For me, the month of October is all about Halloween. The weather starts to get colder, I don’t have to feel judged for my love of pumpkin spice lattes. I get to decorate with all the fun spooky stuff, and of course, it’s the perfect time for scary movies featuring some of my favorite villains. You know, guys like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Raheem Mostert.
THAT’S RIGHT. Today, we’re taking a look at some of the guys who have haunted Packers fans—the ones whose names we just never want to hear again. Read at your own risk, and let us know in the comments who your football nightmare is.
It’s probably no coincidence that Mostert kind of looks like the word “monster”. The 2019 season was a pleasant surprise for fans of the Green Bay Packers. In the team’s first year with new HC Matt LaFleur, and a slew of new players including Za’Darius Smith and Adrian Amos, no one really knew what to expect. The Packers ended up finishing 13-3, and for the first time in a while, it felt like the Super Bowl was actually attainable. All that was left was the NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers, who had handed them their most recent loss of the season in Week 12. But that was nothing—the Packers were angry, and they were out for revenge. It was going to be a great game, and they would win! And then Raheem Mostert laced up and proceeded to score every single touchdown for the 49ers. Mostert ended the night with 226 total yards and 4 touchdowns. The Packers ended the night heartbroken.
The very next year, the Packers went 13-3 yet again. They made it back to the NFC Championship, but this time they were the top seed. No more away games! The Super Bowl was a guarantee (and this time we meant it!). With halftime just 8 seconds away, the Packers were down 14-10 to Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Packers’ defense was tasked with preventing a TB score and bringing the team into the second half with some momentum. The one time the Packers should’ve been playing zone coverage, they opted for fan-favorite Kevin King to cover Scotty Miller, who up until this point was just some guy. After Miller’s 39-yard TD gave the Bucs an 11-point lead, they came back from the half and almost immediately brought that lead up to 18 points. The Packers got back into it with scores from Robert Tonyan and Davante Adams, but it wasn’t enough, and the team lost their second straight NFC Championship.
In what world is an offensive lineman ever horrifying? Mine, Royce Newman. Anyways, for as long as I can remember, the Packers and bad special teams play have gone together like toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble. The 2010 matchup against the New England Patriots was no exception. With Aaron Rodgers out with a concussion, Matt Flynn took the field for his first-ever NFL start. Though the game would go on to be a loss for the Packers, for most of the game Green Bay was winning, and Flynn was actually playing comparably to Tom Brady. In the second quarter, however, it happened. There are only a couple of kick returns I can remember as vividly as this one: Randall Cobb tying an NFL record in his career debut, and Keisean Nixon breaking a 12-year drought of kick return TDs for the Packers. Patriots offensive lineman Dan Connolly ended up with the ball in his hands, and just started running. And he kept running. And it looked like he might actually take it all the way, until he was finally brought down after a 71-yard return. After the game, Tom Brady was quoted as saying “I’ve never seen anything happen so slow in my life.” Luckily, the 2010 season ended with the Packers hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, so we can thankfully look back at this moment and just laugh.
The Packers wanted to avoid kicking it to Brandon Tate.— NFL Legacy (@NFLLegacy) November 4, 2018
Little did they know their squib kick would end up in the hands of electric return man Dan Connolly.
(Dec. 19, 2010) @Patriots #GBvsNE pic.twitter.com/xIghxeE3VV
I think every football fan has a play or a game they look back on, even years later, with just as much rage as though it had just happened. For me, that moment is the Fail Mary, a play so controversial it has its own Wikipedia page. This was the game that sparked the Packers’ rivalry with the Seattle Seahawks in the 2010s. In the summer of 2012, the NFL Referees Association failed to come to a new collective bargaining agreement with the league, and a lockout began. The season started with replacement refs, and it was a bit of a disaster. Incorrect calls were made, important calls were missed, and fans had had enough. We needed the professionals back, and quickly, before a call cost a team a game or an entire season. Before something like the Inaccurate Reception happened. This was supposed to just be a regular old Monday Night Football game. The Packers and Seahawks were meeting for the first time in three seasons, and Green Bay looked poised to win a fairly boring game with a score of 12-7. On the final play of the game, rookie QB Russell Wilson launched the ball into the endzone, targeting WR Golden Tate. Just before getting his hands on the ball at the exact same time as DB M.D. Jennings, Tate had shoved another Packers defender, which should’ve drawn a flag for offensive pass interference. With Tate and Jennings both on the ground with their arms wrapped around the ball, one ref signaled a score, and the other signaled a touchback. Refs determined there was no evidence to overturn the touchdown, so the Seahawks ended up winning the game. This loss for the Packers ended up costing them the 2nd seed in the 2012 playoffs by half a game, and they would later lose to the 2nd seed 49ers in San Francisco, 45-31. Two days after the Fail Mary, the NFL and the refs came to an agreement, and the lockout ended.
September 24, 2012: The Fail Mary pic.twitter.com/GlmI5sYMeW— This Day In Sports Clips (@TDISportsClips) September 24, 2021
Guys, I could go on for days about players who have given me nightmares. Colin Kaepernick, Anthony Barr, Brandon Bostick—the list really doesn’t end. Rather than dwell on any more of the horrors, I turn it over to you, dear reader. Who is a player that will haunt you as a Packers fan for the rest of your days?