The Seahawks dropped 7 of their last 10 games to finish 7-9, but won the AFC West to become the 10th team in NFL history to go the postseason without a winning record. Here are the other nine clubs and how far they went ...
2 of 10Kevin Terrell/Getty Images
2008 San Diego Chargers
The 2008 Chargers were seemingly left for dead after 12 games, mired in a 4-8 tailspin and perhaps playing out Norv Turner's final days as head coach. But four consecutive victories (by an average margin of 19 points) over the Raiders, Chiefs, Buccaneers and Broncos clinched the club's meteoric rise to division-winning mediocrity in the AFC West. As a bonus, the Bolts knocked off the 12-4 Colts in the wild-card round, before getting ousted the following week in Pittsburgh.
3 of 10Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
2006 New York Giants
The 2006 Giants were a classic hot-and-cold, yet ultimately mediocre group, winning five straight games in October-November ... before fading down the stretch with a four-game skid. But there was some excitement at year's end, with New York rallying past Washington in Week 17 to clinch the final NFC playoff spot. In the wild-card round, the Giants bravely fell to the NFC East champion Eagles, 23-20.
4 of 10John Biever/SI
2004 Minnesota Vikings
Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss enjoyed landmark seasons in 2004, with Culpepper throwing for a club-record 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns, and Moss pulling down 13 TDs in his last year with the Vikings (in his first go-round, at least). On the whole, Minnesota lost four of its last five games to finish at 8-8. But the club got a measure of redemption in the wild-card round, booting Brett Favre and the Packers, before getting ousted by Philly the following week.
5 of 10Elsa/Getty Images
2004 St. Louis Rams
'Mediocrity' was the ultimate buzzword in NFL circles in 2004, as both the Vikings and Rams qualified for the playoffs without winning records. However, history will be relatively kind to both franchises for winning in the wild-card round. For Minnesota, it was a surprise victory at Green Bay. For Marc Bulger, Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt, the Rams' validation came with a road win against Seattle.
6 of 10Damian Strohmeyer/SI; AP
1999 Dallas Cowboys
The 1999 Cowboys had plenty of star power to boast -- from Aikman and Smith to Irvin and Sanders; but in reality, that year served as the Hall of Fame-bound quartet's last hurrah in Big D. The club started out with a 3-0 flurry, before meekly plunging to 8-8 by regular season's end. And the 'Boys didn't fare much better in the playoffs, losing to the vaunted Vikings in the wild-card round.
7 of 10AP
1999 Detroit Lions
The Lions had big plans for the 2009 season. It was supposed to be the year Barry Sanders broke Walter Payton's all-time rushing record. It was supposed to be the year Herman Moore, Johnnie Morton and Germane Crowell became one of the NFL's best receiving trios. And above all, it was supposed to be the year that Detroit made a legitimate Super Bowl run. But Sanders' shocking retirement on training camp eve and Moore's inexplicable drop-off instantly doomed a season with early promise. That isn't to say Detroit didn't scratch and claw its way to respectability; but in the end, a five-game losing skid -- including a wild-card meltdown to the Redskins -- best represents a club that ran out of gas by December.
8 of 10John Iacono/SI
1991 New York Jets
There's not much to say about the 1991 Jets. At the time, the franchise was smack-dab in the middle of an 11-year pattern of mediocrity and looking rudderless at quarterback and head coach (Ken O'Brien/Bruce Coslet). On the plus side, the Jets only suffered two double-digit losses that season, while posting a respectable wild-card defeat to Houston -- which may have reached the Super Bowl, if not for the divisional-round heroics of John Elway.
9 of 10John H. Reid/Getty Images
1990 New Orleans Saints
History should be extremely kind to the 1990 Saints, who managed to secure the franchise's second playoff berth in history with Steve Walsh and John Fourcade at quarterback (thanks to Bobby Hebert's seasonlong holdout). But that year served as only a mediocre blip in the road for New Orleans, which posted 11- and 12-win seasons in 1992-93.
10 of 10Heinz Kluetmeier, Walter Iooss Jr./SI
1985 Cleveland Browns
The 1985 season was a humble, yet magical campaign for the Browns, who garnered instant credibility with newbies Bernie Kosar and Marty Schottenheimer at quarterback and head coach, respectively. The result: An AFC Central title and a gut-wrenching loss to Miami in the Divisional Playoff round -- especially after leading 21-3 in the third quarter. But this year laid the foundation for the franchise's most sustained success of the Super Bowl era ... which, sadly, never wrought a Super Bowl appearance.
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