It’s taken 15 years to produce another volume to place next to Moody’s on your Seahawk bookshelf. “Steve Raible’s Tales from the Seahawks Sideline” is a worthwhile journey through the entire history of the Seahawks, as told by one of the few men who have been around to witness it. Raible, the former Seahawk receiver and long-time analyst for the team, collaborated with Tacoma News Tribune beat writer Mike Sando to put his best Seahawk memories into an enjoyable (albeit slim) collection.
Many of the stories you’ve heard, but there’s a few you haven’t. One of my favorite new stories was about the time Denver linebacker Tom Jackson hit Seattle backup quarterback Sam Adkins so hard that Adkins bit all the way through his upper lip and had his moustache pulled though to the inside of his mouth. **Yikes!!**. The greatest service Raible gives to his stories of the players who have taken the field for the Seahawks is to constantly remind us all that these guys were FOOTBALL PLAYERS. Football isn’t a sport for the soft-hearted, and the stories in this book take you from the sideline to the field but also into the training rooms and Cheney dorm rooms. Football players, more than any other athletes, deserve our respect because of the way they sacrifice their bodies to compete every Sunday. I definitely sense that Raible wants you to know this, because many of his stories focus on the physical struggles of the sport.
Raible bounces from topic to topic and year to year. Individual chapters honor legends Chuck Knox, Kenny Easley and other all-timers. Another chapter goes more in-depth into the “Cinderella” 1983 season (in which the team went 9-7, leapfrogged the Broncos and the Dolphins in the playoffs, and lost the AFC Championship to the Los Angeles Raiders). One more poignant moment was the game in mid-season of ’83 in which Jim Zorn passed the starting job permanently to Dave Krieg. Zorn offers quotes that seem to suggest that after 21 years, he’s still not at peace with how his Seahawk career ended. Raible dances carefully as he attempts to honor two men who both felt they deserved to lead the team.
Raible respects the men he’s worked with over the years, and at time his stories go a little soft or lack depth. One story described our first kicker, Don Bitterlich, which might have been more interesting but it was only about 3 sentences. Why start a story and not finish it? Parts of the book seem to chug along in fits and spurts. Some sections seem less than complete. The reader may be left wanting more.
Mike Sando deserves a great deal of credit for extracting an enormous amount of history from the memories of Steve Raible. Seahawk fans should hope this is just the first of many such collections.
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(Editor's note: You can read Seahawks.NET's exclusive August 2 interview with Mike Sando, in which he talks about the book, right here).