ALL good things must come to an end and yesterday it became official. The Legion of Boom is gone. After the Seahawks traded Michael Bennett earlier in the week they followed up by releasing All-Pro corner Richard Sherman yesterday. It marks the end of one of the greatest defensive units to grace the NFL, and Seattle might not be finished making moves to their defense.
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TO fully understand the Legion of Boom’s legacy (LOB for short), first, you must understand their history. In a vertical pass-friendly game, Seattle’s defensive backs gave birth to the LOB in 2011 when Richard Sherman with safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas joined forces to form one of the most intimidating units in football. They were brash, hard-hitting and weren’t afraid to talk about their success throughout the league. And that was only the beginning.
KAM Chancellor is credited with creating the name for the Seahawks secondary after stating that the group ‘brings the boom’ on a radio show in 2012. After forming in 2011 they started to realise their talents in the 2012 season with Seattle finishing first in points allowed and second in passing touchdowns allowed. Thomas and Sherman were also voted to the AP All-Pro squad, with Sherman intercepting eight passes, second-most in the league.
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WHILE the secondary coined the LOB nickname it quickly caught on with the rest of the defense and off the back of their dominant play Seattle made back to back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014. Dynamic defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett made life hell for the quarterbacks, while Bobby Wagner emerged as one of the best linebackers in the league.
MIXED in with the likes of Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas, Seattle stormed to an NFC best 13-3 record in ’13 and claimed the franchises first championship against the Denver Broncos, in one of the biggest Super Bowl blowouts of all-time. The 43-8 game saw the Seahawks defense manhandle the league’s best offense and force Hall of Famer Payton Manning into uncharacteristic mistakes.
AFTER their success in Super Bowl XLVIII you knew that Seattle wasn’t finished. They ruled the 2014 season as well, tying for the league’s best record for the second straight season. It also marked the second straight season Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas were selected to the Pro Bowl as they prepared to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. Unfortunately for the Seahawks things didn’t go their way this time as Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass on the goal virtually as time expired to seal a 28-24 win.
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OVER the next three seasons while the defense remained devastating they never returned to the Super Bowl as injuries, contractual issues and relationship dramas started to mar their success. So why exactly did they break up? Putting it bluntly, it became increasingly difficult to keep and pay all of their defensive stars. As their core members get older they were never going to be able to keep them all in a Seahawks uniform, which led to their moves over the last week.
THE move to axe Sherman saved Seattle over $11 million in cap relief and Bennett was due to make $30 million over the next three seasons. It makes sense for the front office to move on from these ageing expensive pieces and rumours are still circulating that they aren’t done dealing. Earl Thomas is apparently being shopped with both Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor’s status for 2018 uncertain as they come back from big injuries.
WHILE this marks the end of the ‘Legion of Boom’, Seattle’s defense will still be fine in 2018. Bobby Wagner is a true star and there are other pieces on their roster who can thrive in an increased role. Still, it’s sad to see the end of an era surrounding one of the best defensive units to grace a football field.
FROM 2011 to 2017 Seattle’s defense ranked first in passing yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, opponent total yards, passing touchdowns allowed, opponent total touchdowns allowed, total points allowed, opponent quarterback rating and was second in takeaways, turnover margin and points differential. Translation? Seattle’s defense in this decade is hands down the best in the league and perhaps one of the best of all-time.
THERE are many questions about where the ‘Legion of Boom’ legacy will sit in league history. If they had another Super Bowl win or two there may be doubt they are greatest ever. Still, after their dominant seven-year stretch they will deservedly forge a place in history as one of the greatest collections of defensive talent we have ever seen. Long live the Legion of Boom.
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