As a Seahawks fan – but really, as a longtime, hardcore fan of most (if not all) Seattle sports – there are a few universal truths. The Mariners are always going to bring in a guy who looks like an amazing fit, only for him to immediately go in the tank (last year it was Jesse Winker, this year it figures to be A.J. Pollock; though never discount the surprise bust). Similarly, the Mariners are always going to give up on someone who goes somewhere else and plays amazing. The Sonics are always going to get screwed over by the NBA (who continually tantalizes us with promises of a new team, with zero follow through) until they’ve crushed the spirit of every last basketball fan in Seattle. The Husky football team is always going to have at least one enraging defeat to a mediocre-to-bad team that prevents them from ever making the playoffs. And for every Seattle-based team, it goes like this: if you need help from someone else to bolster the future of our franchise – whether it’s the near-future, in helping us win a division title in the final week of the season, or the more distant future by giving us an improved draft pick – bet against our interests, because that’s the result you’re going to get.
Now, you can read that and say, “But! But!” And yeah, duh, it’s not literally 100% of the time that these “universal truths” come to fruition, but more often than not. And when it’s not in our favor, BOY does it seem to hurt us bad.
Remember in 2008, when the Mariners were expected to compete for a playoff spot, only to lose over 100 games and be in direct competition for the top overall draft pick? Remember how we won a meaningless series against Oakland at the very end of the year to fall to the #2 spot (whereas the Washington Nationals did their fucking jobs and got to draft a great starting pitcher)? The Mariners got Dustin Ackley and it set us back considerably. Remember in 1992 when the Seahawks had maybe one of the worst offenses in NFL history and finished 2-14? We were in direct competition with the 2-14 Patriots for the top overall pick. Since we beat them, they had the tiebreaker and got to pick first (incidentally, they also had a chance to get a third win in the final week of the season, but lost to the Dolphins in overtime; what’s most galling is that the Pats had a 10-point halftime lead and a 7-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, to say nothing of being in field goal range just before regulation expired, before taking a brutal sack to get knocked back). The Patriots got to draft Drew Bledsoe; the Seahawks were saddled with Rick Mirer.
There are countless examples of the Seattle team getting fucked over at the very end by outside forces compelled to make us all feel bad. It’s the We Can’t Have Nice Things law of nature, and it’s a bitch.
Now, you might also say, “What about the Lions? They just did us a solid by defeating the Packers in Green Bay last night, sending us to the playoffs!”
But, DID they do us a solid? Do we have ANY business being in these playoffs? It took overtime and the total and complete depletion of the Los Angeles Rams by injury (including their three best players: Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, and Matthew Stafford, who also rank among the best players in the NFL at their positions) for the Seahawks just to finish 9-8 and in a position to need help last night.
Part of me will accept the answer that you shouldn’t get accustomed to losing. That it’s better to do sort of what the Seahawks did and hover around .500, than it is to be 3-14 and vie for the top overall draft pick. That means the players you have currently on your roster – and in our case, a lot of them are very young, with room to blossom and improve – are pretty good and gained valuable experience while getting better as the season progressed. But, at the same time, this Seahawks team isn’t good enough to win ONE playoff game, let alone enough to get us to Super Bowl. I would say it doesn’t matter who we play – we could go to any of the top four seeds and most definitely lose – but having to face the 49ers (who already DOMINATED us twice, and is probably the best team in the NFC) is just a blowout embarrassment waiting to happen.
You might say, “Well, it’s hard to beat a team three times in the same season. Plus, they’re down to their third quarterback, and if our defense can just keep things close, you never know.” Even if I give you that – and assume, for the sake of argument, that we find a way to prevail next week – you’re telling me then we have to go to Philly, and I’m telling you there is NO FUCKING CHANCE we win that game against a #1 seed that just had a bye week to get healthy. All that does is bump our draft pick to 25th (or even 26th, if the Bucs upset the Cowboys in the first round before succumbing to reality).
You know what I would’ve rather had? The 14th pick, which is what we would’ve gotten if we’d lost to the Rams on Sunday. Failing that, you know what I would’ve rather had? The 17th pick, which is what we would’ve gotten if the Packers defeated the Lions (everything else being the same). Now, as it stands? We have the 20th pick. If everything goes according to plan – we lose to the 49ers, the Bucs lose to the Cowboys – we get the 20th. What’s the one thing that could help us? The Bucs winning next Monday night and the Seahawks losing, which would bump us up one to 19th overall. Will that happen? Please see: the entire beginning to this blog post.
I would argue that just being 8-9 or 9-8 has achieved everything we wanted. It kept the team relevant to the very end, it showed us a lot of the young guys who figure to be stalwarts on this team for the foreseeable future, and it didn’t get anyone on the coaching staff fired, so we can have that continuity going into the 2023 season. We already HAD that, we didn’t need to add a meaningless playoff defeat into the mix! All that does is hurt our potential in next year’s draft.
And, if you think I’m being an overly-dramatic Negative Nelly, I want you to look at some of the OTHER ways the rest of the NFL could’ve helped us … with the Denver draft pick.
We have the 5th pick. If the Chargers had simply tried to beat Denver and succeeded, that would’ve improved to the 3rd pick. Or if the Colts and Cards had won ONCE in the last seven weeks, it would’ve been the 3rd pick. The Colts had the fucking Texans of all teams in week 18, and still managed to bungle it! And the Cardinals the week before blew it at the end against the lowly Falcons.
Then, there would’ve been the ultimate prize, if Denver had lost to the Chargers, and the Bears had won once in the last TEN weeks, that could’ve moved all the way to a 2nd overall pick.
So many fucking possibilities to get into the Top 3. Instead, we’re saddled with 5th. There were chances to get one of the two best defensive line prospects in this draft class. But, looking at it now, it’s going to require teams trading down:
- Chicago – probably keeping Justin Fields and taking the best defender available, unless they trade down
- Houston – quarterback most likely
- Arizona – committed to Kyler Murray for many years, GM situation in flux, probably not trading at all and taking best defender available
- Indianapolis – quarterback all but certainly
- Seattle – fucked
What’s worse is that if Chicago trades down, they probably don’t want to trade very far, so I’m guessing Indy will be a likely trade partner; that does not help us. We need someone like the Raiders (7th), Panthers (9th) or Titans (11th) to make a big move, since all three are probably in the market for a quarterback upgrade.
It sucks. What does 5 and 20 get us? One stud, hopefully, and maybe the best guard or center in the draft (assuming there’s one worth taking in the first round; quality centers can usually be had in rounds 2 or 3). Otherwise, at 20, you’re looking for a good quarterback who’s fallen (maybe packaging that with our high second rounder to move up into the teens).
I dunno, I guess that’s Future Me’s concern. For now, I have to try to talk myself into a scenario where the Seahawks aren’t blown out of the stadium on Saturday afternoon (always the anticipated Worst Wild Card Round Game). God help us if we find a way to win, and that 20th overall pick falls to where it normally is, in the mid-to-high 20’s. I may lose my God damn mind.