In local sports, 2013 was the year of the sure thing gone wrong. The Seahawks scored a go-ahead touchdown with 34 seconds left in a January playoff game and lost. In April, Chris Hansen presented a wildly generous bid for the Sacramento Kings that included the financial backing of one of the world’s 50 richest men—and didn’t get the team. In September, the Sounders owned the league’s best record. Having just added Clint Dempsey, a deep run in the MLS playoffs seemed inevitable—then the Sounders won just once in their final 10 matches. And the Washington State Cougars football team put an exclamation point on the trend on December 21, blowing a 15-point lead in the closing minutes of the New Mexico Bowl thanks to fumbles on consecutive plays.
Yet for all the disappointment of 2013, it could still be remembered as one of the great years in Seattle sports.
The Mariners, marginalized for a decade, signaled a new commitment to relevance by signing Robinson Cano to a $240 million contract, the most expensive in Seattle sports history—maybe Seattle employment history. Geoff Baker’s Seattle Times expose of incompetence and micromanaging by Mariners’ leadership, combined with the retirement of longtime president Chuck Armstrong, could finally press the team’s owners to hire a more qualified management team, like divisional competitors Oakland and Texas have.
The Sounders’ stunning signing of Dempsey didn’t bring short-term success, but the four-year deal wasn’t a short-term signing. By year’s end. the Sounders had signed a more Dempsey-friendly cast—bolstering the team’s defense and acquiring more traditional striker targets like 6´3˝ Kenny Cooper.
The Husky football team lucked into an upgrade at head coach, with Steve Sarkisian’s departure to USC timed perfectly for the Dawgs to lure the coveted Chris Peterson away from Boise State. Washington got out from under Sarkisian just in time—the inexperienced, thin-skinned, undisciplined Sarkisian certainly improved the talent on the Huskies’ roster, but allegations against assistant Tosh Lupoi suggest that Sark’s recruiting success may have been based on a rotten foundation.
And then there’s the Seahawks. The 2013 edition of our 37-year-old NFL franchise is the best yet. Approaching the playoffs, the Seahawks stand as the consensus Super Bowl favorites. If they win it, it won’t be until February, but “the 2013 Seahawks” will always be their moniker.
As 2013 comes to an end, it stands as just another of 34 consecutive years that Seattle’s missed out on a major pro sports championship. The epilogue remains unwritten.