March 8, 2009

Ranking the Squads: Not all 9-7 teams are created equal...

As usual, you can find the previous installments of the Ranking the Squads project here...

Now we start getting into playoff teams. Obviously, a team that wins a playoff game or two is going to be higher up the ladder here, but what about when we're comparing 9-7 teams that made the playoffs and lost their first game to 9-7 teams that happened to miss the postseason? As you'll see, I'm not going to penalize a team that wasn't lucky enough for 9-7 to be a tournament-worthy record that particular season.

15. 2004
Record: 9-7
Postseason: Won NFC West, lost in Wild Card round
Offensive Rank: 12th out of 32 teams
Defensive Rank: 22nd out of 32
Turnover Ratio Rank: 9th out of 32
Team MVP: Shaun Alexander
High Point: Seahawks 27, Vikings 23
Low Point: Rams 33, Seahawks 27 (OT)

If I could have justified ranking a team that won a division title lower, I would have. Three losses to STL, including the most painful regular-season loss (that literally brought me to tears) and the ONLY home playoff loss 2nd home playoff loss in team history. STL was 6-9 against the rest of the NFL in 2004, but their 3-0 record against Seattle got them a trip to the NFC Divisional Playoff. Bastards.

This was a talented bunch that managed to blot out the few decent memories from that autumn with spectacular collapses, blown leads, and sleepwalking blow-out losses. Even our dramatic division-clinching victory over ATL was marred by Shaun Alexander's infamous "Stab in the back" post-game comments.


14. 1999
Record: 9-7
Postseason: Won AFC West, lost in Wild Card Round.
Offensive Rank: 12th out of 31 teams
Defensive Rank: 8th out of 31
Turnover Ratio Rank: 12th out of 31
Team MVP: Cortez Kennedy
High Point: Seahawks 27, Packers 7
Low Point: Buccaneers 16, Seahawks 3

This is what the 1999 team did to me: Six weeks after I was trying to figure out how long the drive was from Columbus, Ohio to Atlanta (site of XXXIV), I was forced to root for the RAIDERS so the Hawks could back into the postseason after a brutal 1-5 meltdown in the season's closing weeks.

The Bucs exposed Jon Kitna as an inferior NFL QB by blitzing the bejeezus out of him, and then every other team followed that blueprint. Add in the Joey Galloway controversy that hovered over the entire campaign, and this season is mostly painful memories, despite Seattle's first playoff trip in 11 years.

13. 2001
Record: 9-7
Offensive Rank: 19th out of 31 teams
Defensive Rank: 18th out of 31
Turnover Ratio Rank: 11th out of 31
Team MVP: Shaun Alexander
High Point: Seahawks 34, Raiders 27
Low Point: Eagles 27, Seahawks 3

A late-season flourish led by Trent Dilfer nearly got the '01s in the playoffs, but this campaign is mostly remembered for Matt Hasselbeck's growing pains and the impact the 9/11 attacks had on the NFL.

I went to the opener in Cleveland, where I rocked my brand-new Hasselbeck jersey, endured three hours of verbal abuse, and finally got to celebrate when Rian Lindell nailed a 52-yarder on the final play for the win. On the way out, my future wife and I passed Bernie Kosar signing autographs while wearing our Seahawks gear... I let out a "Woooo! Seahawwwwks!" and Kosar shot us a LETHAL dirty look.

Fun times! Then I flew out west on September 10th, with the intent of seeing my friends, my family and catching the Chiefs game at Husky Stadium the following Sunday. I have to admit that even though I knew it was the right move to postpone that game after the 9/11 attacks, I still really wished that I had a game to go to that Sunday. It would have helped me, at least.

This was also the last year of our old uniforms, and the end of the Husky Stadium era. Thank god.

12. 1978
Record: 9-7
Offensive Rank: 7th out of 28 teams
Defensive Rank: 26th out of 28
Turnover Ratio Rank: 16th out of 28
Team MVP: Steve Largent
High Point: Seahawks 17, Raiders 16
Low Point: Chargers 37, Seahawks 10

Those who are old enough to remember the '78s (not me) spin yarns about how entertaining the Hawks were in the late 70s... Fake field goals! Fake Punts! Excitement galore! The numbers back this up: In 1978 and 1979, the Seahawks had one of the most explosive offensive attacks in the NFL. Unfortunately, they also had a defense about as effective as the Maginot Line.. Even with that suspect defense, Seattle posted a winning record in only its 3rd year in the league. Not too shabby, huh?


jason said...

2004 was the only home playoff loss at Qwest. We finished the 99 season losing to the Dolphins at home.

Ramona P. said...

Durrr. Totally right, Jason.

Lousy brain.