January 24, 2008

Empirical Proof of the Unique Pain Suffered by Seahawks Fans


One big theme of this blog is going to be how the pain of being a Seahawks fan is special. Not worse than any other fan base's.. just different. Pro Football Reference is a great spot for all kinds of information on the NFL, but it's also supported some of my ideas about Seahawks history.

1. This is the golden age for Seahawks fans. Check.

2. The Seahawks have historically tortured their fans by never being that bad or that great; They are good enough to give you hope for the next season, but rarely bad enough to snap up those high draft picks. Check!

3. John L. Williams was fucking awesome. Check.

Now they've shown that I've been right to suspect that the Seahawks have had a disproportionate number of seasons that ended with us juuuuuuusst missing the playoffs. This makes sense, given how many times we've been 8-8 or 9-7. When I was growing up, it seemed like almost every year it came down to the right combination of teams winning/losing on the final Sunday for the Hawks to sneak into the playoffs. Things rarely broke our way, but magically every lotto ball bounced our way on the final weekend of the 2003 season, and we haven't missed the post-season since :]

With all that as a great excuse, here's my top 5 most painful "just missed" seasons:

5. 1982 (4-5, lose tiebreaker to Cleveland)

My first year paying ANY attention to the Seahawks, and they just missed the playoffs (albeit in a year with expanded playoffs and a bifurcated season thanks to the strike). Their week one loss to the Browns eventually doomed the 4-3 post-strike mini-rally under interim coach (and later GM) Mike McCormack.

4. 2001 (9-7, finish one game behind NYJ)

This year started with my first trip to a Seahawks road game (a 9-6 win at the gun in Cleveland), and was interrupted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The game I was originally set to attend in week 2 was moved to early January. In between, Hass got off to a rough start, then got injured and replaced by Trent Dilfer. Under Dilfer we went on a season-ending 6-3 run (wearing those old unis for the last time, by the way), which included Shaun Alexander's gigantic Sunday Night game against Oakland, a dramatic last-second win in San Diego (GO CHARLIE ROGERS!!!!!) and that rescheduled game v. the Chiefs at Husky Stadium.

It was a miserable, cold, rainy day. I watched the Hawks grind out a 21-18 win shivering in the windy dampness, only to hear that New York beat Oakland on a last second FG. I still hate John Hall for that. Then we needed Minnesota (led by Spergon Wynn in his final NFL start) to somehow win at Baltimore to sneak in. I got back to Columbus just in time to watch the Vikings' torturous loss. Here's a YouTube video of Wynn getting creamed in a CFL game.. Serves him right... :] (don't worry, he was fine.. plus, I'm not THAT evil)

3. 1998 (8-8, finish one game behind New England)

Oh lord, you all know the story by now... Vinny Testaverde's Phantom Touchdown at the Meadowlands keeps us out of the playoffs and gets Dennis Erikson fired. Of course, that opened the door for Holmgren's arrival, but it still was a royally, regally sucky way to miss the playoffs.

Also, isn't it FUCKED up that this is now the 2nd worst officiating nightmare in team history?

2. 1990 (9-7, lose conference record tiebreaker to Bengals and Oilers, even though we beat both head-to-head)

Nice little quirk in the rules back then, huh? This was the year of the miracle win at KC (Krieg eludes Derrick Thomas on the final play, hits Skansi for the winning TD), and it was basically the last ride for the Ground Chuck-era Hawks. I was at the final game of the season v. the Lions, where I got to see us bottle up the great Barry Sanders in a 30-10 win, only to hear Pittsburgh lose a meaningless (for them) game to Houston on the ride home, dooming our playoff hopes.

1. 1986 (10-6, lost tiebreaker to NY Jets)

Every Seahawks fan over 30 remembers this vividly, and will go the grave CONVINCED that Seattle would have won Super Bowl XXI if they had just been able to squeeze into the post season. In a season-ending 5-game festival of ass-whomping the Hawks won big on Thanksgiving Day at Dallas, crushed the L.A. Raiders 37-0 on MNF, and struck down the Denver Broncos with great vengeance and furious anger in the season finale.

Why did the Seahawks miss the playoffs? They lost to the New York Jets 38-7 during an ill-advised stretch where Dave Krieg was bench in favor of GALE GILBERT. Krieg got his job back, and in that 5-game streak threw only a single INT. The mind still reels at what could have been... Seattle was the only team in '86 to beat both the Giants and Broncos, and would have beaten both again to get that Lombardi Trophy.

Fucking Jets... Over the last 5 weeks of '86, they went 0-5, but had already racked up 10 wins by mid-November. They went on to win a home playoff game v. KC, then blew a 10-point lead in the final two minutes to crap away a divisional playoff game at Cleveland. Heh.

Care to share your own painful tiebreaker memories?

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