I’ve noticed something in the aftermath of the Super Bowl. Now, I can’t say I watched the game with much (any) enthusiasm – my fun was primarily had by chatting with my friend Steve’s Miami Dolphins’ loving girlfriend and enchanting her with tales of Joe Philbin, Matt Flynn and how she might actually have a team to watch this year – but – what little rooting I did, I did for the Patriots. Two reasons: I hate the Giants now almost as much as I hate the Cowboys, and also because of Wes Welker. Well, three. I picked them for the Pocket Doppler Prognosticators, but I ended up winning that anyway. (Yes, I’m gloating. Go figure. Wally said I could.)

Not only because I read Greg Bedard’s writing periodically but also because I figured the Packers would face the Pats in the Super Bowl, I’ve learned a bit about the Patriots this year – not enough to make me like them, or ever be a Tom Brady fan (Ugh, Uggs?), but I’ve really gotten to like Wes Welker, pornstache and all. He’s a great football player, possesses a wry sense of humor and seems “Packer People”. He’s one of the few non-Packer NFL players I follow on Twitter. Also of note, he’s a free agent this year…yeah, I know. Not happening. Come ON, Ted…

If you watched the Super Bowl at all, you know that Welker dropped a pass that could have turned the game around. Welker isn’t a big dropper of passes, but I didn’t think the pass was particularly well thrown; and, as someone who follows the Patriots fairly closely pointed out to me, it was a backshoulder throw, of which Welker is not a common target. Brady reserves the style of pass that Aaron Rodgers throws so very well for other receivers, such as Gronkowski. So it wasn’t a total surprise, to me at least, that he dropped it.

I believe that Packers fans are the most passionate and knowledgeable in the NFL, and I think I’m right, but every team has its share of rabid fans. The Patriots are no exception, and the Super Bowl loss apparently hit them as hard as the playoff loss hit me, based on comments I’ve seen posted to various articles discussing the loss. I realized something else, too. We fans have to have a “goat”. Someone to pin a loss on, someone to blame. For many Patriot fans this week, it’s been Wes Welker.

And it made me wonder…why do we do that? Aaron Rodgers, among others, says time and again it’s a team sport when he’s getting the credit for something good. (Note: I am cynical enough to believe that QB1 sometimes is just saying this.) After the Chiefs game, Luke Rodgers went all Gisele Bundchen on the wide receivers, but also particularly on Jermichael Finley. As did I, I must admit. And, of course, in retrospect, even when I loved Brett Favre with every fiber of my Packer fan being, he was my goat very, very often in the last years of his career. Deservedly so, I guess…but again, it’s a team sport. If you’re so close in the score that one person can make the difference by screwing up, maybe you didn’t play that well as a team. Torry Holt said of Welker “He always catches that pass.” No, no he doesn’t. He may have been second in receiving yards in the NFL this year, but nobody ALWAYS makes that catch, says this fan who has been very critical of Jermichael Finley of late.

Packer fans were very lucky this season. We didn’t have reason to look for a goat very often, being 15-2 and all. And, in the last game, since almost everyone besides my beloved Double D played so poorly, you might have considered Mike McCarthy to have taken up goatherding as his hobby. I might have even seen him yodeling on the sidelines. There wasn’t any one “goat” to pin that one on, it really was a team effort.

Seeing the abuse heaped on Welker this week by fans and blame by others like Torry Holt makes me wonder why we have to actively look so hard for someone to blame. Maybe we should do what I hope the Packers do after a loss – blame the team. Collectively.

Ah, what am I thinking. Human nature is what it is. Fans are what they are, tar, pitchforks and all. There’s always “one” to blame.

Or is there?


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  • http://www.pocketdoppler.com BigSnakeMan

    I’m sure Howard Jones would agree.

    • Colleen

      Nice catch. I did, in fact, think of him when writing this.

  • CaptElaino

    It certainly was a team loss. It’s just hard to blame the team you love so much. Even when they do put up a stinky game like that.

    • Colleen

      After the playoff game, I had no problem whatsoever with pinning it all on the team as a whole. Probably for the first time ever.