The last time the Seattle Seahawks went into a season with expectations anywhere near as high as they were this year, they lost their star running back to a season-ending knee injury in the 1984 opener.

The last time the Seahawks made a run to the Super Bowl, they were plagued by dropped passes and a few questionable calls that still leave the fan base spitting mad nearly eight years later.

So while these Seahawks have somehow found a way to live up to the hype heading into Monday night's showdown with the New Orleans Saints (9-2), there are 37 years of history to temper some of the excitement surrounding football in the Emerald City these days. All of that noise inside CenturyLink Field might sound like unbridled enthusiasm, but there's plenty of nervous anticipation around these parts.

"Among the fans who aren't into face-painting, I think there are a lot of people waiting for the shoe to drop," said Art Thiel, a columnist who has been a fixture in the Seattle sports community for more than 30 years. "People just can't grasp the concept that one of their teams will actually walk the talk."

Since last December, when coach Pete Carroll took the reins off then-rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks are 14-1. Throw in two playoff games and a perfect preseason, and Seattle has lost twice over a span of 21 games.