Does this sound familiar? The Seahawks reach the end of a long run of success, landing with the dull thud of a losing season. Regime change is imminent, and one of the big decisions is what to do with the team's quarterback/locker room leader, whose performance has declined significantly from a Pro Bowl level just a couple of seasons before. Obviously this describes the Seahawks' current situation, but also where the franchise stood after a 7-9 campaign in 1991.
Amateur historians in the Twelve army know what happened after Dave Krieg was released following the 1991 season: The team cratered with the infamous 2-14 campaign of 1992, starting a decade of futility and mediocrity punctuated by multiple massive failures in picking the "QB of the Future." Krieg showed that he still had some skills by leading the Chiefs and Lions to the playoffs in 1992 and 1994, respectively. As a teenage Seahawks fan back then, I always wondered if those mid 90s Seattle teams might have been more competitive with Krieg under center, or at least on the sidelines mentoring the new guy.
There are some parallels between '91 Krieg and '09 Hasselbeck. Krieg was 33 in 1991, Hass is 34 now. Both players had been Seattle's primary starter for nine seasons, and had mediocre Seahawk swan songs with about 1:1 TD/INT ratios.
A dead-ender of a Hasselbeck loyalist like me might be expected to use these similarities as ammunition for a "keep Beck" rant... sadly, both the current state of the Seahawks and the accelerated erosion of Hasselbeck's skill set points toward a repeat of the brutal decision made by the Behring junta after '91: One of the best players in franchise history needs a shove... if not out of town, at least off the field.
1991 Dave Krieg was less ground down by injuries and a decline in surrounding talent than Beck is now. The '90 Hawks were 9-7 and barely missed the playoffs, and over Mudbone's last 20 starts, the Seahawks were 11-9. Beck's last 20 starts? Seattle is 6-14 in them. That's a reflection of the team's overall decline as much as Hasselbeck's, but believe your eyes: Do you think that The Objectivist has SEVEN more 300+ yard games left in him? Krieg did that after leaving Seattle. Hell, Beck might not have ANY 300 yard games in his future.
I'll never make any money on my football prognosticating talents, but my instinct is that Hasselbeck lands in Cleveland as Holmgren's "bridge" QB or New England as Brady's back-up in 2010. This time, however, the Seahawks will be making the right decision when they part ways with the veteran QB who led them through a successful decade.
More of my Seahawks-related brain-droppings can be found over at Dave Krieg's Strike Beard.