As the members of the 1983 Seahawks raised the 12th Man Flag before Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, they received the kind of once-familiar roar that rekindled memories of that magical season.
What they remember most about that season, though, is the quiet of the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
“The silence of the fans in Miami — that was great,” said Dan Doornink, a running back on what was the first Seahawks team to make the playoffs.
To mark the 30th anniversary of that season, the Seahawks organized the first formal reunion of that team, which finished 9-7 to earn a wild-card berth, then beat Denver and Miami in the playoffs before losing to the Raiders in the AFC title game. Only the 2005 team that advanced to the Super Bowl has had more playoff success.
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Thirty-nine players and three coaches made it to the reunion, visiting the current team at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon, then meeting for dinner at a downtown hotel before attending Sunday’s game.
That included a pregame autograph session in which, by chance of the alphabetical order, receiver Steve Largent found himself seated right next to quarterback Dave Krieg — the two hooked up for 46 touchdowns in their Seattle career, seven that season.
“What stands out to me most is that everyone else here has aged and I haven’t,” said the 59-year-old Largent, laughing as he looked over at Krieg.
Said Krieg: “The highlight has just been getting around the players and talking to them and the old memories.”
Many, he said, revolved around coach Chuck Knox, who took over that season.
Knox brought in a corps of veterans to help teach the team’s young players how to win, and built a team around the running of rookie Curt Warner and a sturdy defense. At midseason, he also made the tough decision to bench the team’s first big star, quarterback Jim Zorn, for Krieg.
In the playoffs, they then beat Denver at home in the wild-card round before defeating a heavily-favored Miami team led by rookie quarterback Dan Marino, 27-20.
“Watching Curt run wild in Miami, man, that was great,” said Doornink of Warner, who gained 113 yards and scored twice that day.
Warner was one of two big names not present for the reunion — another was safety Kenny Easley. Warner couldn’t make it after attending the Penn State game the day before — his son Jonathan is a freshman receiver for the Nittany Lions. Easley, who now lives in Virginia, also couldn’t get out of prior commitments.
Also not attending was the 81-year-old Knox, who is battling some health issues that made him unable to make the trip.
Knox, though, sent a video sending along best wishes and remembrances of that season.
“We all went up and talked a little, some stories about Chuck and his sayings, like, ‘What you do speaks so loud we don’t need to hear what you have to say,’ ” said Krieg, who is one of seven players in the team’s Ring of Honor from that team (speaking to that team’s influence, the only ring of honor member who wasn’t on that team is Cortez Kennedy).
“It was a special team, a special place.’’