My Conversation with Lance Easley
A couple friends and I strolled over to the bar at the Beverly Garland on Saturday night for an after-dinner drink. My friend is talking to this girl at the bar and who strolls in but Lance Easley himself.
I know who he is immediately and then ask myself what I should do. I’ve thought of what I’d do if I ever ran into Brett Favre somewhere and I really don’t know the answer, although how I’d react now would certainly be much different than I would have three or four years ago.
So here is this person who we have universally despised since that fateful event in Seattle. The Fail Mary. The girl at the bar says, “This is Lance.” I reply, “I know who he is.”
Someone notes that I am a Green Bay Packers fan and that I own this blog. Naturally, I have to talk to the guy.
I’m not going to recount the entire conversation and, in fact, I had a pretty nice buzz on, so I’m not sure I could recount it in its entirety anyway.
What I can tell you is this. In the years since, Easley has repeatedly said he felt he made the right call on that play. He didn’t exactly say that me, but he did say — I’m paraphrasing slightly, “it was the only thing I could have done.”
I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who still hate the guy, but I really got the impression that the whole ordeal ruined his life to some degree. He mentioned more than once that it ruined his marriage.
That was obviously something that bothers him.
He did ask me how I felt about the play and yes, obviously I’ve always felt it was a crap call, but it occurred to me at that moment that it really didn’t matter. Yes, I said, the Packers could have had better playoff seeding, but that wasn’t a Super Bowl team anyway. That Mike McCarthy has only really had three legitimate Super Bowl-caliber teams since he’s been in Green Bay — 2007, 2010 and 2014.
Better playoff seeding or not, that 2012 team wasn’t winning the Super Bowl. They started M.D. Jennings at safety for Christ sake.
At any rate, you don’t often think about the person as a person in a situation like this. And then one day you come face to face with that person in a bar in Los Angeles.
I genuinely felt Easley was a good guy and I felt bad for him. How do you deal with something like this?
One of the last things he said to me was how kind Packers fans have been to him.
I guess that’s what you’d expect, although I will admit, I did first consider getting into a bar brawl with him. Clearly, I am getting soft in my old age.