There are lots of really obvious, lazy parallels one can draw between Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Flynn. They share a first name, they were both low draft picks who lacked a prototypical QB skill set, they both were understudies to Super-Bowl winning QBs in Green Bay, and both ended up in Seattle with a chance to craft their own legend as an NFL starting quarterback.
The only really relevant parallel lies in the unknowable future: Will both end up leading the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl? With the Titans visiting Seahawks Stadium this Saturday, the fondly-remembered past will meet potential of the present.
At least the past SHOULD be fondly remembered- I've noticed far too many Seahawks fans suffering from selective amnesia about the career of Matthew Hasselbeck. There's too much focus on his struggles from 2008-2010, and not enough reflection on the fact that from mid-2002 through 2007 he was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. In 5+ seasons he led Seattle to five playoff appearances, four NFC West titles, four playoff wins, and Super Bowl XL. He was also named to the Pro Bowl in 2003, 2005, and 2007. He is the best, most successful quarterback in Seahawks history, and with all due respect to Dave Krieg it isn't even very close. After he retires, his wait to get inducted into the Seahawks Ring of Honor will be brief. He deserves a standing ovation from the Seahawks Stadium crowd Saturday (hopefully followed by pick-6s by some combination of Thomas, Chancellor, Browner and Sherman, of course).
The bigger story is the first Seattle start for Matt Flynn. Given the terrible fury our defense is about to unleash upon the NFL, Flynn has an amazing opportunity. He doesn't need to be Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers to lead Seattle to the Super Bowl- If he can reach the level Hasselbeck was at in the mid-00s, he will be a World Champion. On Saturday, he can snuff any possible quarterback controversy before it begins. Like legions of Twelves, I like Russell Wilson- but Flynn ending the QB1 debate quickly is BY FAR the best possible outcome for the Seahawks. If Flynn looks shaky and Wilson shreds Tennessee's scrubs were going to have a full-blown "CHAR-LIE! CHAR-LIE!"-type pandemic on our hands. That won't just be puke-worthy; it'll be a dangerous distraction.
This isn't about taking sides between Flynn and Wilson (though I fear we're already heading that direction judging by the internet chatter I've seen). In 2013 or 2014, Wilson may overtake Flynn and seize the starting job- If so, awesome! However, if we have to start a 3rd-round rookie QB against Arizona on Kickoff Weekend that would mean something went horribly awry in August. We NEED Matt Flynn to, in effect, kick somebody's ass on his first day in Gen Pop Saturday.
Yeah, rehashing the parallels between Flynn and Hasselbeck is kinda hacky and lazy- but I do dig the possible symmetry of their careers. There's one way I want their paths to diverge, though: I want Matt Flynn to WIN the Super Bowl.
You're up, Matt. Go get it, dude.
What do you think, sirs?