Happy Off-Season Seahawk Fans!
Since 1976 the Seahawks have played 38 seasons and played in 596 regular season and 24 playoff games. I have been able to go back and re-construct the game to game roster for every regular season and playoff game in team history. I started this process in October and it became quite an obsession until I finished sometime in December, just waiting for this latest season to end so I could have all 38 years of complete data.
I've always been overly mindful of roster numbers, and my plan here is to present the roster numerically. The only real problem with that idea is quite a few players have used multiple roster numbers in the Seahawk careers. In fact by my count 64 Seahawk players in team history have worn multiple jersey numbers (the most recent being Jeremy Lane who switched from 37 to 20 early in his rookie season). 7 players wore 3 different numbers in their career!
So how do I determine the all-time roster? I do it a little different than you'll see on the Seahawks official site. My first big departure is I'm not considering the replacement players in 1987. Most of those guys would never have sniffed an NFL roster if not for the disastrous three game strike that year. I don't fault those guys for taking the chance they got to play, but to me they are a footnote in team history, not a main point.
Practice squad players I don't count unless they cracked the 53 man roster at some point. There are just too many guys who floated on and off the roster to track it all and the historic data would be very incomplete. I do, however, count a player for his year of service if he started on the PS and later made the 53. Mack Strong is the best example here... he was on the PS all of 1993 before catching on permanently the next year. Same thing with off-season or pre-season rosters. To be counted you have to part of the team during the regular season. Lendale White and Terrell Owens don't count.
Injured players I am more likely to count than not, although I admit I'm using some subjectivity here. Nate Odomes doesn't show up on the Seahawk's official all-time roster, but the guy definitely has a spot in the story line of team history. Other guys are hurt who probably weren't going to make the team anyway, and I've left them off.
In counting games, I include playoff games. The Seahawks don't credit Ryan Longwell with playing in a game, marking him with an Asterisk. To me, he gets credit.
With that criteria, my list has 851 all-time players. Of those, 60 never played in a game. They may have been on IR (Odomes) or were just never active (B.J. Daniels). All 60 of those players were part of the 45 or 53 man roster at some point so they count.
So for the next 99 days I will present the players who wore each roster number in descending order starting with #99. For each number I will highlight who the ORIGINAL player is for the number, who the MOST RECENT player is, and who the MOST VALUABLE of all-time was (or is). My MVPs may spark some debate amongst us "old-timers" which is part of the fun. Hopefully you will join in.
But what of those players who wore multiple numbers in their career? It does make it less tidy, but I essentially assigned each player their primary number, which was usually not hard although Itula Mili wore 49, 88 and 89 in about equal measure. You'll have to wait and see where he landed.
My project was (I thought) a resounding success except I ran into one player who defied the entire system. In late 1976 the Seahawks claimed a safety off waivers named Bryant Salter. He was on the roster for one game (December 5, 1976) and then released the following day. The record of that game shows Salter on the roster but NO ROSTER NUMBER. I don't know if he ever had one. So I'm left with 850 players for whom I know their numbers and one who I don't know, or probably he never actually had one (my guess is he never made it to Seattle). The Seahawks do NOT consider Salter as part of their all-time roster but in fact he should be included, because he was one of the 45 players, if only for 4 days.
Hopefully this on-going thread provides old-timers with some chances to re-live some old good (or not-so-good) times and perhaps gives some of our newer fans and appreciation for all that has gone on before. 2013 may be the top of the mountain, but for many of us the climb took 38 years.
John aka "The Hawkstorian"
**edited because I counted three players twice so it's really 851 total, not 854**