Forty years ago Wednesday, the NFL granted a franchise to Seattle to begin play in 1976. For the right to become the NFL’s 28th team, Seattle’s ownership reportedly paid $16 million. The Seahawks had blue, white, green and grey uniforms, and they played in the Kingdome, which also opened in 1976.
It took eight years for Seattle to make the postseason, but when it did, it made much of the opportunity, winning a pair of playoff games before falling on the road against the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1983 AFC title game. The Seahawks would return to the postseason in 1984, winning a wild-card game before losing at Miami.
For another 21 seasons, that was it as far as playoff success went for Seattle. In fact, for 10 straight seasons (1989-1998), the club missed the playoffs. However, by 2005, the Seahawks — now in the NFC — had turned the corner. And in 2005, the club snapped its postseason winless streak and made it to its first Super Bowl, where it lost to Pittsburgh.
After another brief lull, the Seahawks hired head coach Pete Carroll and G.M. John Schneider in 2010. And with a rare skill for identifying and developing talent, the franchise has reached new heights. Today, at 40, the Seahawks are defending Super Bowl champions.
For some, turning 40 can be cause for uncomfortable reflection. For Seattle, it is cause to ponder how far it has come — and how bright the future could potentially be.