One of the hardest feats to accomplish in professional sports is building a dynasty in the NFL. The salary cap makes it difficult for teams to improve their rosters, and the onslaught of injuries each club faces on a yearly basis can make sustaining success seem like a futile endeavor.
The Seattle Seahawks should own the NFC for the next decade. They've reached the Super Bowl in two consecutive years, and dismantled Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos by 35 points to capture the championship in 2014. With a young core and star fourth-year quarterback, this should only the beginning of the Seahawks, not the end. But yet, as they head into a Week 2 Sunday night matchup against the Green Bay Packers, there are warning signs that this dynasty may be crumbling before it even begins.
Kam Chancellor holdout
Chancellor's holdout will reportedly continue for another week, which means he won't be active when the Seahawks visit Lambeau Field Sunday night. The All-Pro safety's absence doesn't just leave a massive void in the secondary, but in the locker room as well. Chancellor's locker room presence is apparently so important that he supposedly wants to get paid for his leadership, too.
But that has proven to be a challenging request for the Seahawks to fulfill after they inked a number of players to lucrative contract extensions over the last couple of years. Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner have all signed new deals since last spring. The Seahawks haven't been forced to allow any of their core players to walk yet, largely thanks to Wilson playing under his rookie contract for the last three years, but it seems as if Chancellor might be their first cap casualty. If an agreement isn't worked out in the coming weeks, Chancellor could be dealt to another club.
The secret ingredient to winning in the NFL long-term isn't necessarily the top of a team's roster, but rather the bottom. When a veteran such as Chancellor isn't playing, somebody has to step up. The Seahawks' secondary depth failed them last Sunday. Chancellor's replacement at strong safety, Dion Bailey, fell down while trying to cover St. Louis Rams tight end Lance Kendricks on the game-tying touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.
Chancellor may not be the only defensive starter the Seahawks will have to replace over the next year -- defensive lineman Michael Bennett has recently expressed his desire for a new contract as well. The Seahawks might have no choice but to replace two of their defensive stalwarts, which is far easier said than done.
Super Bowl hangover
Wilson may have led most of his teammates to the edge of a cliff this offseason to flesh out the residual aftereffects of their crushing Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, but it will probably take a lot more than a long bus ride through the Hawaiian mountains to get over that one.
Whenever head coach Pete Carroll or offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell make a questionable play call late in a game, the dark cloud of Wilson's ill-fated slant pass to Ricardo Lockette will probably hang over their heads. Just ask Marshawn Lynch's mom. She has some strong feelings on the subject.
Carroll has spent much of the week explaining a seeming onside kick Steven Hauschka inexplicably uncorked at the start of overtime in last week's loss to the Rams. Carroll says the "kick wasn't executed properly," which makes some sense, but doesn't excuse the inane decision to try to chip the ball rather than just kick it away. With the new overtime rules, teams automatically get the ball back unless their opponent scores a touchdown. There was little reason for the Seahawks to force the issue there. They got too cute for their own good, and now questions about Carroll's in-game decision making will continue to persist.
The Pete Carroll factor
Carroll has done a remarkable job with the Seahawks, but it's difficult not to wonder if his "rah-rah sis-boom-bah" act will eventually wear thin in Seattle like it did in New York and New England.
There are a lot of combustible personalities on this Seahawks who seemingly have huge egos and love to talk. All of that boastful talk plays well when you're winning, but can fracture a locker room when you're losing.
Carroll only lasted one season with the Jets, who dropped their final five games of the season under his leadership to finish 6-10. He had some success in New England, winning the AFC East in his first season, but the Patriots got worse in each of the following two years. Carroll was relieved of his duties in 1999.
Obviously, Carroll's run so far in Seattle has trumped anything he accomplished with the Jets or the Patriots. But Carroll's style hasn't been proven to have longevity in the NFL.
Year six in Seattle isn't off to the best start, and the Seahawks could be an 0-2 football team if they lose to Green Bay on the road Sunday night.
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SB Nation presents: Bad news for the Cowboys in Week 2