NFL - NFC WEST
2021-2022 TEAM LEADERS
Throughout the early 1970s, pro football flirted heavily with the city of Seattle. Bills owner Ralph Wilson openly talked about moving there as a means of getting Buffalo to back a new stadium. University of Washington alumnus Hugh McElhenny, a Hall of Famer from the 1950s and 60s, declared that he was going to bring a team to Seattle, call it the Kings, and be the general manager.
Finally, a collection of area business and community leaders that included the Nordstrom department store family got together to form their own group dedicated to bringing football to the Pacific Northwest. It was this group that the NFL recognized when it awarded them an expansion franchise in 1974 to begin play in 1976.
More than 20,000 entries were submitted in a naming competition, with Seahawks getting 151 votes and the approval of both the team and Commissioner Pete Rozelle.
A University of Washington alum was named the team’s first general manager, but instead of McElhenny, it was John Thompson, a former executive director of the NFL Management Council. Thompson hired Vikings assistant coach Jack Patera, who was coming off two Super Bowl appearances as the coach of the Purple People Eaters defensive line.
The new Kingdome officially opened in March of 1976, and the first professional football season in Seattle kicked off that August.
Championships by the Seattle Seahawks
It was tough sledding in the beginning for the Seahawks. They won just two games in the first season and wouldn’t make a postseason appearance into their eighth season of existence. But that year, 1983, they made it all the way to the conference championship game.
There were ups and downs over the next 22 years, including the down of another two-win season. But finally, in 2005, the Seahawks were Super Bowl-bound.
2005 NFC Championship
Led by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander’s record-breaking 27 rushing touchdowns, Seattle was 13-3, the top seed in the NFC, and an easy 34-14 winner over the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game.
They went to play the Steelers in their first Super Bowl but lost 21-10.
Super Bowl XLVIII
Facing a record-setting Peyton Manning-led offense that had scored more than 600 points, Seattle was the underdog. But no one told them as they hammered the Broncos 43-8. Denver hadn’t scored less than 20 points all year, but they hadn’t faced a secondary like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Cam Chancellor.
Linebacker Malcolm Smith returned an interception for a touchdown, recovered a fumble, made nine tackles, and won the game’s MVP award.
2014 NFC Championship
The very next season, Seattle won the NFC Championship yet again, beating the Packers in one of the great playoff games in history. Seattle recovered an onside kick in the final two minutes of the game and then drove for what seemed like the game-winning touchdown with 1:25 on the clock.
Aaron Rodgers, however, took Green Bay back down the field to tie the game with a field goal. But in overtime, Russell Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown, and Seattle was off to the Super Bowl.
They lost that game in the very end when Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson at the one-yard line.
Key Stats by the Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are the only team in NFL history that have changed conferences twice. They played 1976 in the NFC, were then moved to the AFC from 1977 to 2001, and then moved back to the NFC in 2002.
They are the only team in NFL history to play in both the AFC and NFC Championship Games.
All three of Seattle’s conference titles have come in the NFC. Of their 11 division championships, nine of those have come in the NFC. They have been in the playoffs a total of 19 times – five times as an AFC team and 14 times in the NFC.
Top Players in Seattle Seahawks History
Right off the bat, the Seahawks had Hall of Fame talent on their roster. A fourth-round pick of the Houston Oilers who was going to be cut by the team was instead traded to Seattle for an eighth-round draft pick. That man was Steve Largent, who went on to play in seven Pro Bowls and hold nearly every receiving record in franchise history.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
In the same era as Largent was one of the hardest-hitting safeties in NFL history, Kenny Easley. A Hall of Famer in 2017, he played just six seasons but was a Pro Bowler in five of them.
Defensive lineman Cortez Kennedy was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year on a 2-14 team and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012. Hall of Fame offensive tackle Walter Jones was a nine-time Pro Bowler and has had his No. 71 retired by the Seahawks.
Cornerback Richard Sherman was a three-time First-Team All-Pro in Seattle, and his secondary mate, safety Earl Thomas, was also a three-time First-Team All-Pro with the Seahawks.
Top Coaches in Seattle Seahawks History
He was the AP’s Coach of the Year in 1978, but when Jack Patera was done in Seattle, his record was just 35-59.
Things did get better when Chuck Knox was hired in 1983. He took the team to the AFC Championship Game, won the team’s first division title in 1988, and was the AP’s Coach of the Year in 1984. He left Seattle with 91 career victories.
Mike Holmgren was the coach to take Seattle to its first Super Bowl. He won an AFC West title with the Seahawks and then won four NFC West championships. Six times in 10 years, he had Seattle in the playoffs.
The winningest coach in team history is Pete Carroll. He has twice won the NFC and also won Super Bowl XLVIII. He is one of just three head coaches in history to have won both a National Championship (2003 and 2004 with USC) and a Super Bowl.
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