"Common! you know M.D. Jennings intercepted that ball . . . . . Tate grabbed Jennings' arms not the ball . . . . . ."
My favorite avatar on a popular Seahawks Forum is the pic of two cute twin babies. One has a Packers Logo on his shirt and the brother has a Seahawks logo. The Seahawk baby is victoriously smiling and relishing the moment while the Packer baby is pouting, crying and whining.
Packer's fans are upset that their team is not going 15 and 1 this year and point to MNF of September 24th to explain, in part, why. Their sympathizers are the cynics and skeptics who cannot conceive that the Seahawks got that miracle win. It remains unconscionable that Seattle may, heaven forbid, end-up with a more favorable seed in the playoffs.
The general consensus for those outside looking-in (and many Seahawks fans, to be fair) is that only real observers can surmise that M.D. Jennings intercepted Wilson's Hail Mary. ESPN NFC North Blogger, Kevin Seifert (most likely to stoke the fire) invokes the word "Fail Mary" to help his constituency feel vindicated. A national majority still believes it as a pure given that M.D. Jennings intercepted the pass and feel that the TD outcome was a just a bad call.
My daughter goes to college in the Midwest and was under the impression from hearing conversations following the game that the ruled TD was a certified, beyond all doubt, blatant interception, but for political reasons, unchallenged and not reversed and could be considered the worst call in NFL history.
Most Packer fans and NFL fans in general say that they flat out know, objectively, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is true and have come to closure on this, reinforced by Mike and Mike and others who will naturally sympathize with Aaron Rodgers (remember the Avatar?), who continues to lament the Tate winning TD.
Sociologists call these "plausibility structures." A "plausibility structure" runs like this: Only first round draft pick QBs who are over 6 feet can become successful franchise NFL QBs. Or a corollary: Five foot Eleven inch QBs drafted in the third round are not going to start in the NFL. Sound familiar?
A "group think" takes over and it becomes lore. In other words, It becomes a consensus, especially for those on the outside looking-in. And if you challenge the consensus, you are considered to be a homer lacking objectivity at best and called a lunatic at worst. (Pete Carroll does, indeed, frolic on the sidelines like a lunatic, so I get it).
ESPN is a co- brand whose constituency demands certain expectations from fans and advertisers. Therefore, Brand centric plausibility structures, i.e. a reinforced consensus, will be ruthlessly guarded, so much so that people can have an affinity with Skip Bayless: "The Seattle Seahawks don’t belong in my Super Bowl!"
The YouTube battle proves to inquirers that it was a bad call, because you have to look harder for the vids that show that Tate might have caught the ball.
The first issue is this: Certified bad call or controversial call? If someone has decided that this is already a bad call beyond doubt, then the discussion is over. Without even considering a frame-by-fame analysis, the focus is purely on M.D. Jenning's effort. Selective data supports this claim. This is no longer in the "reasonable fans disagree" arena and your conversation is over. Better yet, walk away and if necessary, just run like hell!
If a margin of doubt exists, leaning toward an M.D. Jennings interception, then there are some technical "Fact or Fiction" questions that I have put together that can be asked to facilitate dialogue regarding Tate's effort, not just Jennings'.
Here we go:
Fact or Fiction: The September 24, 2012 Packers at Seahawks MNF Hail Mary was a case where batting the ball down would have been the best approach for M. D. Jennings to secure the win. This is a Fact: Herman Edwards, a former NFL head coach and defensive backs coach and former defensive back himself stated on ESPN on the day after that coaches usually instruct defensive players in football fundamentals to bat the ball down in cases where an interception will not help you secure the win. The blatant offensive pass-interference call would have rendered irrelevant had Jennings heeded conventional wisdom here.
Fact or Fiction: A player does not need two hands or arms for control of the ball. This is a Fact: One-handed catches are made all the time. Many documented cases in regular season games, playoff games and Super Bowls yield an abundance of one-handed catches.
Fact or Fiction: While Jennings is still off the ground, Golden Tate’s two feet hit the ground while his left hand controlled the ball to establish possession before M.D. Jennings establishes possession in the same or similar manner. This is a Fact: By jumping higher -- Jennings is actually farther away from landing (literally touching-down). Top dog usually wins, but not in this case because Tate is ahead of Jennings to complete this process.
Fact or Fiction: The reverse angle view shows that Golden Tate's butt hits the ground, still having control, possession, and at this point, is in the end zone before both of Jennings feet hit the ground. This is a Fact: Again, Tate was ahead of M.D. Jennings in this process and finalized the Touchdown in control and possession.
Now, these assertions are based on visual, frame-by-frame photographic evidence. At the very least, this evidence provides a body of work written by (get this) Scott Kacsmar, whose home-town is Pittsburgh, PA and specializes in regular detailed analysis of the Indianapolis Colts. His position in Cold Hard Football Facts can be debated, challenged and discussed by reasonable observers alike.
The point here is, despite the overwhelming consensus that the "Fail Mary" is just a bad (Mike Golic calls it ridiculous) call by replacement refs, this remains to be a controversial call that determined the outcome of a regular-season game, just as the Immaculate Reception determined the outcome of a playoff game between the Steelers and Raiders.
The standings, playoff seed scenarios, and Packers are all subject to the irrevocable reality that the outcome, verified in the booth and at NFL headquarters, is in the books.