Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's The Point?

A 7-9 record in the National Football League is hardly something to be proud of. But, at 7-9, the Seattle Seahawks made the playoffs, amid a chorus of boos and groans. Everyone assumed that they would easily be knocked out by the defending super bowl champions, besides some Seahawks fans and a man named Brendan Garrity. But then, something strange happened. Seattle won! By winning, the Seahawks ought to quiet the critics of the current NFL playoff format.

Every team's goal at the beginning of the season is to win their division. It is a point of pride for a team to say that, yes, we rose above our peers and want to represent our division in the big dance. This is a tough task, no matter the competition in one's division. This year, the entire NFC West was in transition. The Seahawks have a new coach, the Rams are rebuilding, the 49ers just never figured it out, and the Cardinals lost Kurt Warner. Regardless of how good or bad NFL teams are, they can beat you on any given Sunday. Look, for example, at how the Browns beat the Patriots this season. NFL teams come to play, and play hard to win every game.

You have to play six games against your division over the course of a season. That means 6 rivalry games, as all of the teams in the four team divisions are well acquainted by now. To be able to emerge from the pressure cooker that is one's division is a feat in itself. The Seahawks knew that they had to fight it out to get out of the NFC West. When everyone picked the Saints to win, it was evident how they played with that extra chip on their shoulder.

It means something to win your division in the NFL. It means that you bested your bitter rivals and fulfilled your goal made at the beginning of the season. When a team meets this goal, they deserve not only a spot in the playoffs but a home game for their first game. To all of the critics who said Seattle did not deserve to be in that game, I have one word for you: Scoreboard.

What's the Point is a weekly column written by David Straple. Feel free to comment.

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