The Green Bay Packers led the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football, 12-7, with under one minute to play. The Seahawks were inside Green Bay’s 30-yard line with enough time for one last desperation heave into the end zone.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tossed the football up to a group of Packers and Seahawks players. The pass slides into the arms of Packers safety M.D. Jennings. The football doesn’t hit the ground, interception. Ball game. Seahawks win.
One year ago today, the Packers were screwed by the infamous “Fail Mary” call in Seattle, as replacement referees initially ruled Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate caught the game-winning 24-yard touchdown pass from Wilson, even after Jennings had clear possession of the football.
The referees reviewed the play and ruled it a simultaneous catch and the call stood. CenturyLink Field erupted with excitement. NFL nation erupted with anger and disappointment. Seahawks win.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said after that game “From what I understood from the officials it was a simultaneous catch. Tie goes to the runner. Good call.” What a load of crap. Even FOX Commentator and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman tweeted “These games are a joke” after the final ruling.
Tate had one hand on the football, while Jennings had two arms holding the football (clearly evident in the photo seen above). Replay even proved Jennings had the football pinned to his chest during the entire play sequence and Tate had wrestled for possession of the football at the bottom of the pile.
Replay also showed Tate clearly shove Packers cornerback Sam Shields in the back while the ball was still in the air. Offensive pass interference wasn’t called against Tate, and the referees awarded him wrongful possession of the football. Double whammy. Seahawks win.
“I’ve never seen anything like that in all my years of football,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said after the game, echoing the feelings of the NFL brass.
The NFL stood by the replacement officials’ touchdown call but said Tate should’ve been flagged for offensive pass interference. The game should’ve been over. The NFL coaches, players and fans had reached a boiling point with the replacements. The league responded by finally agreeing to a new deal with the regular officials before the beginning of week four games.
Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang became famously known as “King of the Retweet” at the time of Fail Mary, as he tweeted after the game “F*** it NFL..Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.”
The league didn’t fine Lang, but his tweet was retweeted over 98,000 times in the course of one night. The league responded though by finally agreeing to a new deal with the regular officials before the beginning of Week 4 games.
If the referees had correctly ruled it a Packers interception and overturned the call, the Packers would’ve finished 12-4 and received a first round playoff bye. The Seahawks would’ve been 10-6 and remained a wild card team in the NFC playoffs. 14 weeks later and the Seattle Screwjob affected only Green Bay yet again.
Wilson is 10-0 in home starts in his short NFL career. Everyone knows though the Packers figuratively gave Wilson his lone home loss.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said it perfectly in his post-game press conference after Fail Mary had occurred on that memorable night one year ago today. “It was awful. Just look at the replay. And then the fact that is was reviewed, it was awful.”
It was awful then, it is awful now and it will always be a black-ball in Packers team and NFL league history.