Wes Welker Super Bowl
February 6, 2012 by staff
Wes Welker Super Bowl, By late Sunday night Wes Welker had to know he was going to be blamed for this Super Bowl loss. His hands are so reliable, always sure to wrap around Tom Brady’s passes, and they deceived him at the worst possible moment. So he stood in the middle of the New England Patriots’ locker room in a blue plaid shirt, hands on hips, his eyes burning through a wall in front of him.
How could he drop that fourth-quarter pass? He never drops passes. Especially when he’s wide open and the end zone is just 20 yards away. He’s always been as certain as anything in the NFL at times like that. And to have the ball hit his hands and fall to the ground? It might have been a touchdown or would have led to a field goal or something, anything that may have kept the New York Giants from defeating the Patriots again in a Super Bowl.
An NFL public relations man who was assigned to take Welker to an area where the game’s key players conduct interviews leaned close to his ear. He asked Welker if he was ready to walk to the interview area and Welker nodded softly. He said nothing else and slowly they stepped through the locker room, out the door and down the long concrete tunnel where victorious Giants players ran past, with white championship T-shirts pulled over their shoulder pads.
Of all the Patriots, Welker seemed the least likely to be taking this walk. He was always the overachiever. Back in high school he played offense and defense and even kicked field goals. He was the star at Texas Tech who no one believed could play in the NFL because he was only 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds. Yet he eventually made it with the Miami Dolphins and the Patriots because he was the receiver everyone could trust, the one who would never drop a pass that mattered. He led the NFL with 122 catches this season.
Now he had to stand in the interview area while the league officials decided where he should sit. They had small booths set up for the interviews and each booth had a number. Finally they chose one. No. 3. But as he walked into the area, someone pushed him toward booth No. 1. He shrugged. What difference did it make? The questions were going to be the same no matter what booth he was in.
“It’s one of those plays I made 1,000 times,” Welker said.
“The ball is right there,” he continued. “I’ve just got to make the play. It’s a play I’ve made 1,000 times in practice and everything else. It comes to be the biggest moment of my life and I don’t come up with it. It’s discouraging.”
“Just trying to make an adjustment on the ball and it’s a play I’ve got to bring in,” he added.
“Yeah it hit me in the hands,” he admitted. “I mean it’s a play I never drop. I always make. Most critical situation and I let the team down.”
Then he stepped down from the booth.
He still stared straight ahead. His eyes seemed to focus on nothing. The loss wasn’t his fault, of course. The Patriots were winning, 17-15, with 4:06 to play when he missed the pass. Far too many other things went wrong for New England. Brady took a safety on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Eli Manning led the Giants on an 88-yard scoring drive after the drop. There were other passes that weren’t caught. But Welker’s drop will be remembered as one of the worst in Super Bowl history mostly because the man who did it is one of the most dependable receivers in the league and was wide open at the time it happened.
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