Sportsball: Championship Season in Seattle

Knock on wood, then read this: The Seahawks are 5/1 favorites to win the Super Bowl. According to Vegas, Seattle’s major pro-championships drought—now 35 years long—has a 20 percent chance of ending on February 2.

Super Bowl champions tend to have an elite unit, and the Hawks’ defense looks ready to play the part. The Seahawks’ secondary was already the NFL’s best last season; what was lacking was consistent pass rush. Pete Carroll’s offseason shopping spree fixed that. Acquisitions Michael Bennett, Clinton McDonald, and Cliff Avril are the Hawks’ top 3 quarterback sackers, combining for 12 sacks. The Hawks have 26 overall, third-best in the NFL.

The Seahawks are not the only locals with a shot at a championship.

University of Washington volleyball The Huskies are ranked No. 4 in the country, and, if they do win a championship, will do it right here in Seattle—the 2013 NCAA Volleyball Final Four is December 19 and 21 at KeyArena. Head coach Jim McLaughlin is the Jeff Bezos of volleyball; he’s obsessed with metrics, learning, and constant improvement. He’s built the Huskies into a perennial contender since arriving in 2001, including a 2005 national championship. Volleyball prodigy Krista Vansant handles the all-important outside hitter position (the person who spikes the ball into the opposing court); All-American Vansant chose Washington—and McLaughlin—over powerhouse programs like Penn State and Stanford.

Bishop Sankey The Washington football team won’t match the volleyball team with a national championship, but running back Bishop Sankey has a chance to win the NCAA rushing championship, something no Husky has ever done. After his career-high 241-yard performance Saturday against Cal, Sankey is third in the country with 145.3 rushing yards per game.

Seattle Sounders FC Only an Ed Murray loss in the mayoral race could give Seattle a bigger Fall fall (or autumnal tumble) than the Sounders have perpetrated. Owners of the MLS’ best record on September 13, the Sounders finished the regular season 0-4-3 and dropped to fourth in the Western Conference. By the time you read this, the Sounders’ season could be over, having ended with a loss in Wednesday’s wild-card game against Colorado. Or they’ll have gotten their first win in more than a month and be prepping for a conference semifinal against Portland—hoping to repeat Los Angeles’ 2012 feat of winning the MLS Cup from the #4 seed.

We have done it before. Here’s a refresher of past Seattle sports championships:

Seattle Metropolitans: Stanley Cup, 1917

UW rowing: 1936 Olympics and 18 titles

Seattle Buchan Bakers, AAU Basketball: 1956

UW football: 1991

Seattle SuperSonics, NBA: 1979

Seattle Storm, WNBA: 2004, 2010

UW volleyball: 2005

UW softball: 2009

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