The Legion of Boom isn’t finished, it’s just Broken!
“I’M THE BEST CORNER IN THE GAME. WHEN YOU TRY ME WITH A SORRY RECEIVER LIKE CRABTREE, THAT’S THE RESULT YOU GONNA GET. DON’T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT ME”, screamed Seahawks corner Richard Sherman into Erin Andrews’ mic.
“DON’T YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH ABOUT THE BEST. OR I’M GONNA SHUT IT FOR YOU REAL QUICK”, he continued.
“L-O-B” he finished.
And with that, the sports world’s fascination of the Seattle Seahawks secondary took off. Almost immediately the rant exploded on social media. Parodies and remixes sprung up across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook at an astonishing rate. Even Barack Obama got involved.
By the time Sherman uttered those now infamous meme-worthy words, the core of the Legion of Boom had been together for 2 years. Kam Chancellor and Sherman were 5th Round picks in 2010 and 2011, respectively, while Earl Thomas was drafted 14th overall in 2010. Little did anyone know that this group would go on to become one of the most feared defensive units approaching half a decade now.
Strangely, their first defensive outing as a unit came in a pickup basketball game in 2011 against basketball player Jamal Crawford, during the NFL Lockout. Sherman would later remark how much chemistry he saw they had in that first outing. How right he would turn out to be. Since 2011, the L.O.B have combined for 13 Pro Bowl’s, 6 First Team All Pro selections, 4 Second Team All Pro selections and 72 career interceptions in a combined 341 games (averaging a staggering 4.7 per game).
The Seahawks game plan is simple; play shut down defence and allow Russell Wilson work his magic. Which is easy, because he is really good at playing football. The only issue is things haven’t been going to plan of late. The Seahawks secondary has been picked on by Houston and Atlanta in high-scoring affairs this season in which the defense just couldn’t make a stop when needed. Furthermore, their struggles were never more apparent than when Kirk Cousins marched the Washington outfit 70 yards down CenturyLink Field in 35 seconds to win in Week 9.
Immediately, tweets, posts and soundbites from hot take artists flooded the internet, proclaiming that the L.O.B had seen it’s best days and that maybe a rehaul was required in the Pacific Northwest.
But I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t let anyone anyone tell you that the Legion of Boom is finished. It’s just broken. Literally.
Over the last season and a half, the Seahawks defence has had to go to war without one or more of its 3 core members on numerous occasions. While Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas are arguably the best in each of their respective positions, each have had to spend time on the injury table for the prolonged periods for the first time as a unit.
Thomas missed the back end of the 2016 season with a broken tibia suffered against Carolina, while a groin injury meant Chancellor missed a four game stretch in 2016 and it would later emerge that Sherman had been playing with a significant MCL injury for the better part of the entire season. Things haven’t eased up this season either, with news coming down over the last fortnight that had seen both Sherman and Chancellor struck down with season ending achilles and neck injuries, respectively.
Given the intricacies of the offence in today’s NFL, the defence is required to be equally as intricate, if not more so, to stop them. Is it any wonder that the Seattle Seahawks famed defensive unit has struggled at times over the last 18 months. Playing with each other since 2011 has allowed them to become remarkably familiar with each other’s traits, strengths and weaknesses, where each member is likely to be on any given play and what the likelihood is that they can make a play on the ball. Tom Brady aside, very few players are good enough to withstand the effects of losing a fellow playmaker.
When all three members are on the field, the Seahawks winning percentage jumps to .706, opposition QB’s passer ratings plummet to 71.08 and they only allow a miserly 15.71 points per game. Over the last three seasons, Sherman – lining up on the right hand side of the secondary – has had the fewest passing attempts thrown his way (556), lowest pass completion percentage (56.4) and fewest passing touchdowns (14).
Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas have provided the blueprint for NFL secondaries and defences in general. They are virtually irreplaceable.
I’m willing to wager that we haven’t seen the last of the L.O.B at full tilt and that a vintage year in 2018 could very much be a possibility for a group still very much in their prime.
At full strength the Legion of Boom trio are still arguably one of the best one-two-three punch in the NFL. And, yes, I do mean on either side of the ball.
This OTI piece was written by Mark Gordon. Mark is an Arizona Cardinals fan from Dublin with a background in advertising. You can find Mark on Twitter at @MarkGordon__