4. Dennis Erickson
My dad had many rants about Dennis Erickson back in the days of young Ben. Perhaps it was all of those 7-9 or 8-8 finishes. Erickson coached the Seattle Seahawks for four seasons, going 31-33 during his time in Seattle. After Erickson left the University of Miami with a hurricane of NCAA rules violations in 1994, he turned down offers from the Denver Broncos and the Philadelphia Eagles to coach the Seahawks.
Erickson became known for his productive passing offenses in Seattle. At halftime of a game in his first season, in 1995, he benched former second-overall pick Rick Mirer for backup John Friesz, who led the Seahawks to a comeback win, rallying from a 20-point deficit. They lost their final game to finish 8-8 in 1995 and miss the playoffs. Heading into the 1997 season after a 7-9 finish by Erickson (actually Erickson’s worst record with the Seahawks) Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bought the Seattle Seahawks and helped pass a referendum for a new stadium to be built.
Erickson again went 8-8 in 1997 despite building a potent passing attack. 1998, Erickson’s final year in Seattle, was a season that will live in infamy. Led by Warren Moon, the Seahawks started strong with a blowout of the Eagles on Kickoff Weekend. But nearing the end of yet another up-and-down season, Erickson turned to Jon Kitna to lead his team to the playoffs. The Seahawks eked out a victory against the Tennessee Oilers in Week 16, setting up a do-or-die matchup with Vinny Testaverde and the New York Jets. Testaverde of course would score a touchdown on a blown call late in the game to keep Erickson and the Seahawks out of the playoffs. Still a painful memory for Seahawks fans.
Dennis Erickson kept things right around .500 for his Seahawks coaching career. He is currently the assistant head coach and running backs coach for the Utah Utes.
Next: 3. Finally Some Playoff Appearances!