I have never been so excited to see Hasselbeck. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a hater who has been complaining about his lack of everything on blogs across the Pacific Northwest for the past 2 or 3 seasons. Quite the contrary. I believe he is the best quarterback the Seahawks have ever had. He’s played and won more games than anyone else, and he’s taken his team farther more consistently than any of his predecessors. So my question has always been, “Why do people hate him so much?”
It’s probably because he looked a lot like Charlie Whitehurst in his first few seasons. He was the hand picked quarterback by the man who was going to create relevancy in Seattle football: Mike Homgren, The Big Show, The Walrus. Matt was expected to be something mythical like the ones who came before him in Mike Holmgren’s career: Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Brett Favre.
He never has nor will he ever make that list. But who does? Those are arguably 3 of the top 5 quarterbacks of all time. It’s unfair to expect anyone to measure up to those standards.
Matt Hasselbeck may not have the arm strength or accuracy of the elite group of quarterbacks in the NFL, but he does have the moxie. That tangible only measured in the most crucial of times. It can’t be practiced or instilled through coaching. It’s the difference between leaders and team members. It can feed an entire team confidence and create something far beyond any original expectations. Matt Hasselbeck has the moxie to pick this team up of the ground, slap them in the face, and send them back into battle with confidence. The only question is does he still have the ability.
Matt has struggled mightily in Pete Carroll’s offense. He seems like he is always trying to pick up the pace, whereas, Bates seems to be trying to slow it down. The thing that made Hasselbeck so great with Holmgren is that they were on the same page. Matt has stated on numerous occasions that his career in Seattle finally started to click when he just began listening to Holmgren.
Hasselbeck and Bates are still trying to find out how to bring out the best in each other. Matt is obviously farther than Whitehurst in running the offense, however, each looks to still have a ways to go. The good news is that as Hasselbeck should get better as the season winds down.
Last week during the Giant’s game I saw him take a knee with Deon Butler. This is what a leader does. Many times in the NFL the relationship between quarterbacks on the same team can be tense. Rather than try and protect his own status, Hasselbeck shares everything all the time to everybody including Charlie Whitehurst. He wants his team to win above all other goals and is even willing to put his own status as a starter at risk to do it. He puts his team before himself and he never gives off the feeling that he expects anyone to notice because that’s what leaders are supposed to do.
Welcome back Matt. I hope that fans can appreciate a classic Seahawk veteran’s last grasp at success as the final season with his team winds down.