No matter what the record books say, Russell Wilson is the only quarterback to win a game by throwing an interception. Everyone knows the play. The Green Bay Packers were facing the Seattle Seahawks on a Monday night during week 3 of the 2012 season. On the final play of the game, Wilson dropped back and rolled to his right to evade Clay Matthews. Wilson went on to deliver a bomb to the end zone just as Matthews drilled him. As the ball was in the air, Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate gave a two handed shove to Packers cornerback Sam Shields. No penalty was called. Packers safety M.D. Jennings was among the group of players battling for the ball. The football came down and Jennings ended up with it in his arms. Tate also got a piece of the action, but barely had one hand on the ball. By first glance, it looked like Jennings had the football and had intercepted Wilson to end the game with a Packers win.
What happened next ended the short era of the infamous replacement referees. In the end zone, one ref signaled touchdown Lance Easley, while Derrick Rhone-Dunn signaled touchback. The head ref Wayne Elliot didn’t even try to converse with the other two refs. He instead went to the replay booth where, once again, it looked like Jennings had won the game for the Packers. Elliot thought differently about the outcome, signaling touchdown, but giving the controversial win to the Seahawks. The Packers were shocked and furious at the decision. The following day, even commissioner Roger Godell said the call was correct, but that was only because he wanted to make it known his decision to lock out the regular refs was the right thing to do. Fans across the country, even non Packer fans, were in an uproar over the outcome of that Monday night game. People were getting tired of the replacement refs and their poor calls. On the bright side, the referee lockout ended a couple days later. After a few calls in the games to follow, fans were back to screaming at the regular refs like they had never left.
That game ended up having playoff implications. One bad call cost the Packers a first round bye. Instead of them going to San Francisco in the Divisional round, the 49ers would go to Lambeau and the Packers would be the team with home-field advantage. The 49ers had beaten the Packers in Lambeau to kick off the season, but they had Alex Smith at quarterback and the Packers were a different team at that time. Whether that would have made a difference will never be known, but it doesn’t hurt to wonder.
This Friday, the Packers host the Seahawks for the first time since that Monday night. This third preseason game will be the game where the starters play into the second half. It will be an important night for the Packers as they try to finalize some of their starting positions. This game is also important because the Packers offense has scored only seven points this preseason, with the first string scoring zero touchdowns and three field goals. The Seahawks have shown that they are serious Super Bowl contenders with their dominating defense. The Packers offense will definitely have their work cut out for them. If they need any motivation, all the team needs to do is remember that Monday night. After all, people may forgive, but people don’t forget.