It meant the Seahawks were going to the Super Bowl.
“I just can’t stop smiling,” a jubilant Alexander told reporters on Monday following the biggest win in franchise history. “This was just a great feeling. I woke up this morning and went downstairs to get some breakfast and my wife turned on the news, which she never does and said, ‘Every channel is about us going to the Super Bowl.’ This is a awesome feeling.”
On Sunday, Alexander had the best playoff game of his career when he rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers. What was even more remarkable was the knowledge that the fifth-year back out of Alabama had suffered a concussion the previous week against the Washington Redskins.
“I took some shots early and I thought, “Am I supposed to have a concussion right now?’” Alexander said with a laugh. “(The Panthers) smacked me right in the face and then I think someone else was blitzing too and I fell over them. It kind of shook all my cobwebs off. You play football a long time but you’re still getting those reps and I hadn’t really played in a whole game since Tennessee.
“I was probably better for me to get knocked around early. After that I knew I could take a pretty good hit because it was helmet to helmet.”
One thing fans can count on is for Alexander to credit those who’ve helped him get to where he is. He credits his wife for her support. He credits his linemen for his rushing and MVP titles and he credits Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren for the success of a once moribund franchise.
Alexander says Holmgren knows how to prepare the team for the upcoming title game and that they are all well aware of the fact that the Seahawks are the “other” team in the Super Bowl.
“Mike said from the very beginning that we are always going to be the other team,” Alexander said. “We play against the Redskins and they talked about Joe Gibbs and his thing over Mike. Then we play against Carolina and had a team that really stuffs the run and now we play against Pittsburgh and even though they are a sixth seed, they are going to pick them over us. He said that from the very beginning that was going to happen. We win eleven games in a row and they say it was our fault that the other teams weren’t as good.
“We can’t worry about that. It is what is. We are just going to go out there and play.”
So does the perceived disrespect have an effect on the team?
“It doesn’t matter to us,” Alexander said proudly. “We don’t care if people pick us to win or don’t pick us to win. We have a group of guys that just go out there and try and make plays and help our team win every week.
“I think Tim Brown said it the best. He said, ‘I love the Seahawks. I love what they do, but I have beaten them so many times that I just can’t pick them.’ I laughed about it, but I understand. There are some teams that used to come out here and just beat us really, really bad. They are not used to saying, ‘The Seahawks are a good, dominant team that plays really, really good on both sides of the ball.’ It is almost an oxymoron for them to say that. I understand that.”
Now Alexander and his teammates enter a new phase, preparations for the Super Bowl while a lot of those teams and players are sitting at home.
“This is all knew to us,” Alexander admitted. “Mike tells us to just enjoy the ride, but remember that there is only one thing that is important that is playing in thirteen days. We enjoy what we are doing. Some of it seems like it is going to go fast, then it seems like it is going to go slow by next Thursday before the game. We are going to enjoy where we are but know that our only goal is for Sunday.
“It is just huge because it’s the Super Bowl. It is the biggest game in the world and we know that. For me, I don’t worry about my own platform or my own stats. I tell everybody, if I get nine yards and we win, I am going to be really happy. I am probably going to cheer harder than anybody else. All we want to do is win.”
If the Seahawks do come out of Detroit with a win over the Steelers, you can bet Alexander’s smile will be the biggest one in the crowd.
Scott Eklund writes and reports for Seahawks.NET and Dawgman.com. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.