I’ve been trying to figure out how to introduce this book to my readers for some time. It is a “perfect holiday present for any 12th man.” It’s also something that “should be required reading for all Seahawks fans.” It’s also a large number of other superlatives that I’ve thought of and have decided not to use. Instead, I’ll just say what the title of this posts says: This is the best book about the Seahawks theme’d book out there.
Notes From A 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks by Mark Turner (click HERE to find it on Amazon)
Yes, as the title suggests, it is a history book. What it isn’t is a history book like you remember from when you were in school. The stories full of whit,
Mark Turner has a way of bringing out the emotion inherit in each of the games and events he describes. I found myself re-experiencing joy of the Chuck Knox era, the desperation of the 94 saga when the Seahawks almost moved to LA, and the pride of the superbowl season.
In case you can’t tell, I really enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend it reading it if you are a Seahawks fan.
Mark was nice enough to answer a few questions for me via email. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask Mark, post them in the comments section of this post, or sent to to me via email, and I’ll pass them along. I’m also hoping to get Mark to join me for a podcast in a week or 2.
Keith Myers (KM): What made you decide write book on the history of the Seahawks?
Mark Turner (MT): I always thought the Seahawks warranted a real full-fledged history book. Being located in South Alaska, the team has been largely ignored by the national media so I figured I better write it myself. I’ve been a 12th Man since the beginning and have written professionally for over twenty years. Consequently, my publisher believed I had the background to write about the history of the Hawks.
KM: Do you have plans to add new chapters down the road, or to publish a second volume?
MT: I have written a few new chapters but I’m not sure about when another volume will come out. Perhaps after the Hawks hoist the Lombardi in a few years. (Yep, I am a glass half-full kind of 12th Man.)
KM: You mentioned writing professionally before this book; anything else out there that members of the 12th Man could look for?
MT: Most of my writing has been on television shows. I do occasionally write for the Seattle Times sports section. I am also starting a new sports blog in the new year. It will have numerous Seahawk stories but it was also include other sports and other teams.
KM: When reading your book, I was amazed at how well I remembered so many of the games you described. I have to ask, how much of the history were you able to write from memory, without really needing to re-watch the games?
MT: I was able to write a lot based on memory and notes I’ve written myself over the years. Video of the games did help me considerably in getting all the facts correct and aid my memory. Making it accurate and entertaining were my two main objectives when writing the book.
KM: I found your description of the early years of the Seahawks to be fascinating. (I was too young to remember anything but a few game from the Zorn era.) Do you have a favorite memory from the early years?
MT: My very first game was obviously very memorable (1976 against Atlanta). Being that it was the Hawks’ first-ever victory in Seattle made it more special. I also really loved the Raider games in the Kingdome in the seventies. The Raiders had been very popular in the Northwest and the Hawks swept the series in both 1978 and 1979. It was always fun to watch pissed-off Raider fans walking out of the Dome before they had to return to their halfway houses.
KM: I always thought the Seahawks handled the Zorn to Krieg transition fairly poorly. What’s your opinion on how the transition was handled?
MT: I was always a big Zorn fan but the NFL is very unforgiving. It’s a “what have you done for me lately” league. Zorn’s play started to fall off in the early ’80s and the losses were piling up. Injuries to him and the rise of Dave Krieg didn’t help. When Chuck Knox came in 1983, Zorn was the starter but he was on a short leash. When he started to falter, Knox benched him in favor of Krieg. However, if Krieg didn’t succeed, Knox was going to go back to Zorn. But Krieg did eventually succeed that year. I don’t think the Hawks handled the transition poorly (at least from an outside perspective). QB transitions are usually awkward (see Seahawks circa 2011). It certainly wasn’t a popular transition but when Krieg led the Hawks to the AFC Championship game, many fans changed their tune. Zorn, to his credit, never complained about his situation.
KM: I think most Seahawks fans think of the Holmgren era as the Seahawk’s only real “glory days” for the team. What would you tell them about the Chuck Knox years?
MT: I don’t think most fans look at the Holmgren era as the only real glory days. Maybe those who were born in the last 25 years but longtime fans always look fondly on the Knox era. Four playoff seasons in six years. A rockin’ Kingdome that was the loudest stadium on Earth. Plus nearly every member of the Ring of Honor played during this time. You had Largent breaking every major NFL receiving record. Curt Warner and his amazing cutbacks. Kenny Easley and his harrowing hits. It was a great time.
KM: The Seahawks draft record during the Ken Behring era was atrocious. I always felt that he’d manipulated things on purpose to try and turn off the fan base and help him move the team to California. Do you think it was intentional, or just incompetence?
MT: I think it was a combination of both. Greed and stupidity make for a bad NFL owner.
KM: If you had to pick 1 game as the best single moment in Seahawk history, which would it be?
MT: Hands down, winning the 2005 NFC Championship game against the Panthers.
KM: How about the worst single moment?
MT: The armed robbery that is known as Super Bowl XL.
KM: Kingdome vs Qwest/Centurylink? which was the better place to watch a game in your opinion?
MT: I will always have special fondness for the Kingdome. However, part of football is dealing with the elements. It, along with soccer, are the two big team sports that usually play outside and regardless if there’s a rainstorm or blizzard so the nod goes to the Seahawks/Qwest/CenturyLink Stadium. Plus the food is a 1000 times better.
KM: How about a favorite moment for you personally that’s Seahawks related?
MT: When Steve Largent e mailed me about how much he liked my book. You can’t get higher Seahawk praise.
KM: Who do you think is the great Seahawks ever? Largent? Tez? Big Walt? One of the QBs?
MT: For most of the team’s history, the answer was clearly Largent. But Big Walt has put himself in Largent’s class. Jones was the greatest offensive tackle of his era. If he’s not a first-ballot hall of famer, I will attribute it to the ignorance of the voters, not to Big Walt.
KM: When the book was published, Jim Mora had just taken over as Head Coach. Now that we know how that ended, what are your thought on how Holmgren’s era ended, and on Mora being given only 1 season?
MT: I really wish Holmgren went out on a high note but sports make no such guarantees. You have to look at the 2008 as a washout, just one of the many sporting disasters that hit Seattle that year.
Given that we are both Bellevue boys, I really wanted Mora to succeed. However, whatever he did during the season didn’t work. The Hawks lost by an average of 18.5 points in their 11 losses. Totally unacceptable. And the four-game losing streak at the end of the year was just dreadful. It appeared to me that Mora had lost the locker room. Obviously Paul Allen didn’t like what he was seeing and grabbed Pete Carroll instead.