Good-bye, Wes Welker
I loved watching Wes Welker play football.
But I’m not especially sad about his departure from the New England Patriots.
Nor am I surprised by it.
After Welker dropped what might have been a game-changing catch in the AFC Championship game, killing the Patriots’ momentum (they never scored again, if I recall), the New England Sports Fan Friend boldly proclaimed that Welker had played his last game in a Patriots uniform.
I was inclined to agree with him. Which is why I’m surprised by reports that suggest Tom Brady has been betrayed, and that he should feel outraged about losing Welker. If the New England Sports Fan Friend and I both suspected that Welker was on his way out the door, should Welker’s departure really come as a shock to Tom Brady? In any case, I agree with Greg Bedard’s analysis in the Boston Globe that the Patriots now have an opportunity to take their offense in a new, more interesting and more successful direction. “The Patriots feel moving on from Welker will make them better in the biggest games, and I agree with the plan (though I would have handled the end with Welker differently),” Bedard writes. At the very least, Patriots fans will now have someone else to blame for dropping big passes at the most inopportune of moments. (Click here for the whole piece.)
If there’s anything that stings about Welker leaving the Patriots, it’s that he’s headed to the Denver Broncos to play with Peyton Manning. However, even this doesn’t bother me quite as much as it would if Manning was still in a Colts uniform, or hadn’t returned to the NFL after a one-year absence due to neck surgery. Although I enjoyed watching Manning lose in this year’s playoffs (because it’s always been fun to watch Peyton Manning lose), I find it harder to root against him and I’m not particularly inclined to root against the Manning-Welker partnership. Maybe I’ll feel differently if the Broncos win the Super Bowl on a Manning pass to Welker. But I know from experience just how unlikely that is.
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