Fortune is a Football Team

Russell Wilson celebrates the Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX win

This past February, as you may have known, the Seattle Seahawks played the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLIX at Metlife Stadium. I, being from New Jersey, and not wanting to pass up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, found a way to get tickets to this game. As I sat next to my brother and watched the Seahawks score touchdown after touchdown in their 43-8 rout of the Broncos, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How did they become so good?”. The Seahawks were a well oiled machine, on both offense and defense. It was one of the most lopsided super bowls in recent history. However, if a casual football fan was asked why these Seahawks played as well as they did, not many people would know. Their team is not star-studded; there are probably only three players that non-football followers could point out, even after the Super Bowl. So why and how could they be this good? Could it possibly be just good fortune?

John Schneider

Seahawks General Manager John Schneider

In Machiavelli’s The Prince, he elaborates on the impact of fortune on a leader’s success. He believes that “Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions, but that she still allows us to direct the other half”. He also says that those who want good fortune, go out and create their own, by constantly putting in effort and anticipating fortuna’s next move. Every year, hundreds of college football athletes are drafted into the National Football Association via the NFL Draft. It is no telling which players will succeed in the NFL, and those who will become “busts”, or failures. The Seahawks, one could argue, are either very good, or very fortunate while drafting players. Three of their best players were drafted fairly late in the NFL Draft. Russell Wilson, their star quarterback was drafted 75th overall, Kam Chancellor, the hard-hitting safety was drafted 133rd overall, and the flamboyantly confident cornerback Richard Sherman (made famous for this postgame interview), was drafted 154th overall.

Machiavelli explains that fortuna accounts for half of a person’s life, while the other half is made by the person. Also, he describes that in times of peace, a good leader must be actively pursuing every opportunity to better prepare his people for the future. John Schneider, the Seahawks General Manager, has done just this. Early in the 2010 season, he traded for running back Marshawn Lynch, who has been one of the team’s best players since his acquisition.


The Seahawks also got very lucky in their drafting of these players. One may say “Oh, they draft very well”, but in truth, there was probably a reason these players were drafted so low. These players had less talent than others, but the difference is they worked hard and got better for the good of the team. In The Prince, Machiavelli elaborates on good counsels, and how the ones that work best are the ones that work hard and are loyal to the kingdom. This counsel will always do what is best for the principality, and not for themselves. Much like these Seahawks players, they work the hardest of any team in order to bring their team to glory.


Now I’m not saying that sports are all about luck, or all about fortune, but I am saying fortune and hard work both play a role. Not every team has two 5th round picks become superstars for their team. Not every team is lucky to be blessed with the talent the Seahawks have chosen and been given. Their combination of hard work and good fortune has put the Seahawks kingdom in a time of peace, as Machiavelli would put it. H0wever, this season Seattle has only four wins and three losses, an average record at best.

Maybe, their fortune has started running out.

3 thoughts on “Fortune is a Football Team

  1. The Seahawks entire organization are guys who have been overlooked and feel as if they have something to prove. Your connection toMachiavelli was brilliant. Good Fortune comes to those who work hard and keep pushing regardless of the situation. Very good post and connection between the two.


  2. It is interesting that the Seahawks have three very good players that were drafted quite low. but this could be attributed more to the system of the NFL and not as much fortune. It happens all the time that fifth and sixth rounders turn out to be fine players. It also works the other way, there are countless first round busts. WE can also attribute the Seahawks overbearing win to Peyton Manning. He plays poorly in bad weather, the playoffs and against strong pass rushes.


  3. I think the Seahawks’ victory in Super Bowl XLVIII had a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time. When looking at the highlights of the game, everything just seemed to go the Seahawks’ way; The Broncos had a safety on the first play of the game, Peyton Manning threw 2 interceptions (very uncharacteristic of him in big games) with one of those interceptions being returned for a touchdown by Malcolm Smith, Percy Harvin had a kick return touchdown, Demaryius Thomas fumbled, and Jermaine Kearse spun away from 5 defenders to score a touchdown. All of these plays can’t be explain by the skill and hard work of the Seahawks. Even though the Seahawks were one of the best teams in the league, I think a lot of their victory can be attributed to fortune.


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