RENTON, Wash. – Defensive in 2010 because they were being degraded, Seahawks fans can gloat this season.
Seattle is a win from capturing what is likely the NFL’s best division three seasons after it last took the NFC West crown as the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record.
The 2010 division title is marked with the same generic signage at CenturyLink Field as the others. There is no asterisk for the 7-9 team that claimed the division in Pete Carroll’s first year.
A large shift in the division has happened since the Seahawks toted what many called the worst team in playoff history into the postseason.
This season, the St. Louis Rams have a chance to go 8-8 and finish last in the division. The Arizona Cardinals could finish 11-5 and miss the playoffs. The Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are widely considered the NFC’s two best teams.
When the Seahawks were 7-9 and given the right to host a wild-card game as a division champion, grumbling about the NFL playoff system followed. It can be applied again this season.
If the playoffs started today, the two NFC wild-card teams – San Francisco (10-4) and Carolina (10-4) – would have better records than the NFC North and East champs.
Yet, they would be packing their bags.
Philadelphia (8-6) leads the East. Chicago (8-6) leads the North. Both have outscored their opponents by just 15 points.
“Right now the system is pretty good,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said.
“I kind of like that when you win the division you get it, whether it’s 7-9 or whatever.”