Matt Hasselbeck scrambling for the touchdown was brave. Matt Hasselbeck scrambling for the touchdown was foolish. The decision led directly to the injury. Now opinion is split perfectly in two. Two sides across a thin line that couldn't be more opposed. One sees a leader that put his team on his back and himself on the line to score a touchdown. One sees a leader that put his team on the line and himself on his back to score a touchdown. Sometimes you get burned by the risks you take and sometimes you get burned by the risks you don't take.
When I was still a kid, John Elway did this.
It is an emblematic moment in his career. "The Helicopter" converted a third and six in the red zone and continued a drive that put Denver ahead 24-17 in Super Bowl 32. The Broncos were 11 ½ point underdogs. There was a sense that Denver was hanging in a game it could get blown out of at any moment, but real, imagined or confabulated by me, it felt like after the dive, Denver was in it until the last snap. Of the moment, defensive lineman Mike Lodish said "When Elway, instead of running out of bounds, turned it up and got spun around like a helicopter, it energized us beyond belief." Shannon Sharpe agreed "When I saw him do that and then get up pumping his fist, I said, 'It's on.' That's when I was sure we were going to win." They did, and that moment will forever define Elway. It was fearless and reckless and worked.
I thought "The Helicopter" was foolish when I saw it. I thought Eli Manning should have checked down. Football is like that though. It straddles a line between the rational and the mythic. Seattle was dragging badly at the end of the second quarter. Its offense was sputtering and it was down ten points. The hometown crowd was electric. The defense was disorganized and its leaders hurt. The offense was disorganized and discouraged, and on a young and imported unit, there were not many leaders to look to. So Matt Hasselbeck took a chance and it backfired. The risk couldn't satisfy the reward so it was foolish. The team needed a spark, a moment from its leader that said "We're in this and we're going to win." And so it was brave, but maybe foolish and brave here are separated only by destiny. All day we have talked injuries, but wouldn't it have been nice to joke about how foolish Matt Hasselbeck was, but how "The Crawl" was awesome and game changing and how the Seahawks are 2-0 and how our brave quarterback put the team on his shoulders and declared to the NFL "The Seahawks are contenders again."