Taking a step back

If 1999 was the season Mike Holmgren became head coach of the Seahawks, then 2000 was the year the duties of his other multifaceted title kicked in: Executive vice president of football operations/general manager.

The team’s financial future had been mortgaged in previous offseasons in an attempt to save Dennis Erickson’s job as coach. It didn’t happen, but Holmgren and senior vice president Mike Reinfeldt still were left to ravage the roster in creating enough money under the salary cap so that the team could function.

“Part of this is to get (the salary cap) back in line without sacrificing winning,” Holmgren said at the beginning of the process. Well, they did get the salary cap under control, but the team also slumped to 6-10 – the worst record of Holmgren’s first nine seasons as a head coach (nine in Green Bay and two in Seattle) and the Seahawks’ worst since they finished 6-10 in 1994, which was Tom Flores’ final season as coach.

It was one step back, so the Seahawks could take another step – or two – forward.

“We don’t have a tremendous amount of room under the cap, and did not last year when I came in, because of the structure of contracts,” Holmgren said. “As a result, I had to let a couple of players go and I will probably have to release a couple more to allow us to participate in free agency and build a football team the way I would like.

“I don’t want to get in that situation again.”

Before the roster purge was complete, nine starters from 1999 were gone. Safety Darryl Williams, center Kevin Glover, guard Brian Habib, linebacker Darrin Smith and center Kevin Glover were released. So was wide receiver Mike Pritchard, because of knee problems. Wide receiver Joey Galloway was traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a pair of first-round draft choices that were used to select Shaun Alexander (in 2000) and wide receiver Koren Robinson (in 2001). Defensive end Phillip Daniels (Bears), defensive tackle Sam Adams (Ravens), tackle Grant Williams (Patriots) and kicker Todd Peterson (Chiefs) left in free agency. Running back Ahman Green also was traded (Packers). Wide receiver Sean Dawkins was released and eventually re-signed to a more cap-friendly contract.

“It’s difficult initially, because you know you’re going to have to let a couple of players go you don’t want to let go,” Holmgren said. “And you know maybe – probably – you’re going to sacrifice a win or two.”

Or three, as it turned out.

There also were changes on Holmgren’s staff, and in the front office. Steve Sidwell was hired as the defensive coordinator to replace Jim Lind, who had stepped in after longtime-Holmgren assistant Fritz Shurmur died of cancer in 1999 before ever coaching a game with the Seahawks. Gil Haskell was reunited with Holmgren as the offensive coordinator after Mike Sherman left to become head coach of the Green Bay Packers. When Mueller left to take over the football operations for the New Orleans Saints, Ted Thompson was hired as vice president of football operations. Also added were director of player personnel John Schneider, who returned last year as general manager and director of college scouting Scot McCloughan.

To underline all this change, the Seahawks also played their home games at a new venue – Husky Stadium on the University of Washington campus – because the Kingdome had been imploded on March 26 and the new stadium would be built on the same site.

All this cutting, trimming and replacing produced a jagged-edge of a season. Not to mention 10 losses, including the first two games and seven of the first nine. The Seahawks rallied to win four of their next six, but in a driving rain storm on a Saturday night at Husky Stadium – on Christmas Eve eve – they dropped their finale to the Buffalo Bills 42-23 in what would be the final game of Cortez Kennedy’s Ring of Honor career.

The Bills rolled up 579 yards of total offense, by rolling up and down the field. Doug Flutie passed for three touchdowns, while Antowain Smith ran for three scores and Peerless Price and Eric Moulds each caught passes for more than 100 yards. It would have been worse if linebacker Chad Brown had not forced and recovered a fumble at the Seahawks’ 27-yard line on the Bills’ next-to-last possession and Flutie had not taken a knee on the final two snaps of the game.

The storm clouds that night proved to be a metaphor for the season, as Brown expressed the next day while the players were cleaning out their lockers.

“You can’t let that dark cloud follow you around all the time,” he said. “You’ve got to put a move on it sometime.”

Still, there were some glimmers of brightness during this mostly cloudy season.

Despite the arrival of Alexander, Ricky Watters led the team in rushing with his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, caught 63 passes and his 1,855 combined yards matched his career high (from 1996, when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles). Despite being released and then re-signed in training camp, Dawkins also had 63 receptions. Darrell Jackson, the 15th wide receiver selected in the 2000 draft, led all NFL rookies in receptions (53), receiving yards (713) and touchdown catches (a club-high six). Jon Kitna passed for 2,658 yards and 18 TDs, but his 19 interceptions proved to be the beginning of the end in Seattle for the homegrown QB. The offense scored just 31 touchdowns and rookie kicker Rian Lindell attempted only 17 field goals.

On defense, Anthony Simmons moved to outside linebacker after starting in the middle in ’99 and led the team with 147 tackles – still the third-highest total in franchise history behind Terry Beeson (153 in 1978) and Brown (150 in 1998). But the Seahawks were outscored in every quarter, including a 40-point swing in the second and ranked last in league by allowing an average of 399.4 yards (40.8 more than the 30th-ranked Arizona Cardinals). The Seahawks also yielded more superlative efforts (26) than any defense in the league – including 11 100-yard receivers and 10 100-yard rushers.

Charlie Rogers provided a spark as he led the AFC in combined return yardage (1,992) by averaging 14 yards on punt returns and 24.7 on kickoff returns. Lindell kicked a 48-yard game-winner as time expired in a 17-15 win over the San Diego Chargers at Husky Stadium and also a 52-yarder in a three-point win over the AFC West champion Oakland Raiders.

But the bottom-line number from 2000 was 10 – as in the losses – after Holmgren did what he knew was necessary to pave the way for a better future.

Year in Review
Record
6-10 (fourth in AFC West)
Owner
Paul Allen
Coach
Mike Holmgren
Captains
Selected game-to-game
Man of the Year
QB Jon Kitna
Largent Award
RB Ricky Watters
Leading Passer
Kitna (259 of 418 for 2,658, with 18 TDs and 19 interceptions)
Leading Rusher
Watters (1,242 yards)
Leading Receiver
Sean Dawkins and Watters (63 receptions)
Leading Tackler(s)
LB Anthony Simmons (147)
Special Teams Tackles
LB Isaiah Kacyvenski (15)
Interception Leader(s)
FS Jay Bellamy and CB Willie Williams (4)
Sack Leader
LB Chad Brown and DE Lamar King (6)
Leading Scorer(s)
K Rian Lindell (70 points)

2000

2000: Taking a step back

If 1999 was the season Mike Holmgren became head coach of the Seahawks, then 2000 was the year the duties of his other multifaceted title kicked in: Executive vice president of football operations/general manager.

2000 Games
Key Date
September 03, 2000

Seattle loses to Miami in the season opener, 23-0, marking the first time the Seahawks were shut out in seven years.

Key Date
May 10, 2000

Scot McCloughan appointed as director of college scouting.

Key Date
January 21, 2000

Holmgren names Johnny Holland assistant special teams/assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Key Date
September 10, 2000

Seattle opens a two-year stint at Husky Stadium with a loss to the defending Super Bowl Champion St. Louis Rams in a 37-34 shootout.

Gil Haskell Named Offensive Coordinator
January 20, 2000

Holmgren names Gil Haskell offensive coordinator.

Jon Kitna earns AFC Offensive Player of the Week
November 12, 2000

QB Jon Kitna earns AFC Offensive Player of the Week for 22 of 33, 231-yard, three-touchdown performance at Jacksonville.

Kingdome is Imploded
March 26, 2000

Seattle’s Kingdome is imploded, to make space for the new football/soccer stadium and exhibition hall, which will be located on the same site.

Key Date
July 05, 2000

Seahawks hire Brian Davis for radio play-by-play.

Key Date
May 15, 2000

Bucky Brooks and Mike Murphy named area scouts.

Charlie Rogers Sets Team Single-Game Record Kickoff Return Yards
October 15, 2000

Seahawks return man Charlie Rogers sets team single-game record with 198 kickoff return yards and 215 combined return yards versus Indianapolis.

Key Date
February 12, 2000

WR Joey Galloway is traded to the Dallas Cowboys for first-round draft choices in 2000 and 2001.

Shaun Alexander and Chris McIntosh Selected in the First Round
April 15, 2000

Seahawks select Alabama running back Shaun Alexander and Wisconsin tackle Chris McIntosh in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Key Date
June 01, 2000

Former Seahawks safety Eric Stokes and Matt Malaspina named area scouts.

Steve Sidwell named Defensive Coordinator
January 12, 2000

Mike Holmgren names Steve Sidwell defensive coordinator. Defensive Assistant Bob Zeman announces his retirement from coaching.

John Schneider Named Director of Player Personnel
April 28, 2000

Seattle names John Schneider director of player personnel.

Ted Thompson Named VP / Football Operations
January 28, 2000

Holmgren names Ted Thompson vice president/football operations

Key Date
December 23, 2000

Charlie Rogers returns four kickoffs for 171 yards, which includes an 81-yard touchdown, versus Buffalo to establish an AFC single-season record with 2,094 combined return yards (punt and kickoff).

We don’t have a tremendous amount of room under the cap, and did not last year when I came in, because of the structure of contracts. As a result, I had to let a couple of players go and I will probably have to release a couple more to allow us to participate in free agency and build a football team the way I would like.
Head Coach Mike Holmgren
You can’t let that dark cloud follow you around all the time. You’ve got to put a move on it sometime.
Chad Brown
2000 Season Schedule
Click on any game
to see full statistics.
DateOpponentScoreW:L
9/3 AT Miami 0-23 L
9/10 St. Louis 34-37 L
9/17 New Orleans 20-10 W
9/24 AT San Diego 20-12 W
10/2 AT Kansas City 17-24 L
10/8 AT Carolina 3-26 L
10/15 Indianapolis 24-37 L
10/22 AT Oakland 3-31 L
10/29 Kansas City 19-24 L
11/5 San Diego 17-15 W
11/12 AT Jacksonville 28-21 W
11/26 Denver 31-38 L
12/3 AT Atlanta 30-10 W
12/10 AT Denver 24-31 L
12/16 Oakland 27-24 W
12/23 Buffalo 23-42 L
2000 Record
610
2000 Offense
PosPlayerStarts
C Robbie Tobeck 0
C J.P. Darche 0
C Chris Gray 16
G Floyd Wedderburn 16
G Frank Beede 0
G Marcus Jenkins 0
G Pete Kendall 16
T Chris McIntosh (R) 10
T Walter Jones 16
T Chad Overhauser 0
T Todd Weiner 0
TE James Hill 0
TE Christian Fauria 10
TE Rufus French 0
TE Itula Mili 0
WR Darrell Jackson (R) 10
WR Derrick Mayes 8
WR James Williams 0
WR Sean Dawkins 16
WR Fabien Bownes 0
WR Karsten Bailey 0
QB Brock Huard 4
QB Travis Brown 0
QB Jon Kitna 12
FB Mack Strong 12
FB Reggie Brown 0
RB Shaun Alexander 0
RB Ricky Watters 16
RB Charlie Rogers 0
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2000 Defense
PosPlayerStarts
DE Michael Sinclair 16
DE Rahmaan Streater 0
DE Antonio Cochran 0
DE Lamar King 16
DE Matt LaBounty 0
DE Cedric Woodard 0
DT Riddick Parker 16
DT Cortez Kennedy 16
DT Tim Watson 0
DT John Hilliard 0
LB Isaiah Kacyvenski 0
LB Dwan Epps 0
LB Tim Terry 0
LB Marcus Bell 0
LB James Logan 0
LB DeShone Myles 0
MLB George Koonce 16
OLB Anthony Simmons 16
OLB Chad Brown 16
CB Shawn Springs 16
CB Fred Vinson 0
CB Ike Charlton 0
CB Paul Miranda 0
CB Willie Williams 15
FS Jay Bellamy 16
SAF Maurice Kelly 0
SS Kerry Joseph 10
SS Reggie Tongue 6
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2000 Special Teams
PosPlayerStarts
K Rian Lindell (R) 12
P Jeff Feagles 16
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Eruption in the Emerald City

VIDEO: Eruption in the Emerald City

On this Day in Seahawks History