"Legion sounds pretty important, and boom was how we play, so it was the name we ran with." — Kam Chancellor
Kam Chancellor, a safety in a linebacker's body, the hardest hitter in the Seahawks defensive backfield and an enforcer, doesn't say a whole lot. Playing alongside Richard Sherman has that effect. But the Boom in Legion of Boom, the nickname for the Seahawks defensive backs, comes from Chancellor, a guy who looks to set the tone in every game he plays.
Throw out the Broncos first play from scrimmage, a miscommunication between Peyton Manning and his center that resulted in a safety. Instead, look at the Broncos third play: A short underneath pass to Demaryius Thomas.
Boom. That's a large, physical wide receiver being blown right off his path by The Enforcer of the LOB. The tone was set. It was time for the Broncos to start making some business decisions.
As the game wore on, the Seattle defense continued to fly around and lay hat. The Broncos responded by … well, they looked like they wanted no part of it. Instead of turning upfield on those short crossing routes and trying to fight for yards, those big, physical wide receivers made business decisions and ran sideways instead of north and south.
"It's a legacy, it's a group, it's a legion, it's a vast army of individuals, and we have countless bodies behind us that are more than capable of doing the job."
That's Richard Sherman describing, in one sentence, what makes the Legion of Boom so successful. There's the guys you know: Chancellor as The Enforcer, Sherman as the brash lockdown corner, and Earl Thomas as the leader on the field. And then there's Byron Maxwell, the new kid who everyone thinks they can pick on, yet who keeps punching dudes in the mouth.
Maxwell, the forgotten one by outsiders, was an easy target. With Sherman playing the left side and Brandon Browner out — early in the season because of injury and late because of suspension — Maxwell knew he'd be picked on. Teams tried to swing on him time and again, and he kept swinging back.
It gave us something to fall back on, something that we really could tip our hat on, that we could really say, ‘We've made it. We made this. This is who we are. This is what we are. This is our personality. This is our group.' — Sherman
Pete Carroll is a defensive backs coach at heart. These are his kids, and that depth you see is because of Pete Carroll. Their technique is sound, their attention to detail high, and the way they carry themselves should remind you of the white-haired man strutting on the sidelines.
Carroll and General Manager John Schneider built this, taking a lot of guys off the scrap heap and molding them into a formidable and feared defense. The Legion of Boom plays with a chip on its collective shoulder, using every bit of possible motivation they can find. They rally around that name and make it their own.
"You're going to know exactly what call we're in, you're going to know exactly what defense we're in, and then we're going to win."
They're brash, lining up in the same look and daring offenses to beat them. They did the same in the Super Bowl, trotting out the same game plan they have all year — vanilla, perhaps, with small wrinkles to fit the personnel — and the confidence in knowing that they're just better as a team than the guys lining up across from them.
Why the NFL always wins
Is Pete Carroll going to change the NFL with the world champion Seattle Seahawks? Maybe, maybe not. Steven Godfrey went to New Jersey, and found a coach and a team content to enjoy their moment.
There was nothing at all special about the looks the Seahawks defense showed Denver. Yet they turned a historically great offense into a whimpering shell of itself. Manning gesturing and yelling at the line of scrimmage, trying to exploit whatever it was he saw, didn't matter. Seattle lined up and said come get it.
We don't let them be themselves, we celebrate them being themselves, and we cheerlead for them to be themselves. — Pete Carroll
It's not just Chancellor and Thomas, Sherman and Maxwell, or the rest of the Legion that rotates in and out seamlessly. It extends to the linebackers, who don't get as much press but are a talented personnel group in their own right. It seeps forward to the defensive line, rebuilt for speed in the offseason all with the goal of shoring up the pass rush and putting the final piece in place.
And it's not just the defense, either. The attitude of the Legion of Boom can be seen in everything the Seahawks did this year. It's Marshawn Lynch looking for people to hit. It's a wide receiver corps that's tired of being called pedestrian. It's an offensive line and tight ends that want to pound a defense into submission. It's Russell Wilson and Earl Thomas, the calm and quiet leaders of the offense and defense.
The Seahawks boomed on Sunday. They all boomed in every phase of the game, and the Broncos curled up into the fetal position. For the Legion of Boom, it all went according to plan again.