Except for this year.
In 2005, my nostalgia is completely cured. These ARE the better days. This is the best Seahawk team ever, and I’m confident enough in that statement to put it on paper regardless of what happens in January. The 2005 Seahawks, from start to finish, have accomplished what teams from the past never have. Hopefully, there is more to come.
The 1983 team had the most playoff success, winning a stunner in Miami to advance to the AFC Championship game. That team, however, had deep flaws, including a defense that gave up nearly 1,000 yards more than the offense could achieve, surrendering more than 30 points 6 times. That ’83 team was exciting and took fans on an amazing journey, but were it not for one huge upset, no one would see them as the best Seahawks team ever.
1984 appeared doomed on day one, as running back Curt Warner crumpled, untouched, to the Kingdome carpet. That team found a gaggle of running backs, a hot quarterback, and a ball-hawking defense to achieve a 12-4 record, including an 8-game win streak.
Despite the success that year, that team blew a chance at home to win the division on the final day of the season. By losing to Denver to end the regular season, they limped into the playoffs without the confidence that they were true champions. A repeat trip to Miami left little doubt that without their star runner, the Seahawks weren’t championship material.
Division-winning teams in 1988, 1999 and 2004 were all 9-win squads that failed to advance in the playoffs. The ‘88 team was a terrific group that had the most potential for greatness, but age and injuries wore them down. They are no match for a 2005 Seahawks team which features several offensive stars in their career primes.
The 2005 Seahawks have accomplished what no previous team ever has. They have won 13 games, with a chance at finishing 14-2. They have swept their division opponents, winning the West by at least 7 games, and they have sealed the top seed entering the NFC playoffs. On offense, they have performed among the top 3 the entire season, and on defense, they have weathered the injuries that gave prior teams an excuse to fold their tents.
I’ve seen enough. The 2005 edition is the best Seahawks team ever.
The best team in Seahawk history also features many of the best PLAYERS in team history.
First and foremost, we all need to get used to the idea that Walter Jones is the greatest player in the history of the franchise.
No, I’m not forgetting Steve Largent. It’s downright painful for me to bump my all-time favorite to #2 on the list, but the time has come. Steve Largent and Walter Jones are both among the all-time best in football at their positions, but Jones has elevated his game to a higher level. He is generally acknowledged as the greatest lineman in the game, and some analysts place him among the top 2 or 3 PLAYERS in the game.
Jones has accomplished all this and yet still should have 5 solid years to play, after which he would be elected to the hall of fame and even the most stubborn life-long fan will have to admit that Jones is the greatest ever. I’m just telling you now so you can prepare yourself. You don’t have to agree with me now, but you should prepare yourself for the day when even you will have to admit that the great player in Seahawk history is no longer Steve Largent.
Shaun Alexander has blown up every team rushing record and has earned his place not just as the best runner in team history, but among the greatest players. As I pencil in my list, I’ve slotted him at #5. If he returns in 2006, he’ll climb the list. Running backs are not generally known for long careers, but rare players like Shaun Alexander who have the ability to stay healthy and avoid unnecessary hits can put up some amazing numbers. #37 appears to have that same makeup, and hopefully those numbers will continue to benefit the Seahawks.
Just for fun, here’s how my “Top-5 all-time Seahawks” list currently stands.
1. Walter Jones
2. Steve Largent
3. Eugene Robinson (A personal, if idiosyncratic choice that I’ll continue to defend).
4. Ken Easley (Would be #1, but he just flat broke down. Wasn’t the same after his great season of 1984).
5. Shaun Alexander.
Other current players who deserve mention with the all-timers:
Matt Hasselbeck: He’s so entrenched in this offense, that it’s hard to remember he’s only been the permanent starter for three and a half seasons. It will take a long time for him to match Dave Krieg’s career numbers, and Krieg didn’t have the weapons around him that Hasselbeck does.
Steve Hutchinson: The best guard in team history and the second-best offensive lineman, if only because he’s four years behind Jones. He goes all-out every game to convince the world that the “guards are worth less” mentality is just flat wrong.
Lofa Tatupu: I’m hard-pressed to find a better rookie perfomer in team history than Tatupu. Curt Warner certainly was amazing in 1983, but no defender has had this immediate an impact since Easley in 1981.
Mack Strong: John L. Williams was obviously a more dynamic offensive weapon, but nobody ever blew open a running lane like Mack.
Robbie Tobeck: Blair Bush has been the consensus choice as the best center in team history, but Tobeck is among the great team leaders in history. Would this line be the same without him? I’m glad we didn’t have to find out.
Mike Holmgren: Is Holmgren the best coach in Seahawks history? The answer, I believe, comes in the next 6 weeks.
Stay tuned - it’s going to be a thrilling ride.
"The Hawkstorian" writes about Seahawks history, the salary cap, and many other things for Seahawks.NET on an alarmingly regular basis. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.