The votes are in. It is official. Today we unveil the starting offense for the Ultimate Seahawks team, as voted on by News Tribune readers.
A few things changed from the early results we released last week, but overall there were few surprises. Current players found their way onto the field at nearly every position, with the only exceptions being at wide receiver and offensive guard. All three of Seattle's Hall of Famers were named to the squad -- thank goodness -- as were most of Seattle's Ring of Honor recipients. The Holmgren-era players received mixed results as did players form the dark years of the 1990s.
Surely, no one will be 100 percent pleased with this team. But then again, that's what the comment section is for. We did allow people to vote more than once, but the votes counted for fewer and fewer percentages each time.
So, without further adieu, let's get to the results:
This was the least competitive race. Despite playing only three seasons in the NFL, Russell Wilson ran away with a landslide victory over the franchise's four other marquee QBs. Perhaps surprisingly, the only other quarterback to lead Seattle to a Super Bowl, Matt Hasselbeck, who also leads the franchise in all-time passing yards, finished a distance fourth. Along with Hasselbeck, Ring of Honor inductees Jim Zorn and Dave Krieg were unable to even crack the top two, with Hall of Famer Warren Moon landing the backup spot. He played just two seasons in Seattle, although one was a Pro Bowl campaign.
RUNNING BACKS (2)
There was little doubt who would win this category, with Marshawn Lynch beasting his way to the top. What proved more interesting, however, is Curt Warner's spot as the second back. Warner is a Ring of Honor inductee and was a rare talent. He led the AFC in rushing multiple times and motored the Seahawks to their first playoff appearance. But how does Shaun Alexander not garner a spot? Alexander holds franchise records for career and single-season rushing yards and touchdowns. He is the only Seattle player to be named MVP of the NFL. And yet, he's on the bench. Seattle's two great fullbacks performed well, but also came up short. John L. Williams ranks third all-time in franchise receptions and fifth in rushing yards. Mack Strong helped plow holes for some of the team's best, including Alexander during his MVP season.
WIDE RECEIVERS (2)
When it comes to Seattle receivers, it's simple. There's Steve Largent and everybody else. Largent was the Seahawks' first Hall of Famer. When he retired, he owned practically every receiving record the NFL had to offer. Since then, Seattle has never had a No. 1 go-to guy on the outside. Joey Galloway was explosive, and had a long NFL career. Darrell Jackson was a key cog in Mike Holmgren's West Coast offense. Brian Blades is still the franchise's last Pro Bowl receiver in 1989 and is second to Largent in most team receiving categories. All in all, outside of No. 80, it's kind of pedestrian.
TIGHT END (1)
The Seahawks have had a few good tight ends over the years, but it hasn't been the most productive position. Zach Miller easily locked down the top spot in our poll, and it's easy to see why. Miller might be the best blend of catching and blocking the Seahawks have had at the position. John Carlson, Christian Fauria and Jerramy Stevens were all excellent pass-catchers, but they struggled in the blocking scheme. Charle Young was well-rounded, but he came to Seattle late in his career.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE (2)
The top spot was a lock. Big Walt, Hall of Famer. He might be the greatest offensive lineman to ever play the game. He was on the field for more than 5,500 pass attempts and only committed nine holding penalties. There was no doubt, Walter Jones would be on this list. Our second tackle, however, may be a bit of a surprise. Russell Okung was drafted specifically to replace Jones, and has done a decent job. He is talented, and when healthy and on the field he's played at an elite level. But he's missed 19 games in five seasons due to injury and shown a penchant for moving before the snap. That being said, there's not a lot behind him on the list. Howard "House" Ballard was a beast, but he played his best football in Buffalo. Sean Locklear is known for committing the most phantom, and yet costliest holding penalty in team history.
OFFENSIVE GUARD (2)
Steve Hutchinson. The name still brings shivers to most Seahawks' fans spines. Alongside Walter Jones, Hutch helped form one of the most formidable tackle/guard combinations in NFL history. He will likely join Big Walt in the Hall of Fame someday. He may be celebrated on par with the greatest players in team history, if it weren't for that damn poison pill. But if you think he's sorry for the dagger-to-the-heart stipulation in the contract he negotiated with Minnesota, check out his Twitter handle, and think again. Either way, he's still easily the best guard in team history. As for the rest of the lot, it was a tight race for second. Pete Kendall eked out Chris Gray and Bryan Millard. All three were talented players. Kendall was always a jovial fellow, and that Boston accent played well on Seattle sports radio. Not only was this position one of only two on the entire team not to be represented by a current player, it was the only position in which we didn't list any current Seahawks players as options. Sorry, J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter. You just didn't make the cut.
Despite Max Unger's comfortable victory, this is one of the deepest positions in franchise history. Unger is a Pro Bowler, who anchors Seattle's potent rushing attack. But Robbie Tobeck was a Pro Bowler, too, and he was responsible for setting protections for the greatest line in team history. Kevin Mawae was good in Seattle, but he left at an early age and thrived with the Jets and Titans, putting together the best career of anyone on the list. Blair Bush was a rock-solid contributor to the Seahawks' 1980s playoff runs. So much talent, but there can only be one. In this case, once again, the current team wins out.
That's all for this edition. For those of you keeping score, here's a recap:
- QB: Russell Wilson
- RB: Marshawn Lynch
- RB: Curt Warner
- WR: Steve Largent
- WR: Joey Galloway
- TE: Zach Miller
- OT: Walter Jones
- OT: Russell Okung
- OG: Steve Hutchinson
- OG: Pete Kendall
- C: Max Unger