Sports

Ferguson hopes Seahawks playoff loss to Pack was start of someting special

Bob Ferguson watched in amazement from his perch high above hallowed Lambeau Field as Green Bay Packer cornerback Al Harris streamed 52 yards down the sidelines for a game-winning touchdown.

The overtime score Jan. 4 gave the Packers a 33-27 win over Ferguson’s Seattle Seahawks — knocking them from the 2004 National Football League playoffs.

It’s a moment Ferguson, a 1968 gradate of Federal Way High School, will never forget. The first-year Seahawk general manager hopes it’s a moment that proves to be the start of something special for the Seattle football franchise.

“It goes without saying that it’s been a special year in a lot of ways,” Ferguson said. “It was a great season. Any time you make it to the playoffs, it’s huge. It was great to be a part of it. We have got to continue to improve.”

It has been nearly a year since Ferguson was hired by owner Paul Allen and the rest of the Seahawk management to relieve some of the pressure on Mike Holmgren, who acted as the coach and general manager for four seasons. It was a hiring that brought Ferguson back to the Puget Sound region after 22 years away.

“I kind of forget how long I was gone,” he said. “Federal Way has changed so much and it’s all for the better. I have always been proud of being from Federal Way. I would come back every year to see my parents, but I didn’t get to spend the time here with the old Federal Way guys.”

Ferguson now has that chance.

“Every other day I would get a message on my machine. It’s fun to be able to do that.”

Ferguson’s return to the Seahawks brings his 28-year NFL career full circle. He served as director of sales and special events for the Seahawks from 1975-79 after lettering three times as a linebacker at the University of Washington following his stellar career at Federal Way.

But being a hometown boy only goes so far, in the eyes of the finicky Seahawk fan.

It’s now time to produce and Ferguson knows it. This offseason will be one of the most anticipated in Seahawk history. Unlike in the past, fans are now expecting a Super Bowl run. If the Carolina Panthers can do it, why can’t the Seattle Seahawks?

Like Ferguson knows from his time in the Seattle area — if the Seahawks are rolling, they are the number-one draw in town. The Mariners took over that distinction following their unbelievable run in 1995 and have held it for nearly a decade.

But Ferguson wants the “King of Seattle Sports” title back in Kirkland and around the neck of the Seahawks. Seattle is a football town — there’s no doubting that.

And if this year was any indication, Ferguson’s team is well on its way to getting back to the glory days of Steve Largent, Dave Krieg, Kenny Easley and Curt Warner of the mid-1980s.

“Whenever you make the playoffs, it’s huge,” Ferguson said. “It’s great to be a part of it.”

This year’s Seahawks were actually the fifth NFL team Ferguson has been a part of to make it into the playoffs. Ferguson was in the front office for the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals for playoff victories.

“Everywhere I’ve been it seems like we go to the playoffs right away,” he said. “I’ve kind of got used to it.”

The fans of Seattle haven’t — however.

The Seahawks have qualified for the postseason just nine times in their 28-year history and haven’t won a game in the NFL playoffs since Dec. 22, 1984, when they defeated the Oakland Raiders 13-7 in the Kingdome.

Ferguson has his work cut out for him this offseason.

The Seahawks have several key unrestricted free agents that Ferguson and his staff will have to make decisions on, including Pro Bowl tackle Walter Jones, receiver Darrell Jackson, who dropped a lot of Matt Hasselbeck passes this year, middle linebacker Randall Godfrey and former Pro Bowl corner Shawn Springs.

“We need to get those guys signed,” Ferguson said. “I believe in keeping your own guys and some people can be critical of that. With these guys, you know what you have.

“But you still might have to turn the page on some. You have to look at your weaknesses.”

A big weakness this season came on the defensive side of the ball and, most notably, a big-time lack of any type of a pass rush. Something Ferguson sees and says he will fix.

“Everybody would like to have a Reggie White fall out of a tree,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. We have a lot to look forward to.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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