This series of articles will celebrate (or laugh at) some of the worst professional sports teams of all time. I will focus on teams within my lifetime so expect the worst from the 1970s to present day.
In 1992, Seattle was the centre of the universe in terms of music. The grunge scene that emanated from Seattle took the world by storm with its angst-ridden lyrics, fuzz-toned guitar sounds, flannel-shirted frontmen and alt-rock sensibilities, grunge was the music of choice in 1992. Bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains ruled the charts and the airwaves with their somewhat depressing look on life, while feeding their excesses in copious amounts of drugs. Perhaps part of their sad outlook on life was watching the 1992 Seattle Seahawks play football. They did cause much angst and grief in the Pacific Northwest during that time.
To be fair, the 1992 Seattle Seahawks did have one thing going for them. A strong defense. Led by Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, free safety Eugene Robinson and the underrated Joe Nash at defensive tackle, the Seahawks were a difficult a team to score against in 1992. The problem in Seattle was their offense. It was horrible!
The Seahawks ranked dead last in offense in 1992, scoring a mere 140 points, or an average of 8.75 points per game. This was a team that would have had difficulty scoring at a whorehouse while waving 100 dollar bills.
Why couldn’t the Seahawks score? Look at their quarterback situation. The Seahawks went through three quarterbacks in 1992, and all of them sucked! Stan Gelbaugh had success in the old World League of American Football, while with the London Monarchs. However, that success stayed in Jolly Old England. Gelbaugh completed 47.5 of his pass attempts for 1,307 yards, 6 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Gelbaugh wished the WLAF would have lasted longer, but the rest of the world is relieved the WLAF is no longer around. (Although the WLAF is still abundantly better than the horrific XFL.)
When Gelbaugh failed, the Seahawks tried Kelly Stouffer behind centre. That worked as well as the cinematic “masterpiece” Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. (Perhaps the worst movie in the history of civilization. And it was released in 1992.) Stouffer completed 48.4% of his pass attempts for 900 yards, 3 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. For those who struggle in math, Stouffer threw three times as many interceptions as touchdowns. Stouffer was as likely to win the NFL MVP as Sylvester Stallone was to winning an Oscar for his “performance” in the film we shall not mention again.
The Seahawks were so desperate, they tried Dan McGwire at quarterback. Yes, that is Mark’s brother. You know Mark McGwire. The man who hit monstrous home runs while becoming the poster child for androstenedione. Dan was the slightly less successful brother, who probably could have used some illegal stimulants to enhance his performance. In two appearances, McGwire didn’t throw a touchdown pass, but managed to toss three interceptions. While his imposing 6-8, 240 pound frame would have intimidated the average person, he was a laughingstock in the NFL.
Quarterback wasn’t the only issue with the Seahawks. The receivers didn’t help much in terms of catching the ball. In fact, a fullback, yes a FULLBACK led the team in receiving. John L. Williams is a decent receiver out of the backfield. But there is no way he should be leading an NFL team in that category. Yet in 1992, Williams led the Seahawks with 74 receptions for 556 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Tommy Kane was too busy dropping passes throughout his tenure in Seattle. Kane did manage 27 receptions for 369 yards and 3 touchdowns in 1992. Kane eventually went to the CFL to play for his hometown Montreal Alouettes, where he continued to drop passes and disappoint his coaches.
Brian Blades was supposed to be the star receiver. But the University of Miami product only appeared in six games, where he accumulated 19 receptions for 256 yards and 1 touchdown, before succumbing to a knee injury. Blades had legal trouble late in his career. He was charged with murdering his cousin in 1999. Blades was originally found guilty of manslaughter but a second judge overruled that verdict. Blades was acquitted saying the death was accidental. But the trial essentially ended his promising career.
Add it all up, and the Seahawks had the worst passing offense in the NFL, averaging 111 yards through the air per game. This team’s aerial output was as weak as the Luxembourg Air Force. Where’s Steve Largent when you really needed him?
The running game was slightly better. Chris Warren did manage to break the 1,000 yard barrier in 1992, gaining 1,017 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns. He could have posted bigger numbers if the Seahawks had more of a balanced attack. But since Warren was the offense, he was often left to his own devices to move the ball down the field.
The Seahawks did try Reuben Mayes as a secondary running back, but that worked as well as George H.W. Bush’s re-election campaign in 1992. Mayes gained a mere 74 yards in 16 games, before disappearing from the NFL landscape.
As mentioned earlier, the defense was decent, ranking 10th in yards gained and 17th in points allowed. The problem was they were on the field all the time because the offense had the firepower of a water pistol. Cortez Kennedy did register 14 sacks while Eugene Robinson nabbed 7 interceptions. They did have excellent seasons. But when the other half of the team doesn’t perform, the numbers put up by Kennedy and Robinson go to waste.
Even when the Seahawks did win, it was ugly. In what is generally regarded as one of the worst games in the history of Monday Night Football, the Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 16-13 in overtime. How bad was it? The game featured 20 punts, 4 turnovers and plenty of dropped passes and other assorted follies that was ideal for NFL Films blooper series. The announcing trio of Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf have all panned this game, and have routinely said it was one of the worst games they had ever seen.
The Seahawks low point of the season came on October 11 at Texas Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys were building a Super Bowl champion and had little trouble in pasting the hapless Seahawks. The Seahawks managed only 6 first downs and a mere 62 yards of net offense for the ENTIRE GAME! A 1973 Ford Pinto went further than the Seahawks offense as the Cowboys scored a very easy 27-0 victory that Sunday afternoon.
In the end, the Seahawks finished with a 2-14 record, which did give them the first pick of the 1993 NFL draft. The Seahawks needed a quarterback, but had to decide between Rick Mirer and Drew Bledsoe. Mirer had a successful career at Notre Dame but Bledsoe was the hometown choice, having played his college ball at nearby Washington State. The Seahawks elected to go with Mirer which ended up being a huge mistake. Mirer was a bust in the NFL, while Bledsoe enjoyed a solid 14-year career in the show. That decision prompted the Seahawks to fire head coach and general manager Tom Flores, following the 1994 season.
It also started the movement of selling the team. Ken Behring bought the franchise in 1988, and had little success in trying to convince city council in building a new stadium. Before the 1997 season, Behring sold the club to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who promised to keep the team in Seattle. Behring did threaten to move the team to Los Angeles after the departure of the Rams and Raiders from the City of Angels. Allen secured a deal to build a new downtown stadium to be ready for the 2002 season.
What many forget is that the Seahawks used to play at the dreary Kingdome for their first 24 years in existence. While it could be loud at times, the Kingdome was a dank, drab concrete edifice that had all the charm of a Siberian gulag. It definitely wasn’t the home field advantage the Seahawks needed.
When CenturyLink Field opened in 2002, (originally known as Seahawks Stadium, then renamed Qwest Field in 2004) the Seahawks had one of the finest football stadiums in the league and a home field advantage that was music to the ears of Seahawk players. The Seahawks also became a very good football team during that time, reaching the Super Bowl in the 2005 season, and returning to the big dance in 2013. A far cry from those forgettable days in 1992, when grunge music was the only thing happening in Seattle.
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