The league's northern divisions pose a number of meaty questions, such as: "Is the Bears' offense due for a repeat performance?" "Why do the Lions have such pronounced splits?" and "Has Johnny Manziel made the Cleveland brass even crazier?"
20 Dec 2007
compiled by Ben Riley
"I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it. [Owner] Arthur [Blank] and I have had some pretty constructive discussions. I basically will oversee the football operations. We'll meet today -- not in Atlanta -- and work out some of the final details but I don't think there's any deal breakers here."
-- Bill Parcells on December 18, 2007, describing what seemed to be his impending plan to join the Atlanta Falcons as head of football operations
"Arthur wants to rebuild the football operation. I'll hire a general manager and then we'll hire a coach. We'll do this together, the GM, the coach and myself. The coach absolutely will not be Bill Parcells. All this happens if we finalize this thing, which I expect to do."
-- Parcells (ESPN.com)
"It's gossip and we don't have an answer for that."
-- Falcons interim head coach Emmitt Thomas, reacting to the Parcells-to-Falcons rumor (AtlantaFalcons.com)
"Late last night it was revealed to the media by a source outside the Falcons that we were close to reaching an agreement with Bill Parcells to lead the club's football operations.
Prior to the information becoming public, we had reached an agreement in principle with Parcells, and we met with him this morning to complete the contract. At that time, we were made aware by Parcells that he was considering a revised offer from the Miami Dolphins. He later informed us that he would not be signing a contract with us."
-- Official statement from Falcons owner Arthur Blank on December 19, 2007. Is there a reason people feel compelled to lie to this man?
"We remain committed to looking at every option for building a championship-caliber team for our fans. I have stated we will leave no stone unturned in doing so, and this effort is one example of that. We gave it our best shot, and it didn't work out."
"We will continue down the same overall path, proceeding with plans to hire a general manager and a head coach. We will identify and consider every strongly viable candidate for these positions, with the goal of hiring the best. Rich McKay remains President of the club and will retain general manager responsibilities until a new GM is hired."
-- Blank, making General Manager Rich McKay the lamest of lame ducks
"We will be making no further comment on the Parcells matter."
-- Blank (ProFootballTalk.com)
"Really? You can't control it. But somebody like the Big Tuna, regardless of who's in the front office or who's not, brings a lot of respect and a lot of credibility with him. He's a Hall of Famer. If you're a free agent out there, that might draw you in."
-- Dolphins defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday, reacting to the Parcells-to-Dolphins rumor. By the way, Parcells is not in the Hall of Fame. (ESPN.com)
"Donovan really seems to believe that his days in Philadelphia are numbered. When I spoke with him before the game, I got the impression that Donovan is a little hurt by what he sees as an organization distancing itself from him and an organization that's overly concerned about the negative fan reaction to him."
-- Fox sports reporter Pam Oliver, reporting on her pregame conversation with Donovan McNabb before the Eagles-Cowboys game
"But Donovan told me point-blank: 'My knee is not an issue. The next place I go, I will win,' and also that he will keep a smile on his face for as long he's in an Eagles uniform."
-- Oliver, during the same report
"I didn't say that."
-- Donovan McNabb, after being informed of Oliver's report
"I don't feel that way. I've said I want to be here eight more, nine more years. If that's possible, we'll see."
"I just feel like our relationship is definitely broken. It's not easy to be called a big, fat liar. You wake up to that and it's unpleasant."
-- Oliver, reacting to McNabb's allegation that he was misquoted.
"Don has a degree in communications [from Syracuse University]. He knows how TV works. He knows how the media works. You can't trip him up. All interviews I've ever done with him, you can't get him to say something he didn't want to say."
"My only professional regret is: Why on Earth did I bend over backwards to make it less impactful? And then wake up to ... to someone throwing you under bus like that."
"All I can tell you is I stand by it 100 percent. It's on-my-mother's-grave accurate. That's the bottom line."
"I can't imagine reaching out to him or him reaching out to me and it being an honest conversation. I felt like I had had an honest conversation and he called me a liar."
-- Oliver (Delaware News Journal)
"Oh yeah. He'll go. It'll be him. As far as I know."
-- Soon-to-be-fired Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner, when asked if Bears "quarterback" Kyle Orton would start this Sunday
"We'll play the guys who give us the best opportunity to win. We're not announcing any starting players, period. Hopefully, I'm making that clear."
-- Bears head coach Lovie Smith, refusing to endorse the view of his offensive coordinator
"I thought he made a lot of good decisions as far as checking the ball down."
-- Smith, evaluating Orton's play against the Vikings (Chicago Tribune)
"Right now, Jessica Simpson is not a fan favorite -- in this locker room or in Texas Stadium."
-- Terrell Owens, describing the relationship between the Dallas Cowboys quarterback and America's sweetheart
"With everything that has happened, obviously with the way Tony played and the comparison between her and Carrie Underwood, I think a lot of people feel she has taken his focus away."
"Other than that, she was high on my list until last week."
"Oh, I got a message for her when we make the playoffs. Just stay tuned."
-- Owens (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"The way fans took it, in my opinion, was probably wrong."
-- Herm Edwards, seemingly refusing to apologize for telling Chiefs' fans last week to "get over it," the "it" being the Chiefs' 4-10 record
"I think our fans are great."
"I just think that when you're going through tough times, it's no different if you're a football coach or you're a fan: You have to get over that part of it and get ready to prepare to win games."
"Without fans, you have no one to watch you play."
"If it was misinterpreted, I apologize."
-- Herm, semi-apologizing (Kansas City Star)
"He said, 'Listen, if you get down to the 1, take a knee.' I was like, 'Ahhh...' He said, 'Take a knee, Westbrook, take a knee.'"
-- Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, explaining the "stern" advice Eagles tackle Jon Runyan gave him during the closing minutes of the Eagles-Cowboys game. With a little more than two minutes to play, Westbrook ran 25 yards and then, per Runyan's advice, took a knee on the 1-yard line instead of scoring the touchdown, allowing the Eagles to run out the clock. (Philadelphia Daily News)
"Thank God for Greg Camarillo."
-- Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, thanking unheralded Dolphins wide receiver Greg Camarillo for scoring the Dolphins' game winning touchdown on Sunday against the Ravens. The Dolphins are now the happiest 1-13 team of all time. (Palm Beach Post)
"I've never played in a game like that. It was fun, though. At one point, I got tackled and I got snow and dirt, kind of smashed together, all up in my facemask.''
-- Browns running back Jamal Lewis, who plowed through the snow for 163 yards to help his team defeat the Bills last Sunday by the score of 8-0
"It looked like something I saw on the Discovery Channel. Like something about the North Pole."
-- Bills running back Marshawn Lynch, describing the same game (Sports Illustrated)
"Al Gore can't get off the field!"
-- NFL Network announcer Bryant Gumbel, referring to 49ers running back Frank Gore during Saturday night's Bengals-49ers contest (and making a late charge for TWIQ's Quote of the Year).
Remember to send your quotes to quotes-at-footballoutsiders.com. And if you are looking for a charity to donate money to this time of year, you could do worse than George Martin's A Journey For 911.
85 comments, Last at 23 Dec 2007, 2:40am by Tri Shanku