Assuming fans are back in the stands at Lumen Field in 2021, then plan on the Seahawks to make another addition to the team’s Ring of Honor.
That was the word earlier this week from team president Chuck Arnold, who said in an interview on 950 KJR that “I think you’ll see a new member’’ of the Ring of Honor in 2021.
Seattle didn’t make one in 2020, though it appears as if it may have had plans to before most things got scuttled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions.
Seattle’s last addition to the Ring was former owner Paul Allen in 2019.
But that broke something of a drought in the ROH department — aside from Allen, the only other addition since 2006 was left tackle Walter Jones in 2014.
There are nine players in the ring along with one coach (Chuck Knox), one owner (Allen) and one announcer (Pete Gross).
Aside from Jones, the other players are: quarterbacks Jim Zorn and Dave Krieg, receiver Steve Largent, defensive end Jacob Green, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, running back Curt Warner, safety Kenny Easley and cornerback Dave Brown (Largent, Kennedy, Jones and Easley also have their numbers retired as is No. 12 in honor of the fans).
That’s a list heavy on the team’s early years — only one of that group (Jones) played in a season beyond 2000.
So it can definitely be argued there’s some catching up to do.
Who should get the nod to be next in the Ring of Honor?
Here are some candidates with my odds.
Holmgren will always be remembered most for coaching Seattle to its first Super Bowl following the 2005 season, the high point of the team’s first three decades.
Maybe less realized as time goes on is how Holmgren also helped basically bring the franchise back from the dead.
The ‘90s were not kind to the Seahawks as the team’s second owner, Ken Behring, basically killed all the momentum of the fun, early years with a number of moves that backfired, and then tried to relocate the team to Los Angeles. By the mid- to late-‘90s, Seahawks games were often barely half-full and it could be argued the team lagged in overall fan interest in Seattle behind — in no particular order — the Sonics, Mariners and UW football.
The hiring of Holmgren — two years removed from coaching Green Bay to a Super Bowl title — was the most significant sign during Allen’s early ownership tenure that he was serious about reviving the franchise, a move that also allowed Seahawks’ fans to truly begin caring again.
The 10-year Holmgren ride fell just short of its ultimate goal (blame Bill Leavy all you want) and was a little bumpy at the end. But without it, the Seahawks may not be where they are today.
The quarterback of Seattle’s first Super Bowl team also held basically every passing record in team history until Russell Wilson came along.
He was also about as classy a representative for the organization as anyone could ask for, handling well both the somewhat rocky early years when he initially was relegated to backup duty behind Trent Dilfer, as well as his exit following the 2010 season.
The debate among Seahawks fans may never be settled about Alexander’s true value to the team and the 2005 Super Bowl run, and whether he was just fortunate to play behind a line featuring two future Hall of Famers in Jones and Steve Hutchinson.
But the facts are what they are — Alexander is the only player in team history to earn an MVP award, and his 27 rushing touchdowns that season were not only the most in league history to that time but also a franchise record that figures to never be broken.
If Alexander doesn’t make it this time, he figures to eventually, a moment that would allow him to finally get the kind of thank you from Seahawks fans that his somewhat uneven last couple seasons didn’t allow for at the time.
From this corner, anyway, it feels as if the discussion on this topic overlooks a really obvious candidate in Raible, who in one form or another has been associated with the team since its first season in 1976.
Raible was a receiver from 1976-81 and then in 1982 became part of the gameday broadcast team and has been part of it ever since, becoming the radio play-by-play voice in 2004, just in time for many of the team’s greatest moments.
True, Ring of Honor designations tend to go to individuals once they are in retirement.
But, hey, why wait for that to honor Raible? If anyone deserves to work for a few years while looking at his name across the field in the Ring, it’s Raible.
If there is any player from the early years who may still deserve recognition it’s Nash, a gutty nose tackle from 1982-96 who remains the franchise record holder in seasons (15) and games played (218). He also played for five of the team’s eight coaches, something else that may never be done again.
He stands eighth among all Seahawks on Pro Football Reference’s career approximate value rating, serving as one of the mainstays of the defenses that powered the Knox-era revival in the ‘80s, averaging almost six sacks a season from the nose tackle position from 1984-89.
This list is obviously far from comprehensive of those who could someday be honored. But the view here is it’s too early for anyone yet from the Pete Carroll era (and for those who say Hutchinson, the view here is also that his shortened tenure means that for now, others should get the call first).
But their times will come.
What we’re pretty sure of right now is that someone’s time will finally arrive in 2021.