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Former Seattle Seahawks’ QB Matt Hasselbeck On The Difference Between Mike Holmgren & Pete Caroll’s Coaching Styles And The First Beast Quake

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The last time the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys met in the playoffs, it was back in the 2006 Wildcard round in Seattle. It was a game that Seattle would eventually win 21-20, the game would come down to a Cowboys field goal attempt from the 1 and a half yard line on a 4th and inches play. The ball was snapped and Cowboys starting quarterback at the time Tony Romo could not get the ball down to attempt the goal. He would have to improvise and took off running towards the end zone but was tackled short of the first down by Jordan Babineaux.

(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photo by Tom LYnn)

The coach of that Seahawks team was Mike Holmgren, who previously won a Superbowl in 1997, as the head coach of the Greenbay Packers. In 2005, the Seattle Seahawks were able to reach the Superbowl under Holmgren, but unfortunately, the Seahawks were not able to win the team’s first Superbowl in franchise history.

Starting at the quarterback position at the time under Holmgren, was Matt Hasselbeck. Holmgren drafted Hasselbeck out of Boston College in 1998 when he was with the Packers.  Holmgren would later trade for him when he departed from Greenbay for Seattle.

During a recent interview, Hasselbeck was asked to describe what it was like playing for Mike Holmgren?

“I would say he is a coach’s coach, but I would also say he is a great coach. It was hard to get close to Mike Holmgren; he kept a lot of layers between him and the players. I think part of the reason why he was so demanding as a coach; he absolutely was committed to pushing you harder than you’ve ever thought you could ever be pushed. Getting more out of you than you ever thought you could get because of that he coached his coaches just as hard as his players, Hasselbeck told me. “

“A lot of those guys went on to be head coaches and successful head coaches, and even offensive coordinators, and defensive coordinators. I think of guys like Mike Sherman, Andy Reid, Jon Gruden, and Doug Peterson. When people what do I want to be as a coach?  They think of Mike Holmgren, and it really started with Bill Walsh. I think he is one of the best of all time,“ Hasselbeck said.

The Cowboys and Seahawks are getting ready to face off against one another again in the Wild Card round thirteen years later. This time it will be in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium on Saturday, January 5, 2019.  This time head coach Pete Caroll coming off a contract extension will be leading the Seahawks into Arlington. Carrol will become the Seahawks ‘ longest-tenured head coach when his contract ends in 2021. Former Superbowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson will be the signal caller in this matchup.

Carroll’s first season with the Seahawks was 2009; it was also Matt Hasselbeck last season in Seattle. The Seahawks would end the season with a 7-9 record, but it was a good enough record to win the NFC West that season, and a home playoff game against the defending Superbowl Champs the New Orleans Saints.

In the game against Saints, the world was introduced to Beast Quake one by Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch. Matt Hasselbeck recounts the chain of events from somebody that had a front row seat.

“It was really incredible! We were seven and nine, won the division and was Pete Carroll’s first year as the Seahawks, head coach. A lot of people were saying we didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs because we had a losing record and the idea that the defending world champs. The New Orleans Saints with Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and they were going to have to fly all the way out to Seattle to play the game.  The rules need to be changed the playoff system because it was going to be a boring game, and no one would want to watch it. The Seahawks were just a team transition and rebuilding. I have always said it is the season I am most proud of we had so many moves on the roster that year our offensive line coach quit a week before the season started, and we lost so many different guys, but we traded for Marshawn Lynch in the middle of October. We are not a good rushing team, and I turned the ball over a lot, but with all that, our crowd really supported us, Hasselbeck told me.“
He would continue:
“Pete Carroll and his staff did a masterful job of coaching smoke and mirrors, basically finding every little trick in the book to create some offense and defense. I think the game was in my mind sort of sealed with Earl Thomas intercepting Drew Brees, but the game wasn’t over. We had to run out the clock, and Marshawn Lynch took what was supposed to a normal everyday play, 17 power, and said I am not going to be denied. He would not let anyone tackle him, and literal seismic activity was recorded that day. It was just an incredible moment at our home stadium in Seattle.“
Hasselbeck would finish the interview by breaking down the differences between both of his former head coaches Pete Carroll and Mike Holmgren.

“They both came from San Francisco, through that Bay area coaching style so, it is very similar. However, Pete has more of a Bud Grant defensive style of coaching in comparison to Mike, who came for the Bill Walsh coaching tree. He saw everything through the eyes of the quarterback, and both are really great. I feel very fortunate to play both of them. I would say when Pete was fired from the New England Patriots, he took a year off and he really discovered who we wanted to be as a coach. He took what he said he learned from reading a book about John Wooden. He took that new philosophy in what he wanted to be as a coach and went to USC with the winning formula.“

“Pete will tell you he was 53 and 0 and he was able to lock in and install that winning culture. Mike Holmgren would probably tell you he figured out who he wanted to be as a coach when he became the quarterback coach for the 49ers and was coaching Joe Montana. It started with him at BYU, but I think his pivotal moment was when he coached Joe. I think Pete’s pivotal moment was the year he was out of football and studying John Wooden.“

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