But the grief he has been catching since his two touchdown-reception effort in Monday night’s victory over the Green Bay Packers isn’t the kind of attention the Seahawks’ third-year wide receiver has been seeking.
Officially, Tate caught the game-winning TD pass on the final play because it was ruled he and Packers safety M.D. Jennings had simultaneous possession as they tumbled into the back corner of the end zone. The call on the field was upheld by the review official at the game, and the league office stamped “done deal” on the issue in a statement Tuesday morning.
“I personally felt like I had the ball at that time,” Tate said Wednesday. “Looking back, just off of what I remember, I felt like I had the ball in my hands. We both fought. We both competed for the ball and the call ended up going our way, and so we won the game.”
But that hasn’t stopped Tate from being targeted by disgruntled fans.
“Cheater.” “Lacking dignity.” “Not a Christian.” Those are just some of the names and things Tate has been called. Then there are those that can’t be printed on a family website or uttered in front of TV cameras because, as Tate put it, there would nothing but a series of, “Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.”
“Nasty stuff,” Tate said. “Mean.”
The controversy over that final play has not only overshadowed the Seahawks’ victory as they prepare this week to face the Rams in St. Louis on Sunday, it has trumped what was the kind of performance the coaches have been looking for from Tate.
Three catches for 68 yards and two TDs – including a 41-yarder in the second quarter where Tate was wide open because he used a double move to turn cornerback Tramon Williams around and a play-action fake to running back
“It’s interesting that we talked so much about Golden last week and trying to get him ready for the spotlight, it’s kind of exactly what happened,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Seeing him emerge and starting to become more active for us, I think he has done the best he could.
“I know he got a microphone stuck right in his mug instantly after the play was over because the game was done. He talked about competing, talked about battling and I thought he handled himself as well as he could have under the craziest of circumstances.”
Tate admitted he wasn’t initially sure just what had happened on the bang-bang play in those craziest of circumstances. Upon further review, Tate said he did push Packers cornerback Sam Shield as the ball was in the air and he was surrounded by defenders in the end zone.
“I wasn’t trying to cheat,” he said. “I was competing. I was in the moment. Things were happening so quick, I honestly didn’t even know if I did (push Shield). I didn’t try to push him down to the ground, but it happened. It was so quick. It was a reaction kind of thing.”
That has ignited a reaction Tate never could have imagined.
“He’s going to handle it gracefully and just keep working hard,” Carroll said. “So I’m hoping that is what happens.”
That is what’s happening, as Tate has the proper attitude – looking ahead and back.
“I’m just trying to move forward,” he said. “I’m worried about the St. Louis Rams at this point. Whatever happened in the past is in the past. There’s nothing we can really do about it. So I’m trying to give myself the best chance to help this team this week.
“I can’t control what other people say, do, Tweet, Facebook, whatever it is. I can worry about what I do. What I don’t want to happen is for me to get caught up worrying about what other people think and what happened in the past and then this Sunday I play awful and don’t give my team the best chance to win.”
All of this, however, has accomplished one thing.
“I definitely believe everyone knows who Golden Tate is now,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said.