Sunday night’s Seahawks-49ers clash — as judged by a record secondary ticket market and likely unprecedented local television ratings for a regular-season contest — is the game to end all games.
Until, of course, the next game to end all games comes around, as it inevitably will.
As big as this game undeniably feels, the Seahawks throughout their 38-year history have played some others that at the time also were greeted with a fevered pitch, which compelled me to take a little stroll down memory lane this week.
It goes without saying that any playoff game dwarfs a regular-season contest in importance. So, to make an apples-to-apples comparison, here’s a chronological list of 10 other regular-season home games that, at the moment, were about as big as it got.
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Oct. 3, 1976 vs. Dallas: The highlight of the Seahawks’ first season was a visit by the Cowboys, then at the height of their “America’s Team’’ phase, drawing a crowd that stood as a record until 1978. Seattle hung tough with Roger Staubach and crew for a half before fading in the final two quarters and falling to the Cowboys 28-13.
Nov. 26, 1979 vs. New York Jets: You almost have to have been there to understand what a big deal it was in the ’70s to play on Monday Night Football. This game marked the first time the Seahawks got to host Howard Cosell and company, and the Seahawks didn’t disappoint, blowing out the Jets 30-7 and kick-starting an uncommon run of MNF success — Seattle is 18-8 on Monday night.
Dec. 18, 1983 vs. New England: The 1983 season is remembered now mostly for the two playoff victories that got the Seahawks into the AFC Championship Game. Lesser-recalled is that Seattle had to win its last game of the regular season against the Patriots at home to get into the playoffs. New England, which also came into the game with playoff hopes at 8-7, was no match as the Seahawks won 24-6.
Nov. 11, 1984 vs. Los Angeles Raiders: After the Raiders dashed Seattle’s Super Bowl hopes the previous year, fans couldn’t wait for the Raiders to come to town for a Monday night game the following season. The game lived up to the billing as a Seahawks team in the midst of an eight-game winning streak had six sacks and forced six turnovers to win 17-14.
Dec. 15, 1984 vs. Denver: That winning streak set up this winner-take-all game for the AFC West crown against a young John Elway and the Broncos. The Seahawks picked off Elway four times, but the offense never got rolling and a 31-14 defeat meant Seattle had to settle for the wild card.
Oct. 6, 1986 vs. San Diego: Another Monday night affair that was all about Steve Largent — this was the game in which he needed a catch to set the NFL record for consecutive games with a reception. He got it in the second quarter, his 128th consecutive game with a catch, as Seattle won 33-7.
Dec. 11, 1988 vs. Denver: Another late-season home game against the Broncos with huge AFC West title implications. This time, the home fans went home happy. Seattle scored on its first six possessions to win 42-14 en route to claiming its first AFC West title. The game also was remembered for Largent’s hit on Denver safety Mike Harden following an interception.
Dec. 24, 2005 vs. Indianapolis: As Seattle got hot in 2005, anticipation grew with each week for the regular-season finale against a Colts team that won its first 13 games. The Colts, though, decided to rest some of their key players and lost before getting to Seattle. The game was still fun as the Seahawks won 28-13. But it wasn’t what it could have been.
Jan. 2, 2011 vs. St. Louis: It might have been one of the odder scenarios in NFL history, the Rams and Seahawks meeting on Sunday night with the NFC West title on the line despite each being just 6-9. But the fans got into it anyway as Charlie Whitehurst (yes, really) led Seattle to a 16-6 victory, setting up the Seahawks’ beast-quake-fueled playoff upset of New Orleans the following week.
Dec. 23, 2012 vs. San Francisco: The late-season surge to the playoffs was highlighted by a 42-13 victory over the 49ers. Seahawks fans wouldn’t be bored by a rerun Sunday.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @bcondotta