Quick! name some Seattle Seahawks! Dave Krieg, the quarterback, you say... John L. Williams, the running back...a receiver named Blades—hold it! Brian or Bennie?—and there's.... The point is that Seattle has the NFL's biggest identity problem, especially now that Steve Largent, Kenny Easley, Curt Warner and even Brian Bosworth are no longer around. Yet every December the Seahawks are in the fight for a wildcard playoff spot.
Maybe they are best personified by their rock-solid but unassuming coach, Chuck Knox, who has won at least seven games in each of his eight seasons in Seattle. In fact, the Seahawks have won at least nine games in four of the past five years, including 1990, when Devoid of big-name players, the Seahawks are made in the image of their coach, they missed a wild-card berth on a tiebreaker, despite having seven linebackers on injured reserve during the season. This year Seattle is 5-4, even though Krieg missed six weeks with a broken thumb on his passing hand. Knox has had to make do with journeymen and hard workers. "There's no doubt about it," Krieg says. "Chuck's overall presence, his intensity, his toughness, play a big factor in helping us win."
What's his secret? "Consistency of approach," says Knox, 59, who, including his stints with the Rams and with the Bills, is the sixth-winningest coach (176-120-1) in NFL history. "I take the same basic premise I took when I coached high school football in Pennsylvania: Hard work will win. I take the same professional approach every day and set expectations high. That way, it's easier to replace a starter. The replacement knows the standard is a high one."
Knox is known for one other thing: Knoxisms. He's constantly throwing clich�s at his players, such as, "Work will win. Wishing won't." Krieg writes them in a notebook—he thinks he has the entire collection of Knoxisms recorded—including the one that says more about Knox and his team than anything. "It's one of my favorites," says Knox. "Here it is: 'What you do speaks so well. There's no need to hear what you say.' "