GREEN BAY, Wis. — Nearly one full year later, Green Bay Packers safety M.D. Jennings is still reminded constantly about his role in the infamous conclusion of the Monday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Call it the Fail Mary or the Inaccurate Reception or the game that finally got rid of the NFL’s replacement referees, it’s the moment that Jennings isn’t allowed to forget.
“It’s something that’s stuck with me, unfortunately, but it’s something I’m trying to get over,” Jennings said Tuesday in the locker room. “I don’t want to be remembered by that play. I just try to go out there and play football.”
Though it’s just preseason, Jennings knew the questions were coming. The Seahawks are traveling to Lambeau Field for a nationally televised Friday night matchup that will feature both teams together again for the first time since a controversial Week 3 call awarded a touchdown to Seattle and a loss to the Packers.
Jennings was the player on the other end of the “simultaneous catch” with Seahawks receiver Golden Tate. Thus far in his two-year NFL career, Jennings is defined by that play. It’s a replay that will certainly be part of Friday’s broadcast, likely on more than one occasion.
“I don’t know why the NFL made it a nationally televised game,” Jennings said. “Regardless of whatever TV it’s on or who you’re playing, you’ve just got to go out there and play football.”
While Jennings claimed he was unaware of why a national audience might be interested in watching this game, Green Bay linebacker Terrell Manning wasn’t quite as naive.
“We’re playing in prime time under the lights,” Manning told FOXSportsWisconsin.com. “The NFL is using it, so we’re going to go out there like it’s a real game.”
Manning, who was a rookie with the Packers last season, didn’t play in the Monday night game in Seattle. But that hasn’t made him any less motivated by its outcome.
“To me, it’s very personal,” Manning said. “That’s a game that took awhile for a lot of guys around here to get over, especially myself included. It’s very personal. This is a game, even though it’s preseason, to me, it’s going to be like a regular-game atmosphere out there. I’m pretty sure the fans are going to be hyped up for it, as well.”
Typically in the third preseason game, starters will play the entire first half. So, when both teams enter the locker room at halftime, Manning plans to view that score as the true result.
“I have no doubt about it that when we take that field and it’s the ones versus the ones, starters versus the starters, that’s what the real game would have been like,” Manning said. “I feel like, at the end of the day, some of the coaches might try to protect this person or that person for the season, but it’ll be an all-out war out there. I don’t think we’re going to hold anything back.”
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy was asked if he still thinks about last year’s game against the Seahawks, and the intentionally sarcastic facial expression he made summed up his feelings well.
“It’s not going to help with this game,” McCarthy said. “I mean, I don’t need to think about it. I’m always reminded of it.”