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BURIED AT THE MEADOWLANDS
BURIED AT THE MEADOWLANDS
Ruminations from Mark Tye Turner aka mtthawk
In just a few days the Hawks will venture into a place where history has not been kind: Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Legend has it missing Teamster head Jimmy Hoffa was buried in the foundation in one of the end zones during the construction of the stadium. The Hawks have not fared much better in it over the years. It opened in 1976, the year the Seahawks came into the league. That inaugural season saw the Hawks take a 9-0 lead into the second quarter at Giants Stadium, only to lose to a very bad group of G-Men, 28-16. Since then, Seattle has won exactly once in ten attempts in New Jersey.
The Seahawks’ only victory actually occurred a quarter of a century ago during their pivotal playoff run in 1983. The Giants entered the game struggling under first-year head coach Bill Parcells. Seattle was able to convert two Giant turnovers into touchdowns but the team toiled offensively most of the game against a budding Giant defense led by third-year star linebacker Lawrence Taylor. As the Seahawks clung to a 17-12 lead, the G-Men put together a last minute rally. With only :31 remaining, the Giants appeared to score a miraculous game-winning touchdown which sent the stadium crowd into mass euphoria. But lady luck smooched the Hawks as a Giant lineman was flagged for holding. The euphoria inside the stadium was quickly replaced by something uncommon for New Yorkers: mass silence.
Since then, the Seahawks have struggled against the Giants in New Jersey, scoring a total of 16 points during games played in 1989, 1992, and 2002. Their most frustrating loss happened during the topsy-turvy season of 2001. The Hawks took a 24-17 lead into the fourth quarter at the Meadowlands. The defense showed some fatigue when the Giants had a twelve play drive which resulted in a field goal early in the fourth to make it 24-20. Unfortunately, the Hawk offense couldn’t sustain either of its fourth quarter possessions. With just under three minutes remaining in the game, the Seahawks have the Giants pinned at their own four-yard line with the erratic Kerry Collins at quarterback. But somehow Collins manages to drive nearly the entire length of the field. Both Reggie Tongue and Anthony Simmons almost have interceptions on the drive that would’ve won the game for the Hawks. But “almost” doesn’t mean squat in the NFL. New York scores the winning touchdown when Collins hits Ike Hilliard with a seven-yard pass while only twenty seconds are left on the stupid clock. The loss essentially keeps the Hawks from making the playoffs.
Possibly the best indication the Seahawks are cursed at the stadium is to look at their history with New York’s other team, the Jets. In their early years, the Hawks dominated the Jets on the road, winning all five games played at Shea Stadium. But since the Jets moved to Giants Stadium in 1984, Seattle has not beaten their AFC foes from New York in New Jersey, going 0-5. This includes the infamous Testerverde phantom touchdown game in 1998 in which an officiating blunder help cost the Seahawks a playoff spot and head coach Dennis Erickson his job.
However, this is all just history and the Seahawks have a chance to make new history come Sunday. Let’s just hope no one trips over Jimmy Hoffa in the end zone.
Turner’s new book Notes from a 12th Man: A Truly Biased History of the Seattle Seahawks is set to be published by Sasquatch Books in 2009.