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?
11 Oct 2013
compiled by Rory Hickey
"He played one of the most sensational games I’ve ever seen. “It makes no sense. Those people who blame him, I don’t know, they ought to take a look at their lives".
"I’ve been a quarterback and I know this guy is playing great football. Seeing critics blame these tough losses, especially this game, on him sends a message to me that some people will never cut him a break. I can’t believe it." -- Former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, on the criticism of current Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo after Dallas lost 51-48 to the Denver Broncos (Dallas Morning News)
"I'm sure [Darrelle Revis] will follow me around. He followed me around when he was with the New York Jets two years ago. I'm sure his coaches are confident in him. But I don't think he can run with me. I don't think he's as fast as me." -- Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, saying that he’s faster than Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis (ESPN)
"He still punches me."
"DeMarcus Ware — it wasn't even close. You put the tape on, you see [the ability]. ... I just capitulated. It's nobody's fault but my own." -- Former executive Matt Millen, on his son’s reaction to him not drafting DeMarcus Ware, who Millen wanted, in the 2005 NFL Draft (quote source)
"I'm not going to sit here, what are we going to do? Sit here and feel sorry for ourselves? I'm not going to throw my hands up and say the season's over. We still have a lot of football left to play, and I'm going to believe."
"And I expect my teammates to believe that we can turn this thing around after this bye week, and get a couple of guys back and get healthy. It's still in our hands. Yeah, it puts us behind the eight ball, but at the same time, if we go out there and just take it one game at a time, I'm confident that we can turn it around. I really am." -- Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, expressing that he still believes in the Atlanta Falcons (NFL Nation Blog)
"Well, you know, Todd is an interesting fella. Let's just leave it at that. Me and Todd -- I mean, everybody has their arguments. I'm not sure he's like necessarily in my corner, but, at this point, I'm here, so, obviously, he liked that fight in me, so I appreciate it." -- Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Levi Brown, on the support of offensive coordinator Todd Haley (quote source)
"If I’m down in Tampa, I’m questioning this whole thing because it’s a mafia style. I know [Mike] Glennon is not the quarterback that Josh Freeman is. There’s no question about it. The film tells me this. Practice tells me this. Even my quarterback demeanor tells me this. If you wouldn’t let [Freeman] throw the ball at the end of the game, why is Glennon throwing the ball at the end of the game? Why is [Darrelle] Revis standing eight yards off [Larry] Fitzgerald running a slant route and nobody’s there? Touchdown! Are you kidding me? Let’s lock up our No. 1 corner who we’re paying $16 million and then we rotate the coverage. There has to be a plan. Because when you’re my way or the highway, you must win now. Because guys don’t believe in your way when you’re losing. And you lose the way they lost the first two weeks, you gave away those football games. And whenever you’ve given away football games, your style needs to change." -- Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warren Sapp, questioning the Greg Schiano regime in Tampa Bay just weeks before joining the Tampa Bay Ring of Honor (JoeBucsFan.com)
"I got a [pass interference] penalty, which is very interesting. I got leg-humped and hugged a few times. Being a pretty good flag football player, I think I got my flag pulled on my jersey a few times. I would say pretty much, I take that one on the chin and just say it was me. I've got to play better."
"It was pass interference in Mexico, Europe, rugby -- in pretty much every other sport but in Arizona yesterday. But then when I pushed off it was pass interference."
"When I dove for the first down [and] he was standing right there, he didn't even acknowledge -- he received a check that day and I hope he feels good. He was terrible. He was garbage." -- Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, describing a pass interference penalty and then the official himself (Charlotte Observer)
"Browner said I'm light as [expletive]."
"He made me hit the light switch that nobody's seen. He made that decision. So they should blame him." -- Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, on insults made by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner that ‘lit a fire’ under Hilton who had a career-high 140 yards and two touchdowns (quote source)
"He shook me at practice one time [laughing]. I know what I’m up against. He got out there and showed us some of those zoom-zooms." -- Denver Broncos linebackerDanny Trevathan, on quarterback Peyton Manning running for a touchdown in Sunday’s victory (Denver Post)
"I honestly believe that he’s trying so hard to get us a win, he’s almost put too much on himself. He keeps it all pretty much inside. I’m not making excuses. There were a couple of those plays that were terrible." -- New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin , on the play of quarterback Eli Manning (NY Daily News)
"It felt like I was playing for an equipment manager. He was like a little punk. He came in there and said that he wanted to hear a lot from me, he wanted to know what I thought about situations, and he wanted to take advantage of my veteran leadership. Then as soon as I would have a game that wasn’t up to his standards he wouldn’t talk or look at you."
"I never played for a guy in my life who guys wanted to play for less or wanted to accomplish anything for less. He was just a guy you didn’t care about." -- Former NFL punter Mitch Berger, on his experience playing for current Patriots offensive coordinator and former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels (750TheGame.com)
"I'm not going to say he was Adrian Peterson. But he showed me some glimpses of the things I see Adrian Peterson do. But I don't want him to hear me giving him all this praise." -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, heaping some praise on rookie running back Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
"I just believe we can win. That's just the bottom line. I think we have the people in this room, the coaches [to win]. Also, looking at our schedule, we're not playing world beaters, we're not playing gods. We're playing men."
"We're playing football teams that have vulnerabilities and teams I think we can beat. That's five division opponents left, so it's in our own hands. I think we can win those games, and I think we will." -- Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark, expressing his belief that the 0-4 Steelers can make the playoffs (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
"We’re acting like he’s dead. Mark Sanchez is not dead. Sanchez is going to be 100 percent healthy, guys. It’s not like his career’s over." -- New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, giving us a status update on former quarterback Mark Sanchez (NY Daily News)
"There’s going to be teams that are going to be on 'Hard Knocks' and that seems like a popular thing and something people want to see. So, I don’t see it going away. You could stamp your feet and say I don’t want to do it, but I don’t know how productive that is for anybody concerned."
"I find it quite entertaining." -- San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, responding to the NFL adopting a rule saying the league office can force a team to appear on ‘Hard Knocks’ if no team volunteers (49ers.com)
"I think it’s a total distraction and I think it’s an embarrassment to the players. I think when players are released that some of the things that are said between coaches and players are too personal and nobody else’s business.” -- Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, voicing his opposition to the NFL potentially choosing the Cardinals as a team for ‘Hard Knocks’ (NFL Nation Blog)
"Now, it's about fashion. Guys will say, 'That color is sweet. That's for me.' Yeah, it's fashion. But just know the guys that came through here and grinded -- Charlie Joiner, Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow Sr. -- for them, wearing the powder blue was a big deal. So when you put them on, you're wearing something. You're wearing the Charger bolt." -- San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, on wearing his team’s powder blue jerseys (NFL Nation Blog)
"The key is, in those situations, is that the only way a team can beat you is to get the ball over your head; we let them do it one time in the game ... and one time is too many. So we don’t use the term ‘prevent defense.’ We’ll never use the term ‘prevent defense.’ But there is 'situational defense.'" -- Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, explaining why the Raiders don’t use a ‘prevent defense’ (NFL Nation Blog)
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