The Packers, trailing 21-14, reached the Bengals' 28 with 23
seconds left. Brett Favre took the ensuing snap, but whistles
quickly blew after the fan came onto the field. The unidentified
man took the football out of Favre's hand and ran about 50 yards
before being tackled by security guards and removed from the field.
Favre was sacked on the next play, and on the final snap, he
completed an illegal pass beyond the line of scrimmage that came up
Neither Favre nor Packers coach Mike Sherman blamed Green Bay's
loss on the fan.
"I thought we had some momentum going, but there could have
been an injury on the field that could have slowed things down,"
Sherman said. "We had our chances and didn't take advantage of
Favre said he didn't see the fan until the man had taken the
ball from him. The veteran quarterback said he didn't think the fan
helped the Packers, "but I'm definitely not going to sit here and
Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis and linebacker Brian Simmons said
the fan's actions allowed the Bengals valuable time to collect
their thoughts at a critical stage of the game.
"They were in a hurry-up, and that did slow it down and give us
a chance to huddle, and we kind of came together as a defense,"
Simmons said. "But you don't want to see that because somebody
could get hurt."
Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said team security officials
determined that the fan jumped out of the stands onto a cart parked
next to a nine-foot-high wall behind the Packers' bench.
"The feeling has been that the height of the walls is
sufficient to discourage fans from jumping out of the stands all
the way onto the field," Brennan said. "Our security has video of
the incident. It will be fully reviewed, and a determination will
be made on whether changes are needed in our policies and
procedures in this area."
Green Bay fullback William Henderson said something needs to be
"There needs to be security felt by the players," Henderson
said. "For a man to take the ball out of our [quarterback's] hands
shows there was a gap in security somewhere.
"I was concerned for Brett. I didn't know what the guy was
going to do. We were still trying to drive the ball and score. I'm
just glad nothing else happened. The reality is, you still have to
play football, but the league is going to have to address the
issue," he said.
In October, the NFL began requiring its 32 teams to conduct
pat-downs of fans entering stadiums as an added security measure.
After a dispute between Hamilton County officials and the Bengals
over who would pay for the pat-downs was resolved, the team began
conducting the pat-downs on Oct. 23, when the Bengals hosted the
But in Tampa, a judge issued a temporary injunction stopping the
searches at Bucs home games until a lawsuit filed by the American
Civil Liberties Union of Florida is resolved. The suit, on behalf
of Bucs season ticket-holder Gordon Johnston, says the searches
violate his constitutional rights because they were "invasive