When considering the best players in Seahawks history, naturally, the franchise's four enshrined members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame - Walter Jones, Steve Largent, Kenny Easley, and Cortez Kennedy - come to mind first. Current superstars such as Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner have also played their way into the mix by building Canton-worthy resumes through nine NFL seasons.
But while a strong argument can be made for each of the aforementioned six players to hold the title of greatest all-time Seahawk, with the arrival of new data courtesy of Pro Football Reference, long-time defensive end Jacob Green may also rightfully become part of the discussion moving forward.
Thanks to nearly 30 years of research, Pro Football Reference unveiled unofficial sack totals for players who suited up before 1982, the season in which the NFL began recording sacks as an official statistic. Prior to now, estimates existed for sack totals of some players, but this impressive project brought more clarity on exact totals across the league over three decades starting in 1960.
According to their decades of extensive research, Green unofficially amassed a whopping 115.5 sacks in his 13-year NFL career, which ranks first in Seahawks franchise history and 31st all-time. This total surpasses multiple Hall of Famers, including Cowboys star Randy White and Oilers standout Elvin Bethea, putting him amongst elite pass rushing company.
Drafted in the first round in the 1980 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Green served as a model of consistency over 12 seasons in Seattle, starring alongside Joe Nash and Jeff Bryant to form one of the league's most formidable defensive lines. He possessed outstanding strength and burst for his size, allowing him to beat opposing blockers both with power and finesse off the edge.
On six different occasions, despite playing in a 3-4 defense for much of his career, Green posted at least 12.0 sacks, including accomplishing the feat in four consecutive seasons from 1983 to 1986. Helping guide the organization to back-to-back playoff appearances and an AFC Championship Game appearance, he set a career-high with 16.0 sacks in 1983 and earned Second-Team All-Pro honors with 13.0 sacks the ensuing season.
For his career, including the new data from Pro Football Reference's research for his first two seasons in 1980 and 1981, Green averaged 9.6 sacks per season with the Seahawks, narrowly missing out on double-digits. At the time of his retirement, he was credited with 97.5 official sacks and only two players - iconic legends Reggie White and Lawrence Taylor - had more combined sacks in their careers.
Despite his gaudy numbers, however, Green never sniffed making it into Canton and over the years, he has been surpassed by numerous players on the sack leaderboard. His lack of accolades certainly hurt his cause, as he somehow only earned two Pro Bowl selections and one All-Pro nod in 13 seasons. Being stuck in the shadow of other stars such as Easley didn't help either, as he never received the attention he deserved playing in a smaller market in the Pacific Northwest.
Still, while he hasn't been able to earn a gold jacket to this point, Green was one of the first Seahawks to be enshrined into the organization's Ring of Honor and have his number hoisted into the rafters in 1995. Honoring his stellar career in College Station, which included a then-school record 20.0 sacks in 1979, he also was recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019.
While the likelihood of Green ever joining the likes of Jones, Easley, Largent, and Kennedy in the Hall of Fame remains slim, younger fans will now be able to hold a greater appreciation for one of the best and most underrated pass rushers of his era. Sitting near the top of the all-time sacks leaderboard, he should be viewed in a far different light as one of Seattle's all-time legends.