Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?
22 Aug 2014
compiled by Rory Hickey
"I think we've all seen the middle finger before. We should get over it."
-- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, voicing his opinion on Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel's middle finger-gate. (Cleveland.com)
"I can tell you what the statement was that set him off. The statement was … This isn't college anymore and these people are faster than you are. He didn't like it. That was me cleaning up the statement but that's pretty close to what it was."
-- Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark, on the paraphrased remark that caused Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel to go all Johnny Middle Finger. (Eye on Football)
"The league respectfully honored my request not to officiate Washington. It happened sometime after I refereed their playoff game in 2006, I think. It just became clear to me that to be in the middle of the field, where something disrespectful is happening, was probably not the best thing for me."
-- Veteran official turned TV analyst Mike Carey, revealing that over the last several years of his career, he declined to work Redskins games because he was offended by the team's name. (Washington Post)
"What's all the stink over the Redskin name? It's so much [expletive] it's incredible. We're going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian. Even though it was called a Redskin, what are you going to call them, a Proudskin? This is so stupid it's appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That's the way it is. It's been the name of the team since the beginning of football. It has nothing to do with something that happened lately, or something that somebody dreamed up. This was the name, period. Leave it alone. These people are silly — asinine, actually, in my opinion."
-- NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, giving us his opinion on all of the controversy over the Washington Redskins' nickname. (D.C. Sports Bog)
"Not on our team. We don't get those calls. I don't know why. That's not our job to play for calls. We play to play football and make plays. The call, that's extra."
-- Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace, saying that he and his teammates do not receive the same treatment as other teams around the league. (Palm Beach Post)
"I spend a lot of time with myself, and I am most familiar with myself. If I had to make a pick, it would be me."
-- Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, asserting that if he had the first pick of the 2011 draft class, he would draft himself. (Denver Post)
"Right now, Denver has a team built just like the New England Patriots back when they went undefeated [in the 2007 regular season]. In looking at Denver in the preseason and Peyton Manning's command of that offense, he'll pick up right where he left off last year. And defensively, they went out like good organizations do and addressed their weaknesses."
-- Retired tight end Tony Gonzalez, proclaiming that the Denver Broncos will go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl. (Newsday)
"It's nice that those teams have shown that appreciation of their players. Those decisions aren't made by me. I know what I can do. I can work as hard as I possibly can. And then I'll let the team decide what I'm worth. Then we'll see how it goes from there. I like to see those guys be shown appreciation so far. I hope that I've worked hard enough and hopefully I've put myself in a situation where I can be shown some of the same appreciation. Hopefully they feel I've outplayed my current contract, but the end of the day, we're paid to play football. If I got paid a little more, I wouldn't be terribly upset."
-- Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, claiming that it would not upset him if he were given more money. (Yahoo!)
"We're not their moneymakers, their favorite guys. It's the guys who have the ball in their hands. Receivers, quarterbacks, those are the guys the league really wants to protect more than anything, because it's the business. You take out the star quarterback, then who's watching that team based on how they market it?"
-- San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, claiming that the NFL does not protect defensive players as much as their "money-makers." (U-T San Diego)
"A team like Seattle, who basically played a style that would risk a holding penalty as opposed to not having an aggressive defender back there. That got a lot of complaints, and you're seeing it [called] during the preseason."
"They doubted in High School
They doubted a turnaround at [Baylor]
They doubted a Heisman was possible
Keep doubting. It's nothing New."
-- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, saying hi to his haters regarding his inability to slide. (ESPN (via Twitter))
"He's choking you out. It's like Monday Night Raw."
-- Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice, evaluating rookie tackle Jake Matthews's practice performance against J.J. Watt during a film session. (Eye on Football)
"I think the Giants are the real New York team."
-- New York Giants rookie running back Andre Williams, on who the "real" New York team is.
"Yeah, last time I saw him he was getting smoked by Clemson."
-- New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, responding to Willliams' comments. Ryan's son plays for Clemson and beat Williams' Boston College team last year. (NewJersey.com)
"It was very close. The Texans had the No. 1 pick; that was the place I wanted to play at. I wish they would've told me that they weren't picking me because I would've stayed for my senior year. But it didn't happen like that."
-- Former NFL quarterback Vince Young, saying that he would have returned to Texas if he had known the Houston Texans, who took Mario Williams first overall in 2006, weren't going to select him. (Deadspin)
"I'm going to say it again, and I'm not going to answer another question on it: We're responsible for the integrity of the game. Can you figure it out? Figure it out. We're responsible for the integrity of the game. There is no use for fighting in the game of football. Period. End of discussion. Move on."
-- Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone, reiterating his anger with his team for fighting during practice. (Pro Football Talk)
"I'm going to yell at him because I want him to get rid of the ball. But if he runs, he runs. gotta do what he's gotta do to protect himself. He's gotta do what he's gotta do to make plays. So if he runs, then I think it's a great sign."
-- Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, on the need for quarterback Cam Newton to protect himself while running. (Black and Blue Review)
"I didn't think much of it when it was suggested. There are some ways to change that part of it if the intent is to make it more exciting. I think that certainly would be one of them. I think you have to be aware of the fact that it's a 33-yard field goal in November when the wind's blowing and it's snowing here and it's… in Miami it's 75 degrees. It's a little different in different parts of the country. You do have to be aware of that. I would say probably the ball will stay at the two, extra points. But if you really want to make it interesting put it at the one."
-- New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, advocating for making things interesting and putting the ball at the 1-yard line on extra points. (The Star-Ledger)
"I'll just tell you what happened. He was actually carrying a box down the dorms, and he came down the grassy slope there and just tweaked his foot, rolled his foot over on the curb. It was that simple."
-- Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, explaining how running back Jamaal Charles injured his foot. (Kansas City Star)
"I don't think I've ever not peed in the hot tub."
-- Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, on his hot tub etiquette … or lack thereof. (SB Nation)
"46. I told you I started f---ing when I was 10."
-- Atlanta Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox, when asked by Falcons players how old he was after seeing Cox's daughter. (Eye on Football)
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