WASHINGTON, D.C. -- For believers in sporting omens, here's one for you:
For the NFC wild-card playoff match Sunday against the Redskins, the Seahawks are staying at the same hotel on Capitol Hill as the Sonics did when they won Seattle's only modern major pro sports championship.
Exactly zero Seahawks were alive when that unique moment in Northwest sports unfolded in May, 1979. The Sonics a year earlier lost the NBA Finals to the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards), the seventh-game anguish crushing a sellout Seattle crowd at the then-Coliseum.
In the rematch, the Sonics dominated, winning 4-1 at Cap Centre in the Maryland suburbs, not far from FedEx Field where the Seahawks-Redskins dust-up is booked for 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
The post-game party at the hotel lasted until the Sonics' charter flew back the next day to Seattle. Judging from the looks of the joint, the place cleaned up nicely over the last 33 years.
The Seahawks' buses rolled in about midnight Friday from Baltimore-Washington airport. They have a walk-through Saturday afternoon to check out the battered field at FedEx, where the natural grass field is often viewed as slower than artificial turf, which would be a slight disadvantage for a Seahawks defense that relies on speed and quick cuts. The Seahawks, Carroll said Friday, are the least-injured team entering the post season that he has been associated with.
“We plan on wearing cleats — real cleats and not the ones with the molded bottoms," coach Pete Carroll said before the team left Seattle Friday. "We go to the stadium the day before to make sure we know what we’re talking about. The equipment guys are all over it. That’s why we make that [day-ahead walk-through], to make sure we can make those adjustments before we get to pregame.”
Brown and bare patches were visible Sunday when the Redskins beat the Cowboys 28-18 to make the postseason field in the most-watched regular-season, prime-time game ever — a 17.0 rating and more than 30 million viewers. Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, managed to navigate the lumps of sod fairly well despite a sore knee. Griffin, earlier in the week, had hoped to shed a knee brace, but Redskins coach Mike Shanahan confirmed Friday that Griffin will again wear the brace to protect a knee hurt Dec. 9.
Whatever the conditions, the Seahawks have a playoff history to lean on. Though the team lost their last six regular games to the Redskins, they won both playoff games between the clubs in 2006 and 2008. The last time the Seahawks won in D.C. was Nov. 19, 1995. Coached by Dennis Erickson and quarterbacked by Rick Mirer, Seattle prevailed 27-20 before 51,298 at RFK Stadium.