jersey history to see how this Pacific Northwestern team has evolved over the years.

Logo History

The Seattle Seahawks have a very brief logo history in terms of changing the original design and color scheme. Still, there have been many variations over the years to three main colors – blue, gray, and green.

1976–2001: The Seahawks enter the NFL as an expansion team in 1976. The team’s initial logo uses a bird (the sea hawk) head with a two-tone blue and green coloring.

2002–2011: Seattle gives its logo a modern feel with a sleek redesign that minimizes the green coloring in place of more navy and blue.

2012–Present: The logo remains largely the same with slightly altered coloring and the addition of silver.

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Seattle Seahawks 28” x 40” Double-Sided House Flag

Notable Uniform Changes

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1976: The Seahawks enter the league in 1976 as an expansion team. The first uniform features a silver helmet, that displays the totem-style logo, and silver pants. At home, the team dons a blue jersey with white numbering. On the road, the Hawks wear a white jersey with blue numbering.

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Seattle Seahawks New Era On-Field Low Crown 59FIFTY Fitted Hat – College Navy

1981: The Seahawks keep the same look but ditch the traditional black cleats for sleek white ones.

1982: A blue trim is added to the collar of the uniform.

1983: The facemask changes colors – from gray to blue. The jerseys also receive the team logo on the sleeves, which pairs nicely with the stripe.

1985: A small patch is placed on the left hip of the uniform as a dedication to the team’s 10th season.

1994: The team places a patch on the left collarbone portion of the jersey as a tribute to the NFL’s 75th season. The green striping on the pants also becomes thicker.

2000: The team celebrates their 25th anniversary with a patch on the left collarbone area of both jerseys.

2002: Seattle undergoes a significant change in its uniform for the first time in franchise history. The helmets change from silver to a gunmetal blue shade. The actual logo takes on a more aggressive design change to resemble a meaner-looking hawk.

The white uniform receives the gunmetal shading on the numbering and sleeves. The dark uniform changes from normal blue to the new gunmetal tinting with bold, dark sleeves. The two-tone coloring allows the team to use up to four uniform combinations (all gunmetal, gunmetal jersey and white pants, all white, and white jersey with gunmetal pants). Additionally, black cleats return.

2009: The Seahawks wear a lime green alternate jersey at home. It follows the same template of the white/gunmetal combination but replaces the jersey with a vibrant shade. This was the first time such a color was used in the league.

2012: The gunmetal and lime are replaced by navy and a neon-style green. The team mixes and matches with white, navy blue, and gray to serve as staple colors for various uniform pairings.

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Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks Nike Game Jersey – College Navy

2013: The team unveils alternate wolf gray uniforms. The uniforms resemble the traditional white uniform with a slightly darker gray tone.  

Looking Back to Look Forward

After their recent success in the 2014 and 2015 seasons – grinding the gridiron to play in both Super Bowls, emerging victorious in one – the Seahawks have several new numbers to consider for future retirement.

Between the intense offensive plays stampeded by Beast Mode (Marshawn Lynch), the shotgun arm of quarterback Russell Wilson, and the defense monster himself – Richard Sherman – the Hawks have their hands full with franchise legends.

If the Seahawks keep up the success, then one thing is definitely set to change – the number of retired jersey numbers, which currently sits at a meager four!

No. 71 – Walter Jones

No. 80 – Steve Largent

No. 96 – Cortez Kennedy

No. 12 – Fans/12th Man

#GoHawks! Before heading out to CenturyLink Field for the next Seahawks game, be sure to equip your assemblage with the latest Seahawks gear! For all your blue-green essentials, look no further than Fanatics – your one-stop shop for all sports fashion and memorabilia.  

 

The Seattle Seahawks Color Rush jersey:

Seattle Seahawks color rush

 

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NFL Drafts 1995–2015: Diamonds in the Rough

NFL Drafts 1995-2015: Diamonds in the Rough

In assessing the viability of a future NFL player, draft position has always been a critical indicator for career success. Early draft picks tend to have longer tenures in the league and have the best production; this is fueled in part by teams’ undertaking elaborate means to get the best college players and scout prospects before other teams can grab them. However, history is full of gems who eluded the scouting report.

Take Richard Sherman, for example. A key component of the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl win, he is currently third among active players for interceptions and defended passes. Despite this, Sherman was picked in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, based on a sub-par assessment of his athleticism during the scouting combine. Another example is Shannon Sharpe, the NFL Hall of Famer who helped lead the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl wins and the Ravens to one. He was drafted in the seventh round in 1990.

We tallied the late-round draft picks from 1995 to 2015 in an attempt to show where the draft got it wrong. Looking at the most successful of the late picks paints a portrait of the randomness of the draft and reveals that some of the finest diamonds in the NFL truly were found in the rough.

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Judging Greatness in NFL’s Late-Round Quarterback Picks

Students of the draft know that Tom Brady bursts the illusion that a top quarterback must be drafted in the first round. Since taking over as starting quarterback for the New England Patriots in 2001 after then–starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was sidelined for internal bleeding, Brady has been the epitome of the top-tier league quarterback and the face of the NFL. Fifth on the all-time career passing yards list, third for career touchdown passes, and the postseason leader for passing yards and touchdowns, Brady is responsible for the longest winning streak in NFL history, the most consecutive playoff wins, and the only undefeated regular season under the NFL’s 16-games schedule. The 10-time Pro Bowler and four-time Super Bowl champion was also picked 199th in the sixth round of the 2000 draft, and he was only drafted because of intervention from the Patriots’ front office.

Brady, however, is not the only late-draft quarterback to break out, as illustrated in the above graphic. Three-time Pro Bowler Matt Hasselbeck has thrown 3,197 pass completions for 5,285 attempts as of Week 14 and led the Seattle Seahawks to six playoff appearances and a Super Bowl, where the Seahawks were defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hasselbeck was drafted 187th in the sixth round of the 1998 draft.

Derek Anderson, a one-time Pro Bowler and current reserve quarterback to Cam Newton on the playoff-bound Carolina Panthers, was drafted 213th in the sixth round of the 2005 draft. In his Week 1 start in 2014, Anderson completed 25 of 40 passes for 277 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Another example is Matt Cassel. The only quarterback in NFL history to start a league game without ever starting in college, Cassel started for the Patriots in 2008 after Brady took a season-ending knee injury. Cassel went on to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to their first divisional championship and earned his Pro Bowl berth following this; he was drafted 230th in round seven of the 2005 draft.

Late-Round Defender Stat Profiles

Hidden Defense

When Adalius Thomas was drafted in 2000, no one knew if he was worth the sixth-round pick used to get him. Even though he was part of the 2000-2001 Baltimore Ravens team that won Super Bowl XXXV, he only played four games that year. Competing with Michael McCrary and Peter Boulware for play time at the outside linebacker position, Thomas found success – and a berth in the Pro Bowl – as a special teams player. In 2005, he led the NFL in non-offensive touchdowns. With a career 517 tackles, 53 sacks, 15 forced fumbles, and seven interceptions, Thomas was one of the most productive defensive players in the league. Later in his career, he was selected as both a 2006 Pro Bowler and All-Pro as a first-team outside linebacker.

Thomas’s success emphasizes the fact that quarterback is not the only position that can be successfully harvested from the late draft. Many successful defensive players were drafted in the late rounds, as evidenced in the graphic above. There are several examples of late-round success: The Miami Dolphins’ Yeremiah Bell – despite being drafted 213th in round six in the 2003 draft – amassed 726 career tackles and 13 sacks. Cato June, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Indianapolis Colts, made the 2005 Pro Bowl and amassed a career tally of 498 tackles. June was drafted 198th in round six of the 2003 draft.

Conclusion

One of the factors that make NFL drafts so exciting is its unpredictability. It is just as likely for a top pick to be a flop as a sixth-round pick to turn out to be the best quarterback in a generation. While scouting is a great resource for determining athleticism and raw skills, it cannot measure how a player will work with his teammates and coaches or how much heart the player will have in his career. As such, draft picks will always have a certain element of chance and blind luck associated with them, allowing hidden gems to be found in the late rounds.

Sources

Methodology

We looked at Pro Football Reference, analyzing all draft picks from 1995 to 2015 and their corresponding career stats. For all of these assets above, we looked at players drafted in rounds five through seven who played in at least one Pro Bowl. We filtered the results only to focus on players drafted by the following teams: Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers. These teams were selected because they have each drafted at least three Pro Bowlers in rounds five through seven since 1995.

Fair Use Statement

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