Between postseason and preseason, I sit in the summer sun and daydream of the Seattle Seahawks‘ glory days. Currently on my mind was the moment NFL fans realized Steve Largent was not just a possession receiver.
Back when Seattle was in the AFC West, they battled the Denver Broncos twice a year. John Elway and his boys often got the upper hand, but Dave Krieg and his crew got in a few shots. Elway was 20-10 against the Seahawks in his career. That’s okay. I still remember the last time Seattle played Denver.
Largent was Seattle’s first NFL star. He was the first Seahawk selected to the Pro Bowl. He made it seven times. He’s the first real Seahawk in the Hall of Fame, enshrined in 1995. Franco Harris technically made it five years earlier, but he was only in Seattle for a year and his glory days were with the Pittsburgh Steelers. When Largent retired, he held all the major receiving records in the NFL. It took Jerry Rice to break them.
And l’argent means “the money”.
You’d think Largent would be the Wayne Gretzky of the team: an offensive specialist protected by the big, tough goons. He was only 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds. He was a precise route runner, but never fast and known more for his charitable work than dirty work.
That perception changed December 11, 1988. Week One of the 1988 season in Denver, Broncos safety Mike Harden put a vicious forearm-to-helmet hit on Largent, who had to be helped off the field. This was the 80s. That stuff was still legal.
14 weeks later back in Seattle, Largent got his shot at revenge. Krieg’s pass was intercepted by Harden in the end zone. Harden ran it out with his eyes downfield. Around the 20 yard line, you see a blue blur from nowhere. Harden goes helmet-over-teakettle. The ball flies loose and is recovered by Seattle. By the way, the interception was caused by a defensive hold on Brian Blades, and the play was nullified.
Not until you see the slow-motion reverse-angle replay do you realize it was Largent who put Harden on the turf — cleanly. Shoulder pads to the ribs. Poof.
How do you like your short, slow third-down converter now? No one survives in the NFL without being strong and tough, especially the small guys. Just take that with you and keep it for next time you feel too little, too slow or underestimated. Pow — right in the ribs. Right to the turf.