1980: The Season of Pain

So this is the first time I've taken on a season in these look backs. We all talk seasons as back breakers or franchise makers or defining moments. For the Seahawks era of playoff runs, people say 1984 was the pinnacle of success for Chuck Knox, the second half of 2002 becomes the season that began the peak offense of the Seahawks superbowl run under Holmgren. These are two seasons alone that define so much of this teams successes and history. 

The Seahawks though, have always had this motto given to them by fans "Never good enough to win, never bad enough to bring big change." Most fans would tell you that before '83 the Seahawks didn't do a lot, as a expansion franchise. The truth is, coming into the 1980 season, many people thought the hawks would contend for the playoffs. The Seahawks would come into 1980 with consecutive 9-7 finishes in '78 and '79 in the compact and close AFC West.

The national media had even given coach Jack Patera the "Coach of the Year" award in 1978. There was enough hype to build energy for this team heading into 1980 when you also include Jim Zorn's first All-Pro selection in 1978 with a near statistical repeat performance the next year.Not only did you have all this, the draft gave this team Jacob Green, Jack Patera called him the best D-lineman he ever coached.

Early Disaster: Running back Sherman Smith would suffer an ankle injury in Week 3. Sherman Smith had 1,374 total offensive yards in 1979. 775 Rush Yards and a huge 599 receiving yards. He also had 15 total touchdowns. Unlike '84 with Warner's injury, the Seahawks of 1980 weren't quiet ready to lean on their defense and with no one to pick up the offensive slack or replace the 6'4" 225 size of Smith the Sehawks had a harder time winning redzone battles with the likes of Jim Jodat. 

Home field disadvantage?: The Seahawks would enter the midseason point still competitive with a 4-4 record, however, in a strange switch of what we know today, all 4 of their early victories were on the road. Let it never be said the Seahawks have never been good on the road. This was a shocking revelation when looking at this team and makes me wonder what the struggles were for this team at home.

Back Breaking Home stand: heading into the second half of the season the Seahawks would lose 3 consective home games by a combined 9 points. Including a 19-17 loss to an injured raider team and a 31-30 loss to the Chiefs who ran right though the Seahawks for nearly 181 yards. after this collection of losses the seahawks would free fall to 4-12. A Season with all the promise in the world found the Seahawks unable to find their footing on the wet cliffs of expectation, nor the strength to survive the adversity. 

Jack Patera's Seahawks would never again find their footing finishing 6-10 in 1981. After losing the first two games of the season in 1982, Jack Patera was fired and replaced by the Seahawks' director of football operations Mike McCormick as head coach for the remainder of the season. Of course, we know the man that follows and the era that is brought upon us.  

This season would decide so much of the Seahawks future. It set into motion the eventual firing of Jack Patera for a lot of reasons including some players voicing a dislike for the man. I just wonder if the 1980 season had unfolded a bit differently, if they'd been able to make the run that was expected, what would we have seen of the Seahawks today? It's hard to say, but that is why talking about history can be so much fun. 

Disclaimer: I was not alive during the 1980 season and so this article is written with the background of 4 games I have from that season, stats from pro football reference.com and a few wikipedia articles. If you read anything and find mistakes or have things to offer I would appreciate any of this to be posted in the comments. 

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