Seahawks fans took a lot of heat for a Seattle Times poll in which more than half the respondents said they'd rather have the home team lose to their division rivals, the St. Louis Rams, at home to end the season than make the playoffs with a losing record. The Hawks ended up winning yesterday, but here are five good reasons why the franchise would've been better off in the long run if they'd taken a beating instead.
1. This Prolongs the Whitehurst/Carroll Era
Clipboard Jesus played just well enough last night (22/36 passing, for 192 yards and a touchdown) to justify bringing him back next year as the starter. Hasselbeck--who was healthy enough to start last night--is clearly done in Seattle, but the career backup with the immaculate beard is not the best replacement option. A full season with Whitehurst at the helm almost ensures a 5-11 record next year.
That projection doesn't even include the long-term damage that Carroll could do now that he's got some job security. Success at USC aside, Carroll was so inept as the coach of New England that ESPN's Bill Simmons still compares him to Fredo from The Godfather. Don't tell me you didn't see the Fredo face on the sidelines several times last night, especially after the panicked timeout call in the fourth quarter. Get used to it. We're now stuck with it for at least the next two years.
2. The Rams Will Be Stronger in the Long Run
Sam Bradford is the anti-Charlie Whitehurst. The enormously talented rookie was held in check last night largely because of poor play calling (just 11 carries for Steven Jackson, not nearly enough to soften up the Seahawks' mediocre D for the play-action pass) and the utter lack of a big-play wide receiver. Well, now the Rams will have a top-15 draft pick, a position that basically gives them their choice of college wideouts. Combined with the Rams' young talent on defense (specifically James Laurenitis and Chris long), St. Louis is in a position to dominate the NFC Worst for years to come.
3. Say Goodbye to the Jake Locker Sweepstakes
The flipside to point #2 is that those hoping the UW savior would wind up staying in his hometown to rescue the professional franchise are likely out of luck. The highest possible draft pick for the Seahawks is now 21 overall, probably not good enough to snag a top QB prospect like Locker. Then again, with the way Locker looked passing this season, this might be a blessing in disguise.
4. We're the Worst Playoff Team in History
As Caleb Hannan explained earlier this morning, the Seahawks are inarguably the worst team ever to qualify for the NFL postseason. At 7-9 overall, if they were a college team they couldn't even play in the PapaJohns.com Bowl. It's the first time that winning a division championship is a dubious distinction. Avoid PTI, Around the Horn, and any column from a sportswriter outside Seattle today; all you'll hear are cries to change the system so that more deserving teams (like the 10-6 Tampa Bay Bucs, who trounced the Seahawks two weeks ago) can make the playoffs.
5. The Saints Await
Ignore my first four arguments if you want, but don't dispute the fact that the Seahawks are likely in for an epic ass-kicking next week against the Saints at Qwest Field. According to Vegas oddsmakers, the defending Super Bowl champs are 10-point favorites. Was it worth sacrificing a draft position just for a taste of the playoffs and a demolishing on national TV? Bar owners in Pioneer Square are probably the only ones saying "Hell, yes!"
Then again, if the Seahawks can somehow pull off an upset against New Orleans next week, ignore everything I've just written, change Whitehurst's nickname to Touchdown Jesus, and make some room on the bandwagon, 'cause I won't be the only one wanting to jump back on.