Week Three of the 2012 season (and, necessarily, the referee lockout) ended with a horrendous call at the conclusion of the Monday night game between the Packers and the Seahawks, giving Seattle a win it didn’t earn and Green Bay a loss it didn’t deserve. (Hey, 12th man, you can complain all you want but you know in your hearts that it’s true.)
So what was the final impact of the “Fail Mary” on the final 2012 standings and playoff tree? We’re glad you asked. (Even if you didn’t.)
For the Seahawks, it was meaningless, thanks to the fact that they found a way to beat the Rams in Week 17. Seattle finished 11-5, a game ahead of the Vikings for the No. 5 seed in the NFC. Turning that Week Three win into a loss would have dropped the ‘Hawks to 10-6. But they still would have secured the No. 5 seed from the Vikings, since the Seahawks beat the Vikings during the regular season.
For the Packers, the loss cost Green Bay a first-round bye, forcing them to play Minnesota again on Saturday and, if the Packers win, to travel to San Francisco in the divisional round.
Thus, in the end, the Packers were the only team negatively affected by the game. And the impact ultimately could be significant . Now, the Packers must win an extra game to get to the Super Bowl and also hit the road when instead they should have had to simply win one home game to qualify for the NFC finals.
In turn, Seattle’s division rivals picked up an ill-gotten benefit from the Seahawks’ good fortune. The 49ers don’t have to play this weekend, and they’ll welcome Green Bay, Seattle, or Washington to Candlestick Park in less than two weeks.
It probably won’t be enough to prompt Jim Harbaugh to send a Happy New Year card to Pete Carroll, but it’s a nice little piece of irony that will add to their rivalry, especially if they cross paths again in the postseason.