My 28th season as a Seattle Seahawks fan unofficially kicks off this Thursday, when I make the trip out to the VMAC to take in a day of Training Camp. Starting with week one of the 1983 season, I have watched 441 consecutive non-strike Seahawks regular season & playoff games (no, the '87 scab games DO NOT COUNT. I refused to watch the first two games, but my resistance broke down when Largent crossed the picket lines for game #3. Please don't take this as something overtly political, but I'm a pro-labor guy, even when it comes to well-paid athletes). I attended 49 of those games in person, and watched the other 392 live on television. The Seahawks record with me watching?
Nearly perfect mediocrity. If you know your Seahawks history, there is something almost poetic about this. Let me explain...
There are teams out there that have histories festooned with championship glory, while still others have sent their fans down a long road pockmarked with the potholes of defeat. In some cases, if you have personality and a huge fan base, you can become "loveable losers" like the Chicago Cubs.
Our Seahawks have neither consistently soared to championship heights or plummeted into the valley of top-5 picks. No; Our claim to fame is an almost mystical ability to stay in an odd 7-to-9 win limbo state. In the entire history of the franchise, the Seahawks have never posted consecutive 10-win regular seasons. Conversely, they've only had one three-year stretch of seasons with 10+ defeats (1992-1994).
Pro Football Reference has done the heavy lifting research-wise on this, and the results are clear. The Seahawks are an almost shockingly consistent franchise, and that consistency is in the 7-to-9-win range. This consistency is a big reason why the Seahawks are also among the NFL's "leaders" at JUUUUST missing the playoffs (which I talked about in more detail on my home blog). In 30 non-strike seasons since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule, the Seahawks have finished 7-9, 8-8, or 9-7 16 times(!); In 32 total seasons (including the strike years of 1982 and 1987), Seattle has finished +1 to -1 in relation to a .500 finish 18 times.
This is something easy to bemoan, because in addition to being up in "South Alaska," this tendency towards mediocrity has made our franchise nearly invisible to the rest of the football world. In a sense we don't even have the virtue of being bad enough to draw NEGATIVE attention our way. Also, we rarely are crappy enough for long enough to get a string of choices at the top of the NFL draft, so the mediocrity can become self-sustaining.
One of the few good things about enduring the last couple of awful seasons is that I'd greet an 8-8 campaign in 2010 like it was a personal visit from Bill Murray, and he was at my doorstep to deliver me my own Unlicensed Nuclear Accelerator. In a larger sense, I'm pretty content as a fan if my teams are at least competitive late into the season. Maybe those expectations are too low on my end, but if the Seahawks go into the season finale against the Rams next January with SOME sort of chance at the playoffs, I'll be a very happy Twelve.
What do you think? If Pete Rozelle's ghost showed up and told you the Seahawks would finish between 7-9 and 9-7 for the next, say, four seasons, would that sound like cruel torture or would you think "well, at least we'll have a shot at sneaking in the playoffs and going all '79 Rams/'08 Cardinals on everyone's asses?"
Don't forget to check out my home blog, Dave Krieg's Strike Beard.