RENTON — When the Green Bay Packers last visited Seattle, the night ended in a play that was one of the most talked-about in recent NFL history — Golden Tate’s controversial catch of a Russell Wilson pass that turned into a winning touchdown.
The Packers themselves, though, appear talked out about that “Fail Mary” play as they prepare for a rematch against the Seahawks in the NFL season opener Thursday night at CenturyLink Field.
Asked during a conference call Sunday what he remembered about that game, a 14-12 Seattle win in 2012, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers said simply: “I remember that the final score was in their favor.”
Coach Mike McCarthy, meanwhile, insisted that the loss won’t serve as any sort of rallying cry this week, saying “we don’t really address it. The only time I really talk about it is when I do media interviews.’’
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Asked in a follow-up question whether the game still makes him mad, McCarthy added: “There’s really nothing to say about that. It seems like it’s been a couple of years now, so we’re past it.”
To be fair, Rodgers did elaborate that he was at least glad the play — and his rather vehement protest of the call afterward — may have played a big part in ending a labor dispute between the NFL and its referees.
With the regular officials locked out until an agreement was made, the game was officiated by replacement refs. And to this day, the picture of official Lance Easley signaling touchdown while Tate and Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings battle for the ball remains a lasting image of the perceived ragged nature of the three weeks of games worked by the replacement refs.
For their part, the Seahawks don’t seem much more enthusiastic about reliving that play than the Packers.
For one, Tate is gone, having signed with Detroit.
For another, they bristle a little at the attention that play gets compared to lots of others that helped pave the way for the success the team has had recently. Seattle was 1-1 at the time and went on to finish 11-5 in 2012, then won it all in 2013.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll, asked by a member of the Green Bay media during a conference call Sunday if the play served as a catalyst for what the Seahawks have since accomplished, said: “We’ve never thought of games that way, that one game was going to compound into this or that and tell a story for us.”
Wilson, asked a similar question by the Green Bay media, said: “I don’t think it was just that play. It was all the work in between. It’s the late nights. It’s the extra throws after practice. … Everybody remembers that play because it’s a pretty crazy, significant play, but at the same time I know it’s all the extra work in between.”
Carroll Sunday defended the call, saying: “That referee was standing right there, looking right there – right down at it – and he didn’t miss what he saw. He just saw it the way that Golden Tate made the catch. So I know that he wasn’t confused. He saw what he saw.”
And in the one thing that both sides appear to agree on, that should be that.
“That was two years ago,’’ Wilson said. “We’re focused on this moment right now.’’