These Ain't Your Dad's NFL Playoffs: Seahawks Win over Saints Changes Everything

Kevin RobertsSenior Writer IJanuary 8, 2011

Hasselbeck and the Seahawks pulled off the impossible.
Hasselbeck and the Seahawks pulled off the impossible.Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

We know from past NFL Playoff results that no matchup is always exactly how it seems. Supposedly tough matchups can turn into blow-outs, while expected lopsided battles can often be the most hard-fought and memorable games.

Going into the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints showdown, 99.9 percent of us were leaning towards a blow-out as the end result, with the Saints escaping as the victors. Really, even if you did "call" this game, you can't honestly expect anyone to believe you.

Yes, the Seahawks had the "12th man" with their loud and proud home crowd, but other than that, what else could have possibly led a sane mind (outside of Seattle) to believe the 11-5 Saints wouldn't steam roll these 7-9 Seahawks?

Regardless, the Seahawks twice came back from 10-point deficits to take a 34-20 lead, and finished an improbable and down-right unbelievable first round victory over the Saints, 41-36.

Drew Brees was amazing. His defense and running game, however, were not.

The Seahawks defense was solid when it needed to be, while Matt Hasselbeck played out of his mind, and Marshawn Lynch had quite possibly the best run of the season, galloping 67 yards with several broken tackles, en route to the game-clinching score.

But with everything that happened in this first game, simply running off the stats and individual performances doesn't do it justice. It doesn't put the right spin on these 2010 NFL Playoffs, at least not as you'd imagine at first glance.

It's an instant classic. It's a dramatic upset. But even more than that, this might be a trend-setter. This could be the game that we all look back on and say, "That's the game that sparked the greatest NFL Playoffs we have ever seen."

We were probably thinking something very close to that before the Green Bay Packers narrowly missed out on a similar result, falling to the Arizona Cardinals in overtime, 51-45 in last year's playoffs. Remember how those playoffs turned out? And those were magical playoffs without a ridiculous underdog win in the Wild Card round.

But here we are, and there are the mighty Seattle Seahawks.

Ladies and gentlemen, these Seahawks may not win in the Divisional round, the NFC Championship, or the Super Bowl. But it's safe to say Pete Carroll and co. have already left their mark.

More importantly, they've completely changed the way we'll look at playoff matchups going forward, at least for the remainder of this season.

Going into Sunday, perhaps you should give the Kansas City Chiefs more of a chance against the Baltimore Ravens. Maybe the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, and Atlanta Falcons don't have it as figured out as we all thought.

Then again, maybe they do. But that's why we're here, to see the impossible.

It's like they say, "That's why they play the games".