A Seattle Seahawks victory in the Superbowl this Sunday could have a bigger impact on the NFL than signalling the start of a new dynasty. Should the Seattle franchise become the first team to retain their crown since the New England Patriot ten years ago, then teams will be looking to learn from their success.
The NFL is a copy-cat league. When teams started to have success passing the ball over running it, nearly every team followed. More recently, when quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III had success with their feet, a lot of teams copied the format by installing run-first quarterbacks. So what do the Seahawks have that the rest of the league can copy?
It's not a secret. In fact, the Seahawks have publicised that they tackle differently. Six months ago, they produced the video above highlighting their rugby method of tackling. The shoulder first tackle method, as opposed to the prevalent head first tackle method is significantly safer and reduces the risks of concussion.
Seahawks head coach spoke about this in his pre-Superbowl press conference on Sunday, and reveals he is intrigued that in a sport with no pads or protective gear that there are significantly less concussions.
It’s a culmination of myself, personally making the transition of not fighting the old way and giving in to that we’ve got to take care of our players in a better way
Concussions are a major talking point in the NFL recently, with a concussion lawsuit involving 4,500 retired players in the process of being settled for an enormous sum. Carroll decided to take a proactive step, and after studying rugby, decided to adopt the tackling methods back when he was still in charge of USC in college football.
We have found that you can tackle and totally emphasise shoulder tackling and getting your head out of football and really that coincides so much with the language and the message we’ve heard come about for all of the right reasons, that we wanted to share it, so we did.
The Seahawk's period of dominance has been built on an outstanding defence, and one that rarely misses any tackles. What's strange is that Carroll hasn't kept this as a secret weapon. In fact, he has made sure to involve NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to try and market this and get the message of safer tackling across to players and youngsters.
Another Superbowl win on Sunday could be a very persuasive argument for adopting the safer tackling method.