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?
03 Jan 2008
compiled by Ben Riley
"I just changed my mind. I can't explain to you how tough a decision it is. It's the toughest decision I've ever had to make."
-- Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, describing his personal struggles before firing former Ravens head coach Brian Billick on Monday
"There were indications, but no promises."
-- Bisciotti, when asked if he had told Billick he was going to return as head coach in 2008
"I believed that it was time for a change. I believe we have the nucleus of a team that can get back to the Super Bowl. We felt that in the next five years that we had a better chance with a new coach than leaving Brian in that position."
"He had a hard decision, and he did what he believes is best for the Ravens. We are and will remain friends ... It has been a great ride with the Ravens and the fans here."
-- Brian Billick, handling the news with dignity
"We need a change. We need to move forward and try to take a different direction."
-- Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden, reacting with some enthusiasm to the shake-up
"I'm not either agreeing or disagreeing with the decision, but I am saying that change is sometimes necessary."
-- Ravens kicker Matt Stover
"I hope that over time that Baltimore views me as a quality of an owner as Brian Billick was head football coach. So, I've got some catching up to do to the man I just asked to step down today. The jury is out on me. Brian's already got his Super Bowl. I'll try to make you all proud."
-- Bisciotti (Baltimore Sun)
"I have no anger. I'm not upset about anything. I went as far as I could there, and now it's time for me to move on."
-- Former Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who was fired by head coach Rod Marinelli on Wednesday. Incidentally, Matt Millen still has his job.
"Sure. More or less."
-- Martz, when asked whether his firing was because of "philosophical differences" with Marinelli
"I believe in Rod. I believe he's a great coach and a great man. I think people need to understand that, and I think he's done a great job there. He'll be successful. He will. He'll do well there. It's just time that I moved on, really, more than anything else."
"I think when you're playing from a lead or the game's in the balance, I think you have a tendency to mix things in pretty good. But things kind of got out of hand occasionally, and you have to do what you can to stay in the game. That happened on a couple of occasions. But that really doesn't matter."
-- Martz, when asked if his firing might be related to Martz's near fetishization of the passing game (Detroit Free Press)
"That would be a hard thing for me to get over, not having him."
-- Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, describing his relationship with
Jesus Martz last week.
"He's somebody that we would love to have here, but I understand that he's got to try to pursue his dreams, too."
-- Kitna (Detroit Free Press)
"Um, we're just not executing, and at the same time, sometimes some of the calls aren't right at the time."
-- Lions wide receiver Roy Williams, describing (in late November) why the Lions were imploding (Detroit Free Press)
"I'm very pleased with what our coaches have done this year. They've gone through some trying times with new players and injuries. It's very difficult each and every week to look at a different group of guys, moving guys from position to position. I thought they handled that very well."
-- Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, on Monday, December 31, 2007
"After meeting with all our coaches, I determined that it was necessary to make these changes. Both Chuck and Ricky worked extremely hard this past year, and I wish them and their families the best as they move on in their careers."
-- Lewis on Wednesday, January 2, 2008, announcing that he was firing Bengals defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan and linebackers coach Ricky Hunley (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"I think he was above average, but all he did was try and hold me down -- just nonsense, that stuff."
-- Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, describing what it's like to play across from Chargers offensive lineman Kris Dielman
"I mean, he didn't really block me one-on-one. The only thing he did -- and it made me mad -- was try and hold me down, thinking he did something when he didn't."
"We voted him as an alternate. Maybe if he cut out all that dumb stuff..."
-- Haynesworth, using the royal "we" to describe his Pro Bowl vote for Dielman (Dielman is going as a starter) and apparently forgetting his own history of "dumb stuff"
"I don't care if that's what he wants to say."
-- Kris Dielman (San Diego Union-Tribune)
"One thing I did learn from '07 was to try to keep it as private as possible so I'm trying to hold that close to my heart but I'm here with everybody that I love."
-- Kim Kardashian, "star" of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, when asked (while partying in South Beach) if she and Saints running back Reggie Bush were engaged (OK! Magazine)
"What was the point?!''
-- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, offering a brief review of No Country for Old Men (Sports Illustrated)
"We couldn't make plays at times and that's the difference in the season."
-- Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, explaining why the Chiefs ended 4-12
"Am I glad it's over? Yes, I'm glad it's over."
-- Herm (KCChiefs.com)
"Herm did what he had to do."
-- Former Chiefs offensive coordinator Mike Solari, who was fired by Herm on Tuesday. Herm also fired coaches John Matsko (offensive line), Charlie Joiner (wide receivers) and James Saxon (running backs).
"I don't really think that me breaking Jerry Rice's record was special. I think shutting you guys up was really what made it special."
-- Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss, describing his feelings to the press after breaking Jerry Rice's single-season touchdown record (Boston Globe)
"The Famous Michael Vick House."
-- Description in the real estate listing for Vick's former home and gambling center in Surry, Virginia. It's available for a cool $1.1 million. (Washington Post)
"Sorry it's been such a bad year ... At times I felt sick to my stomach and I didn't have the flu."
-- Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, apologizing for his team's disappointing season. (Bengals.com)
"I don't know what people are waiting for. I guess people are taking their sweet time."
-- Buccaneers tight end Alex Smith, after learning that tickets for the Buccaneers home playoff game were still available, 11 days after going on sale (Pewter Report)
"All good things must come to an end, and my life has been blessed because I've been able to be a pro football player.''
-- Retiring 49ers defensive lineman Bryant Young (Sports Illustrated)
"It's almost like the son I never had. Except that I do have a son."
-- Buffalo Bills superfan Ken Johnson, describing his bowling ball on Inside the NFL while his (human) son looked on.
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47 comments, Last at 05 Jan 2008, 12:39am by Nick B