ESPN is reportedly bringing 30 cameras to The Clink tonight to broadcast the Seahawks' Monday Night Football contest against the woeful Rams. It's a game that nobody outside of Seattle and St. Louis has any interest in watching, but the national spotlight and the Hawks' ever-so-slim playoff hopes nevertheless bring gravitas to an otherwise uninspiring match-up.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, sneaked into the playoffs with a losing record (7-9) last year. But with more new faces on the roster than one of coach Pete Carroll's freshman classes at USC (including quite a few players who were, at one point, actually members of a USC freshman class), and Tarvaris "Are You Sure We Can't Lure Brett Favre Out of Retirement?" Jackson calling the plays, they were not supposed to be so fortunate this time around.
Yet the Rams have floundered, and the Seahawks have risen tantalizingly close to the top of NFC crop. San Francisco has already clinched the division, but if the Hawks somehow manage to win the rest of their games and finish 9-7, they could very well be a Wild Card team. And with Marshawn Lynch's tectonic running, anything is possible in the playoffs -- just ask the New Orleans Saints.
For the vast majority of NFL fans, Seahawks-Rams is still the NFC West at its punchline-inducing worst. But for the Seattle faithful it's a crucial test of the new regime. Lose to the lowly Rams and the Hawks will have proved definitively on national TV that they are all squawk and no walk. Win and Carroll can argue convincingly that he has the team headed in the right direction.
Granted, according to the stat-heads at PlayoffStatus.com, Seattle has about a 1 percent chance of actually making the playoffs. But simply proving that Carroll is not as inept at rebuilding as the Rams' Steve Spagnuolo counts for something.
And though the odds are slim, 1 percent ultimately means the playoffs are still a possibility. In the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas, "So you're telling me there's a chance?"
Kickoff is at 5:30 on ESPN, and on JOEtv (Comcast channel 10) for those unfortunate souls without cable.