The Rise and Fall Of Seahawks Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck

Lars HansonCorrespondent IOctober 25, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 16:  Defensive end Antonio Smith #94 of the Arizona Cardinals sacks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium September 16, 2007 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

On March 2, 2001, the Seattle Seahawks traded for Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who would soon become the Seahawks best quarterback in franchise history.

The Seahawks traded their first round pick (10th overall) as well as the Seahawks third round pick in exchange for Hasselbeck and the Packers first round pick (17th overall).

The key to the trade going through was Seahawks head coach and GM Mike Holmgren, who was with Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck in Green Bay.

Holmgren knew more than anyone what Matt Hasselbeck was capable of and he knew it was worth the small price of what the Seahawks gave up.

Two years after being acquired by the Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck finally beat out his competition, Trent Dilfer to become the Seahawks starting quarterback.

Mike Holmgren's decision to make Hasselbeck the starter paid off in the utmost way as Hasselbeck turned in a stellar season—leading the Seahawks to a 10-6 finish and a wildcard playoff berth. It was the first 10 win season since 1986 for the Seahawks.

However, the taste of the playoffs was short lived for the Seahawks as they lost in the first round of the '03 playoffs to Holmgren and Hasselbeck's former team—the Green Bay Packers.

It was the first of many questionable decisions made by Matt Hasselbeck. Going into OT, the Seahawks sent out their captains for the coin toss. What happened next will always be questioned by a lot of Seahawks fans.

Hasselbeck turned to the official after the coin landed and caught the official’s microphone.

"We want the ball and we are gonna score."

At the time, I'm watching this and thinking to myself, 'I love confidence but there is a fine line between confidence and stupidity'.

Hasselbeck wound up throwing a pick to Packers corner back Al Harris which finished off the Seahawks playoffs and sent them home with a bitter taste in their mouth.

However, Matt didn't let that effect him going into the 2004 campaign, as he led the Seahawks to a 9-7 season and the Seahawks first of five division crowns since the Seahawks joined the NFC West.

The playoff story remained the same; little change. Hasselbeck didn't say anything that he would regret, but the Seahawks still could not get out of the wild card playoff round lost to division rival, the St. Louis Rams.

The peak of Hasselbeck's career would come in 2005 when he led the Seahawks to the best season in franchise history, as well as the team's only super bowl.

Hasselbeck turned in a career low nine interceptions while throwing for 24 touchdowns and 3,459 yards passing.

The Seahawks went 13-3, a franchise best, on their way to Super Bowl XL in which they had a questionable lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Matt Hasselbeck mended up and put it behind him in the off season.

Some lone fans still can't handle the ref's calls during SB XL, but the Seahawks and Hasselbeck haven't been the same since '05.

After Super Bowl XL, Hasselbeck suffered a drastic setback in 2006 and was also forced to be sidelined for four games due to injury.

However, injuries were not the worst of Hasselbeck's problems. He fell way short of his 2005 numbers. Matt finished 2006 with 18 TD's, 15 INT's and 2,442 yards passing but it was still enough to win the NFC West.

Matt Hasselbeck and Mike Holmgren gave it one last hurrah in 2007 and it led to Hasselbeck's best statistical season of his career.

The running game for the Seahawks was depleted with injuries and the fall of Shaun Alexander.

So Holmgren was forced to go to a "pass first and pass heavy" offense and that's when Hasselbeck broke free.

Matt threw for 28 TD's, 12 INT's and almost 4,000 yards passing and did not miss a single game. He finished with 3,966 yards passing in 2007.

It looked like the Seahawks could make another run at the super bowl after they had to come from behind to beat the Washington Redskinds 35-14 thanks to Marcus Trufant in the fourth quarter.

That off season Mike Holmgren announced that 2008 would be his final season with the Seahawks organization and that he would retire after the '08 season no matter what the outcome.

Well, 2008 wound up being the second worst season (record wise) in franchise history as the Seahawks finished 4-12 and earned the fourth overall pick.

Matt missed nine games last season, the most by far in his career, which did nothing for the Seahawks because Matt joined about 12 other Seahawks starters on the sideline last season.

This season, new head coach Jim Mora Jr. hurt Hasselbeck even before the season started by hiring OC Greg Knapp who is a running coach and not a throwing coach which is Hasselbeck's strength.

This season, in the two games that Matt has performed well in (St Louis and Jacksonville) he posted 69 points. The rest of the games, no matter who the QB is, the offense seems to be dead.

Hasselbeck put up three points against the Cardinals and had two great games against a weak defense.

The offensive line has been dead for the entire season so Matt hasn't had a fair chance at anything.

So during the rise and fall of Matt Hasselbeck, there have been several key turning points. This is another downward turning point and if Knapp and Ruskell stick around, Matt will have to end his career early and unfairly.

Matt still has a lot of great years ahead of him but there are three things holding him back. One: offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. Two: the offensive line, and three: GM Tim Ruskell for not even getting him a halfway decent offensive line.

Hopefully the Seahawks add a LT, LG and RG so that Matt Hasselbeck can have the time to show why he's the best QB in Seahawks history.

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This article was originally posted on by Lars Hanson:


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