Just as Red Sox fans of a certain age remember where they were for the Bill Buckner moment, young New Englanders who have never witnessed a Patriots championship can’t forget Wes Welker’s dropped pass in Super Bowl XLVI. The Patriots were beating the New York Giants 17-15 with 4:06 left in the fourth quarter. Welker was wide open when Tom Brady threw him a 24-yard pass. Welker wouldn’t have scored if he caught it, but it would have been a first down, and the Patriots perhaps could have run out the clock.
Welker dropped the pass. The Giants took possession, and Eli Manning led New York on a game-winning 88-yard scoring drive. Welker admitted afterward that he blew it, and even Gisele Bundchen seemed to throw Welker under the bus.
There’s no way of knowing if Welker’s catch would have won that Super Bowl. But wouldn’t it be fitting if Welker shined Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII and was the game’s MVP (25-1 to do so)? He still has never won a ring.
It’s certainly possible that this is Welker’s last chance at a title after he suffered two severe concussions during the season. He’s not Peyton Manning’s No. 1 target (he might be all the way down at No. 4 after Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas). Welker remains productive, however. He had 73 catches for 778 yards and 10 touchdowns — no double-digit catch games or 100-yard ones — despite missing three games. Welker had six grabs for 38 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos’ wild-card win over the Chargers and four catches for 38 yards in the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots.
Welker’s totals for Super Bowl Sunday at Bovada are set at 57.5 yards receiving and 5.5 catches. Welker is the favorite to have five-to-six catches with odds of 9-5 and is a 25-1 long shot to have no catches. He wasn’t held to less than three receptions in any game this season. Welker’s longest catch is set at 19.5 yards. His longest catch of the season was 33 yards.
He is the second-favorite (13-2) behind Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch (11-2) to score the first touchdown of the game. Welker is the favorite at 9-2 to score Denver’s first touchdown as well as the favorite at 11-2 to be the player to have the first catch of the game. Perhaps the cruelest prop: Will Welker drop a pass in the game (yes or no -120)?