To many of us the Legion of Boom conjures up images of Richard Sherman interceptions, Kam Chancellor hits and Earl Thomas appearing out of nowhere for a timely tackle. But, like every position group in football, there is a mastermind behind those plays in the visage of a coach. For the Seattle Seahawks that coach is Kris Richard. Meet the man behind the Boom.
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At just 35, Kris Richard is young and looks like he can still play football. He was a CB at USC, spending his senior year under the tutelage of then new head coach Pete Carroll. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 2002 draft. He spent nearly 3 years here, was traded to the Miami Dolphins and then spent the next two years playing for the San Francisco 49’ers and the Oakland Raiders. By 2007 and at the age of 28, his playing career was over.
However, Kris Richard had a plan. One he’d had since college. Like his father and uncle before him, he wanted to coach football. In 2008, Pete Carroll called and that plan was put into action. Carroll hired Richard in 2008 as a graduate assistant coach at USC for the defensive backs and in 2010, when the Seahawks hired Carroll as their head coach, he brought Richard with him.
Kris Richard was back in Seattle, and with a man he knew well. And so these two, along with the rest of the defensive coaching staff and general manager John Schneider went about putting together a defensive backfield. With one 1st round draft pick (Earl Thomas in 2011) and many 3-7th round picks, those efforts began to payoff almost immediately. In 2013, with thestingiest backfield in the NFL Richards group helped the team to a 13-3 regular season record, blowing through post season and into Super BowlXLVIII, where they smothered the Denver Bronco’s record breaking offense, en route to a 43-8 victory.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Despite a reputation for dirty or illegal hits and NFL rule changes allegedly designed to “punish” or “tame ” them, practices for the db’s concentrate on legal defense of passes and hitting would be runners or receivers in a small area on the chest. Richard strives to teach his players to continue playing to their physical style while keeping it legal to prevent penalties at game time.
2014 has been tough for the Legion of Boom. Key injuries lead to a rotation of players that were originally backups or special teams players. Now though, they are completely healthy and with the starters back where they are meant to be, the intensity of play is back to where it was last year and maybe even surpass it.
Kris Richard continues to groom and grow what is arguably the best unit currently playing the NFL. He has come full circle, starting both his playing and pro coaching careers in Seattle. Now considered one of the best young assistant coaches in the NFL, it is most likely just a matter of time before he moves on to be a defensive coordinator, perhaps for another team.
Until then, the man behind the Boom is welcome to stay, as long as he wants, in the friendly confines of Century Link and the VMAC. Keep the hits coming!