Quick! Who have the Seahawks faced the most times in the playoffs? It aint the Packers, or the Bears, or DC, or even the Raiders. It's the Miami Dolphins, who we beat in 1983, and lost to in the 1984 and 1999 playoffs. We've played Miami 13 times overall, but sadly only won four times. Sunday's game will be Seattle's 10th trek out to South Florida since 1977 (and hopefully our 3rd win down there). The playoff losses in '84 and '99 are among my most painful memories as a Twelve- In 1984, Dan Marino shredded the best defense the Seahawks ever fielded, and in 1999 Marino (that magnificent bastard, again) shuttered the Kingdome and punctuated Seattle's bleak descent from 8-2 to a home Wild Card loss.
Enough wallowing in negativity and pain, though! Here's the four stories of Seattle victory over Miami's aquatic mammals...
4. Seahawks 24, Dolphins 20 (10/4/87)
Remember how Packers fans (and the national media) wailed back in September about how unjust it would be if Seattle made the playoffs over Green Bay based on a win earned in part thanks to replacement officials? Back in 1987, Dolphins fans were the ones out for blood. They missed the playoffs because of a loss in Seattle- in a game played with scab players who crossed the NFLPA's picket lines. Sea-scab QB Bruce Mathison threw for 326 yards and 2 TDs, and led the Faux-Hawks on a late game-winning touchdown drive. I grudgingly thank these scab players for putting our real players in position to make the playoffs.. I guess?
3. Seahawks 22 @ Dolphins 15 (10/6/96)
This was a battle of wits between ex-Miami Hurricanes coaches Dennis Erickson and Jimmy Johnson, decided by the quarterbacking talents of John Friesz and Craig Erickson! Feel the excitement! Thankfully for Seattle, Friesz bested Erickson, throwing two long TD passes to Joey Galloway, and the 80-yard game-winning bomb to Brian Blades in the 4th quarter. Blades was a standout WR at "The U," so his moment of triumph carried extra personal significance. Not only was his dagger-touchdown in front of friends and family in Miami, it was against a Dolphins team led by his college coach (Johnson). Speaking of JJ, he kinda went 2-point conversion wacky that day- inexplicably going for 2 TWICE in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and failing on both attempts. I know 2-point conversions in the NFL were only two years old back in 1996, but that's still crappy strategy.
2. Seahawks 24, Dolphins 17 (11/21/04)
I've written before at length about the unique torture that was the 2004 Seahawks season. This game was '04 in miniature: A victory damn-near ruined by a neck-deep pile of "yeah, but..."
The Hawks were 5-4 and still staggering around dazed after the epic 4th quarter collapse against St. Louis six weeks earlier- They NEEDED a win to maintain their NFC West lead/playoff hopes. With Matt Hasselbeck injured, it was up to Trent Dilfer to lead Seattle to victory. The good news was that Miami was coming into the game 1-8, and with a brand new interim leader coaching his first game. Easy win.. easy win.
Miami came out energized, and Seattle looked bored and lethargic. A 17-7 halftime lead looked pretty safe against the A.J. Feeley- led Dolphins offense, but the '04 defense specialized in blowing leads like some weird collective football version of Bobby Ayala. The Fins not only tied the game, but they were driving for what would be the game-winning field goal in the game's final minutes. I was already in a state of deep, profound despair- We were going to get knocked out of the playoff race by losing AT HOME to the worst team in the NFL. I stared at the TV, dead-eyed, just waiting for the hammer to fall. Then Feeley threw the ball DIRECTLY AT Michael Boulware (who thankfully didn't drop the damn thing), and I was jolted to life so quickly I almost thought I heard someone yell "CLEAR!"
Boulware scored, and Seattle escaped. I was joyful for a short period, then just relieved, then eventually fairly downcast anyway. That was the 2004 Seahawks, y'all. Here's the highlights from NFL.com.
1. Seahawks 27 @ Dolphins 20 (12/31/83)
A whole generation of kids became Twelves for life on New Year's Eve 1983. I was eight, and just two weeks earlier I went to my first game at the Kingdome- The Seahawks won and made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They won their first playoff game against the rival Broncos on Xmas Eve, but anyone with sufficient football acumen KNEW that was as high as the '83 Seahawks would fly. Now they had to schlep to Miami and face the defending AFC Champions, led by rookie phenom Dan Marino. The Seahawks got a collective pat on the head and a "nice season, kid" from the football world. They'd all get to see that epic Dolphins/Raiders AFC title game cage match everyone was dreaming about, right?
Weird shit starting going down, though- Dave Krieg was outplaying Marino. The unheralded Seattle defense outplayed the famous "Killer B's." Chuck Knox was out-coaching Don Fucking Shula... and Miami had no answer for Curt Warner, who racked up 113 yards and two TDs on the ground. Fuck... Why should you read my description when you can watch the highlights NARRATED BY JOHN FACENDA??? Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!