RENTON — If Golden Tate manages to score a touchdown in Green Bay Friday night, he’s not sure what he’ll do to celebrate.
What Tate does know, however, is that he sure as heck won’t celebrate by doing the “Lambeau Leap” that Packers players do after touchdowns — leaping into the front row of seats behind the end zone.
“Oh no, they might shank me or something,” Tate said with a laugh. “I’m not doing that.”
Tate knows he’ll be public enemy No. 1 when the Seahawks play the Packers this week — and likely in any subsequent trips to Green Bay — because of last year’s controversial ending to the Green Bay-Seattle game. On one of the most notorious plays in NFL history, Tate was awarded with a game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game after he and Packers safety M.D. Jennings wrestled for a ball that Jennings appeared to initially catch.
Tate has been hearing from Packers fans on Twitter this week, and said he’s managing to enjoy the attention rather than be bothered by the fact that they still hold a grudge.
“It’s been pretty entertaining to read,” Tate said. “I’m not letting it bother me any. I’m still showing up and practicing hard. What they say on Twitter or in Wisconsin doesn’t affect me, so I’m just going day by day.”
“I’m having a little fun. I think that it’s funny that a year later people are still talking about it, but it is what it is. I guess I’m in the record books for that play.”
The play, most commonly known as the “Fail Mary” is credited with ending the lockout of NFL officials, and it isn’t still a sore point for fans only. Tate hasn’t talked to Jennings since that day, but he did receive a “gift” from the safety.
“I do have a photo at home of that play and it’s signed by him and it says, ‘Robbed,’” Tate said.
And Packers cornerback Charles Woodson sent a bottle of wine with the word ‘Touchception’ written on it.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said it’s understandable why Packers fans are still upset, but that the play was just one of many, many controversial ones in the league’s history. Carroll also acknowledged that, while the issue of a catch or interception is debatable, Tate did get away with some pretty blatant offensive pass interference.
“Over years and years and years, stuff happens and it doesn’t always work out exactly the way you see it when you look at it the second or the third time,” Carroll said. “And that’s been happening for years, it’s just unfortunate for their side of it that they came out on the short end of that deal. It shows you the human aspect of the game, and it shows the replacement human aspect of it all as well.
“When the guy looked on the ground he saw that both guys had the ball so he gave him a touchdown. I don’t know what another official would said. Another official might have caught the push. That was legit.”
For better or worse, that play is in the past for both teams now, and for Tate the focus is now on trying to continue the growth he showed last season, and yes, on having a little fun with Packers fans who he’ll hear from all week.
“That’s just my personality,” he said. “I’m a fun guy. I’m not trying to take myself seriously. At first, I was kind of frustrated hearing all the hate from their fans. But now, it is what it is. The play happened, the referees called it a touchdown, I couldn’t help that call. What else can I do other than have fun with it and don’t take it too seriously and not let it hurt my feelings?”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.