The Seattle Seahawks haven't been a traditional dynasty per se since 2014 but their body of work is a rare example of prolonged success in a league structurally tilted toward parity. Pete Carroll's side has posted at least 10 wins in eight of nine seasons and built a very specific type of ballclub around Russell Wilson's dual-threat playmaking and ball-hawking defense while leaving pesky things like assembling a decent offensive line for other franchises.
Outside of the New England Patriots, no team in the NFL has more high-profile continuity when it comes to the coach-quarterback combo. When you close your eyes and picture either Carroll or Wilson, they are standing next to each other. Or centrally located together in the mind's eye.
It appears that the prolonged period of relatively smooth seas is coming to an end. Rumors abound over the 32-year-old's future in Seattle. He definitely doesn't want a trade but if they're thinking about trading him, he happens to have a list handy of acceptable destinations in which he can chase his long-elusive second Super Bowl.
Wilson carries with him a $58 million cap hit. So any team wishing to enjoy his services are going to stack their contracts carefully like the laziest person at a college house who refuses to ever take the trash out. Any trade would carry both great risk and the potential for great reward.
But even if Wilson returns as master and commander of the Seahawks, it's hard to argue that the mood hasn't changed some. Imagining the 12th Man with a single tear rolling down his cheek as the All-American superhero left town is a vision few even bothered envisioning before last season. Now it sort of feels like wheels are in motion and momentum could lead to a total transformation of the franchise by week's end.
That's not to say the party is over. Seattle went 12-4 last season. If Wilson returns, he'll still walk around with the knowledge that he's capable of winning it all. Everyone else will know it too. His receiving corps will only get more experienced. He'll have weapons. And a defense to fall back on which, though not near Legion of Boom level, is above-average.
If Wilson doesn't return and Dak Prescott is the new guy in charge, his fully healthy efforts are good enough to compete. Then there's the idea of a three-way trade to land Deshaun Watson, which would be the best-case scenario.
All of this to say that there could be plenty of good times in the future. Even for Carroll, who at 70 is the league's oldest coach but far from its most docile. Yet the vibe has changed. Probably forever. Someone turned off the music at the wrong time, causing an awkward moment. Someone spilled a drink on the sofa. A new couple is having an argument on the stoop and it's making everyone nervous. Someone should probably turn on a new playlist.