When Steve Largent was given the nickname Yoda for being able to catch anything thrown at him on the football field—and before #80 would proudly float above CenturyLink Field next to the 12th Man banner — the all-time leading Seattle Seahawks receiver was earning major NFL records for unparalleled receptions, including: most receptions in a career (819), most receiving yards in a career (13,089), and most touchdown receptions (100).
Last week, at 165 South Jackson Street in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, the legendary receiver signed “HOF ‘95” (for Hall of Fame ’95) next to his autograph on a bevy of silky, souvenir banners that were handed out for free to the many fans who gathered at the American Express Experience just prior to the home opener of the 2018 Seahawks NFL season.
Later that afternoon, taking the field for a legends-of-the-game halftime appearance, Largent could reflect back on a career not only as a peerless wide receiver but as a leader in the wireless world.
Steve accepted the challenges of president and CEO of the CTIA -The Wireless Association, after four years as a U.S. congressman. Like the Seahawks, Largent endowed the wireless trade group with a legacy of achievement that has propelled the organization to the precipice of today’s emerging 5G telecommunications standard.
Largent assumed the top job at CTIA in 2003 and played a key role in the industry’s unprecedented expansion. The number of U.S. wireless subscriptions more than doubled during his tenure to over 618 million, leading wireless data traffic to unparalleled growth of 674 percent.
His political skills fostered a public policy climate that helped ensure a high degree of certainty for the industry to collectively invest more than $220 billion in wireless infrastructure. Under Largent’s stewardship, the Federal Communications Commission conducted a series of successful spectrum auctions paving the way to next-generation 5G.