It’s been a big week for the Seattle Seahawks offensive line of the mid-1990s. First, on Saturday night, Kevin Mawae was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The seven time All-Pro and center on the All-Decade team of the 2000s was voted into Canton in his fifth year of eligibility. Mawae spent the first four seasons of his Hall of Fame career in Seattle, before playing for the Jets and Titans.
On Thursday morning, it was legendary offensive line coach Howard Mudd who was in the news, accepting a job with the Colts as a senior offensive assistant. Mudd spent 10 seasons with the Seahawks over two tenures, from 1978-1982 and then 1993-1997, both stints as the team’s offensive line coach.
After leaving Seattle for the second time, Mudd coached the offensive line in Indianapolis from 1998-2009, overseeing units that were routinely among the best in the NFL. During his brief retirement, Mudd wrote The View from the O-Line: Football According to NFL Offensive Linemen and an Uncommon Coach.
Mudd’s book is filled with fascinating teaching points and even better anecdotes, including some from his time with the Seahawks. The best anecdote of all is how “The Mushroom Society” got started while he was with Seattle, during a conversation with then Jets offensive line coach Bill Muir at the Senior Bowl.
Muir and Mudd were discussing how offensive linemen needed their own club, to try and match the glamour of other positions, when Mudd came up with this stroke of genius: “You grow mushrooms by keeping them in the dark, feeding them shit, and expecting them to produce.”
Thus, The Mushroom Society was born.