Tuesday, October 16, 2012
M.D. Jennings cashing in on controversy
By Darren Rovell
Packers safety M.D. Jennings has signed items with the phrases "Screwed in Seattle" and "Robbed."
If Bill Buckner could make a small fortune off the ball rolling through his legs, Green Bay Packers safety M.D. Jennings might not be far behind.
Jennings is the Packers player who appeared to come down with the last-second pass thrown by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson during Week 3 of the NFL season. Instead, the replacement referees infamously ruled that Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate had possession, and the Seahawks defeated the Packers 14-12.
In recent weeks Jennings, who has played in 21 career games but has never started, has been making the rounds. His most high-profile appearance might have been for Legends of the Field, a Wisconsin-based sports memorabilia company. The company had fans meet the safety on Oct. 16 and sign helmets, photos and other items with his signature and the phrases "Screwed in Seattle" and "Robbed" on them.
"After the game, we figured this is something, this is worth marketing and it puts a positive spin on things," said Jason Sarchet, vice president for Legends of the Field. "I mean, it's an important moment in football history. It's arguably the worst call ever."
Jennings told ESPN.com that he wasn't looking to do business but enjoyed interacting with the fans.
"I didn't expect to get that much attention from that one play," he said.
Jennings didn't hesitate to sign anything that day, although he was caught a bit off guard when a fan put a picture in front of him with what appeared to be Golden Tate's signature on it with the words "It was a catch."
M.D. Jennings still believes he had an interception despite the NFL sticking by the call.
"I just signed it and wrote 'Interception' in big letters," Jennings said.
For those who couldn't make the appearance, Legends of the Field is selling Jennings-signed photos with one of the phrases on it for $35 and "Screwed in Seattle" mini helmets for $59.99.
"It's not something we're going to get rich off of," Sarchet said. "He's still a bit unknown so the signing didn't come with a whole bunch of risk for us."
Sean Smith of OTG Sports Management, which represents Jennings, said their client committed to a total of three signings, including one at a local sports bar, the Green Bay Distillery.
Although the league stood by the controversial call, the brouhaha over it helped move the NFL's negotiations with the referees union along. The game was the last game officiated by the replacement referees.