On This Day: Matt Hasselbeck Throws Pick-Six After Talking Trash on OT Coin Toss in Wildcard Round 2004

by Will Shepard

One of the all-time “oofs” belongs to Matt Hasselbeck. On this day, January 4, 2004, the NFC Wild Card playoff game was heading to overtime. At the time, Hasselbeck was playing for the Seattle Seahawks against the Green Bay Packers.

At the coin flip, the captains head out to centerfield to see who gets the ball first. Hasselbeck calls heads before the referee flips the coin. As the coin lands on heads, the Seahawks celebrate the win.

The ref stands and announces that Seattle has won the toss. Then Hasselbeck leans over to the referee and says, “We want the ball, and we’re going to score.” But, that certainly didn’t happen, as just under five minutes into overtime, he threw a pick-six.

Right before the end of the game, the Packers tied the game up with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Brett Favre had an outstanding day despite the freezing temperature.

He led a 67-yard play as time was expiring to tie the game. During the game, it was 20 degrees, with a wind chill of 7. Favre actually set a record as he threw for a touchdown in his fourteenth straight playoff game.

Matt Hasselbeck also had a good day throwing for 305 yards. But, he made a devastating mistake in overtime when he couldn’t recognize a Packers blitz.

Hasselbeck’s Disastrous Overtime Performance

To start overtime, the Seahawks got the ball, but couldn’t do anything and had to punt. However, neither could the Packers. So, once the Seahawks got the ball back, it was their game to lose.

On third down, with 10:44 left in overtime, Hasselbeck was pressured by a Packers blitz. Instead of throwing the ball out of bounds, he threw it downfield to the awaiting arms of Al Harris.

The Packers’ cornerback ran towards the end zone, with only Hasselbeck to beat. But, the Seahawks’ quarterback couldn’t catch him. Harris didn’t even get to do a Lambeau leap before he was tackled by his teammates. After the game, Harris talks about the play.

“I anticipated it, and I know the quarterback ain’t going to catch me. I was just praying that he did throw the ball because I was going to gamble on that play.”

This was the first overtime defensive touchdown in the Super Bowl era. The Packers won the game 33-27, rubbing Hasselbeck’s statement in his face. Additionally, it was the only turnover of the game.

During the post-game interviews, both quarterbacks, Hasselbeck and Favre talk about the game. Hasselbeck was obviously somber and regretful about the play.

“What hurts about it is I had the ball in my hand. I could have done something different, and we don’t lose the game. I could have thrown the ball away. And I could have seen him.”

On the other hand, Favre was elated by his team’s win.

“I’m not surprised by anything. And, if you’re around long enough, you lose games that you’re supposed to win, and you win games that you’re supposed to lose.”

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