On this Day — Sept. 24, 2012: The Infamous ‘Fail Mary’


Sep 24, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate (81) catches a 24-yard touchdown pass as Green Bay Packers players Sam Shields (37), and Jarrett Bush (24), and Charles Woodson (21) and Jarrett Williams (38) defend on the final play at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Packers 14-12. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

It was one of the most infamous plays of last season — a play that put the scrutinized “replacement refs” in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Today is the one year anniversary of the “Fail Mary”, a play that put fans across the league in shambles for such poor officiating.

Perhaps the replacement refs would have gotten off the hook a little easier had the game not been on Monday Night Football for the whole nation to see.

With the Seahawks trailing the Green Bay Packers, 12-7, with 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter, rookie Russell Wilson was given the ball at the Green Bay 46. He hit Sidney Rice for a big 22 yard gain before throwing throwing three straight incomplete passes.

It set up a 4th & 10 at the Green Bay 24. Wilson took the snap and dropped back about 16 yards before heaving a lob down the left sideline into the corner of the end zone. Five Packers and two Seahawks launched into the air before it fell into four hands — two of which belonged to safety M.D. Jennings  and two of which belonged to Golden Tate.

They fell to the ground in sync while the crowd anxiously awaited the call from the line judges. One called it an interception, the other a touchdown.

Sept 24, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate (81) holds on to the game-winning touchdown as time expires against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Naturally, the CenturyLink Field erupted. Lance Easley, one of the refs, had put his hands in the air signaling the Seahawks had won. They would eventually kick the extra point to give them the 14-12 win and a 2-1 record on the year.

Packers fans, players and coaches were in shock and let the press know of their frustration. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the Associated Press:

"“Don’t ask me a question about the officials,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “I’ve never seen anything like that in all my years in football.”“I know it’s been a wild weekend in the NFL and I guess we’re part of it now,” he said."

Golden Tate also spoke to the AP:

"“We both had possession of it. I don’t even know the rule but I guess the tie goes to the receiver,” Tate said.Asked later if he got his hands on Wilson’s pass first, Tate wasn’t so sure.“I think so. … Oh, well maybe he did. But I took it from him,” Tate said."

While the play was heavily disputed, did it really affect the outcome of either team in 2012?

The Seahawks lost their next game in St. Louis against the Rams, but proceeded to win nine of their next 12 regular season games, including five in a row at the end of the year. They beat Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins in the NFC Wild Card game before falling seconds short of the NFC Championship game, losing to Atlanta in the NFC Division game.

The Packers, on the other hand, won 10 of their next 13 regular season games, finishing the year 11-5. They lost to the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Division game to end their season.

To recap, both teams finished 11-5 and both teams went 1-1 in the playoffs.

So I have a question for you: