The 2010 Seattle Seahawks Were a Playoff Team With a Losing Record

Making the NFL playoffs is tough. Only the best of the best make it to the postseason, or do they? Throughout the years, plenty of subpar teams with losing records have made it through. Whether it’s because of a fluke play, bad calls, or just plain luck, there’s always one team that seems a bit out of its league once the playoffs begin. The Seattle Seahawks were that team in 2010.

Heading to the playoffs with a losing record

Matt Hasselbeck of the Seahawks looks into the end zone
Matt Hasselbeck of the Seahawks looks into the end zone | Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2010 Seattle Seahawks were part of a losing division that year. It was Pete Carroll’s first season as head coach and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s last with the team. The season started off strong with Seattle having a 4-2 record, but things only went downhill from there. Injuries and poor play caused the Seahawks to lose seven of their last 10 games. They ended the season 7-9 but still won the division and a trip to the playoffs since the other divisional teams had worse records. 

That record made history. It was the first time a team with a losing record made it into the playoffs. Because of this, many teams didn’t take the Seahawks seriously, especially the New Orleans Saints, the first team they would face in the playoffs and the defending Super Bowl champs.

The 2010 Seattle Seahawks turn heads

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The game against the Saints is the stuff of legends. CBS Sports reports that Marshawn Lynch ran for 67 yards, breaking nine tackles and solidifying the Seahawk’s first playoff victory under their new head coach. The run was dubbed “The Beast Quake” as fans were so loud and boisterous afterward that a small earthquake was recorded around Seattle. The Seahawks would go on to lose their next game against the Bears, but the fact that they made the playoffs at all surprised everyone and gave hope to underdogs around the league.

In 2012, that dismal losing record was a thing of the past as the Seahawks drafted star quarterback Russell Wilson. Seattle made it into the playoffs that year but lost in the Divisional Round. They were back in 2013 and won the Super Bowl behind Wilson’s stellar play and Pete Carroll’s brilliant coaching. Since teaming up Wilson and Carroll, the team has had winning records and made it into the playoffs every year except for 2017. 

The current 2020 team was expected to do well and easily make the playoffs. While they’re still in good standing to do just that, Seattle has struggled recently and their inconsistency is part of the reason some analysts aren’t sure they’ll make it far in the postseason. Fans are hoping the Seahawks prove them wrong.

The next losing team to make the playoffs

The 2010 Seattle team may gain some company this year with losing teams making the playoffs. The 2020 NFC East is currently full of teams with losing records. With only a handful of games left, it’s possible the best team in the division may be under .500. The Giants and Washington are both sitting atop the division in first and second place, respectively and both have subpar records.

However the NFC East ends up, it’s still possible for teams with losing records to make the playoffs; the 2010 Seattle Seahawks proved that. Even more, they were quite successful in their postseason appearance, defeating a legitimate Super Bowl contender and even causing a seismic event.

The moral of the story is the one true sports fans always wish for — that an underdog can go from the bottom of the barrel to the top of the charts and win everything.