Super Bowl 2012: Why New England Patriots' Wes Welker Isn't Solely to Blame

Patrick LanguzziContributor IIIFebruary 8, 2012

The last time I checked, football, baseball, basketball and hockey were all team sports.

Right?

And, without sounding trite, you live and die as a team. At least that’s what I was taught growing up.

Well, according to some media members (Boston's 98.5 The Sports Hub, in particular) and fans alike, Wes Welker is to blame—rather than the entire team—for not securing a Patriots victory.

With just over four minutes left in the game, and the Patriots facing a 2nd-and-11 on the Giants 44-yard line, Welker dropped a pass he claimed he normally would have caught from Tom Brady.

"That's a play I make a thousand times," he said on the postgame podium. "I just didn't make it."

Had Welker made that catch, it would have put the Patriots at or near the Giants 20-yard line, and most believe it would have sealed a victory and brought home the Lombardi Trophy.

But, wait a minute, isn't there plenty of blame to go around?

I'll give you just two examples of potential game-changing occurrences for the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. 

Had Tom Brady not been flagged for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety, on the Patriots' very first offensive play, they would have been driving for a field goal at the end of the game instead of having to drive 80 yards for a touchdown with 57 seconds left.

And, worse, the Patriots were called for too many men on the field when a Victor Cruz fumble was recovered by New England on the Patriots 8-yard line. The penalty gave the Giants a 1st-and-goal on the 6-yard line, and they scored a touchdown two plays later.

That penalty alone was a result of poor coaching and player mistakes that should justify shifting any blame off of Wes Welker.

Had either one of those plays not occurred, especially the latter, it's fair to say that it would have completely changed the complexity and potential outcome of the game.

Instead, some would have you believe that Welker's dropped ball cost the Patriots a championship.  

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