Seahawks history: Ken Behring and when we almost lost the Seattle Seahawks

Jan 22, 2014, 6:35 AM | Updated: 9:37 am

The early ’90s weren’t standout seasons for the Seattle Seahawks. Just two years into the decade, they stumbled badly.

“The Seattle Seahawks’ march through the 1992 season was a perilous journey. The Seahawks suffered through the worst campaign in franchise history, scoring the fewest point in the league,” says a documentary from NFL Films.

Just 140 points all told in the regular season. It left them with just two wins and 14 losses. It was rock bottom. Two years later the roof caved in, literally.

Tiles from the Kingdome roof started falling and in 1996, citing concerns over earthquake danger, team owner Ken Behring announced he was taking the Seattle out of the Seattle Seahawks.

“It is with great regret that I am announcing today, that the NFL franchise we purchased in 1988, is leaving Seattle,” Behring stated.

The result, as judged by voices from a televised Town Hall, was outrage.

“They have broken their contract. It is illegal. It’s wrong. And this shall not stand,” said one man.

“Ken Behring does not deserve Seattle,” said another.

“Do we care if Mr. Behring leaves?!” asked one upset man.

“No!” the crowd shouted in response.

“We want the team here, right?” the man asked.

“Yes!” shouted the crowd again, cheering.

And activism began, too. As moving vans trucked team equipment from Kirkland to southern California and players went through off season workouts at the Ram’s old facility in Anaheim, state and King County leaders fought back with threats of breach of contract and an anti-trust lawsuit against Behring.

Arguably the most hated man in Washington at that time, Behring was facing death threats and ridicule on local shows like Almost Live, which portrayed him using a hideously evil looking sock puppet.

“They say I’m using (the Kingdome) as an excuse, but I’m not,” said sock puppet Behring. “I’m so scared when I go into that building that I tip-toe around in it. Now did you know that it’s made of concrete!? The weakest material known to man!”

Years later, Behring’s son David admitted the move wasn’t about earthquakes, but about getting public money for a new stadium.

Regardless, Behring’s Hawks Hijacking crumbed under the local legal pressure and a threat from the NFL to fine him half a million dollars a day if he didn’t bring the team back.

So he said he wanted to sell and Paul Allen stepped up as the new owner. The Seattle Seahawks were saved.

Ken Behring went on to be a huge philanthropist – and a bust of him sits in the National Museum of American history.

But unlike Allen he will never, ever raise the 12th Man flag.

Local News

Anthony-Paul Diaz - Anthony-Paul Diaz is Seattle superintendent of parks and recreation nominee. (C...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Seattle mayor announces new parks head

On Thursday, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced Anthony-Paul Diaz as superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, advancing the mayor’s plan for clean, safe and accessible parks.
10 hours ago
Encampment...
L.B. Gilbert

Shooting near Ship Canal Bridge homeless encampment slows Friday commute

KIRO Newsradio's Sam Campbell went to the scene where the Washington State Patrol (WSP) said four gunshots were reported early Friday.
10 hours ago
Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Washington kills 2 wolves to prevent preying on cattle

Biologists working for Washington have killed two members of the Leadpoint wolf pack this week in an effort to stop the pack from preying on cattle
10 hours ago
Photo from NTSB...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News and Jake Chapman, KIRO 7 News

At least 80% of floatplane wreckage pulled from water near Whidbey Island; remains found

According to Island County Emergency Management, remains were found in the wreckage Thursday, but did not say how many they were still notifying families.
10 hours ago
shopping carts...
Darren Dedo

Abandoned shopping carts requiring coordinated response from Everett police

Everett Police said dumped carts hurt local businesses and are an eyesore for the community.
1 day ago
ferries...
Micki Gamez

Washington State Ferries are free for youth riders starting Saturday

Because of this recent change, kids and teens can now grab a free ticket from a terminal employee by showing an ID or an Ocra Card.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Seahawks history: Ken Behring and when we almost lost the Seattle Seahawks