Seahawk ESPYs Celebrate 2019 Season
After Russell Wilson hosted the 2020 ESPY Awards on June 21st, the Seahawks announced their own winners of the 2020 Seahawk ESPYs. The Seahawk ESPYs were decided by Seahawks fans who voted for their favorite players and moments in a multiple-choice survey.
Here are the winners for the 2019 season:
Best Game: Week 10 OT Win at San Francisco
It was a Monday Night primetime showdown between two of the NFL's most bitter rivals - of course this was the best game of the season. Seattle battled San Francisco in Levis Stadium on November 10, falling behind 10-0 early to the eventual NFC champions. But division games are never predictable, which couldn't have been more true when Jadeveon Clowney stripped the ball out of Jimmy Garoppolo's hands and scored a defensive touchdown late in the second quarter to pull the Seahawks to within three points. The lauded 49ers defense kept Wilson running for his life much of the night, but the Seahawks more than held their own to the tune of a 24-point tie. It was a brutal game full of turnovers, flags, and unbelievable plays that led all the way to an overtime win courtesy of kicker Jason Myers.
Best Play: Tyler Lockett Toe-Tap TD vs. Rams
Seattle's top target proved that he'd do just about anything to get the touchdown, showing the world how an end-zone toe tap is done perfectly. Tyler Lockett leaned his 5'10 frame and 30" arms to snag a strategic corner throw just out of reach of the cornerback. Russell and Lockett connected beautifully on this touchdown, which made a difference in a one-point win against another difficult division rival. The NFL video recap of the play asks, "Did Tyler Lockett Just Make The Best Catch Of The Year?", and the answer is a resounding yes.
Best Moment: Beast Mode Returns
Marshawn Lynch entered the league as a Bill, but he became "Beast Mode" as a Seahawk. Although he left the Seahawks to become a Raider coming out of his first retirement, the beloved running back has earned a spot in Seattle hearts, as well as the seventh spot on our Seahawks Top 100 list. When fans learned that Lynch would return to Seattle to bolster a decimated backfield, Beast Mode mania was alive and well once again. Lynch entered the football sphere during Week 17 and scored one rushing touchdown, which was a prelude to the three rushing touchdowns he would score in the playoffs. Lynch's goal-line plunges made a difference for a playoff-bound team, but ultimately, his presence lifted the spirits of teammates and fans alike. Nothing is certain for next season, but if his last hurrah was in 2019, it was a joyous second arc for a running back that's accomplished so much already.
Best Breakout Player: DK Metcalf
Seahawks fans like to bring up how DK's 3-cone drill lowered his draft stock. Not only was his talent criminally overlooked, but a player who should have been a surefire first-round selection pick fell into the lap of a regular playoff contender. Consistently good teams struggle to score draft superstars, yet the Seahawks got him at pick No. 64 - he may be the biggest draft steal seen in quite some time. Metcalf quickly made his presence felt, catching four receptions for 89 yards in his Week 1 debut against the Bengals.
The towering receiver tallied 100 receptions for 900 yards and seven touchdowns during his rookie season, and his playoff stats are even better. He caught 11 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown, averaging 20 yards per reception. With the additions of Greg Olsen and Phillip Dorsett, 2020 could be a huge year for the talented deep threat.
Best Defensive Player: Bobby Wagner
Bobby Wagner is unequivocally the Seahawks best defensive player and aside from Aaron Donald, he's arguably been the best defensive player in the NFL over the past eight years. It's no surprise he wins this year's award. But what makes him so integral to the Seahawks' defensive success? The middle linebacker is sort of the "quarterback of the defensive," typically instructing fellow lineman on how to approach the next play depending on what he sees. As a teammate, Wagner was a core part of the mid-2010s "Legion Of Boom" defense and his leadership allowed the group to reach historic heights. However, his individual stats are equally impressive, and his stats this past season are second only to his spectacular 2016 campaign.
That's right: Wagner has only gotten better since his two Super Bowl appearances. He's won a Pro Bowl spot every year since 2014, and in 2016 and 2019, he notched a whopping 167 and 159 combined tackles respectively. But 2019 is the year something bigger happened: Wagner recorded his 985th tackle in Week 8, breaking Eugene Robinson's record as the all-time tackles leader in Seahawks history. Wagner finished the season with 1,057 tackles in a career that garnered him a record-breaking contract for his position and a future bust in Canton.
Best Offensive Player: Russell Wilson
In many ways, Seattle is home to a classic style of football: a run-heavy offense with notable investment in defense. It's a style of football that has paved the way for consecutive playoff runs and a 2013 championship - yet none of this would have been possible without Russell Wilson.
Wilson was viewed as a 2019 NFL MVP candidate, but instead he won the MVP award from Pro Football Focus, the preeminent authority in analyzing football metrics. Wilson had the highest WAR metric by a wide margin, and honestly, that accomplishment says it all. The WAR metric stands for "Wins Above Replacement" and calculates a player's contributions to their team. If the Seahawks had replaced Wilson with a replacement-level (i.e. mediocre) quarterback, the team would have lost four of their eleven wins and would have missed playoffs with a losing record. Wilson had the biggest calculated impact of any NFL quarterback, and with a 91.2 PFF grade second only to Drew Brees, the numbers echo what we all know: he has been a game-changer for the franchise. As the Seahawks gear up for another season, Wilson will be the man to make it all happen if they are going to make it back to the Super Bowl.
Best Viral Moment: Pete Carroll and DK Metcalf Shirtless
Carroll said it best when asked about his first impression of DK Metcalf, who was sporting his muscular torso at a combine interview after a scout insisted it would impress the Seahawks coach.
"Well, I was surprised that he came into our interview with his shirt off. And it kind of pissed me off, so I took my shirt off too - not for long though."
The moment had everyone in the league laughing along with Carroll's reaction to Metcalf's boldness, which was admittedly "weird at first" to the star receiver.
When Metcalf was asked to recreate the moment on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast, he declined, joking, "Y'all 35, chill out, put your shirt back on." Viral moments can't be replicated, and it's certain that this one will never be topped.
Best Touchdown Celebration: Week 6 *NSYNC “Bye Bye Bye”
When one receiver gets a touchdown, all the receivers get a touchdown - at least that's how Seahawks receivers celebrate. The receiver corps has been making a name for itself with choreographed dances from New Edition, Drumline, and The Five Heartbeats, harkening iconography familiar to every 90s kid. *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" is just about as '90s as it gets, so when Jaron Brown scored a touchdown against the Browns in Week 6, the group banded together to commemorate the infamous boy band.
When the receivers asked *NSYNC for a score, they received a perfect 10 from each of the five judges. Although the game announcers clearly didn't know what was going on, for nostalgic Millennials, this was for you.
As the Seahawks' festive ESPYs show, 2019 will certainly be a tough act to follow, but moves made this offseason will certainly make it interesting.