Opinion: Sleepless in Seattle, for once a good thing



Michael Moses

You laughed when the Seattle Seahawks beat the St. Louis Rams to punch their ticket to the playoffs. Now they’re laughing at you.

Seattle (yes, they still have a pro franchise) already has made history by becoming the first ever playoff team with a losing record (7-9 in the regular season). But this past weekend, coach Pete Carroll and his Seahawks beat the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in the opening round of the NFL playoffs. You may think the NFL is cringing, but nothing could be better for this league.

Everybody loves an underdog story. As for Seattle, I think it’s safe to say they’d be considered an underdog. If you don’t take part in fantasy football or if you don’t live in the Seattle area, I’d be willing to bet you couldn’t name a Seahawk player not named Matt Hasselbeck. Actually, I’d say most people in Seattle couldn’t even do that. Out of all of the playoff teams this year, Seattle has the worst road record at 2-6. They lost to both the 49ers and the Rams this season. But on the flip side, they beat both the Saints and, get this, Chicago.

This Sunday, Seattle will travel to Chicago with a trip to the NFC Championship on the line. It will mark the second time this season that the Seahawks will play at Soldier Field, and they’re hoping the outcome will be the same. In week six, Seattle beat Chicago 23-20. At the time, no one thought anything of it. Nobody knew how bad Seattle would end up being, nor how good the Bears would end up doing. This time; however, a lot more is at stake.

In the first matchup, the Seattle defense sacked Bears QB Jay Cutler six times. The pressure caused him to complete just 43 percent of his passes. Seattle must do the same if they want any chance at stopping the red-hot Bears.

Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck torched the Saints defense last week for four touchdowns, while RB Marshawn Lynch had a pinball-like touchdown run that will be aired on NFL Films for years to come. The surprising, high-powered passing attack should match up well with Chicago’s 20th ranked pass-defense. Comeback Player of the Year candidate (and yes, another underdog story in Seattle) Mike Williams had five catches and a touchdown last weekend, while Brandon “He’s Still Playing in the NFL?” Stokley is once again being seen as a threat by opposing defenses.

So, with all of these factors in line, would it be that shocking if Pete Carroll’s boys actually go into Chicago and beat “da Bears”? I think not, and I’ll put money on it.

Seattle is on cloud nine right now. It may be too good to be true, but everything falls into place. It’s almost like the football Gods want to prove to the world that “peaking” at the right time of the season may actually mean that you could flat out stink throughout the regular season, but turn it around during the playoffs. Who cares what their record is, they’re here to play and they just knocked off the defending champs. Now, they’re playing like New Orleans was last season — a team with something to prove. Playing for the people of their city (only no hurricane ruined Seattle, it’s just flat down horrible to live there, and they need something to be happy about).

I’m rooting for the underdog and you should too. As for the other NFC game this weekend, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be pulling for the Green Bay Packers. Why, you ask?

It all comes back to Seattle. No, literally, it will. If Green Bay wins at Atlanta, and Seattle wins at Chicago, Seattle will host the NFC Championship because they won their division. Green Bay, on the other hand, did not.

Tell me you wouldn’t love to see a 9-9 team host a conference championship game? Fans are sleepless in Seattle, but for once, it’s a good thing.

Michael Moses is a sports columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].