I always found it interesting that when the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were added to the NFL in 1976, some notable things took place those first two years. Seattle initially joined the NFC West and Tampa Bay’s inaugural season had them slotted in the AFC West. The teams switched conferences the following season with Tampa moving to the NFC Central and Seattle to the AFC West until re-alignment in 2002. This was done so both teams would play each team in the NFL in their first two seasons.
The Bears crushed Seattle 34-7 in their first meeting in 1976, then lost to the upstart team in 1978, Neill Anderson and Buddy Ryan’s first season in Chicago. The Bears would not beat Seattle again until 1990, when the Bears shut them out 17-0 in a defensive resurgence after a poor 1989 season.
The Bears would not meet the Seahawks again until 1999, as the old NFL scheduling formula had teams only playing four members of that year’s opposing conference division rather than five. Thus the Bears did not play Seattle in 1993 or 1996 when they met teams of the AFC West. This meant the Bears only played in Seattle’s defunct Kingdome three times, the last being the 1984 loss in which Walter Payton threw a touchdown pass to Matt Suhey and Bob Avellini sealed his fate as a former Bears quarterback.
In 1999 at Soldier Field, Chicago lost 14-13 in the season’s second game, no thanks to two missed field goal attempts by rookie kicker Brian Gowins.
Following the 2002 relocation of Seattle to the NFC West, the Matt Hasselbeck vs. the Bears era began. The 1-5 Bears lost at Seattle in 2003, but then beat the Seahawks twice in 2006, including a last-second playoff win. The Bears dominated Seattle in a 2010 NFC Divisional playoff game, but have actually lost three of the last five matchups. But the Bears have won four of the last seven, including playoffs.
In 2011, the Bears were smashed by the Seahawks 38-14, this being with Caleb Hanie at quarterback. I’m feeling much better about this matchup with Jay Cutler in the Bears’ lineup.