Over the next several weeks, I will release my list of top 10 Seahawks seasons. In general, I believe that lists are constantly evolving and that as a team plays year after year, the context that they create can change their best seasons. For example, the Seahawks just finished a pretty good season that most everybody would agree would rank among their ten best. If this core of players manage to improve on last year, not only will that season crack the top ten, but may also make a case to raise last year’s ranking as the first of an era (fingers crossed).
The factors I have taken in to consideration in making this list are: post season wins, depth of post season run, historical context, regular season record/ranking, regular season statistics, and post season record, in roughly that order. My hope is that this list will help Seahawks fans dream about what future seasons have in store and where the next couple of seasons may land in future lists. Please feel free to pipe in with your own memories, rankings, and other feedback.
#10 1999-2000: The Seahawks Return to the Playoffs
To many, the 1990′s were the dark ages of Seahawks football. While there were many great players such as Cortez Kennedy, Sam Adams, and Chris Warren, the Seahawks also suffered their longest playoff drought at eleven seasons. That streak was snapped by a gritty and unpolished team lead by Ricky Watters, and Central Washington University’s greatest over achiever, Jon Kitna. That season, the Seahawks raced out to an 8-2 record, only to find themselves a game back of Kansas City in week 15 with an 8-6 record. The next week, the two teams faced off, and the Seahawks won 23-14. At the end of the game, both teams had identical records, with one week to play. Seattle owned the tie breaker.
The Next week, the Seahawks needed a win against the Jets or a Chiefs loss to secure the AFC West Division Championship. Curtis Martin ran for 158 yards, and caught 3 passes for 45. The Seahawks failed to score a touchdown in a 19-9 loss. However, the Chiefs managed to lose an overtime shootout to the Oakland Raiders 41-38. It was perhaps the first and only time that Seahawks fans were ever caught cheering for the Raiders.
With a 9-7 regular season finish, and a defensive line anchored by Cortez Kennedy and Sam Adams, the Seahawks ended with the number 3 seed, and hosted the Miami Dolphins lead by Dan Marino. While the Seahawks managed to jump out to a lead, they gained only 41 rushing yards, and allowed 6 sacks while turning the ball over twice. In the fourth quarter, Miami would take the lead on a late drive, and the Seahawks were eliminated. It marked not only Dan Marino’s final playoff victory, but also the last NFL game ever played in the Kingdome.
Despite suffering a late season collapse, the Seahawks could still take pride in returning to the playoffs. It was the only playoff team of Cortez Kennedy’s Hall of Fame career. Jon Kitna also completed his first and only winning season as a starter in his career as an NFL journeyman. That off season, the Seahawks would draft Shaun Alexander, a sign of better things to come.
By The Numbers:
Regular Season Record: 9-7 (AFC West Champion)
Playoff record: 0-1 (3 seed)
Points for: 338
points against: 298
Turn overs forced: 36
Turn overs allowed: 33
Notable Opponents and Games:
Week 3: Mark Bruener – Pittsburgh TE, and ex-Washington Husky. The Seahawks managed to win the game 29-10 without scoring a single offensive TD.
Week 4: Napoleon Kaufman – Oakland RB, and ex-Washington Husky. The Seahawks beat the Raiders 22-21 on a fourth quarter field goal.
Week 8: Brett Favre – Green Bay QB Favre threw 1 touchdown and 4 interceptions on route to a 27-7 drubbing by the Seahawks that included a 125-yard rushing performance by Ricky Watters. Cortez Kennedy also recorded 3 sacks against his fellow Hall of Famer.
Week 9: Corey Dillon – Cincinnati RB, and ex-Washington Husky. Dillon rushed for 81 yards including a long of 32. That was not enough to match Watters’ 141 yard, 2-TD performance. Seahawks 37-20.
Week 10: Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City TE In the first of two meetings of the division rivals, the legendary TE caught 8 balls for 62 yards but the Seahawks dominated with Watters gaining 174 total yards, including a 45-yard run, a 25-yard reception, and 3 TD’s. The Seahawks improved to 8-2 and atop the AFC West.
Week11: Tampa Bay This home game was the worst of the season. The Seahawks turned the ball over 6 times and failed to score a TD in a 16-3 loss. The winning quarterback, Trent Dilfer, went 5/11 with 50 yards passing. More than half of those yards came on a 26-yard completion. It was the beginning of a 1-5 end to the season, 1-6 counting the playoffs.
Offensive Standout: Ricky Watters – rushing 325/1210 5TD, receiving 40/387 2TD
Defensive Standout: Cortez Kennedy – 61 solo tackles, 13 assists, 6.5 sacks, 2 INT, 2 forced fumbles. Only player with at least 1 sack, INT, and forced fumble on the season. Made the Pro Bowl.
Team Stat of the year: Led the league in interceptions with 30.
Notable Draft Picks: Brock Huard QB, Antonio Cochran DE
That Year’s Super Bowl: XXXIV St. Louis Rams 23 Tennessee Titans 16