Blog Entry

Giants Steve Weatherford gets vindication

Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:30 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 5:35 am
CB Aaron Ross and P Steve Weatherford celebrate after Weatherford's punt during the first half of Super Bowl XLVI.  (AP Photo/Pat Semansky)
By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Steve Weatherford is old school in that he prefers the directional punt to the end-over-end style that has come into vogue in recent years.

Much like the soccer-style kicker replaced the straight-ahead kicker two decades ago, those punters who could consistently place the ball out of bounds inside the 10-yard line have given way to the new-fangled era of backspin specialists; players who, in theory anyway, can have their punts land at the five and instead of tumbling into the end zone, the ball either bounces straight up or stays in the field of play.

Except that it doesn't always work.

Two years ago, Chris Hanson was the Patriots punter. In a regular-season game against the Ravens, his rugby-style kicks twice bounced into the end zone for touchbacks prompting Bill Belichick to make the following observation: “You hardly see anybody go for the sidelines any more,” he said according to the New York Times' Judy Battista. “Show me a punter who coffin corners. You don’t see it. They don’t do it.”

Be careful what you ask for.

Weatherford, joined the Giants before the 2011 season, a year after one of the all-time great directional punters Jeff Feagles retired. And against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, he put forth a stellar effort.

* His first punt came on the Giants' first drive and it was downed at the Patriots' 6-yard line. On the next snap, Tom Brady was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone and New York led 2-0.

* His next punt, with 10:09 left in the second quarter, went out of the end zone for a touchback, but the Giants' defense held and the Pats go three and out.

Weatherford's third punt went out of bounds at the New England 4 with 4:11 to go in the first half. The Pats ended up scoring a touchdown but it required a 14-play, 96-yard drive.

* The final punt, which came at the 9:31 mark of the fourth quarter, is fair-caught by Wes Welker at the 8-yard line.

Giants 21, Patriots 17
The Patriots led 17-15 at the time and appeared ready to score again. But Tom Brady, perhaps affected by a third-quarter Justin Tuck sack, missed a wide open Welker on what proved to be the game's pivotal play.

Weatherford didn't convert a last-second kick, Vinatieri-style (or perhaps more fitting, Lawrence Tynes-in-the-playoffs-style), but he did do his job. In a game that included a Chase Blackburn interception (!) and a Brady misfire on a wide-open Welker, Weatherford's contributions were critical. Who knows how things play out if he doesn't pinned the Pats deep on his first punt of the game.

And to think, it wasn't long ago that a team had no use for Weatherford. In September, after the Jets chose not to re-sign him, Jets special-teams coach Mike Westhoff said that "there were times that (Weatherford) just didn't do the job."

During Media Day earlier this week, Weatherford fired back: "That wasn't good enough for Mike Westhoff," he said. "I'm playing for a guy now [Tom Quinn] that's got a Super Bowl ring, so that's not a guy I care to talk about. He does a lot of complaining, but recently he hasn't produced much."

Now Quinn has two Super Bowl rings, and Weatherford has his first.

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Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2012 8:31 am

Giants Steve Weatherford gets vindication

GIANTS WERE LUCKY TO WIN THIS ONE. PATS RUN OUT THE CLOCK-IF WALKER CATCHES A BALL HE CATCHES 9 OUT OF 10 TIMES. GOOD GAME EITHER WAY. --------------------- Get over it, already. If you add up all of the ifs and buts, the Giants are still the champions.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: February 6, 2012 4:16 pm

Giants Steve Weatherford gets vindication

Just seems too that there would be less returned punts if punters still prodominately aimed for the sidelines out of bounds within the 10 yd line.  So I'm with Belichick on this one. 

Since: Aug 11, 2009
Posted on: February 6, 2012 10:12 am

Giants Steve Weatherford gets vindication

All too often we forget (or overlook) the fact that football is a sport that requires much skill, not just power, in order to achieve great success. And we easily forget (or overlook) the fact that it is football where the object is to advance or score with the foot.  Placing the ball within the 10 or the 5 yard line is a very difficult task for a punter that takes much practice.  I consider it one of the most challenging aspect of the game.  Steve Weatherford achieved it and, in fact, did place another punt on the 5 yard during the 2d qtr which should have been downed by the special team's gunner. By doing so he gave the Giants tremendous field position advantage. Special teams work is critical to the success of any winning team and Weatherford's contributions were essential for the Giants victory.  I am so glad to see that his work is being recognized in this excellent article.

Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: February 6, 2012 8:22 am

Giants Steve Weatherford gets vindication

I wish the game was closer. I hate these lopsided super bowls. We needed the Buffalo Bills in there along with Tampa Bay. YAAAA!

Pay Gray
CAvendish, Vermont

Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: February 6, 2012 7:32 am

Giants Steve Weatherford gets vindication


Since: Dec 4, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2012 4:46 am

Giants Steve Weatherford gets vindication

Steve Weatherford is one heck of a punter and his down field punts only proved it. He finally stopped being almost there with the Jets (the team that ultimately snubbed him) to become nothing short of Super Bowl champion with the Giants. That's sweet revenge! Congrats, Steve! Congrats, Giants organization! Congrats, Giants fans! Thank you for the incredible support in Indy, Colts fans and fans of other teams supporting the Giants from everywhere! Thanks for the hard fought game, Patriots! Can't wait to see some clueless idiot coming on any thread saying that we got lucky to win or even worse crap. Some time ago, I saw somebody calling us the "Vagiants". Let's see if he/she comes back today. BIG BLUE!! SUPER BOWL XLVI CHAMPIONS!

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