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Seahawks could have had another name, but not another history

Seattle head coach Jack Patera gets the game ball from Sherman Smith, (47), Aug. 29, 1976, after they won their first NFL game in Seattle, against the San Diego Chargers, 17-16 in the last seconds of the game. (AP Photo)

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With the big prize looming, all Seahawks fans are looking at the road ahead, but it's also a good time to remember how far our team has come over the years.

Sometimes you can point at a single date in history and say - after this, nothing was the same. For Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, one of those days was Aug. 1, 1976.

On that day, the Seahawks took the field for the first time at the Kingdome and lost the pre-season contest to the San Francisco 49ers, 27 to 20.

But they had already scored a huge win just by being here. That game started back in 1972 when a group of local businessmen committed themselves to getting an NFL team for Seattle. After two years of intense politicking, on Dec. 5, 1974, the official agreement was signed and Seattle had an expansion team.

But it wasn't the Seahawks yet.

That name came in 1975 after a call for ideas that netted over 1,700 public submissions. Among them: the Seattle Sheep, the Drizzlers, the Bigfoots, the Apple Knockers and the prophetic Traffic Jammers.

But the Seahawks were a team in name only. As Steve Largent told an interviewer once - it was a motley crew of strangers who showed up for practice.

"I knew when I came into the locker room at Seattle, I knew it was a different situation. Even the veterans in training camp that year had their names on tape on their helmets. So nobody knew anybody. Everybody was vying for a position," said Largent.

Quarterback Jim Zorn has always told the press they didn't have the experience, but they had the energy.

"It was very exciting at the time because of the new team, the new stadium, and a whole new Northwest tradition starting," Zorn said. "I was very excited along with all of our teammates and coaches. We had a great time."

On the field, however, it was less of a great time. First year expansion teams rarely play well - they won twice, and they "won respect throughout the NFC."

The Seahawks had arrived and as NFL Yearbook put it all those years ago: "And the best is yet to come. They're young, and talented, well coached and well respected. They're one heck of a story."

About the Author

After signing on at News Talk 97.3 KIRO FM back in the waning days of the 1980's, Dan's worked his way up from the ranks- working as Desk Assistant, Morning Editor, Afternoon Editor, and Reporter.


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