The Legion’s reign of terror is officially over. Kam Chancellor, enforcer of the now legendary Seattle Seahawks Legion of Boom, announced on Monday that he believes he has played his last snap in the National Football League. Though it may be a headline not noticed by many, if Chancellor’s prophecy comes true, it officially marks the end of the era.
The 30-year-old hard-hitting safety suffered a neck injury last season that only allowed him to play in nine games. Chancellor’s prediction of retirement is based on his assumption that he will not be cleared to play again by medical officials. In a lengthy social media post, Chancellor said,
“To walk away from the game by choice is one thing, to walk away from the game because of the risk of paralysis is another.”
The Danger of Neck Injuries
The P-word is an unsettling admission from one of the leagues hardest playing athletes, especially just months after the nation watched Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, Ryan Shazier, crumple to the turf paralyzed from the waist down.
“Time for the next chapter. Lord the Wheel…” the Chancellor finishes.
Chancellor should be applauded for his decision not to push a comeback and risk catastrophic injury. Life is about much more than money and sports, and Chancellor clearly sees that. The announcement; however, leaves an absence in the league. Even larger than the lack of Chancellor’s 6’2” 225 shadow darkening running backs’ eyes. His retirement, along with the release and subsequent San Francisco signing of Richard Sherman several months ago marks the official end of the Legion of Boom.
Make no mistake, it is change that will be felt like the shift in the atmosphere after the conclusion of a viscous and beautiful thunderstorm.
A League-Defining Defense
The Legion was a defense unlike any we had seen in the NFL for at least a decade, going back to the Tampa Bay defense of 2002, and even more so the Baltimore defense of 2000. It was a defense that gained notoriety not only for their suffocation of otherwise elite offenses, but also for their boasts and predictions that they would continue to do it again and again. And they continued to prove themselves right.
Maybe that’s what separated them from the pack most of all. Albeit not quiet legendary, we’ve seen some elite defenses in the last 10 years. The Bears of 2005, the Steelers of 2008, and the Broncos of 2015 all come to mind. But they never touched the Legion of Boom because no one could match the Legion’s swagger.
With Richard Sherman shutting down an entire side of the field, and Earl Thomas and Chancellor making throwing over the middle dangerous for receivers’ bodies and quarterbacks’ stat lines alike, there was an air of showman like bullying that made them captivating. I will never forget Richard Sherman predicting he would pick off Tom Brady in a mid-season game, proceeding to do so, and then chasing Brady off the field with an onslaught of “you mad bro”? The highlights I would search on YouTube would always contain two or three thundering hits from Chancellor, one specifically where he hit Vernon Davis so hard I didn’t think he would get up. And who could forget how they embarrassed Peyton Manning to win the super bowl, crowing all the way.
They were like Broadway and a street fight all rolled into one.
The Seahawks brought from the defensive side what it seems every great offense offered. They were the main event. The thing we all came to see. In an era of ridiculously lopsided offensive football, that cannot be overlooked.
And now they are no more. Like all legends, they can officially be written into the history books with a finality that makes me sad.
Defense wins Championships
I adore defense in every sport. Something about watching the team with the ball have their hopes and dreams physically stuffed gets my blood boiling ten times more than watching a pretty play or a fireworks shootout. Is that screwed up? Maybe. But its real. And for a long time it was a lost art.
The Legion made defense cool again. I believe we will always love and remember them for that. Even now that, with the somber emotional words of Kam Chancellor, they are gone.
So long, Kam.
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