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?
06 Dec 2007
compiled by Ben Riley
"The fact that they are undefeated is their story, not our story."
-- Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, describing the upcoming game between the Steelers and the Patriots
"Whether or not they had close calls, again, is their story, not our story."
"Our story is that we play them this weekend."
"We are going play our game. We don't let people dictate to us how we play defense. But we've got to play our game and play it well. We acknowledge that. This week is not unlike any other week. If we play at a high level, we've got a chance to win; if we play poorly, we've got a chance to lose."
"They formulated a plan and they had a level of success with it, but not enough to win. We will formulate our plan. We will use some things people have done in the past potentially to formulate our plan, but ultimately, it has to be us and we will move forward and see what happens this weekend."
-- Tomlin, describing the relative success of the Eagles and Ravens in stopping New England's offense
"It is awesome. I get the feeling I used to get when we used to prepare for the Rams when they were 'The Greatest Show on Turf' or when we had to prepare for Minnesota when I first broke in and they had Cris Carter and Randy Moss. You love those games. If you are a competitor, you do. I believe we have a bunch of competitors here."
-- Tomlin (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"He's been getting some extra work while trying to control his weight as the season wears on. To my knowledge, at this point, it might be a product of getting too much time on the elliptical cycle."
-- Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (again!), describing the rehabilitation regime of oft-injured running back Najeh Davenport
"Be careful as you get your workout in. The elliptical cycle will get you."
"I've heard that theory, but commentators need something to talk about throughout the course of the football game."
-- Tomlin, when asked about John Madden's criticism of the rubber sleeves worn by Willie Parker during Monday night's Bengals-Steelers contest. Parker fumbled four times.
"The reality is that with that being excuse-making, we aren't going to make them."
"Those guys have a variety of supplemental equipment they use. Sometimes they feel like they need it. Sometimes it's a fashion statement. I was the same way when I was a young guy trying to play football."
"Willie is a professional and I trust that he will do what is required for him to be successful. I will ask him to hold on to the football in the future."
-- Tomlin (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"My hands were sweating."
-- Jack Combs, age 10, describing the sensation of meeting Colts safety Bob Sanders. Combs, who attends Brown Elementary School, recently won the NFL's "Take a Player to School" contest.
"I didn't know what to think of him. But he's a really nice, gentle guy."
-- Combs, offering a surprising assessment of Sanders
"That's awesome, man."
-- Bob Sanders, reacting to being described as "gentle"
"When I first got to college, I didn't know I could hit that hard."
-- Sanders, talking to Combs and his classmates about the pleasure he derives from violence
-- Sanders, when asked how much he could bench press
"I'm actually 5-8 1/2. People don't know, but that half-inch means a lot to me."
-- Sanders, when asked about his height
"It's going to be pretty cool. I'll be able to say, 'Hey, I know that guy. He's one of my new friends.'"
-- Combs, when asked what it would be like to watch Colts games from now on.
"This is the best day of my life."
-- Combs (Indianapolis Star)
"We'd get a bucket of chicken, go out and just surf until it got dark usually."
-- Jaguars rookie defensive back Derek Landri, describing his experiences surfing with his dad while growing up in Long Beach, California
"I went to Notre Dame and kind of stopped [surfing]. There's no ocean out there."
"I'm a year older than him, and I was on varsity when I first saw him. When you're on varsity, you always go out and watch the junior varsity games. So he was up on junior varsity as a freshman, and I got to see him play before I met him. I was like, 'That little guy can move.'"
-- Landri, describing his first impression of Maurice Jones-Drew. Landri played with Jones-Drew at De La Salle High School in Concord, California. (Florida Times-Union)
"[Colts defensive line coach John Teerlinck] does a great job of getting his guys to bark and flinch and draw people offside."
-- Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, complaining about the Colts' coaching tactics after the Jaguars lost to the Colts last Sunday
"We tried to educate the officials about it and we didn't quite get that communicated well enough to slow them down ... Guys in my position get fined for saying what they think about those things. I'll let you say what you saw."
-- Del Rio (Orlando Sentinel)
"That was a curious comment to me because they're going with a silent count and they're trying to time it off the center's head, and when you're not using the [hard] count I'm not sure what happens that causes [penalties]."
-- Colts head coach Tony Dungy
"I just don't know where that came from."
-- Dungy (Indianapolis Star)
"A GM with a radio show. You're kidding me. Give me a break. Ridiculous.''
-- Jaguars defensive end Paul Spicer, mocking Colts general manger Bill Polian
"We could have done more, but there were some things going on out there that were definitely against us. I don't have to say it. You know what it is. You watched the game. We felt we had a good crew. They're the worst."
-- Spicer, criticizing the officiating in the Jaguars-Colts game (admittedly in somewhat bizarre fashion)
"I bet people at home were wondering what is going on out there. I'm ticked off right now.''
-- Spicer (Florida Times-Union)
"If [Browns defensive back Leigh Bodden] didn't know kicking the ball was a penalty, then why don't a lot of people kick the balls? You can't kick the ball unless you're a kicker lining up to kick an extra point or on a kickoff. You don't kick the ball."
-- Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, halfheartedly blaming himself for Bodden's decision to boot a dead ball after the Browns stopped the Cardinals on third down. The resulting delay of game penalty led to a Cardinals touchdown, and the Browns ended up losing the game. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"Our boat's not very full, I know that. We don't have a lot of people left in our boat right now."
-- Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, describing the depressed atmosphere within the Lions locker room after falling to 6-6
"I'm talking about us in general. We are not heading in the same direction right now, as a football team."
-- Kitna (NFL.com)
"People always question when you have a record like this."
-- Herm Edwards, describing the Chiefs' 4-8 record
"Your record makes a difference of whether you're going to be in the playoffs..."
-- Herm (to be fair, he finished the quote with "but what people miss the point of is the preparation that you put in, regardless of your record, every week to try to win a game.")
"That's what this thing is all about, it's about preparing every week trying to win a game."
"Anytime you have the ability to compete and win a game, that's the fun of trying to win. And we need a win."
"The enjoyment of winning is a wonderful feeling."
"You only get to play 16. There's this other season called the playoffs ... but that's what you try to do."
-- Herm (Kansas City Star)
"This summer, I was in a mall buying my wife a birthday gift. And I saw Sean. He didn't see me, but I saw him, in the play area at the mall with his daughter, Jackie. They were just playing. He was having a great time; you could just tell. And no one was bothering him. I didn't say anything, because I didn't want to disturb him. It was just a nice moment, Sean playing with his daughter. That's what I'll remember."
-- Redskins representative Chris Helein, reflecting on the death of Redskins safety Sean Taylor (Sports Illustrated)
Remember to send your quotes to quotes-at-footballoutsiders.com, just like Bruno Pucheu, Israel P., did this week.
66 comments, Last at 08 Dec 2007, 12:24am by pearl jam