EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As music blared and Pete Carroll prepared to stand in the middle of the locker room and, in a raspy voice, congratulate his team on a 43-8 win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, only one member of the organization seemed to be slightly bummed that the season was over.
It was Scot McCloughan, the Seahawks' senior personnel executive, who like many members of the organization had been cast off and found redemption in Seattle. McCloughan is a former GM of the 49ers. He picked most of their stars before an abrupt parting in 2010. He is perhaps the NFL's premier talent evaluator, and he is on the NFL's premier scouting staff, led by GM John Schneider.
Like every scout, he knows how hard it is to do what the team has just done, burying the greatest offense in NFL history with such ruthless force that it recalled the '90s Cowboys demolishing the high-powered Bills.
McCloughan walked out of the locker room with a few game programs and pieces of memorabilia under his arm before stopping to chat and taking one last look at the team he helped assemble.
"It'll be hard to build this again," he said.
The Seahawks are not just talented. They are mysteriously talented. They are comprised not only of draft-day afterthoughts who have become quality starters but draft-day afterthoughts who have become stars. It is as confounding as it is rare.
The closest analogy is the Patriots during their dynasty years, but the difference is that the Pats were built to outlast their opponents. The Seahawks are built to embarrass them, manhandle them. The team that seemed for most of Super Bowl week to be a feel-good story, the plucky underdogs against the powerful Broncos, has now served notice to the rest of the NFL that it is not only more talented than every other team, but it is more talented at finding talent than any other franchise.
That starts with Carroll and Schneider, of course. They arrived at the Seahawks from opposite angles -- Carroll a reborn NFL retread after failed stops with the New York Jets and New England; Schneider a young, surprise hire from Green Bay -- but together they've created a system that nurtures talent as well as it spots it.
And as much as the Super Bowl win spoke to the virtues of total team football in the era of the franchise quarterback who covers for his team's inevitable holes, it also marked the validation of a timeless philosophy of drafting players, with a special Seattle twist.
The timeless philosophy is that of Ron Wolf, the legendary architect of the 1990s Packers. Schneider and McCloughan are both disciples of Wolf. They are approximately the same age (41 and 42, respectively) and learned in Green Bay how to build a team through the draft by, as Wolf likes to say, "playing the percentages." That means not deviating from height and weight and strength standards set for each position. That would explain Seattle's secondary, tall and physical in the era of the lithe speedster. But as McCloughan says, "You can't be stubborn."