Although the Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2013, until their victory the 2005 team was looked at as the best team in the franchise’s history, topping the 1988 division-winning squad and and 1983 Cinderella unit that rode Curt Warner by miles. Before 2013, the 2005 Seahawks were just used as an example of why it sucked to be a Seattle sports fan. You have a tremendous title drought outside of the WNBA, the Supersonics left town and only 2 division titles could be salvaged in the NFL before 2000, and your best shot at a Super Bowl lost the big game thanks to stunningly poor officiating.
Mike Holmgren’s time in Seattle hadn’t been anything to sneeze at before 2005, and although he had a historically bad pass defense in 2000, Holmgren used his first round pick to draft Shawn Alexander. This would help them out for really only one season, but boy, was it a season to remember.
Alexander had rushed for over 1,000 in every season apart from 2000, his rookie year in which he only carried the ball 64 times. In 2005, he totaled career highs in five categories: carries (370), rushing yards (1,880), touchdowns (27), yards-per-attempt (5.1) and yards-per-game (117.5). His efforts earned him the NFL’s MVP award in 2005, as well as the Bert Bell award and the 2005 Offensive Player of the Year. Unfortunately for Alexander, however, he suffered the “Madden Curse” after 2005 and never again rushed for over 1,000 yards. After two unsuccessful seasons in 2006 and 2007, Alexander was cut from Seattle and signed with Washington, carrying the ball only 11 times in 2008 before retiring.
Although Matt Hasselbeck is still playing despite the fact that he’s about 51 years old, he was a very, very good player in 2005, running Mike Holmgren’s offense very efficiently. Some might say he rode Shawn Alexander, but the stats say otherwise. Hasselbeck completed 65.5% of his passes for 3,459 yards, 24 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions for a grand rating of 98.2. He started every game for Seattle, leading them to a 13-3 record.
Bobby Engram finished 2005 as Seattle’s leading receiver, catching 67 passes for 778 yards…but only 3 touchdowns. Engram posted an 11.6 yards-per-reception average.
For touchdowns, the Seahawks turned to Joe Jurevicius, who caught 55 passes for 694 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 12.6 yards-per-catch. Seattle also had Jerramy Stevens (45 receptions, 554 yards, 5 touchdowns), Darrell Jackson (38 receptions, 482 yards, 3 touchdowns) and…Peter Warrick? Yeah, the draft bust for the Bengals. Warrick sat near the bottom of the receiving list with 11 receptions for 180 yards. I guess he was too busy getting arrested for buying too many shoes. (Trust me, it happened.)
In all, the Seahawks established a breathless beat on offense, leading the league with 452 total points scored (28.2 per game) and only turned the ball over 17 times. The ‘Hawks averaged 5.8 yards-per-play and 369.6 yards-per-game.
The offensive output was more than plenty considering the brittle defense, one that only allowed 5 rushing touchdowns, and although their opponents’ yards-per-game average leaves something to be desired (316.8), Seattle only allowed 16.9 per game and sacked opposing quarterbacks 47 times. Forcing 27 turnovers was more than enough for the offense, and the Seahawks ran all over the league on both sides of the ball.
This was a team that could embarrass you 42-0 (Week 13 @ Philadelphia), 41-3 (Week 14 vs. San Francisco), or 42-10 (Week 6 vs. Texans). Although the Seahawks started 2-2 with an opening day loss to Jacksonville and a 20-17 OT crusher against Washington, Seattle went 11-1 in their remaining games to earn the No.1 seed in the NFC Playoffs.
A Super Bowl between 14-2 Indianapolis and 13-3 Seattle would have been fun, but Pittsburgh had to play the role of league “party poopers”, earning the No.6 seed in the AFC Playoffs with a modest 11-5 record. They rattled off three road playoff wins, @ Cincinnati, @ Indianapolis thanks to a Mike Vanderjagt last-second shank that would have tied the game, and a 34-17 road win against Denver in the AFC Title game.
The Seahawks cruised through the NFC Playoffs to meet the Steelers in the Super Bowl, and what followed was a game that reeked of orchestration.
Bill Leavy can be thanked for the crackpot officiating job, costing the Seahawks a possible two touchdowns in the biggest game of the year. A touchdown pass to Darrell Jackson was called back due to offensive pass interference called on the former, but it was such a light push that it wouldn’t have made any difference whatsoever and it shouldn’t have been called, especially during the Super Bowl in front of an audience that could clearly see otherwise. The Seahawks were forced to settle for a field goal after the call.
A Pittsburgh interception and a Seattle punt followed, which set up “Dishonest Officiating Part 2”. Ben Roethlisberger scored an apparent touchdown on a sneak, but after watching replays, it was very clear he was down at perhaps the inch-line. Despite this, the referees gave Roethlisberger the touchdown regardless, putting the Seahawks behind 7-3 and forcing them to play catchup for the rest of the game.
Seattle missed a field goal later on, and Pittsburgh got the ball in the second half. Willie Parker busted a 75-yard touchdown run, which is still the longest run in Super Bowl history, beating out Marcus Allen’s dash in Super Bowl XVIII by a single yard. Seattle fell behind 14-3, and looked to score. They finally did, on a 16-yard pass to Jerramy Stevens.
After punts by the teams, Seattle looked to spot the ball on Pittsburgh’s 1-yard line after an 18-yard pass to Stevens. The play was negated though, on a holding call on Seattle’s Sean Locklear. Locklear was forced to hold the Pittsburgh rush due to an offsides call on Pittsburgh that was missed. Just three plays later, Hasselbeck threw an interception, and the Seahawks never recovered. Antwaan Randle-El threw a touchdown pass on a gadget play, and that wrapped up Super Bowl XL.
The entire game was just an ugly mess of poor officiating, and you felt empty after watching it. It wasn’t what you was looking for. After the 2005 season, Seattle made the playoffs in 2006 and 2007 but failed to reach the NFC Title game. After two seasons in 2008 and 2009 in which Seattle only won 9 games, the Seahawks returned to postseason contention under Pete Carroll and won the Super Bowl in 2013 over the Broncos.