Matt Hasselbeck isn’t a name that comes up much when discussing NFL quarterbacks from eras past. He was a solid presence under center but never viewed as a star.
We’re not necessarily here to change that. This isn’t a “Matt Hasselbeck belongs in the Hall of Fame” shill job or anything along those lines.
It is, however, a public service announcement: Matt Hasselbeck’s prime-most years were better than you remember.
Specifically, we’re talking about his run with the Seattle Seahawks, which spanned 131 starts between 2001 and 2010.
During that time, Hasselbeck ranked sixth in touchdown passes and passing yards. The only players in front of him in both categories were all superstars and inevitable Hall of Famers: Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Donovan McNabb.
Hasselbeck was never known for his accuracy, but he did boast a completion rate north of 60 during his stretch with the Seahawks. That’s higher than that from McNabb (59.55 percent). He also led about as many game-winning drives over this span (17) as McNabb as well (19).
That’s pretty wild when you think about it. There was nearly a decade-long span in which Hasselbeck was arguably one of the top nine or 10 quarterbacks in the game. That needs to be mentioned as part of his legacy, even if his best football didn’t last the 15-plus years typically expected of the biggest names.
In reality, Hasselbeck’s reputation would look a lot rosier had he performed better in the playoffs. His career completion percentage in the postseason dropped to about 58, and he only won more than a single playoff game on one occasion—in 2005, when the Seahawks made it all the way to the Super Bowl and lost.
On the flip side, Hasselbeck did pilot a postseason-bound squad in six of the nine years he spent with Seattle. And across this stretch, he only posted two winless playoff trips. He won at least one game in the other four.
History tends to most fondly remember Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. That’s fair. But we sometimes get too caught up in counting rings and trophies. Hasselbeck was a steadying, consistent force under center for one of the NFL’s most competitive franchises for almost a decade. Few other quarterbacks can say the same.
Even Eli Manning’s best years never included that much consistency. The difference is he has two Super Bowl victories to Hasselbeck’s zero. Who knows how much better history would remember the latter had he one in 2005. People might even be clamoring for him to make the Hall of Fame. Seriously.