It would be REALLY stretching it to argue that the Seahawks have any sort of rivalry with the Chicago Bears, even though in very recent memory we suffered a heartbreaking OT divisional playoff loss to these jokers. Still, I can honestly say I hate them; not in the way I hate the Steelers, Niners, Rams, Cardinals, Broncos, Raiders or Cowboys, of course... But it's still low-grade hatred I feel when I am forced to think about that team in Chicago. Why?
It's mostly because they have an insufferable fan base that has made living in the past a twisted form of high art. Yes, the Bears have a long, impressive history of playing hard-nosed defense (which Chicago fans will never shut up about), but in terms of overall team success there really isn't much to get excited about. Just for funsies, let's compare the Bears and Seahawks since the start of the 1986 season:
Winning seasons? Both teams have 11.
Playoff appearances? Bears 9, Seahawks 8.
Division titles? Bears 8, Seahawks 6.
Super Bowl appearances? Both teams have 1.
Very similar profiles, huh? But you'd never know it because of the huge shadow cast by the 1985 Bears.
Obviously, the '85 Bears were one of the greatest teams in NFL history. How do I know this? Because there are about a krillion former Bears in the media spotlight who NEVER STOP BLATHERING ABOUT IT. On top of that, since a ton of actors, comedians, musicians, etc hail from Chicago, the team gets a huge share of pop culture attention, particularly when they experience even modest success.
1985 was a LOOOOONG time ago. I was 10, and I bet a huge swath of you readers weren't even born yet. Today, Chicago sports a puffed-up, overrated, overhyped, Martz-tainted crew that will suffer an upset loss on Sunday. But enough about the glorious future... Let's look back on Seattle's 5 greatest wins over these schmoes...
This one is mostly memorable because of the unusually large number of Bears fans at Seahawks Stadium that day, and by how satisfying it was to see all of them go home forlorn and downtrodden. Shaun Alexander ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns as the Seahawks ran their record to 5-1. Since the Hawks never like making it easy on us fans, they'd go 5-5 down the stretch, BARELY squeak into the playoffs on the final weekend, then break our hearts by losing the Wild Card game at Green Bay in OT. Sigh.
The Bears came into the Kingdome undefeated, and likely thought the Curt-Warner-less Hawks represented an easy opportunity to run their record to 4-0. Mr. Governor, a little help?
The Bears actually took a 7-0 lead on a Walter Payton TD PASS (!), but it was all Seahawks after that, including one of the greatest catches of Steve Largent's career (1:03 mark of following clip)
This was also the 2nd Seahawks game I ever attended in person, so it's got a special place in my heart.
Ladies and gents, this was the one and only highlight of the brief Glenn Foley era in Seahawks lore. In fact, it was Foley's only start at QB for the Seahawks. At least he made the most of it, throwing for 283 yards, 2 4th quarter TDs and no picks. This was a pretty typical 10-am-start sleepwalking performance for Seattle until the final quarter, when the Seahawks sprung up off the mat and erased a 13-0 Chicago advantage. In the final minutes, Foley hit Fabian Bownes (who?) for the game-winning 49-yard score.
On a personal note, this game went down on my first weekend after moving out to Columbus for grad school, and the Seahawks win took the edge off the spectacular loneliness and isolation I was feeling at the time.
The Twelve Army was still smarting from the divisional playoff loss at Soldier Field 10 months earlier, and demanded a small measure of satisfaction in the rematch at Qwest. Chicago jumped out to a worrisome 10-0 lead early, but Matt Hasselbeck came through with an all-time great performance: 30/44 for 337 yards, 2 TDs and 0 picks (isn't Beck's 2007 season incredible in retrospect, given that Seattle absolutely couldn't do a damn thing on the ground?). D.J. Hackett flashed his (ultimately untapped) potential with a 9 catch, 136 yard day, and the defense sealed the win by forcing a Rex Grossman fumble late in the 4th quarter.
The Seahawks came to Chicago needing a win to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Considering that they faced a trip to Arrowhead the next week, Seattle's post-season hopes seemed dim. Not only was it a 10 am kickoff with the wind chill in the 20s, it was also the final regular season home game for the great Walter Payton. To the vast bulk of the football public, the Seahawks might as well have been wearing unis that said "Opponent" like Homer wore before he fought Drederick Tatum.
The Seahawks responded by delivering their best performance of the season. Walter Payton was held to 79 yards rushing; the Seattle defense, led by Brian Bosworth (who wasn't bad at all in '87), Eugene Robinson, and the Nash/Bryant/Green wall, forced 5 turnovers. Dave Krieg was basically flawless, Curt Warner scored twice, and John L. Williams delivered one of the greatest TDs in team history (1:45 mark of following clip).
Why can't these Seahawks do likely on Sunday, huh?
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