Seahawks’ Latest Rivalry: Green Is The New Red
In a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks and Packers meet again this weekend in a Sunday Night Football battle at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the Packers are filling a void as the Seahawks’ newest nemesis.
Out With The Old, In With The New
"Green Bay is the new San Francisco. Now, there's a phrase that's never been uttered before," Thiel quipped. "But it isn't just about the cities. It's, of course, the change in the NFL. And the change happened in San Francisco."
"(Coach) Jim Harbaugh left. And I am still wearing a black armband," Thiel joked. "He was just the most wonderful cartoon villain that the Seahawks could possibly have. (Coach Pete) Carroll and Harbaugh hated each other and the teams were very well matched. But things have changed."
"The 49ers were 8-8 last year. They're no longer the powerhouse. So Seattle has to turn its attention to somebody else. And the Green Bay Packers offer an absolutely wonderful rivalry."
"It's hard to hate on Green Bay because they're the only team in professional sports owned by the fans. But the Packers are a very good team. And they are so irked about what's happened with the Seahawks," Thiel said.
He pointed to the Seahawks' dramatic victory over the Packers in the NFC Championship game last season.
"It was the largest come-from-behind win in the history of conference championship games," Thiel said.
"It was 16-0 then 19-7. They scored a bunch of points in the fourth quarter to tie at 22. And then won in overtime on a 35-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse."
"It was a great game. Lots of drama. And the Packers were stunned. Their fans are still irked."
Thiel noted that six months earlier, in September last year, the Seahawks opened the season on Thursday Night Football with a match against the Packers and they won 36-16.
"Probably the thing that really has created the rivalry was in 2013 - the "Fail Mary" game, in which the Packers felt they were robbed."
"Russell Wilson threw a pass that was either intercepted or caught by Golden Tate. It was really hard to tell which was which."
"The referees ruled it was a touchdown. The Seahawks won 14-12 and all the referees in that game were fired the next week because they were replacement referees."
"That play helped resolve the strike in the referees' favor. So, it was a big moment on Monday Night Football," Thiel said.
Sunday Night Spotlight
"This (weekend's game) is on Sunday Night. The game of the week in the NFL. And it may be the game of the season, given the stakes for these two teams," Thiel said.
The Seahawks lost their first game of the season to the Rams in overtime, 34-31.
"I think a lot of the mistakes they made are fixable in a week," Thiel continued. "Especially the communication issues they had on defense, the missed tackles - I think all of those things are fixable."
"The Seahawks offense actually did score 18 points against a very formidable St. Louis defense. So, I don't think it's as bad as some people think."
"But I also think that the Lambeau field atmosphere is very intimidating for a lot of young players. I think it's going to have some impact."
"I think the Seahawks are going to be starting out 0-2 because I think the Packers are going to prevail something like 27-24 in the matchup of the two highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL," Thiel noted. He also pointed out that the Seahawks have only won once at Lambeau Field - in 1999 when former Packers coach Mike Holmgren returned to Green Bay as coach of the Seahawks.
"They won that game. That's been it. It's a very difficult place to play. At least they get it in September and not December."