Seattle Seahawks: Loud and Proud
The Seattle Seahawks are an NFL franchise with a fan base that is loud and proud.
And why not? During their relatively short history, the Seahawks have established a pro football market in the Pacific Northwest by becoming one of the more dominant teams in the league.
Despite being moved from conference to conference and division to division, through 2019 the Seattle team has won 10 division titles and three conference championships, being the only team to have played in both the AFC and NFC championship games. And they have made it to three Super Bowls, winning one.
The Seahawks’ origins date back to the early 1970s, not long after the AFL-NFL merger. The new NFL, seeking to expand from 26 to 28 teams, awarded Seattle a franchise in 1974 after a group of city business and community leaders pushed the pro football project. The group was led by Lloyd W. Nordstrom, whose family became the majority owners.
The new expansion team officially joined the NFL in 1976. General manager John Thompson hired Jack Patera, a Minnesota Vikings assistant, to be the first head coach.
The Seahawks began building through an expansion draft that included four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Mike Curtis and the first-round pick from the college draft, defensive tackle Steve Niehaus.
Chuck Knox Teams
Playing home games in the new Kingdome, the Seahawks had just two winning seasons in the first eight.
They then hired Chuck Knox as head coach, and his teams had a run of six seasons without a losing one.
The Seahawks won the AFC West title on a 9-7 season in 1988, but probably the best season during that era was a 12-4 team in 1984.
Those were the years with an exciting offense led by quarterbacks Jim Zorn and Dave Kreig, running back Curt Warner and receivers Steve Largent and Mike Tice. The 'Hawks stern defenses featured defensive backs Kenny Easley and Dave Brown.
But they only made it to the AFC title game once in the Knox years.
The team changed ownership in 1988 when business partners Ken Behring and Ken Hoffman purchased the team from the Nordstrom family.
Mike Holmgren Era
The stars of those years faded, Knox departed after the 1991 season, and the Seahawks didn't get back on track until Behring and Hoffman sold the team to Paul G. Allen in 1997 and Mike Holmgren took over as coach in 1999.
Holmgren's first season was the last season the team played in the Kingdome. They would play home games in Husky Stadium while Seahawks Stadium was being built for use starting in 2002.
Holmgren deployed a contingent of players led by quarterback John Kitna, running back Ricky Watters, receiver Derrick Mayes and a defense anchored by tackle Cortez Kennedy. Together they won the team's second AFC West title in the coach's first season. They went 9-7 and lost to the Miami Dolphins in the first game of postseason.
The ‘Hawks had three off seasons after that, and shifted from the AFC to the NFC during league realignment in 2002. The new NFC West division - with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals - suited the Seahawks just fine.
They assembled a team that had five straight playoff appearances and made it to the Super Bowl.
During that Super Bowl season - 2005 - the Seahawks had a potent offense with Matt Hasselbeck at QB, running backs Shaun Alexander and Mack Strong, and receivers Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson.
Their defense was a virtual sack machine with defensive end Bryce Fisher and linebacker Lofa Tatupu leading a team that dumped quarterbacks 50 times.
The team put together a string of 11 straight wins, and conquered the NFC West with a 13-3 mark. The 'Hawks then rolled over the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers to win the conference crown.
But in a Super Bowl that was marred by questionable officials' calls, the Pittsburgh Steelers took advantage of big plays to down the Seahawks, 21-10.
Holmgren's teams won two more NFC West titles, but could never make it to the NFC championship game again. Then in 2008, Seattle suffered from injuries and a schedule full of tough foes, slumped to 4-12, and Holmgren retired.
Pete Carroll Era
Jim Mora coached the team for one 5-11 season before the franchise replaced him with former Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll. The new coach would oversee the most successful run the Seahawks ever had.
Carroll's teams would make seven playoff appearances, win the NFC West crown four times and capture their second and third NFC Championships. In their best season ever, the 'Hawks won the Super Bowl for the first time ever after a 13-3 season in 2013.
That super season came a year after the team drafted a quarterback who had been a two-sport athlete at N.C. State before transferring to Wisconsin. Russell Wilson was a third-round draft pick who had to prove himself with the team. After Carroll recognized Wilson's mobility, he saw a new weapon to deploy. Wilson was made the starter early in an 11-5 season.
Though they lost in the divisional round of the playoffs in 2012, Wilson continued to improve, and benefit from the play of stars such as RB Marshawn Lynch and wide outs Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. The team's Legion of Boom defensive backfield featured all-stars Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
In 2013, that Seahawks defense led the league in points allowed, total yards and takeaways, while Wilson and company made the right plays at the right time.
Seattle's 13-3 record gave them home-field advantage through the playoffs, and they used it well, whipping the New Orleans Saints in the first game, and division rivals from San Francisco in the second.
In the Meadowlands of New Jersey for the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl in history, the Seahawks were hot and the Denver Broncos cold. Seattle got the benefit of turnovers, took an early lead and never looked back. Linebacker Malcolm Smith returned an interception for a touchdown, recovered a fumble and made nine tackles to win the game MVP as the 'Hawks rolled, 43-8.
The next season was almost as good ... almost. Seattle came one fateful play from winning their second straight Super Bowl. But after a 12-4 regular season, division and conference championships, and an air-tight Super Bowl, Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson's pass in the end zone and preserved a 28-24 win for the New England Patriots.
Despite numerous roster changes, Carroll and Wilson managed to keep the team in the playoff mix through the 2019 season.
It all has made the Seattle Seahawks fans louder and prouder than ever.
- Venue: CenturyLink Field
- Location: Seattle
- Opened: 2002
- Capacity: 68,740
- The franchise began play in the NFC West but switched conferences with Tampa Bay after one season and joined the AFC West, because the league wanted both expansion teams to play each other twice and every other NFL franchise once during their first two seasons.
- Seahawks fans have been referred to collectively as the "12th Man." They earned the reputation by being the one of the loudest in the league. In 2013 they twice set the Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd noise at a sporting event.
- Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy, Walter Jones, and Kenny Easley have been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame primarily or wholly for their accomplishments as Seahawks.
- The Seahawks Ring of Honor also includes Dave Brown, Jacob Green, Dave Krieg, Curt Warner, and Jim Zorn, as well as radio announcer Pete Gross and Coach Chuck Knox.