Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Big-mouth DB has my Super Bowl dander up

Giants' egomaniac Webster all the reason I need to cheer for Patriots

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Normally, I think Canadians have a hard time choosing which team to root for on Super Bowl Sunday.

We are, for the most part, hard pressed to identify ties or allegiances to a New York or New England NFL franchise and nothing deflates one's interest in a game than no team or cause to root for, or no villain to root against.

Lucky for me, I was perusing NFL.com and found a story that got me invested in this year's Super Bowl.

When I am invested in a football game, it means I have more than a passing interest in who wins or loses the contest, which thereby makes the game that much more entertaining.

In my realm, investment can come from either making a monetary bet on the contest, or buying into a storyline or record breaking possibility. This year my investment is centred around my desire to have a particular player lose.

Bull's-eye

I have never met Corey Webster before, hardly know anything about him outside of the fact that he is a cornerback for the New York Giants, but all it took was three sentences out of his mouth to paint a red bull's-eye on his chest and transform me into an ardent Patriots fan.

He single-handedly has me giddy in anticipation of hopefully watching him eat his words on the biggest television spectacle on this side of the world.

According to NFL.com, Webster offered up the following about Wes Welker -- Patriots wide receiver -- and his own abilities to the New York Daily News. Of Welker he said, "I don't know if it's that Welker is the challenge, or he has a great person throwing him the ball."

On his estimation of his own talents, he said, "I think I'm great. I think I'm the best thing out there. I don't think I'm second to nobody."

Super Bowl XLVI just became a cause for me. If Tim Tebow and Tom Higgins could ask the gods of football to let Tom Brady and Wes Welker embarrass this cornerback to no end, I would be most pleased.

I hope Bill Belichick and Brady target Mr. Webster and launch ball after ball, for completion after completion, in his direction, at his man, and in his zone, so there is no confusing whose talents explicitly cost the New York Giants the NFL championship. And then I want Shaquille O'Neal to write a rap song about it like he did with Kobe Bryant.

It is one thing to be confident in your abilities. Playing defensive back in the NFL is a thankless position where even the best of cover men get beaten and humiliated with regularity, so having supreme confidence in your abilities helps you cope with the realities of the position.

But to exclaim to the world that you are the best at your position and the greatest thing since Wonderbread a week away from the biggest test of your career is more than just a little premature. It's stupid on a grandiose scale.

Furthermore, publicly questioning the talent of a star player on the opposing team and wondering out loud whether his skill set is magnified by the prowess of his quarterback must be something that even has his own teammates shaking their heads.

Yes, it doesn't hurt that Welker has Brady throwing him darts. But Tom doesn't run the routes for him, catch the ball for him, or evade tacklers. Welker led all receivers in the NFL this year with 122 catches, and has the second-most yards.

He also led the NFL in yards per game in the regular season and receptions for first downs. Does this sound like the calibre of player whose talents Corey Webster should be undermining?

From what I have read, it sounds like Webster is a good cornerback.

He had six interceptions this year for the Giants in a secondary that ranked 29th out of 32 teams in the regular season against the pass. I want to take this time to thank him for making this game more interesting for me.

Outside of the bets I have with people, I will now be watching him every time the Patriots have the ball hoping that he stumbles, falters, falls, and trips all over his enormous ego and mouth. And I hope he wins the Super Bowl MVP, as the most valuable facilitator of the New England Patriots' success.

Doug Brown, once a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, usually appears Tuesdays in the Free Press.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 4, 2012 C4

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