I don’t know about you, but when the Seahawks lost last week and were eliminated from the playoffs, it felt like the season ended. All this week I’ve had to remind myself not to forget about the Cardinals and go into full offseason mode here on the blog.
The ting is, this game matters. Maybe not for the playoffs anymore, but it still matters. To show why it mattes, lets consider the 2002 Seahawks coached by Mike Holmgren:
After a 9-7 playoff season in 1999, his first season (in which the Seahawks backed into the playoff losers of 5 of their last 6 games) Holmgren’s Seahawks missed the postseason for 3 straight years. The 2002 team started the year 2-6 and appeared to be going nowhere. People began wondering if Holmgren could win in Seattle at all.
After the mid point in the season, things changed. The offense game together behind Matt Hasselbeck, and the defense tightened up enough that the Seahawks went 5-3 down the stretch, including winning the final 3 games, to finish with a 7-9 record. Unspectacular, I know, but those 8 games were a turning point in the franchise. That stretch of winning set the tone for the best 5 year stretch in franchise history when the Seahawks won 5 division titles and went to a superbowl.
I bring up the 2002 season, because 2011 feels much the same. The Seahawks started 2-6, then turned things around began winning. A win this Sunday against AZ and the Seahawks will finish 8-8. Going into this offseason, the Seahawks will feel like they’re on the verge of breaking out and becoming dominant again.
But is the Seahawks lose on Sunday, they will go into the offseason losers of 2 straight to division rivals. it will feel like they are clearly behind SF and AZ in the division with a long way to go.
I know that it’s all perception, and that an argument could be made that it doesn’t matter, but I don’t buy it. In some ways perception does matter. Want to sign Mario Williams, Cliff Avril or Carl Nicks? Then you better believe that it matters. It will be a lot tougher to get good free agents to come here if the general belief around the league is that the Seahawks are still rebuilding. Convince everyone that this team is for real and ready to compete, and suddenly guys will want to play here. It’s pretty simple.
So to me, this game matters.