By Brent Stecker
Until Sunday, that was how long it had been since the city of Seattle celebrated a major pro sports championship.
Seahawks fans that traveled to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey witnessed Sunday the first major pro sports championship for a Seattle team since the SuperSonics won the NBA title in 1979. (AP)
In between that Sonics NBA title win over the Washington Bullets and Sunday’s Super Bowl thrashing of the Denver Broncos by the Seahawks, there were a number of near-misses and heartbreaking moments that twisted the knife in the back of the city’s fan base. It was all put in perspective Monday by 710 ESPN Seattle’s Dave Grosby while talking with guest host Brock Huard on “Bob and Groz.”
“I felt unbelievable happiness for Seahawk fans,” said Grosby, who has been a broadcaster in Seattle for 24 years. “Truly did, because there’s not been anything like this town.”
By saying “there’s not been anything like this town,” he was talking about a city of sports fans that saw the Sonics teams of the 1990s rip through the regular season, only to be stopped in their tracks when the postseason came along. Same for the 1995 and 2001 Mariners — the former the most beloved team in franchise history, the latter a record-setting squad, neither of which reached its full potential.
“To win 116 and not even get to the World Series (in 2001). To have that great ’95 run and not get to the World Series,” he said. “To have the winningest team in the NBA in the years Michael Jordan was out — the Sonics won the most games and get knocked out in the first round of the playoffs (in 1994), then make it (two seasons later) to face Michael Jordan and the winningest team in NBA history. It wasn’t going to happen. Always something seemed to conspire to keep it from happening.”
But the stars finally aligned this weekend, and in a big way. It wasn’t just the Seahawks’ first world championship win, but also Seahawks great Walter Jones’ vote into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday, and the retirement the same day of NBA commissioner David Stern, who is public enemy No. 1 in Seattle after overseeing the Sonics leaving town in 2008.
“Just keep in mind how many things had to be going the right way for this to happen,” Grosby said. “Walter Jones goes into the Hall of Fame, so you get a Seahawk in on the first ballot in the Hall of Fame, which, let’s face it, was a long shot. … And then the ultimate troll in the eyes of Seattle, David Stern, retires. Goes away.”
The Super Bowl couldn’t have started with a better omen for the people of Seattle — Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning walked up to the line to communicate with his offense, only to watch the ball snapped back into the end zone for a safety. The Seahawks never looked back from that earliest of leads, rolling to a 43-8 win, and it was that moment that Grosby knew that Seattle’s day had come.
“The very first snap of the game — for a Super Bowl crowd, it was much louder than it normally is. And to see that happen, to me, that moment, I’m like, ‘It’s going to happen. It’s actually going to happen,’ ” he said. “I really, truly felt that way after the safety. And then (I) saw the first series and it’s like, ‘Well, there’s no doubt. There’s no doubt that they’re gonna win this game.’ “