BY Steve Rudman 01:43PM 11/20/2013

Which Seahawk team would win: ’05 or ’13?

The 2005 Seahawks are the franchise’s most successful team, having reached Super Bowl XL. But are the 2013 Seahawks better? If they played, who’d win? Vote here.

Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren jaws at an official during Seattle’s run to the Super Bowl in 2005. That year’s team went 13-3 with an 11-game winning streak and became the franchise’s first entry in the Super Bowl. / Sportspress Northwest file

Our inbox contains a question, submitted by someone with too much bye-week time on his hands, that cannot be answered because it is hypothetical, reducing any response to speculation. The question: “Who would win if the 2013 Seahawks played the 2005 Seahawks?” The only thing that can be said with confidence is that Pete Carroll and Mike Holmgren would have a difference of opinion.

Had it not been for dubious officiating — the lead official  years later apologized for his poor calls — the 2005 Seahawks might have won Super Bowl XL instead of falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-10. Seattle hasn’t been much of a threat to return to the Super Bowl until the past two seasons.

In the hypothetical 2005 vs. 2013 matchup, cases can be made for both editions of the Seahawks. In fact, it’s remarkable how statistically similar are the teams. 2005 constructed a franchise-record 11-game winning streak en route to a 13-3 regular-season finish. 2013 would be riding an 11-game streak if it hadn’t had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown Oct. 6 at Indianapolis.

2013 can still fashion an 11-game winning streak if they win out, no easy feat with the NFC’s No. 2 seed, New Orleans, due at CenturyLink a week from Monday and road games in San Francisco and New York among the final five.

2005 featured two future Hall of Famers on its offensive line (Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson), the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, Shaun Alexander, and seven Pro Bowl players: QB Matt Hasselbeck, FB Mack Strong, LB Lofa Tatupu and C Robbie Tobeck in addition to Jones, Hutchinson and Alexander.

2013 includes nine who have appeared in a Pro Bowl (CB Brandon Browner, S Kam Chancellor, WR Percy Harvin, RB Marshawn Lynch, OT Russell Okung, FB Michael Robinson, S Earl Thomas, C Max Unger, QB Russell Wilson), plus a likely 10th this season, K Steven Hauschka.

As a refresher, this was the starting lineup that Holmgren trotted out on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6, 2006 at Ford Field in Detroit:

Offense Player Skinny
WR Bobby Engram With Seahawks through ’08, final year in KC in ’09
LT Walter Jones Career ended with an injury 12 games into 2008 season
LG Steve Hutchinson Signed with Vikes weeks after Super Bowl; retired ’12
C Robbie Tobeck Played with Seahawks through 2006, then retired
RG Chris Gray Regular Seattle starter through 2007, then retired
RT Sean Locklear Stayed with Seahawks through 2010; now with Atlanta
TE Jerramy Stevens Released March 20, 2007, hours after DUI arrest
WR Darrell Jackson Played for Seatte in 2006, final season for Denver 2008
QB Matt Hasselbeck Backup to Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts
FB Mack Strong Retired in 2007 after suffering spinal cord trauma
RB Shaun Alexander Cut April 22, 2008; played 4 games with Redskins in ’08
K Josh Brown Signed with Rams in ’07, currently kicking for NY Giants
Defense Player
LE Bryce Fisher Retired following the 2007 season, spent with Titans
DT Chuck Darby Left Seahawks after 2007, finished career in Detroit ’09
DT Rocky Bernard Left Seattle in 2008, 4 years with Giants, now retired
RE Grant Wistrom Played with Seahawks in 2006 and then retired
OLB Leroy Hill Played with Seattle through ’12, not re-signed for ’13
ILB Lofa Tatupu Undersized LB never played after 2010 release
OLB D.D. Lewis Retired after 12 games for 2009 Seahawks
LCB Andre Dyson Super Bowl XL was last game for Seahawks; retired ’07
RCB Marcus Trufant Survived Schneider-Carroll roster purge, retired in ’12
SS Michael Boulware Started 8 games in 2006, retired with Houston 2007
FS M. Manuel Signed with Green Bay in free agency ’06; retired ’09
P Tom Rouen Super Bowl XL was last game for 10-year veteran

Only three of Seattle’s Super Bowl starters are on an NFL roster today (none with the Seahawks): OL Sean Locklear (Atlanta), QB Matt Hasselbeck (Indianapolis) and K Josh Brown (NY Giants). Brown is the only starter.

What mainly distinguished the 2005 team was its scoring offense. At 28.2 points per game, the Seahawks led the NFL with Alexander, running behind Jones and Hutchinson, setting a league record with 28 touchdowns. Seattle’s scoring defense was almost as good, ranking seventh. The 2005 team allowed only five rushing TDs all season.

But 2005 doesn’t have much of a statistical advantage on 2013. While 2005 averaged 28.2 points per game, 2013 averages 27.8. 2005 yielded 16.9, but 2013 is a hair better at 16.3. 2005 had an average scoring margin of 10.5 points over its opponents. But 2013’s is 11.5. There is virtually no difference in takeaways/giveaways. As the tale of the tape shows, the teams are practically copies of each other:

2005 Category 2013 2005 vs. 2013 Seahawks
13-3-0 Record 10-1-0 ’05 franchise record 11-game win streak
28.2 Points Per Game 27.8 ’05 single-game high 42 twice; ’13: 45
16.9 Avg. Points Allowed 16.3 ’05 team had one shutout; ’13 none yet
+10.5 Avg. Scoring Margin +11.5 ’05 team ranked 2nd; ’13 also ranks 2nd
369.7 Avg. Net Yards 358.4 ’05 ranked 2nd; ’13 ranks 12th
316.8 Avg. Net Yards Allw. 293.2 ’05 ranked 16th in NFL; ’13 ranks 2nd
153.6 Avg. Rush Yards 147.9 ’05 had 3rd best attack; ’13 also 3rd
94.4 Avg. Rush Yards Allw. 112.9 ’05 ranked 5th; ’13 ranks 15th
216.1 Avg. Pass Yards 210.5 Hasselbeck 98.2 rating; Wilson 105.1
222.4 Avg. Pass Yards Allw. 180.3 ’05 ranked 25th; ’13 ranks 2nd
27/174 Sacked / Yards Lost 29/181 ‘Reflection of better offensive line in ’05
+10 Takeaway / Giveaway +11 ’05 ranked 7th; ’13 ranks third, 1st NFC
3.4 Off. TDs Per Game 3.0 ’05 57 total TDs; ’13 on pace for 48
0.2 Def. TDs/Game 0.2 ’05 had 16 INTs; ’13 also 16 INTs
18 Field Goals 24 Josh Brown kicked 5 FGs of 50+ yards
67.6% Red Zone Efficiency 60.0% ’05 Seahawks ranked 2nd; ’13 ranks 9th

With Jones and Hutchinson, 2005 had a superior offensive line, although it can’t be proven with stats, as the chart shows. 2013 has a superior secondary and stats support that. 2013 ranks second against the pass, fourth in TDs allowed (4) and first in interceptions (16). 2005 ranked 25th, 9th and 14th in those categories.

In attempting to determine who would win between 2005 and 2013, which team had — or has — the better playmakers?. Which quarterback is more likely to deliver? Would you take Alexander, who rushed for more yards and touchdowns, or Lynch? Michael Boulware or Earl Thomas? And if it came down to a kick, Josh Brown or Steven Hauschka?

After picking a winner, we’d appreciate a comment telling us why you voted the way you did.



  • Eric K

    2005 had a slightly better offense, mainly due to Jones and Hutchinson, but the advantage isn’t anywhere near the advantage 2013 has on D

    • steverudman

      Agreed, but check the numbers. Damn, they’re close.

      • Ethan

        I think Shaun Alexander would get killed by the LOB, the 2013 is just to physical and Russel Wilson is a guy i would bet on every day of the week

  • gmhanson

    The difference is quarterback. 2013 would pick off Hasselbeck at least twice. Wilson will make the difference, 2013 wins.

  • RadioGuy

    I’d have to give the nod to this year’s team. The ’05 had a far superior offensive line, but that’s really the only advantage I’d clearly give them. Alexander had his best year, but I’d lake Lynch because he can create yards on his own by dragging defenders. Shaun was a little allergic to contact until he got the ball inside the 20 and owes his success in Seattle to Hutch and Jones clearing out the left side for him first.

  • oldfan

    I always felt if you needed a game winning FG, Hasselbeck was the guy to get you there. Game winning TD, not so much. Wilson can get you whatever you need. Lynch over Alexander any day. This group of receivers is superior. ’05 line was better (their best unit), but the present D is better. (One more, love Carroll’s energy and attitude. Holmgren was always too conservative and “by-the-book” for my taste.)

    • steverudman

      Funny thing about Alexander. The guy basically scored 100 TDs in six years — unheard of. But everybody takes Lynch, and it’s easy to see why.

      • oldfan

        I loved Shaun that year (2005), but most of his career I felt he ran soft – went down on first contact (if not before). No one is ever going to say that about Lynch.

        • 1coolguy

          Alexander took the quickest route to out of bounds of any back I’ve ever seen.
          He scored so many touchdowns because Hasselbeck was no threat throwing a td and the O line was extremely good.

    • clevesside

      So far…….Lynch has proven virtually indestructable (almost) but still has time to put in. If he’s as durable and humble as he looks, should be built to last and outdo Alexander. That would be a lot of Skittles and plumbling commericals for years to come.

  • Brian

    I’m not going to pick a side, but for the hell of it, I ran this matchup in WHATIFSPORTS.COM.

    The computer says its about 50-50.

    • steverudman

      That’s why we included an “overtime” in the responses

  • Joe Fan

    After watching and attending many games in both 2005 and in 2013, I’d have to say that the 2013 team has a tougher and “meaner” mindset that gives it a slight edge over the 2005 team. Also, I believe Russell at QB performs at a higher level than Matt.

    • steverudman

      Matt was a very good, serviceable quarterback; Wilson has no limit in what he can do.

  • WestCoastBias79

    The only advantage the ’05 teams has over ’13 is the O-Line (Could you imagine Lynch behind that left side? He’d average 10 yards a run.). The ’05 team had a ‘good enough’ defense where the current team has a suffocating defense. The ’05 team’s offense also had a severe case of the drops. I’d imagine the ’05 team trailing with the ball with 1:30 left, and Darrell Jackson and Koren Robinson trading drops to turn the ball over on downs and lose with Hasselbeck holding his head in frustration. I love that ’05 team, but they were finesse, the ’13 team is a bunch of maulers. I’ll always take the maulers.

    • steverudman

      Thank you for that, great comments

  • Olly

    I think you need to take the coaches into account also…

    • clevesside

      Coaching philosophy from two different planets. Live long and prosper, then. Know that in Carroll’s three years, one asst. coach has gone on to bigger things as head coach elsewhere. Holmgren’s staff??

  • KreyosFan

    For me, it’s more about which team I would WANT to win. I just like these 2013 guys a lot more than the 2005 guys. In many ways, they’re personable and relatable in a way that reminds me of the 1995 Mariners. I just feel like we’re all in it together, and I especially get a kick out of Carroll’s joy on the sidelines.

  • Seahawks

    The caption for the picture is wrong. It says that picture is from Super Bowl XL but it’s snowing in the picture and XL was played in a dome (Ford Field).

    • PokeyPuffy

      It says “on the run” to the super bowl…

      • Seahawks

        Oops, I’m stupid. I wonder which game that is then if it’s snowing? All of the playoff games were at home and none of them had snow. I know the MNF game in Philly had some snow, perhaps Week 17 in Green Bay too?

        • Joe Fan

          It was snowing lightly at the NFC Championship game against the Panthers.

        • joseph2311

          My guess would be the Monday Night game against Philly. I remember Tatupu returning a Pick 6 in the snow and punching the goalpost in a Rocky Balboa tribute.

  • Jake Reeder

    2013. Because Russell Wilson is our tackle-football Jesus

  • Just sayin’

    Hey, for a curveball; How about the 1986 Hawks?
    Pretty good offense, Damn good defense! Eugene Robinson, Kenny Easly, Dave Brown Patrick Hunter, Fred Young, Jacob Green, Joe Nash, Jeff Bryant.
    I’m just throwing this out for discussion.

  • Matt712

    Overtime: 2013 Seahawks win
    Steven Hauschka kicks a 28 yard field goal.
    2005 won the OT coin toss. Hasselbeck said, “we’ll take the ball and this time we really are gonna score!”
    After moving the ball down field with several punishing runs off left tackle, Hasselbeck’s 33 yard pass was intercepted by Richard Sherman at the 2013 10 yard line over Joe Jurevicius (an epic match up).
    Russell Wilson converts two 3rd downs with runs of 8 and 17 yards.
    A pass interference penalty is called on Marcus Trufant giving 2013 the ball on the 2005 45 yard line.
    Hand off to Marshawn Lynch up the middle for an epic 34 yards – 27 after contact. It was said that the last 15 of which he gave Lofa Tatupu a piggyback ride.
    Hauschka kicks the pretty much automatic game winner.

    • jafabian

      Agreed the 2013 team squeaks by the 2005 team. The 2013 team is deeper, the starters on the 2005 team MIGHT be a hair better. Definitely more experienced. However I think the 1983 team beats both of them!

      Steve, no love for Shaun? You say that Walter and Hutch are future HOFers but I’d say the former MVP and league rushing leader who at one point held the season TD record stands a decent chance of going to the Hall as well.

  • Michael Callan

    05 Team goes to win the Gameon final play and one of the wide out’s droped the game wining pass eather that our they blow a 21 – 0 lead 2 lose

  • Jaba

    Just like Pittsburg did to us, 2013 would out-physical the finesse 2005 team. FWIW, this years team would have beaten the Steelers in the ’06 Super Bowl.

    • jafabian

      Actually, the Seahawks did win the 2006 Super Bowl. The score simply did not reflect it.

  • joseph2311

    Are they playing at the Clink? The 2005 defense could definitely use the boost of the 12th Man’s noise. Although maybe the fans would throw their voices out after screaming for both defenses. The 4th quarter would be marked by silence and brisk sales in throat lozenges.

  • 1coolguy

    2013 would beat 2005’s brains out.
    Also, already Wilson is a better QB than Hasselbeck (feet of stone) ever was.

  • monkey

    I don’t think this one would even be close.
    Aside from the 05 team’s amazing offensive line, which probably ranks as one of the greatest offensive lines ever assembled, the 13 Seahawks are much, much better in every other way. Defensively it’s not even close…