It’s not 2008, but it’s the next-worst thing.
The Seahawks’ 23-13 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday didn’t just signify the (likely) end of a season, it reflected the current tenor of Seattle sports.
Very little is going right. This city might have a rabid fan base, but its teams aren’t satiating said fans’ appetite. You can find problems everywhere you look. What you’ll have a near impossible time finding is a win.
Exhibit A: The Seahawks. This is easily the worst season Seattle’s NFL franchise has endured since Pete Carroll took over as coach in 2010. The team’s 3-7 record places it tied for 14th in the 16-team NFC. The return of future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson has done nothing to revive a Seahawks squad that is equal parts dysfunctional and disappointing.
Arizona was without its two best offensive players — quarterback Kyler Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins — and still dominated Seattle in front of its 65,000 boo-hurling home fans.
Exhibit B: Huskies football. They say comparison is the thief of joy, and there’s no doubt that comparing this town’s two preeminent football programs will leave one joyless. Sad as the Seahawks have been this season, UW has managed to one-up them on the letdown front.
For the first time since 2009, the Huskies (4-7) will finish with a losing record. Their former coach, Jimmy Lake, was fired after just 13 games. Maybe athletic director Jen Cohen will hire a coach that will resurrect this program the way Chris Petersen did seven years earlier. For now, though, the situation on Montlake is a clear-cut debacle.
Exhibit C: Huskies men’s basketball. Truth be told — Washington football isn’t the most embattled program on campus right now. That title belongs to UW men’s hoops, which has finished last and second to last, respectively, in the Pac-12 the past two years. It doesn’t look like it’s going to get better. The Huskies (2-2) have already lost to Northern Illinois — which was a 19-point underdog — and struggled against Northern Arizona and winless Texas Southern.
It’s possible that the once-heralded Mike Hopkins is in his final season as the program’s coach. Hey, sometimes miracles happen. Look what Oregon State men’s hoops did last season. But it appears that a deity will have to intervene for the Huskies to reach the postseason.
Exhibit D: The Kraken. If Seattle’s NHL franchise was the first expansion team in the past couple of decades, perhaps its 5-12-1 record would be excusable. But considering the Las Vegas Golden Knights reached the 2018 Stanley Cup Final in their first season, the Kraken are fair game for criticism. The team has managed just two wins in November. If there were a strategy to mute a fan base that’s been waiting years for an NHL team, the Kraken have unlocked it. Yes, it’s still early. Things can turn around. But the fact remains that almost a quarter into the season, the Kraken are last in their division.
Sure, some teams have provided reasons for cheer in the past year. The Sounders are in second place in the Western Conference … but haven’t won a game since Oct. 9. The Mariners were in wild-card contention until the final day of the season … but haven’t made the playoffs since 2001. The defending WNBA champion Storm went 21-11 … but lost in the second round of the postseason. Like desert-crossers looking for water, fans are struggling to find reasons to get amped.
Granted, sports success is cyclical and, in many ways, Seattle has been spoiled over the past several years or so. The Seahawks went to consecutive Super Bowls. The Huskies football team went to the College Football Playoff. The Huskies women’s basketball team went to the Final Four and produced the all-time NCAA scoring leader in Kelsey Plum.
The Storm won two championships in the past four years. The Huskies men’s basketball team won a Pac-12 title and an NCAA tournament game in 2018. And the Washington volleyball, softball, men’s soccer and rowing teams continue to thrive.
Still, it’s gotten a little depressing in the Seattle sports scene lately. The Seahawks and Huskies losses over the weekend struck a chord of familiarity.
It’s not like 13 years ago, when the Hawks went 4-12, the Dawgs went 0-12 and the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City. But in late November of 2021, there has been very little to celebrate.