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The Rise and Fall of the Legion of Boom

With 29 seconds left in the 2013 NFC Championship game, San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick dropped back and threw a pass intended for Michael Crabtree that was broken up by Richard Sherman and intercepted by Malcolm Smith. This play secured a conference title for the Seattle Seahawks and sent them to Super Bowl XLVIII, where they defeated the Denver Broncos to win their first world championship in franchise history. This play will be remembered as the defining moment for the Legion of Boom (LOB), as Richard Sherman described it in his post game interview with Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews. This play not only sent a shockwave around the sports world as we saw the league’s best secondary and the league’s best corner step up to define a teams history for years, but it gave a franchise a chance to become a dynasty.

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The rise of the Legion of Boom began in 2011 after the Seahawks drafted Richard Sherman with the 154th pick out of Stanford University. By the time Sherman arrived at the VMAC in Renton Washington, Seahawks Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Brandon Browner had already been playing together for a year. It wasn’t until they were all together that the Seahawks began to hold the reputation of having the best secondary in the NFL. The 2011 season was a rebuilding year for the Seahawks, and it was a year where the future world champions were learning to play together. The 2012 season was where the LOB began to evolve chemistry around each other, and it is when Richard Sherman became known as the league’s most effective trash talker.

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The Seahawks finished that year with an 11-5 record that sent them to wildcard game and eventually a divisional round playoff game that they lost in the last seconds to a Matt Bryant field goal kick. This game played a huge role in the evolution of the Legion of Boom era in Seattle. The following year is what defined the Legion of Boom and the rest of the Seahawks defense. They led the team to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl championship. After the 2013 season, the Seahawks defense was in consideration as one of the greatest defenses in the modern football era, although the glory would only last one year.

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The 2014-15 season is a season that Seahawks fans will never forget. They rolled through the regular season with a 12-4 record and the #1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs. They handily defeated the Carolina Panthers and took down the Green Bay Packers in an overtime thriller to win the NFC title. The Seahawks were on their way to a 2nd Super Bowl and making a name for themselves as a dynasty until the closing moments of Super Bowl XLIV, when Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass on the goal line, giving the Patriots their 4th title since 2003 (they’d win their 5th in 2016).

The Legion of Boom felt like they deserved a 2nd Super Bowl. They deserved to be in the conversation as one of the best secondaries to ever play. And they deserved to be labeled as a dynasty. But this was robbed from them at the 1-yard line by Darrell Bevell and Pete Carroll for calling a designed slant to Ricardo Lockette instead of giving the ball to “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch. This one play call changed the entire mindset for the franchise. The players lost all respect for the mission that Pete Carroll was trying to establish in Seattle. This was the beginning of the end for the LOB.

The Hangover that followed the Seahawks around for the next 3-5 years was too much to overcome. The way the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl completely shattered the locker room in a way that was too much to overcome. The downfall and the breakup began when Earl Thomas had a season-ending injury the 2016 season. The Seahawks were finally back to playing their loud, fast-paced style of football before Thomas went down. The 2017 season was a disappointment for the Legion of Boom too- Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman both had injuries that kept Seattle from being a competent secondary. Week 17 of the ‘17-’18 campaign marked the last game the LOB played together.

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The minute that Seattle dropped Richard Sherman on March 9th, 2018, the world knew that the reign of the Legion of Boom had officially come to an end. Shortly after Richard Sherman signed with the 49ers, Kam Chancellor retired. Now just one member of the previous dominant members of the Legion of Boom remains in Seattle, and he wants out. Earl Thomas has shown Seattle that he wants to go to Dallas, the only thing stopping this from happening is Dallas’s failed attempts to bring him in. Dallas won’t give up more than a 2nd or 3rd round pick for the 29-year-old safety. He is a Hall of Fame safety in his prime. Anyways, the window for another Super Bowl officially closed for the Seahawks when the Legion of Boom split up marking it an end of an era for a once great team. The only words that can now describe the legacy of the Legion of Boom are simply…  “what could’ve been.”

Edit: In Week 4 of the NFL Season, Safety Earl Thomas fractured his leg in a win against the Arizona Cardinals. Thomas was previoulsy floated as a possible trade candidate for Steeler RB Le’Veon Bell, and was also in talks with the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs. He held out for nearly 6 weeks before returning to Seattle shortly before the season opener. He will miss the rest of the 2018-19 season.

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