SEATTLE — Golden Tate vows not to give in. Not to the Green Bay fans who began hitting him up with taunts on Twitter a few days ago.
And not to the Packers fans he’ll undoubtedly hear from Friday night at Lambeau Field when the Seahawks make their first visit there since Tate’s controversial last-play catch Sept. 24 at CenturyLink Field that gave Seattle a much-debated win over Green Bay.
“It’s been pretty entertaining to read up on this stuff,” Tate said Tuesday. “I’m not letting it bother me any. What they say on Twitter or in Wisconsin doesn’t affect me.”
Tate, in fact, sent something of a pre-emptive strike Monday when he tweeted “I can see now that this week my twitter is going to be harassed all week” and adding the hash tags “cantwait #weeklyentertainment and #youSTILLmadbro”
“Just having fun with it,” he said. “Trying to lighten the mood. … At first when I dealt with this it was kind of frustrating to hear all the hate from their fans. But now it is what it is. The play happened, the referee called it a touchdown — I couldn’t help that call. So what else can I do other than have fun with it and not take it too seriously and not let it hurt my feelings?”
To briefly recall the setting, Seattle trailed the Packers 12-7 when it lined up for one last play at the Green Bay 24-yard line. Quarterback Russell Wilson scrambled around to buy time before lofting a pass in the direction of Tate and several Green Bay defenders. Tate and Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings each came down with the ball, but official Lance Easley signaled touchdown. The call stood after a review, and the Seahawks got the win.
The game was officiated by replacement referees, with the league and officials still working out a new labor agreement. And the controversy over that call (and many others) helped bring the regular officials back to work.
The game also proved pivotal in each team’s season.
Seattle, 1-1 at the time, went on to finish 11-5 and earn the No. 5 seed into the playoffs.
Green Bay also finished 11-5 and won the NFC North, but had to settle for the No. 3 seed into the playoffs, finishing a half-game behind the 49ers for the No. 2 slot and a first-round bye.
While Tate said he finds it funny that he’s still hearing about it almost a year later, he’s also found out that it’s not just Packers fans who will likely forever see red over the play.
He said then-Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson recently sent him a bottle of wine that says “touch-ception,” a nickname given to the play by some as a touchdown/interception.
And he said that while he hasn’t talked to Jennings — whom he will likely match up with again Friday night — he has a picture of the play signed by Jennings that says “robbed.”
Tate, though, says he’s not sure what else he was supposed to do.
“I don’t care what you think or what they think — catch or no catch,” he said. “It is what it is. The referee called it a touchdown. I did my job. Point blank. End of story.”
If only it were that easy.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says he plans to talk to Tate just to make sure he understands what he might hear Friday night.
“He can’t do anything but do the best he can and prepare to play a good football game and all that,” Carroll said. “And I know he’ll do that. We’ll keep it simple.”
Carroll says the best longterm lesson of the play might be that “it’s just a statement that over the 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, third time And that’s been happening for years… . it shows you the human aspect and it happens to show the replacement human aspect of it, as well.”
Carroll also recalled Tate’s push-off on the play of Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields, which the NFL said later should have been called an offensive pass interference penalty. “The push, that was legit,” Carroll said.
All in a day’s work, Tate says, simply trying to do whatever it took.
“I see it as a highlight,” he said when asked what he thinks when he sees a replay of the catch. “It was a big play in a critical moment that helped us win the game.”