Committee Erred Omitting Seahawks S Kam Chancellor From All-Decade Team
On Monday, the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 2010s All-Decade Team, and the Seahawks were well-represented with five selections.
Along with Pete Carroll garnering NFC coach of the decade, running back Marshawn Lynch, linebacker Bobby Wagner, cornerback Richard Sherman, and safety Earl Thomas earned a spot on the 52-man roster.
But as much as fans should delight in the fact three members of Seattle's historically-dominant defense received such lofty recognition, there's a glaring omission in the secondary that simply cannot be overlooked. How did Kam Chancellor, bringer of the hammer and soul of the "Legion of Boom," not make this team?
It's impossible to tell an accurate story about the past decade without including Chancellor, who ushered in a new era at the safety position, as an essential character.
Built unlike any safety seen in recent memory, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Chancellor struck fear in opponents every Sunday. Whether creeping up towards the box functioning like an extra linebacker or sitting back in "robber" coverage waiting to level a receiver on a crossing route, he always had to be accounted for.
While Sherman and Thomas secured First-Team All-Pro nods and drew most of the headlines with their loud personalities, Chancellor quietly let his bone-jarring hits do the talking. Few players commanded the respect "Bam Bam" did and he was the tone-setter for Seattle's elite defense, as his mere presence altered game plans for opposing offenses.
Look no further than Super Bowl XLVIII. With quarterback Peyton Manning at the controls, the Broncos entered the contest with the NFL's most prolific scoring offense of all-time, averaging nearly 38 points per game in the regular season.
But from the outset, Chancellor made sure to remind Denver it was going to be a long night. After a safety and Steven Hauschka field goal gave Seattle an early 5-0 lead, Demaryius Thomas ran a short crossing route on 2nd and 7.
Flying from his deep safety position, Chancellor immediately lowered the boom on Thomas, knocking him off his feet after gaining just two yards on the reception. On the very next drive, he picked off a rattled Manning, sending a pro-Seattle crowd at MetLife Stadium into a frenzy.
Few players knew how to send a message to the opposition quite like Chancellor, who left receivers making business decisions week in and week out. His propensity for delivering hit sticks in the middle of the field ultimately eliminated parts of the playbook.
Then, there was the clutch gene, something Chancellor was definitely born with. Aside from his heroics in a 43-8 drubbing of the Broncos, he made countless critical plays in regular season and playoff games in seven seasons with the Seahawks.
Two weeks before Seattle celebrated with the Lombardi Trophy in New Jersey, Chancellor helped secure an NFC Championship Game victory over San Francisco by intercepting Colin Kaepernick in the fourth quarter. He also annihilated tight end Vernon Davis, which seemed to become an annual occurrence when the two rivals squared off.
Looking to repeat in 2014, Chancellor against came through when the Seahawks needed him the most. Nursing a 24-10 lead over the Panthers in the final quarter in the divisional round, he jumped a curl route by tight end Ed Dickson and returned the interception 90 yards for a game-clinching touchdown.
Even in the regular season, Chancellor saved the day on numerous occasions. On the verge of losing a home Monday night game to the Lions in 2015, he punched the football out of Calvin Johnson's grasp into the back of the end zone, allowing the Seahawks to survive for a 13-10 victory.
By the time a neck injury forced Chancellor to hang up his cleats after the 2017 season, he had amassed 607 tackles, 12 interceptions, nine forced fumbles, and 44 passes defensed. Though overshadowed at times by his own star teammates in the secondary, he played in four Pro Bowls and earned Second-Team All-NFL notoriety twice.
Eric Berry and Eric Weddle, the other two safeties to join Thomas on the 2010s All-Decade Team, absolutely deserved the honor. All three of those players stood out amongst their peers as the best safeties in the league over the past 10 years.
But while Chancellor's short career may prevent him from receiving Hall of Fame consideration, he was a transcendent talent who gave the Seahawks their defensive identity. If you polled those who faced off against him, there's no question he would be name-dropped as one of the most significant players of his era.
With only 52 roster spots accounted for, the league should right a wrong and put him on the roster where he rightfully belongs.