GREEN BAY, Wis. — Being on the wrong end of arguably the worst call in NFL history does have its perks. Packers safety M.D. Jennings is finding that out firsthand.
It’s not as if Jennings is going to be able to quit his day job and tour the country signing posters of the infamous final play in Green Bay’s controversial Week 3 loss to the Seahawks. But with Packers fans wanting a memorable keepsake from Jennings for his role as the would-be interceptor on Seattle’s game-winning touchdown, that call by the since-replaced replacement officials has continued to live on.
Jennings has become quite popular among autograph seekers, and his recent live guest spot for a local radio show drew the biggest turnout of the year. When sports memorabilia store Legends of the Field offered Jennings an opportunity to sign autographs for fans at $25 per item Oct. 9, it was quite a success for all parties involved.
“It was in the news, so he’s definitely going to increase his popularity,” Legends of the Field vice president Jason Sarchet said. “It definitely gave him a lot of exposure. It certainly had an impact on him. We had been talking about doing something with him before that, but it definitely put it over the top. He was in the spotlight for several days.”
Jennings, though, objects to the idea that he is handling his public appearances any differently than he ever did.
“I’m not cashing in,” Jennings told FOXSportsWisconsin.com this week. “If the PR guys come to me, or my agent asks me to do a guest appearance, I just agree to do it. I don’t know if it’s going to be 10 fans there or a packed house. I’m not trying to cash in or anything off of that play.”
When fans asked Jennings to write something specific about the blown call that cost the Packers a win, Jennings played along.
“The one inscription was ‘Screwed In Seattle,'” Sarchet said. “One guy wanted him to write, ‘Make the call!’ Some guys had him write, ‘Robbed!'”
Two items that Jennings was asked to sign had already been autographed by Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate, the player who was credited with the touchdown due to a simultaneous catch ruling. Tate had written ‘It was a touchdown’ across it, with Jennings later adding, ‘Interception!’
“He’s an incredible guy,” Sarchet said of Jennings. “He’s very, very polite, very well-spoken. I think he handled himself with customers incredible. I was very impressed by him.
“He was able to make light of the situation.”
Even now, more than three weeks after that game, Jennings looks back and is surprised at the way people reacted in the aftermath of that last-second call in the end zone.
“At the time I didn’t think the media would make such a big deal about the play,” Jennings said. “I was just doing my job on the play.”
But as uniquely specific autograph requests from fans began to pile up, Jennings started to grasp the magnitude of how that night would be remembered by Packers fans.
“People were wanting me to write ‘Fail Mary’ and coming up with all types of things to write on their autographed items,” Jennings said. “So, that’s when I realized, it was a big deal.”