You all remember during the preseason when Pete Carroll was building this team and we were discussing how we thought the season would play out? I remember a kind of general consensus that we would start out slowly probably losing more than winning to start with but having the team develop as the season wore on and by seasons end when we had gelled, we would be the team that no one wanted to play. In the aftermath of yesterday's game, I was thinking that although the road we took to get here was certainly a different one than we had imagined, right now, the Seattle Seahawks ARE truly the team no one wants to play. It hit me like a ton of bricks that our conjecture had actually come to pass.
Who in their right mind would want to play the Seattle Seahawks now? They've already had a wildly successful season and are the only team in the picture with absolutely nothing to lose as they move forward in the playoffs. It's almost like they've already won their Super Bowl and are now just playing for the sheer joy of it. No pressure, no worries. The Seahawks will be playing fast and loose knowing every step they take from now on was totally unanticipated by anyone outside of a few crazy fans and a couple of local sports personalites just a week ago. Who wants to be the next team to be humiliated by losing to the worst team to ever make the playoffs? New Orleans just took that monkey off our back by legitimizing the Seahawks as a playoff participant this year despite their record by being the team that lost to that scurge of a team. Now the Seahawks and their dismal record can't be mentioned without pointing out that New Orleans was the first team eliminated in the playoffs this year by that very same team. Talk about coming up smelling like a rose.
I think even the most ardent proponent of the value of a top ten draft pick this year will certainly agree that the experience to be gained by the whole team from participating in a playoff like last game of the season coupled with not only a home playoff win but the opportunity to go play in a 2nd playoff game on a hostile field will certainly temper this team in the crucible of playoff competition and give them an edge to take into next season. I would conjecture the experience plus the taste of post season play will at least give the team as much benefit as the 8th pick in the draft would have. Think about it. The Seahawks will be a playoff seasoned team next year and that should translate into better play and a better perspective on what it takes to get deep into postseason play. The Seahawks should be setting their sights quite a bit higher next season. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. We still have to finish this season first and we've got at least one more week of football left to talk about maybe more. How sweet is that?
Of course, the big question is can we keep it going. I've see some fans saying that if we play Chicage and win, we'll host the NFC championship. Just to clarify, that scenario only works if Green Bay wins today and continues to win against Atlanta while we beat Chicago. Green Bay is the only team left in the NFC that is a lower seed than we are and therefor the only team that would have to travel to Qwest field. I love the scenario though. One reader pointed out last week how annoyed the NFL was at the thought of a 7 - 9 team making the playoffs and now we've gone and eliminated the world champs when no one outside the of the Pacific Northwest gave us even a small chance of doing so. Think how upset we're going to make people if we do continue to pull off the big upset and do land the NFC title game especially considering what happened last time we hosted that game. There are ways to get back at all those who disrespected us even when we were one of the best teams in the NFC. Rubbing these wins into their faces as a 7 - 9 team seems to me to be a most satisfactory way to get back at all the snubs and disrespect thrown our way over the last few years. They've been calling us out as a loser even when we were winning the West for half a decade so why not come back as that very loser they postulated we were and rip through the tournament beating all the media darlings in the process? Not as far fetched as it once seemed, a fact I'm sure everyone's aware of.
Pete Carroll was starting to get some disparaging remarks thrown at him and particularly his immediate staff of Bates and Bradley were being maligned as his team appeared to be falling apart towards the end of the season. Some were questioning what was significantly different from last year when Mora lost the team and they played poorly and without passion during the last quarter of the season and whether we had improved at all. Pete never gave up and kept preaching what he had all season about the importance of competing and believing in yourself. His team never gave up either and they kept battling until all of a sudden, they found themselves all together in the same boat with their backs to the wall last week against the Rams. The lessons Pete had taught them cut through any confusion and with a clarity we've never witnessed coming so quickly to our team, they gelled in the last week of the season as they rallied behind backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and started playing as a team on both sides of the ball. That was the pivitol moment we had been waiting for all season long and all the pieces just seemed to fall into place and not a minute too soon.
A week later and the time was ripe for them to give a good effort against the world champs and bow out proud that they even made the playoffs while fading out as a footnote in NFL history. Are you kidding me? A Pete Carroll team? They continued to compete and Pete would later say he thought they could beat the Saints before the game even started. The Seahawks gelled this time behind their real leader and the one guy talented enough and experienced enough to be able to go toe to toe with top quarterback Drew Brees and win. Matt Hasselbeck called audibles that nuetralized the Saints defense and used his playoff experience to play almost flawless football from the quarterback position in a huge game for a team caught in the middle of a total rebuild. Now we get to go through it all again in the coming week. Most likely no one will give us a chance against our next opponent be it Chicago or Atlanta. Playing Chicago in Chicago again or Atlanta in Atlanta isn't going to be a walk in the park and will certainly be orders of magnitude tougher than playing the Saints on our home field with the 12th man behind us. Do you think the Seahawks care? They're so far beyond their wildest dreams now that nothing can faze them. With another Saturday game next week, they'll be concerned with "tell the truth Sunday" followed by "competition Tuesday" and it'll be business as usual at the VMAC. Hey, it's just another playoff game for the team that thought it could.
Would you want to be the next team to play that team?