Let’s turn back the clock to a much simpler time, before the fancy digs of Qwest Field, before the 12thMan became official, back to the days of the Kingdome, the ‘wave’, Chuck Knox and a rookie running back named Curt Warner…ah, yes, 1983, the miracle year that launched the Seahawks into the playoffs for the first time.
Many of you will remember the joy of having the AFC Rookie of the Year with Curt Warner and Seattle’s new head coach, Chuck Knox earning AFC Coach of the Year honors. But this team was a team of overachievers.
Remember that this team who was supposed to be 8-8 in a tough division with the Los Angeles Raiders, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, the Seahawks made an unlikely run at the Super Bowl and fell one game short, losing in the AFC championship game to the eventual Super Bowl champ LA Raiders.
Up until this season, the Seahawks had never made the post season. The Seahawks weren’t a serious contender for anything, just a team that had the occasional trick play…remember Efren Herrera’s fake field goal on Monday Night Football?
The Seahawks cast of characters included Dave Krieg, an unlikely NFL QB, that was undrafted out of tiny Milton College, yet went on to have Pro Bowl years with Seattle and a long NFL career.
Another one of Seattle’s stars was future Hall of Famer, Steve Largent—the receiver that was labeled too short and too slow by other teams, yet was consistently amazing on every catch.
Coach Knox brought his ‘Ground Chuck’ mentality to Seattle, but lightened it up a bit to allow for a formidable down field aerial attack.
The Seahawks had a no-name blue collar feel, but featured talent at nearly every position.
The defensive line brought pressure on opposing teams with Jacob Green (16 sacks, 1 interception), Jeff Bryant (8 sacks) and Joe Nash and Manu Tuiasosopo sharing the nose tackle position (3 sacks and 0.5 sacks). The line was what every other part of the Seahawks defense fed off of. I remember them hounding a very young rookie named John Elway in the Kingdome.
Keith Butler, Michael Jackson, Bruce Scholtz and Shelton Robinson held down a solid linebacker corps. That occasionally found themselves out of position, but always had a big play up their sleeves.
Dave Brown was a member of an unheralded but exceptional group of defensive backs that included Kerry Justin, Keith Simpson and John Harris. This corps group was stingy and sticky fingered. They faced the likes of Dan Fouts, John Elway and Jim Plunkett on a regular basis.
Kenny Easley was the only Pro Bowler on defense that year and he played with a fire that is seldom seen. He hit hard, was nimble enough to snag 7 interceptions and brought fear in the hearts of opposing offensive coordinators.
On offense, ‘Ground Chuck’ was undoubtedly led by the rookie, Curt Warner, (1449 rushing yards, 13 TDs), but there were plenty of other contributors. David Hughes was a worthy lead blocker at fullback.
The receiving corps featured Steve Largent, Paul Johns and Charle Young and of course Dave Krieg finished the season that Jim Zorn started.
The offensive line performed admirably and had some considerable experience with Reggie McKenzie at left guard. Blair Bush, Steve August, Robert Pratt and Ron Essink rounded out the group.
The special teams was an integral part of the Seahawks run for the AFC title. Norm Johnson was the kicker, Jeff West was the punter and the primary kick returner was Zachary Dixon.
Looking back at that year, that was truly a great team. Not only did they have to overcome obstacles on the playing field, they had to break out of the shell of ‘expansion team’ and become winners.
That was the year the Seahawks believed in themselves which laid the groundwork for future Seahawk greatness.