We Want The Ball And We’re Going To Score
A lot of things have come across the path of former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck since he uttered one of the more ridiculous things I’ve ever heard during a coin toss. It took three more years before Hass finally found his way into a Super Bowl for the Seahawks, their first ever appearance in the big game.
As silly as the phrase, “we want the ball and we’re going to score” sounds, even today, it’s that kind of attitude that always made me love Hasselbeck. The guy had no quit, next to no filter, and wasn’t afraid to let his emotions show on the field. His arrival in Seattle did raise some doubts initially however.
When coach Holmgren introduced the Seahawk faithful to Matt Hasselbeck, everyone was at least a little suspicious. Hass was just a sixth round pick who hadn’t started an NFL game—seriously, THIS is the guy Holmgren expected to turn our franchise around?
You have to remember that the Seahawks were still in an extended QB drought in those days. We had enjoyed Jim Zorn and Dave Kreig up until a point where it is almost as if the wheels came completely off the quarterback truck.
Zorn, then Kreig, was followed by the likes of Stan Gelbaugh, Kelly Stouffer, Dan McGwire, Rick Mirer, Jon Kitna, and John Friesz with a little Warren Moon, Glen Foley and Brock Huard mixed in there. That’s a list a list of failed quarterbacks that would cost any GM his job. I’m nauseous just thinking about that decade of misery also known as the 90’s quarterback scene in Seattle.
Despite the horrendous track record of QBs in the 90s in Seattle, new head coach and GM, Mike Holmgren assured everyone that the totally unproven Hasselbeck was going to be his signal caller in Seattle. Hass proved Holmgren correct in the end. Sure, there was that Trent Dilfer speed bump that Matt had to overcome but in the end Hasselbeck was the franchise QB Seattle had long been waiting for.
Hass went on to play far more often than not during the oughts of the 21st century. Hasselbeck and Holmgren also led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl appearance in 2006 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a contest the Seahawks lost thanks to the men in black and white stripes but that playoff run re-defined the way everyone thought of the Seahawks across the NFL– Seattle was no longer a perennial loser.
The arrival of Pete Carroll and John Schneider signaled the end of the road for Hasselbeck in Seattle. New management meant massive change for the Seahawks in 2010. Hass only played one season in Seattle under Carroll and company.
Before he left, Hasselbeck had essentially re-written virtually every team passing record in Seahawks’ franchise history. That combined with being the only QB to get the Seahawks to the Super Bowl assured him a legacy of love and support from the Emerald City no matter who he played for afterward.
Matt kept playing football after Seattle. He went on to the Tennessee Titans followed by the Indianapolis Colts for a combined total of five more seasons. Most of the time he served as a backup although he did see considerable playing time with both clubs thanks to injuries to their respective starters.
In the spring of 2016, March 9th to be exact, Matt Hasselbeck announced his retirement from the NFL. He spent 18 season in the NFL and was now 40 years old. Time had finally caught up with him.
It’s also been announced that Hasselbeck will be signing a one day contract with the Seahawks so that he can officially retire as a Seattle Seahawk. I can think of few others deserving of such a triumphant return and enshrinement as a life long member of the Seahawks.
Sure, you can argue that in time, Russell Wilson will eclipse all of Hasselbeck’s records. Wilson has gone to and won a Super Bowl, something Matt never was able to do. Still, I think Hasselbeck is special, in his own way.
Matt came to Seattle in the shadow of the darkest days of the franchise. Paul Allen had just rescued the team from certain relocation to LA. It was Allen, Holmgren and Hasselbeck that then restored the Seahawks to legitimacy after a decade of misery.
For that, and so many other great memories, I thank you Matt.