Posted January 23, 2014

NFL: Wes Welker’s hit on Aqib Talib was legal

NFL
Wes Welker (Joe Amon/Getty Images)

Wes Welker collides with Aqib Talib in the AFC Championship Game. (Joe Amon/Getty Images)

Wes Welker’s controversial hit that knocked Aqib Talib out of the AFC Championship Game drew the ire of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, but on Wednesday the NFL deemed it a legal play.

On Monday, Belichick called the pick by his former slot receiver on his best defensive back “one of the worst plays I’ve ever seen.” The NFL didn’t agree, but might have tipped its hand that “pick” or “rub” plays — patterns in which receivers cross routes in hopes of detouring defenders in coverage — could come under review by the league’s Competition Committee in the offseason.

“Under the current rules, this is a legal play,” NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Prior to the Broncos’ 26-16 win over the Patriots, Greg Bedard, of TheMMQB.com, detailed the controversial plays, noting that few teams ran those plays more than the AFC title game participants.

MMQB: Why your AFC team didn’t make Super Bowl XLVIII

Welker said he wasn’t trying to injure or hit Talib.

“It was one of those plays where it’s kind of a rough play and I was trying to get him to go over the top, and I think he was thinking the same thing and wanted to come underneath and we just kind of collided,” Welker said. “It wasn’t a deal where I was trying to hit him or anything like that. I hope he’s OK. He’s a great player and a big part of their defense.”


88 comments
KevinM.Jessup
KevinM.Jessup

Here's the thing, remember when Warren Sapp laid out that O lineman, after an interception making all the offensive players fair game? Well that was a legal play too but it didn't stop everybody from calling the play a dirty play. Rules are rules but there have been plenty of times when a play was within the confines of the rules but called a dirty play nonetheless b/c the guy that got blasted was defenseless. What I don't understand about these "pick plays" is if the receiver isn't making an attempt to get open and deliberately makes contact with the DB not allowing him to defend his man, why isn't it offensive pass interference? From what I understand you've got 5 yds to make contact then you gotta let the guy go and if there's anymore contact its gotta be in process of making a play for the ball, the defender has have turned his head for instance for it to not be call PI and vice versa. Yet you can just deliberately collide w/ a DB to spring a receiver? Confusing.  

x72
x72

Lost a lot of respect for Belichick after this.

Cool
Cool

This was a non story to begin with and the NFL is right in calling it this way.  Talib gets hurt playing the game and Patriot fans want someone to pay for it.  Bellyacher Bill needed an excuse and he jumped on the bandwagon.  

ConfusionReigns
ConfusionReigns

If picks are illegal then this one should have definitely been deemed illegal.  I don't take issue with the actual block and while I cannot know for sure by the evidence I don't think there was any intent to injure.  Why I think its illegal is that Welker clearly altered his route in order to impede Talib's progress before the ball was thrown.  A flag should have been thrown, its a blow call but I agree with the league that no penalty should be assessed against Welker.  


Talib will need to remember in the future that when his receiver heads for the middle he's gonna have to be aware of a possible pick play, he seemed to have lost focus on that as the play developed, which allowed Welker to make (what I am sure to Talib) was an unexpected hit.  

rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

were there any innocent victims in this  tragedy ? 

TomOatway
TomOatway

not sure if it was legal or should be legal, but definitely was not a deliberate attempt to injure..Belichick just has a grudge against Welker

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

This just in: Brady, sniff, sniff, has no interest in watching the Super Bowl... Looks like they're serving sour grapes in the Patriot's cafeteria...

eltex.tx
eltex.tx

Here is what I see. Billy B is a good coach, that seems to give his team a slight advantage compared to most coaches in the league. However, he is a horrible personnel evaluator. He can't draft a WR or DB to save his life. He did have a couple very successful drafts early in his Pats career, but since then, has been consistently at or below the median line. If not for that one single pick of Brady in the 6th round, he likely would have been fired 6 years ago. His lack of defensive talent has cost his organization multiple victories in the playoffs and super bowl. Eventually, Brady will retire and Billy will have to ride off into the sunset.

citizencharlesfosterkane
citizencharlesfosterkane

Of course the NFL found it legal.  You think they want this distraction prior to the Super Bowl?  It was a punk play.  If pick plays like this are run all the time in the NFL, where are the injuries from them?  Oh, that's right, other pick plays *aren't* like this one. 

sfarris.math@gmail.com
sfarris.math@gmail.com

I don't have any care as to who won this game, but if the league is saying this play was a "legal" play, then the earlier play called against the Patriots was *definitely* a legal play. 

joebell33
joebell33

Everybody runs pick plays. Whole league runs 'em.

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

Stay tuned for Belickeks upcoming book "How to embarrass yourself after your team got embarrassed in the championship game".

JohnFerguson
JohnFerguson

Each player has the same right to occupy that position on the field.  If both players decide to not change direction and the contact is legal, then it's not an illegal play.  Welker was coming off of a two week post concussion period and is wearing a special helmet to try to better protect his brain.  The idead that he wanted to hit Talib so hard is stupid.  Welker could have been done and could have missed a chance at going to the Super Bowl.

CraigLiszt
CraigLiszt

Dean Blandino's keys to success - Just disagree with Belichick and he'll be a popular man for sure. SMH

Matthew W
Matthew W

Regardless, what was the NFL going to do after the fact anyways?


"Uhhhh, upon further review....it was....an....illegal play......New England wins the game."


They're not going to suspend Welker when The Legacy is playing in the SB.

Steve Phillips
Steve Phillips

Coach Bill sounds like he was trying to protect Talib the whole time. Come on, "the worst play he has ever seen". He must not watch as much film as people think.

Part II? Talib had nothing wrong with the structure of the knee, x-rays were negative. He didn't return. He is a free agent.

Part III. Talib ends up in Denver as Welkers teammate for the 2014 season and Belichick really has to check his hole card then!

Pat11
Pat11

I hope Bill replies honestly to this. Something like this "I was just upset with Welker for not resigning with us for less than he was worth and for the way I treated him the previous year, letting him go probably cost us a chance at another supebowl. I'm not as great a coach as people make me out to be."

MikeHarrison
MikeHarrison

If the Patriots pull the same play(which they have done all year according to several articles mentioning this play) its legal, but because it hurt the Patriots(who again used the same play lots of times) its illegal


Gotta love the double standard in New England


Incidentally BIll, you may want to change Tom Brady's diaper, his whining today is indicative of a dirty diaper.  Babies tend to whine when they need to be changed because the pee has cooled off and the poo-poo is sticking to the @$$hole (also known as a Brady due to his whining)

cornersss
cornersss

@KevinM.Jessupthe patritos and broncoes do the rub play more then any other teams in the nfl. Go read the si story on it. Its silly the pats were crying about something they do all the time, even when welker was on their team

Odin's Goat
Odin's Goat

@KevinM.Jessup   My thoughts exactly.  I don't think Welker was trying to hurt Talib either, but the way that play was drawn up- he was either going to throw the defender off his coverage or broadside him.  Turns out the latter happened, and Talib paid for it with an unnecessary injury.  But that leaves us both with the same question: are pick plays legal or not?

RickHamby
RickHamby

@x72
Yeah have to admit, a cheater like Belichick crying because of a legal play....what a moron.

Orange Crush
Orange Crush

@rentistoohigh Only Welker for being called out by BB for intentionally trying to hurt one of his players. The same type of play his team uses on a regular basis.

theboneman21
theboneman21

@TomOatwayIs BB actually suggesting it was a dirty play as in a deliberate attempt to injure ? Seems to me the assertion is that it was obvious what his intent was - he looked like a baserunner running off the basepaths to take out a 2B/SS to break up a DP. Welker didn't even try to make it look incidental, which is what I think he is getting at. "Trying to take Talib out" doesn't suggest injure; it suggests just that - he was trying to take him out ie remove him from the play.



Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@TomOatway "Yeah it's kind of nice to stick it in Bill's face once in a while," Welker said. "So this is definitely a good one."

theboneman21
theboneman21

@JoebucksterI didn't watch the SB when my favorite team was in it. mostly because it has become an unwatchable WWF type spectacle. I would think a lot of players have other things to do. Someone like Brady with kids and business dealings probably has other things to do.

theboneman21
theboneman21

@citizencharlesfosterkaneIt sure got people talking about something other than the fact that Peyton Manning does NOT hold the record for passing yards, on account of the running play ruled a pass play. 


But hey, the NFL doesn't arbitrarily make up rules as they go along or anything.

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@FredFlintsone One more word should of been added to your post, "EMBARRASSED IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, AGAIN. 

citizencharlesfosterkane
citizencharlesfosterkane

@JohnFerguson"The idead that he wanted to hit Talib so hard is stupid."  Right.  Welker isn't exactly a rocket scientist to begin with.  He saw the opportunity to hurt someone without hurting himself, and took it. 

Tenacious_G
Tenacious_G

@Matthew WWhy would they suspend him? Welker didn't shoot the defender, he accidentally collided with him on a football field.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@Pat11 That's about as likely as him copping to the fact that spying helped his team immensely. Bill is the last person on the planet to spend one second on something that didn't give him an advantage.

TheBlayman
TheBlayman

@MikeHarrison what articles? thing is,.. they don't run that play. stop pulling lies out your rear.

Odin's Goat
Odin's Goat

@RickHamby@x72   You have accumulated far less than all the football knowledge that Belichick has forgotten.  I saw the presser- he was far from crying.  He expressed a lot of doubt in regards to the legality of the play, and he did so in his usual emotionless way.  Feel free to comment without obvious bias in the future.

MatthewEugeneHaag
MatthewEugeneHaag

@theboneman21 @citizencharlesfosterkane Actually I don't think ANYONE should be able to go back and touch the stats like that.  If you can't make up a kick where one team broke the rules in front of the Ref and didn't get called then you can't go back and adjust stats.  Human element.  

cornersss
cornersss

@Odin's Goat@RickHamby@x72actually, he never calls players out publicly like he did, especially a fomer player that did great on his team.

 He was pissed and tried to make Welker the scapegoat....again.