Nov.11, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) warms up before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It's Ok to Miss Matt Hasselbeck

The 2013 edition of the Seattle Seahawks, barring horrific injury or unexpected regression, has a chance to be the best team Seattle has ever fielded. That’s no guarantee of a Super Bowl. That’s no guarantee of a division title. It’s no guarantee that they don’t go 0-16. However, if someone offers you an over/under of 0.5 wins for the season bet your life savings on the over. Times are good and Seahawks fans should, and I think largely do, appreciate what they have at this moment.

For this reason it is odd that I have been overcome with nostalgia for some vastly inferior Seahawks teams from the not too distant past. Specifically, I’ve caught a bad case of Matt Hasselbeck-related melancholy  Given the dearth of quarterback depth right now, Hasselbeck would have been a great addition this off-season, from a football standpoint. The kind of nostalgia I’m talking about though, is too strong to be based on the desire for a second string quarterback upgrade.

Before we go deeper down the rabbit hole, this is the video that got me thinking about Mr. Hasselbeck in the first place.

The thing that stood out to me that in this video is that Hasselbeck just seems to be a really fun enjoyable person to be around. I realized that I don’t miss Matt Hasselbeck as our quarterback. Russell Wilson is more exciting and arguably had a better rookie year than any season Hasselbeck had. I miss Hasselbeck as a guy.

This is an unusual thought for me to have. Firstly, I’m largely drawn to football based on my own experiences playing and a very strong interest in the strategy of the game. I’m much more interested in statistics than narratives; personalities have never been a big part of my fan experience. Of course, I have my favorites like anyone else. My current favorite player is Kam Chancellor but I couldn’t tell you anything about the man except that I love his unorthodox size for a safety and the way he hits.

Matt Hasselbeck is a big exception to the way I think about football players. Most players seem to be either in the camp of cliché artist or smack talker. I often find myself bored with the predictable nature of their interviews. Hasselbeck is different. He strikes me as a guy with a sense of humor who is very genuine and transparent. I find both traits refreshing and entertaining. My usual assumption with players is that I don’t know much about them as people because I am exposed to such a small sample of their personalities. For some reason I always felt like Matt Hasselbeck was someone I sort of knew.  For example, this video from a couple of years ago depicts a guy who is a multi-millionaire star athlete who acts like he’s just a guy. That is a pretty rare find.

Here’s another brief example.

I promise this post won’t devolve into me just sharing examples of Matt Hasselbeck being cool because I think you get it at this point. Or not. Either way I’m not really in the business of just posting a bunch of links.

Ultimately, I miss having Matt Hasselbeck on the Seahawks because of the person he is, and that’s probably a first for me. I’m not trying to deify the man, he just seemed like a really decent human being to me and I always liked having him on the team. I also don’t mean to criticize Russell Wilson. Wilson seems like an intelligent, hardworking and well-spoken man and I have nothing against him. I just don’t yet feel like I know much about him as a person, and, based on the way he carries himself, I’m not sure I ever will. It is Wilson’s prerogative to present himself any way he likes and I don’t begrudge him that. Maybe I’m just not a great interpreter of him and other fans feel like they know him inside and out. It’s hard for me to say.

The point is, even though I would take Russell Wilson over Matt Hasselbeck as starting quarterback every time, it doesn’t mean I don’t miss Matt. There is a lot more to sports fandom than X’s and O’s, wins and losses, or numbers on a page. I suppose it took a video of a third string quarterback I’ve never heard of hitting a half court shot to remind me of that today.

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Tags: Matt Hasselbeck Russell Wilson

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