December 12, 2011

Fuzzy Kingdome Memories: November 28, 1988

In my 28 years as a Seahawks fan, I've been to exactly ONE Monday Night game. I was 13, and it was awesome. Here's the story...

The Seahawks and Raiders were both 6-6 going into that prime-time showdown in the Kingdome- The winner would join the 7-6 Broncos atop the AFC West going into the homestretch. Not only was it a key divisional battle, it was one against the detestable, despicable L.A. Raiders (and we were all still salty over Bo Jackson's demolition of the Seahawks, Brian Bosworth, and our collective mental health on MNF a year earlier). When my Dad got us tickets for this game, I totally spazzed out (even more than usual).

Thankfully I was a spoiled kid, so I got to skip school on that Monday so we could get to Seattle with plenty of time to spare before the 6 pm kickoff. Our seats were in the lower level, down in the end zone only a few rows from the field of play. I usually preferred sitting up higher (and I still do now), but it turned out to be a blast sitting down low for this particular dust-up.

The Kingdome was ALWAYS loud, but it was mind-scrambling that night. I vividly recall Steve Largent catching a TD right in front of me to open the scoring- It felt like he was close enough to reach out and high-five, and the crowd EXPLODED when he scored (Largent was in his next-to-last NFL season, and his numbers had declined thus far in '88- Seeing him score sent a jolt through the capacity crowd).

How loud was it? On the following drive the Raiders committed FIVE consecutive false start penalties. I screamed so long and so loud that I lost my voice, which didn't return until around Thursday. The teams traded blows throughout the first half, but the Seahawks looked like they'd go into the locker room up 21-20 after Krieg hit Paul Skansi for the 3rd of his FIVE TD passes. Then, craziness!

Tim Brown returned the kickoff 95 yards to the Seattle 3, and it looked like L.A. would certainly score- But a Bo Jackson TD was wiped out by a holding call, and then the Raiders shanked a gimme FG attempt as the half expired. In my 13-year-old head, Chris Bahr missed that kick because of the roar the Twelve Army unleashed upon him- I was delirious with joy.

Side note: I CLEARLY remember Tim Brown getting tackled and the FG miss happening right in front of me like the Largent TD, but that can't be accurate given that the teams must have switched ends between quarters- Chalk one up for the unreliability of memory, huh?

The Seahawks would commit a total of five turnovers, and enter the 4th quarter trailing 27-21. Dave Krieg's last two TD passes put Seattle up for good and they'd hold on for a memorable 35-27 victory (back in '88 there weren't 2-point conversions in the NFL, so an 8-point gap was two scores). Both John L. Williams and Curt Warner ran for over 100 yards, and the Seahawks erupted for 459 total yards. Conversely, the Seattle defense held their tormentor Bo Jackson to just 31 yards on 13 carries (Did it help that L.A. rolled out Steve Beuerlein and Jay Schroeder at QB that day? Fuck yeah- but we can just gloss over that fact).

The Seahawks won, and my Dad and I enjoyed a long but happy post-game drive back to the Tri-Cities. I showed up at school the next day sleep-deprived but triumphant in one of my many Steve Largent jerseys... The Seahawks would go on to beat the Raiders in L.A. on the season's final Sunday to take their first AFC West title (here's that whole game on youtube in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2).

I also remember us waving around this towel at that MNF game... I think I still have it in a box at my Mom's house somewhere, and I remember seeing one at the Pro Football Hall of Fame when I visited a few years back:

What do you think, sirs?

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