With the Seattle Seahawks playing the Oakland Raiders this week, I’m reminiscing on the AFC West days when I could be a Raider Hater twice a year. One preseason game every once in a while is just not enough Raider hating.
Strangely, the November 30, 1987 game at Seattle has me remembering the bad guys in not such an evil light. Watching Bo Jackson play was a bit like watching Walter Payton or Barry Sanders. It didn’t matter if he played for your team or even a rival. You didn’t even have to like football necessarily. You knew you were seeing something special: a blend of power, speed, smarts and finesse that existed in very few humans.
Bo had it all on display that Monday Night in the Kingdome. Shaking off an early fumble, he slipped a Kenny Easley tackle for a 14 yard score. Later, he found space off the left tackle and disappeared for a 91 yard touchdown. He reached the end zone and kept going, running into the locker room tunnel.
Later in the third quarter, Bo got the ball at the two-yard line. The only one standing between him and a third touchdown was rookie linebacker Brian Bosworth.
Bosworth was the mohawked, big-mouthed two-time Butkus award winner who sent letters to numerous NFL teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, informing them he would not play for them if they drafted him. The Bucs picked him No. 1 in the 1986 draft and he refused to play. Seattle selected him in the supplemental draft and signed him to a 10-year, $11 million contract, which was the largest rookie contract in league history at the time.
Boz and all that money got trucked at the goal line that night. Bo put a shoulder down and shoved him right into the end zone. It couldn’t have happened to a worse Seahawk.
Bosworth played 10 games the next year and two after that before retiring from the game. A team doctor said he had the shoulders of a 60-year-old. Maybe the Seahawks should have looked under the hood and kicked the tires more before committing so much money to a man once banned from the Orange Bowl for steroid use.
It was a 37-14 loss that at least had some beauty to it. The 221-yard, three-touchdown performance was something I’ll rarely see again. Too bad it was a hated team crushing my favorite team.
After the game, Seattle wide receiver Steve Largent said: “I think he should stick to baseball.”