According to Guinness World Records, the worst playoff team in the history of the National Football League (NFL), which dates back over a century, was the 2010 Seattle Seahawks. In their first season under Pete Carroll – who, at the time of writing, is still head coach at Lumen Field – the Seahawks recorded their third losing season in a row, having gone 4-12 in 2008 and 5-11 in 2009, but, remarkably, a 7-9 record was still enough to win the National Football Conference (NFC) Western Division. In so doing, they became the first team in a full, non-strike season to win any division of the NFL with a losing record.
In the final game of the season, the Seahawks beat the St. Louis Rams (now, of course, back in Los Angeles) at home to give themselves an identical .438 won-lost-tied percentage as the eventual runners-up. However, they qualified for the playoffs by virtue of marginally superior 4-2 record against their NFC West opponents, having previously beaten San Francisco 49ers at home and Arizona Cardinals home and away.
Unsurprisingly seeded fourth of the four division winners in the NFC, the Seahawks faced fifth seeds, and defending Super Bowl champions, New Orleans Saints at Lumen Field in the Wild Card Round on January 8, 2011. That game, which the Seahawks won 41-3 6, is best remembered for the so-called ‘Beast Quake’, a seismic tremor generated by the crowd during a 67-yard touchdown run by running back by Marshawn ‘Beast Mode’ Lynch in the fourth quarter. In one of the greatest runs in league history, Lynch broke nine tackles on his way to scoring a touchdown, with less than four minutes remaining.
Having become the first team to win a playoff game with a losing record, the Seattle Seahawks faced second seed Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in the Divisional Round. They trailed 21-0 at the end of the first half and, despite a late rally, which saw them score three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, they eventually lost 35-24.