GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Former Green Bay Packers tight end Brandon Bostick said he received death threats after he botched the onside kick recovery in the NFC Championship Game against the Seattle Seahawks and that a former NFL player who went through something similar has helped him deal with it.
"I knew it was a key mistake that cost us a trip to the Super Bowl," Bostick wrote in a first-person account for The MMQB website. "But, with all due respect, I think the media kind of took it and ran with it. I became the singular scapegoat. Social media didn't help, either.
"I don't know how many death threats I received, but there have been a lot. I still haven't read most of the messages that people sent me, but I want to so I can deal with the consequences and use it as motivation. But it is physically impossible for me to read every troll's comment; the volume is simply too much. So their comments sit there, untouched, maybe forever."
Bostick, a seldom-used backup, was supposed to block on the play to allow sure-handed receiver Jordy Nelson to recover the kickoff that would've given the Packers possession with a 19-14 lead and just over two minutes remaining. Instead, Bostick tried to catch the ball, and the Seahawks recovered en route to a 28-22 overtime victory on Jan. 18.
He said was surprised to receive a phone call from former NFL running back Earnest Byner, whose fumble in the 1987 AFC Championship Game cost the Cleveland Browns a trip to the Super Bowl.
"Byner called me out of the blue, and now we talk about once or twice a week," Bostick wrote. "His biggest advice: Face your mistake, don't run from it."
Less than a month later, Bostick was released by the Packers and claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Vikings. He said the move caught him by surprise.
"I played in 13 games and had a pretty good season, but more importantly, I knew I was improving," he wrote. "But they said they have their guys, and that I didn't develop as fast as they had hoped. They said the onside kick had something to do with it, but that's all they said.
"Even though I will think about it every day, I hope one day I will be remembered for something else. ... I sincerely wish I didn't jump up for that ball."Brandon Bostick, on his fumbled onside kick in the NFC Championship Game
"I feel as if there's a little more to it than that. With how close we were to reaching the Super Bowl, I think a lot of people in the organization couldn't live with me being there. I think seeing me would remind them of losing the NFC championship. I think the Packers wanted a new start, so I got one, too."
Still, Bostick said not a day goes by that he doesn't think about the play.
"Even though I will think about it every day, I hope one day I will be remembered for something else," Bostick wrote. "I do know this: If I ever get another chance to play in a conference championship game, no matter what uniform I'm wearing, I will take a moment to apologize to my teammates on the 2014 Packers.
"I sincerely wish I didn't jump up for that ball. I wish we were celebrating a Super Bowl right now."