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?
15 Jan 2009
compiled by Mark Zajack
"Deion Sanders, saying he's going to sell his Super Bowl tickets if we make it to the Super Bowl? That's disrespectful."
-Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson.
"This team right now, the Arizona Cardinals, right now we're going to use that stuff."
"Jim Leonhard, he's a football player, and that's what I like about Jim. I just like him. Throw away the 40 times. Throw away how big you are, how fast you are. Throw away all that crap. I just want a football player. You give me a football player, and I can win you a championship. Jimmy, he's a football player. We've got a bunch of football players on this team. Some guys might not be the ideal size. Some guys might not be the ideal speed. But you know what? They're going to play football, and that's all I care about. Give me a football player and I can get a championship."
-Ravens receiver Derrick Mason, on college walk-on, undrafted, waived by the Bills, starting safety Jim Leonhard.
"Whatever it takes on this team to win is what I want to do."
"We had a great team when I was in Chicago. I loved, loved, loved my teammates in Chicago, but something was missing. Maybe we were a bit too cool in Chicago. Or we just didn't give it our hearts and soul. Whereas here, with [middle linebacker] Ray Lewis being that emotional leader and as spiritual as he is, it takes us over the top with that emotional advantage we have over every other team on Sundays."
-Ravens linebacker and former Bear, Brendon Ayanbadejo, appearing on a Chicago radio show, comparing his current and former teams. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"We used to go to the Cowboys-Cardinals games and we'd be in there getting in fights with all the fans who repped Cowboys. But now we have an identity. We have our home-field advantage."
-Cardinals guard Deuce Lutui, who grew up in Arizona, on attending games as a youngster.
"He had a Super Bowl ring on his finger when he came into the door."
-Cardinals defensive end Bertrand Berry, on head coach Ken Whisenhunt's instant credibility.
"He's been there before, man -- he did it. He had the confetti fall on him."
-Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby, on Whisenbunt.
"I couldn't understand why Arizona wasn't a hot spot for free agents. It's a great place to play. It's a great climate. A lot of athletes come here and train in the offseason, so it's really an ideal place to be. But, for whatever reason, the culture of the organization was not where it needed to be."
"Coach Green brought me here, and I really saw this as part of an opportunity to be part of a turnaround. How great would it be to be part of a resurrection as opposed to fitting into an already proven club? That is great, too, but they remember you for stuff like this."
"[I can't wait to] explode into somebody next year."
-Charger linebacker Shawne Merriman, on his "excitement" for next season.
"We have to have that urgency from the jump. We have to make it easier. We have to realize that there is urgency to the entire season."
-Merriman, on starting next season with the same defensive performance seen after Rivera took over for the fired Ted Cottrell at the midway point of the season. (ESPN.com)
"I think it's ridiculous to be talking about trade and me not being here, that's just my personal opinion."
-Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, on being hurt by trade rumors.
"To let nothing bother me because of my faith in God and how far he has brought me. Because this is what man will do to you: Man will build you up and make you think that you're the greatest and that you're going to be here forever, and then man does this. Man crucifies you."
-Tomlinson, on what his faith tells him about the situation.
"All of that may be stunning to people, but as the GM here -- where I told you I would pass his name a few years ago -- it will be discussed heavily. I think it's valid; I don't think it's ridiculous. I think it's important at this point in time, as unreasonable as that may sound to many people or to you, I think it's a sound football decision."
-Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, on exploring the possibility that Tomlinson will no longer be a Charger despite three years remaining on his contract.
"People talk about getting their feelings hurt. Well, a lot of people get their feelings hurt all the time. This is a hard, cold business. I get my feelings hurt, too, when I see a report about an extensive evaluation of his injury come across the bottom of the screen from [ESPN's] Chris Mortensen. I get my feelings hurt there, too, and then double that when there is verification from L.T. right after that. So we all get our feelings hurt, and then you take a step back."
-Smith, who apparently was not happy when details of Tomlinson's groin injury were leaked to the media. (SportsIllustrated.com)
"There are no secrets for both of us. They know what we're going to do; we know what they're going to do. When we're playing each other now, it's just pretty much rolling the ball out and getting after each other."
-Steelers offensive lineman Willie Colon, on the matchup with the Ravens.
"There's a big, black, ugly bird standing between us and Tampa."
-Steelers offensive lineman Max Starks. (SteelersGab.com)
"If you want to go to the Super Bowl, who else would you rather it be but the Pittsburgh Steelers? It's an opportunity for one organization to build up the level of hatred for the other organization. Somebody is going to be happy, somebody is going to be hurt. What other team would you rather do it to?"
-Ravens linebacker Bart Scott.
"You have to appreciate the way they play. I love the way they play. You want to play the best, and I think they are the best right now."
-Scott. (Associated Press)
"Um what's up with Flacco's eyebrows? Do you think you could tweeze 'em out a little bit. I can't even watch him on TV."
-Redskins tight end Chris Cooley interviewing Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, asking him to weigh in on quarterback Joe Flacco's preponderance of mislaid facial hair.
"I think so definitely, for the simple fact that, you know he's gonna be the face of our franchise. He's gotta look like...he's gotta clean that thing up. Everybody loves the quarterback. You know look...like I said. Look at Tom Brady he's been on GQ magazine like 7 times...on the cover. You know...you know whenever he's big he's big. He's dated all the hot actresses, all the hot models. If Flacco even wanna compete to that he's gonna have to clean that thing up a little bit."
-Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, on Flacco's monobrow.
"I mean he's not that ugly, but he looks like a caveman with his eyebrows."
-Cooley, on the tragedy of the Flacco visage.
"Yeah, you know you gotta trim the eyebrows up just a little bit."
-Suggs, with a cure for the countenance.
"The championship games involve three bird teams. The Eagles, Cardinals, and Ravens. Just comparing mascots, who would win and why?"
-Cooley, posing another question to Suggs.
"Oh man I think our mascot would win for the simple fact of his name. You know his name is after Edgar Allen Poe. So you have some history there and anywhere you got history...you got tradition and we got a tradition of whoopin' ass so I think our bird would win. You know, no disrespect to the other two birds, we love 'em, and I think Poe would get 'em."
-Suggs, who did not quoth: "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door..." (The Cooley Zone)
23 comments, Last at 14 Jun 2009, 12:14am by Dennis Anthem