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?
24 Oct 2008
by Mark Zajack
"I haven't been this upset about a win. I think my teammates feel the same way. We're not frustrated. We're angry."
-Texans offensive tackle Eric Winston on allowing the lowly Lions to make a comeback in the second half.
"It sure as hell keeps us on our toes. You're dominating an opponent like that, and then you put the ball on the ground and don't play your coverage technique correct, all of a sudden, anybody in this league will beat your butt."
-Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. (Houston Chronicle)
"I was so excited to play again that I told the guys I had butterflies before the third series. Not playing is difficult for me. It's tough for me to dress and then spend the game on the sideline. I had to knock some rust off, but I was so happy to play I wanted to hug everybody."
-Texans offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam, who played his first snaps of the season on the third series, sharing time with rookie tackle Duane Brown. (Houston Chronicle)
"He's been hurt again. I've nicknamed him the 'White Tiger.' He's rare. He only comes out at Busch Gardens once every six months. Now it's kind of like he's the saber-toothed tiger. He's been extinct."
-Bucaneers head coach Jon Gruden, on oft-injured wide receiver Joey Galloway. (SI.com)
"Yeah. There is no doubt that it was some [expletive]. I don't think there is any other way to put it. ...It definitely wasn't cool, but that is a part of sports. Unfair? Who knows unfair? I thought it was some [explective] though, just because I wasn't going to deal with a situation that I had already been through."
-Bucaneers tight end Jerramy Stevens, reacting to Seattle Times stories published in January regarding his alleged transgressions at the University of Washington, eight years ago. (PewterReport.com)
"It would be great, but I don't think I should run this country."
-Redskins running back Clinton Portis, reacting to a sign in one end zone encouraging fans to elect Portis President of the United States. (ESPN.com)
"It was short and sweet. But it was full of explicit words."
-Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, on head coach Jim Haslett's pregame tirade in which a few chairs reportedly suffered minor injuries.
"Those guys came out hungry today. Haslett did a good job coaching those guys and they came out fired up and they played well."
-Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens, on the Rams performance.
-Rams linebacker Chris Draft.
-Rams guard Richie Incognito.
"We're having fun now."
-Rams running back Steven Jackson.
-Rams head coach Jim Haslett, after the Rams reached 34 points, Haslett stalked the sidelines repeatedly shouting for the team to score 40. (STLToday.com)
"We're 1-0 and we're going to enjoy it."
-Raiders head coach Tom Cable, after the win over the Jets, announcing about ten times that the Raiders are 1-0. (ESPN.com)
"I guess we're not going to worry about that until it becomes more of a trend, whatever that is. I don't know how many games that is until something is a trend."
-Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney. (ESPN.com)
"We've got to stop talking about being more consistent and just do it. We were 21st in the league last week in penalties and I'm sure we moved below that after this."
-Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, on the penalty-filled performance against the Packers. (Indy Star)
"When you get to this point in the season, you do scoreboard watch and see what other teams in the division are doing. We don't want to get too far behind."
-Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. (Indy Star)
"In the first quarter, he was frustrated. He was getting on his guys. They weren't doing a nice job of getting off our man-to-man coverage. He was kind of, you know, mad at them, but that's what we do. We beat them to the punch."
-Packers safety Nick Collins, on Manning's reaction to the Packers bumping the receivers at the line of scrimmage. (Indy Star)
"They did some things against us that I guess we weren't prepared for."
-Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, on the Bears putting up 48 points on Sunday.
"Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative."
-Vikings head coach Brad Childress, choosing to quote an oh-so hip Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters song, rather than criticize his punter who dropped, then drop-kicked the ball into a Bears touchdown. (Star Tribune)
"We'll have to make a decision. We'll have to get together this week and decide which way we want to go with our quarterback situation."
-Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, the decision of ways being between, Tyler Thigpen the injured guy, or the new guy.
"We don't have any strengths right now."
-Herm. (The Blue Springs Examiner)
"We're not a strong offense; we're not a strong defense."
-Herm. (Kansas City Star)
"We didn't get shut out again, so that was really nice."
-Chiefs quarterback Tyler Thigpen summing up the performance against the Titans, apparently, without a hint of sarcasm. (Kansas City Star)
"We are definitely disappointed. We wanted to get a shutout."
-Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck, who held a 27-0 lead, before surrending a late field goal and touchdown against mostly backups. (The Tennessean)
"I'm probably supposed to be carrying out my fake a little better, but I'll do a little spectating and see how the hole develops."
-Titans quarterback Kerry Collins, who watched the Titans gain 317 yards rushing, while only throwing 18 passes. (The Tennesean)
"He said you can't be doing that, it's disrespect," Johnson said."But I was just out there trying to have fun."
-Titans running back Chris Johnson, who incurred the wrath of head coach Jeff Fisher after somersaulting into the end zone. Then, he banged out a few licks on the house band's drums.
"It will not happen again."
-Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, on Johnson's celebration.
"As a group, we know that anything we do as a celebration will draw a fine. If we come up with something, I'll be happy to pay the fine."
-Titans offensive tackle Michael Roos. (USA Today)
"To give up the (rushing) yardage we did today, especially on those last two runs, that's almost like giving up. It looks like it anyway."
-Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. (The Topeka Capital-Journal)
"We've just got to keep chopping wood, and I will demand that of myself and my teammates. It's now or never, as far as I'm concerned."
-Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez. (The Topeka Capital-Journal)
"The crowd really used to be in it. They haven't had a few good seasons; the crowd kinda got out of it."
-Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, on Arrowhead Stadium losing some of its mystique of late. (Victoria Advocate)
"I took a page out of Randy Moss' book and looked to the Jumbotron and made sure nobody was coming. Once I saw (a couple of defenders) gaining, I had to cut to the side and make sure I got in the end zone. It was fun."
-Titans running back LenDale White, on nearly getting caught on his long touchdown run.
"First of all, I said, 'I didn't know he had it in him.' And second, I said, 'Somebody's going to catch him. Surely. But he turned it on."
-Titans quarterback Kerry Collins, laughing about White's run. (USAToday.com)
"I think (the trade demand) might be part of why my production is down this year. To rant and rave in the offseason like that and to come back and expect to be productive or expect them to use me the same way they used me in the past is very unlikely. That's like me talking about you guys in a negative way and then me expecting you all to be my No. 1 fan. I made my bed. I have to lay in it. I've apologized about it a million times to my team, my organization, my fans. ... I wouldn't say it's somewhat of a punishment, but you open your mouth and this is what you get, and I understand that."
-Bengals wide receiver Chad Ocho Cinco. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
"We're getting ready to get the onside [kick], we were just talking and I heard the fans start yelling. 'What's going on?' Then I look back at Santana...."
-Redskins wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, on two Redskins fans who ran out onto the field late in the fourth quarter as the Browns were preparing for an onside kick.
"I was winding him up for the knockout. I was just gonna go flush. I'm talking about I was looking right at his chest."
-Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss.
"I just kind of started creeping. Because the guy didn't see me at first. Santana was kind of closing him down, forcing him my way, and I got to the point [where] I was just gonna grab him."
"Boy, I was gonna [Terry] Tate him. I was gonna hit him so hard. My whole focus was trying to win this game. We didn't need that. I mean, I appreciate our fans for being our fans, but when you get beyond being fans and come on the field and put a lot of players in harm's [way], you just don't need that."
"I just kind of whacked him. I didn't really hit him, I just kind of grabbed him by the little hoodie that he had."
-Randle El. (Washington Post)
"Clinton was young. Let's just say we gave him the rookie experience."
-Newly acquired Redskins running back Shaun Alexander reminiscing about a trip to the Pro Bowl where he and Priest Holmes welcomed Clinton Portis to the league.
"Priest Holmes calls me in Hawaii, asks, 'Man, what room you in? I'm going to call you. I'm like, '814.' Never heard from him, but you go to check out and you see charges on your credit card for mai tais. I know I didn't drink 200 mai tais over that weekend. He and Shaun owe me about $15,000 still."
-Redskins running back Clinton Portis. (Washington Post)
"He does a little cheap shot. It's legal but it be cheap."
-Ravens linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggsdescribing the blocks of Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and why they have a bounty out on him.
"We've got something in store for him."
-Suggs. (Pro Football Talk)
"We're not getting outplayed. We are getting out-intensitied. I don't think that's a word, but I'm going to use it anyway. That's what we need, and that's what Mike Singletary is going to bring. I think you feel it, I assume you feel it."
-49ers owner John York, describing why the move was made to fire Mike Nolan and promote Mike Singletary to head coach.
"I know that there is a fire that burns in my heart for this team to be successful. And that fire is unconquerable, and it will not die until it comes to pass."
-49ers head coach Mike Singletary, making me pee just a little in my pants. (Associated Press)
"What has made us consistent is our consistency."
-Patriots fullback Heath Evans. (Sporting News)
34 comments, Last at 31 Oct 2008, 8:53am by Nathan