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?
26 Sep 2008
compiled by Peter DeBaz and Mark Zajack
"He was telling me, 'come this way, come this way,' I heard him and I followed. It was unbelievable; you never see a quarterback sell out like that ... to take out two guys. That sparked the whole offense today."
-Seahawks running back Julius Jones describing a run where he cutback, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck started waving at him to follow, and Hasselbeck threw a block that took out two Rams defenders.
"I told him he got a lot of street cred on that block."
-Seahawks backup quarterback Charlie Frye.
"I think everybody was happy except (coach Mike Holmgren). He kind of gave me this look, like, don't do that again."
-Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck ("Tacoma News Tribune)
"I can't tell if people are really congratulating me right now, or making fun of me. It was a little bit like bowling. You get one pin, the other one gets knocked down, and you act like you did that on purpose."
"When he thinks it's a great block, it's kind of a car crash."
-Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren. (SI.com)
"It's big. But it's like eating an elephant. You have to eat it one bite at a time."
-Cowboys linebacker Bradie James on the 3-0 start to the season. (ESPN.com)
"I never pay attention to who's in there. But every time the rookie comes in, I know we're jogging way down the field to greet him."
-Cowboys guard Leonard Davis on the difference between blocking for Marion Barber or Felix Jones. (ESPN.com)
"If you want me to be truthful with the situation, I don't know who it was, but they grabbed me in places they shouldn't have grabbed me after the play and that's what started the whole thing."
-Buccaneers right tackle Jeremy Trueblood on what precipitated an overtime melee, resulting in a critical 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.
"I think those guys take a lot of pride in what they do, and we take a lot of pride in what we do, but one thing I don't stand for is someone grabbing you in your genitals."
"I don't know who it was. But whoever was beneath [me] paid the price."
"One of the dudes was doing something dirty to Wale on the ground after the play. They didn't get the first down, so we could have been going off the field. They were down there fighting and then everybody jumped in."
-Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris on defending teammate Adewale Ogunleye at the bottom of the pile.
"Would you leave your teammate? Would you leave your partner out there in war if you see somebody jumping on them? No, it's the principle. We're men, man. Regardless of that, if I see my teammate down there getting stomped, two dudes jumping on Wale, one dude and another jumped in, he better not just walk off. If they walk off while I'm down there, we've got a problem. They better at least pull the dude off of me. Everybody knows that; you don't just leave your teammate."
"Their line is dirty and we knew that coming in. I guess they thought they were going to come in here and just think we were going to accept that. Like Trueblood blindsided me when the play was over with. [Trueblood] is dirty, he wants you to know that. Since he's not that talented and not that good, he wants you to know that, 'I'm the dirtiest player.'"
-Harris. ("Chicago Sun Times")
"That's how they do it. When the cowboy gets done roping the calf, he throws his hands up."
-Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, describing his 'calf roping' sack celebration.
"He's from North Dakota or something, and that's what they do there."
-Vikings safety Darren Sharper describing Allen, who grew up in California and went to college at Idaho State. (Star Tribune)
"Next time I'll make sure I choke him out, so I can really deserve the fine."
-Seahawks linebacker Julian Peterson reacting to the $7,500 fine he drew from the league after last Sunday's "two-thumbs pointing at the back of his jersey celebration" of a sack of J.T. O'Sullivan.
"I just tried to make sure I didn't get anywhere around him [Bulger] and just celebrate with my teammates."
"He was ... after the play was over trying to twist people's ankles. There was no flag. If they don't go through this film and give him any fines, something's going to be wrong."
-Peterson comparing his actions to those of Rams offensive linemen Richie Incognito, who despite being Incognito, did not escape Peterson's attention on Sunday. (Seattle Times)
"Somebody even said something about me wearing 'granny panties.'"
-Rams kicker Josh Brown on the 'creative heckling' he received upon his return to Seattle.
"I don't know where that one came from, but whatever makes you laugh. I was laughing at half of them. It was good. A lot of the Seahawks guys were saying they'd never heard anybody get booed so loud. I was like, 'I don't know what to tell you guys. Keep working and you'll get booed, too.'"
"I was a little shocked when they sent me in. Then I was more shocked when I found out it was going to be me getting the ball. Who? Me?"
-49ers return man Allen Rossum, who scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter. ("Contra Costa Times<)
"We've got so much stuff in our offense now... It's going to be crazy all year."
-49ers running back Frank Gore on the Martz offense. (SI.com)
"I think the fans deserve better and if it were in my authority, which it's not, I'd make some significant changes."
-Lions vice chairman and Ford Motor Co. executive chairman Bill Ford, son of owner William Clay Ford, said he believes general manager Matt Millen should leave the team. (ESPN.com)
"Early in the third quarter, I came off the field after we had a drive stall and Jon said, 'We can't run the football. I need you to go out and win this game.' I said, fine, if you want me to throw it every play, I will."
-Tampa quarterback Brian Griese (SI.com)
"Whatever team that we thought we were before this game, we're not, obviously. This was a wakeup call."
-Jets linebacker David Bowens (New York Times)
"Tyler deserves a chance and we'll never know unless we let the young guy play. It just happens he's the quarterback. It's okay if anyone else plays but if you say the quarterback, then it's go with Damon Huard again. Well, that's fine but you can always go with Damon Huard. But we want Tyler to play and we think he can give us an opportunity in what we're trying to do."
-Herman Edwards, elaborating on how QB decisions are made in Kansas City
"No one knows and we have to find out. We kind of know what Damon Huard is. Right now people say he may say he gives you the best chance to win. Maybe he does. We don't think that. We think whoever we put in there gives us the best chance to win and it happens to be Tyler this week."
"He's a baby. He's a soft baby."
-ESPN analyst Merril Hoge on a Pittsburgh radio station last week.
"They really wanted him to go to Oklahoma [University]. Well one of the reasons they stopped the recruiting process is because he was such a baby."
"In the playoffs... [the defense] turn to each other and go 'you know what, we now have a chance to win this game and be a better team.'"
-Hoge, piling it on.
"[Titans coach] Jeff Fisher fought like crazy [against the drafting of Vince Young]."
"He lives three miles from the stadium and has a limo drop him off and pick him up."
"I know people think that I hate Vince Young ... I've never met Vince Young and I don't want him to fail. I've been critical of him, but that's my job. Everything he has gone through, I hope he's able to work his way through it."
-Hoge, later, to the ("Tennessean )
"Whatever he reported that I disclosed with him is incorrect."
-Fisher, denying the limo report explicitly.
"If we decide to go with him, we just have to put it on the fact from what we've seen in practice and what we feel he's able to do ... There's no hard evidence that he will have more success."
-Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel, on the possibility of starting Brady Quinn. (ESPN)
"We just scratched the surface of what we're trying to do ... We didn't go in there with 30 plays worth of what we're trying to do out of this package."
-Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, on the possibility of running more direct snap plays in the future.
"We didn't think it was going to work ... we were iffy about it, and then if it didn't break for four touchdowns. You can't question it anymore."
-Miami linebacker Channing Crowder
"Who knows. The Wildcat [package] might be dead."
-Sparano, with eerie music playing in the background (Palm Beach Post)
"Given that there are reports (that Kiffin earlier didn't deny) that Raiders officials have told him he's going to be fired, given that we all know a Raiders official distribued printed copies of an espn.com article critical of Kiffin, given that Kiffin came to today's news conference without a single item of Raiders garb ... How isolated does Kiffin feel in this organization?"
-Tim Kawakami, Raiders beat writer, rewriting the question he asked coach Lane Kiffin that triggered an explosive response from Raiders senior executive John Herrera on his (blog).
"You built a whole column on a lie! ... So did Lowell Cohn! So did ... Mike Silver."
"I'm not embarrassing myself ... I'm embarrassed that you don't know how to write a column.... nothing was distributed in this room. Nothing. You are a liar"
-John Herrera, denying in front of cameras that an article critical of Lane Kiffin was distributed to the press by a Raiders official.
"I can say that I know that it was Herrera who handed it out."
-Kawakami, who had initially withheld the identity of the Raiders official who distributed the article.
"I can't say I feel too good about (expletive)."
-Chiefs running back Larry Johnson
"All those yards don't mean nothing if you lose."
-Johnson, asked whether this season was proving more frustrating than he hoped.
"I don't know."
-Johnson, asked whether the Chiefs weren't as far along as he'd like.
-Johnson, on whether there was anything the team could take out of Sunday's loss.
"Nope. You won't paint me as the (expletive) bad guy in this thing."
"We've got to be the luckiest team right now."
-Denver cornerback Champ Bailey. (Denver Post).
"It is all about me getting my 'Freak-quent' flier miles, ... you just have to plug in the Freak and get back there often and get my miles up. Now I just have to get back there more and try and get the fans into it."
-Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse, on his new sack celebration in which he emulates an airplane.
"I like that, and I'd like a seat on that plane ... it's time to redeem some points, I guess."
-Albert Haynesworth, setting a terrible example of humor for our children. (The Tennessean).
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