So, just who is the best player in the Seahawks’ first 35 seasons?
We’ve been avoiding this topic because, well, it seems almost blasphemous to even ask. But in the past two weeks, Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent and Hall of Fame in-waiting left tackle Walter Jones have been featured in our series of stories profiling the players that readers of Seahawks.com voted to the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team.
Largent was the top vote-getter (5,004) and Jones was third (4,065) – with defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy between them (4,172). The only other player who got close to 4,000 votes was defensive end Jacob Green (3,990). In fact, just three others topped 3,000 votes – middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (3,539), wide receiver Brian Blades (3,487) and Shaun Alexander (3,274). Fullback Mack Strong (2,971) and nose tackle Joe Nash (2,951) were oh so close.
For years, there was no questioning that Largent was Mr. Seahawk, and would be forever. He is the only Seahawk in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – although Carl Eller (one season), Franco Harris (half a season), Warren Moon (two seasons), John Randle (three seasons) and Jerry Rice (11 games) are Hall of Famers who played briefly for the Seahawks at the end of their careers.
When Largent retired after the 1989 season, he was the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches – because he had led the team in receiving in each of his first 12 seasons. He was an ascending star when the Seahawks were just an expansion blip in the NFL galaxy; a perennial Pro Bowl receiver during the team’s first run of success in the mid-1980s.
But Jones surpassed Largent in both Pro Bowl (nine to seven) and All-Pro (six to five) berths during his career that began in 1997 and ended with him spending his final season (2009) on injured reserve.
As good, and productive, as Largent had been, he never was considered the best receiver in the game. Jones, meanwhile, was ranked as the best player in the NFL by The Sporting News in 2006.
So, it’s finally time to ask: Just who is the best player in Seahawks history?
Largent? Jones? Kennedy, who went to eight Pro Bowls and was NFL defensive player of the year in 1992 on a 2-14 team? Alexander, the league’s MVP in 2005 when he led the league in rushing and scored a then-league record 28 touchdowns? Green, who registered a club-record 116 sacks? Kenny Easley, who was NFL defensive player of the year in 1984 and redefined how the strong safety position was played during his too-short career?
You make the call: