Bostick pain lingers, but Packers' rivals have suffered equally stunning defeats since
It's a pretty safe bet that no Packers fan will forget the events of Jan. 18, 2015, when Green Bay appeared to have locked up a trip to the Super Bowl in the NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks.
But a series of unfortunate events, highlighted by an infamous botched onside kick recovery attempt by Brandon Bostick, left the Packers with a 28-22 overtime loss, one that will reverberate in Packers lore forever.
But, whether you seek balance in the universe or simply love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning, each of the Packers' three NFC North rivals has now experienced defeats that rival the Seattle collapse.
Bears: The Double Doink
The most recent came Sunday night, when the Bears fell to the Eagles in the opening round of the NFC playoffs, 16-15, with the night ending on kicker Cody Parkey's "double-doink" misfire from 43 yards away.
Philadelphia hero Nick Foles, already chiefly responsible for his team's wild run to last year's Super Bowl, led his team on a late touchdown drive against the Bears' vaunted defense and connected on a fourth-down touchdown pass to Golden Tate — who started the year with the Lions before a midseason trade — with 56 seconds to play. Chicago was able to get into field-goal range thereafter, which ultimately exacerbated the pain of the loss.
Chicago went on a magical run to 12-4 in 2018 behind young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and dominant defensive newcomer Khalil Mack. Come to think of it, though your opinion may vary on Trubisky's long-term outlook, it's awfully similar to the Green Bay Packers of 25 years ago, led by second-year starter Brett Favre and free-agent acquisition Reggie White. Those Packers upset the Lions in the first round of the playoffs after the 1993 season on a touchdown with 55 seconds to play.
Lions: The Hail Mary
The Lions have had some other heartbreaks in recent years, starting two weeks before the Packers' loss in Seattle in the playoffs. In a game overshadowed by an inexplicable official's ruling to pick up a flag for pass interference, the Lions fell to the Cowboys, 24-20.
One week later came the "Dez caught it" game in Green Bay. One week after that: the Bostick game. What a weird NFC playoffs it was that season.
But an even bigger Lions heartbreak came the following year — this time in the regular season, and it's another moment most everyone with Packers allegiance remembers.
The Lions finished three games out of a playoff spot in 2015, but they'd endured a number of close losses and had built some momentum with three straight wins heading into a Week 13 battle at Ford Field with the Packers.
Green Bay, meanwhile, was inexplicably reeling, having lost four of five after starting the season at 6-0. Those losses included an 18-16 setback against Detroit at Lambeau after Mason Crosby missed a 52-yard field goal as time expired. It snapped a 24-game winning streak for Green Bay at home against the Lions.
The Lions held a 23-14 lead with just more than 3 minutes to play, though Aaron Rodgers scored to make it 23-21 with 3:04 left. Detroit punted on its next possession but whittled the clock down to 29 seconds, and Green Bay started on its own 21.
You remember what happened next, don't you? Rodgers threw two incompletions, then threw a pass to James Jones that turned into a festival of laterals. It looked like the game was over, but a facemask penalty on Devin Taylor trying to tackle Rodgers allowed the Packers one last snap from their own 39-yard line.
Hmm, I wonder what happened then?
The Lions weren't helped by their belief that the Packers would try another series of short laterals, leaving two defenders along the sideline instead of back defending a jump ball. But the Richard Rodgers touchdown catch — The Miracle in Motown — might be the most unbelievable loss in Detroit history, and that franchise has seen its share of weird losses.
Vikings: The Blair Walsh Game
The Vikings went 11-5 to win the NFC North in 2015, but their heartbreak came in the playoffs.
Blair Walsh converted three field goals to account for every point as the Vikings took a 9-0 lead into the fourth quarter against — who else? — Seattle in a frigid NFC wild-card game in Minneapolis. But a Russell Wilson touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, an Adrian Peterson fumble and a Steven Hauschka field goal gave Seattle a 10-9 lead with 8:09 to go.
But the Vikings were in position to win, driving from their own 39 with 1:42 to go to the Seattle 9-yard line. But Walsh missed a chip shot — from 27 yards away — to send Vikings fans home in shock.
Minnesota's recurring kicker issues extended into 2018. Daniel Carlson missed a 35-yard kick at the end of overtime in Week 2, leaving the Packers and Vikings tied. Had the Vikings won, they would have made the playoffs (winning the head-to-head tiebreaker for the final playoff spot over the Eagles). Instead, the Vikings were eliminated in the final week of the season at home ... by the Bears.
Serendipity and schadenfreude collide.