Seahawks Talk MVP!

Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander took time today to discuss his historic season, the first NFL MVP award in Seahawks history, and what it all means to the team as they move towards the NFL's lightning round. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck also chimed in about his MVP teammate.

HALFBACK SHAUN ALEXANDER

(On his reactions with teammates to winning the NFL MVP…) “Everybody has been so excited. We set some goals as a group. Of course the O-line, they always talked about getting the rushing title this year. I remember guys talking about it in training camp and asking ‘how many touchdowns can we score in a year?’ We keep them quiet until we start realizing that we were getting close to hitting all these things and then they became reality for us. This is an exciting award, it’s just exciting. All the guys they say it just like I want them to say it, that we won the MVP and we have.”

(Is the award part of the team momentum?) “I definitely think so. I know that the reason why I love football is that it’s the ultimate team sport. You get ten guys to work together to get one person to score points. It’s the only sport where even if you’re hot, except for Vince Young, I could be hot and if everybody else is not hot then it doesn’t work. That’s the great thing about football is that it takes all 11 to make things happen. For me, winning this is really saying how well my line has played, how well my receivers have played, how well my fullbacks have played. How great Matt’s (Hasselbeck) audibled and how great Mike (Holmgren) has called the games. It’s an exciting award for all of us.”

(That this could be done - when did his perception change?) “I’ve never really thought about whether it could be done or not. Awards are exciting but they’re not the end all, be all, we have to accomplish our own goals and be able to look at our own selves in the eyes as a team. Being 13-3 was a goal for us. you know when you’re 13-3 you’ve given your team a lot of shots to win a lot of things, home field advantage, MVPs, rushing titles, scoring titles. Those all come with setting the first goal which is being good.”

(On playing with the same offensive line all season …) “The good thing is that (Sean) Locklear got to play from the first game all the way on so we haven’t shifted this line. We’ve been studying film of some of the other games of the teams that we could play against and all the games were different linemen. I think that is one of the great blessings for this team is that our line stays healthy. We’ve had the same group and they play well together. They just keep it going. They get excited about playing this game every week knowing that teams have to stop us running and passing. They get great kicks out of blocking people, whether it’s the run or the pass.”

(Did any one particular thing put him over the top for the award?) “It probably could have been the Colts game. I think when (Peyton Manning) came out of the game we were up 14-3. If it was between me and Manning, I don’t know how the voting went, but, I think that our line made a statement in that game that look at what we can do as a group. I think people got to see that. But, other than that I don’t really know how the voting works.”

(On winning the award over Tiki Barber, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady…) “I think it’s an honor anytime I get mentioned with those guys. Brady, three Super Bowls, Peyton has just changed the game for quarterbacks. Tiki is like my cousin, that’s my family. You watch these guys and you’re just excited about the stuff that they do for football. So for me to be mentioned with those guys is exciting for me. That’s what I try to shoot for is to try to be able to be mentioned with those guys. I think overallit’s really our team. Our team, we’ve done stuff that Seattle has never seen before and we’re not done. We’re excited about the rushing title, we’re excited about the scoring title and we’re excited about the MVP, but the thing that we’re most excited about is not playing in this first round this week and then being able to win two games and be able to go to Detroit. That is the goal that we’ve always wanted and this is kind of like one of those things that for us to get there some things are going to have to be done. Winning 13 games, guys getting hot on the field and us playing as a nucleus and its just happening.”

(How did he find out?) “I promised I wasn’t going to say, but a little birdie told me. He was in here and came in and told some of the guys and gave us the thumbs up signal. We were all high-fiving each other and things like that. For us we really look at this as a team award. We’re proud as a group. From the beginning of the season the O-line has said that they were going to do what it took for us to do some great things this year. I just told them I was going to give them all I’ve got. And that’s what we’ve done; we’ve just given everything we’ve got every week.”

(Has he thought about this last year and where he was 12 months ago?) “Not really. I tell everybody, from us winning the division last year and the whole incident on the side; it was really more blown up by media than it was with our players and coaches. So, for us, it was get me in here and get Walt (Jones) signed, get Matt (Hasselbeck) signed and let’s go play football. We knew how close we were so for us we went back to the drawing board and set some goals and started thinking about ways to get each other better and pull for each other a little bit harder and we’re just going for it.”

(On all his goals…) “The actual award, even though it’s a great honor and I’m excited and we’re going to try and get me or Matt (Hasselbeck) the award again next year if I’m here. As exciting as it is, you want to put yourself as an MVP type of person. You want an MVP-type quarterback, and MVP-type tailback, MVP-type receivers. You never know how voting goes, so you can’t get caught up in that. Everybody wants to work to put themselves in a position to say ‘hey, we’re one of these top players’. That’s how you get to the Super Bowl and that’s how you win 13 games. That was our goal, to say ‘hey, when teams start looking around for better players, our line said, hey, we want to put Shaun as one of the fore front guys’. The receivers are like ’we’re going to put Matt as one of the front quarterbacks’. Matt’s like ‘I’m going to keep on distributing the ball’ where our offense looks like it’s the best’. That’s our goal, not necessarily winning the award. Because I won it now it’s exciting. Now we can say ‘oh yeah, that’s it’. But really going into it, it was just for us to work hard and be able to put our name in that kind of category.”

(Did he wonder if he’d be able to put together a season like this?)
“No. honestly I have always thought this that if your team is playing well then good things are going to happen. If everybody sets high goals then good things are going to happen. We have vision. Our vision is let’s be better than anything that this team and this city has ever seen. That has been our number one goal. From me running the ball, you have already seen 1,400 and 1,600, so we have to do something bigger and that is a goal that you set. You have seen the wins before, but you’re never seen the win streak that we had. Those are goals that we had set with each other as a group. We just keep on going and that’s our number one thing, is to get better every week and keep on going and setting higher goals and trying to go after them.”

(Who was the first person he called?)
“I haven’t been able to call anybody. I called my wife and she’s probably taking care of the girls so I figured she probably doesn’t know. I had so many texts and voicemails I figured everybody else has an idea. I don’t really have to talk to anybody. I’m sure everybody is really excited and my family is all like ‘you need to get the offensive line even a bigger gift now’. I’m sure I’ll think of something.”

(What will he do with the award?)
“I’m not even there in my mind yet. For me it was always one of those things that you strive for, but what do you get once you get it. I guess you just worry about that afterwards.”

(What he actually gets as far as a trophy?) “I have no idea. A high-five. I have no idea.”


QUARTERBACK MATT HASSELBECK

(Does Shaun Alexander needs to get his quarterback a gift after winning MVP?) “I don’t know. It depends on what he is getting everybody else. I think tight ends probably need a gift now. It is great news. I just heard that he won the award, I think it is awesome. I think everyone is very, very excited for him. It is a great thing for Shaun and I think it is also a great thing for our team. I think everyone could take a lot of pride in the fact that they helped him accomplish what he has accomplished this year in terms of our offensive line. Obviously Mack Strong has had a great year. It is probably not a coincidence that we have two Penn State wide receivers. I think those guys know a little bit about blocking downfield and the running game and then Shaun has done his part. He has had a great year. Our coaching staff should be proud, our players should be proud and Shaun should definitely be proud because it is quite an accomplishment.”

(On what makes Shaun Alexander great…) “I don’t know. I get that question a lot actually from writers. Usually national writers who don’t watch a lot of our games but they see the statistics. They watch two or three games and say, ‘I can’t really put my finger on it.’ I think we feel the same way. Is he the fastest guy on our team? No, but you see him going up against guys that are really fast. You know they are fast and they are not catching him. Does he run people over? No, not normally. But you see him run people over for a short yardage play or a goal line play. I really don’t know. It just has a way of scoring touchdowns and making plays. At the end of the day, every Sunday, he has had a great game.”

(On Shaun Alexander being team-oriented…)
“I don’t know. There is a fine if you use third-person references. Maybe he is trying to avoid the fine. Other than that, I would have to agree. He has been a team guy this year.”

(Is the MVP award another part of the team momentum?)
“I think more than anything, it is a little bit like having all the guys voted to the Pro Bowl. That is great if you get voted to the Pro Bowl. I know that I felt great about it. I think it is really a credit to your teammates and to your coaching staff to your organization. It is great. I think our fans should take a lot of pride in it. I think it is a great thing for our team. Is it momentum? Yeah. Is it respect? Yeah. It is all those things. At the end of the day, it is also a great thing for Shaun. It is all good stuff. Nothing bad.”


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