Let’s rewind back to an earlier time…before Qwest Field or 12thMan became official…to the Kingdome with Chuck Knox and a rookie running back named Curt Warner ah yes 1983 was their breakthrough year that catapulted them into playoffs for the first time!
Many will recall Seattle’s joy of winning AFC Rookie of the Year with Curt Warner and earning AFC Coach of the Year with Chuck Knox as its new head coach – but this team was an overachiever.
Remember the Seattle Seahawks? In what was expected to be a tough division featuring teams like the Los Angeles Raiders, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs; instead, they made an unlikely run to reach the Super Bowl – eventually falling just one game short.
The Seahawks came into the NFL in 1976, and unlike the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they were not a laughingstock in the NFL. They were a much more competitive team than the Bucs who lost their first 26 games in a row. Seattle was competitive from year three on.
Before the 1983 season, the Seattle Seahawks had never reached the playoffs. Although not considered serious contenders for any title or championship race – they nonetheless occasionally dazzled fans with unexpected plays like Efren Herrera’s fake field goal on MNF! The Seahawks were an exciting team under their original head coach Jack Patera and they usually hovered around .500, but that all changed with the hiring of Chuck Knox. Knox was known as ground Chuck, because of his penchant for running the ball and playing tight hard-nosed defense.
Dave Krieg was an undrafted NFL QB from Milton College but went on to enjoy Pro Bowl years with Seattle and a long NFL career.
Seattle was also led by future Hall-of-Famer Steve Largent – an unassuming wide receiver that many teams considered too small and slow despite consistently amazing catches.
Coach Knox brought his trademark ‘Ground Chuck’ mentality with him from Seattle but softened it slightly to allow for an effective downfield aerial attack.
The Seattle Seahawks had an under-the-radar feel, yet featured talented personnel across nearly every position.
Jacob Green (16 sacks, one interception), Jeff Bryant (8 sacks) and Joe Nash and Manu Tuiasosopo shared the nose tackle position (3 and 0.5 respectively) provided pressure against opposing teams from the defensive line of the Seahawk’s defense. I remember them harassing John Elway at Kingdome on many occasions.
Keith Butler, Michael Jackson, Bruce Scholtz and Shelton Robinson led an effective linebacker corps that often found itself out of position but always managed to come through with big plays when needed.
Dave Brown was part of an unheralded but exceptional group of defensive backs that included Kerry Justin, Keith Simpson and John Harris. This corps group was known for being tight-fisted; regularly encountering stars like Dan Fouts, John Elway and Jim Plunkett on defense.
Kenny Easley was the sole Pro Bowler on defense that year, playing with incredible zeal to garner seven interceptions and instilling fear among opposing offensive coordinators.
Curt Warner led Ground Chuck on offense with 1449 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie, though other contributors such as David Hughes proved invaluable as lead blockers at fullback.
Steve Largent, Paul Johns and Charle Young comprised the receiving corps, while Dave Krieg completed what Jim Zorn had initiated earlier in the season.
The offensive line performed admirably and showcased tremendous experience, led by Reggie McKenzie at left guard, featuring Blair Bush, Steve August, Robert Pratt, and Ron Essink as key contributors.
In the playoffs the Seahawks battered John Elway in his first playoff start 31-7, and followed that up as touchdown underdogs in Maiam, winning on a muddy rain soaked field. The Seahawks travelled to Los Angeles to battle the Raiders for the right to go to Super Bowl XVIII. The Seahawks had already beaten the Raiders twice during the season, bit in the title game the Raiders showed they were clearly the better team.
Special teams were an integral component of the Seattle Seahawks’ run for an AFC title, featuring kicker Norm Johnson, punter Jeff West and primary kick returner Zachary Dixon.
Looking back, that team was truly exceptional. Not only had to overcome obstacles on the playing field, but had also to break out of being seen as an “expansion team” and become champions.
That was the year the Seattle Seahawks believed in themselves and laid the groundwork for future Seahawk greatness.
If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”
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