Every football player’s dream is to win a Super Bowl and Matt Hasselbeck is no exception to the rule.
After being drafted in the sixth round by the Green Bay Packers in 1998, Hasselbeck backed up Brett Favre until being traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2001. In Seattle Hasselbeck fought for playing time against Trent Dilfer until 2002 when a strong finish to the season all but guaranteed him a starting spot. Hasselbeck then led the Seahawks to the wildcard playoff game in 2003…which he lost, but not after infamously stating at the start of overtime, “We want the ball, and we’re gonna score!”
In 2005, Hasselbeck came as close to his Super Bowl dream as anyone can go…without achieving it, losing XL to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The following year, after starting the season 4-1, Hasselbeck received a second-degree MCL sprain which took him out for four games. When he returned, Hasselbeck broke fingers on his non-throwing hand and still led the Seahawks to the wildcard playoff game that he would win before losing in the next round to the Chicago Bears.
During the 2010 season, his last with the Seahawks, Hasselbeck led his team to the playoffs despite a 7-9 record. The wildcard game was against defending Super Bowl champions the New Orleans Saints and the Seahawks were eleven point underdogs. Hasselbeck would win this game that nobody thought they could being the only team to make the playoffs with a losing record, albeit on the back of Marshawn Lynch.
Hasselbeck then left the Seahawks and went on to have two less-than stellar seasons for the Tennessee Titans and now he has landed in Indianapolis where he will more likely than not close out his career backing up Andrew Luck.
It’s tough to argue that anyone has had a harder ride to their Super Bowl dream than Matt Hasselbeck, in recent memory at least. It took him three years to emerge from Brett Favre’s shadow and then another two to get his shot at starting for an NFL team. Now, Hasselbeck has decided not to compete to start anymore, he is looking to win the only game that has mattered to him since he started playing football: the Super Bowl. Hasselbeck discussed this priority in a recent interview.
“I wanted to start, sure, but more than anything, I wanted to win a Super Bowl…That was my first priority. When it came down to it, that’s what I wanted most. And that’s why I’m here.”
Nobody can say that Hasselbeck doesn’t deserve to give himself a break after fourteen years of struggle. In a way it is coming full circle and is somewhat poetic that after starting his career behind a franchise quarterback, Hasselbeck will most likely end his career behind a franchise quarterback. But, to me, trying to ride another quarterback’s coattails to achieve a dream makes it worth a whole lot less if and when it becomes a reality…then again, I’m not an NFL quarterback. If you were to ask Gary Kubiak, Rohan Davey, or even David Carr how they feel about their Super Bowl rings, they may tell you backup quarterback doesn’t make being Super Bowl champion any less special.