Glendale, Arizona, will be rocking Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots meet in Super Bowl XLIX.
Sure, the crowd will be cheering and the sounds of jets and fireworks will also contribute to the noise level. But perhaps the biggest quake of all may come from boom-master Kam Chancellor.
The Seattle safety delivers the wood better than Lowe’s. In an age when the sissification of football is at a fever pitch, Chancellor brings us back to the days when NFL secondary members hit—and hit hard. In the 1980s and 1990s, Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater, Gary Fencik, Joey Browner, and Dennis Smith treated fans to a more brutal style of play. They hit hard and entertained. Chancellor treats us to a little taste of crunch time from yesteryear.
Chancellor makes up one fourth of the Seahawks secondary that plays second to none. Blanket cornerback Richard Sherman gets most of the press and the praise for good reason. However, the heart and soul of the group, and the club for that matter, may be the man known for his jarring hits: Kameron Darnel Chancellor.
To those who would assume a gridiron star known for bone crushing collisions would be nothing more than a monster, they’d be well served to meet Chancellor. His teammates and coaches have described him as intelligent, cerebral, and sensible, as well as punishing. His pulverizing hits have made him a key component of the Seahawks run for the repeat, but it’s the work ethic he learned at home that has really made the difference.
Growing up, Chancellor saw his mom toil at three jobs to help care for a young Kam and his siblings. Chancellor himself even worked an under-the-table job before he was a teenager to help make ends meet. He knows the value of hard work from firsthand experience. It shows.
We’ve also learned that a rough and tumble warrior can be a savage on Sundays yet sensitive at the same time.
It’s well known that the vaunted Seattle defense goes by the moniker “LOB,” Legion of Boom. Earlier this season when the team sat at 6-4 in danger of missing the playoffs all together in the loaded NFC, Chancellor took it upon himself to tweak the acronym in an effort to bring the troops closer. Chancellor declared LOB to mean Love Our Brothers, a call for the Seahawks to stick together and for each player to fight for the man next to him. Coach Pete Carroll loved it—and days later Chancellor’s coach ordered up a batch of rubber wristbands with LOB emblazoned on them. They’ve been a hit—all thanks to the hit man. Since Chancellor stood up and called on his teammates to stay strong, the team has gone 8-0 and the defense remains as stingy as ever.
It’s hard to believe but Chancellor, a man known for putting fear into offenses, actually played quarterback in high school. At Virginia Tech he settled into his role as a defensive back and he hasn’t looked back since. His pulverizing blows have caused shock while his love and commitment to his teammates have inspired awe.
There are a lot of storylines in this rare title clash between number-one seeds. The renaissance of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, Sherman’s injury and baby on the way, Carroll’s bid to win multiple crowns in college and the pros, and you may or may not have heard about the case of some deflated balls—but there’s a potential match-up brewing that may just take the Super Sunday cake.
Rob Gronkowski ranks as something of a Superman of tight ends. He can change games. But the Seahawks could very well have the Kryptonite in the form of Chancellor. At some point Sunday, Brady will be looking for his sure-handed target known as Gronk. That’s when things get really interesting, a huge Patriot missile taking on a Pacific Northwest bulldozer. Forget about the greater Glendale area, this get-together will be felt from Manhattan to Mozambique.
When Scottie Pippen was a perennial all-star back in the heyday of the Chicago Bulls, the thing that made him so good was the scary fact that he could do it all. They called him a “three” but he was really a point forward. He was a hybrid. Pippen shined in all aspects of the game. Chancellor comes from the same mold. He hits like a linebacker, covers like a corner, and does a little of both as a safety. He could play in any era. Chancellor is a player’s player.
The only thing that could stop a powerhouse like Chancellor is his health. Friday he left Seahawks practice after banging up his knee. He is listed as probable. Saturday the Seahawks said he is good to go. Fans should hope so. In order for this much-anticipated clash between the NFL’s cream of the crop, you want to see a Seattle secondary at full strength. Just like you want to see Brady over his cold. These heavyweights should decide things on the field with no built-in excuses on either side.
The Marcel Marceau of football, Marshawn Lynch, may provide much of the Seattle offense and the Skittles, but it could very well be Chancellor who has a huge say in determining if Seattle’s trip to the desert is ultimately a sweet one. On Sunday we will find out if Chancellor will add another ring. We know one thing for sure. He’ll ring some bells along the way while trying to put his brothers on top of the heap yet again.