JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Wes Welker swears he doesn't dwell on his costly drop in the Super Bowl two years ago that could have sealed New England's win over the New York Giants and made up for losing to them four years earlier.
"You know what? I don't even think about it," Welker said as he prepared for his third Super Bowl, his first with the Denver Broncos. "The past is the past, what happened, happened, and I'm just looking forward to this one and going out there and playing my best game and doing what I can to help my team win."
Welker said getting to the big game and coming up short two times is what drives him.
"I think it's the reason I get up in the morning in the offseason and even now," he said after helping the Broncos beat his old team for the AFC title, securing a showdown with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
Welker tied a Super Bowl record with 11 receptions for 103 yards six years ago but the Patriots' perfect season ended when Eli Manning threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left to give the Giants a 17-14 win.
The teams met again four years later in Indianapolis and Welker caught seven passes for 60 yards and ran twice for 21 more, but it was the catch he didn't make that haunts Patriots fans to this day.
The Patriots led 17-15 with four minutes left and were on the Giants' 44 when Tom Brady found Welker wide open 23 yards downfield. The pass, however, was high and slightly behind Welker, who got both hands on the ball but couldn't make the catch.
The Giants got the ball back and drove for the winning touchdown.
"Sure, I mean it motivates you during the offseason. It motivates you when you're working out, it motivates you through the year," Welker said. "Just that feeling of losing that game, I mean it's heartbreaking. It takes a few weeks just to get over it. It definitely sticks with you and motivates you for the future and definitely blessed to have this opportunity again."