When Patriots coach Bill Belichick blasted Broncos receiver Wes Welker for his hit on Aqib Talib in the AFC Championship Game, Belichick said, “I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play. It’s not for me to decide.”
Now the league has decided. Welker will not be disciplined.
The NFL confirmed that on Friday afternoon, and it’s no surprise, as NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino already said that Welker’s hit on Talib was legal. Belichick may have considered it one of the worst plays he’s ever seen, but the reality is that under NFL rules, receivers are allowed to hit defensive backs the way Welker hit Talib.
The Competition Committee may put a proposal before the owners this offseason to change the rules and give defensive backs more protection on such plays. But right now, what Welker did was legal. The officials were correct not to throw a flag, and the NFL saw nothing to discipline Welker for. Belichick doesn’t have to like it, but that’s the rule in the NFL.