Kam Chancellor’s NFL career is presumably over. Richard Sherman’s Seattle Seahawks career has long been over. The last time Seahawks fans saw those two together and locking down opposing offenses was November 9th, 2017 at the Arizona Cardinals.
I know that Seattle has not lost to the Cardinals in Arizona since 2012, but for almost every season of University of Phoenix Stadium’s existence, something bad has happened. Whether it be a result, an individual player’s performance, or serious injury, or all of the above, it’s just about an annual tradition.
2006-2009 seasons: Can’t beat the Cards
Prior to Pete Carroll’s hiring, the Seahawks went 0-fer in Glendale, including Arizona rudely spoiling Mike Holmgren’s final game in charge before retirement. The 2009 team actually had a 14-0 lead against the eventual 10-6 Cardinals, only to completely collapse and lose 31-20. Matt Hasselbeck got intercepted on a shovel pass, which pretty much never happens.
The 2006 and 2007 losses were bitter pills to swallow. Seattle lost those matchups by a combined nine points, but the game-changers in both instances were mistakes from Seahawks legend Mack Strong.
In ‘06, Strong lost Seattle’s third fumble of the afternoon, and the Cardinals would cash in and get the go-ahead touchdown in the 4th quarter. This started Seattle’s three-game slide as they limped into the playoffs with a negative point differential.
Then in 2007, Seattle successfully rallied from 17-0 down to take a 20-17 lead. With the game tied at 20-20 and the Seahawks inching closer to field goal range for Josh Brown, Strong completely blew his block and Hasselbeck wound up botching his exchange with Shaun Alexander, creating the game-losing turnover. It would be the third-to-last game of Strong’s career before a career-ending neck injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
2011 season: The streak ends
The Seahawks lost 23-20 in overtime to the Cardinals in a battle between teams already eliminated from the playoffs but looking to end with an 8-8 record, but it probably worked out better in the end for draft positioning.
Unfortunately, Marshawn Lynch was unable to get into the end zone, ending a run of 11 consecutive games with at least one touchdown scored (Note: He did not play in the Cleveland Browns game). Only five players in NFL history have fared better than Lynch, and just symbolically, it would’ve been nice to see Lynch get to 12.
2012 season: 4 yards short
Russell Wilson’s NFL debut was a nail-biter, and unfortunately it ended in defeat. Despite roughly 40 plays inside Arizona’s 30, and an accidental fourth timeout granted to the Seahawks by the replacement refs, the Seahawks couldn’t get the winning touchdown, falling 20-16. The deciding play was a slant pass to Braylon Edwards, who saw the ball go through his hands. Golden Tate didn’t play due to injury, and Doug Baldwin dropped a touchdown just a few plays prior, losing his two front teeth in the process.
Considering Arizona finished 5-11 and didn’t win another game against an NFC West foe, this was actually a really damaging loss in hindsight. A Seahawks victory on opening day, assuming the butterfly effect does not apply and all else plays out as normal, swings the division tiebreaker in Seattle’s favor and they win the NFC West over the San Francisco 49ers. Seattle went 8-0 at home that year, so the difference between being the #2 seed and the #5 seed was essentially this game more than the other 4th quarter defeats. Oh how differently things could’ve gone if the Seahawks didn’t have to step foot in Washington DC, just ask Chris Clemons.
The good news from this game is that Darrell Bevell would definitely not dial up a goal-line slant to the team’s #4 wide receiver in this stadium ever again.
2014 season: Super Bowl XLIX
Jeremy Lane suffered an ugly arm break on a crucial interception of Tom Brady. Cliff Avril would suffer a concussion on Bobby Wagner’s interception of Tom Brady. The Super Bowl was cancelled with the Seahawks leading 24-14 on the New England Patriots, as locusts descended upon the stadium and caused unprecedented havoc. No winner was declared that year, and the game was never replayed.
2016 season: Fit to be tied
We can laugh about it now, but much like 2012, failure to beat the Cardinals effectively cost the Seahawks the #2 seed. Yes, no Earl Thomas made a deep playoff run unlikely regardless of seeding, but it’s a hell of a lot better than going to Atlanta in the divisional round.
Steven Hauschka was mindbogglingly terrible at University of Phoenix Stadium. He missed either a PAT or a field goal every year he was Seahawks kicker, and his overall FG% there is a brutal 63% (12/19). Even in the 2014 blowout, Hauschka went 0-for-3 on field goals, which is why a ridiculously one-sided game was only 14-6 heading into the 4th quarter. The total shank in overtime at 6-6 was embarrassing.
2017: Everybody hurts
When I wrote the recap for this game, I called it a Pyrrhic victory. It was really the unofficial end to Seattle’s season. The Legion of Boom slowly disintegrated on national TV, in one of the “Thursday Night Poopfests” Sherman detested so much. As if that wasn’t enough, C.J. Prosise turned his ankle again (and we can’t rule out that game also being his Seahawks farewell if training camp doesn’t bode well for him), Jarran Reed missed time with a hamstring injury, an Russell Wilson even missed a play after fears of concussion. It was just disheartening to watch, and the game couldn’t end soon enough.
Of course, it’s not been a completely negative experience. We still have these moments to savor forever.
...But I’d say the bad has outweighed the good. A Super Bowl loss, potentially two first-round byes squandered due to a loss and a tie against sub-.500 Cardinals squads, career-ending injury to a legendary safety, pivotal mistakes from a fan favorite fullback, those events have made University of Phoenix Stadium my most despised NFL venue.
I’m not looking forward to September 30th, when the Seahawks travel back to Glendale to face what figures to be the worst team in the NFC West. Until I see trends reverse, it’s one of those “watch with one eye, cover the other eye” situations.