No longer a child, not yet middle-aged, and still finding their place in the NFL world.

...the 30-year wall of silence is an impressive achievement for a League that leaks as a lifestyle.

He recommended Jack Patera enthusiastically for the Seahawks...

The letter C is coming soon!

The Seahawks used Williams’ local reputation as a promotional tool, as they would do (very briefly) with Ahmad Rashad.

The average Seahawk selected in the veteran allocation is 6-2, 222 pounds, just under 26 years old and is entering his fourth NFL season.

The Seahawks played the Rams...facing off against future Seahawk coaches Chuck Knox, Tom Catlin and Ken Meyer. decided early to pursue coaches with no NFL head coaching experience.

Patera had the boldness to recruit 3 coaches with no NFL service...

...why was there no place for one of the ultimate local heroes of the early 1970s – Sonny Sixkiller?

Thompson may have looked on paper like a conservative and safe manager for a new team with first-time owners, but...

...reports from the camp are unclear as to who did the special team evaluations.

As a defensive coach, Jack Patera valued his linebackers.

Maybe we'll come up with something soon!

...nobody else on the Seahawks squad took their dislike quite to the extent of Ahmad Rashad.

The Nordstroms were an obvious possibility because of their wealth and local presence.

Approximately 14 members of that squad would never play for the Seahawks again.

A simple lesson in draft history is to list the fate of quarterbacks for several years before 1976.

Jack Patera was unable to take a single Redskin veteran from the allocation list.

...the Seahawks’ offense would be directed by 3 men who had 2 years of NFL experience between them

Terry Brown’s Seahawk career lasted less than 24 hours.

...we think this story might just have been a good Patera Prank!

While Patera had an inside edge on stocking his team with Vikings, he only chose one Viking from the allocation...

Character would clearly play a part...

Patera lived up to his code of we will tolerate you until we can replace you...

Yes! We will have something for Y eventually!

What more need we say?

I is for Interesting questions

What-if questions about 1976 are ancient history today, but it can’t be denied that the early years of the Seahawks would have looked very different if any of these possibilities had happened.

Bill Walsh?

The Seahawks were not alone in seeing the potential of the Bengals’ bright offensive coach. According to his book Building a Champion, Walsh was unhappy in Cincinnati and eager to consider interest from the Seahawks and the Jets; but Paul Brown was reluctant to let Walsh go, and both teams deferred to Brown’s stalling tactics and declined to press for an interview.

Walsh subsequently discovered that Brown had been trying to talk him down to discourage approaches, which hastened his move from the 11-3 Bengals to Tommy Prothro’s 2-12 Chargers. Walsh had no complaints about coaching Dan Fouts and didn’t need to press his luck — and reputation — by working with players assembled from the veteran allocation and the waiver wire.

But an imaginative soul just can’t help thinking about what might have happened if Jim Zorn and Steve Largent had been given to Bill Walsh for a few years’ education!

The WFL?

The collapse of the World Football League in September 1975 had released about 380 players onto the football market, as well as coaches and other staff. The NFL, of course, couldn’t accommodate anything like that number of people, even with 2 expansion teams but it had still tied a number of the players to their former NFL clubs to deny them to the expansion teams (see Allocation).

The quality of many of the other WFL players was debatable, as became clear when so few of the free agents won places in the NFL. Neither Seattle nor Tampa Bay saw much attractive in the available players, including a number of veteran NFL free agents whose best days were behind them.

But it’s still worth wondering what might have been if Seattle had had free access to all of the WFL players, as well as the veteran allocation.

The CFL?

It’s unclear why neither expansion team felt much incentive to raid the CFL for players.

The well-known antipathy between the NFL and CFL may have led to assumptions about the standard of CFL players and their ability to change from the 12-player game to 11. But the CFL surely deserved closer scrutiny than the Seahawks appear to have given it, particularly in relation to the quarterback position (see Quarterbacks). The CFL stocked itself each year with players who were unable to make it to NFL rosters, and some of the Seahawks’ 1976 squad would wind up trying their luck north of the border (including Gary Keithley and Dwayne Crump).

Sonny Sixkiller?

Dave Williams and Ahmad Rashad had been signed for their proven ability, but there was also a clear understanding that their local reputations would be a marketing bonus for the new team. However, if local credibility influenced recruiting, why was there no place for one of the ultimate local heroes of the early 1970s – Sonny Sixkiller?

Sadly, the name means less now than it did at the time, but:

It was a magical time in Washington football history, even going solely by numbers:

Sixkiller’s 5,496 career passing yards rank him third in school history, behind the Huard — Damon and Brock — brothers. He sits atop the school lists in passing yards per completion and passing attempts per game.

This was an era before anyone dreamed up the pass-happy West Coast offense. The ground-chewing wishbone was the rage then.

But when then-coach Jim Owens saw Sixkiller, he completely revamped the offense to an air show. From a 1-9 season in 1969, without Sixkiller, the Huskies finished 6-4 with him in 1970.

He introduced himself to the nation by completing 16 of 35 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-16 upset of Michigan State. It was his first varsity game, and the Associated Press named him national back of the week.

There were others.

Sixkiller completed 30 of 50 passes for 360 yards against Oregon State. He was 30-for-57 for 341 yards against USC. He hit 18 of 35 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns against favored UCLA, a 51-20 UW victory.

But more important than the numbers was the feeling.

Seattle was in a difficult time shortly before Sixkiller’s impact came forth. On campus, Owens’ job was not the most secure in town following 1969, a year in which he battled two separate black-athlete revolts against his authority.

Seattle was a depressed city, economically and otherwise. Boeing’s highly touted supersonic transport program had been shot down. Seattle’s unemployment rate was the highest of any major city. Major League Baseball yanked the Pilots from Seattle and moved them to Milwaukee. The Sonics were upstarts. The Seahawks hadn’t even been thought of.

The town needed a hero. And Sixkiller was it.

“Those years kind of put the Huskies back on the map,” Sixkiller said. “They’d been down for a few years. There was a lot of excitement around the city. You have to remember the Vietnam conflict going on. Boeing was, ‘The last one out of town, turn off the lights.’ There was not a lot of hope, it seemed like. We came along and it was kind of exciting. We weren’t expected to do much and we did some good things.

“I think bringing the community back together was a great thing.”

Running Deer’s Long House (

Sixkiller was a couple of years out of his college career, and had not previously been picked up by the NFL, but he was trying out with the Chargers in 1976 as a free agent. Did the Seahawks try to contact him while organizing the free agent tryouts?

Perhaps Sixkiller avoided any approach. He had paid a huge price for his celebrity in Seattle, carrying immense expectations, the repeated inanities of racial stereotyping, and an intense public scrutiny of a private young man. Maybe he didn’t want or need to be in Seattle in 1976.

But was he asked? |
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