Packers special teams player felt like the ‘scapegoat’ of NFC Championship

Former Green Bay Packers tight end Brandon Bostick — who botched the onside kick recovery late in the NFC Championship game and ultimately cost the Packers a trip to the Super Bowl — opened up about his emotions and experiences following the loss in a first-person piece for MMQB.com.

The infamous special teams miscue came with the Packers leading 19-14 and just over two minutes remaining in the game. The seldom-used backup was supposed to block for sure-handed receiver Jordy Nelson to secure the onside kick and seal the victory for Green Bay. Instead, Bostick tried to grab the ball as it came toward him but couldn’t maintain possession. The Seattle Seahawks recovered, paving the way for their eventual 28-22 overtime win.

Bostick admitted that he knew his correct assignment before the play, but “his mind went blank” and “instinct kicked in” as he saw the ball coming towards him in the air. He realized it was significant mistake, but wonders if he might have been unfairly singled out as the lone player who cost the Packers a chance at a Super Bowl ring.

“I knew it was a big deal. I knew it was a key mistake that cost us a trip to the Super Bowl. But, with all due respect, I think the media kind of took it and ran with it. I became the singular scapegoat.”
Even though he might not have been “the singular scapegoat” — Mike McCarthy’s coaching decisions were also heavily scrutinized postgame — that didn’t stop the Twitter trolls from piling on, as he received numerous death threats and tasteless messages in the aftermath.

Bostick was released by the Packers on Feb. 16 and immediately claimed on waivers by the Minnesota Vikings. He is hopeful for a fresh start in Minnesota, yet he also acknowledges that the play continues to haunt him and he is still coping with the loss.