Seattle Seahawks vs. St Louis Rams: Seattle Wins Playoff Spot, but at What Cost?

Phil CaldwellCorrespondent IIIJanuary 3, 2011

31 Aug 1997:  Quarterback Drew Bledsoe of the New England Patriots looks to hand off the ball during a game against the San Diego Chargers at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  The Patriots won the game, 41-7. Mandatory Credit: Tomasso DeRosa  /Allsport
Tomasso Derosa/Getty Images

Tonight as Seahawk fans are all skippy and happy over their team winning the last spot in the NFL playoffs with an embarrassing 7-9 record, another similar situation keeps popping into mind from 18 years ago. 

In 1992 the Seahawks were horrible. They went 2-14 that season, but because the New England Patriots rolled out the same pathetic record, the two doormats ended up tied with the two worst records in the NFL.

Which team picked first in the NFL draft came down to the head to head matchup the two teams played on September 20, 1992 in New England.

Seattle’s starting quarterback Kelly Stouffer, a previous draft pick bust taken with the 6th pick by the St Louis Cardinals in the 1987 draft, philandered and stumbled his team to a scant 10-6 win in one of the ugliest games in NFL history. 

Seattle’s John Kasay’s 25 yard field goal in the 4th quarter sealed the deal and insured that the Seahawks would pick second. New England would go on to lose 12 of their next 13 games but earn the right at the top pick in the process.

That year there were two quarterbacks rated #1 & 2 in the draft.  Washington State’s Drew Bledsoe and Notre Dame’s Rick Mirer.

Bledsoe was a junior quarterback who had taken over the Cougar offense as a freshman in 1990, just before the Huskies slapped both him and the Cougars all over the field in a 55-10 Husky romp in Pullman. 

But he would go on to rewrite the Washington State record book and lead the Cougars to a surprising 9-3 record in 1992, with single season passing yard marks while becoming the Pac10 Offensive Player of the year.

The following year his stock would rise to highest ever seen in Pullman.  Bledsoe was projected to be the #1 pick in the 1993 draft.

Notre Dame also had a highly sought-after quarterback named one Richard Franklin Mirer. Mirer, estimated to be another Joe Montana by clueless pundits, had amassed a 29-7-1 record as a starter, including three bowl games.

But he was smaller than Bledsoe, and had more a running style, and never quite panned out as an NFL starting quarterback in spite of playing 12 years and amassing an unimpressive 24-44 record.

After picking him with the second pick in 1993, the Seahawks gave up on him three seaons later and traded him to the Chicago Bears for a 4th round pick.  From there he bounced around four different NFL teams and finally ended his career as a third string backup for the Raiders.

Bledsoe?  Oh he only went on to become a four time Pro-Bowler for the Patriots after completing 400 passes in a single season in 1994, and leading New England to their first post-season appearances in nearly a decade.

In 1996 he led the Patriots to the Super Bowl and was a Pro Bowl starter, and the following year again made the Pro Bowl after finishing the season with an 87.7 passer rating while throwing for 3,706 yard and 28 touchdowns.     

Three years later he would sign a then-record $103 million contract before eventually losing his starting position to a sensational future all-pro named Tom Brady, and went on to finish his career in Buffalo and Dallas.

My point in recanting all of this? 

One single game cost the Seahawks Drew Bledsoe and cursed them with Rick Mirer. All they had to do was lose, in a year when they were experts at losing. But they defied the odds and won, and it haunted them for the next decade.

Last week the Seattle Times reported that a win in tonight’s game against the St Louis Rams could cost them ten spots in next year’s draft.  A win may cost them a shot at landing a Cam Newton or Jake Locker.

So of course they won, just like in 1992.

Then again, the Seahawks are where they set out to be when Pete Carroll took over the reigns. They are back in the playoffs, with a chance to go as far any other team in spite of their mediocre record.

The Seahawks didn’t hire Pete Carroll to lose games for better draft picks. They hired him to engineer regular season wins for playoff seasons.

Records are forgotten after the last week of the season. Only playoff wins matter from here on out. 

Since 1980 five wild card teams have gone on to win the Super Bowl, but the worst record was the 10-6 New York Giants three years ago, and the 1988 San Francisco 49ers two decades prior.

Do any of us really think the Seahawks have a chance to knock off three teams with ten or more wins this season, two on the road, to earn a chance at this year’s pot at the end of the rainbow?

Being realists, probably not. 

But stranger things have happened in professional sports and remember, this is a team coached by one Pete Carroll, and Mr Carroll has a track record when it comes to championships. 

Sure it probably will never happen, but it’s fun to dream (for at least this week) and it’s certainly better than sitting on the sidelines.

And yet the flip side of that is wondering if this win will be as costly as the one in 1992 at New England, when all the Seahawks had to do was lose a bad football game that nobody would remember. 

Will this win be cursed two decades from now, and end up landing a third string NFL quarterback instead of a four-time Pro-Bowler, all because they didn’t have the good sense to lose when it mattered?

Who knows?  For now, let’s all jump on the playoff bandwagon and celebrate.

The 2010 Seattle Seahawks are back in the playoffs. That’s all that really matters this week!