Super Bowl: Seattle Seahawks favourites for 2015 but can they dominate?
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 13/02/14 4:00pm
Watch reaction from Super Bowl XL VIII as The Seattle Seahawks battered the Denver Broncos 43-8
With the dust hardly even settled on Super Bowl XLVIII, attentions have already turned to next season and whether the Seahawks can repeat their victory and begin a Legion of Boom legacy of defensive domination.
After every Super Bowl we ask whether the victors can taste more success, but the dominant manner of Seattle's destruction of Denver makes the question even more pertinent this time around.
The 'Legion Of Boom' stomped all over Peyton Manning's record-setting Denver offence, so there's no surprises that they are instantly installed as favourites to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy next February in Arizona - Sky Bet going 6/1 on them defending their title.
Peter Carroll's side is built on the very best defence in the league, a young, hungry group who play like their lives depend on it - and one which bullied the greatest offence in history from the first snap to the last in Sunday's Super Bowl.
'Defence wins Championships' is the old motto, and that certainly proved to be the case at MetLife Stadium as Manning was hassled and hurried all night by Seattle's pass rush, the Denver running game was shut down, and the receivers smashed about by the much vaunted Seahawks secondary.
'Legacy' is a word Richard Sherman mentioned a few times during post-game interviews, and with Seattle being the second-youngest team in the NFL last year and the fourth youngest ever to win a Super Bowl, they could have a real chance.
They also don't have too many worries on player contracts or retirements that saw last year's Baltimore team torn apart, with pass rusher Michael Bennett and receiver Golden Tate their main free agent worries.
Russell Wilson will earn 'only' around $650,000 next season and he cannot get a new deal until 2015, so apart from often-injured receiver Sidney Rice the Seahawks will be able to largely keep their title-winning team together for next year.
Sherman and safety Earl Thomas have deals that expire after the end of next season, so they will need to keep a close eye on that pair for when the time comes - as they'll both be wanting Super Bowl winning money for sure.
Given the superb job done by Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider over the last three years in assembling such a bunch of underrated, hungry players, you'd imagine a few decent draft picks will be thrown into the mix as well.
A few things are not in Seattle's favour heading into next season, and one of those is history - as Super Bowl champions have a terrible record in recent years when trying to defend their title.
Eight times a team has successfully defended a Super Bowl win, but none since the New England Patriots in 2005, and in fact the Pats are the only champions to win a play-off game in the following season during that spell.
Four of the last nine Super Bowl winners have even failed to make the play-offs - and while that looks unthinkable right now it will not be a cakewalk for Seattle given their second big obstacle to creating a Legion of Boom legacy - the NFC West.
A division long derided, even as recent as three years ago when Seattle limped into the play-offs at 7-9, the NFC West is now arguably the toughest around, with brutal, hard-hitting defence at the heart of all four teams - the group went 30-10 last year in non-division games.
Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona all ranked in the top six defensively, with the Rams not too far behind and with two first round Draft picks to bolster their squad. The 49ers ran the Seahawks ever so close in the NFC title game, in Seattle, while the Cardinals are the only team in two years to win at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle have the talent, youth, and strategy to challenge for the next few years, but given the NFL is geared towards parity, that is getting harder and harder and especially in that division, next year will be an even harder task for this great team.