Allen was a Seattle giant and gave much to the city, promoting economic growth, charity and entertainment. Among his many contributions, one act of his stands out to the Northwest’s many football fans — Allen was the man who saved the Seahawks.
Considering how ingrained the Seahawks are within the culture of Seattle, it’s hard to imagine there was ever a time they could have moved elsewhere, but it almost happened.
The Seahawks were firmly planted in the NFL’s basement during the 1990s after businessmen Ken Behring and Ken Hofmann purchased the franchise in 1988. Under Behring and Hofmann, the Seahawks had only two winning seasons (both 9-7) and a single playoff appearance.
During the eight years the two owned the team, Seattle had a combined record of 61-74, including the franchise-worst record of 2-14 in 1992.
In 1996 things appeared the bleakest for the Seahawks’ future in Seattle. Behring and Hofmann had moved team operations to Anaheim, California, as a threat to try to get renovations to the Kingdome or an agreement from King County to build a new stadium. A move of the entire franchise appeared imminent. But it didn’t happen.
The fears of the Seattle faithful were assuaged in 1997 when Paul Allen stepped in and purchased the Seahawks for $200 million, ensuring they would remain firmly in the northwest. From there, things began to turn around for the Seahawks.
Under Allen, the Seahawks have clawed their way into national relevance by becoming one of the more consistent franchises in the NFL. Before Allen took over, the Seahawks had only four playoff appearances and one measly division title.
With Allen at the helm, the Seahawks have won their division eight times, made 12 trips to the playoffs, won three NFC championships and claimed a championship in Super Bowl XLVIII over the Denver Broncos.
For nearly 22 years, the Seahawks enjoyed the rare luxury of a wealthy owner who legitimately knew what the franchise meant to the community who also never meddled in the day-to-day operations. It cannot be overstated what Allen meant to the Seahawks franchise, to Seattle and to the NFL. He will be truly missed.
We here at Seahawks Wire offer our sincerest condolences to Allen’s family and friends.