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Packers-Seahawks a spicy start to the 2014 NFL season

By Barry Wilner

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 3 2014 10:10 p.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, Sept. 3 2014 10:14 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2012, file photo, an official, rear center, signals for a touchdown by Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate, obscured, as another official, at right, signals a touchback, on the controversial last play of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Seattle. It's been nearly two full years since the Packers and Seahawks met in the regular season, a game that forever became known as the "Fail Mary," for the disputed touchdown on the final play. Both teams say that result has no relevance to Thursday night's, Sept. 4, 2014, season opener, even if no one will ever forget the play.

Stephen Brashear, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

Fail Mary.

OK, we got that out of the way.

Well, not really, because one of the major focal points of the 2014 season opener between the Super Bowl champion Seahawks and the Packers is what happened the last time Green Bay was in Seattle.

For those who don't remember — and for all those Packers fans who have blocked it from their minds — the Seahawks prevailed 14-12 on Russell Wilson's desperation pass that Golden Tate stole away from Green Bay's secondary on the final play.

Two days later, the NFL reached a new contract with its officials, and the replacements were, uh, sent packing.

"Now, we'll all have our own debate about that whenever the time comes when we're retired and gone," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "That referee was standing right there, looking right there — right down at it — and he didn't miss what he saw. He just saw it the way that Golden Tate made the catch. So I know that he wasn't confused."

As for this spicy matchup Thursday night to kick off the schedule, both teams are favored to win their divisions and push each other for the NFC title.

Aaron Rodgers testing Seattle's superb secondary is intriguing. So is Marshawn Lynch running against what Green Bay sure hopes is a more stingy defense.

"I can promise you that the only time that topic will be brought up is when I'm in here," coach Mike McCarthy told reporters. "We're past it."

The champion Seahawks, No. 1 in the AP Pro32, are 5 1/2-point favorites over No. 4 Green Bay.

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