Sep 24, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) carries the ball during the 2nd half against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Green Bay 14-12. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
I realize I am a little late on this but I when I heard that the NFL had scheduled Seattle to play in Green Bay for the third preseason game I was not thrilled. I realize there are a few ways to look at this, but being what I consider a “realist” (you may call me more of a pessimist – I am a Seattle fan after all) this game (potentially) has trouble written all over it.
Traditionally the third preseason game is the “dress rehearsal” for teams. It’s when all the starters start and teams, at minimum, run through their rudimentary offensive schemes. This also means that there is higher risk for an injury to a critical player. Of course, this is the exact same situation that these athletes will play in all season long, but this is preseason and there is literally nothing but “live” experience to be gained in these games.
I’m assuming all of us remember the grace and dignity with which some Green Bay players and fans handled the controversial call at the end of the game last season. If Green Bay had won, and all things stayed the same, they would have had a first round bye instead of San Francisco.* With that in mind, I’m not sure that Green Bay won’t come out extra chippy and play with what I’ll call an unnecessary edge. In other words, I don’t want Seattle players to be at risk of any cheap shots by some grudge-holding chuckle-nuts who somehow think Seattle is to blame for a call that still can’t be concretely reversed.
I may end up being wrong and the game takes place as every other preseason game has for years, but that isn’t what the NFL is hoping for. The NFL scheduled this game in prime time because it’s hoping for a knock-down drag-out grudge match before there is anything meaningful on the line. If this was the first, second, or fourth game, or even not in a prime-time national telecast I probably wouldn’t think twice. Unfortunately, the NFL is just looking for action no matter how cheap it may be.
Hopefully, both teams play hard and use the game to prepare for the regular season rather than settle any perceived grievances. Nothing would be worse than seeing a critical starter, for either team, get taken out because of some cheap block or late hit and start the regular season injured. Green Bay doesn’t have a reputation for playing dirty and neither does Seattle, so a standard preseason game is completely within in the realm of possibility. I just figured I’d air out my paranoia and give everyone a chance to talk me off the ledge.
*It was previously stated that the loss to Seattle didn’t affect playoff seeding. It did. San Francisco tied St. Louis and was therefore only ahead by .5 games at the end of the season. Green Bay therefore had to play in the wild card round and consequently travel to San Francisco for the divisional round instead of hosting.