On Tuesday, 7x Pro Bowl, 5x All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The unbeatable lineman was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks with the 17th overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft and helped lead them, along with Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones, to Super Bowl XL at the end of the 2005 season.
That’s when things turned into a bitter pill between Seahawks fans and Hutchinson, as he was put on the transition tag (a mistake not made by Hutchinson, but the organization) and he signed a free agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings that essentially made it impossible for him to come back to Seattle unless they were willing to guarantee the entire contract. (Also potentially a move they could have made given Hutch’s age and likelihood to play out most of the seven-year deal, though it would have been a salary cap nightmare.)
Hutchinson played for the Vikings for all seven years before retiring in 2013. He made four Pro Bowls and three first team All-Pro lists during his time in Minnesota.
Hutchinson and Jones are arguably the greatest left side of a line in NFL history and his chances of making it into the Hall must be quite good. Per Pro-Football-Reference, there are only 12 lineman in the modern era to have made first team All-Pro five times, and nine of them are in the Hall of Fame. The ones who aren’t: Hutchinson, Joe Thomas, and Alan Faneca. Oddly enough, Faneca played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their Super Bowl win over the Seahawks. He is eligible for the Hall this year for the third time and he has been a finalist in each of his first two tries, indicating he’ll get there soon.
Ultimately, Hutchinson is still one of the best players ever to put on a Seattle uniform. He may have not had it on as long as we would have liked to see, and the divorce was messy, but whether or not he’s a Hall of Fame guard seems unquestionable. Are fans past the 2006 debacle, or is it not ever going to be right?
Other Seahawks-relevant players in the nominee list include Ricky Watters, Kevin Mawae, Terrell Owens (kinda), Edgerrin James (kinda), and head coach Mike Holmgren. Also potentially some players I’ve overlooked.