Here in Oklahoma City, we've been watching your football team and its slobber-knocking run through the playoffs. We see the joy that the Seahawks have created. We see the passion that you have for this Super Bowl bound bunch. We see the arm-waving, ground-shaking 12th Man insanity of it all.
And we wonder if it's time for a truce.
You've got a great football team.
We've got a great basketball team.
Can we all just get along now?
Sure, there will probably always be some people in Seattle who hate Oklahoma City because the Sonics left there and became the Thunder here. They watched a couple years ago when the Thunder made the NBA Finals and felt they'd been stabbed in the heart all over again.
That's assuming they survived the pain of seeing Clay Bennett hold the Western Conference championship trophy above his head.
But the truth is, the Sonics' departure can be traced in part to the Seahawks' last — and only other — trip to the Super Bowl. That was February 2006, and the Seahawks went to Detroit to play the Steelers in a game most Seattle fans remember for snowy weather outside Ford Field and crummy officiating inside it.
Pittsburgh won 21-10.
The same winter that your football team had everyone buzzing there, a displaced basketball team was having the same effect here. The Hornets had landed in Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina forced them out of New Orleans, and we were quickly realizing that we loved this NBA stuff.
And as our NBA passion grew, yours in Seattle waned.
The Seahawks were the kings, and the Mariners were the princes. The Sonics? Well, they weren't that good then, and the crowds waned. Making matters worse was an arena that was more deterrent than draw for fans. The Sonics' arena that wasn't nearly as nifty as the palaces that you build for the Seahawks and the Mariners.
So, the team that put Seattle on the pro sports map slipped to the bottom of the pecking order.
It's not anyone's fault. It happens.
Then, Seattle businessman Howard Schultz sold the Sonics to a bunch of businessmen from a city that had a better arena and an energized fan base but no NBA team. A hearty band of fans fought to keep the Sonics — some of them were the same folks who fought successfully to keep the Seahawks in town in 1996; the franchise actually moved to Los Angeles for a few months before caving to legal pressure, selling to Paul Allen and moving back to the Pacific Northwest — but there were just as many dedicated souls who didn't care if the Sonics left. A group called “Citizens for More Important Things” railed against the idea of spending any more tax dollars on sports arenas.