'The Fail Mary': We still haven't got over the insane finish to Seattle v Green Bay in 2012

The finish of the 2012 week 3 game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers is something will still haven’t gotten over.

When they say that you should ‘expect the unexpected’, there is a very good chance that they didn’t foresee what was going to happen when the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers met each other in week 3 of the 2012 NFL season.

That’s because there was simply no way that anybody could have predicted the chaos that would take place right at the end of the game when Rusell Wilson threw up a last-ditch Hail Mary play into the end zone in the hopes of the ball falling the right way.  

And even when you think you know what was going to happen, in come the referees to show that you never can tell what’s going to happen in the NFL, and that’s part of what makes it so fun and enjoyable.

What was the setup?

The game was very early in the season, so it wasn’t as if there were really any playoff implications at stake, but it still acted as a base for both teams to set themselves up for the season ahead. 

The Seahawks had taken the lead in the first half following a Golden Tate touchdown, only for the Packers to come back and have the lead entering the final stages of the game after two field goals from Mason Crosby and a touchdown run from Cedric Benson. They did attempt a 2-point conversion to go up by 14-7, but were crucially unsuccessful, meaning a touchdown would win the game rather than just force overtime.

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And so with the game at its final play from the Packers 24-yard line, Wilson took the snap, scrambled to his left and fired a ball into the endzone up for grabs. 

The ‘Fail Mary’ goes down in history

The first problem was that two people caught it at the same time. Tate, who had caught the touchdown earlier, and M. D. Jennings, with both men coming down with the ball as they hit the ground. The second problem came when the officials didn’t know what to call. 

One called for a touchdown, the other signalled a timeout which would have ended the game and chaos ensued for the next few minutes as replay officials tried to determine what should happen next: 

Perhaps the most important factor in all of this, was the fact that the league was using replacement referees, with the league’s regular officials involved in a labour dispute. 

The final play, which has since been dubbed the ‘Fail Mary’ proved to be the final straw at the end of weeks of criticism about the quality of the replacement referees to start the season. Two days after the game, the two sides reached an agreement and the normal referees were back in action.

It just goes to show that you never really know what’s going to happen on any given day in the NFL.

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