The Seattle Seahawks’ 2014 season was booming! Seattle’s secondary, nicknamed the “Legion of Boom,” or “L.O.B” for short, have been instrumental in Seattle’s success. The focus of Super Bowl XLVIII is the anticipated match-up between all time great quarterback Peyton Manning and the vaunted Seahawks secondary. The Legion Of Boom is made up of six talented defensive backs. Anchored by strong safety Cameron “Kam” Chancellor and all-pro cornerback Richard Sherman, the Legion of Boom is characterized by their lights out protection against the pass, while delivering punishing hits.
The Legion of Boom brings the boom. The Legion of Boom bring a robust and hearty version of physical play to the NFL. The Legion of Boom are closely compared to the secondary of the 2000-01 World Champion Baltimore Ravens, who decimated the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV. The 2000 Ravens defense to this day, holds an NFL record for least amount of points scored against in a single season. This record was formerly owned by the 1985 Chicago Bears defense. The 1985 Chicago Bears defense was considered second to none until the 2000 Ravens defense broke their record.
The 2000 Ravens’ secondary was anchored by famed cornerback Chris McAlister and hall of fame defensive back Rod Woodson. Both McAlister and Woodson were athletic players, fierce competitors and malevolent hitters. The secondary of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens was completed by defensive backs Chris Harris, Duane Starks and Robert Bailey. Harris, Starks and Bailey were demons of the gridiron. The three attacked the ball and delivered crushing blows to opposing receivers and running backs. Fourteen years later, the Seahawks secondary share striking similarities to this historic unit. Enthusiasts are reminded every time Seattle opponents are met by the unrelenting fury of the Legion of Boom.
The cast of characters that characterize “The Legion of Boom” are colorful, passionate and ferocious. Richard Sherman, the two-time pro bowler, is the most reknown of this elite squad. Sherman is the face and the voice of this talented bunch. Sherman is passionate, crass and ruthless. However, Sherman is exceptionally talented. Richard Sherman has combined for 16 interceptions in his previous two seasons and is a true shut-down cornerback. Across from Sherman is Brandon Browner. In 2011, Browner picked off six passes, earning himself a pro bowl nomination. Browner is an amazing story. Browner like other NFL greats first played professional football elsewhere. Browner came to Seattle by way of the Calgary Stampeders, a CFL powerhouse. In the Canadian Football League or CFL for short, Browner quickly reached superstar status. Browner’s accolades earned him a contract with Seattle. On a disparaging note, Browner has been suspended indefinitely for the remainder of the season due to a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Replacing Browner is Byron Maxwell. Maxwell seemingly was poised to fill big shoes. Maxwell ascended the depth chart from a dime-back, to starting corner in Seattle’s base 4-3 defense. Maxwell played college ball at Clemson University and was subsequently drafted in 2011. Next is Walter Thurmond. Thurmond is yet another young and gifted defensive back who came to Seattle by way of the University of Oregon. Thurmond was drafted a year before Maxwell in the 2010 draft.
Perhaps the most overlooked feature of the 2014 Seattle Seahawks is the play of their special teams. Cornerback Jeremy Lane leads this stellar squad. Near the end of the regular season, Seattle special teams only allowed 41 net yards on punt returns. This number is staggering considering the amount of returns fielded against Seattle. Nevertheless Seattle displayed effortless ability to quell returns at a whim. Jeremy Lane was a centerpiece in this achievement.
Finally, the safeties of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom”. Cameron “Kam” Chancellor was drafted in 2011. Chancellor is a former Hokie of Virginia Tech. Chancellor, along with five other defensive backs, were drafted in the fourth round or later. Chancellor came to Seattle in the fifth round, as did Richard Sherman. Like Sherman, Chancellor has also come in to his own. Chancellor is now one of the most feared safeties in the NFL. Chancellor is a towering six feet three inches and is a relentless thumper. Chancellor earned himself a pro-bowl nomination this year.
Lastly is Earl Thomas. Thomas came to Seattle with mystique and promise circling around him. Thomas was a stand out star and taken number 14 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by Seattle. Thomas was compared to fellow and former Longhorn defensive backs Michael Huff and Quentin Jammer. Thomas has received several pro bowl invitations and all-pro distinctions in his short career. The “Legion of Boom” does not take in to account prior accomplishments, they are all equal opportunity monsters. Monsters that have haunted Drew Brees twice this season and shattered the dreams of Colin Kaepernick. Peyton Manning may suffer a similar fate.
Despite their accolades, the “Legion of Boom” will be tested Sunday. Across from them, Peyton Manning. Manning is arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. A Super Bowl victory against Seattle’s vaunted defense would strengthen that argument. Seattle will have task of defending against an offense that could arguably be the greatest offense in NFL History. Manning owns two passing titles after his prodigal season. Add to the facts that this Denver Broncos offense now own the single season record for points scored. Manning has an arsenal of talented and skilled players at his disposal.The trio of wide-outs, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker combined for 37 touchdowns. Thomas, owns 14 of those 37 receptions along with 1,492 receiving yards. In addition, Thomas has 82 receptions of the regular variety. Thomas will be a focal point of the Denver attack. Thomas leads the league in yards after catch.
From a strategic standpoint, Denver may take a different approach. The Broncos may very well put the ball in the hands of running back Knowshon Moreno. Moreno, a graduate from the University of Georgia has had the best year of his career. He has over 1500 yards from scrimmage, and 13 touchdowns from scrimmage. Still, Moreno remains a forgotten weapon; his play will be most influential in the outcome of the Emerald City’s “Legion of Boom” versus the Mile High Machine.
By Keith Fuchs