Eight weeks ago, the Vikings were undefeated and ranked No. 1 in DVOA. Now they're 6-6 and probably done. What went wrong?
07 Dec 2006
compiled by Alex Carnevale
"It's not like they haven't played good defense on the road, because they have. Everyone wants to know why. Well, if I knew why, I could fix it and it would never happen. But there's no magical reason why. I don't know why."
-- Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards, on his team's overtime loss to the Browns this Sunday.
"They only know that. That's why I told them, 'You've got to look at yourself now as a football player and ask why you didn't function, why you didn't play up to your standards. Only you can answer that.' I'm just a coach. I can't look into every guy's mind and go, 'Oh, this is why you didn't play that way.'"
-- Herm, on why they lost. (KCChiefs.com)
"If you're a player (of) Ty Law's status, that gets shown more on television than Joe the Rookie who plays the same position. What happens if you don't make a play or two or something good doesn't happen, people talk about it because it's Ty Law."
-- Herm, on Ty Law's performance in the loss.
"I don't know if (he's) less effective. He had 10 interceptions last year, and I think he has two this year. He's gotten his hands on some balls. Sometimes, the ball's not going his way so he doesn't make a lot of plays on the ball."
-- Herm, on Ty Law.
"Certain players, I guess, don't play as well on the road as they do at home, and they've got to find a way to do that. I wish I could give them a medicine, a pill, but you can't do that."
"I actually told our coaching staff that I think a lot of people think we're over-running him and running him too much. But in reality, last year after 10 games Larry Johnson carried the ball 284 times. In 11 games this year he's carried it 282. So, I don't think I'm wearing him out. But some people think we're a conservative team and that we run the ball too much. Well, last year at this time we ran the ball 352 times. We've run the ball this year 352 times. So, I think perception is not reality. I never lose sight of that."
-- Herm, on exhausting Larry Johnson with too many carries.
"Baltimore, if you haven't seen them, has a very, very good defense. They do a lot of things on defense to confuse you. They bring pressure a lot of different ways. They probably have as many as four or five Pro Bowlers on their defense. They're fast; they run to the ball well, and they take the ball away."
"Oh, it's simple. There's no pressure. You've just got to go win a game. That's what you have to do. You've got to win a home game and you don't worry about all the rest of that stuff. You don't worry about all those scenarios. Just go and win a game. If you win there's no pressure. That's the great thing about winning. If you don't then there's pressure. That's all we need to do. We need to win a game against a very good football team. And, if you don't, then you don't. Then next week you've got to go win a game. But you've got to win a game and the most important thing for us to do is go focus on this week and how we can prepare our players and our players can come out and have a very good performance and win a game at home."
-- Herm, on his team's challenge this week against the Ravens.
"You can look at this game and say, well, the defense didn't play real good on the road but your offense did. What difference does that make? Did the offense eat different food than the defense or were their beds better than the defense? No."
"When the ball's in the air you just have to pick it off."
"For a defensive coach, we just scored 28 points. But, no, I just take it as a head coach. I just take it as growing pains on defense and you go through it and while you don't like it, I don't like it when the offense doesn't score touchdowns either. Against Denver we only scored one touchdown in the red zone after being down there four times; this past week we scored touchdowns in the red zone. I don't look at it as I'm a defensive guy. You get tagged that way because I'm a former defensive coach. Going into that game you didn't anticipate it was going to be 31-28; you probably thought it was going to be 17-13, or somewhere around there."
"Playing New England, I can't be happy with him throwing a TD pass, but in the back of my mind, I'm like, 'Yeah, I just got six points in my fantasy league.'"
-- Colts LB Cato June, on his rooting interest in Tom Brady's performance. (ESPN.com)
"I picked up [the Jaguars' David] Garrard. He happened to give me three or four touchdowns that week. I think it was a great GM move by myself."
"In a game solely designed around the team concept, it's nice to have some individual recognition every now and then. Fantasy football does that. It's already the most popular sport, but it's a way for people to delve into the sport and get to know the individual players, which they probably wouldn't have an opportunity to do otherwise."
-- Giants RB Tiki Barber
"When it first started, I was a little naive on this stuff. A guy came up to me and said, 'You're my fantasy kicker,' and I'm like, 'Dude, what are you talking about? Maybe I shouldn't be hanging out with you.'"
-- Eagles K David Akers
"I had my nephew here as my ball boy. He said he had already picked Mike Bell in his fantasy league -- and that was before he was (named) a starter, so he had a little inside information there."
-- Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan
"I think it's ruined the game, actually. There are no true fans anymore, because if I lose a game I come out of Invesco Field and there's not a Denver fan mad that I lost, but happy because I threw three TDs. When I was growing up, I was a fan of my team, not the points I'm getting."
-- Broncos second string QB Jake Plummer, on fantasy football.
"It's kind of unnerving to me because you're like, 'We didn't win, but you're happy.' That's not right, because I'm not happy. I don't care if I throw five TDs if we lose. It's all about getting the win."
"The NFL is TV's best unscripted drama. Why wouldn't you want a driven, informed, experienced reporter like Andrea right in the midst of all the action? In fact, one would be crazy to consider the alternative."
-- NBC sports president Dick Ebersol, on his passion for sideline reporters.
"I've been looking for the big miss and haven't seen it. There may come a time when a major injury or something is missed and there is a big vacuum, but it hasn't happened."
-- CBS News' Armen Keteyian, on the decreasing number of sideline reporters.
"I don't care about any of this. All I care about is the content."
-- NBC sideline reporter Andrea Kremer regarding makeup and appearance.
"It was our first cold-weather game, and I was going to wear a hat for warmth. But Dick [Ebersol] told me he didn't want me wearing a hat. He said, 'I don't want anything to take away from what you are saying. What you are saying is the most important thing.' "
"The women who now have those jobs are very capable. For a while, we had women who just wanted to be on TV."
-- sideline reporter Lesley Visser
"I think that was the case, but those people are no longer on the air."
-- Kremer (Los Angeles Times)
"Phil and I were talking about how the league has kind of changed to where it's more beneficial for the offense. And we were mentioning quarterbacks. It just seems like when the game is on the line and you have to take a shot at the quarterback, there's that one split second where you have to hesitate."
-- Redskins DE Andre Carter
"Let me tell you what's happened to these defensive players. What's happened to them is they've become so cognizant of not roughing the passer. You can hardly hit them anywhere without getting a penalty. You can't hit them below the waist. You can't hit them with the crown of your helmet. You can't hit them head to head. You can't hit them anywhere."
-- Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells
"The league has always catered to quarterbacks. It's a quarterback league, for the most part. I can understand it, but as a defensive player, I don't agree with it."
-- Redskins DE Demetric Evans (Washington Times)
"Come here, I want to see your face when you ask this question, the way you are going to ask it. I know you are going to ask it in a way there is more division and more of a negative way than it was, so come here, I want to see your face, please."
-- Giants DE Michael Strahan, to reporter Kelly Naqi of ESPN.
"You're a responsible journalist, look me in the eye and ask this question the way you want to ask it. Look a man in the eye before you try to kill him or make up something."
"It's a shame. You can't give up. You can't quit, because you're not quitting on yourself, you're quitting on everybody. I don't quite understand what his lack of motivation is in those types of situations. But I'm going to try to see what it is, and if I can talk to him about it. He's too good for that."
-- Strahan, on the Dan Patrick radio show, regarding Plaxico Burress' non-tackle of Pacman Jones after Pacman made an INT in the Titans' comeback win in Week 12.
"I haven't had a conversation with him. If that's the way he feels, hey, I don't talk about my teammates. If that's the way he feels, then that's the way he feels. I know what my motivation is. If that's the way he feels, then that's sad."
-- Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, on Strahan's comments.
"The fact of the matter is we are 6-5. We have lost three games in a row. What do you want us to do, put our head down and run to a corner? We don't do that. We're men. We get back, we practice hard. We prepare to play to win. We don't prepare to come in and have someone who wants to take a comment and try to divide teammates in a way that it just disrupts this team."
-- Strahan, before his team's Week 13 loss to the Cowboys.
"We don't have that division. So if you want to come here with a negative, you are coming to the wrong guy, because I am not a negative guy. I don't kill my teammates. I'm a man and I talk to my teammates."
"We sat down and discussed the matter personally and you know if he feels that way about me. I said fine, but I'd rather you come to me as a man and as a person instead of going on the radio or however it was said or whatever you did just talk to me as a person if you've got a problem with me."
-- Burress (All Headline News)
"I'll send in the early entry form (to the NFL to evaluate his draft status) to see what comes back and where I stand. I definitely want to win a national championship, but you've got to see where you might be picked and weigh all your options to see what is the best thing to do."
-- Louisville QB Brian Brohm (Louisville Courier-Journal)
"I see Jon as our starter for next year. He's a heck of a quarterback."
-- Rod Marinelli, Lions head coach, on QB Jon Kitna.
"I'm not worried about it at all. I know that the season is not over at 7-5."
-- Broncos wideout Quincy Morgan
"I've already talked to some of the guys about it. We know it's possible. I have a Super Bowl ring. I know it's possible." "
-- Morgan, a former Steeler.
"I would say no. But I wouldn't put it past him. I don't think so. I'm sure he wants to move on, too. I'm sure (the referees) will be looking for it."
-- Igor Olshansky, on his conflict with Tom Nalen of the Broncos.
"To me it's another game. Obviously I'm going to be aware of what kind of players they are. But not cautious. The best way to stay away from trouble is just to go 100 percent."
-- Olshanky (Denver Post)
"He said, 'Man, we never thought we'd see this, did we?' And I said, 'No.' I'm glad I made the decision to come back, but this is difficult. I never thought I'd see it, but here we are. I never thought I'd be part of a game or a season like we've had the last two years."
-- Green Bay Packers quarterback and SI cover boy Brett Favre
"I really thought I could be a difference-maker. I've always felt that way. And I still believe that. But there are games like this and halves like we had in the first half where [you] go, 'Huh, what a difference-maker you were. Did you make the right decision in coming back?' "
"This isn't about eight games. The NFL offers the most popular programming content in this country -- it's the platinum standard of programming on TV -- and we're building a platform that will be responsive to fans' long-term interests. We have a sport that people follow 12 months of the year, and that's what we're offering our customers."
-- Steve Bornstein, NFL Network president.
"The league wanted us to make sure the sport of football was packaged as a year-round sport. I think we have done that."
-- Rich Eisen, formerly of ESPN and now the host of the network.
"The raw emotion and physical nature of the NFL definitely push a lot of peoples' buttons. It's played once a week, so every game is important. And fantasy football has drawn in a new segment. The NFL has captured the casual fan."
"Sports is the ultimate escape, the ultimate in reality programming. It's true drama. You really don't know what's going to happen."
"The NFL right now is the overwhelming presence in our culture. I've sat at tables with actors, politicians and business leaders, and the common bond between everybody seems to be the NFL. It always cracks me up that all they want to talk about is football."
-- Cris Collinsworth
"What's always been hilarious to me is even when I was away from the game, some guy would said, 'Hey, Bryant, who's going to win on Sunday?' People want to talk football.
-- NFL network play-by-play commentatory Bryant Gumbel
"The appetite seems to be insatiable at this point."
-- Gumbel (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"Ain't nothing wrong with Jake. So get out of here with that. All right? Don't try to start that with me, please."
-- Panthers WR Keyshawn Johnson. Delhomme has ligament damage in his hand.
"That's the second question that somebody asked that alluded to Jake. It didn't (expletive) happen. It wasn't his problem, OK? Thank you. Just for that, you know what? I'm done."
"Yeah, I think there's something to that. It's Week 13 and you walk in there (to the weight room) and guys are still lifting heavy. It's 100 percent workouts. Other teams lay off at this time of year, just try to maintain. We're still trying to build. So when we're out there on the field, we have our legs underneath us. You can see some other teams huffing and puffing sometimes."
-- Patriots DE Jarvis Green
"There's a lot more conditioning. A lot. You lift here more, compete here more. Even in practice. In San Diego you run a route in practice and they just let you catch the ball. Here you have to go make a play. It's a lot different."
-- Pats WR Reche Caldwell, on the difference between the Patriots and his former team. (Boston Herald)
"Anytime you have a rookie you want to get after him, you know, because he's never been here, never played here, doesn't know what it's like, isn't familiar with our schemes or things like that ... You have to pin your ears back a little bit."
-- Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, on Browns quarterback Derek Anderson.
"He has a stronger arm than Charlie, but he's not elusive at all. Charlie is like Michael Vick."
-- Browns TE Kellen Winslow, on Derek Anderson (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"The NBA kind of is what it is. He's had some problems, it's been one little thing after another ... It's tough, but he's done a good job, he's given us the best that he's got, and that's all you can ask for.You've got to learn to play with discomforts and injuries. Ask those guys in the NFL after about Week 5, how many of them feel good.... (They've) got to find a way on Sunday to get it done. In the NBA, you have to find a way, on Wednesday and Friday and Sunday, to get it done."
-- Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell
"When I came into the league, if you made 80 percent of your field goals you were the Pro Bowl kicker. Now, it's changed so much that you almost need to be making 80 percent to keep your job.''
-- Gary Anderson
"My music was [the theme from] 'Monday Night Football.' I wanted to let them know I was going to the NFL."
-- Bears DB Ricky Manning Jr. on his time playing professional baseball. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"One of the most rewarding benefits of the Super Bowl is the opportunity for us to partner with leading organizations to help create events that will leave a lasting legacy on the host region."
-- Beth Colleton, NFL director of community ventures. If you were wondering, "How to Hire, When to Fire" is 8 a.m., Jan. 12, at the Westin Fort Lauderdale, at 400 Corporate Drive, in Fort Lauderdale. (Bizjournals.com)
"My early childhood was very different because women and children were not allowed in press boxes, and so I would sit outside and he would kind of run back and forth and find people to take care of me. As time went on, those rules relaxed a little bit. But it was a very unconventional lifestyle. He raised me (between marriages), and we'd sit with TV trays and watch television during dinner time, and I got to go on a lot of his trips."
-- Anne Marie Rozelle, daughter of Pete Rozelle.
"He loved the Bob Newhart shows. Bob was actually a close friend of his."
-- Rozelle (Sacramento Bee)
"South Florida does it better than anybody I know, and so we're thrilled to be here."
-- NFL commish Roger Goodell, on the Super Bowl. (Seattle Times)
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34 comments, Last at 10 Dec 2006, 2:27am by hector