By Mark Turner
We have just concluded the best September in Seattle football history and it feels good. Both the Seahawks and Huskies finished the month at 4-0. For the Seahawks, it’s the first time the team has ever started 4-0. For the Huskies, it’s the first 4-0 start since 2001. Consequently, it’s the first combined undefeated September for Seattle’s football teams.
Of course, one month does not make a season but it does bring hope of double glory this fall.
Since the Seahawks came into the NFL in 1976, it’s often been waxing and waning effect with them and the Huskies. One team succeeds while the other suffers through a disappointing season.
When the Dawgs went undefeated and won the national championship in 1991, the Seahawks were starting their downward spiral with a 7-9 season that cost coach Chuck Knox his job. During the Seahawks’ Super Bowl year of 2005, the Huskies were in the dumps, going a wretched 2-9. The Seahawks have made the postseason 12 times in their history. During six of those seasons, the Huskies had a losing record and/or failed to make it to a bowl game. Three other times the Dawgs went to minor bowls and lost. Only three times has UW won bowl games in Seahawks playoff years. Conversely, the Huskies have gone to seven Rose Bowls since the Seahawks’ inception. During those Pasadena-bound years, the Hawks have had a winning record only once and no playoff appearances.
There have been a few periods when Seattle football misery loved company. In the early to mid 1990s, the Huskies were handcuffed with probation while the Seahawks were handcuffed with the stupidification of owner Ken Behring. (And yes, stupidification is a word when applied to Behring.)
The nadir of Seattle football was 2008 when the Seahawks and Huskies combined for a measly four victories. The Dawgs were coached by Tyrone Willingham, so you can guess how many wins U-Dub contributed to the tally.
There was one year the football gods bestowed Seattle double excellence: 1984. That season the Seahawks went 12-4 in the regular season and knocked off the world champion Raiders in the playoffs. Across town the Huskies posted an 11-1 mark, culminating in an Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma and its penalty flag-laden Sooner Schooner.
Whether the Hawks and Huskies can match or exceed 1984 remains to be seen. Both teams face big challenges, starting this weekend. However, when you have quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Keith Price, great running backs such as Marshawn Lynch and Bishop Sankey, plus dominating defenses, you feel pretty good about their chances.
Most important there are no Behrings or Willinghams around to botch things up.
Top five combined Seahawks and Huskies marks (including postseason):
Mark Tye Turner is the author of “Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks.” You can find it on Amazon.
You can follow Turner on Twitter @mtthawk