NFL Prevented Seattle Seahawks From Moving

Published on August 6th, 2022 1:49 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel



A story about how the Seahawks almost moved south to California. The day was February 2nd, 1996.

The Seattle Seahawks were moving to Anaheim.

The owner of the Seattle Seahawks at the time, Ken Behring, had had enough - he was picking up the Seahawks and taking them to Anaheim.

Behring was deadly serious about the move - moving trucks had arrived at the Kingdome and were starting to pack. The team's executives were forced to work out of a local hotel.

Players started doing their off-season workouts in Anaheim.

What happened next?

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It's hard to believe that the Seattle Seahawks, who have enjoyed so much success over the past decade, were on the brink of moving to Anaheim.

At the time, the Seahawks weren't doing particularly well. The team had struggled on the field, and the team's owners were having a hard time getting a new stadium approved.

Ken Behring's response?

I'm packing up the team and taking it somewhere else.

Ken Behring made the laughable claim that he was worried about an earthquake hitting the Kingdome during a game, but this dispute was all centered around the need for a new stadium, and how it would be funded.

Behring thought that he would settle the dispute by packing up and leaving.

This is where the NFL stepped in.

We are fining you $500,000 per DAY, the NFL said, until you return the Seahawks to Seattle and return to normal operations. Behring did not have permission to move the team from the NFL and its owners.

King County (Seattle) also got busy, filing lawsuits against Behring to prevent him from moving the team.

Behring was stuck. He didn't have permission to move the team, and was facing costly fines and lawsuits.

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Ken Behring was obviously incredibly unpopular with Seattle's fan base at this point, as well as the staff, coaches and most of the players (Cortez Kennedy famously refused to travel to Anaheim to practice, stating that he signed with Seattle, not Anaheim).

Behring saw no way out and decided to sell.

Behring would strike a deal with billionaire Paul Allen, contingent on funding being raised for a new stadium (QWest Field).

The funding would be approved via a statewide vote, and Paul Allen would buy the team for $200 million.

A new era in Seattle football would be born - one that would ultimately result in the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl win.

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