SEATTLE – Most Seahawks fans are no fan of Broncos legend John Elway.
After watching the Hall of Fame QB scramble and sling his team to victory over Seattle so many times, how could they be? That distaste likely extends to rest of the Broncos, as well.
Seattle and Denver have played 55 times and the Broncos have dominated the series, 34-21. That’s the most losses Seattle has suffered to any team.
“We just always had trouble beating the Broncos,’’ Seahawks legend Steve Largent told the Seattle Times ahead of Super Bowl 48.
As a member of the AFC West from 1977-2001 Seattle played Denver twice a year, and the Broncos let them know right away who was in charge. Denver won the first four meetings and six of the first seven.
Seattle finally got going a bit in the ’80s, winning four out of five from ’81-’83. The Seahawks almost evened the series when they pulled within 13-14 all time after sweeping the Broncos in 1988 en route to the franchise’s first division title.
But the series swung back the Broncos’ way quickly as both teams’ fortunes swapped places in the 1990s. From 1992-2002, Denver won 16 of 20 games.
Times weren’t always bad for the Seahawks, though. Here’s a look at some of Seattle’s most memorable wins over Denver:
Dec. 8, 1979, at Kingdome: Seattle 28, Denver 23
The first one will always hold a special place. The Broncos had won back-to-back division titles and were on their way to a third straight playoff appearance when the Seahawks finally notched a victory.
It was a back-and-forth contest, but Jim Zorn found Largent for two deep touchdowns in the second half — the final strike a 43-yarder with 1:40 left to put the game away.
Dec. 24, 1983, at Kingdome: Seattle 31, Denver 7
Another first. After splitting with the Broncos in the regular season, the Seahawks rolled over Denver in the franchise’s first playoff game.
Rookie Curt Warner ran for 99 yards and Largent caught a touchdown. Elway, in his rookie season with Denver, came off the bench in the fourth quarter in place of starter Steve DeBerg but was unable to put together a rally.
Nov. 25, 1984, at Mile High Stadium: Seattle 27, Denver 24
This was a showdown for AFC West supremacy. The year after facing off in a wild-card game, the Seahawks (10-2) and Denver (11-1) met late in the season.
Seattle coach “Ground” Chuck Knox, known for his conservative play-calling, instructed quarterback Dave Krieg to fire a bomb to speedster Daryl Turner on the first play of the game. The gamble paid off with an 80-yard touchdown that helped quiet the crowd and set the tone for Seattle.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they lost to the Broncos at home three weeks later and had to settle for a wild-card spot even though they were 12-4.
Dec. 11, 1988, at Kingdome: Seattle 42, Denver 14
This one was all about revenge. When the Seahawks traveled to Mile High for the first game of the season, Denver safety Mike Harden laid a vicious hit on Largent that caused a concussion and broke two of his teeth.
When the Broncos came to Seattle three months later, the legend was waiting.
Harden picked off a Krieg pass and was running it back when Largent came flying in, delivering a perfect shot. Harden fumbled and Largent recovered the football.
The Hall of Famer later said this was his favorite play of his illustrious career.
Nov. 30, 1992, at Kingdome: Seattle 16, Denver 13
The Seahawks only mustered two wins in 1992, still their lowest total in team history. But this one came against the hated Broncos on Monday night.
With Elway injured, Tommy Maddox was sacked three times and threw two interceptions for Denver.
Stan Gelbaugh came off the bench to rally the Hawks.
It was a nice moment for a team in desperate need of one, even if it did cost them the No. 1 overall draft pick and they had to settle for Rick Mirer instead of Drew Bledsoe in the draft.
Dec. 10, 1995, at Mile High Stadium: Seattle 31, Denver 27
Still the largest comeback in team history. The Broncos led 20-0 and were up 20-3 early in the third quarter going in for more on the Seahawks’ 10-yard line when things changed quickly.
Robert Blackmon leveled Elway on a safety blitz, causing him to fumble. Antonio Edwards scooped up the ball and rumbled 83 yards for a score. Instead of 27-3, it was 20-10 and the comeback was on. Seattle outscored Denver 21-7 in the fourth to seal the deal.
Nov. 14, 1999, at Kingdome: Seattle 20, Denver 17
Jon Kitna and Mike Holmgren continued their quick start together, as the Seahawks outscored the Broncos 10-0 in the fourth quarter to improve to 7-2 on the season.
Seattle would beat the Chiefs the following week on the road to push its record to 8-2 before losing five of its last six games and limping into the playoffs at 9-7.
It was the team’s first trip to the postseason in 11 seasons and just its second division title, but a last-minute loss to Dan Marino and the Dolphins at home left Seattle fans wanting.
Dec. 3, 2006, at Invesco Field at Mile High: Seattle 23, Denver 20
The Seahawks were coming off their first trip to the Super Bowl the previous season and again in a race for the playoffs when the teams hooked up for the first time in four seasons.
The Broncos led 13-7 heading into the fourth quarter when the game got wild.
A Shaun Alexander touchdown and two Josh Brown field goals pushed Seattle ahead 20-13, but Jay Cutler found Brandon Marshall for a 71-yard dagger with less than 3 minutes left to tie the game.
Matt Hasselbeck led the Hawks just past midfield. With 5 seconds left, Brown kicked a 50-yarder for the win.
Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium: Seattle 43, Denver 8
For the Seahawks and their fans, there is no bigger pinnacle than the blowout in the Meadowlands on the game’s biggest stage.
In hindsight, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the Legion of Boom would harass and hurry Peyton Manning and the most prolific offense in NFL history all day. But few predicted the outcome ahead of time.
By the time Percy Harvin ran back the second-half kickoff, it became clear that Seattle was not to be denied.
Sept. 21, 2014, At CenturyLink Field: Seattle 26, Denver 20, OT
The Broncos were much more competitive the following season, when they came to CenturyLink Field for a sunny September matinee.
Manning found Jacob Tamme for a 26-yard strike and then Demaryius Thomas for a 2-point conversion with 18 seconds left to push the game into overtime.
The Seahawks won the toss, though, and Russell Wilson led them right back down the field. Marshawn Lynch went off-tackle from 6 yards out and dove into the end zone to end it.
Manning walked off the field shaking his head yet again.
Perhaps more important to Seahawks fans, the loss dropped Elway – now Denver’s GM – to a two-game losing streak against Seattle. A streak fans hope continues Sunday.