The Kingdome came crashing down 20 years ago today, a final roar for a stadium known for producing deafening noise during its two-plus decade tenure as the home of the Seahawks and Mariners.
But a couple of months before the Kingdome came to its dramatic end, the Seahawks hosted one final game there, a wild-card round contest against the Miami Dolphins. And that game was notable not just because it was a playoff game or because it was the final game in the Kingdome, or even because it was the final win and penultimate game of Dan Marino's Hall of Fame career, but also because it featured a pair of local quarterbacks who happened to be brothers facing each other as opposing quarterbacks.
OK, so it wasn't quite a perfect script. While Damon and Brock Huard were both quarterbacks on the rosters of Miami and Seattle, respectively, both were backups in that game, with Damon serving as the holder for the Dolphins, while Brock was inactive as Seattle's third quarterback. So no, the two didn't have a big impact on the game—though Damon can claim a little piece of Kingdome trivia as being part of the final points scored in the building, along with Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare—but despite their limited roles in the game, it was a special final memory in a building that had been part of the Huard family's sports world for years.
"A lot of our family friends were there—Brock and I had a wager that the winner had to buy the tickets because he'd get another playoff check the next week," said Damon, who is now the Director of Community and External Relations and Special Advisor to the AD at the University of Washington, where both starred at quarterback before heading to the NFL. "We had a lot of family and friends there, and it was certainly fun for me to come home and be a part of that game… That was pretty cool, Brock and I on that field, last game ever, even though we were both backups."
Brock Huard's recall of that game are impressively vivid two decades later, including a key Marino to Oronde Gadsden 24-yard completion on third-and-10 to prolong Miami's go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter. But the sibling element really hit home more than two months later when he watched the building come down while at a Seahawks event on the north end of Beacon Hill.
"After the fact, and when it imploded we did, it was like, 'Wow, isn't that crazy?'" Brock said. "The last game in that building, and Damon and I were both in it."
Brock doesn't have a ton of on-field NFL memories of the Kingdome because he was a rookie during that 1999 season and didn't start any game until the following year when the Seahawks played at Husky Stadium. But he does have one Kingdome memory shared by many former players who played on that hard Astroturf field.
"I can look down at my hands today and still see the scars of turf burn from playing in that stadium, just from playing in preseason games," said Brock, who is a college football analyst for FOX and the color analyst for Seahawks preseason TV broadcasts, as well as the co-host of the Brock and Salk podcast. "Jon Kitna, my roommate that year, was like the walking wounded, he had turf burns all season long… I do remember how hard that field was. It left marks that 20-some years later we can still see."
But in addition to the physical scars, Brock also remembers one of the things that the Kingdome was known best for, the incredible noise produced by the fans.
"An unbelievable fanbase," he said. "So loud, the 12s originating there."
Said Damon, "It was a beautiful concrete building, driving north on I-5, you'd see it there to the west. It was a foundational piece of Seattle growing up.
And while it was special for the Huard brothers to be a part of the final game in the Kingdome, that building was home to a lot more family memories than just that one game.
In 1987, Damon was a freshman watching from the Kingdome sideline and Brock was an 11-year-old ball boy as the Mike Huard-coached Puyallup Vikings beat Gonzaga Prep for a state championship.
Five years later, Brock was a sophomore tight end for the Vikings when they returned to the Kingdome to play for a championship, but lost to Newport.
"My Kingdome memories are playing there in the King Bowl my sophomore year as a tight end for the Puyallup Vikings," Brock said. "It was being a ball boy in 1987 when I was 11 years old, wearing my Pumas and the homemade sweater my grandma knitted for me, rocking that as a ball boy with Billie Joe Hobert beating Gonzaga Prep, celebrating in that locker room and being around it. I remember it as a kid, a huge victory, then losing there as a sophomore."
The Huard brothers would play for opposing NFL teams three more times during their careers, including the season opener the next year, a Dolphins win in Miami, as well as a Patriots AFC Championship Game win over Indianapolis, after which Bill Belichick presented Damon with a game ball for the job he did emulating Peyton Manning in practice that week. But that first NFL meeting was particularly memorable because it was the final game in a building that will forever be a big part of Seattle sports history.
A look back at scenes from the first home of the Seahawks.