Largent spent thirteen years with the Seahawks, and, while not particularly fast, was extremely sure-handed. He was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl seven times, and was the first Seahawk to earn that honor. In 1982, Largent, along with teammate Jim Zorn, ended his participation in the NFL strike, after the third and final week of the strike, citing religious principles, specifically based on Matthew 5:36–37, stating that "your word is your bond" and that all contracts shall be honored as with God.
In 1989, Steve Largent became the first Seahawks player to win the Steve Largent Award for his spirit, dedication and integrity.
When Largent retired, he held all major NFL receiving records, including: most receptions in a career (819), most receiving yards in a career (13,089), and most touchdown receptions (100). He was also in possession of a then-record streak of 177 consecutive regular-season games with a reception. He also holds the distinction as the first receiver in NFL history to achieve 100 touchdown receptions in his career.
Largent was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995, his first year of eligibility. In 1999, he was ranked number 46 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, the only Seahawk on the list.
His number (80) was retired in 1992; Largent is the first Seahawk player to be so honored (the team has retired number 12 in honor of the fans, the "twelfth man", the number 71 for offensive tackle Walter Jones, on December 5, 2010, and the number 96 for defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy on October 14, 2012.) During Jerry Rice's stint with the Seahawks in 2004, Largent's number 80 was temporarily "unretired" after a conversation between Rice and Largent that was reportedly initiated by then Seahawks president Bob Whitsitt. Largent remains the most prolific receiver in team history. On October 26, 2008 Largent's University of Tulsa number (83) was also retired.
In 1994, Oklahoma's 1st District Congressman Jim Inhofe resigned to run in a special election to succeed SenatorDavid Boren. Largent won the election to succeed Inhofe in Congress; pursuant to an Oklahoma statute, Governor David Walters designated the special election in which Largent was elected to serve the remainder of Inhofe's term in the 103rd Congress before beginning his term in the 104th Congress.
Largent took office on November 29, 1994 and was reelected to the three succeeding Congresses, never winning less than 60 percent of the vote in the heavily Republican Tulsa-based district.
Like many in the Republican freshman class elected in 1994, when the Republicans took control of the House for the first time in 40 years, Largent's voting record was solidly conservative. Largent was one of the "true believers" in that freshman class, devoting most of his time to issues important to the conservative Christians.
One of his first bills was a "parental rights" bill that died in committee after it attracted opposition even from other Christian conservatives. Another of his bills would have abolished the federal tax code at the end of 2001. He opposed ending the 1995 federal government shutdown and played a role in the failed attempt to oust Newt Gingrich as Speaker. Largent introduced a bill that would ban adoptions by gay and lesbian parents in Washington, D.C.
He was criticized as anti-Catholic due to his line of questioning of a House of Representatives chaplain in 2000, though he denied this.
After the Republicans lost 5 seats in the 1998 midterm elections, Largent tried to take advantage of discontent with Majority LeaderDick Armey by challenging Armey for the post. Although Armey was not popular in the Republican caucus, Largent was thought to be far too conservative for the liking of some moderate Republicans, and Armey won on the third ballot. However, when Bob Livingston of Louisiana stood down as Speaker-elect, Armey was still too wounded to make a bid for the job.
Largent decided to run for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002. He easily won the Republican nomination and resigned his House seat on February 15 to devote his energy to the race. Initially seen as an overwhelming favorite against Democratic state senator Brad Henry, Largent lost to Henry by just under 7,000 votes.
Largent's loss has been attributed by analysts to factors that included:
The presence of a well-funded independent (Gary Richardson, a former Republican) on the general election ballot;
Henry's support of cockfighting, garnering a last minute endorsement by rural cockfighting interests that turned out in large numbers in the election in which the legality of cockfighting was on the ballot;
Largent became President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association in November 2003 until May 2014. CTIA is an international nonprofit membership organization founded in 1984, representing all sectors of wireless communications: cellular, personal communication services and enhanced specialized mobile radio.