THE SEATTLE SEACHICKENS are like a battered Yugo with two flat tires given one last chance to win the race.
And just before the race, someone steals the battery.
The Seachickens are limping to the finish line with an embarrassing 6-9 record with three straight blowout losses.
Seattle lost 38-15 to Tampa Bay, the youngest team in the NFL with a second-year starting quarterback, last week at Tampa; 34-18 at home to Atlanta two weeks ago when the score wasn’t really that close because Charlie Whitehurst scored a meaningless late touchdown; 40-21 to San Francisco on the road three weeks ago, and we all know what a disaster the 49ers have been this year.
But despite all that, the Seachickens still have one last shot at making the playoffs.
All they have to do is beat the St. Louis Rams (7-8) at Qwest Field tonight.
Better division record
That’s because both teams would have split their season series and Seattle would be 4-2 in the division with a win and the Rams would fall to 3-3.
The game, the final one of the regular NFL season, is featured nationwide this evening at 5 p.m. on Ch. 5 because, well, I don’t really know why.
Maybe the NFL powers want their fans to really appreciate it when two good teams are the featured fare.
Maybe they thought it was bloopers night and the third or fourth interception thrown by Whitehurst/Matt Hasselbeck, or Seattle’s 20th missed tackle of the game would have fans laughing and rolling in the aisles.
Or maybe you can show games with Philadelphia, New York Giants, Green Bay, Minnesota, New England or Pittsburgh only so many times on Sunday night.
Whatever the reason, a lot of NFL fans across the country are upset that a team as inept as the Sea- chickens, with a losing record, has a shot at the playoffs.
At 7-9, the NFC West champion Seachickens could host a wildcard team next weekend if they beat the youthful Rams today.
Some fans think that’s unfair.
But in the famous words of former President Jimmy Carter, “Life is unfair.”
For you youngsters, President Carter made that statement as a snide remark to a reporter asking him about some injustice or another during his first term.
And for you budding politicians out there, that is probably one of the reasons why Carter never got elected to a second term.
And for the NFL fans out there crying about unfairness, I say to them (because I’m not up for election): boo-hoo.
I know some fans are rooting for the Seachickens to lose today for 2011 draft considerations (like being able to draft Jake Locker in the first round) but I’m rooting for them to win.
If the Sea-chickens lose today, they go out with a four-game losing streak, a yucky feeling in their stomachs for losing twice to the up-and-coming Rams, and they end the year with a lack of confidence that does not bode well for a successful 2011 season.
Another week to play
But if they win, well, at least they won’t have the losing streak.
Plus they get at least one more week of play that could be fun.
And as they say, anything can happen in the playoffs.
As for a better draft pick?
I understand the argument. If you win your division, and even if you lose in the first round of the playoffs, you pick lower in the draft than teams that finished with better records but didn’t happen to win their divisions.
Which is only fair (on Carter’s fairness scale).
If you have a losing record and get to host a playoff game, non-playoff teams with better records should pick ahead of you in the draft.
But what about snagging that quarterback who could be gone by the time you pick in the draft after winning your division?
Time for change
The Seachickens do need a new young quarterback to lead the team for years to come.
Hasselbeck doesn’t have the spark he used to have.
Pete Carroll was betting that Whitehurst would be the quarterback answer but the former San Diego signal-caller is not impressing anyone so far.
Is Locker the answer?
The draft is always a gamble. You roll the dice and hope for the best.
Locker has the size, the arm and he seems to have the maturity needed to be an NFL quarterback.
But he has injury issues and he seems to have taken a step back from his outstanding junior season.
But all of this is academic because the Sea- chickens probably won’t win today anyway because they haven’t shown much heart or pride lately.
But maybe we should be a little more optimistic than Carter was during his first term.
There is a chance that Seattle will win today’s game and draft Locker.
Maybe there really is a Santa Claus.
Oh wait, I think Carter threw cold water on that idea, too.
________Sports Editor Brad LaBrie can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at email@example.com.