Over the last 10 years Hasselbeck has thrown for over 3000 yards in a season 7 times. He may not be the most exciting athlete to watch on the field or even in commercials for that matter, but he has a toughness and persistence that has allowed him to stay in the same city for 10 years, most of them as the starter. Not too many other quarterbacks can make that claim.
Hasselbeck is a little bit Brett Favre, a chunk of Jim Zorn, and a whole lotta Trent Dilfer with Mike Holmgren’s Brain.
His progression was constant as he developed from a cocky, brash player with a mean competitive streak into a well spoken, cerebral player with a mean competitive streak. Hasselbeck has a career record of 69-62. He’s thrown for 29,434 yards, or 16.67 miles, over his career. Matt’s best statistical season was in 2007 when he threw for 3966 yards, 28 tds, and just 12 ints. Hasselbeck’s best season, however, has to be 2005 when he had a qb rating of 98.2 and a win streak of 11 games starting at week 5. He brought an NFC Championship game to Seattle, won it, and took his team to the Super Bowl. He and his team played well enough to win that Sunday, but they didn’t.
My fondness for Hasselbeck has been anything but consistent over the years. He didn’t exactly explode onto the scene in his debut. Quite the opposite. He fell flat on his face and lost his job to Trent Dilfer. I remember thinking that he was done after that. Most quartebacks are at this point, however, Hasselbeck is not like most quarterbacks.
My favorite Hasselbeck quote came after he was asked what change had made the biggest difference, and he answered, “I started listening to Mike.”
An ego is a tough thing to lose at this level. The only thing harder is re-emerging afterwards as a better man and a player. Hasselbeck did both of these things. I believe the term is humility.
He’s come a long way from losing his job to regaining it. From getting picked off by Al Harris to taking his team to the Super Bowl. From hearing his hometown crowd chant the name of the back up quarterback to winning the biggest upset playoff victory in NFL history.
My last memory of Matt is watching him walk off the field and fade into the tunnel with one of his kids on his shoulders and another being held by the same hand that had just won the game. Not sure if I want to keep it that way or not right now.
Matt’s not the greatest quarterback of all time, and he won’t make the Hall of Fame, but he’s still one tough dude who has navigated his team through the best and worst of times. He’s been a tough leader and demonstrated a level of loyalty not expected in today’s game.
Save a spot in the Ring for this guy because if any quarterback has earned it, it’s him.