Wes Welker’s Dropped Pass a Key Factor in Super Bowl Loss, Physics to Blame?

Physics may have been to blame for Wes Welker’s infamous dropped pass and not Brady.
Welker Superbowl drop
Image courtesy of ESPN

Up two points with just under five minutes remaining, the New England Patriots were destined to win the Super Bowl.   That was until this happened:

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If Welker catches that ball, the Patriots are on the cusp of the red zone with the clock on their side. The Patriots went on the punt and then well, we all know how this story ends.

Dr. Eric Goff, Associate Professor of Physics and Chair of the Phsyics department at Lynchburg College investigated Welker’s catch and compared it to Mario Manningham’s grab that propelled the Giant’s game winning drive.

He claims that because of physics Welker does not make the catch. He was unable to haul in the grab due to lack of torque during his rotation. Wes left the ground and began his rotation before his hands reached the ball. If the pass wasn’t behind him, Welker makes the catch.

Goff says that Manningham left the ground as he made the catch which caused his body to rotate towards the sidelines. This rotation was key to the successful grab. If Manningham does not rotate his body towards the sidelines, the defenders could have swatted the ball out of his hands.

We can’t put all the blame on Welker for the Patriots loss because the throw was a bit behind him, but it’s interesting to think about if Welker had left the ground just a split second later he makes the catch.

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