A monumental figure in the history and shaping of the Seattle Seahawks franchise passed away Tuesday morning. At the age of 95, NFL lifer John Thompson died in Las Vegas, per his son, Mike.
Thompson was the first ever general manager of the Seahawks and even helped pick the team’s nickname and color scheme.
He served as Seattle’s GM from 1975-1982 after holding positions throughout the NFL for 25 years prior to his hiring.
Before his time in the Pacific Northwest, John Thompson worked with the Minnesota Vikings from 1960-1970, helping lay the groundwork for the Vikes’ Purple People Eaters defenses that terrorized the NFL from the late 60s to late 70s.
After which, Thompson was hired as the assistant to the president of the post-merger NFC. One year later, he’d go on to become the league’s first full-time executive director of the NFL’s Management Council, which oversees collective bargaining.
Once in Seattle, Thompson held a fan contest to come up with the team name, eventually settling on the Seahawks.
“Our name shows aggressiveness, reflects our soaring Northwest heritage, and belongs to no other major league team,” Thompson said in a news release announcing the name. “The fans DID suggest the name. It was not one of our original working selections.”
“Our name is very important to us,” he continued. “We wanted to do it right, and to develop a suitable name, color selection, emblem and logo type to best represent the Northwest. Our fans have been extremely helpful, and their support is key to the Seahawks’ success.”
Rest in peace to John Thompson, an important man who helped shape the NFL that we know and love today.