There was a time when playing in Arizona was a welcome thing. It was a place for the Seahawks to flex their muscles and exert their dominance over the Cardinals, the little brother of the division. A place where an almost home field-like atmosphere could be created due to relative proximity to Seattle. How appealing it is to fly only two-or-so hours from Seattle down south to the nice weather of Arizona. I would know because my family and I did that in 2014 for a 35-6 victory over the Cardinals.
Now playing in Arizona has become a graveyard for Seattle, where slowly but surely the greatest era in Seahawks history has eroded piece by piece in the Valley of the Sun. I am convinced the field is littered with landmines at this point.
The beginning of the end happened when the Seahawks infamously lost Super Bowl XLIX on the goal line when Patriots cornerback intercepted Russell Wilson. Seattle was denied a second championship, and from there the walls started to crumble away.
In 2016 the Seahawks embarrassingly tied the Cardinals in an ugly 6-6 game of field goals. Not only was this the first tie in franchise history, but it also had lasting impacts for the rest of the season. As a result of the tie, Seattle finished 10-5-1, instead of 11-5. Had they managed to secure that 11th victory, they would have edged out the Atlanta Falcons for the second seed and a first-round bye. Instead, they dropped to the 3rd seed and had to travel to Atlanta in the playoffs... where they were shellacked 36-20.
Had the Seahawks earned the first round bye, Atlanta would have traveled to Seattle where they had lost earlier that season. The 2016 Seahawks were a good team, and that season was likely their last legitimate shot at a Super Bowl appearance for the time being.
The following year, the Seahawks lost two critical members of the Legion of Boom. Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles tendon, and Kam Chancellor injured his neck. It was the last game the two Seattle icons set foot on a field as Seahawks, as Sherman was later released in the offseason and Chancellor was forced into retirement.
And now, the misfortune continues even in 2018. The Seahawks may have defeated the win-less Cardinals 20-17, but it came at a great cost. Earl Thomas became the latest casualty when he broke his leg defending a routine pass. Given the contract disputes, it will likely be the last time Thomas suits up as a Seahawk as well.
Arizona is both a graveyard and a monument to "what could have been" for the Seahawks. When asked about what it is about this venue that produces such unfortunate outcomes for Seattle, wide receiver Doug Baldwin said it best:
"I don't know, man. It's sad as f***"
Couldn't agree more, Doug.