America's most popular sport, whose your team?

The 12th Team

  • Feb 27, 2012
Rating:
-1
In 2005 the Seattle Seahawks went to the Super Bowl. They lost a poorly-officiated game to the Pittsburgh Steelers. That is all.

Okay, it's actually not all. But the Seahawks are one of the NFL's newer and more nondescript teams. They were formed in 1976 and, playing as they do in the northwest, are easily the most isolated team in the league. The closest team to them is their big-name former divisional rival, the San Francisco 49ers, is way down in California's Bay Area, around a thousand miles south. Washington state - where Seattle is located, if there are any foreigners or people who are bad with American geography reading this - is surrounded to the south by Oregon, east by Idaho, and north by the Canadian province of British Columbia. There are no professional football teams nearby unless you count the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League up in Vancouver, which - with all respect to the CFL - I personally don't because international football games between NFL and CFL teams aren't played and the leagues use very different rules.

Still though, Seattle did emerge as a major port city and manufacturing center by the mid-20th century, and in 1976 the NFL decided to take a chance and place a team there despite problems with a leaky population. It proved to be a good gamble; in the 90's, Seattle broke out as a major center of software development and indie music, and the Emerald City became a go-to destination for the emerging creative class. The name "Seahawks" was a result of one of those naming contests that seem so popular with newly-created professional sports teams. Seahawk is another word for osprey, which is a kind of raptor. The team's first head coach was Jack Patera, an assistant coach from the Minnesota Vikings, and in the expansion draft they alternated selections with the other new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mention the Seahawks and one of the first reactions outside of them being the NFC's 2005 Super Bowl team is, "Yeah, they're that team that switched conferences!" You can blame division realignment for that. It actually happened twice: They began play in the NFC West, moved to the AFC, and then back to the NFC West in 2002 as a result of the Houston Texans being formed.

The may have been overshadowed by Steeler Nation during their 2005 run to the Super Bowl, but Seahawks fans, while nondescript, are known leaguewide as one of the better fanbases. Their signature is being so damn LOUD that opposing teams frequently get distracted and make boneheaded penalties. The raucousness of the fans at any given game has resulted in the team retiring number 12 in honor of the fans, their 12th Man, in 1984. Since then fans have been able to buy number 12 Seahawks jerseys with the name "Fan" on the back.

In play, the Seahawks have done well enough to earn a solid "eh" all-time record of 257-276, including playoffs. They've reached the playoffs eleven times and won their division seven times and their conference once, in 2005. When the team began, they started their first draft by trading an eighth-round pick to the Houston Oilers for wide receiver Steve Largent, whom the Oilers had literally just drafted. By that I mean Largent was in the 1976 draft and played in four preseason games for the Oilers before he was slated to be cut. Seattle swept in and sent him to seven Pro Bowls, eight All-Pro selections, the 80's All-Decade team, and eventually Canton in 1995. He spent all 13 years of his career with Seattle. His chemistry with quarterback Jim Zorn was undeniable, but those two didn't translate to a whole lot of success for the Seahawks. And in 1977, the smarts that got Largent on the team turned into a severe case of the stupids when Seattle traded their first-round draft pick to Dallas for another first-round draft pick and three second-rounders. The Cowboys turned that draft pick into Tony Dorsett. Despite that hiccup, the Seahawks had their first winning season in 1978, when they went 9-7, and in 1979 an appearance on Monday Night Football brought them to national attention when they beat the Atlanta Falcons after trailing them by 14 points.

After consecutive winning seasons to close out the 70's, the Seahawks sucked up the league for the first couple of years in the 80's. In 1983 they hired Chuck Knox as head coach, and he took them to their first playoff appearance, and the team broke out when they went to the AFC Championship, which they lost to the Los Angeles Raiders. The next year, the Seahawks won twelve games, beat the Raiders in the playoffs, and that was it for playoff success for the next 21 years, even though they took their first division title in 1988 despite selective notorious draft bomb Brian Bosworth the previous year and watching him get run over by Bo Jackson in a very famous Monday Night Football game.

The next few years were painful, as Knox left after the 1991 season. 1992 was a 2-14 fiasco in which they put only 140 stinking points on the scoreboard. They ran through one of those painful quarterback carousels, playing no-names like Dan McGwire, Stan Gelbaugh, Kelly Stouffer, and Rick Mirer. The team hit an absolute low point in 1996 when owner Ken Behring announced his plans to move the Seahawks to... Los Angeles! Actually it was Anaheim, but it doesn't change the fact that Behring was a relentless scuzzball about the whole thing. Instead of taking the usual way out and just bitching about the stadium, Behring talked about concern about the team's safety in the name of earthquakes. Not only did seismologists side against Behring, but he was, you know, planning to take the team to CALIFORNIA! One of the most - if not THE most - earthquake-prone spot in the country! The disturbing aspect of it is that Behring came dangerously close to succeeding; he had gotten the team's operations into Anaheim without any trouble before the legal eagles called him on not honoring the Kingdome lease. So Behring sold the team and Paul Allen took over. More mediocrity also took over, and Vinny Testaverde's "phantom touchdown," which resulted in the league officially apologizing to the Seahawks and instating instant replay, happened.

In 1999, the Seahawks hired former Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren, who finally started doing things right. Holmgren made a trade for his former backup quarterback in Green Bay, Matt Hasselbeck, who made his mark as the best quarterback in the team's history. In 2000 he also drafted running back Shawn Alexander, who went on to a great deal of success, just missing the 10,000 yard mark in an eight-year career spent in Seattle for his first seven years and Washington for his last year. In 2003, the Seahawks won a Wild Card spot in the playoffs and announced themselves as a force to be reckoned with. In 2005, they won their conference. In 2009 Holmgren left and was replace by Jim Mora. They've had successes and failures, and when they make the playoffs these days, it seems like they're always being kicked out by the Bears.

There isn't much more to say after that. This team's identity is created in its loud fans. They've been good, they've been bad, they've had a lying snake of an owner. They have plenty of time to create an image the national public can relate to.

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
6
Thought-Provoking
6
Fun to Read
6
Well-Organized
6
Post a Comment
February 27, 2012
Nice information. I don't think the team being isolated from the rest of the league matters as they only play 8 games there. You mentioned the growth of software companies in Seattle but I believe that is also where Starbucks sprang up.
February 27, 2012
Well, it does matter a little because it means the players have to travel further than members of other teams, and that tends to have physical effects. Also, yes, Starbucks did start up in Seattle, back in the 1970's.
 
1
About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston ()
Ranked #2
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

You
BaronSamedi3
Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this topic

Wiki

The Seattle Seahawks participate in the National Football League (NFL) and are based in Seattle, Washington. Seattle plays its games in the West of the NFC. The Seattle Seahawks, founded in 1976, play home games at Qwest Field and have won zero NFL Titles.
view wiki

Details

First to Review

"The 12th Team"
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
Football: NFL, College, Arena and UFL. is part of the Lunch.com Network - Get this on your site
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists