Joe Flacco is ready for New England
Football can be a very dangerous game – especially if you’re wearing a New England Patriots jersey, and Ravens safety Bernard Pollard is lined up against you.
Dating back to the start of the 2008 season – a Chiefs-Pats matchup that chowderheads won’t soon forget – Pollard has inadvertently caused serious injuries to three key Patriots, each one at least contributing to the demise of New England’s season.
As a Kansas City Chief in the opening weekend game of 2008, a blitzing Pollard was blocked to the ground and rolled into quarterback Tom Brady, buckling his knee, tearing ligaments, and shelving the superstar QB for the year.
After going 18-1 and reaching the Super Bowl the previous season, the Patriots finished 11-5 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
In 2009, as a member of the Houston Texans, Pollard awkwardly fell on Wes Welker in the regular season’s final game. The collision left the Patriots’ prolific wide receiver with a torn ACL and MCL.
Heavy favorites heading into the playoffs, without Welker the Patriots would go one and done, bowing out at home to the Ravens.
Then, playing with Baltimore in last year’s AFC title game, Pollard hit record-breaking Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski at knee level. In the process, Gronkowski rolled his ankle.
Two weeks later in the Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants, a visibly hobbled Gronkowski proved to be a non-factor with just two catches for 26 yards.
Adding insult to his injury, Gronkowski failed to make a diving play on Brady’s final heave into the end zone, the ball landing just out of his grasp.
Pollard derives zero joy or satisfaction from causing these injuries. He told the NFL Network earlier this season that he takes no pleasure in his reputation as a ‘Patriot killer.’
Still, of his career meetings with New England, only this season’s 31-30 Ravens victory ended without a Patriot being carted off the field.
Coach Bill Belichick and company probably aren’t thrilled to be tempting fate twice in one season.