Matt Hasselbeck vs Tarvaris Jackson: A Look Back


In the mad rush between the end of the lockout and week 1 of the NFL season, there wasn’t a more heated debate surrounding the Seahawks than the choice in quarterbacks. Despite all the different story lines about this team, only the Hasselbeck-Jackson transition was being talked about.

Equally amazing was how fast the story seemed to disappear from everyone’s mind once the game’s began. I can’t believe how quickly this topic went from being a hot-button issue to yesterday’s news. By the end of the 2nd game, Hasselbeck seemed like a forgotten memory. After week 3 I stopped comparing the stat lines of the 2 QBs each week because it seemed like no one cared.

Now that the season is over, I thought it would be fun to revisit the topic and see how each QB did throughout the season. Lets check out the numbers:

Comp %60.360.2
QB rating in last 2 min105.430.7

As you can see, both QBs had very similar numbers, Hasselbeck threw more passes and thus had more yards, but their QB rating and completion % were pretty much the same. Both QBs also had about as many TD as interceptions, and almost identical yards per attempt numbers. I should also note that both players had about the same numbers of fumbles, since the most vocal of the Jackson detractors seems to think that Jackson fumbles more than any other QB; a fact that simply isn’t true.

The first major difference between the 2 stat lines is that number of sacks taken, with Jackson getting sacked more than twice as many times as Hasselbeck. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise when you consider the poor quality of the Seahawks offensive line and Jackson’s tendency to hold onto the ball too long.

The other major difference is why most Seahawk fans are already to move on from Jackson. In the final 2 minutes, Jackson’s QB rating was a dismal 30.7, while Hasselbeck’s was an extremely good 105.4. It’s impossible to spin this in any way. At the end the game, Jackson struggled while Hasselbeck stepped up his game.

Obviously, any comparison of these numbers is purely meaningless in terms of determining if the Seahawks made the right choice. The Seahawks and Titans are very different teams. Hasselbeck benefitted from a vastly superior offensive line, while Jackson clearly had the better receivers, etc. I wasn’t trying to re-open that debate. I simply thought it was interesting that by the end of the year, the 2 QB had put up almost identical stat lines.