NFL Divisional Playoffs: Was Bill Belichick Right to Bench Wes Welker?

January 19, 2011   ·     ·   Jump to comments

It's been a couple of days since the Patriots' season ended in that surprise defeat to the Jets, and yet one thing has been playing on my mind more than the defeat itself.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick benched slot receiver Wes Welker for the first New England series of the game because he objected to comments Welker had made about Jets coach Rex Ryan.
Now, the recent animosity between the two sides is well known, and Ryan and his Jets hadn't actually been looking to defuse that during the run up to the game. Indeed, linebacker Bart Scott even singled Welker out for special attention when he took his own swing at New England.
This makes me wonder if, on this occasion, Belichick—the man-manager's man-manager—got it wrong on this occasion. He clearly expected his side to rise above the taunting and abuse, to act aloof from everything that the Jets were up to. But footballers are not like that.
Football is a team game, a team game like no other. What o...

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