May 29, 2011

Bobby and Darrell

A few days ago on twitter I started a conversation about which Holmgren-era Seahawks would end up in the Ring of Honor someday, and I came up with Mike Holmgren, Walter Jones, Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, Mack Strong, Lofa Tatupu and Marcus Trufant (That list by itself, and how I came up with it, might warrant another post soon). I asked my followers if I was missing anyone, and a chorus arose of "Bobby Engram!"

I love Bobby Engram. He was a great 3rd-down receiver, and his career year in 2007 (perhaps the best single season for any WR in team history) helped the Seahawks win the NFC West and reach the divisional playoffs. The dude is also a class act by all accounts- Add that all up and you've got a fan favorite... But not someone deserving of the Ring of Honor, in my opinion. Among other reasons is this simple fact: By almost every statistical metric, Darrell Jackson had a better Seahawks career than Engram, but NO ONE (not even me) is arguing for D-Jack's name to be placed up there at the rim of the 300 level. Let's check the numbers:

109 games, 399 catches for 4859 yards and 18 TDs

96 games, 441 catches for 6445 yards and 47 TDs

Dang! It's not even close. But there's more- What about post-season play? Not only does D-Jack have more catches, yards, and TDs in three fewer Seahawks playoff games than Engram- He also has more signature moments- The TD that jolted the Seahawks to life against DC in the 2005 Divisional Playoffs, and the TD that pretty much put the Panthers down for good in the NFC Championship Game. Finally, you know how Engram had that amazing 2007 season? Well D-Jack's 2003 and 2004 seasons were damn near exactly the same statistically.

But wait, you say! Darrell Jackson dropped a ton of passes! True- But back in 03-04 ALL Seahawks receivers dropped a crapload of passes, including maybe the single biggest drop in franchise history (skip forward to 2:47 mark):

Bobby Engram seemingly gets a free pass from most Twelves for that dropped pass- Why? Another thing I've heard is that Engram did the dirty work going over the middle. True- But D-Jack didn't? He went over the middle too, risking serious injury (and suffering it in this case):

Jackson also had perhaps the greatest game of his career just hours after his father's death in a must-win contest at Minnesota in 2004. As I wrote back then:

-To Darrell Jackson, who had one of the best games of his life despite the death of his father this morning. Like all Seahawks fans, I find his bouts of the dropsies infuriating.. But this dude is a warrior, and he is showing why we gave him that big contract this offseason.. I’ll be sporting my D-jack jersey around town tomorrow…

Does that sound like someone unworthy of some Twelve adoration?

My point is less about Bobby Engram or Darrell Jackson than about how we as fans decide which players we like and which ones we don't. I heard multiple people argue that Engram was simply more "likeable," or that he was someone you'd want to have over for dinner. What did D-Jack do or not do to fall into a lesser category among most Seahawks fans? I haven't heard anything concrete from anyone, beyond some vague chatter about Jackson not being "loyal" or a "team player." If there is hard evidence for any of the negativity around D-Jack, I haven't yet seen it. Anyone care to take a real stab at explaining why Engram became a fan favorite and Jackson didn't? Frankly, this has always flummoxed me.

What do you think, sirs?


Eric Flatness said...

The ring of honor is for the best of the best, the "all-star team" of Seahawks. As much as I love Engram, Jackson, Trufant, and even Tatupu (who I do truly, dearly love) they aren't worthy of the ring (at least not yet in applicable cases).
Jones, Alexander, Hass, Strong, they should be sure-ins. The rest haven't been good enough, long enough. They aren't up to the standard of Krieg, or Largent, or Kennedy.

DKSB said...

You'd put Holmgren in though, right? Reasonable people can disagree about Tatupu and Trufant- I think they've done enough to join Holmgren, Jones, Hass, Alexander and Strong up there, others don't.

Looks like I have another post to write! :)

neurocell said...

I was so happy when Nolan Cromwell left the Hawks. He was the king of the basket catch, and that's what he taught the Hawks receivers. So whenever they needed to catch the ball with their hands, they'd flub it up. I never understood how a college quarterback, and pro safety would coach wide receivers.

Jonathan Dalar said...

Good write-up. It's often overlooked how valuable D-Jack was to this team over the years.

But at this point, as far as RoH goes, I'd include only Alexander, Hasselbeck, Strong, Jones, and Holmgren. We'll see how things play out for those who are close but not quite there.