The Seattle Seahawks may not meet the Denver Broncos until Sunday, but Sounders FC offered its own preview of the Super Bowl after training on Saturday, matching up their own flag football versions of the Seahawks and Broncos with players making up the two teams.
The teams held a draft and a brief practice on Friday after the second training session of the day. Coached by Equipment Manager Nolan Myer, the Seahawks looked to capitalize on the high school quarterbacking experience of Chad Barrett and made him the first overall pick.
“It’s a huge honor, but it comes with a lot of responsibility,” Barrett said. “There’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders, especially as a new Sounder. You don’t want to let anybody down. I took it very seriously.”
The Broncos, coached by Assistant Athletic Trainer Chris Cornish, leaned on speedy threats Lamar Neagle and Dylan Remick with Chad Marshall playing the quarterback spot.
Both teams got two possessions on the 50-yard field and after the various rule alterations were explained, they got under way.
The Broncos got the ball first and looked sharp out of the gates, but could not crack the swarming Seahawks defense, earning one first down before turning the ball over on downs.
There, the Seahawks took over and appeared to have a quick-strike touchdown when Barrett scrambled out of trouble to find Osvaldo Alonso against the sideline. The Cuban wide receiver raced all alone into the end zone for an apparent score, but the play was called back as a holding call – whistled by referee Brian Schmetzer and confirmed by assistant referee Leo Gonzalez – negated the touchdown.
After several offensive plays, Eriq Zavaleta was growing anxious to see the ball and let Barrett know about it in the huddle. On the very next play, Barrett lofted the ball toward the corner of the end zone where Zavaleta skied over Dylan Remick and tip-toed inside white line to snare a touchdown.
“I knew I had something to prove out there,” said Zavaleta. “A good quarterback put it in a spot for me to catch it. I had a mismatch against Remick.”
Center/kicker Marcus Hahnemann converted the extra point and the Seahawks went up 7-0.
That left the Broncos with one last chance to keep the contest going. Again, they moved the ball up the field to get a first down, but were left in desperation when a deep pass on third down was broken up in the end zone.
After a timeout by Cornish to sort out the final play, Remick sought redemption, floating a ball into the end zone, where there was a scramble before Jimmy Ockford came away with the interception for the Seahawks, sealing their victory.
“The chemistry just came together. I don’t even think the training was even necessary,” said Zavaleta, who came away with the MVP award. “We had a better coach and more talent on the field and at the end of the day, that showed in the result.”
Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid agreed with Zavaleta’s assessment.
“It was very disjointed. On the Broncos team, the playcalling was very simplistic. Not a lot of thought, not a lot of creativity,” Schmid said. “I thought the Seattle team was much better prepared. Definitely, Seattle was the deserved winner.”
After the game, Hahnemann doused Myer with two water bottles, hopefully a preview of what’s to come for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
“It’s a great omen,” Schmid said. “It’s what we want and we wish the Seahawks all the best tomorrow.”