As a result, the Seahawks have transcended all of the elements of the NFL that are designed to pull teams back to the middle. They have a GM and scouting staff who find stars in the late rounds, and a coaching staff that deploys them artfully. They have a second-year quarterback who outplayed a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer on the game's biggest stage. They have a coach who is still avenging slights from more than a decade ago. All of the pieces are there for sustained excellence.
But the NFL is a great equalizer. Nobody is good without luck. McCloughan seemed to sense this as he left the stadium. His fingerprints are all over the two most talented rosters in the NFL.
Since joining the Seahawks in 2010, he's had offers to be a GM, and it is only a matter of time before he says yes. Only a team made up of cast-offs and underdogs can appreciate how hard and essential it is to maintain magic.
That's why after the game, Schneider and McCloughan gave each other a hug and exchanged words both simple and rare, exclusive each year to only one team:
"We did it."