An intelligent man with a broad-based body of knowledge, Aaron Rodgers earned $50,000 for a child-cancer charity by winning an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! last spring.
He might have lost the game if Alex Trebek had read the answer: “This team has sacked you 12 times in three consecutive dramatic Packers losses.”
The question, “Who are the Seattle Seahawks, Alex?” would have escaped Rodgers’ memory if you consider the collective fugue state he and the rest of the Green Bay Packers appear to have fallen into regarding last season’s NFC Championship Game, and the two other Seahawks home wins in recent years.
“It’s the 2015 season, a new season, we’re 1-0 and they’re 0-1 and it’s Game 2 of the season,” Rodgers said via teleconference Wednesday when asked about the teams’ recent meetings.
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After three consecutive home wins — the 2012 “Fail Mary” game, last season’s opener, and the overtime thriller in the NFC Championship Game — the Seahawks have to face Rodgers and the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football.
When asked again about seeking revenge, Rodgers repeated that “there’s not a lot of motivation there.”
As far as the Packers fans are concerned, though, the Seahawks will be about as welcome in Wisconsin as a plague of lactose intolerance.
Part of the reason for the friction in this cross-division rivalry is the dash of controversy that has been added to the significance of the recent outcomes.
The 2012 game likely will be remembered by Packers faithful with the kind of disdain Seahawks fans carry for the Super Bowl XL loss to Pittsburgh. They feel they were robbed by inept officiating, though the Packers’ version was by replacements for striking regular officials.
Last season’s opener was a Seattle runaway, no contest, no controversy, while the NFC title game appeared well in hand for the Packers before the Seahawks rallied for an overtime win.
Throughout, the two-time MVP Rodgers, who owns an historic touchdown-interception ratio of 229-57, has been unremarkable in Seattle. In addition to the dozen sacks, he’s thrown three interceptions to two touchdowns, had passer ratings of 81.5 twice and 55.8 in the playoff game.
“We’ve survived games with him, is what it amounts to,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s a great football player; he did it again in the (opener at Chicago, 3 TD, 0 INT, rating 140.5). The playmaking that comes out of him is just off the charts.”
Because of his production and leadership, and reasonable demeanor, Rodgers has become one of the faces of the NFL. And, as the Jeopardy! proved, he’s quite intelligent.
He presented a rational explanation for why he and the Packers can face the Seahawks for a third time over such a short and disappointing span, and not feel lingering animosity.
“Teams change, they find their identity throughout the season,” he said. “The teams kind of take on their identities as the season progresses.”
So the team that lost to the Seahawks in last season’s opener was not close to the one that looked on the brink of a Super Bowl appearance before the late heart-break in the conference championship game.
Is anybody willing to buy that, though? Of course they can’t say that they’re still stinging from those losses, because if they lose again, it will be too easy to say it was because the Seahawks were in their heads.
That’s along the order of the Seahawks saying that the controversial loss in the Super Bowl doesn’t linger. Of course it does.
The question, “who are the Seahawks?” is valid, literally, this week.
The group that goes out and faces Rodgers on Sunday night will not include holdout safety Kam Chancellor, who has had big games against the Packers. And the 12th Man CenturyLink crowd that delighted in deafening the Packers will have limited representation at Lambeau.
Unsurprisingly, the Packers are favored. I strongly suspect that if the Packers lay a spanking on the Seahawks in front of a national audience, none of them will say that this was just another game over a just another team.
This would go a ways toward settling a festering grievance.
Otherwise, it will be another loss the Packers will be eager to forget.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440
Wilson, Seahawks > Rodgers, Packers
In the Russell Wilson era, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have played the Seahawks three times (all in Seattle) and lost all three games, twice on last-play TD passes by Wilson. A closer look:
NFC Championship Game
Jan. 15, 2015
Packers couldn’t hold 16-0 halftime lead as Seattle rallied to win in overtime, 28-22, on a Wilson-to-Jermaine Kearse touchdown.
2014 Regular season (Week 1)
Sept. 4, 2014
Packers led, 7-3, after a quarter but it was all Seahawks from there in a 36-16 romp. Rodgers was also sacked leading to a safety in the third quarter.
2012 Regular season (Week 3)
Sept. 24, 2012
Rodgers led just one TD drive, setting up Golden Tate’s Fail Mary heroics on final play that gave Seattle a 14-12 win in Wilson’s third career start.