Charles Woodson’s Regrets: Two Packers’ Playoff Losses
Former Green Bay Packers safety Charles Woodson is penning columns for ESPN this week and today he talked about regrets. Of the three he mentions, two involve playoff losses when he was with the Packers.
The first is the 2007 NFC Championship game, which you’ll recall as the game Brett Favre threw away in overtime. Woodson was knocked silly by Giants running back Brandon Jacobs early in the game. He kept playing, but says he wasn’t all there.
All because he didn’t go low.
“I was out for a second after we made contact. Then I hit the ground and woke up. I remember being on the ground and one of my teammates was like, “Wood! Wood! You all right?!” I was shook — really I was. I played the rest of the game, but I was out of it. That’s a big regret for me, not going and hitting that guy low. That was a ROUGH day from then on out.”
Always go low, kids, especially when you’ve got a fat bastard like Brandon Jacobs running at you.
The second was the 2009 Wild Card game in Arizona. That was a 51-45 overtime loss and as you can tell by that score, the defense didn’t play particularly well.
Woodson says he was approached by two officials before the game, both of whom suggested they’d be watching closely for contact after five yards. He told them if he couldn’t make contact, then Cardinals’ star receiver Larry Fitzgerald shouldn’t be able to push off at the top of his route either.
That talk changed the way Woodson played that day and probably turned the game into the offensive show that it was.
“Now, I’m feeling off. If there’s two refs telling me, there’s three, and they’re all looking at me. Early in the game the Cardinals are driving and I’m lined up against Larry. We get to the top of the route and he gives me a little nudge. I fall down and quarterback Kurt Warner hits Larry, who runs it in for a touchdown. I get up and I’m looking around for the flag but there’s nothing. What I was thinking in my mind while he’s running his route is, when he gets to the top of his route I can’t grab him because the referees are watching me. I deliberately choose not to grab him when, usually, I would grab any receiver and make the referee make a decision on whether or not to throw the flag. But I consciously did not grab him at the top of the route and, boom, he scores a touchdown.”
That same scenario repeated itself later on.
“Later in the game he scored another touchdown on a route where he ran right through me. Again, there was no flag. I just remember after that game just kicking myself, because I allowed somebody to dictate a part of what I did on the field on game day. I never got over that. I was apologizing to my teammates after the game, but what was done was done. That was 14 points in a 51-45 loss in overtime. I felt like, if they don’t get those 14 points, we win the game.”
It’s almost an NBA-style scenario, where the game changes on the whims of the officials on a nightly basis. You don’t often hear of officials trying to dictate the way the game is played in the NFL.
They obviously did in this case. Let the conspiracy theories unfurl!