Seven years ago was the last time that Seattle got to see what a great team looks like. The Super Bowl XL team that rocked Qwest Field that year was a classically efficient West Coast offense team led by NFL MVP Shaun Alexander and his 28 touchdowns and a defense that was fine tuned to fundamental perfection. The 2005 team had a nearly perfect resume as they went 13-3, a perfect 10-0 at home, won the NFC West, and won the NFC Championship before losing* in the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Andy Reid Mike Holmgren trying to give a side judge in Super Bowl XL a piece of his mind
But they weren’t quite as fun as this year’s edition of the Hawks. The Seattle Seahawks are 9-5 heading into an absolutely riveting litmus test against the seemingly dominant San Francisco 49ers on primetime television. Although they are not quite comparable to their 2005 counterparts with a division crown seemingly out of reach and have a much less paved road to the Super Bowl in front of them, this team has assumed an identity that is thoroughly more exciting to witness than any Seahawks team I have ever seen.
Nothing about this team is perfect or as seemingly unflappable as the Super Bowl team, led by Hall of Fame coach Mike Holmgren, an all-time great left side of the offensive line with Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, and Alexander’s season for the ages. That team was a football purist’s dream. But what exactly does a football purist look like? My caricature of such a man is a John Gruden type, sitting in front of a dark theater with a roll of tape being fed into a dusty projector, playing and rewinding relentlessly the delicate intricacies of the pulling guard setting the edge for a seven yard run on first down to set up a methodically executed post route on second and short, all the while wishing that Lynn Swann still played, if only for the grace that he brought to the football field. Football purist guy loved the 2005 Seahawks, and there is nothing wrong with that. But I love this year’s version better, for the same reason that I was listening to Good Charlotte instead of Coldplay in middle school.
The Seahawks made quite the splash in free agency earlier this week when they signed the likes of Matt Flynn. The biggest quarterback free agent without the last name of Manning, Flynn brings tremendous upside to a position that the Seahawks desperately needed to improve.
Matt Flynn is a 26 year old Texan who has had two constants during his playing career: quarterback and winning. Although Flynn never won a Texas state championship while in high school, he went on to lead the LSU Tigers to a BCS National Championship in 2008 and was a part of the Packers Super Bowl run in 2010. He has been in the shadow of Aaron Rodgers during his entire professional career, but when he has been given the chance to play, he has not disappointed. In his two starts during the NFL regular season, his numbers are as follows:
@ NE: 24/37, 251 yds, 3 TD’s, 1 Int
vs. Det: 31/44, 480 yds, 6 TD’s, 1 Int (Set single-game franchise records for yardage and touchdowns)
Just to do the math for you, that would be a completion percentage of 68%, 366 passing yards/game, and 4.5:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Any team in America would take numbers like that.
Now I know this is a small sample size to draw conclusions from, but look at the situation. Green Bay runs a variation of the West Coast offense, which is what the Seahawks run as well. The Packers also have one of the best quarterbacks coaches in the game in Tom Clements. He has been vital in the development of Aaron Rodgers, who has become one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks in the NFL. And on top of this, remember what Matt Hasslebeck was doing before he came to Seattle? Backing up a different quarterback in the Packers organization. With all of this in mind, the Seahawks current general manager John Schneider was the person who drafted Flynn in Green Bay in the 7th round of the ’08 draft. He obviously saw something in him then, and he still sees it in him now.