For Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, Super Bowl XLVIII represents a major change-of-pace. Rather than looking across the field and seeing a Manning on the other side, he goes into Sunday knowing knowing a Manning has his back. And as he told New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning earlier this week, that's a damn good feeling … because he really is tired of losing to Easy E.
“I saw Eli, and I just told him, I was like, ‘I’m just glad I’m not playing you,’” Welker said earlier this week. “I definitely don’t want him out there.”
Whether you're a fan of the Giants or even the New England Patriots, it's not difficult to understand why Welker is glad this Super Bowl is Eli-less. In each of his past two trips to the Big Game — Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI — it was Eli who led the Giants down the field for the game-winning score.
“Losing [a Super Bowl], it’s heartbreaking,” he added. “It definitely sticks with you and really motivates you for the future. I’m grateful to have the opportunity again.”
Now with a new team and another opportunity, Welker has been able to move on from those two soul-crushing losses and their aftermath — which saw Tom Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen, publicly blame him for at least one game-changing dropped pass.
“You know what? I don’t even think about it,” he said of her onslaught. “The past is the past, what happened, happened and I’m just looking forward to this one, going out there and playing my best game and doing what I can to help my team win.”
While he may not see Eli Manning on the other sideline come this Sunday, what he will see is one of the NFL's toughest, hardest hitting and most dominant defenses in many years. Luckily for him, they do not have the two-time Super Bowl MVP at their helm who is almost assured of that final game-winning drive — in the event it's necessary, of course.
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