A look at the highlights from seven NFL seasons at Qwest Field, which has been renamed CenturyLink Field.
It’s hard to feel wistful for a name that is nothing more than corporate marketing.
It’s also hard to deny that it will feel a little bit odd that the Seahawks won’t be playing their home games at Qwest Field but rather CenturyLink Field.
Count that name change among the modern realities for today’s professional sports fan. Players not only change teams with regularity, but the nomenclature of the half-a-billion dollar stadiums where they play are included in business transactions.
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Sometimes, even the games get named, or did you forget when Brent Musburger referred to a kick being for “all the Tostitos” in the BCS Championship Game between Auburn and Oregon earlier this year.
Qwest’s naming rights at the stadium began in 2004, and it was home for the high point in the Seahawks’ franchise history. While the building itself won’t change or the fans inside it, this marks as good a time as any to list the most memorable games in the seven NFL seasons of Qwest Field:
1 Seahawks 24, New York Giants 21 (OT), Nov. 27, 2005
Most would list the NFC title game here, and it’s hard to argue that, as the victory over the Carolina Panthers was the most important win in franchise history. But it was this game against the New York Giants that would be Exhibit A in any attempt to explain the significance of this stadium to that season. The Giants committed 11 pre-snap penalties and they missed three attempts at what would have been a winning field goal as the crowd had about as large a hand as it could in determining a game without actually rushing onto the field.
Coach Mike Holmgren awarded the game ball to the crowd, giving it to the 12th Man. The Giants couldn’t believe how loud the stadium was. Really, they couldn’t. They complained to the league in the year after the game, alleging Seattle’s 12th Man was on PEDs (performance-enhancing decibels).
2 Seahawks 41, New Orleans 36, Jan. 8, 2011, NFC wild-card playoff
This will be remembered as the night the earth moved in Seattle. Well, at least it moved a little bit right around the stadium. A seismic meter positioned near Qwest Field was able to detect movement generated by Seahawks fans after Marshawn Lynch’s 67-yard touchdown run that clinched one of the most remarkable victories in franchise history.
The Seahawks were the largest home underdog in NFL playoff history and they were playing the defending NFL champion New Orleans Saints, and Seattle’s ground game — which was historically poor for so much of the year — had one singularly sublime moment. Lynch was touched by at least seven of New Orleans’ 11 defenders but ran 67 yards to score the game-clinching touchdown.
3 Seahawks 34, Carolina 14, Jan. 22, 2006, NFC Championship Game
There was no more important win for Seattle than the victory that earned the franchise its first Super Bowl appearance. There also was no suspense in a game that was more like a parade than a contest. Carolina’s Steve Smith was Carolina’s most dangerous player — a lightning rod for the wild-card Panthers — but Holmgren gave explicit instructions that someone was to bump him every single play. That defensive approach — combined with Qwest Field’s debilitating crowd noise — helped limit Smith to five catches for 33 yards, none longer than 12.
4 Seahawks 21, Dallas 20, Jan. 6, 2007, NFC wild-card playoff
Screwy things tended to happen in Qwest Field’s north end zone. That’s the direction where the Giants’ Jay Feely missed three potential game-winning field goals in 2005, and it’s where Tony Romo’s most ignominious gaffe occurred.
Toward the end of the fourth quarter, Dallas trailed by one point and lined up for a 19-yard field-goal attempt for the game-winner. But Romo bobbled the snap, picked up the ball and attempted to run the ball in for a touchdown when he was tackled from behind by safety Jordan Babineaux. The enduring image of that game will be Romo seated on his backside after he was tackled, hands gripping his face mask in utter disappointment.
5 Seahawks 13, New York Jets 3, Dec. 21, 2008
Holmgren’s final home game as Seahawks coach was one of only two home games the Seahawks won all season. It wasn’t just the victory, but the setting as Seattle hosted New York in a snow-laden stadium that made that game all the more memorable.
After the game, Holmgren circled the field while the crowd stayed standing to acknowledge a decade of work from the most successful coach in franchise history.
6 Seahawks 13, Dallas 10, Oct. 23, 2005
This was the kind of game the Seahawks always seemed to lose, so this one made it clear that 2005 might be something very different for a franchise best known for persistent mediocrity.
The Seahawks scored 10 points in the final minute, tying the score at 10 on Matt Hasselbeck’s touchdown pass with 40 seconds to go, then winning after safety Jordan Babineaux intercepted a pass from Dallas’ Drew Bledsoe and returned it to the Cowboys 32. With one play left, Josh Brown kicked a 50-yard field goal to win it.
7 Seahawks 28, Atlanta 26, Jan. 2, 2005
It’s not often a teammate complains about a play that not only results in the winning touchdown, but earns the team a playoff berth, but that’s what happened. Shaun Alexander said he “got stabbed in the back” after finishing 1 yard short of the league rushing title, which went to the Jets’ Curtis Martin. That 1 yard in question was a rushing touchdown by Hasselbeck with 4:28 to play.
8 Minnesota 31, Seahawks 13, Oct. 22, 2006
Seattle gave up a 95-yard touchdown run to the Vikings’ Chester Taylor — the longest in franchise history — and saw a franchise-record 12-game home winning streak snapped. But it was more than just a game the Seahawks lost as Hasselbeck suffered a knee injury that kept him out for the next four games.
9 Seahawks 42, New York Giants 34, Sept. 24, 2006
This game was played against the backdrop of the Giants’ complaints that the sounds at Qwest Field were artificially enhanced. Well, it only got louder after Seattle jumped out to a 35-0 lead in what turned out to be a high-water mark for the team. The Seahawks were coming off a Super Bowl appearance and improved to 3-0. They lost 37-6 at Chicago the next week, losing their status as a conference heavyweight.
10 Seahawks 34, San Francisco 0, Sept. 26, 2004
Seattle improved to 3-0 for the second consecutive season and just the fourth time in franchise history, but it was how the Seahawks did it that made history. San Francisco failed to score a point for the first time since 1977 as Seattle ended the 49ers’ streak of scoring in 420 consecutive games, a league record.
Honorable mention: Seattle’s 34-24 Monday night victory over Green Bay on Nov. 27, 2006, when Alexander rushed for 201 yards in a snowstorm. Also, the Seahawks’ 24-14 loss to the 49ers later that season deserves a special note because of the monsoon conditions that preceded it.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org