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?
27 Dec 2007
compiled by Ben Riley
"It was all just words. I never put my hand on nobody, never bumped nobody, never did anything."
-- Raiders defensive lineman Warren Sapp, denying that he bumped umpire Garth DeFelice during an insane sequence at the end of the first half of last Sunday's Raiders-Jaguars contest wherein Sapp was flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct and then ejected from the game
"I was like, 'You're in the middle of my huddle with your hands on me. Get out of the huddle.' So, we're talking and he's like, 'You're out of here.' So, I asked the ref, 'Do I really got to leave? Are you kidding me? I really got to go somewhere for this?'"
-- Sapp's description of the ejection after head linesman Jerry Bergman entered the Raiders huddle and told him to leave the game
"I haven't done anything other than anything I've ever done in 13 years I've been in this league. Are you kidding me? I didn't put my hand on anybody. I didn't push nobody. I didn't shove nobody. I didn't do anything to anybody. I'm like, 'Are you kidding me?'"
"So, [Raiders cornerback] Nnamdi [Asomugha] asked him, 'Why did you throw him out?' 'Well, he said something to me.' That's his words to Nnamdi out of his own mouth. So, now it's got to be something more than that because it makes no sense to nobody why the first dude that's ever been thrown out an NFL game for non-physical contact."
"I felt cheated. I felt like I should have whipped somebody's ass. I should have beaten somebody up so at least they put you on SportsCenter for whipping some ass. At least you get a little respect."
"Come on, you know how this works. It's all a P.R. shtick. The big bad '99' has done it now. I have no recourse."
"I don't think anything will come of it."
-- Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, when asked if he thought the NFL would discipline Sapp for his outburst. Kiffin stood mute during Sapp's entire meltdown. (Contra Costa Times)
"That's what they're trying to sneak in now, that, 'Oh, we got him bumping him twice.' Bump who? It's been four days. You can't find it [on film] in four days? They got 20 cameras out there."
-- Sapp, four days later, refusing to back down (ESPN.com)
"Nothing. There was really nothing said to him, to be honest with you."
-- Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, denying that he was talking trash to Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler during the Chargers-Broncos Monday Night contest, notwithstanding the fact that ESPN cameras showed Rivers yelling at Cutler for a good 20 seconds from the sidelines
"I ain't really thought nothing more of it."
-- Rivers (by the way, he's from Alabama)
"[The trash talk that apparently did not occur was] no different than any other game I've ever played in since I was 10 years old. There was nothing unusual going on in that game. Just like anything that gets on the TV, it can be taken any way you want it to."
"There's no animosity from me towards him, whatsoever. I don't know if that's the same on his end."
"I don't really care for the guy, first of all. He's not a respectable guy right now, because you talk too much trash and do this and that, but you're really not a great player in this league right now."
-- Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, offering his thoughts on Rivers
"You're surrounded by great players, but you're not a great player. I think he needs to understand where he stands in this league -- where he stands on his team first and foremost."
"We've talked about it. I'm not going to get into it. It was an unfortunate situation. They talked a lot and the talk got heated between the two teams. Personally I don't think the teams like each other, which is fine. It's just going to add to it next year. It's going to be exciting."
-- Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, not exactly striking fear into the hearts of the Chargers
"Rivers is that kind of guy. He likes to run his mouth. He's going to learn he is going to have to stop doing that, too."
-- Vikings safety Darren Sharper, when asked for his impression of Rivers (the Broncos play the Vikings this Sunday)
"He just runs his mouth a little bit."
"I talked to him and he understands where I'm coming from."
-- Chargers head coach Norv Turner, establishing locker room discipline as only he knows how (Monterey Herald)
"We all played tight -- you know what I mean? The last two weeks it was like: Let's just go play ball. We should have had that attitude from day one."
-- Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown, explaining how his team "played tight" until two weeks ago (when it became fairly clear the Eagles would not be making the playoffs)
"It's a trickle-down effect. If the coaches feel tight, it trickles down to the players. They're like: 'Oh, I can't make a mistake. I can't make a mistake.'"
-- Brown, indirectly blaming the Eagles coaching staff for the Eagles' "playing tight"
"Now the coaches are relaxed, the players are relaxed and we're having fun playing and that's how it's always been since I've been here. I don't know why it wasn't that way from the beginning."
-- Brown (Cherry Hill Courier Post)
"For the last several months, Tammy and I have struggled with the proper way to handle our family's personal situation in a public platform. As many of you know, I chose not to answer or field questions for various legal and personal reasons. I wanted to instead focus on football-related matters."
-- Official statement of Eagles head coach Andy Reid, explaining why he and his wife Tammy decided to speak publicly with Philadelphia magazine regarding the drug-related legal troubles of Reid's two sons, Garrett and Britt.
"However, as time has gone by, the tremendous level of support and interest that was shown by many people -- even by those without any interest in our football team -- was stunning. Tammy and I are very humbled and thankful for that. Obviously, we are not the only family that has or will at some point struggle with these situations in their own households. The outpouring of letters, e-mails and phone messages made me realize that our personal situation, as difficult as it is, could actually have a positive impact on many other people's lives."
"With that in mind, we decided that it was important to share some of our family's story. Because of open legal issues, there is still much we cannot discuss. The story is long and complex and we felt that a magazine was the best format to tell such a story. Therefore, we decided to let Philadelphia Magazine publish our story."
"We've dealt with Garrett's situation for a long time, and we've done it through Super Bowls and championships. And it's new to a lot of people, but it's not new to us. As long as I can do my job to the best of my ability, I would love to be an Eagle."
-- Reid (NJ.com)
"That's the best question you can come up with? That was four weeks ago man, what do you do read a column and recycle questions?"
-- Ravens linebacker Bart Scott, when asked last week about the flag he threw into the stands during the Patriots-Ravens game
"I've heard that story before, I'm not buying that piece of cheese."
-- Scott, when asked if Shaun Alexander had lost a step (Scott was comparing Alexander to Jamal Lewis)
"Sometimes, when your car doesn't look as good as everyone else's, nobody want to buy it. A lot of cars look good but the engine sucks."
-- Scott, complaining that Ravens defensive tackle Kelly Gregg should have made the Pro Bowl (Tacoma News-Tribune)
"I don't see a franchise quarterback out there. I haven't evaluated them, but I haven't heard enough that, 'This is Peyton Manning.'"
-- Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, when asked if the Chiefs might draft a quarterback with their first round pick in the 2008 NFL draft
"What does that tell you? What have you got? You might have the same guy you already have."
-- Herm, indirectly comparing Louisville's Brian Brohm to Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle
"There are a lot of positions on this team we have to fill ..."
"It's a little bit of a concern. But we're not going to panic. You want your quarterback available. That's the most important piece to your offense, if your quarterback can be available game in and game out, that's when you find out if they can play or not, and if they're good, they give you the best chance to win."
-- Herm, blathering incoherently about Croyle's repeated injuries this year
"The first plus is he's gotten to play."
-- Herm, listing the "plusses" on Croyle
"He has good aura with the football team."
-- Herm, still going through the list
"The team believes in the guy. He's made some throws, where if you look at him, you say, 'Hey, this guy has a legitimate arm. He can make that throw, he can make that play.' He's mobile enough, he can do some things if you get him on the edge, get him out of the rush. He's smart. He understands what he has to do with the football."
-- Herm, finishing the list
"Like all young guys, inexperience. He turns the ball over, which is never good ... but I thought he got better every game. And he's been nicked ... There are some things we have to do to help him, design-wise, how we play. But also we will help him with some players around him, too."
-- Herm, now listing Croyle's minuses
"I'm hoping he can play this week. Another week of playing will help him and will help us evaluate that position. But he's a guy we like."
-- Herm, expressing his hope that Croyle will play this week, because, you know, he's a guy they like (Kansas City Star)
"This ain't Manhattan! We're doubled up over here. He's got his stuff on one side, I get the other."
-- Dolphins rookie offensive lineman Julius Wilson, describing the locker space he shares with Dolphins rookie linebacker Kelvin Smith. Apparently, the premium space in the Dolphins' locker room is referred to as "Manhattan." (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"Every time I suit up I like to think my hair is on fire ..."
-- Seahawks defensive end Patrick Kerney, who currently leads the NFL in sacks (Tacoma News-Tribune)
''Certainly with the wind, it was cold, but I have a beard so that helps out a little bit. It's kind of warm in this area.''
-- Bears quarterback Kyle Orton, defending the neck beard (Chicago Sun-Times)
"It definitely takes a little more liberties than traditional belly dance."
-- Actress Tracy Phillips, daughter of Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, describing her belly dancing seduction scene with Tom Hanks in the movie Charlie Wilson's War (Ventura County Star)
52 comments, Last at 02 Jan 2008, 2:03am by Sid