Peter King - SI
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Late Saturday afternoon, just off the lobby of the Westin Hotel that served as the Seattle Seahawks' team hotel, I chatted with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck about his club's offense. Wideout Koren Robinson walked up, and the three of us got into a discussion about fantasy football. I'm not much of a player, but I'm in a promotional league this year, and Robinson and Hasselbeck are my franchise receiver and quarterback, respectively.
I asked Hasselbeck: "What percentage of people -- fans, friends, people on the street -- who approach you end up talking about fantasy football?"
He thought for a minute. "Eighty-five," he said. "I get guys calling me from my days in college, guys I really haven't kept in touch with that much. They'll just start talking, and soon I realize the real reason they called is because they've got a fantasy football question. For fantasy football [players], we've got one of the great teams in the league."
"Check this out," Robinson said. "My financial guy called me [Friday] and said, 'I've got to ask you something.' I figured, OK, he has some question for me about my money. He said, 'Should I play McNabb or Hasselbeck in my fantasy league this week?'"
"What'd you tell him?" Hasselbeck asked.
"I told him, 'My man. Play my man,'" Robinson said.
So this is what the first eighth of the 2003 season has wrought. Fantasy players are actually picking Hasselbeck over McNabb to play in these stat-dominated games. People are obsessed with the fact that Seattle's offense has the potential to be as explosive as that of the mid-90s Packers. The Seahawks have put 65 points on the board in two games, and the scary thing is, they haven't really played that well on offense. Quite often, the defense -- thanks to a plus-10 turnover ratio -- has set up the offense. The 'Hawks have won their games by scores of 27-10 and 38-0, respectively, and Robinson, who could become great any day now, has been largely a nonfactor. On Sunday he was benched by coach Mike Holmgren for violating team rules, and so Hasselbeck threw a pair of long TDs to his other wideout, Darrell Jackson.
"And we still haven't played good," Hasselbeck told me after the rout of the Cards at the Sun Devil Stadium kiln Sunday. "That's the amazing part. That excites me about the offense, that we're all sort of disappointed with how we've played. We left points out there today."