The Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” secondary deserves its place in history.
When given control of the roster, coach Pete Carroll put together one of the best defenses in the history of the NFL. It’s only three years in, but it would be tough for another unit to top the 2013 Seahawks as best of the decade.
Immediately following the Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Seattle defenders boasted their place among the best.
Defensive end Michael Bennett said the Seahawks had the top defense of all time. Cornerback Richard Sherman said the 2013 Seahawks belong among the best of the best, like the 1985 Chicago Bears and 1976 “Steel Curtain” Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sherman is right — they absolutely do. The 2013 Seahawks might not be the best of all time, but they could be the best pass defense of all time. In a season when offenses averaged 235.6 passing yards per game, the Seahawks allowed just 172. They allowed 16 touchdowns and picked off the ball 28 times. NFL offenses averaged 7.1 yards per attempt; the Seahawks allowed 5.8 yards.
The Legion of Boom was dominant with and without starting cornerback Brandon Browner, who missed the Super Bowl after being suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. The Seahawks went into the season with fantastic depth, however. Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond filled in at right cornerback for Browner, and Sherman continued to dominate the left side of the field.
Earl Thomas was in the conversation for NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and Kam Chancellor is one of the most physically dominating players in the NFL at 6-foot-3, 232 pounds with speed and agility.
The secondary gets a lot of help from the Seahawks’ pass rush, as well. Bennett, Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons all were able to bring pressure off the edge at defensive end.
The Seahawks didn’t have the run defense that teams like the 2000 Ravens and 1976 Steelers had, but their pass defense might be the best of the best. Of course, dominating the NFL’s No. 1 offense in Super Bowl XLVIII helps the Seahawks’ place in history.
Check out how the Seahawks stack up against the best defenses in NFL history below.
1976 Pittsburgh Steelers
Total defense/1976 avg.: 3323/4237.9 — 78.4%
Rushing yards/avg.: 1457/2109 — 69.1%
Passing yards/avg.: 1866/2128 — 87.1%
Passer rating/avg.: 45.2/63.6 — 71.1%
Points allowed/avg.: 138/268.1 — 51.5%
1985 Chicago Bears
Total defense/1985 avg.: 4135/5271.1 — 78.4%
Rushing yards/avg.: 1319/1998.9 — 66%
Passing yards/avg.: 2816/3272.2 — 86.1%
Passer rating/avg.: 51.2/70.7 — 72.4%
Points allowed/avg.: 198/344.5 — 57.5%
1990 New York Giants
Total defense/1990 avg.: 4206/4937.9 — 85.2%
Rushing yards/avg.: 1459/1821.9 — 80.1%
Passing yards/avg.: 2747/3116.0 — 88.2%
Passer rating/avg.: 62.6/75.0 — 83.5%
Points allowed/avg.: 211/322.0 — 65.5%
2ooo Baltimore Ravens
Total defense/2000 avg.: 3967/5110.8 — 77.6%
Rushing yards/avg.: 970/1800.9 — 53.9%
Passing yards/avg.: 2997/3309.9 — 90.5%
Passer rating/avg.: 62.5/76.2 — 82%
Points allowed/avg.: 165/330.8 — 49.9%
2013 Seattle Seahawks
Total defense/2013 avg.: 4378/5575.7 — 78.5%
Rushing yards/avg.: 1626/1806.1 — 90%
Passing yards/avg.: 2752/3769.6 — 73%
Passer rating/avg.: 63.4/84.1 — 75.4%
Points allowed/avg.: 231/374.5 — 61.7%