In the wake of Seattle’s first major sports championship in 35 years, it’s worth revisiting how the Seattle Seahawks came into existence in the first place — and it’s a story that, on the surface, seems quite simple. Back in 1974, when Seattle was a Supersonics-only town, the city had already broken ground on a stadium (the Kingdome) that could potentially house an NFL team. Knowing that the NFL was looking to expand, Washington governor Dan Evans wrote a letter to commissioner Pete Rozelle highlighting the benefits of awarding a team to Seattle. The letter was dated April 18, 1974 (the draft is from April 16th):
Rozelle responded 12 days later, in a letter received on May 2, 1974:
On June 4, 1974, Rozelle announced that the expansion committee had chosen Seattle as one of two franchises to begin play in the 1976 season. The other was Tampa Bay, who famously went 0-14 in their inaugural season. It seems almost appropriate that the Seahawks and Buccaneers, both now Super Bowl champions, won their big games in similar fashion: blowouts on the strength of their historically great defenses.
Getting back to the Evans and Rozelle letter exchange, of course it’s not that simple. Seattle had to have an NFL-ready stadium, and the process involved a few more things we may never know about. But could you imagine current Washington governor Jay Inslee sending a similar letter to David Stern? He probably would have just wiped his ass with it and forwarded it on to Chris Hansen.