October 10, 2012

Top 5: Seahawks Beat (or almost beat) Patriots!

This Sunday the New England Patriots visit Seattle for only the 3rd time in 22 years. I've been to Boston twice in the last 12 years, and that was as an impoverished graduate student (side note: before realignment in 2002, the NFL's scheduling formula was a byzantine clusterfuck- We played the Pats twice in the REGULAR SEASON in 1993.. How the fuck did that happen?). When Ken Behring packed up the team in the Spring of 1996 and tried to hold mini-camp in Southern California, I decided I would become a Patriots fan if it all went nuclear and the Seahawks skipped town. I was already a Red Sox fan, and Drew Bledsoe was my favorite non-Seahawks player- That plan went poof when the Patriots reached Super Bowl XXXI that season... I wasn't going to be anyone's bandwagon fan, yo.

Thankfully, Mr. Allen swooped in to save the day and it never came to that- But I think it's important to remember that until about a decade ago New England was an absolutely forlorn franchise.They went from an absolute afterthought on the NFL landscape to a multiple-championship-winning juggernaut- It just took the right owner, coach and quarterback. They're where we want to be, and there's NOTHING that says we can't get there. So here goes- Our top 4 victories (and one near-victory) over the New England Patriots.

5.  12/7/08 Patriots 24 @ Seahawks 21
The 2008 Seahawks were an awful team, but they didn't lay down and die like their 2009 Mora-"led" successors. Facing a Patriots team fighting for the playoffs (and in the middle of an 8-game winning streak), Seattle held leads of 14-3 and 21-13. Seneca Wallace had the best game of his career, throwing for three touchdowns with zero interceptions. Marcus Trufant shut down a still-All-Pro Randy Moss, but it wasn't enough. Matt Cassel led New England to the winning score late in the 4th, and Holmgren's farewell tour/death march continued unabated- But at least we put a scare into the Bostonians.

4. 9/19/93 Seahawks 17 @ Patriots 14
3.10/24/93 Seahawks 10, Patriots 9
Like I said above, I have no idea why we played a non-divisional foe twice in the 1993 regular season. Was that a common practice then? Did I just blank on this? 1993 was also one of those weird-ass seasons where everyone had TWO bye weeks- maybe that had something to do with it? In any case, the NFL saw fit to have the two worst teams from 1992 grapple twice the following season- They must have REALLY wanted to see Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer go at it, huh?

Both these games are particularly vivid for me personally. The September match-up at Foxboro happened on the day I moved into my dorm at Western. My new roommate was fairly aghast to see that the first thing I did was hook up the TV and yell at it for three hours. Then again, he once made everyone who shared the Fairhaven Stack 8, Floor 3 bathroom come look at a particularly gigantic deuce he dropped... So he wasn't exactly a great exemplar of social grace himself. Chris Warren pulverized the Patriots defense for 174 yards on 36 carries and helped the Hawks build a 17-0 lead... Which the defense tried to crap away, of course. Bledsoe led two 4th-quarter TD drives for the Pats, but Seattle held on to win 17-14.

A month later, I attended the rematch with a girl- she was my "best friend," but I was madly in love with her... As I wrote in this space before:

Being an 18-year-old dipshit, I had some weird ways of trying to woo her, like taking her to a Seahawks game. Kurt Cobain was still alive (in fact, Nirvana had released the amazing In Utero just a month before... it would become the soundtrack of my freshman year), as were the Seahawks chances of a competitive season.

Drew Bledsoe's homecoming wasn't to be... With #11 out with an injury, Scott Zolak faced the Seahawks. But even with that advantage, the Hawks trailed 9-3 late in a very boring game. I was in a near-panic that she wasn't having a good time, and this whole thing was a very bad idea.

Suddenly, Rick Mirer was doing his best Joe Montana impression. He drove us down the field, and with only seconds to play, threw the winning touchdown pass. The crowd went batshit crazy... even my lady friend got into it, and I got a nice prolonged, semi-passionate hug out of it. At that moment, the future was ablaze with possibilities, both for the Seahawks and my personal life. The Hawks were 4-3, and Rick Mirer was going to lead Seattle to football glory.

That 4-3 start turned into a 6-10 lead turd of a season. That game was the high point of Mirer's career... It was all downhill after that. A couple of months later, my best friend started dating someone. I told her I was in love with her. Crash. Burn. Despair. 


2. 9/21/86 Seahawks 38 @ Patriots 31 
The Seahawks visited the defending AFC Champs, but the defense evidently decided to chill out at the hotel rather than face the Pats. Tony Eason torched the Hawks for 414 yards passing and three TDs, and New England held a seemingly secure 10-point lead with less than three minutes left to play. A Norm Johnson FG cut the lead to 7, and after a three-and-out Patrick Hunter blocked a punt that Paul Moyer scooped up in the end zone for the tying touchdown. After another Patriots three-and-out, Dave Krieg hit Ray Butler on a 67-yard rainbow for the winning margin. Krieg would only complete 9 out of his 20 pass attempts, but two were long TDs to Butler (54 & 67 yards). Take that, Tony Eason! There were 38 points scored in the 4th quarter, and this was also the first time I blurted out a curse word during a Seahawks game in front of my parents (I was 11).

1. 12/18/83 Seahawks 24, Patriots 6
The 8-7 Seahawks found themselves needing a home win against the 8-7 Patriots to clinch the franchise's first-ever playoff berth. My Dad took me to that game (my 1st ever, at age 8), and EVERYTHING about it was awe-inspiring; from the first moment I saw the Kingdome driving in from I-90, to the dizzying cavernous grandeur of the Dome's interior. Of course, as I grew older I began to consider King County Stadium more or less a shithole, but on that day, it was the Louvre to me.

I screamed for what seemed like 4 hours straight, starting with a shrieking series of boos aimed at the Patriots as they took the field for warm-ups. We were in the 300 level, and there was no way they could possibly have heard me, but I still roared until my voice was gone. What an annoying little shit, huh?

The game itself was perfect: The deafening roar of the 12th Man, a Largent touchdown, and an easy blowout victory. Famously, the Seahawks came out of the locker room after the game to mingle with the remaining Soldiers of Twelve left in the Dome. If I wasn't already hooked for life, this game sealed the deal.

What do you think, sirs? 

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I believe the explanation is reasonably simple. Before the NFL arrived at 32 teams and 8 divisions each conference had 3 divisions of either 4 or 5 teams. Who knows what the scheduling formula was but it included playing the equivalent ranking team (from the prior season) in the other two divisions. So if you finished 1st in your division in one year you would play the 1st place team from the other two divisions the following season. But the AFC Central only had four teams. Since the Seahawks and Patriots both finished last in their divisions in 1992, they had to play each other twice in 1993 to account for the fact that the AFC Central did not have a 5th place team. The Seahawks also subsequently finished last in their division in 1993, so they played the woeful Colts twice in 1994 as the Colts had finished 5th in the AFC East the prior year.