"We want the ball and we're gonna score."
This is what then-Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck told the referees on a cold December night at Lambeau Field, right before overtime play got underway in the 2003 Wild Card matchup. It was a bit of a high-scoring affair as regulation ended with both teams knotted up, 27-27.
For a second, he had me. I thought it could happen. Hasselbeck sounded confident. I lacked faith.
In the end, confidence wasn't enough for the Seahawks as they looked to move on to the Divisional round. Following the infamous coin-flip callout, each team went 3-and-out before it happened. Hasselbeck calmly stepped into the huddle, took the snap, dropped back with his eyes locked looking left and threw a dart, right into the waiting hands of Al Harris who took it back to the house for a 52-yard touchdown to end the game.
Moments like that made this rivalry special.
When you take the time to think about it, there has been something special about the Packers - Seahawks rivalry for a long time now. It is definitely one of the more subtle rivalries in the NFL. From the 2003 and 2007 playoff matchups to last season's "Fail Mary" game, there has always been some kind of plot or storyline that tied these two franchises together and made for the occasional epic game. Let's take a quick look at some of those ties as we head into Friday's dress rehearsal game.
Matt Hasselbeck began his NFL career as a Packer in 1999. He was a sixth-round pick by Ron Wolf and was one of the many unused backups during the Brett Favre era. He was traded to Seattle on March 2, 2001 and eventually earned his spot as the starting quarterback. Throughout his career, Hasselbeck went on to break a number of Seahawk passing records. In addition to that, he helped Seattle reach the playoffs six times and they appeared in one Super Bowl.
Ahman Green is the Green Bay Packers' all-time leading rusher with 8,322 rushing yards. As a Packer, Green and Brett Favre tore it up. To this day, the duo arguably remains the franchise's last great running back/quarterback tandem. Green gave the Packers a real ground attack - something that hasn't been seen much since he stopped being the team's featured back. Just opposite of Hasselbeck, Green was traded to the Packers from the Seattle Seahawks in 2000 in exchange for cornerback Fred Vinson.
The 90's ended up being a very fun time for a lot of sports fans, mainly because there were so many great things that came of that decade. Things like the *home *run *race between *Sammy Sosa and *Mark McGwire to Michael Jordan's great runs with the Chicago Bulls. Good music and a lot of other great things came of that 90's era.
If you were to put the words "90's" and "Packers" in the same sentence, three things would come to my mind: Brett Favre, Reggie White and Coach Mike Holmgren. Holmgren and his beloved mustache roamed the Packer sideline every week from 1992-98. In 1996, Holmgren led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory and that still remains one of my all-time favorite memories after all these years. Now he even has his own street in Green Bay, Holmgren Way.
Holmgren left Green Bay to coach in Seattle and add the title of General Manager. The Seahawks went from being consistently mediocre to becoming a frequent playoff threat for the better part of his coaching tenure there. UNRELATED FUN FACT: Holmgren was the quarterback at USC from 1966-69. Imagine...
The Packers' own General Manager, "Trader" Ted Thompson, has been busy building a future for the Packers since 2005. He has almost seamlessly ushered this franchise into a new era that as already produced one championship. His decisions weren't always the most popular but he has proven himself as trustworthy - perhaps even earning the nickname "Trustworthy" Ted, in recent years.
Thompson also has Seattle ties. From 2000-2004, he served as the VP of Football Operations for the 'Hawks and played a big role in the turnaround of that franchise as well.
JOHN SCHNEIDER (Seahawks General Manager)
Schneider was brought on to the Seahawks as the General Manager in 2010 after spending the past seven years with the Packers as the Director of Football Operations. He grew up in the state of Wisconsin and began his career with the Packers as a scout in 1993. Interestingly enough, he got his first job by writing a letter to the then-Packers GM Ron Wolf, who gave him a summer internship during his junior year of college. From there, Schneider's executive career was about to take off. In 2012, he won the NFL's Executive of the Year award.
HONORABLE MENTION: RUSSELL WILSON
I understand that this isn't really a Packers connection but the Wisconsin connection is there. There are a lot of Packer fans who double as Badger fans. Wilson played one very good season with the Wisconsin Badgers before going pro. (EDITOR'S NOTE: No, it wasn't just very good. It was like a wet dream for Badger fans.) He led the Badgers to the Rose Bowl and was the one who threw the legendary "Fail Mary" against the Packers last season. He is now tied to the Packers forever.
There are a lot of connections between these two franchises that aren't even mentioned here. As I said before, this is one of the more subtle rivalries in the NFL. While it is just the preseason, we can expect to see one good half of football from the starters this week. A lot of connections between the two franchises, but no love will be lost here. You should expect to see a good one tomorrow.
More from Acme Packing Company:
- Packers VS. Seahawks Preview: 5 Things to Watch For
- Packers Keys to 2013: Can Nick Perry Save the Defense?
- Mike McCarthy Presser 8/21: Injuries and Inconsistency Recurring Themes
- Seahawks vs. Packers Preview: Q&A With Field Gulls
- Packers Training Camp Practice Notebook 8/21: Crosby loses ground in the kicking battle