Coming off of that loss in Kansas City, the Seahawks were 6-4, three games behind the 9-1 Cardinals. Sure, we would go on to face the Cards twice in the last six weeks, but if you assumed that the Cards would continue winning at their record pace, even if we somehow swept them in our season series, they could have theoretically still ended up a game ahead of us and with the top seed in the NFC.
What if that actually happened?
I mean, come on. They lost to a terrible Falcons team somehow, then they lost the last game of the season against the 49ers when it didn’t really matter anyway. Let’s say there’s this alternate universe where everything else happened as it happened, but instead the Cards beat the Falcons and 49ers and ended up 13-3 to our 12-4.
Well, as I mentioned before, they’d have the number 1 seed and a BYE in the first week of the playoffs. That would’ve given them an extra week to try to get Drew Stanton healthy. I don’t know if it was ever determined if he would’ve been able to play in a Divisional Round matchup or not, but that’s neither here nor there. By virtue of getting the top seed, that would’ve pushed the Seahawks down to the 5-seed, playing in Carolina in the Wild Card round.
This makes things somewhat interesting going forward. I’m pretty firm in my belief that the Seahawks would be able to win in Carolina. Which, if everything else plays to form, means the Cowboys would still go to Green Bay in the second round, while we would’ve advanced to play in Arizona.
I have NO doubt in my mind, whatsoever, that we would be able to go into Glendale and win that game. Especially if Lindley was still starting at that point, but even if Stanton returned. In this theoretical world where they managed to finish 13-3, they still would’ve lost twice to us, and in impressive fashion.
With, again, everything holding as it happened, that means Green Bay would’ve beaten Dallas, sending us out on the road again to play the Packers.
Now, I actually did look this up. On the date and time of the NFC Championship Game, in Green Bay, the weather was in the mid-30s and clear. I know we’re talking about a road game, and I know we’re talking about an impressive atmosphere in Lambeau Field. And, yeah, mid-30s is pretty cold. But, I gotta wonder: is it possible for us to play any worse than we did for the first 55 minutes of that game in Seattle?
Okay, so you caught me. This is really just an excuse for me to talk about the game against Green Bay some more. But, I’m seriously! How much worse could it POSSIBLY have been if we had played that one in Green Bay? Now, granted, in this alternate scenario, the Seahawks wouldn’t have had the BYE, instead playing an extra game. There’s no telling how our injury situation may or may not have been altered. But, if we assume no major catastrophes, then I would like to try to make the argument that we actually would have managed to play BETTER.
Let’s start here: the weather. I’m sorry, but you’re not going to shake me of my belief that the rain and the general sogginess had everything to do with our turnover mistakes. Take the first ball to Kearse. Is that a better-thrown ball in the clear skies of Green Bay? Just a tad more on-target? And, even if it’s not, is Kearse able to make a fingertip grab of the ball if it’s not as slick as it was in Seattle?
That first interception changes the whole dynamic of the game. I would argue it changes the entirety of the events to come. No turnover in our own zone. No quick score by Green Bay. No fumble by Baldwin on the kickoff return. And so on and so on.
Now, does it mean we win the game? That’s up for debate. I think the Seahawks play better early, but “better” is relative. “Better” could just mean playing to a 0-0 draw in the first quarter. I’ll tell you this much: without all the soul-crushing turnovers throughout the game, I think it plays out much more like we originally expected. I think the Seahawks defense still plays great – and gets better as the game goes along – and with a few completed passes here and there, I think we’re able to crank out our running game earlier.
Let’s look at it this way: I don’t think Green Bay had one smidgen of a problem playing how they wanted to play just because the game was in Seattle. Home Field Advantage gets blown up a little too much around these parts, and I’ll admit I’m as guilty as anyone. When you’re good enough to reach your conference’s championship game, the location really stops being a huge point of emphasis. At that point, it boils down to: Who Is The Better Team? And, if the Seahawks were good enough to overcome five turnovers, they’re good enough to overcome whatever noise the Green Bay faithful are able to crank out, especially in a rain-free environment where the Seahawks could thrive.
It took just about everything going against us for Green Bay to be in the position they were in. Most of that had to do with it being so wet. The next time you decide to tout Seattle as having this great home field advantage, just remember what the weather can be like in January. The rain doesn’t give a shit what jerseys you wear. And, I know everyone THINKS that all our home games are these waterlogged affairs, but if you actually live in Seattle, you know the truth. September is still summer. October is usually pretty mild. And the fact of the matter is, we might only play two or three games at the most – per year – with rain-like conditions. It’s not something you get “used to”, because freaky shit can happen at anytime. Freaky shit caused by rain. That God damn rain.
So, who’s ready for the Super Bowl to start?