The New England Patriots were somber in the locker room last night after losing Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants. Many were fighting back tears. Tom Brady sat at his locker, in his uniform, with his head down and a towel over his head longer than any other player. Robert Kraft walked over to console him, but he was mostly unresponsive to what was going on in the locker room. Afterwards, like a professional, he spoke to the media and said all the right the things.
Wes Welker, speaking to the media, put a lot of blame on himself for the loss. On a 2nd & 11 with about four minutes left in the game and nursing a 17-15 lead, the Giants miscommunicated their coverage. Welker broke free, and Brady threw a pass to the opposite shoulder of the direction Welker was running. He jumped, spun around, and had the ball bounce off his hands. It’s a catch he makes 10 out of 10 times, though now we’d have to change that to 9 out of 10 times. A completion would have given the Pats a first down in scoring range to put the game away. Instead, the Patriots punted two plays later, and the rest is history.
“It’s a play I never drop. Most critical situation, and I let the team down,” Welker said, fighting back his emotions.
Then, of course, there was the defense. The Giants were able to move the ball with relative ease most of the night, though the defense did make some red zone stops. At one point towards the end of the first half, the Giant offense had the ball for more than triple the amount of time the Patriot offense did. The defense did force a couple of fumbles in the second half, but they couldn’t recover them. Rob Ninkovich had a critical offsides penalty that wiped away a third down stop. Of course, with the game on the line, they let the Giants march down the field and score the go-ahead touchdown.
Some writers are placing full blame on Tom Brady. Eric Wilbur from the Boston Globe wrote, “Sorry, Tommy Boy, this one’s on you. Your hideous performance led to the Giants’ 21-17 Super Bowl title win. How embarrassing for your coach, your teammates, and your fans.” WEEI’s Kirk Minihane took a similar but less whiny-sports-fan-esque tone in his piece last night after the game (you can read that HERE). Some fan rantings I’ve heard have blamed Brady, Welker, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez for their equally-critical drops, and of course the defense.
Unfortunately for those fans who need to place blame a someone, there are no goats in this game. Just as the AFC Championship was a team win, Super Bowl XLVI was a team loss. Brady could have been a little sharper, receivers should have held onto passes, the line should have blocked better in critical situations, the defense should have made that critical stop, and the coaches could have coached a little better. No matter how you slice it, there’s a simple fact that’s brutal but true:
The New England Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants. They all did, and pointing the finger won’t make anybody feel better.