RENTON — If his vicious block on Dallas linebacker Sean Lee in Week 2 didn’t do the trick, then being the central figure in one of the most controversial plays in NFL history was certainly enough to make Golden Tate public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of a lot of football fans, particularly those with cheese-adorned noggins.
But hey, it hasn’t been all bad for the Seahawks receiver. At least he has gained a bunch of Twitter followers since his “simultaneous catch” gave Seattle a 14-12 victory over the Packers on Monday night.
“The best part is I think I’ve moved up in followers like 5,000 or 6,000,” Tate joked on Wednesday. “I’m kind of becoming a big deal here… I guess people know my name in their households because of the two controversial calls. It’s OK.”
Joking aside, Tate admits the attention, and more specifically, the negativity directed his way this week has been tough. After all, all he did was try to make a play to help his team win a game, but to a lot of people, and especially to Packers fans, he became a villain.
“I’ve had people support me, the 12th man especially, and some people who had some nasty things to say,” Tate said. “I can’t control what other people say, do, Tweet, Facebook, whatever. … There have been moments when it’s been tough, but when you have family in this locker room and in this building, that makes it a little easier. It hasn’t been too bad. My feelings have been hurt a little bit on Twitter, but it’s whatever.
Asked specifically about what kind of stuff, Tate explained that repeating it on camera would require a lot of bleeping, but did say, “Some nasty stuff. It’s mean… I’ve been called a cheater, (told) I don’t have any dignity, I’m not a Christian. A lot of hurtful things. I just pray on it and continue to live my life.”
But regardless of what anyone thinks of how the Seahawks won, the game is now in the past, the result will stand, and the key for Tate and everyone else is to put the craziness of Monday night behind them and focus on Sunday’s game in St. Louis.
“What I don’t want to happen is for me to get caught up worrying about what other people think and what happened in the past, then this Sunday play awful and not give my team the best team to win,” Tate said. “I’m just trying to move forward. I know I have the support of the organization, of the coaches and the players, and that’s all that really matters right now, because at the end of the day, those are the guys who are on the field playing with me.”
And before you get all over Tate about the two-handed shove he used to take Sam Shields out of the play, he did admit culpability for what the league admitted Tuesday should have been an offensive pass interference penalty. Tate said he didn’t realize the magnitude of the push in the moment, which is why he denied it after the game having not yet seen a replay. After watching the play again, Tate realized he got away with a foul on Shields.
“I’m not going to deny pushing him,” he said. “The evidence shows on the film. I never had intentions on cheating; I wasn’t trying to cheat. I was competing, I was in the moment, things were happening so quick I didn’t even notice I did it. I didn’t try to hurt him or push him down to the ground, but it happened. It was so quick, it was just a reaction kind of thing.”
To the benefit of the Seahawks, and the dismay of the Packers, pass interference wasn’t called — and for what it’s worth, it almost never is on a Hail Mary pass at the end of a game. The pass was ruled a touchdown catch by Tate and not an interception by Green bay. None of that is changing, so the key for both sides is getting over the emotions of the game and preparing for the next one.
“Our fans had the moment of their life and I know it’s crushing on the other end of it,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We’ve been on sides. The point now is to understand that we have to find the discipline it takes to be turned into the next preparation. That’s where we are right now. I know both teams have to do the same no matter what the outcome is. It does take tremendous discipline to get that done.”
And that goes for everyone in the Seahawks locker room, not just the man at the center of the controversy.
“I would hope everybody’s focused on St. Louis,” said linebacker Leroy Hill. “Green Bay, we won the game, it’s over with. I haven’t though nothing else about Green Bay. I’m moving on to St. Louis… If you’re still thinking about Green Bay and the game and the call, you’re stuck in the past.”
Oh, and for what it’s worth, no matter what you think the replays show, Tate isn’t backing off of his contention that he made the catch.
“I personally felt like I had the ball at that time, and off of what I remember, I felt like I had the ball in my hands,” he said. “We both competed for the ball, and the call ended up going our way and we won the game. We’re 2-1 now, trying to move forward, and the Rams are the most important thing right now.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.