Packers notebook
Al Harris
Al Harris

Posted Jan 10, 2008


Harris downplays memorable play; Favre's comments on coin flip flap; Lambeau Mystique

Never one to clamor for media attention, cornerback Al Harris has shrugged off being in the middle of all the pregame hoopla this week for the matchup against Seattle on Saturday in the NFC divisional playoffs.

The last time the teams met in the postseason, Harris went down as a legend in the Packers' nonpareil history. He intercepted a pass from Matt Hasselbeck and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown to decide Green Bay's 33-27 overtime win in a wild-card game on Jan. 4, 2004 at Lambeau Field.

Fast forward four years, Harris doesn't think of the play as the capstone of his 10-year pro career.

"It was a big play. It was a big moment in my life, in my career, but I wouldn't define my career by that play," he said. "It rarely happens like that. You call the blitz, and what you're looking for happens. It rarely happens like that, so it was a lucky play."

In fact, Harris never kept the football, instead handing it over to a fan in the north end zone after he completed his game-winning sprint to the end zone.

Confident Hasselbeck
The postseason rematch between the Packers and the Seahawks also has stirred memories of what took place before the overtime period.

Seattle won the coin toss at midfield, which prompted Hasselbeck to announce for all at the stadium and those watching and listening around the world to hear, "We want the ball, and we're going to score."

Packers quarterback Brett Favre acknowledged this week that he never heard the ill-fated utterance made by Hasselbeck, a onetime teammate in Green Bay. Then-Packers running back Ahman Green filled Favre in on what was said before the kickoff to start overtime.

"People can call it what they want, but I thought it was pretty neat," Favre said. "I wouldn't do it, but I'm not saying that negatively.

"We've had a little fun sending messages back and forth this week. I think he makes that team go, and I like his confidence that he brings to the game, I really do, and I thought it was pretty funny myself. I was thinking, 'Boy, we better stop him.' I'm sure he felt like they would get the ball and they were going to score."

Has Lambeau Mystique returned?
The Packers, who endured a three-year swoon playing at home, believe they recaptured what they refer to as the "Lambeau Advantage," going 7-1 there during the regular season.

Home-field advantage, though, hasn't worked in Green Bay's favor in its most recent playoff appearances. The Packers have been eliminated in two of their last three playoff games at home -- they lost to Atlanta and Minnesota in the NFC wild-card round in the 2002 and '04 seasons, respectively.

"Some of the communication that I received from people when we went through that drought (was) that maybe it was the hot tubs before the game and other ridiculous things and maybe it was too much pressure playing at home," second-year head coach Mike McCarthy said. "We need to play football. We're going to play football (Saturday) in one of the best sports venues in all of sports. That's a blessing, but we need to play football the way we're capable of playing, regardless of where we play it."

Green Bay has the second-best winning percentage (.875) at home in the playoffs with a 14-2 record.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- 300-yard passing games by Packers quarterback Brett Favre in 20 playoff appearances. Favre has thrown for at least 300 yards only once in Green Bay's last 13 postseason games, dating to the 1996 season, with the Packers' going 7-6.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "There is a big difference, and I think it will play a factor. The teams who constantly go to the playoffs and have been to the playoffs and the players who've been in these situations you see come up big and play well. So, I think it will be a big difference."
-- Packers veteran cornerback Al Harris, when asked on how much of a factor the difference in playoff experience between Green Bay and Seattle would mean for their game Saturday. All but six players on the Seahawks' 53-man roster have appeared in a playoff game. The Packers, coming off a first-round bye, have only 17 players with postseason experience.



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