BEST OF THE BEST
The readers of Seahawks.com have spoken – or voted – and here are the choices for the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team:
Imagine a Seahawks offense with the ability to move the ball with Shaun Alexander running behind the left side of a line comprised of Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson and Robbie Tobeck, and aided by the bulldozing lead blocks of fullback Mack Strong.
Now, picture that same offense featuring a passing attack with Matt Hasselbeck distributing the ball to Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent, as well as Brian Blades, slot receiver Bobby Engram and tight end John Carlson.
On defense, close your eyes and envision just how dominating a line could be with sack-master ends Jacob Green and Michael Sinclair flanking a tough-to-run-on tackle tandem of Cortez Kennedy and Joe Nash. Or the havoc that could be caused by a linebacking crew that features the diverse talents of Lofa Tatupu, Chad Brown, Fredd Young and Rufus Porter. Or the turnovers that could be generated by a secondary that includes Pro Bowl corners Dave Brown and Marcus Trufant and a great last-line-of-defense duo in safeties Kenny Easley and Eugene Robinson.
The readers of Seahawks.com already have. All of this, and more, is featured on the star-studded collection of talent that comprises the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team – which was voted on by the readers.
Almost 103,000 votes were cast – from 13,380 for the wide receivers to 2,546 for the punt returners.
The 28 players selected have combined for 65 Pro Bowl and 30 All-Pro berths. There is one league MVP (Alexander in 2005) and two NFL defensive players of the year (Easley in 1984 and Kennedy in 1992).
There is one member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Largent), as well as half the team’s Ring of Honor inductees (Largent, Brown, Green, Easley and Kennedy).
This Dream Team also includes the franchise’s all-time leaders in games played (Nash, 218) and started (Largent, 197); points (Norm Johnson, 810) and touchdowns (Alexander, 112) scored; rushing (Alexander, 9,429) and passing (Hasselbeck, 26,433) yards; passes caught (Largent, 819) and intercepted (Brown, 50); punts (Rick Tuten, 554) and punt returns (Nate Burleson, 125); and sacks (Green, 116) and tackles (Robinson, 984).
As expected, the most successful teams in franchise history are well represented.
From the 2005 team that made the Seahawks’ only Super Bowl appearance, after posting club records for regular-season (13) and consecutive victories (11), there are nine players – Hasselbeck, Alexander, Strong, Jones, Hutchinson, Tobeck, Engram, Tatupu and Trufant. From the 1984 team that went 12-4, there are seven players – Largent, Green, Nash, Young, Brown, Easley and Johnson.
There are four players who are currently on the roster – Hasselbeck, Carlson, Tatupu and Trufant. There also are two players from the team’s first-season roster – Largent and Brown.
There are players who were first-round draft choices – Jones, Hutchinson, Alexander, Green, Kennedy, Trufant and Easley. There also are players who came to the Seahawks as rookie free agents – Strong, Porter, Nash and Robinson.
There are players who came joined the Seahawks after playing for other NFL teams – Tobeck, tackle Howard Ballard, Engram, Hasselbeck, kickoff returner Steve Broussard, Burleson and Chad Brown and Dave Brown. There is even one player who came to the Seahawks from another league – right guard Bryan Millard, who played in the USFL.
There is only one player who was voted to two berths on the team – Porter, as an outside linebacker and also special teams player.
There also are “extra” players. We included a third receiver and cornerback because the game has evolved into one of situations, where offenses spread the field with additional receivers and defenses counter with more cornerbacks. We also included two defensive tackles and two middle/inside linebackers, because the Seahawks played a 3-4 front from 1983-90 and the more traditional 4-3 in their infancy as well as currently.
Put them all together, and it creates a team that would give opposing defenses and offenses fits.
“From a defensive standpoint, everybody would have to be on their A-game, and even then it would be hard against that offense,” said Trufant, who grew up in Tacoma watching the Seahawks before he played for them.
“Just look at those receivers, and that running game. You’d just have to hope you could get some pressure on the quarterback to slow it down. Anyway you look at it, it’s going to be a long day.”
As Hasselbeck scanned the selections on defense, he offered, “That’s like playing in the Pro Bowl, right there. That’s an impressive group of guys.”
Flashing his competitiveness as he began playing a mental game between the two units, Hasselbeck quickly added, “But it would a great battle. It would be fun to have that kind of battle.”
Hasselbeck also had a question if this Dream Team could somehow matchup against itself.
“What schemes are we playing?” he said. “Are we playing the defenses they played in the 70s and 80s? Are we allowed to shift and motion like we do now? Or, are they going to run all those trick plays like they did in the Zorn-Largent years?”
Speaking of Largent, Hasselbeck displayed equal amounts of respect and rationality when he added, “Whatever Largent wants to do is probably what we’d do.”