We weren't supposed to be here. A team with a losing record doesn't belong in the NFL playoffs. These clowns have no chance to advance and might as well pack it up and mail it in.
Two weeks ago, those were the words coming from fans and analysts everywhere after the Seattle Seahawks slid into the playoffs with a win over the St. Louis Rams. The defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints were coming to Qwest Field, destined to steamroll the Seahawks. We might as well just not show up, they said.
Something funny happened after the Seahawks made the playoffs. Playing with no expectations, the team turned fans into believers and took us all on a journey, with memories that will last a lifetime. Free from the burden of high-hopes, the Seahawks put on a show, giving us a reminder of what playoff football is all about.
Years from now, the 67,000 fans that were at Qwest Field will tell their kids about Marshawn Lynch's incredible, ground-shaking run. Where were you when Lynch rumbled through the Saints' defense, shucking aside defenders as roars from the crowd rattled the seats? Where were you when the team everybody had written off came out and hit the Saints in the mouth, fighting back time and again to give the 12th man one more win?
Losing to the Chicago Bears is nothing to hang our heads about. Keeping the dream alive would've been nice, but the Seahawks were already playing with house money, giving us more than we could've ever hoped for. This was, after all, a rebuilding year.
When the season began, it was hard to relate to the team. Few players remained from years past, with fresh faces dominating the roster. The team identity changed under Pete Carroll and we had a host of new players to get acquainted with.
A playoff run does funny things to a team and its fanbase. All of a sudden the ups and downs of the season don't matter anymore as the city stands behind its team with unparalleled passion and vigor. Remember those home losses to the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants? Me neither. A season teetering on the brink of disaster became an unbridled success, all in the span of 60 minutes at Qwest Field on Jan. 8.
The city of Seattle fell in love all over again, adopting this team, lacking in familiar faces, as they tried to do the impossible. Fans lined the streets to send the Seahawks off to Chicago, came to work in blue and gathered in front of the television to watch their Seahawks go to work on Sunday. The show of support from all of Seattle reminded me how great the playoffs are -- and how great this city is.
Be proud of the Seahawks players and coaches for what they've done over the last three weeks. Be proud of their resilience and how they came together when nobody other than the 12th man believed.
Most of all, savor the memories left behind.