Soon after the ball and championship slipped through his fingers and Eli Manning triumphantly hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Wes Welker embarked on a rather peculiar journey.
Amongst the NFL fraternity, little Wesley Carter Welker endured the longest off-season of all.
Peyton Manning hasn’t played a regular season game since January 2011, had two vertebrae surgically fused together, rehabilitated, courted several teams as a prized free-agent before deciding to help cure the Denver Tebowmania pandemic.
Saints coach Sean Payton had his off-season radically extended into the upcoming 2013 off-season when he was suspended for the entire season for allowing his defensive coordinator to actively ‘encourage’ players to defeat opposition players on his watch.
The extended hiatus of both Peyton and Payton still doesn’t compare to Welker’s bizarre seven-month epoch that began immediately after Super Bowl XLVI wrapped up.
NFL expert analyst Gisele Bündchen proceeded to shred Welker for his inability to help her husband, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr miraculously throw and catch the ball at the same time.
This was possibly the first time in the history of professional sports that an athlete was passionately and publicly criticized by the foremost supermodel of the time.
Two days later, Welker’s crucial drop inspired a delivery of thousands of delicious Nestlé Butterfinger candy bars to Copley Square in Boston, courtesy of online pawn company Pawngo.
Welker’s woes continued as countless people began to pile on about the catch that never was.
For instance, during Game 3 of the Thunder/Lakers playoff series, Pau Gasol dropped a pass from Kobe that resulted in a turnover, sparking commentator Jeff Van Gundy to say; “much like Wes Welker in the Super Bowl, catchable”.
Soon enough the use of ‘Welkered’ as a verb had become a part of the wider sports vernacular.
When Welker was hit with the franchise tag in March and later failed to secure a desired long-term deal with the Pats, he was unavoidably accused of ‘dropping the ball’ once again.
Welker was then left further isolated and dissed after younger and ‘sexier’ tight-ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski were treated to a contract extension and long-term deal respectively.
Possibly seeking a quick-fire method of gaining a much-needed confidence boost, he pursued the superficial gratification of undergoing a hair transplant.
He’s now the face and head of people who drop the ball and artificially regain hair.
The longest off-season ever is almost over for Welker and the Pats look as dangerous as ever, with their angry little wide receiver ready for redemption and big things this year.
Fortunately for Welker, the sports fanatics in New England are rational, forgiving and have short memories.
For a moment, it seemed like they almost forgot about Bill Buckner.
3 Septiembre 2012