Our inbox contains a question, submitted by someone with too much bye-week time on his hands, that cannot be answered because it is hypothetical, reducing any response to speculation. The question: “Who would win if the 2013 Seahawks played the 2005 Seahawks?” The only thing that can be said with confidence is that Pete Carroll and Mike Holmgren would have a difference of opinion.
Had it not been for dubious officiating — the lead official years later apologized for his poor calls — the 2005 Seahawks might have won Super Bowl XL instead of falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-10. Seattle hasn’t been much of a threat to return to the Super Bowl until the past two seasons.
In the hypothetical 2005 vs. 2013 matchup, cases can be made for both editions of the Seahawks. In fact, it’s remarkable how statistically similar are the teams. 2005 constructed a franchise-record 11-game winning streak en route to a 13-3 regular-season finish. 2013 would be riding an 11-game streak if it hadn’t had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown Oct. 6 at Indianapolis.
2013 can still fashion an 11-game winning streak if they win out, no easy feat with the NFC’s No. 2 seed, New Orleans, due at CenturyLink a week from Monday and road games in San Francisco and New York among the final five.
2005 featured two future Hall of Famers on its offensive line (Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson), the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, Shaun Alexander, and seven Pro Bowl players: QB Matt Hasselbeck, FB Mack Strong, LB Lofa Tatupu and C Robbie Tobeck in addition to Jones, Hutchinson and Alexander.
2013 includes nine who have appeared in a Pro Bowl (CB Brandon Browner, S Kam Chancellor, WR Percy Harvin, RB Marshawn Lynch, OT Russell Okung, FB Michael Robinson, S Earl Thomas, C Max Unger, QB Russell Wilson), plus a likely 10th this season, K Steven Hauschka.
As a refresher, this was the starting lineup that Holmgren trotted out on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6, 2006 at Ford Field in Detroit:
|WR||Bobby Engram||With Seahawks through ’08, final year in KC in ’09|
|LT||Walter Jones||Career ended with an injury 12 games into 2008 season|
|LG||Steve Hutchinson||Signed with Vikes weeks after Super Bowl; retired ’12|
|C||Robbie Tobeck||Played with Seahawks through 2006, then retired|
|RG||Chris Gray||Regular Seattle starter through 2007, then retired|
|RT||Sean Locklear||Stayed with Seahawks through 2010; now with Atlanta|
|TE||Jerramy Stevens||Released March 20, 2007, hours after DUI arrest|
|WR||Darrell Jackson||Played for Seatte in 2006, final season for Denver 2008|
|QB||Matt Hasselbeck||Backup to Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts|
|FB||Mack Strong||Retired in 2007 after suffering spinal cord trauma|
|RB||Shaun Alexander||Cut April 22, 2008; played 4 games with Redskins in ’08|
|K||Josh Brown||Signed with Rams in ’07, currently kicking for NY Giants|
|LE||Bryce Fisher||Retired following the 2007 season, spent with Titans|
|DT||Chuck Darby||Left Seahawks after 2007, finished career in Detroit ’09|
|DT||Rocky Bernard||Left Seattle in 2008, 4 years with Giants, now retired|
|RE||Grant Wistrom||Played with Seahawks in 2006 and then retired|
|OLB||Leroy Hill||Played with Seattle through ’12, not re-signed for ’13|
|ILB||Lofa Tatupu||Undersized LB never played after 2010 release|
|OLB||D.D. Lewis||Retired after 12 games for 2009 Seahawks|
|LCB||Andre Dyson||Super Bowl XL was last game for Seahawks; retired ’07|
|RCB||Marcus Trufant||Survived Schneider-Carroll roster purge, retired in ’12|
|SS||Michael Boulware||Started 8 games in 2006, retired with Houston 2007|
|FS||M. Manuel||Signed with Green Bay in free agency ’06; retired ’09|
|P||Tom Rouen||Super Bowl XL was last game for 10-year veteran|
Only three of Seattle’s Super Bowl starters are on an NFL roster today (none with the Seahawks): OL Sean Locklear (Atlanta), QB Matt Hasselbeck (Indianapolis) and K Josh Brown (NY Giants). Brown is the only starter.
What mainly distinguished the 2005 team was its scoring offense. At 28.2 points per game, the Seahawks led the NFL with Alexander, running behind Jones and Hutchinson, setting a league record with 28 touchdowns. Seattle’s scoring defense was almost as good, ranking seventh. The 2005 team allowed only five rushing TDs all season.
But 2005 doesn’t have much of a statistical advantage on 2013. While 2005 averaged 28.2 points per game, 2013 averages 27.8. 2005 yielded 16.9, but 2013 is a hair better at 16.3. 2005 had an average scoring margin of 10.5 points over its opponents. But 2013’s is 11.5. There is virtually no difference in takeaways/giveaways. As the tale of the tape shows, the teams are practically copies of each other:
|2005||Category||2013||2005 vs. 2013 Seahawks|
|13-3-0||Record||10-1-0||’05 franchise record 11-game win streak|
|28.2||Points Per Game||27.8||’05 single-game high 42 twice; ’13: 45|
|16.9||Avg. Points Allowed||16.3||’05 team had one shutout; ’13 none yet|
|+10.5||Avg. Scoring Margin||+11.5||’05 team ranked 2nd; ’13 also ranks 2nd|
|369.7||Avg. Net Yards||358.4||’05 ranked 2nd; ’13 ranks 12th|
|316.8||Avg. Net Yards Allw.||293.2||’05 ranked 16th in NFL; ’13 ranks 2nd|
|153.6||Avg. Rush Yards||147.9||’05 had 3rd best attack; ’13 also 3rd|
|94.4||Avg. Rush Yards Allw.||112.9||’05 ranked 5th; ’13 ranks 15th|
|216.1||Avg. Pass Yards||210.5||Hasselbeck 98.2 rating; Wilson 105.1|
|222.4||Avg. Pass Yards Allw.||180.3||’05 ranked 25th; ’13 ranks 2nd|
|27/174||Sacked / Yards Lost||29/181||‘Reflection of better offensive line in ’05|
|+10||Takeaway / Giveaway||+11||’05 ranked 7th; ’13 ranks third, 1st NFC|
|3.4||Off. TDs Per Game||3.0||’05 57 total TDs; ’13 on pace for 48|
|0.2||Def. TDs/Game||0.2||’05 had 16 INTs; ’13 also 16 INTs|
|18||Field Goals||24||Josh Brown kicked 5 FGs of 50+ yards|
|67.6%||Red Zone Efficiency||60.0%||’05 Seahawks ranked 2nd; ’13 ranks 9th|
With Jones and Hutchinson, 2005 had a superior offensive line, although it can’t be proven with stats, as the chart shows. 2013 has a superior secondary and stats support that. 2013 ranks second against the pass, fourth in TDs allowed (4) and first in interceptions (16). 2005 ranked 25th, 9th and 14th in those categories.
In attempting to determine who would win between 2005 and 2013, which team had — or has — the better playmakers?. Which quarterback is more likely to deliver? Would you take Alexander, who rushed for more yards and touchdowns, or Lynch? Michael Boulware or Earl Thomas? And if it came down to a kick, Josh Brown or Steven Hauschka?
After picking a winner, we’d appreciate a comment telling us why you voted the way you did.