The Greatest Athletes Of All Time? Not So Fast

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In modern sports it has become an obsession to talk about who is the “GOAT”, A.K.A., greatest of all time. Unfortunately, over the years, the conversation has escalated in frequency and devolved in to who has the most “chips”, as in championships. And that supposedly ends the discussion.

Growing up, I don’t recall Bill Russell being anointed as the GOAT even though he was the best player on those great Boston Celtic teams.  Same with Terry Bradshaw of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I was a tennis fan for years before I heard the name Roy Emerson. FYI, that’s the guy who had the record of grand slam men’s title’s before Pete Sampras and then Roger Federer broke his record.

What a gross over simplification chip count is. Science suggests that in order to accurately compare two samples you would have to put them under the same conditions.

For example, in order to fairly compare San Francisco 49er QB legend, Joe Montana, to rising all-star QB of the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson, you’d have to clone every person they’d ever played with and against, was coached by and against, and play the games in the same weather conditions and under the same league rules.  This would give you the fairest and most accurate comparison between the two. Don’t get mad at me, that’s science. But this is sports so let’s not let a little thing like science spoil all the fun.

Before the chip obsession we relied on statistics, clutch performance, the optics of what our eyes told us.  Players with chips stood out but it wasn’t the be-all and end-all that it seems to be today.  Other factors were and should also be considered.  Such as teammates, coaches, level of competition, rules changes, and so on.

Further, the difference between winning and losing can be so small and contingent on these other factors that have nothing to do with a player and warrant that they be considered.  With that in mind I am going to try to marry a little science with the optics and take a look at some of the so-called GOATs in a few different sports.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass during an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on Sunday November 18, 2012 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. New England won 59-24. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)

(AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)

TOM BRADY – He just led his team to the greatest comeback in the  NFL’s Superbowl history. Congrats to Brady and the Patriots.  It was a great/historic comeback that in the eyes of many clearly cements Brady as the greatest ever.  After all it gives him one more chip than Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.

As great as the comeback was…

  1. Atlanta’s defensive back drops a potential interception that would’ve sealed the game. *
  2. Atlanta did mismanage the game clock.  Their offensive coordinator called plays that moved them out of field goal range which would have sealed the game before New England’s game tying drive.
  3. The refs missed a face mask call that should have offset a holding penalty, giving the Falcons another down and 10 yards of field position.
  4. Julian Edelman makes a great/miraculous catch.  Coach Bill Belichik makes great second half adjustments.
  5. N.E. defense plays great in the 2nd half.
  6. Specials teams plays great.
  7. Offensive line gives Brady much more time in second half.

*(In fairness to Brady, had Asante Samuel not dropped a potential interception of Eli Manning, against the N.Y. Giants, in 2008, Brady/ Pats win another SB.)

Brady still had to do his thing, and he did, but if ALL of those things don’t happen we’re talking about his pic six, and open receivers he missed during the game, because Atlanta likely wins.

Not every QB plays with the assets Brady has had throughout his career.  True, he’s not playing with hall of fame wide receivers (except for when he had Randy Moss), but the guys he’s throwing to are often open.  Brady deserves his share of the credit but that does also speak to the system and to the coaching.

Two more words for you with implications on how Brady is viewed in the pantheon of great quarterbacks: Tuck rule.

Yes, of course Brady is great, all-time great, but like other greats, you give him time, he will pick you apart, you pressure him, like the Giants did in two Superbowls or Atlanta in the first half of this one, and he becomes mortal.  Give a handful of other great QB’s his defenses, his field goal kickers/ special teams, and his coaches, and their chip count is right where Brady’s is.  Maybe they have one or two less, or maybe one or two more.

I do put Brady in the discussion of all time greats, but it is and always will be just that… a discussion.

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ROGER FEDERER – The Fed just did something no one thought he could do.  At 35 years of age, (geriatric for tennis) coming off a six month layoff due to knee surgery and having not won a tennis major since 2012 Wimbledon, he won his 18th grand slam title, The Australian Open. He increased his record and lead to 4 slams over Rafael Nadal and Pete Sampras. To win the tournament he had to go the distance, 5 sets, in his last three matches, beating Nadal in an epic final. To many, this win, especially against Nadal, who has dominated their head to head competition, cements Roger as the GOAT.

You would think that declaring a GOAT would be much easier in an individual sport versus team but in tennis it certainly is not.  Tennis is played on different surfaces, clay, grass, hard, carpet, and indoor/ outdoor, that greatly affects the way the game is played.  Further, when trying to compare different generations, you have vast changes in racket and string technology, changes in surface, and advancement in training and recovery from injury.

I’m a HUGE Federer fan.  I was elated for him for his latest slam win. I draw personal inspiration from it as well, but objectivity requires that I point out the obvious.  Nadal is without question the better clay court player.  If not for a series of injuries, Nadal may have more slam titles than Fed, and he does have the head to head edge.  Pete Sampras, who was not the all-around player Fed is may be his equal or better on grass.  Novak Djokovic at his best at the Aussie? I’m not betting the ranch on either player.  At the U.S. Open, Andre Agassi in his prime, Sampras and others could have given Fed a run.  In fact in a hypothetical tournament of champions, Federer might not be the number one seed in any of the four slams.

Fed’s slam total, masterful play and the fact that he would likely be the first, second, third, or fourth seed in all hypothetical slams of champions of course puts him in the discussion, but cemented shut? Nope.  Most accomplished doesn’t automatically mean GOAT.

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SERENA WILLIAMS – Sticking with tennis.  In the women’s game, Serena just won her 23rd grand slam, passing Steffi Graf for the modern-day women’s lead. Also at the age of 35, Miss Williams is still dominant, ranked number 1 and may add to her already spectacular resume.

However.  I’m going to name some other players for you: Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Lindsey Davenport, Martina Hingis and Monica Seles. What do all of these players have in common?

  1. They all of have won multiple grand slams.
  2. They were all ranked number one at one time.
  3. Their careers all overlapped with Serena’s.
  4. They all prematurely retired, or took time off due to injury, desired to get pregnant and start a family, in the case of Venus Williams, illness slowed her down, and in the case of Monica Seles, she was stabbed on the tennis court.

Those are eight battle tested champions.  That’s a lot.  Setting aside Seles for a moment, let’s say that Serena is better than every player mentioned above.  I submit that if  half of these players didn’t leave the sport prematurely of suffer injury, they would have dented Serena’s slam total, which seems to be the nail that shuts the door on the GOAT conversation.  My Mt. Rushmore of women’s tennis is Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and of course Serena Williams.

My personal favorite female player is Seles.  Seles, the sports world, including other players like Graf and Williams, were robbed when Seles’ career was irreversibly effected by the stabbing. Seles ended up with 9 slams.  No doubt she would have had many more if not for the lost years and psychological effect of such an event.

Her meteoric rise at such a young age came before that of Tiger Woods’ ascension in golf. Seles, by age 19, had begun to dominate then GOAT candidate Graf.  God forbid Woods had been stabbed after his 8th slam in golf and had he come back to only win one more, we’d be hearing for decades how he would have won 15 to 20 more slams easy.  History has not afforded Seles the same status they should have and would have if she were born in America or perhaps if she was a he.

But I digress.  Serena is an all-time great and given the length of her greatness and dominance and the fact her career is still going, the female tennis GOAT conversation does begin with her, but it does not end.  And like the men, in a tournament of champions her seeding may vary by surface.

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MICHAEL JORDAN – Toughest for last.  I love me some Michael Jordan.  When I think of MJ, I think of that scene in Rocky II when Apollo Creed’s trainer, Duke, is trying to talk Apollo out of a rematch with Rocky. Apollo asks Duke what is he afraid of. Duke’s answer is, “I saw you beat that man like I saw you beat no man before… and the man, kept, coming, after you … We don’t need that kind of man in our life…” Jordan, had Rocky’s heart and determination, and Apollo’s talent. A true terminator.  But the end of discussion GOAT?  I can’t go there.  Even for Michael.

When talking about all-time greats in basketball, big men seemed to get short-changed.  Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain. These are greats that can’t just be dismissed because their games don’t possess flash and style, or because they played more than 15 years ago.

Weirdly enough, the “chip” discussion in basketball only seems to apply to modern players and the flashy two guard or small forward. Kobe Bryant and Lebron James can’t be better than MJ because they have less rings?  (They’re not for other reasons but like I said, I love me some MJ) However, less rings doesn’t seem to disqualify MJ in the comparison to Bill Russell. Kareem has as many rings, scored more points and won more MVP’s, was an eleven time all defensive player, and had the most indefensible shot in the game.

MJ was a transcendent player who took the NBA to new levels.  With all due respect to the logo, (Jerry West), for all of his contributions to the game, and his game, the NBA should consider redoing the logo to Jordan’s image, and or do for him what hockey did for Wayne Gretzky and retire MJ’s jersey in all arena’s… But that still doesn’t make him the end of discussion GOAT.

These are just several examples of “GOAT” athletes.  I could have picked others.  In the case of Brady, Federer, Williams and Jordan, I am not saying that any of the them are not the GOAT in their respective sports, just that you can’t close the book, especially based on most championships.   There are lots of considerations, and this blog just begins to scratch the surface.

Peyton Manning And Tom Brady Prove The Impossible

ManningBradyTwo all-time great quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, square off against one another today. Whenever they do, the inevitable question of who is the best comes up.

The pro Manning crowd points to:

  • All of the records Manning has broken.
  • All of the records he is projected to break.
  • Manning’s five regular season MVP awards.

The pro Brady crowd counters with:

  • The three Superbowl wins.
  • That Brady never had the offensive weapons that Manning had.
  • In the one year Brady had Randy Moss still in his prime, Brady put up incredible numbers and won one of his two regular season MVP awards.

But then the pro manning crowd would counter that Brady had the benefit of playing for arguably the best coach of all-time in Bill Belichick (and never had to play against him). And Brady played on teams with much better defenses.  They could also argue that defense and the field goal kicking of Adam Vinatieri played huge roles in the Superbowl wins.

Finally the Brady peeps would counter, Brady is clearly the better cold weather quarterback and better clutch player…

The thing about all of these points are; they are kind of true. But to say which one is better still comes down to a guess or an opinion. Empirically speaking, from a scientific perspective, the only way to definitively say who is better would have been to have cloned both players, all of their teammates, coaches, and stadiums they played in, and have the duplicates play with the same assets, liabilities, and conditions, at the same time, and see who performed better.

About the closest we may get to that is in a J.J. Abrams TV show. Barring that, have fun with this topic but don’t take it too seriously. Same goes with other QB comparisons. For those that bang the table and swear Joe Montana was the best ever, they’re saying that definitively if Peyton Manning or Tom Brady were QBing those 49er teams they would not have won those Superbowls. I’m not comfortable with that. Who knows, maybe they each would have won 4, 3, or 5? Remember, Montana had as many or more offensive weapons as Manning, had arguably the greatest offensive coach off all-time in Bill Walsh, father of the west coast offense, and played on teams with much better defenses than Manning and arguably as good or better than Brady’s.

Back to Manning V. Brady. So it is true that Manning has had more offensive weapons, but he always needed them, especially in Indianapolis. His defenses were not as good and some of his great teams also lacked the clutch kicking that Brady had in Vinatieri (until Vinatieri later signed with Indie). Mike Vanderjagt missed a huge 46 yard kick in the playoffs against Pittsburgh that Vinatieri doesn’t.  Conversely, in the infamous “tuck rule” playoff game Vinatieri made a 45 yard field goal in a blizzard.  Does that make Brady better than Manning?

So Manning had to score more and had to take more chances which inevitably leads to more mistakes because he could not trust his defense to make the stop or have his field goal kicker make the clutch kick like Brady could.

And for all of the talk we here about how much better the Patriots are when they have the injury prone tight end Rob Gronkowski in the lineup… The same could be said about the Indianapolis defense in the Manning days about Safety Bob Sanders, and how much better they were when the oft-injured player was on the field.  Better defense = would have meant more offensive possessions for Manning = less pressure to score on every possession.
None of that means I am decided in Manning over Brady. Brady is the consummate team player. Never complains and has been given less weapons than any “great” quarterback I have ever seen. Back in the day, those 80’s & 90’s 49er teams were hiring “capologists” to circumvent the cap. They would keep all of their great players and add others. It seems like the Patriots let go a key player or two every season and don’t always spend to the cap.  If the Patriots had the 49ers mentality of keeping and acquiring talent might Brady’s teams have won 5 Superbowls?  Inconceivably 6 or 7? This could have meant more regular season and SB MVPs for Brady and perhaps even another run at a perfect season.

Defense has been the priority for the Patriots and aside from the Moss year in 2007 when the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season, you can argue Brady has had the least weapons of any of the great quarterbacks, but has still put up impressive numbers of his own, and oh by the way 2 Superbowl MVPs and 3 wins overall.

I do think if Manning played for either Bill Walsh’s 49ers or Bill Belichik’s Patriots, those teams would have at least won the same amount of Superbowls. Conversely, if Brady played for Manning’s team’s I think his stats would closely resemble Manning’s.

So who would I pick? Well their stories aren’t done being written yet. Will Manning become the first QB to lead two different teams to SB wins? Will Brady get a fourth ring?

Don’t know. Not sure I care… I’d be doing back flips if I started a franchise and either was my starting QB in their prime. But not to cop-out on the question, if you put a gun to my head, if Manning wins a second Superbowl I would lean in his direction, if he doesn’t, depending on how it goes down, I would lean towards Brady.

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Want some stats (some serious, some fun) for the comparison?  Click here

Umpire Gets It Right With Obstruction Call

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If you asked any true baseball fan in April if they would like to see game three of the 2013 World Series end as a result of an obstruction call, my guess is 99.99% would say no.  I’m sure deep down, most of the fans of last night’s beneficiaries of the obstruction call, the St. Louis Cardinals, would agree.  But I’ve seen football games decided because a defensive lineman lined up in the neutral zone by a hair, and a field goal kicker getting to re-kick a missed field goal attempt as a result and making it.

What lining up in the neutral zone in the NFL, and obstruction in baseball has in common, is that intent is irrelevant.  The infraction was done or it was not done.  Granted, obstruction occurs far less frequently then lining up off sides.  But when it occurs, it is called.  It is not as if the umpires generally let obstruction go.  If that were the case, a Boston Red Sox player, and fan, would have a legitimate beef.  But when it does occur, and umpires see it, they call it.

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Homeplate umpire Dana DeMuth didn’t make the obstruction call. He called Allen Craig safe as a result of it.

In an article by Gorden Edes on ESPN.com, Sox pitcher Jake Peavy said the following: “I cannot believe you make that call from home plate,” I’m beat. I’m out of words. I don’t know what to say. I think it’s a crying shame a call like that is going to decide a World Series game. It’s a joke. Two teams are pouring their hearts out on the field and that’s the call you make.”

Another irrelevant fact is which umpire made the call, but in fact third base  umpire Jim Joyce did make the call on the play that occurred at third base when Sox catcher, Jarold Saltalamoccia threw the ball to Will Middlebrooks.  However, the only question that matters is, is it the right call.  Given that it is a rule that is in effect and is called when it occurs, the worse ending, Mr. Peavy, would have been if the Cardinals lost as a result of non-call here.  Allen Craig of the Cardinals was interfered with by Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox period.

Is it the best way to end a game?  Far from it.  Neither is the walk-off walk or the walk off hit by pitch.  But those unintentional plays occur too.  At least they’re by players and not by fan interference like what happened with Steve Bartman (no offense Steve, you’ve suffered enough), when he interfered with a foul ball that hurt his home town Chicago Cubs.

tombradytuckBut I’ll tell you what, if Boston fan wants to go back in time and reverse this call, I’ll use my mystical powers to grant this request.  IF, we can also go back in time and reverse the tuck rule call that enabled Tom Brady and The New England Patriots to go on and win their first Superbowl.  (And oh by the way the tuck rule is so silly it has been eliminated).

Move on Red Sox nation, you’re only down 2-1.

No Deal Between A-Rod and MLB is a Good Thing

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I hope Alex Rodriguez gets what he deserves.  That sounds like a loaded statement against A-Rod, but it is not.  If someone is guilty of a crime I want him to get the sentence the crime calls for.  If he is innocent, I want him to go free.  If he is guilty of a lesser crime, than the person should be punished accordingly and in line with what others who have committed the same offense and who have the same history or record.

There are a lot of people out there who do not like Rodriguez.  I’m a Yankee fan who never wanted him to be on the team.  When A-Rod opted out of his contract I was praying for the Yankees to sign a Boston Red Sox free agent, Mike Lowell, so third base could be filled and they could move on from A-Rod.  But alas, they didn’t, and then they signed A-Rod to an absurd extension.

However, not liking someone is not an excuse for not sorting through the facts to reach a fair conclusion, or for abusing power.  It’s not for the state to unilaterally do that to its citizens, nor for Major League Baseball (or management) to do it to players (or workers).

A recent example is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell overreaching in the bounty-gate scandal.  Yes, we need to make football safer for players, and yes bounties are wrong and a rule violation, but in his zeal to make the game safer, Goodell went too far with his punishment and New Orleans Saints players won on appeal.

With performance enhancing drugs, we have an issue where there is seemingly even more agreement that it has to go.  And because Goodell overreached, that doesn’t mean MLB commissioner Bud Selig is currently about to do the same.

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Bill Belichick & Roger Goodell

The reason I don’t want a deal is because I want the full truth to come out.  When deals get made, the truth often gets lost or filed away with clauses that bind both parties from talking.  Evidence gets locked away.  I still want to know what is on those spy-gate tapes that Roger Goodell destroyed in the New England Patriot scandal.

If A-Rod is guilty of the things being reported:

  • Using steroids for three seasons.
  • Obstructing investigations.
  • Leading other players to use steroids.

Further, that the evidence collected against A-Rod far exceeds what they have collected on others, than the ban being talked about, 214 games, sounds fair to me.  And if A-Rod thinks he has received negative press before, wait until all of this supposed evidence comes out.  It will be unrelenting.  Again if the allegations are true, he will deserve much of the scorn he will receive.

However, if MLB is bluffing and or doesn’t have the evidence, like what happened with Goodell and bounty-gate, than regardless of your feelings for A-Rod, he should be punished accordingly and closer to what the other players are receiving, in the 50 game range.

Further, while he still may be guilty of PED use, if the evidence is not there to punish him to the extent being rumored, there will be some small measure of vindication for A-Rod.  And another reminder to the guilty until proven innocent crowd that judgment should be delayed until the all the facts are in.

Personally, I am rooting for MLB to have the evidence that has been suggested they have.  Ever since 2000 when A-Rod talked smack about Derek Jeter, A-Rod has been on my sh*t list.  He hasn’t earned his way off since.

As a Yankee fan, it would be good for the team, to be rid of him and get the salary relief they would receive from such a suspension.  That is $34 million plus whatever they save in luxury tax money that could be applied elsewhere.  Also, if true I want A-Rod to be exposed for the fraud that he is.  I want all of the evidence to be known.

However, if he is just another steroid user, than he deserves to be evaluated, judged and punished in that context.

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One way or the other, as a result of Biogenesis scandal, I think baseball will increase PED penalties for all.  Which is a good thing.  And I applaud the MLB Union and MLBPA director Michael Weiner for their cooperation on this issue. Rather than the usual close ranks and protect the guilt at all costs because that is what is we do.  By taking the big picture view, the Union is helping to protect its players long-term and protect the integrity of the game.

History On The Side of Patriots With The Signing of Tim Tebow

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CBS Sports writer Pete Prisco tweets that: ” signing Tebow, (Tim) is Patriot arrogance at work”.  Not that the Patriots are incapable of arrogance, but in this case the label doesn’t apply.

History, in more ways than one, is what the Patriots have going for them with the apparent imminent signing of Tim Tebow.  First, let’s rewind the tape of the cacophony of criticism leveled at Tebow the quarterback.  Even amongst some of his most ardent detractors, such as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who said Tebow can’t throw, he’ll never be a quarterback in this league (NFL), etc, etc, many still agreed that he is:

  • An incredibly hard worker.
  • Very likable.
  • Great locker room guy.
  • A good football player, just not a quarterback.

That last one is kind of important.  You know, being a good football player.  While the haters enjoyed Tebow not getting any free agent offers after being released by the NY Jets, even they would admit it was due, in part, to rumors that he was insisting on being signed as a quarterback only.  That if Tebow agreed to play another position he could draw more interest.

Well guess what “sources” are saying about Tebow in New England?  That, in addition to being a third string QB, he will see some time at tight end, possibly fullback and special teams .

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New England Patriot head coach Bill Belichik & Urban Meyer

Now, to Patriot history in particular.  Tebow played for Urban Meyer at Florida.   A Bill Belichik guy.  Patriot offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels drafted him out of college when he was the coach of the Denver Broncos.  Right or wrong, those types of connections mean something within the fraternity of sports.  Taking a chance on a player when guys you know and trust vouch for them, that “outsiders” might not be high on, is not new.  Tebow is not the first or last player to benefit from this.

It’s neither Tebow’s, nor the Patriots’ fault that the media chooses to cover the signing of a versatile third string quarterback to the extent that it is.  And the move should not be judged on that basis.

Unlike Tebow’s other two stops, there will be no quarterback controversy here.  Even the most fervent Tebow fans will never confuse Kyle Orton and Mark Sanchez with the Golden Boy, Tom Brady.  That alone will reduce the much feared and talked about “circus” affect that Tebow brings.  Belichik’s experience in dealing with the potential for circus type distractions will take care of much of the rest.  This isn’t arrogance.  It is history.

As pointed out by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, signing him now is no lock that he makes the roster.  Although I think he will.  Aside from how Tebow can possibly help on game day, there is also that new flavor of the month offense that teams are employing called the read option… Something Tebow can help them prepare for in practice.

When you consider that:

  • There is no QB controversy.
  • That Tebow brings a versatile skill set not typical of a third string QB.
  • That he’s not costing them much.
  • That he is a great locker room guy.
  • That the Patriots are perhaps the most stable organization in football, capable of weathering a potential distraction of the move working or not.

The potential upside outweighs the potential down.  And that, is what we call a good move.

How The Patriots Are Wrong On Wes Welker

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The New England Patriots are the Teflon organization of the NFL.  They seemingly can do no wrong.  With the exception of Spygate, in which it can be argued they got off light, everything they do gets described as being part of the mystique of “The Patriot Way”.

In the past, if the Patriots pass on a free agent “troublemaker” like a Terrell Owens… that’s The Patriot Way.  If they sign and rehab a “troublemaker” like Randy Moss and it works out, that’s The Patriot Way.  If it doesn’t work out and they cut him (Albert Hanesworth & Chad Johnson) that’s The Patriot Way…

Bill Belichick is such a genius that even when things don’t work out, there is still a plan that we Neanderthals just don’t understand.  Never mind that the Patriots’ best “plan” is to play in the crappy AFC East with their ticket is all but stamped to go to the playoffs every year.

welker1Prior to the 2012 season Wes Welker wanted a three-year contract for 22 million.   He earned 9.5 mill for 2012 after receiving the franchise tag.  If you add the two-year 12 million the Denver Broncos just gave him to that, it equals 21.5 million for three seasons.  A difference of 500 thousand.

Considering that even the high and mighty Patriots couldn’t look you in the eyes and say Welker didn’t outperform his last contract, that is a more than fair evaluation.  Is anybody going to say Welker, who had 118 catches last season and led the league in receptions three of the last six seasons isn’t worth that?

If for no other reason than your star quarterback, Tom Brady, who just renegotiated his contract with you to, you know, keep players like Welker, the Patriots should have improved on their last 2 year 10 million offer.  Brady and Welker have great chemistry on and off the field that is worth keeping together, especially given the injury history of star tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Instead, the Patriots gave a longer contract for similar dollars to Danny Amendola .  Another injury prone player.  But he has Welker potential?  I didn’t know the Patriots were in the potential business?   I thought they play to win Superbowls every year.  Especially when the dollars are that close.  Are you kidding me?

And what about the Patriot fans?  Fans can mostly understand letting a player go if the finances are out of whack or the player is making unreasonable demands.  But two years and 12 million?  Really?

One day the NY Yankees dynasty of the nineties will celebrate lifers and players who retired in their uniform, and bleeding their colors.  Players like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Paul O’Neill and many more… The Patriots?  Where have you gone Adam Vineteri, Richard Seymour, Lawyer Malloy, Wes Welker and more…  Disloyalty under the guise of running a business is also “The Patriot Way”.

I know I’m not nearly as smart as Belichick or Patriot owner Robert Kraft, but you guys out thought yourselves on this one.  You could have had a future hall of famer, fan favorite and still highly productive player and you don’t.  Because of The Patriot Way.

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Robert Kraft has a reputation for being a great guy.  He might be, but there is no getting around the fact that he looks to exploit many of his players for as much and as long as he can.  And when it is time to offer them fair value?  Not over-payment, but fair value, he discards them without much regard to the loyalty and effort of the player, or the attachment of the fan to the player.  Given the contract that Welker signed, and the speed with which they signed his replacement, I find Kraft’s comments about wanting Welker to be a Patriot for life disingenuous.

I guess if you’re a Patriot fan you root for Tom Brady and a bunch of clothes…