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?
01 Nov 2013
by Rory Hickey
"To be honest, man, you’ve just got to go low now, man. You’ve got to end people’s careers, you know? You’ve got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees now. You can’t hit them high no more. You’ve just got to go low." -- Washington Redskins free safety Brandon Meriweather, after returning from his one-week long suspension by the NFL for hitting high (The Washington Times)
"Everybody’s going across the middle now. Back then, when you went across the middle, you had a little different respect from the game. It’s kind of like, 'Wow, that receiver can go across the middle and make that play. He’s a man's man.'"
"That’s kind of changed now. You see receivers all the time going across the middle and making plays now that back in the day, I don’t know if they would go across the middle and make those same plays." -- San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, saying that wide receivers do not fear going across the middle (NFL Nation Blog)
"Yes, I do. That's just it. Deion has such catch-up speed and he had real good center-field ability, and I mean that ... in [a] football sense. He could really play the ball, and he had such ability to get into position to play the ball."
"Now, you're talking about the greatest cover guy maybe that's played this game. I've seen where he's been declared the greatest cover guy. Hall of Famer. But I do think he could do a real good job on Johnson. Johnson's going to get some probably, but I think he could do a great job. Deion's a great player." -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, on whether Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders could cover Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ESPN Dallas)
"I think [Mariota]'ll be a fine quarterback at the [NFL] level, much like a [Colin] Kaepernick-type guy ... better than Carolina's quarterback right now. Cam has never had to work as hard, and I think he is finally now starting to get it and spend time in the classroom with the coaches. A lot of things come really easy to Cam. I think he still thinks he can just go out there and do it. I think Marcus is a combination of the athlete and the student."
"I don't know if he is quite as good a pure passer [as Griffin], but he is a better combination because RGIII is more of a sprinter as opposed to a football runner, and so he puts himself in situations where he can't protect himself." -- Former Oregon head coach Mike Belotti, saying he believes current Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota will be a better pro quarterback than current Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (NFL.com)
"It wouldn't surprise me; I hate to say it. We have an owner in Shad Khan that bought the soccer team over there, and all indications are that we're headed that way.
"It's not good for Jacksonville. You don't hear a lot of that talk in Jacksonville right now, but everywhere else ... someone mentioned the other day that it's the Jacksonville Jaguars of London." -- Jacksonville Jaguars ambassador Mark Brunell, on whether he thinks the Jaguars will end up moving to London (Shutdown Corner)
"No, I think that’s a terrible thing to do. I think it puts too much pressure on the officials to change the game like that. I don’t think that’s the time — the actions that the league took in this case were warranted — exactly. But I think that would be a terrible thing for an official … to put it on a back judge to decide whether to take a touchdown away in a game. It should not be a part of what an official has to call. Throw the flag, do the normal thing, and then take care of business afterward."
"Taking a look at that situation, and just to say it again — that’s not the way we want to present who we are and what we’re all about. It was a mistake that Golden has totally taken accountability for. We wish it wouldn’t have happened for a lot of reasons, and the statement he made and we make about it is clear. There’s no place for that in football. We don’t need that at all. He gets the regular scrutiny he should get, and he’ll take it." -- Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, on word that the NFL is now considering adding the college rule which takes touchdowns off the board if taunting penalties are applied on scoring plays (Sports Illustrated)
"I've never considered joining Twitter, nor do I know why anybody would. There's a lot of people that do and I guess that I'm one of the ones in the minority." -- Alabama head coach Nick Saban, describing his policy on Twitter
"He claims he don’t have one, but he probably does." -- Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley on Saban’s Twitter policy (Alabama.com)
"I speak of championships. That’s no disrespect to some of these other guys that are doing some amazing things in the NFL right now. But to me, it’s about wins and championships, and [Tom Brady]’s got more championships than anybody. So to me, he’s the best quarterback in the league, and he’s done it for a long time…. The number one factor is championships." -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, on his qualifications for measuring the greatness of a quarterback (Pro Football Talk)
"Well, this is not Tom’s first rodeo. He's been around for a while. The passion that he brings to the table, all of our players can see that. That’s never wavered with him. For him to keep this team together, I think that shows how much respect the players have for him and what he’s done for the organization." -- New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese, crediting head coach Tom Coughlin with the team’s refusal to give up (NY Daily News)
"If you could’ve given me LeBron James’ height and a stepladder." -- New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford, when asked if there was anything he could have done to prevent a high snap that resulted in an Eagles’ touchdown (The Record)
"It's scary going into that Black Hole. They're really serious about that. You can jump into the stands if you want to, but I don't think you're going to come back out." -- Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, on what would happen if someone attempted to do a Lambeau Leap into the Black Hole in Oakland (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
"I've seen Tom Brady cuss and scream and do all kind of things but nobody looks at him like that. I just think it's unfair the way we see it and the way the media portrays certain things because of personal feelings about a person." -- Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark, calling the criticism of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant’s sideline theatrics a double standard (ESPN)
"[Ponder] prepared really hard and he went out there and laid it all on the line. You know, you see that last run that he made when things were getting out of reach [a 19-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter against the Packers on Sunday] and he’s still out there fighting until the end. I mean, that’s not my decision. But I’d love to see him stay back there, of course." -- Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan, casting his vote for quarterback Christian Ponder as the next Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
"He sounds as stupid as he looks. If the guy had any sense whatsoever: I care about the game of football. I’m not out promoting my socks, I’m not out hollering at cheerleaders and trying to marry them and get divorced in a couple years. That’s just not me. I’m out playing the game of football. You see what happened the years before at Tennessee and what I was about. You don’t get runner-up two years in a row of Defensive Player of the Year, or being in the top five of MVP of the NFL, by just trying to get released. That doesn’t make any sense. He sounds as stupid as he looks. Maybe he should worry about his own personal life and worry about what his wife is doing and all that stuff -– or maybe now I should say what his ex-wife was doing." -- Former Washington Redskin Albert Haynesworth, on former teammate Chris Cooley calling Haynesworth “an awful human being” among other things last week (D.C. Sports Bog)
"I will say this, so you guys can print all this: Just because you like somebody in the family doesn’t mean you like the whole family. I have a great deal of respect for Brady [Hoke] and his coaching abilities." -- Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, on University of Michigan head coach Brady Hoke, in anticipation of Saturday’s interstate rivalry game with Michigan (Dr. Saturday)
"I've never slept through a whole meeting, but I've nodded off. I mean everyone nods off. It's dark in there. You nod off. You wake up — go get something to drink and go back."
"I've done that." -- Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis, admitting to sleeping during team meetings amid a reduced role on the team (USA Today Sports)
"Yeah, I know him. I tried to recruit him to Pitt. But we couldn't afford him." -- Philadelphia Eagles running back and Pitt alum LeSean McCoy, when asked if he ever crossed paths with Raiders quarterback and fellow Pennsylvania-native Terrelle Pryor (Eye on Football)
"Doesn't matter [who you're playing]. If you suck at passing, you suck at passing ... We've just got to figure it out." -- Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon, when asked about the Redskins passing offense against the Broncos (NFL.com)
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