Let's get this out of the way first: I was a weird kid. I was bookish, nerdy, and without a doubt the King of Spaz. At age 8, I watched more CNN than most adults, and more HBO and MTV than most teenagers. I was clearly the outlier in my family, and my oddness bordered on going full retard. I never learned how to ride a bike, whistle or snap my fingers. I didn't learn how to tie my shoes until I was 10, and there were just these weird gaps of experience and knowledge in my childhood (which my wife still discovers and points out to this day).
Book learning skills? That's what I had to offer the world, coupled with an obsessive streak that I have never shaken. None of this added up to an easy connection to my rather traditional, emotionally distant father, who tried to butch me up by teaching me how to box, to fish, and so on. Nothing worked, and we were in very different orbits by the fall of 1983.
There was one glimmer of hope for me in his eyes: I had gotten interested in football. It started in the strike-shortened 1982 season, when I stumbled upon a Seahawks game on TV and got sucked into it. Quickly he cultivated my love for the NFL, even though he was much more of a boxing fan himself. I got a black and white TV for my room for Xmas, where I would watch the last couple Seahawks games and the '82 playoffs. I insisted that we have a XVII party, and was disappointed when the Dolphins didn't win, for reasons I no longer remember.
It was on like Tron for '83 though. Curt Warner grabbed everyone's attention in the first half of the season, particularly with a 60-yard scamper at Arrowhead on his first NFL touch. The Hawks rode Warner and an opportunistic defense + special teams to a respectable 4-3 start, but there was one big problem: Jim Zorn was holding Seattle back.
Zorn hit rock bottom in the first half against the Steelers in week 8: 1 for 8 for 2 yards and an interception. Seattle went to the locker room down 24-0 and Dave Krieg took over at QB for the 2nd half. He led a rally that failed to win the game, but changed the course of franchise history. Mudbone was 14-20 for 214 yards and 2 TDs in the second half, and the Hawks fell just short, losing 27-21.
But now my obsession with the Seahawks reached a new level, and Dave Krieg became MY quarterback. To my 8-year-old mind, Zorn was old and broken, while Krieg was exciting and fresh. Sure that was pretty unfair and not entirely accurate, but the results that followed backed these notions up.
The second half of the '83 season seemed to speed by in a blur of dramatic finishes and unexpected triumphs; A regular season sweep of the Raiders... The 51-48 OT classic against Kansas City... a rare 10 am win at the Meadowlands, completing a road sweep of both NY/NJ teams.... The 8-7 Seahawks found themselves needing a home win against the 8-7 Patriots to clinch the franchise's first-ever playoff berth.
My Dad took me to that game, and EVERYTHING about it was awe-inspiring; from the first moment I saw the Kingdome driving in from I-90, to the dizzying cavernous grandeur of the Dome's interior. Of course, as I grew older I began to consider King County Stadium more or less a shithole, but on that day, it was the Louvre to me.
I screamed for what seemed like 4 hours straight, starting with a shrieking series of boos aimed at the Patriots as they took the field for warm-ups. We were in the 300 level, and there was no way they could possibly have heard me, but I still roared until my voice was gone. What an annoying little shit, huh?
The game itself was perfect: The deafening roar of the 12th Man, a Largent touchdown, and an easy blowout victory. As we left for home, I had no doubt about it: The Seahawks were going to win the Super Bowl. I was too young and ill-informed to think anything else was plausible.
Thus, I EXPECTED the Wild Card win over the Broncos, and I couldn't fathom why everyone was convinced we were going to lose to the Dolphins. When the miraculous upset happened, I was overjoyed but not shocked like all the adults were. We had already beaten L.A. twice, so I went into the AFC Championship Game strutting around like Mick Jagger. 60 minutes to the Super Bowl.
Then the football gods brutally punished my hubris. The awful, despicable Raiders dominated our Seahawks, and I spent HOURS crying alone in my room afterwards. I would be in a funk for days, until I realized what was inevitable: The Seahawks would just come back and win the Super Bowl the next year.
The funny/sad part of the story is that many of my most positive memories of my father are from that magical 1983 season. We don't talk anymore, but the Seahawks were something I shared with him, and it started in '83.
What about y'all? What's your '83 Seahawks story?
Don't forget to take a look at my home blog: Dave Krieg's Strike Beard.