Friday, November 03, 2006
Return Of The Raider Rivaly
They said it wasn't a true rivalry. Just don't ask that question of the coaches and players. They'll tell you it was a war every time, at either home. Don't ask Art Shell Raiders head coach unless you want to know the truth that many hide from not wanting to admit that the Seahawks belonged in the heated AFC West Rivaly. Shell knows all about the bitter history of the series.
A few of the games were blowouts. Two came in the playoffs. Many have been close — 25 of the 51 games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
Shell remembers the Seattle fans.
"There was always a lot of noise up there [in the Kingdome]," Shell said. "The fans up there were great. I always thought they supported their football team. And anytime we came to town, they seemed like they tried to make a lot of noise. But it was all in fun."
Well, maybe not all fun.
Jim Zorn, now the Seahawks' quarterbacks coach, was also there at the beginning, as the Seahawks' first quarterback. "Just getting in a real war every time we went out," Zorn said. "It was fun, except we weren't smiling. It was a hard-fought game to the end every single time we lined up on the field against each other."
"It was the hardest because they were so good. It could have gone either way every time we lined up."
The Kingdome was deafening. The Oakland Coliseum, and later the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, were full of snarling, costumed and painted diehards who made the stands as adventurous as the action on the field.
MaxHawk has seen plenty of Seahawks-Raiders games and has some interesting memories.
"It was a team of characters with Oakland, and Seattle was a team looking to get respect," Hawk said of the matchups in the '90s.
In 2001, MaxHawk was at Husky Stadium watching Shaun Alexander on a Sunday night against the Raiders. Alexander, rushed for 266 yards and scored three touchdowns.
"That's the one I remember most," Max said. "They're still the Raiders and people still want to beat them."
Rewind to the Jack Patera era in Seattle, 1976 to 1982, and the Seahawks were doing whatever they could to win in the early stages of the franchise.
"Every time we played Seattle up there during the early times, we never knew what Jack Patera was going to do," Shell said. "There was always something on the board ... They had some great players there that we respected."
Bryce Fisher and tight end Jerramy Stevens, both grew up as Raiders fans in the late 1980s, recalling the rushing exploits of running back Bo Jackson.
"They were going to knock each others' heads off every time," Fisher said of the old AFC West games. "Howie Long could do no wrong in my eyes."
The realignment of teams and divisions in the NFL in 2002 ended the AFC West rivalries for the Seahawks. The Seahawks opened the 2002 regular season against Oakland, but haven't played them since.
In 2006, the Raiders have the NFL's best pass defense. They have allowed 35 points and two touchdowns the past three games, though they are just 2-5 on the season.
"It was a great rivalry for years and years before I got here ," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said.
Some games of notability, that I remember very well are...
Nov. 26, 1978: Seahawks become the first team since 1965 to defeat Oakland twice in a season when Efren Herrera boots a 46-yard field goal at Oakland with three seconds left for a 17-16 win.
Oct. 16, 1983: Seahawks win 38-36 at the Kingdome over the Los Angeles Raiders by forcing eight turnovers and registering eight sacks.
Jan. 8, 1984: Raiders crush the Seahawks' Super Bowl dreams with a 30-14 win in the AFC Championship Game at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Marcus Allen rushes for 154 yards and Frank Hawkins scores two touchdowns to lead the silver and black.
Dec. 22, 1984: Seahawks get revenge with a 13-7 win over the Raiders in an AFC wild-card game at the Kingdome, with six sacks and a 123-yard rushing performance by (DR.) Dan Doornink.
Nov. 30, 1987: Raiders blast the Seahawks 37-14 on Monday night, and Raiders running back Bo Jackson rushes for 221 yards. Ninety-one of those came on a sprint down the sideline, after which Jackson ran out of the end zone and up a ramp under the dome's south stands. "He might not stop until Tacoma," deadpanned color commentator Dan Dierdorf on the TV broadcast.
Nov. 28, 1988: Seahawks win 35-27 on Monday night in the Kingdome, with Dave Krieg throwing five touchdown passes and Curt Warner and John L. Williams becoming the first two Seattle RBs to each gain more than 100 rushing yards in the same game.
Dec. 18, 1988: Krieg passes for 410 yards and four touchdowns, and Williams has 180 yards receiving and 59 rushing as the Seahawks beat the Raiders 43-37 to clinch the first AFC West title in franchise history.
Nov. 11, 2001: Shaun Alexander rushes for 266 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown, as the Seahawks win 34-27 at Husky Stadium on a Sunday night. Afterward, Oakland coach Jon Gruden says, "I don't know if that was Alexander or Jim Brown, man."
Just don't ask the Seattle faithfull if there was ever a serious rivalry between the Seahawks and the Raiders, Unless you want to hear the war stories of lore that will be handed down to my grandchidren and hopefully, theirs. Maybe by that time, the NFL will realize that Seattle alway's belonged in the AFC West and this lil' stint in the NFC West will be just for grins and giggles like it was in 1976.
MaxHawk 12 Street Writer
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