Napoleon and the Seahawks

Napoleon Bonaparte has a lot to say about Sunday's improbable NFC Seahawk victory over the Green Bay Packers that sent Seattle to its second consecutive Super Bowl.

As in, "If courage is the first characteristic of the soldier, perseverance is the second." My home team offense stunk for 55 minutes of a 60-minute game, but gosh darn it, they did hang in there.

And, "Great men are rarely known to fail in their most perilous enterprises. Is it because they are lucky that they become great? No, being great, they have been able to master luck."

Napoleon was not a member of the Twelfth Man but he did have a lot of experience with success and failure. He's a recurring character in my Ethan Gage series of historical novels, and I've compiled many of his maxims for a book I'm preparing called Napoleon's Rules: Life and Career Lessons from Bonaparte.

Think of the parallels. A surprising rise: the Corsican loner, and Seattle's roster of unheralded draft picks. An average height quarterback: Napoleon was 5-6 in American inches, normal for his time, and Russell Wilson is 5-10. Numerous comebacks: Napoleon from disaster in the Holy Land and Russia, the Seahawks from that 3-3 start.

So what advice would Napoleon have for the 'Hawks?

On game referees: "Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence."

On Wilson's famous game preparation: "Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains."

On getting fit: "I have destroyed the enemy merely by marches."

On noise at Century Link Field: "Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent."

On coming from behind: "To have a right estimate of a man's character, we must see him in misfortune...True character stands the test of emergencies."

On controlling the game: "Circumstances? What are circumstances? I make circumstances."

On coach pep talks: "It is not that speeches at the opening of a battle makes soldiers brave. The old veterans scarcely hear them, and recruits forget them at the first boom of the cannon. Their usefulness likes in their effect on the course of the campaign, in neutralizing rumors and false reports, in maintaining a good spirit in the camp, and in furnishing matter for campfire talk."

On sportswriters: "Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets."

On team spirit: "The moral is to the physical as three to one."

On game preparation: "All great events hang by a single thread. The clever man takes advantage of everything and neglects nothing that may give him some added opportunity; the less clever man, by neglecting one thing, sometimes misses everything."

On game gumption: "He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat."

On winning the Super Bowl: "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."