This is a season that Seahawks can go down memory lane in the AFC West
Looking back at the Seahawks rivalries in the AFC West
Seattle Times NFL reporter
It’s a subplot that might have gone somewhat unnoticed in this one-of-a-kind season for the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
But as the Seahawks try to make NFL history by becoming just the ninth team to repeat during the Super Bowl era, they also are taking a little bit of a stroll through their old neighborhood.
The NFL’s schedule rotation this season calls for the NFC West to play the AFC West (each NFC division plays every member of another AFC division once every four years).
And for the Seahawks, that means renewing hostilities with each of the four teams they were AFC West rivals with from 1977 to 2001.
The march through the AFC West started with the 30-21 defeat last week at San Diego. It continues with a visit Sunday by Denver.
In recognition of Seattle visiting some long-lost friends this season, I thought I’d briefly review Seattle’s history with each, and rate them in order of the intensity of the rivalry.
Series record: 18-34.
Biggest win: Some little game last February qualifies as the biggest in the history of the series. But in terms of the old AFC West days, we’ll go with the legendary 42-14 victory in 1988 that helped clinch Seattle’s first division title and featured Steve Largent’s hit on Mike Harden following an interception. Largent’s blast of Harden brought retribution for a shot Harden had levied on Largent in an earlier game.
Toughest loss: Seattle would have won the 1984 AFC West had it been able to beat Denver at home in the last week of the season. Instead, the Broncos walked away with a 31-14 victory and the title.
Why it’s rated here: I’ve talked to numerous players from the early days who say the rivalries with the Broncos and Raiders were a notch above those of Kansas City and San Diego. I’m going with Denver at the top because the Broncos were the team to beat in the division — and the AFC — for a longer period of time. Or, maybe, just because of John Elway.
2. Oakland/Los Angeles
Series record: 23-28.
Biggest win: The Seahawks got their first division title in 1988 with a 43-37 victory in Los Angeles on the final day of the regular season.
Toughest loss: Seattle beat the Raiders twice in the regular season in 1983. But they couldn’t win the one that really mattered as the Raiders defeated Seattle 30-14 in the AFC Championship Game in January 1984. Bo Jackson running to Tacoma is a distant runner-up.
Why it’s rated here: The intensity of the games against the Raiders throughout the ’80s might have been unrivaled and Seattle often rose to the occasion, going 10-4 from 1983-89. But the Raiders won just one division title from 1986-99 as the Broncos became the team to beat.
3. Kansas City
Series record: 18-32
Biggest win: After having lost 14 of the previous 16 games against the Chiefs, Seattle swept Kansas City in Mike Holmgren’s first year in 1999, including a 31-19 road victory. That proved the difference in giving Seattle its second division title after each went 9-7.
Toughest loss: Seattle won eight in a row in 1984 before an inexplicable 34-7 defeat against a 6-8 Chiefs team in the 15th week. The Seahawks appeared to still be in a funk when they lost to Denver at home the following week with the division title on the line.
Why it’s rated here: No AFC West team was more frustrating to Seattle than the Chiefs, who despite often not being all that good seemed to always be able to beat the Seahawks in Kansas City, where the Hawks have lost 19 of their past 21.
4. San Diego
Series record: 26-24
Biggest win: Largent broke the NFL record for consecutive games with a reception at 128 as Seattle beat the Chargers 33-7 on Oct. 6, 1986.
Toughest loss: Instead of pinpointing one game, we’ll note that Seattle lost the first eight times it played the Chargers, making San Diego the last AFC West team it beat.
Why it’s rated here: Frankly, it’s hard to find a lot of really memorable moments against the Chargers, though Seattle really enjoyed a 14-3 stretch from 1981-91.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org