A Tribute to the 1984 Seahawks: The Greatest Ball-Hawk Defense in NFL History

Tommy BertolinoContributor IMay 4, 2010

As Pete Carroll and John Schneider commence the reconstruction process of a porous secondary with the drafting of Earl Thomas, Walter Thurmond, and Kam Chancellor, it takes me back to my teenage years, when the Seattle Seahawks had the greatest ball-hawk defense in NFL history.

When the Seahawks lost Curt Warner to an ACL injury in that 1984 season-opening Monday Night Football game against the Cleveland Browns, Hawk fans were prepared for a .500 season.

Curt was a Pro Bowler who had 1,400-plus yards and was second on the team in receptions with 42 in 1983. It appeared doom and gloom had struck the Hawks.

Someone forgot to tell Kenny Easley and the 1984 Hawk defense, the greatest ball-hawk defense in NFL history.

Easley, despite his short career, is my all-time favorite defensive player. As Eugene Robinson described him, he played the game with “ferocity.”

Easley was a flat-out B-E-A-S-T. This four-minute YouTube video doesn’t do No. 45 justice.

Video of the Great Kenny Easley

The 1984 Hawks ran a 3-4 defense that was dominated by their front three and back four. The front was led by LDE Jacob Green, who was second on the team in sacks with 13; RDE Jeff Bryant, who had 14 sacks; and NT Joe Nash, who had seven sacks and was first team All-pro. Combined, the front line also recovered nine fumbles and returned one for a TD.

The 1984 ball-hawk secondary was led by safeties Kenny Easley and John Harris and cornerbacks Keith Simpson and Dave Brown. You can’t forget about rookie Terry Taylor and newcomer Terry Jackson, who together pitched in seven interceptions in 1984.

Let’s look into the numbers at their ball-hawk and playmaking abilities in that 1984 season.

63 defensive turnovers in a season: No. 1 all-time in an NFL season post-‘70 merger.

47 forced fumbles in a season: No. 5 all-time in an NFL season.

25 fumble recoveries: No. 1 in the NFL in 1984.

38 interceptions: No. 1 in the NFL in 1984.

Seven interception returns for TDs in one season: No. 2 all-time in an NFL season post-‘70 merger.

Easley, Brown, and Simpson all had two pick sixes—the only team in NFL history to have three players with multiple pick sixes in the same season.

325 return yards in a game: No. 1 in NFL history for interception return yards in a game.

Kenny Easley earned a first team All-Pro safety nod and earned the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year honors after destroying running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers. Kenny led the NFL with 10 interceptions, taking two back to the house, and was in on numerous vicious secondary hits.

While it may have been an overachieving group to compensate for a groundless chuck running attack, this Hawk defense for that one season was the greatest ball-hawk defense in NFL history.

Here’s hoping that Carroll and Schneider are on the path to resurrect this defense with players of ferocity and playmaking ability like we had back in 1984.