By Matthew Asher
With all the talk over the top offensive and top defensive teams squaring off in the Super Bowl, there hasn’t been much talk over the former AFC West rivalry between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawk,s as these two teams have played each other more than 50 times.
While both teams certainly have bigger rivals – Denver with Oakland and Seattle with San Francisco – the Broncos and Seahawks are no strangers. Thanks to both teams playing in the AFC West division from 1977 through 2001, Denver is actually the team that has faced Seattle the most in franchise history. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Super Bowl XLVIII will be the 54th time the teams have faced each other in either the regular or post season.
Denver holds the overall advantage with 34 wins and just 19 loses, but there is one stat that Seattle holds over Denver: they have won the only playoff game between the two squads, which was also Seattle’s first ever postseason game. You need to contact Mr. Peabody to prepare the Wayback Machine because this game took place while John Elway was a rookie for the Broncos.
The 1983 NFL Playoffs, much like the 2014 NFL Playoffs, featured three teams from the AFC West qualifying for the postseason. The 2014 teams were the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, respectively, the 1983 teams were the then Los Angeles Raiders finishing the regular season as 12-4 and the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos both finishing 9-7.
The game took place at the Kingdome on December 24, 1983. Seattle was awarded home-field for the playoff game because they had a better divisional record (5-3) than Denver (3-5). Seattle started off the game with Steve Largent catching a 17-yard touchdown pass from Dave Krieg in the first quarter. Denver would answer back with Jesse Myles catching a 13-yard touchdown pass from Steve DeBerg (Elway wasn’t the starter for Denver this game). That would be the only points Denver would score in the game.
From that point on, Seattle was able to score 24 unanswered points. Krieg finished the game completing 12 of his 13 pass attempts for 200 yards and three touchdowns. Seahawks first-round draft pick running back Curt Warner ran for 99 yards and added three catches for 22 yards. In addition to Largent, tight end Pete Metzelaars added a five-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter and wide receiver Paul Johns caught an 18-yard touchdown to seal a 31-7 victory for the ‘Hawks.
Seattle would then go on to defeat the Miami Dolphins in a New Years Eve matchup 27-20 at the Orange Bowl. Seattle would not win another postseason away game for 30 years. The only other time Seattle won a playoff game outside the state of Washington was last season, when they were able to beat the Washington Redskins 24-14.
Seattle advanced to the AFC Championship Game to take on the LA Raiders, a team they had beaten twice in the regular season. But there would not be a third straight win for Seattle, as LA jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead and was able to advance to the Super Bowl with a 30-14 victory. And while the season ended on a down note, those two postseason victories showed that the Hawks were no longer a fledgling team that could be considered easy pickings in the anymore in the league.
For more news and updates about the NFL Playoffs, visit NFL Playoffs Central.
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.