Last Sunday the Seattle Seahawks headed to London to play the Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium in what was their first game in another country. Frank Clark and the Seahawks pass rush highlight the Seahawks dominate 27-3 win over the Raiders.
This was a very interesting time for the Seahawks because they took their star quarterback, his music star wife, and a new defense to London for a game in a stadium that could be purchased by another NFL owner. The layers of this story boggle the mind when one considers the impact of football around the world.
After all the public bickering that happened between the old legion of boom defense and the offense, Seattle had a lot of repairing to do with the public after they damaged their rock-solid image with the fans. There is the Earl Thomas injury, and the team getting off to a slow start to the season. However, the Raiders are not that much better. Jon Gruden needs a PR firm just to help him explain why he traded Khalil Mack, and why he has not gotten much production out of Derek Carr at all.
The 12s Go Over London. . . and Take Over. The NFL likes to play a game or two every year out of the country. They do not play in Canada because there is a whole football league in Canada that caters to the Canadian public. However, the NFL wants to be visible in Mexico and Europe. They have played in Mexico City and London and playing in Wembley is like playing on hallowed ground. It is one of the largest and most hallowed stadiums in the world, and playing a game there was a once in a lifetime experience for the players. The team did not disappoint their fans. And boy were there lots of them. Seahawk fans, or 12s as they are called, are perhaps the best traveling fan base in sports. For every Raider fan who made the trip to London, there were 10 screaming Seahawk fans. With a 10:1 ratio is was obvious to everyone in London that the 12s have officially taken over London.
The time difference between Seattle and London for the game is eight hours, players were asked to completely change their schedules and routines just to make the gameday experience work. The Raiders will be in the same boat coming from the west coast, and these two teams will play at an odd time so that they can be on TV in America. They will be in a very unfamiliar place, and they will be asked to perform well because both teams need a win badly. In what proved to be a very good move, the Seattle Seahawks arrived a day before the Oakland Raiders. Thus, allowing their bodies to become acclimated to the time change and to help deal with the jet lag.
One noticeable player missing from action was Earl Thomas. Now on the Injury Reserve list, Thomas will miss the remainder of the season with a broken leg. After getting injured last week, Earl Thomas who is one of the best free safeties in the NFL, flipped off his own sideline while he was being carted off the field. The Earl Thomas injury and his subsequent “bid flipping” were all over the headlines last week. The Seahawks dominate win was the best way to show the rest of the world that they have moved on and are past it.
The Raiders needed a win much more. Jon Gruden is getting paid $100 million to be the coach of the Raiders, and his team looks terrible. The offense has sputtered, and the team might not believe a word he says. He has traded away a franchise player in Khalil Mack, and he has been testy and evasive in press conferences. After the Raiders abysmal loss London, they came home to nothing positive to look forward to for the rest of the season. They will have the impossible task of salvaging their season while being in the same division as the red-hot Chiefs. They will not make the playoffs unless they make some major changes. The last word is that Amari Cooper is on the trading block. One thing is for certain in Oakland, they are in rebuilding mode.
Seattle is in the same boat. Seattle are stuck in the NFC West with the last undefeated team left, the LA Rams. The Rams are running away with the NFC, and the Seahawks have no chance of catching up if they do not do something to salvage their season. They must convince us all that they are not bothered by what happened with Earl Thomas, and they also must start scoring more on offense. The London game was a great start and sadly nobody really missed Earl Thomas, as far as his play at free safety. As a founding member of the Legion of Boom, Earl Thomas will always be a part of the Seahawks lore. But not we have entered a new chapter. A post Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Richard Sherman era.
Pete Carroll could be done, and that could happen as soon as this season if he cannot fix this team. He had a great run with Seattle where he went to two Super Bowls and won one. He has done all that he can do for this team, but he might have outstayed his welcome. However, Pete could come back from a London with a historically epic win, and it looks like the locker room is gelling’ again. The offensive line is playing better than ever, the pass rush is finding their rhythm, and the defense is coming together. And if this first game without Earl Thomas is evident of things to come, the Seahawks might just make a wildcard run come January.
The owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars is in negotiations to buy Wembley Stadium. If he were to buy the stadium, he could move the team to London. That would be a long process that has to be approved by other owners, but the NFL has wanted to have an international impact for a long time. The Seahawks trip to London could become commonplace for teams across the league. This could change how players prepare, and it might change how certain players can play because of the conditions and travel involved. You might remember that Ryan Clark formerly of the Steelers has a blood disease that prevented him from playing in Denver at over a mile above sea level. What if someone cannot get into London for a game?
The Seahawks have completely turned around the team. They went to London and got a win in a highly featured game. The Raiders will have to answer more questions since they came back with a loss. The Raiders are in a lot worse position now than before they went to London as they are now the worse team in football. The Seahawks get to enjoy some much-needed rest as they enter their bye week and then prepare