The similarities are clear, and the comparisons are present. In truth, the Seattle Seahawks of the Pete Carroll era are the closest, in terms of team makeup, to the Detroit Pistons and the “Bad Boys” era under Chuck Daly.
Richard Sherman, the All-Pro cornerback, acts as the Isaiah Thomas of this group. The outspoken leader that off the field is as good as advertised, while on the field, is one who will tear your heart out of you, show it to you and then step on it.
The other parts of the defense fill out the roles of the enforcers. Players like Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and the rest of the unit are the Dennis Rodman’s, the Rick Mahorn’s, the John Salley’s and the Bill Laimbeer’s, the guys who provide the toughness and the physicality that makes other teams worry about things beyond the game itself.
On offense, Seattle has its own “Bad Boys.” In quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks get the equivalents of Joe Dumars and Vinnie Johnson, guys who make the clutch plays when the game is on the line.
Now to the head coaches. Both Pete Carroll and Chuck Daly were criticized for not having the right stuff to win a championship early on. Carroll’s tag was that a college-like atmosphere could never win in pro football. With Chuck Daly in Detroit, the label was that a defensive-first mentality would never be enough to win a championship.
Finally, both teams got even better when one of their key players was let go. The Pistons could not win an NBA title with Adrian Dantley, so they got Mark Aguirre. The Seahawks did not reach the conference championship with cornerback Brandon Browner, yet Byron Maxwell steps in and helped Seattle reach Super Bowl 48.
The only thing that will make this comparison come to fruition is when–not if–Seattle will be a crowned a champion. Then its legacy will be officially cast.