The NFL's Unappreciatted Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck

Tom JacksonCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2008

Entering his eleventh season as an NFL Quarterback, eighth as a starter for the Seattle Seahawks, Matt Hasselbeck doesn't get a lot of attention in the Pacific Northwest, just like countless Seattle Seahawks stars of the past. Despite gaining a large amount of success throughout his career, Hasselbeck still isn't the player that gets rushed for autographs.

Drafted by the Green Bay Packers, Hasselbeck arrived during Brett Favre's prime years. Packers head coach Mike Holmgren saw something in Hasselbeck, who became Favre's back-up, understudy, and close friend the next two seasons.

Eventually, Mike Holmgren left Green Bay for Seattle, and it wasn't long before he brought Matt with him. Holmgren helped set up a trade that delivered Hasselbeck and then named him the starter for the Seattle Seahawks.

Hasselbeck now had Holmgren, the man who taught Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Brett Favre, all to himself. Even though Hasselbeck's first two seasons in Seattle were sub-par, he never quit. He lost the starting job and yet was able to regain it by the end of the season.

In 2003, Hasselbeck became a Pro Bowl quarterback and led the Seahawks to the playoffs. In overtime of the wild card game, after a hard fought duel at Lambeau with his former team, the Packers, Hasselbeck became more famous than he ever had been before.

At the coin toss, he uttered, "We want the ball and we're gonna score", into the referee's supposedly turned off microphone. After the teams exchanged punts, Hasselbeck changed the play at the line; his receiver had mistakenly over-ran his route, which allowed Al Harris to intercept Hasselbeck's pass and return it for a touchdown, ending the Seahawks' season.

At this point, Hasselbeck has become successful enough to make fans forget about that whole affair.  Since then he has taken his team to a Super Bowl and has gone to several Pro Bowls. That Super Bowl loss to the Steelers was highly contested, both on the field and also with the officiating. The best thing that has happened though, is that Hasselbeck has walked out of Brett Favre's shadow.

While Hasselbeck hasn't had as many endorsements as Peyton Manning, he can be seen in a commercial or two. Ever since his Super Bowl run, Hasselback has started to gain popularity throughout the country, mainly for his hilarious "Super Ad", that was aired on television many times, including during the Super Bowl.

At the same time, he still does not get the credit he deserves. He is often left off the "Top Five Quarterbacks List". Perhaps a Super Bowl win will finally move him up.

He shouldn't have to win one to prove he is a threat. Other players know he is a great quarterback, but in a world where the fans determine the popularity, Hasselbeck is an afterthought.