Here’s to the Losers

In case you missed it, the world ended over the weekend.  No, the ice caps didn’t melt, the sun didn’t go out, and not one of the Seven Seals were broken (although we supposedly have that to look forward to in May).  Something much worse than that happened.

A team with a losing record made the NFL playoffs.

By virtue of winning the generally awful NFC West division, the Seattle Seahawks not only get into the Super Bowl tournament with a 7-9 record, they also get to host a playoff game in the first round.  This, of course, has led to many wail and gnashed tooth.  Talking heads are clamoring  for changes, because, you know, something that’s happened once in the last forty years demands action!  There are teams with better records sitting at home while this sub-.500 monstrosity gets the airwaves all to itself this Saturday!  We don’t have Brett Favre to talk about anymore, please listen to us!

Now on the one hand, it is kind of a joke that a team with a losing record gets to host a playoff game.  And it does kind of suck that the New York Giants and my beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both at 10-6, have to swallow the fact that a team with three fewer wins — a team the Giants and Bucs beat by a combined score of 79-22, by the way — is still playing while they’re making golf plans.

But you know what sucks worse?  Losing to the Lions at home in overtime, that’s what.  So’s blowing a 28-point lead in the fourth quarter against your division rival.  Tampa Bay and New York had the chance to make all this discussion irrelevant and they blew it.  They could have controlled their own destiny the rest of the way and didn’t step up when they had to.  While Seattle, as bad as they are, won the game they had to to get in.

And yes, maybe it’s a little rotten for the defending champion Saints to have to travel all the way to Seattle to play a game against a hostile crowd.  But if they’re clearly that much better than the Seahawks, here’s an idea:  go to Seattle and beat them.  And if the unthinkable happens and the Saints somehow lose, let’s not start in with the “They should have never had to play there to begin with!” arguments.  Good teams go and win the games they’re supposed to, without making excuses if they don’t.

Granted, I’d much rather see the teams re-seeded once the playoffs start.  Won your division at 7-9?  Hey, that’s great.  Your reward is making the playoffs, but no way are you hosting a playoff game.  Hell, part of me wants to see divisions done away with all together and just have the eight best teams from each conference make the playoffs.  But the Seahawks are playing by the same rules the rest of the league is.  They’re not getting any special treatment, and no rules were bent to let them keep playing.

So if you’re really against the Seahwaks being in the post-season, root for New Orleans this weekend rather than whine about Seattle even playing.  Well, except for me.  As a Bucs fan, I’m legally prohibited for wishing anything but ill towards the Saints.


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