No surprise there. It looked like an epic collapse, it's felt like an epic collapse, and wouldn't you know it? The 2010 Seahawks have suffered an epic collapse. Some have compared Seattle's collapse this season with the collapse the 1999 Seahawks suffered after starting 8-2, but it's not comparable.
The 1999 Seahawks were living on a knife's edge all season. The 8-2 start included two one-points wins, a three point win and two losses by a single score. The 1-5 collapse that followed included a three-point loss, and a six point loss in overtime. The largest margin of loss all season was 13 to the 11-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
By comparison, the 2010 Seahawks were never as good as the 1999 Seahawks, and when the 2010 Seahawks fell to earth, it wasn't a changing of fortunes from close victories to close losses.
Since Seattle's week seven victory against the Cardinals, Seattle has been outscored 174-294. That produces an average score of roughly 19-33. So the Seahawks have lost by two touchdowns on average, and that's despite 18- and 17-point wins against the Cardinals and Panthers, respectively.
If Seattle was not in the playoff hunt, I think fans would be much more disappointed with the outcome of this season. The 2010 Seahawks rate well below the 2008 Seahaws in total DVOA, and are closing in on the 2009 Seahawks despite a much improved special teams. All that might seem abstract and inconsequential compared to a chance at the playoffs, but let's say Seattle misses the playoffs, finishes the season 6-10, what will fans think of the 2010 season? Will they think Seattle has progressed despite a worse point differential than either the 2008 or 2009 Seahawks? Would Seattle be 4-12 if Arizona started Kurt Warner instead of Derek Anderson and Max Hall? And if Warner's retirement is truly what separates the 2010 team from the 2009 or 2008 team, what exactly did the Seahawks accomplish this season that it can build from towards next season?
The phrase "culture of winning" has been tossed around a lot lately. If there is such a thing as a culture of winning, then there must be a culture of losing, right? Wouldn't a 2-8 finish to a 4-2 start suggest the culture in Seattle is trending the wrong way? If there's any teeth to that argument, it must apply both ways, or else it's just a flimsy excuse for optimism in the face of massive failure.
Anyway, if you want substantial fuel for your optimism, consider how teams like Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Atlanta, and, yes, even St. Louis, changed the direction of their franchise by adding a young quarterback. Few of the above were as bad as Seattle is this season, and I don't expect the kind of instant turnaround experienced by the Falcons, Ravens or Steelers, but instant turnaround isn't what I arguing for. A young quarterback gives a team a foundation for the future. I'm sure fans of the 1-15 2009 Rams believed their team had a lot more holes than could be filled by adding a quarterback, and surely they did, but the 1-15 Rams didn't have a future. The 7-8 Rams do. 6-10 or 7-9 and in the playoffs, the 2010 Seahawks do not have a future. That isn't going to change until there's talent under center.
But I'm a broken record, skipping three years and counting.