The Seattle Seahawks have given away the football just 10 times through 15 games this season. If they can get through another 60 minutes of football Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals without a turnover, they’ll equal the league record for fewest turnovers in a season.
The record of 10 turnovers in a season is shared by the 2010 New England Patriots and 2011 San Francisco 49ers.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll can be like a broken record to his players emphasizing his belief “it’s all about the ball.” Turnovers are perhaps the single thing he harps on most as a coach, so the thought of potentially matching the league record for fewest turnovers is music to his ears.
“It’s the No. 1 thing that we emphasize and we’ve been doing it for a long time,” Carroll said on Wednesday. “What our challenge is, is how well can we emphasize it? And how well can we transfer than emphasis so they adopt that as part of their play? The mentality of it; there is a constancy that just goes away if you don’t. You have to be on it because there are unnatural aspects of it when you play the things that you have to do. You have to train and drill with the highest of expectations to get it done.
“It is such a big deal around here that guys get put on the screen and they get hammered and they get whatever – they get hooted out or whatever if they’re even loose with the ball a little bit.”
Much like the increases in completion percentage and passer rating in recent years, teams have become far more adept at not giving the ball away. As recently as a decade ago, the best turnover seasons in league history had been somewhat dated. The 1982 Kansas City Chiefs held the record with just 12 turnovers. The 1943 and 1990 New York Giants, and 1959 Cleveland Browns were tied for next on the list with 14 turnovers.
However, the top of the list has been flooded in the past few seasons. Assuming the Seahawks don’t turn the ball over more than twice on Sunday, eight of the nine best turnover seasons in history will have come since 2010 with six of those coming in the last three years.
The 2016 Atlanta Falcons (11), 2016 New England Patriots (11), 2017 Kansas City Chiefs (11), 2016 Buffalo Bills (12) and 2017 New England Patriots (12) all have joined the top of the list. The 1982 Chiefs are the only team outside of the last decade still in the conversation.
The Seahawks had five turnovers in their first two games – three interceptions from Russell Wilson and lost fumbles by Wilson and Chris Carson. They’ve turned the ball over just once in their last five games.
Seattle also leads the league in turnover margin at plus-14. The Chicago Bears and Houston Texans, both at plus-12, are the only other teams with a turnover margin of at least plus-10.