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?
13 Sep 2007
compiled by Ben Riley
"We're going to take this game and win it, and we're going to move on. It's not even a second thought in our heads. There's no doubt in my mind [we're going to win]."
-- Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs, offering his prediction about the Browns season-opener versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, shortly before the Steelers crushed the Browns 34-7 (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
"For a home opener, we didn't do very well. We didn't play good at all. There's no explanation I can give you for it."
-- Soon-to-be-fired Browns head coach Romeo Crennel
"Going in, we felt we had a positive mindframe."
"We're not good enough to overcome as deep a hole we dug for ourselves."
"Turnovers. Sacks. Drops. Touchdown passes we gave up. All of those things make the final score what it is."
"We just got beat by a better team today. I know it was preseason but we went out to Denver, and we beat Denver, and we were a pretty good team then. Now today, we're not a very good team."
"They [Anderson and Frye] didn't play very well. They need to play better. If they play better, that could help us."
"He's a kid and the game was out of reach. What am I going to do, put him and throw him to the dogs? I didn't feel ... at the time the game was that I should do that to him. Because that wouldn't be very good for him either."
-- Crennel, when asked if he considered putting Brady Quinn in the game
"As the game went on, it was like an avalanche."
-- Crennel (above quotes taken from post-game press conference available at the Browns official Web site. Watch the video and count how many times Crennel wipes sweat from his forehead.)
"There's a plan, but I'm just not letting you guys know yet."
-- Crennel, when asked who he planned to start at quarterback for Week 2 (The Columbus Dispatch)
"This move obviously clarifies our quarterback situation."
-- Browns general manager Phil Savage, after trading Charlie Frye -- who had been the team's starting quarterback just 48 hours earlier -- to the Seattle Seahawks for a sixth-round draft pick (ESPN.com)
"There is an investigation going on now, and perhaps an adjudication of it, and I think it would be inappropriate at this time to make any comment."
-- Patriots owner Bob Kraft, reacting to the allegation that the New England Patriots taped the Jets' defensive hand signals during the Patriots-Jets season opener
"When you're successful in anything, a lot of people like to try to take you down and do different things. We understand that. "
"The rule is that no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game. Clubs have specifically been reminded in the past that the videotaping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals on the sidelines is prohibited."
-- Statement of NFL league representative Greg Aiello
"Video taping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches' booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game."
-- Ray Anderson, the NFL's head of football operations, in a memo sent to head coaches and general managers on Sept. 6, 2006
"Earlier this week, I spoke with Commissioner Goodell about a videotaping procedure during last Sunday's game and my interpretation of the rules. At this point, we have not been notified of the league's ruling. Although it remains a league matter, I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players. Following the league's decision, I will have further comment."
-- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (Patriots.com)
"Are there any questions about the Chargers? Do you want to talk about the football game? That statement pretty much covers it."
-- Belichick, when asked if he was embarrassed by the allegations
"We take pride in what we do. We know the rules of the game. By no facet or shape or form have we ever tried to cheat or anything like that because we don't need to."
-- Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs
"Our mindset right now is the San Diego Chargers. We're not playing against a video tape."
-- Patriots running back Kevin Faulk
"Usually where there's smoke, there's fire, so those rumors are founded on something. No, it's not totally shocking, no."
"I think the Patriots actually live by the saying, 'If you're not cheating, you're not trying.'"
-- LaDainian Tomlinson, offering his take (Yahoo! Sports)
"He told us that Rex was kind of a mental midget so you can get into his head and create that doubt."
-- Chargers linebacker Matt Wilhelm, describing the instructions that his position coach -- and former Chicago defensive coordinator -- Ron Rivera gave him before playing against Bears quarterback Rex Grossman (North County Times)
"[Rivera] has never been around me. He's always been up in the booth."
-- Rex Grossman, responding to Rivera's "mental midget" allegation
"I think Ron Rivera showed you right there why he's not here anymore. He's kind of a me guy."
-- Bears center Olin Kreutz describing Rivera, but not explicitly disagreeing with him (Chicago Tribune)
"The San Diego Chargers have lost their minds! My baby will never make it to a Super Bowl!"
-- Loreane Tomlinson, mother of LaDainian Tomlinson, when she heard that Chargers general manager A.J. Smith was not going to resign quarterback Drew Brees
"I resent GMs who are on 100 radio shows, 100 TV shows and never turn down a quote."
-- A.J. Smith
"The players, they're human beings. They have feelings. But their job is to play as hard as they can and hope that upstairs gets it done."
"I can't believe it. How are we going to win a Super Bowl if we're starting from scratch again?"
-- LaDainian Tomlinson's words to his wife, Torsha, after finding out Smith had fired Marty Schottenheimer
"Use every little slight to drive you."
-- Michael Jordan to Tomlinson, after LdT asked him how to stay driven
"I want you to know something. Trust me a little bit on this: I promise you, your career will not be in vain."
-- Smith to Tomlinson in 2003 (ESPN.com)
"It's the most overrated thing in sports."
-- Peyton Manning, on whether one team can gain an advantage by signing players who have recently been released from an upcoming opponent
"'I'm telling you, Peyton's going to change it up. He knows I'm here, he's going to give you a dummy audible early. I'm telling you, he's not stupid. So, just play your keys.'"
-- Manning, describing information quarterback Kelly Holcomb (who had recently been cut by the Colts) funneled to the Browns in 2002 before the two teams played each other
"Second half, we get a good drive going and it's fourth-and-3. So we run our bread-and-butter play, a little five-yard under route. Well, I signal the play and Holcomb -- it's the same signal -- so he says, 'Ah, now I'm going to help them.' So he says, 'They're running the five-yard under play! Five-yard under play!'"
-- Manning, still building to the payoff
"And so you can see it on the film -- they're going, 'Watch the slants, watch the slants.' So they load up, all inside technique, and they go into a man defense. Well, I see this and I see the defenders all change up -- that's the thing about the no-huddle, I can see this -- and I kept the receivers doing the same thing and I checked to a zone running play and it's only six guys who gotta know -- the linemen and the back [James Mungro]. And he goes 29 yards untouched for a touchdown."
-- Manning, not quite there yet
"And so their guys go to Holcomb, all pissed off, 'So, they're running a slant, huh? Thanks a freaking lot, Holcomb.'"
-- Manning, dropping the hammer (Sports Illustrated)
"Wherever we are at is where we are right now."
-- 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, waxing philosophical
"We have every right to expect that."
-- Nolan (San Francisco Chronicle)
"The thing is, if you're going to do it, do it all the time. Do it when you make a bad play, too. You'll never see me doing any stupid (stuff) like that after a play. The only thing I'll do is get a little happy with my teammates."
-- Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, criticizing Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman's dance moves
"Say what you want, but you have bigger problems than my 'Lights Out' dance Sunday. I wouldn't be too concentrated on my dance or what I do."
-- Merriman, responding to Urlacher's critique
"No. I really don't care to know him, actually ... I've got plenty of things to say about him, but it's not important. I'll see him Sunday."
-- Merriman (North County Times)
"It's very simple. It's not hard to figure out. You turn the ball over four times on the road, that's not good."
-- Herm Edwards, reacting to the Chiefs 20-3 loss to the Texans
"You turn it over and they score on turnovers, that's not very good."
"Right now, he's our kicker. So that's where it's at."
-- Edwards on struggling rookie kicker Justin Medlock
"You can't turn the ball over four times on the road and expect to have a chance. It's amazing it was only 20. Generally when you give the ball away four times the score gets way out of whack."
"You're not going to turn the ball over four times in the National Football League and win. You're kidding yourself."
"In life, you're not perfect. People might look at a little flaw, and maybe make a big deal out of it."
-- Edwards (from postgame press conference available on the Chiefs official Web site)
"He's real quiet ... He's a good athlete, he's big as hell, he's Megatron."
-- Lions wide receiver Roy Williams, describing his teammate Calvin Johnson (Detroit Free Press)
"I always try to find the little guy, but there wasn't a little guy. I wouldn't bring my little guy here, either."
-- Williams, explaining why he gave his touchdown ball to a woman wearing a black Calvin "Megatron" Johnson jersey among the fans in the stands in Oakland's Black Hole (Detroit Free-Press)
"He's a nutcase. He'll walk up behind you in his jockstrap and pour hot wax down your back."
-- Lions defensive tackle Cory Redding, describing center Dominic Raiola
"He's crazy. No, I mean he's seriously crazy. You see this quiet guy: 'We're going to work on fundamentals.' But when he's in that meeting room with us, it's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And he smiles while he's saying something crazy."
-- Redding, describing Lions head coach Rod Marinelli
"Shaun doesn't like to brush his teeth during training camp. It's horrible. He'll be up in your face and his breath smells like three weeks ago."
-- Redding on fellow defensive tackle Shaun Rogers (from The Sporting News as quoted in the Detroit Free Press)
"Based on our experience, the fact that he's moving so well, so early after such a catastrophic injury means he will walk again."
-- Dr. Barth Green, chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Miami school of medicine and treating physician for the Bills' tight end
"It's totally spectacular, totally unexpected."
-- Green (Yahoo! Sports)
"When I was a backup, the crowd cheered for me, too. They gave him a cheer and I'm glad they did. He needs support; our whole team needs support. There's nothing wrong with that."
-- Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, when asked about the cheers that were heard when Pennington injured his ankle and Kellen Clemens briefly entered the game (New York Daily News)
"If Tom Coughlin had not remained as head coach of the Giants, I might still be in a Giants uniform. [Coughlin] robbed me of what had been one of the most important things I had in my life, which was the joy I felt playing football. I had lost that. He had taken it away."
-- Tiki Barber, excerpted from "Tiki: My Life in the Game and Beyond" (originally published by the New York Daily News before being withdrawn because of legal threats)
"I guess he had a little conversation with DeAngelo Williams about him shutting me down ... And I've just been kind of marinating on it for a whole year."
-- Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, relating comments allegedly made by St. Louis cornerback Tye Hill to DeAngelo Williams (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"I'm a little ticked off. Maybe it's motivating [for] them. I don't know why. I ain't never had a fumble against them, so I don't know why they feel it's a problem. Oh, well."
-- Lions running back Tatum Bell, after being informed that the Oakland Raiders had named their fumble-recovery drill the "Tatum Bell Drill." (Detroit Free Press)
"We got the 'Brady sucks' thing going on after we beat 'em 38-14. Only in the Meadowlands.''
-- Tom Brady (Sports Illustrated)
"He wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight."
-- Ravens linebacker Bart Scott, describing Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson (Washington Post)
"The NFL is a dream. It's not real. It's not the same as the real world."
-- Chiefs in-house Zen guru Priest Holmes, offering up Holmes' Koan IV (ESPN.com)
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48 comments, Last at 17 Sep 2007, 8:12pm by Alex