A man who’s had one of the best seats in the house for every Seahawks game since 1982 believes our current Seahawks team is “without question” better than the 2005 Hawks who played in the Super Bowl.
The 2013 team is “more athletic,” says Seahawks play-by-play announcer Steve Raible.
Raible has studied the Seahawks inside and out.
He was a part of the first six years of the Seahawks franchise as a player from 1976 until just before the start of the 82 season.
“When you know all of your highlights that means you haven’t had enough of them,” he says. “I had an 80-yard touchdown catch against the Minnesota Vikings my rookie season.”
He also remembers making an NFL Films highlight reel at the end of the season where the Voice of God, a guy named John Facenda, announced his name.
“He would speak in a very low voice and he would say, ‘The winds of winter blow through this wasteland,’ and that’s how he talked so to hear him say, ‘Rookie Steve Raible with an 80-yard screamer from Jim Zorn,’ I could now die because John Facenda said my name on television.”
Raible got a call from a name long-time Seahawks fans and KIRO Radio listeners will remember, the late Pete Gross, the first voice of the Seahawks. Gross talked to Raible’s wife to ask if he would be interested in helping with the broadcasts. In order to do that, Raible would have to give up his football career.
“I had thought about it,” he says. “I had had a couple of injuries – a collapsed lung early in that 1981 season – and it just wasn’t a whole lot of fun when you have to constantly recover from injuries. And as Pete put it, ‘Steve’s never going to be a Steve Largent’ and I knew that.”
Raible joined KIRO TV 31 years ago as a back-up sports anchor. He eventually became KIRO TV’s prime news anchor and the guy in the Seahawks broadcast booth calling games that haven’t always been exciting, if you think of past Hawks’ seasons.
“I could tell you some things Dave Niehaus (the late Baseball Hall of Fame announcer for the Mariners) told me about broadcasting for teams that were less than stellar over the years. I won’t go into that because Dave was rather salty.”
Over the years, he’s also watched extraordinary games along with his broadcast partner, former NFL quarterback Warren Moon.
“You have been magnificent today 12th Man,” says Raible. “They deserve it, Steve,” Moon adds talking about the 2005 Seahawks.
“Seattle, you’ve waited three decades. We’re all going to the Super Bowl,” he said as the Seahawks won the conference championship for the first time in the team’s history.
“Frankly, they were the better team,” Raible says, recalling the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers – a 21 to 10 loss for the Hawks. “They shoulda won. They didn’t because they didn’t play as well as they could have and they didn’t get a lot of help from the officials, as we all know.”
Comparing the 2005 Seahawks with their 13 and 3 record with today’s team, Raible says Pete Carroll’s team is better.
“I say that with all due respect to the 2005 team. Those guys were gritty. They played well, but they don’t have the athletes that this team has,” he explains.
Every player is fascinating to watch, he says, especially Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch’s legendary 67-yard touchdown run against the Saints nearly three years ago defines the current identity of the Seahawks as a team that refuses to give up. Calls like the “Beastquake” only come around once in a career.
“There’s only going to be one of those plays and I was just glad I was there to call it,” he says. “Hopefully we’ll have a lot more.”
Lynch has come close this year with a 43-yard carry that ended with Raible exclaiming, “Holy catfish, what a run!”
Where did holy catfish come from? He received dozens and dozens of emails about that call. He’s had mixed reviews for saying “holy catfish” and “how ’bout them apples baby?” Both are phrases that just popped into his head.
“It’s stuff I said as a child,” says Raible, who grew up in Kentucky.
It’s possible a national audience will hear “holy catfish” February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey because Raible is confident the Seahawks’ “best team ever” will play in the Super Bowl.
By LINDA THOMAS