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?
06 Aug 2013
compiled by Rory Hickey
"I won't apologize, I love God, with all my heart. I love my family and I love my friends who stuck with me. And just like these guys, I love football. I love this game. This game gave me identity, it gave me a sense of purpose, and for an African-American man, it's a great opportunity in America, to be able to play football. And the number four thing that you should know about Cris Carter before you here is ... Buckeye. Born and breed. Now HOF forever, even after I'm dead. Thank you." -- Newly inducted Hall of Famer Cris Carter, closing out his Hall of Fame induction speech (Shutdown Corner)
"When they put my bust in the Hall tomorrow, I'd like to be somewhere near Lawrence Taylor so I can keep an eye on that sucker." -- Newly inducted Hall of Famer Bill Parcells, in his Hall of Fame speech (Shutdown Corner)
"I did it all for respect. Respect from my teammates, my opponents and the NFL. Today, my mission is complete." -- Newly inducted Hall of Famer Larry Allen, in his Hall of Fame speech
"I did it naturally. Once I benched 700 pounds, they tested me twice a week for the rest of my career." -- Allen, after saying he became the strongest man in the NFL
"Two chickens, french fries, baked me a cake and gave me a 40 oz, I knew then that was my wife." -- Allen, thanking his wife, and revealing what she cooked him on their first date (SB Nation)
"I never played this game to get into the Hall of Fame. I played this game to retire my mother, because my mother worked to the bone and I wasn't going to allow her, or myself, to be in that position again. I love this game. I love the passion of it, and I sit here with the greatest amongst the great, or as Michael Irvin said the other day, the Bible of football, because you can read, get inspiration, gain strength and look to tomorrow.”
"This game is so great. There's nothing else I know and love. It's taken me from a dirt road to heights I never seen seen and now to a gold jacket. Oh my goodness." -- Newly inducted Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, in his Hall of Fame speech (Shutdown Corner)
"When you play football, you have to like the taste of blood and 50 to 70 percent of the time it's your blood." -- Newly inducted Hall of Famer Dave Robinson, in his Hall of Fame speech (Eye on Football)
"Cameras in @NFL locker rooms? What's next, the XFL?" -- Chairman and CEO of WWE, Inc. Vince McMahon, tweeting his response to a Wall Street Journal article detailing that NFL teams will now be required to install cameras in the locker room, for all in the stadium to view. Of course, the XFL already did this in 2001 (Twitter)
"Again, you like to sit there as a coach and say you’d like that decision to just come up in front of you. Really if you can get 10-12 days prior to that first game, that’s when you’re going to get pressed for time and have to make a decision on a quarterback. That’s when you’re probably going to start preparing 10 days out of the first game." -- First year Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone, when asked when he felt he needed to have a decision made on the team’s starting quarterback between first-round draft pick E.J. Manuel and veteran Kevin Kolb (BuffaloBills.com)
"Whatever the NFL decides to do I’m all for it, whether HGH testing or any testing. I’ll be prepared to do the test." -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, coming out in favor of the NFL testing for human growth hormone (Sports Illustrated)
"I was flying out to a wedding in Pittsburgh and had something in my bag, a pocket knife that I didn't even know about. I hadn't seen it in over a year. I was a little shocked when they pulled it out. It's something I have to deal with now." -- New York Giants linebacker Dan Connor, taking responsibility for his arrest earlier this month at Philadelphia International Airport for possession of a switchblade in his luggage. (ESPN New York)
"It’s from family members, everyone reaching their hand out thinking I’m an ATM, and people who think you owe them something. It was just a situation where I was visiting back to my hometown and a guy pulled a shotgun on me right then and wanted money. How do you deal with those situations? I really can’t, so I dealt with it the best way I knew how." -- New York Giants safety Will Hill, speaking openly about why he uses marijuana, the substance for which failing tests caused the NFL to suspend Hill for four games (The Star-Ledger)
"I’ll tell you what, he’s really impressive from where he left here at the end of mini-camp to his report. You know people make TV shows about Extreme Makeover and stuff like that and I like where he is right now.
“He’s worked very hard in five weeks or six weeks whatever it was where he was gone and reported in great shape. His weight was done and he just needs to stay on that track. We’ve talked about how talented he his but it’s been more about availability thing with him rather than a talent thing. And it looks like he’s taken it very seriously. I’m proud of him for doing it." -- Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, on how defensive tackle Nick Fairley has reported to training camp in great shape (Lions.com)
"The one thing I don’t need is motivation, but I’ve found a lot of that this offseason. For all you ignorant writers out there, thank you. I’m my biggest critic. There’s nothing you guys can write or say that I probably haven’t thought or found ways to try to already correct. I know where I am personally and I know what I’m still capable of doing. The process is to come out here and work and make sure, come Sundays, I can go out there and do that." -- New York Giants defensive end and captain Justin Tuck, on the media narrative that the 30-year old Tuck is not the same player he used to be (ESPN New York)
"[There will be] a lot more games on TV than there were last year." -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Bryan Glazer, discussing ticket sales and potential TV blackouts during a Saturday night practice at Raymond James Stadium. Glazer said ticket sales, enthusiasm for the 2013 Buccaneers, and an improving local economy, are playing a role. He also said the NFL’s 85 percent rule — teams must sell 85 percent of non-premium seats to avoid a local TV blackout — will help the Buccaneers more this season (JoeBucsFan.com)
"That’s not something that we’re high on, and he and I are going to talk before we practice [Saturday afternoon]. I’ve got to grab him. That’s not how we do things. We’ll talk. We’re going to talk about it. He has strong feelings regarding his former team, and that’s good. But there is a way to get that communicated, and we’ve got to sit down and he and I have got to talk a little bit." -- Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier, on ex-Packer and new Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings’ multiple comments about the Green Bay Packers and more specifically quarterback Aaron Rodgers (NFC North Blog)
"I can tell Tajh Boyd is scared back there. He ain't no sitting duck, but you can see in his eyes that he's scared of our D-linemen. We know that coming into the game that we have him shook already. We get a couple hits on him and it changes the whole game. He's scared every time we play them. I know he's probably listening to this right now, but I'm just telling the truth, man." -- South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney, on how Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd deals with his in-state rival.
"He is the best at holding and getting away with it." -- Clowney, on Tennessee offensive tackle Antonio Richardson.
"Just stay out of bars and stay off Twitter." -- Clowney, on how he stays out of trouble. (Dr. Saturday)
"Ultimately, every team has to have a quarterback. I think we have the best in the league."
“There are a lot of great ones, but over time, Alex has proven he can get it done. He’s a sharp guy, he brings a wealth of knowledge, he’s experienced, he’s a proven winner the last couple of years, and he needs a team to embrace him.” -- Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, saying that Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is the best quarterback in the league. We can only assume he meant the National Football League (Kansas City Star)
"I think that’s bullcrap. My thing is, if you’re going to be a fan, be a fan. You don’t come out here and boo anybody." -- New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, reacting to the crowd at SUNY Cortland booing Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez
“Oh, shoot, I don’t care. That’s the way it goes.” -- Sanchez’s response to the booing of himself (NY Daily News)
"You've got prima donnas, egocentrics, who act like it's not an honor. Plus, they're thinking, 'Why should I go and jeopardize what I'm doing?' But it should be for the fans.”
"How can you get the players to recognize that it's an honor? You've got to play your best football in the Pro Bowl. So the spirit of this needs to be changed. I'm not sure that can be accomplished now." -- New honorary Pro Bowl captain Jerry Rice, doubting whether the new fantasy football-type format will save the Pro Bowl (USA Today)
"I never really knew how to throw a football before. It's coming along. I'm getting way better. I probably missed four or five throws out of 80, 85 throws today. I might ice my arm as a precaution tonight, but it feels great."
"They've got me going in the right direction to be a pretty good quarterback who knows how to throw the ball." -- Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who apparently never learned how to throw a football despite being the starting quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes from 2008-2010. (Bay Area News Group)
"We're just going to ball. We're just going to ball out. The whole team is going to ball. Ballin' is the theme. I don't know if everybody knows it, but that's my thing for the team this year, just ballin'. We're all going to come out and ball. If we do that, we'll be ballin' all year." -- Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, on the objective of the 2013 Falcons defense (Falcons.com)
"In case anyone still cares about this report: I tipped $3 on a takeout order. Had we sat down it would have been 20%+" -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, responding to the controversy of him tipping three dollars on a $74 bill (Twitter)
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