By now you probably know that by winning last night's who-wants-it-less-fest against the St. Louis Rams, the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks are the first NFL team to make the playoffs with a losing record (in a non-strike season). But what's impressive about that fact isn't just that the Seahawks finished 7-9. It's that they were incredibly bad even by the lowered standards of a 7-9 team.
Good teams usually outscore their opponents. On the rare occasions when they don't, they don't get outscored by a lot. By that solid logic, it's clear that the Seahawks are not only the worst team in the playoffs, but one of the worst teams in the entire league.
Seattle won by 10 last night, meaning that the Seahawks were a field goal away from ending the season with a point differential of negative 100. How bad is that? The Seahawks point differential of -97 ranks them 28th out of 32 teams, ahead of only the 4-12 Denver Broncos (-127), the 4-12 Buffalo Bills (-142), the 5-11 Arizona Cardinals (-145) and the 2-14 Carolina Panthers (-212).
Two years ago ESPN ranked the 10 Worst Playoff Teams in Modern NFL History, with point differential being one of its primary measures. Prior to the Seahawks, the 2004 Rams had the worst point differential of any playoff team, but it was still far better than Seattle's.
And it isn't just that the Seahawks lost seven of their last 10 games. Or that they lost those games by an average of three touchdowns(!). It's that their wins were against two of the only teams actually worse than they are, the Cardinals and the Panthers.
Any Seahawks fan who has made it this far is probably thinking one of a couple different things. Maybe "I don't need your fancy stats to tell me my team wasn't great." "Who cares? We won the game we had to win." Or "You're just jealous we made the playoffs and your team didn't."
And you're right. On every count. So forgive me. It's just that it isn't often that this kind of history gets made. And it would feel like an opportunity lost not to enumerate everything that makes this Seahawks team so weird. Like coming back from the county fair and only casually mentioning that you saw a woman with a lot of facial hair, rather than recounting every detail of every follicle you could remember.
So I guess that's that. Your 2010 Seattle Seahawks are not only playoff-bound, they're also an oddity. The NFL's answer to the bearded lady.