The marquee game of the NFL’s opening week is between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers. Richard Sherman, well, he’s excited.
“It’s Week 1. We got Green Bay. A-Rod. At Lambeau. Does it get any better than that?” he asked rhetorically in a Players’ Tribune video shared on Twitter.
Sherman’s Seahawks and Aaron Rodgers’ Packers aren’t exactly rivals, but they’ve established themselves as NFC powers over the last five years and decade, respectively. Seattle has notched five straight 10-wins seasons, while Green Bay hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2008.
And it’s no coincidence the franchises have competed in two of the NFL’s most memorable recent matchups.
Five years ago during the referee strike, the Seahawks stole a 14-12 victory in the “Fail Mary” game. Packers safety M.D. Jennings caught the ball. Seattle receiver Golden Tate caught Jennings. One referee signed incomplete, one signaled touchdown. It was a mess.
In the 2015 NFC Championship Game, Packers tight end Brandon Bostick mishandled an onside kick he was supposed to let Jordy Nelson grab. Seattle recovered and grabbed a three-point advantage late in regulation before an injured Rodgers led a game-tying field goal drive. The Seahawks eventually won in overtime, heading to the Super Bowl.
Since then, though, the Packers have earned the edge. In the regular-season matchups of 2015 and 2016, Rodgers threw for 497 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions in 27-17 and 38-10 victories. Among other reasons, those performances have led Sherman to respect Rodgers.
“Any time you play A-Rod, it’s gonna be… it’s gonna be a… a very interesting outing,” he said. “And you gotta give him all the credit in the world. You gotta give him all the respect in the world. So it’s gonna be a chess match, obviously.”
The Sherman-Rodgers, Seahawks-Packers matchup is scheduled for a nationally televised 4:25 p.m. ET kick Sunday. Week 1 doesn’t get any better than that.