It’s Super Bowl week and the Seattle Seahawks are not in it this year, which sucks, but let’s not forget that they have been to the big game three times before. In fact, it’s always good to remember (especially with contentious opinions surrounding the current state of the Seahawks) that Seattle still fairly recently won the whole damn thing.
Buuuuuuuuut they do have two Super Bowl losses on record from two different generations of Seahawks football. I’m not going to remind everyone what happened against the New England Patriots, but there are some Seahawks fans who are relatively new and thus don’t remember Super Bowl XL against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Matt Hasselbeck and league MVP Shaun Alexander led the league’s #1 offense against the #3 Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Even though the Seahawks had a 13-3 record plus the #1 seed in the NFC and the Steelers were the #6 seed in the AFC, Pittsburgh was favored by four points. Seattle didn’t generate much respect given the very soft schedule they played, with their playoff wins coming against both wild card teams, while their two best regular season wins came in overtime against the New York Giants (who were shutout in the playoffs by the Carolina Panthers) and an Indianapolis Colts team that rested their starters.
It was practically 90-10 Steelers to Seahawks fans at Ford Field in Detroit on February 5th, 2006. The Seahawks had an early touchdown taken away from them by Bill Leavy’s crew after Darrell Jackson was ruled to have pushed off on Ike Taylor in the end zone. Still, Pittsburgh was down 3-0 and doing nothing on offense until Ben Roethlisberger converted on 3rd and about 174 yards to go late in the second quarter. Roethlisberger would later score on a one-yard touchdown run despite the ball being closer to Pittsburgh’s own end zone than Seattle’s. Mike Holmgren and the Seahawks offense combined for some horrendous clock management that ended in a missed Josh Brown field goal at halftime.
The second half began, and with Ken Hamlin and Marquand Manuel out, the very incapable backup safety Etric Pruitt, the Steven Terrell of his era, took a horrible angle on Willie Parker’s 75-yard touchdown run. Pittsburgh was on the verge of breaking the game open in the third quarter open Kelly Herndon picked off Roethlisberger at the goal line and returned the ball deep into Pittsburgh territory. His pick set up an unlikely Jerramy Stevens touchdown after Jerramy suddenly discovered that he doesn’t have to drop every pass thrown to him. From potentially 21-3, it was suddenly 14-10.
Seattle suddenly had #momentum early in the fourth quarter, on the cusp of taking the lead. Hasselbeck found Stevens at the 1-yard line for what should’ve been 1st and goal, only for Sean Locklear to be penalized for a holding call that may or may not have made John Madden go, “That’s some bullsh-t” on live TV. I’ve not rewatched the original broadcast, so you’ll have to trust me. Hasselbeck would later throw an interception to Ike Taylor, then was flagged for daring to try and tackle him on the play.
Gadget receiver Antwaan Randle-El ended the Seahawks’ Super Bowl dreams with a touchdown pass to game MVP Hines Ward. For good measure, Seattle made a mess of the clock in their two-minute drill and didn’t even get off a field goal to make it 21-13, or at least preserve enough time to actually score a touchdown. The refs were bad, Jerramy Stevens was atrocious even with the touchdown, Josh Brown missed two field goals, and Coach Holmgren’s concept of time management was absent.
So for a “What-if?” exercise on this final week of the 2019-20 NFL season, let’s have some discussion. If you could turn one of these Super Bowl defeats into a win, which one would it be and why?
The case for Super Bowl XL
Mike Holmgren would’ve been the first head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises, and that alone would’ve justified his spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Seahawks greats of yesteryear like Walter Jones, Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, Bobby Engram, Darrell Jackson, Lofa Tatupu, Mack Strong, and others would’ve gotten the rings they deserved. The Holmgren era Seahawks ended a long playoff drought, got to the franchise’s first Super Bowl, and won the NFC West for four straight seasons (back when it was total garbage, but still!).
Also, plenty of NFL fans hate the Steelers and probably would’ve preferred to see “the little guy” win.
A drawback? Well perhaps Tim Ruskell stays a bit longer and the Seahawks never get Pete Carroll or John Schneider.
The case for Super Bowl XLIX
We would be talking dynasty at this point. Two-time Super Bowl winners, the first repeat winners since the 2000s Patriots, and any subsequent playoff failures would sure be less fussed over because the Seahawks won multiple championships. Perhaps the drama surrounding the Legion of Boom + Michael Bennett and this coaching staff would not have gone to that extent if not for what Malcolm Butler did. Russell Wilson’s already sparkling record as an NFL quarterback wouldn’t have that ugly stain on it. Marshawn Lynch probably gets Super Bowl MVP (whether he scored at the 1-yard line or someone else did) to further establish his case for the Hall of Fame. Free agency, trading for Jimmy Graham, etc. all turn out so much differently under these circumstances.
Also, plenty of NFL fans hate the Patriots and probably would’ve preferred to see the Seahawks win, albeit a team that ceased being “the little guy” despite having the rumored 4’6” Wilson at quarterback.
Well that’s all I have to write about this subject. Contemplate, speculate, then vote-ulate!
You have the power to turn one of these Super Bowl losses into a win, which one is it?
This poll is closed
Super Bowl XL
Super Bowl XLIX