Amidst all the rumors circulating around the league regarding which potential head coaches are interviewing where, Thursday the NFL announced which Hall of Fame semi-finalists had made it through as finalists. Nestled amongst the fifteen players and coaches on the list are a handful of names with ties to the Seattle Seahawks.
There are three players who spent time in Seattle on the list, including Steve Hutchinson, Kevin Mawae and Edgerrin James. Hutchinson and Mawae were both offensive linemen who originally drafted by the Hawks, with Mawae selected 2.36 in 1994 and Hutch taken 1.17 in 2001. Both played through their rookie contracts for the Seahawks, before signing elsewhere in free agency, and then closing out their careers with the Tennessee Titans. Mawae spent the middle seasons of his career with the New York Jets, while Hutchinson famously spent the heart of his career with the Minnesota Vikings after signing a poison pill laced contract after having the transition tag applied to him following the 2005 season.
James, of course, had a phenomenal career as a running back, amassing 12,246 yards rushing and 3,364 yards through the air during his career. His stop in Seattle was not much of note, as he gained just 135 rushing yards in his lone season in the Pacific North West during the very forgettable lone season that Jim Mora led the Hawks to a less than impressive 5-11 mark.
Edge, as he was known, was a dynamic playmaker, making the Pro Bowl four times and the 1999 All Pro team as a rookie, however, he is one of those players for whom the question of “What could have been?” will always exist had he not suffered a catastrophic knee injury during his third season in the NFL. Over the first 38 games of his career prior to suffering that knee injury Edgerrin had recorded 3,924 rushing yards and 29 TDs to go along with 1,373 receiving yards, including rushing for 100 yards 24 times in those 38 games.
In addition, former Seahawks head coach Tom Flores is also on the list of finalists this season. Flores was a quarterback for several teams during the 1960s, most notably serving as Len Dawson’s backup for the Kansas City Chiefs during their Super Bowl winning 1969 season. For that Chiefs team Flores attempted just a single pass, completing it for 33 yards and a touchdown, giving him a perfect 158.3 rating in his time with the Chiefs. He also played for both the Oakland Raiders and the Buffalo Bills during his career, but he is best known for the work he did on the sideline.
When John Madden retired abruptly following the 1978 season, Flores took over as the head coach of the Raiders, leading them to two Super Bowl titles in his nine seasons at the helm. He then moved to the Oakland front office for a single season, before taking the job as the President and General Manager of the Seahawks prior to the 1989 season. He held those roles for the final three seasons of the Chuck Knox era in Seattle before taking over as head coach for the 1992 season.
For those fans who remember, that 1992 season was an absolute disaster. The Seahawks put up a record of just 2-14 while scoring just 140 points on the season (8.8 points per game). In case you’re wondering, the answer to the question is that, yes, that is indeed an NFL record for fewest points scored in a non-strike-shortened season since the NFL went to a 16 game schedule in 1978. However, it is not the lowest points per game, as the 1976 expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers scored just 7.4 points per game in going 0-14.
As for DVOA, for those who read the final 2018 DVOA ratings when they were released earlier this week, the 1992 Seahawks have the worst offensive DVOA in the DVOA era for any team that was not an expansion team (the 2002 Houston Texans are the only team that was worse).
In any case, Flores left his mark on the game with the Raiders, and he paired with quarterback Jim Plunkett in the Raiders victory in both Super Bowl XV and XVIII, putting them on the short list of coach-quarterback combinations that won multiple Super Bowls. However, even 35 years after that second Super Bowl victory, neither is in the Hall of Fame.
Those from the list who make the Hall of Fame will be announced the weekend of the Super Bowl, and with the odds roughly 50/50 that any particular finalist will be selected, odds are at least one of the former Seahawks will be on the list.
For those interested in seeing the full list of this year’s finalists, here it is.
January 3, 2019