Despite lackluster outings the last two seasons, fandom in Seattle remains strong.
Like any fanbase, when the harsh reality of the current season rears its ugly head, we gaze back into the mists of history and fondly reminisce as we recall better times.
From the inaugural game in the Kingdome in 1976 to the game against Jacksonville in 2009 (a 41-0 drubbing that serves as the sole bright spot in the recent past), the Seahawks have put in a number of amazing performances.
The following games are (loosely) ranked by "greatness." It's not a terribly scientific scale, but we'll chalk it up to a formula of emotional impact times great performances, to the power of unforgettableness. Or something like that.
Plus, sweet highlights don't hurt.
Regrettably, the pennant pictured above is not representative of reality, but rather of wishful thinking. And it all came about because of the last game of the 1983 season against the New England Patriots.
The Seahawks came into the game needing the win to clinch the franchise's first-ever playoff appearance. QB David Krieg came out slinging, tossing two touchdown passes (to Steve Largent and Dan Doornink) and rushing one in himself.
On offense, New England was simply no match, gaining only 259 yards to Seattle's 368. Two costly interceptions and a lost fumble certainly didn't help matters, and Seattle controlled the clock for much of the game,
Though the Seahawks would go on to grab their first and second playoff wins, the game against New England showed for the first time that the Seahawks were capable of getting the win when it counted.
Image Courtesy ABC
It's not uncommon for people to compare high-scoring games to playing Madden on the Xbox, but this game was more like NFL Blitz on easy. Of course, any victory looks easy when you score on your first possession AND your opponent's first possession.
Dubbed "The Monday Night Massacre" by NFL Films and the "Fabulous Flurry" by an alliteration-addicted sportswriter, the Seahawks shut out the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 42-0 in prime time on national television.
What's more impressive than the score, however, are the stats.
The Seahawks' six touchdowns on the evening included only three on offense, and they gained less than 200 yards. In fact, the Eagles actually outgained the Seahawks in terms of total offense, 206 yards to 194.
The defense really shone, with four interceptions and two recovered fumbles.
Andre Dyson scored a touchdown each on a 75-yard interception return and a fumble recovery, and a little-known rookie named Lofa Tatupu scored the first touchdown of his career on an interception return of his own.
Despite a 12-4 record, two losses to divisional rivals at the end of the season meant the Seahawks were relegated to a wild card berth. Their opponents for the first round were none other than the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Raiders.
The game was a defensive stalemate, with neither team gaining 300 yards of offense. The Hawks were helped with two interceptions, a fumble recovery, and six sacks.
The sole Seattle touchdown came during the the second quarter, a 26-yard pass from Dave Krieg to Daryl Turner. Holding a 7-0 lead, kicker Norm Johnson added a field goal each in the third and fourth quarters, and a 46-yard pass from Jim Plunkett to Marcus Allen in the fourth wasn't enough as the Hawks held on.
Knocking off the defending Super Bowl champs was a big boost for Seattle, but unfortunately they would fall to the eventual conference champion Dolphins in the divisional round.
The '90s are largely a forgotten blur in the minds of most Seahawks fans, but there's one game—and one play, in particular—that you could consider the saving grace of football in Seattle.
To set the stage, in March of 1996, owner Ken Behring (a name reviled on the level of Clay Bennett in the Pacific Northwest) actually moved the team to Anaheim and began workouts near Disneyland. Only direct involvement from the NFL forced the team back to Seattle, and though Paul Allen purchased an option to buy the team, nothing was concrete yet.
Add in a load of off-field troubles for players, and you had a relatively unhappy group of fans.
The team was 3-5 at that point in the season, coming off five consecutive seasons of .500 or less (sometimes significantly less).
Two fumbles, an interception, and three sacks made it look like the Hawks were en route to another miserable ending. They had fought valiantly, trading field goals until the fourth, when both teams managed a touchdown.
With four seconds left in the game, the score was tied at 16-all. The Oilers marched down the field and set up a game-winning 37-yard field goal from Al Del Greco.
Things looked bleak. Del Greco already had successful kicks of 35, 36, and 45 yards on the day, so a 37-yarder seemed like a chip shot. The ball was snapped, Del Greco stepped up to kick, and another game looked lost.
Enter defensive end Michael McCrary.
McCrary somehow managed to get his hands on the ball and deflect it, which allowed safety Robert Blackmon to grab the ball and scurry 61 yards for the go-ahead score.
It was a case of the right play at the right time.
It gave the city a much-needed shot in the arm and started the ball rolling on any number of Seahawks-related projects. 50,794 people showed up for the game against the Vikings the next week—an increase of 15,000 over the Oilers game.
In the next year, Allen would buy the team. Funding for Qwest Field (nee Seahawks Stadium) would be arranged, and in 1999—after nearly a decade of hovering at or below the .500 mark—the Hawks would clinch their second divisional title, starting them on the roll they enjoyed through most of the 2000s.
And it might never have happened had it not been for McCrary's block.
An anemic 8-7 record wasn't quite bad enough to keep the Seahawks out of the '88 divisional title race, as none of the other teams were putting up much of a fight. The Denver Broncos and L.A. Raiders were both tied for second at 7-8 going into the final weekend, and the Raiders had a chance to put themselves on top with a win.
Defense can only be said to have played a factor in the game if you count the fact that the defense was, technically, on the field while both offenses marched relentlessly up and down it.
The teams combined for more than 900 yards of offense and seven touchdowns. In a see-saw first half that saw the lead change three times, the Hawks got two touchdown passes from Dave Krieg and three field goals from Norm Johnson. The Raiders answered with two TDs and a field goal of their own, closing out the half down 17-23.
In the third quarter, the Seahawks opened the floodgates. Two touchdowns, including a 75-yard bomb from Krieg to John L. Williams, gave the Seahawks a 37-27 lead going into the fourth. Krieg would wind up with 410 yards passing.
Another pair of field goals was enough to ice the game, earning the Seahawks their first-ever divisional title. They would not win another for 11 years.
With the 12th Man flag flying high over the Space Needle, the Seahawks squared off against the Carolina Panthers in front of a sold-out Qwest Field crowd. The Hawks were looking to capture the franchise's first-ever trip to the Super Bowl.
They did so in convincing fashion.
Opening the game with 20 straight unanswered points, the Seahawks would not let the Panthers get on the board until less than 10 minutes were left in the first half.
A flurry of offense came on the ground and through the air. Shaun Alexander, still in his prime, rushed 34 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns. QB Matt Hasselbeck went 20-of-28 for 219 yards, including a 17-yard TD throw to Jerramy Stevens and a 20-yard TD pass to Darrell Jackson.
The defense also came up when it counted, holding Carolina to a mere 62 yards, three first downs, and no real scoring threats in the first half (their sole TD came on a punt return).
In addition to propelling the team to the Super Bowl (the less said about that game, the better), the victory also secured an undefeated record at home for the season, as the Hawks coasted to a perfect 10-0 mark at Qwest Field.