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» Scramble for the Ball: With All the Fixings

An idiot's (two idiots'?) guide to Thanksgiving football, prepped and primed for the monsters-in-law who only watch these three games in a year.

14 Sep 2017

The Year In Quotes: 1986

compiled by Jeremy Snyder

THE WORST No. 1 PICK IN FIFTY YEARS

"This is the most important draft in Buccaneer history. I'd like for people to look back on this draft a few years from now and say Tampa Bay had an opportunity to turn a team completely around and took advantage of it."

-- Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse, whose franchise was drafting first for the fifth time since 1976.

"We sincerely regret that this incident has terminated Bo Jackson's college baseball career. ... It didn't occur to us to ask the SEC official about the matter on transportation, nor did the SEC official mention it to us."

-- Bucs assistant-to-the-president Phil Kruger. The Bucs had flown Auburn running back/outfielder Jackson to Tampa on Culverhouse's private plane to take a pre-draft physical, making Jackson ineligible to compete in another sport under Southeastern Conference (but not NCAA) rules.

"All my doors are open until one day in June. The reason I'm waiting is to give everybody a fair shot… One day I will open the door to one sport and close the other doors."

-- Jackson, after a meeting with the USFL's Birmingham Stallions, on waiting until the Major League Baseball draft before making a career decision. The Bucs drafted him first anyway.

"I've had my share of football -- I'm doing what will make Bo happy, and that's playing baseball."

-- Jackson, announcing at a June 21 press conference that he would be signing with the Kansas City Royals. The Bucs held on to Jackson's NFL rights until they expired at the start of the 1987 draft.

BO KNOWS THE FUTURE

"Look at William Andrews and Billy Sims. You never know what will happen. The next play could be your last -- and I couldn't take that."

-- Jackson, later in that same press conference. Andrews tore ligaments in his left knee and missed all of 1984 and 1985 before returning for one final season; Sims tore ligaments in his right knee and missed half of 1984 and all of 1985 before retiring in July 1986.

NO NEED TO TELL YOU HOW TO PRONOUNCE IT

"He's not a household name. We'll see if we make him one."

-- Los Angeles Raiders coach Tom Flores, on first-round pick Bob Buczkowski, rated as a fifth-rounder on many teams' boards. Buczkowski, who missed the entire 1986 season with a back injury, is now best known for running a prostitution ring out of his suburban Pittsburgh home.

THE INSULT COMEDY APPROACH TO DRAFTING

"If that was in Washington, the cop would have taken the tickets."

-- Washington Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard, on second-round draft pick Walter Murray. Murray had been arrested the previous October for offering a Honolulu police officer two tickets to a Hawaii game in exchange for ripping up a traffic violation ticket.

"He's an aggressive kid. He punched the professor instead of trying to talk to him."

-- Beathard, on sixth-round draft pick Jim Huddleston, who had been arrested in 1984 for assaulting a University of Virginia librarian in an off-campus incident. Beathard capped off the draft by trying to trade the next year's 11th-rounder to the Chargers so that he could draft his son as Mr. Irrelevant.

THE HAIGHTFUL ELEVEN

"There's a feeling of failure that is very hard to shoulder. But it's not the end of the world. I'm not contemplating anything drastic."

-- New York Jets Director of Player Personnel Mike Hickey, after none of his picks from the 1986 draft made the opening day roster. Three were placed on injured reserve; the other eight, including second-round tackle Doug Williams, were cut.

TURNING AND RETURNING TO A CERTAIN PLACE IN TIME

"We felt instant replay had become such a fixture that we should give the officials a chance to see what the public was seeing."

-- Dallas Cowboys president/NFL Competition Committee chairman Tex Schramm, after NFL owners approved the limited use of instant replay on a one-year trial basis.

LITTLE DID THEY KNOW

"[Dan] Reeves said, 'Just set a date.' So we flew out there [in March]. We talked about the Cowboys and Redskins. They talked about the other [AFC West] teams."

-- New York Giants coach Bill Parcells, discussing the offseason scouting report swap between his team and the Denver Broncos. Their divisions were scheduled to play each other for the first time in three years.

THE WRAITH: BASED ON A TRUE STORY

"One time, you're a victim of circumstances. Twice, something funny is going on. But three times? Three times, somebody either is out to get you or they don't want you in Pittsburgh."

-- Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Chris Brown, after a Memorial Day car accident, the third time he had been rear-ended in ten months.

"You have to start questioning if you can depend on the guy. If he's going to get hit by a car every six months, he's not going to help you."

-- Steelers defensive coordinator Tony Dungy.

"It's a little strange, especially since he can't find the people who hit him. If he ever arrives here again, that would be a plus. But we're not counting on it. It looks like there's always going to be an obstacle in his way."

-- Steelers coach Chuck Noll. Brown was waived a month later.

YEAH, THAT'S THE TICKET

"What do you think of that deal?"

-- Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay, telling media members before a July dinner that he was about to trade two first-rounders and $1.5 million to the Dolphins for Dan Marino, and was already negotiating with Marino on a three-year contract. The Dolphins and Marino's agent vehemently denied that talks of any kind had taken place.

THE CATHERINE HOWARD OF VIKINGS COACHES

"I'm sure there are a number of you people who have gone with other people who were not successful, whether they were wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends."

-- Minnesota Vikings general manager Mike Lynn, failing to explain why he had hired Les Steckel as head coach over longer-tenured assistant Jerry Burns when Bud Grant retired after the 1983 season. Steckel went 3-13 before being fired; in 1985, Grant returned on a one-year basis, after which he was replaced by Burns.

WHITE LINES

"The next guy who asks me about Lawrence Taylor is going to have trouble getting up."

-- Bill Parcells, tired of questions about LT's offseason stay at a Houston drug rehabilitation clinic.

"We feel we have room for two 'couch' players. But they'd better be good football players."

-- New York Giants general manager George Young.

"I was supposed to be a groomsman in his wedding on Saturday. Now I'll be a pallbearer at his funeral Thursday."

-- Seahawks safety Kenny Easley, reacting to the July death of Browns free safety Don Rogers. Like Len Bias two weeks earlier, Rogers overdosed on cocaine.

"When I was doing it, I thought it was helping my performance. When I look back at it, I see how it destroys you. Here I am 32 years old and I'll never know how good I could have been."

-- Cincinnati Bengals tight end M.L. Harris, on his early-career cocaine use.

THE NEWEST AMERICAN HERO

"We're excited because this is the first major marketing item that takes William beyond the realm of football. He won't be wearing a [Bears] uniform, but he'll have the number 72 on him."

-- Jim Steiner, Refrigerator Perry's agent, on the latest addition to the G.I. Joe line of action figures.


* * * THE FALL OF THE USFL * * *

WARNING AND APOLOGY: MODERN POLITICAL FIGURE AHEAD

"Everyone knows the NFL is a monopoly. It's as blatant as the nose on your face. The thing is, how was anyone hurt by them?"

-- Tacoma, Washington, antitrust attorney Albert Malanca. The upstart United States Football League had filed suit against the NFL in October 1984 on nine separate antitrust and common-law claims, seeking $1.7 billion in damages; the trial took place in New York from May to July 1986.

"The league has never been stronger, and I don't see any way we would lose that suit. I think we're going to win it and win it big. Every legal scholar who has looked at this suit says we're going to win big."

-- New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump, during the USFL's winter meetings. The league, reduced to eight teams from 14 in 1985 and 18 in 1984, slated an 18-week schedule for the fall of 1986. The previous three USFL seasons had begun in late winter.

THAT'S FOREWOMAN BUBBLEHEAD TO YOU

"Are they going to let that bubblehead decide the future of pro football?"

-- Giants fan dismissed from jury pool, unhappy with a non-fan juror who didn't know that AT&T, her employer, had been involved in highly publicized antitrust legislation a few years earlier.

THE TRIAL

"I don't know how many of you have ever heard of a writer named Franz Kafka. He wrote that people look at things and say the opposite. They say that black is white and white is black. ... [pounding his podium] Kafka, Kafka, Kafka! That's what I want you to remember. Kafka, Kafka, Kafka, Kafka."

-- Harvey Myerson, plaintiff's attorney in USFL v. NFL, making an interesting opening argument.

"In a perfect world, I certainly wish [the USFL] hadn't been there. I wouldn't be sitting here today."

-- NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, the first witness called by Myerson.

"If [the other NFL owners] violated the antitrust law, I don't want to be a party to it."

-- Raiders owner Al Davis, a friendly witness for the USFL. The Raiders were the only NFL team not listed as a defendant in the case.

"I do not believe in making notes. It just gets you in trouble."

-- New York Jets owner Leon Hess, responding to Myerson's question about Hess not turning over his records from NFL meetings.

"'There was so much noise at those meetings, so many people talking at once. I don't see how any stenographer could have gotten it down right."

-- Trump, denying quotes from USFL meeting minutes that had him telling his general manager to drive up the salary for an unidentified NFL player.

"If we don't win this lawsuit, there will never be a team in New York City, and I said that very specifically."

-- Trump. The Jets had moved from Shea Stadium to New Jersey after the 1983 season and the Giants last played in Yankee Stadium in 1973.

"If we don't win this case and get a network television contract, I don't think we're going to play against this horror of a league."

-- Trump, concluding his testimony.

TELLING IT LIKE IT WAS

"If you ask me a question I don't understand, we'll have the biggest story of the century."

-- Former Monday Night Football announcer Howard Cosell, a plaintiff's witness.

"Words spoken with obvious jocularity sometimes contain seeds of obvious truth, sir, and that happens to be so in this case."

-- Cosell, asked by NFL attorney Frank Rothman whether he had called himself one of the three great men of American television.

"No. 12, Joe Willie Namath; No. 32, from Maryland State, Emerson Boozer; No. 83, the wide receiver from Texas, George Sauer Jr . ... "

-- Cosell, detailing the 1969 Jets roster for reasons not made clear.

"I know it's irrelevant, Mr. Rothman, but it's colorful."

-- Cosell, after Rothman objected to yet another Cosell musing. Cosell's testimony went on for 3½ hours and began with 39 minutes of Cosell talking about himself.

"With respect to Mr. Cosell, I thought long and hard with how to fairly respond to Mr. Cosell. And perhaps the thing I ought to say is, one, you saw him. There was a great movie once made called Twelve Angry Men where twelve jurors go into a jury room to deliberate and one of the jurors is an elderly gentleman, and you finally find out what the problem is when he says, 'Nobody listens to me anymore.' And I think that's Mr. Cosell."

-- Rothman, in his closing argument.

THE GREATEST PYRRHIC VICTORY OF ALL TIME

"Without the minimum damages, you know, the league is dead. Please God, find for us."

-- Myerson, in his closing argument. The USFL had lost about $160 million since 1983.

"After five days of deliberations, the jury found [on July 29] that the NFL had willfully acquired or maintained monopoly power in a market consisting of major-league professional football in the United States. The jury also found that the NFL's unlawful monopolization of pro football had injured the USFL."

-- From the decision in future appeal United States Football League v. National Football League, 842 F.2d 1335 (2d Cir. 1988). The jury rejected the other eight claims.

"One dollar."

-- Jury forewoman Patricia McCabe, announcing the damages to be paid. The amount was automatically tripled to $3 under antitrust law.

"We thought according to the instructions that the government could decide damages. I didn't understand the instructions and I put my faith in the court. The dollar was a compromise."

-- Fellow juror Miriam Sanchez, who was mistaken. (The judge could have reduced damages, but could not have increased them.) The jury was supposedly split 3-3 between those who sided with the USFL and those who sided with the NFL.

"Technically, they found that we monopolized pro football, but not television. There's no doubt of that. We were the only league in America."

-- Rothman, reacting to the verdict.

"We won a great moral victory. But now with the confusion and what seems to be a hung jury, we expect to win a total victory."

-- Trump. (The USFL lost all its appeals on the $1 verdict, but were awarded $5.53 million in attorney's fees because they had "won" at trial.)

"We're lost now. We're dead."

-- Memphis Showboats vice president of marketing and public relations Rudy Shiffer. Six days after the verdict, the USFL owners decided to cancel the 1986 season.

"That's another nine nights with nothing to do. I guess it's back to indoor soccer."

-- Showboats fan Jerry Dower.

THE DAY AFTER

"No question the USFL has helped our depth. … There is no substitute for experience. A USFL kid comes in, and he's already better than our 45th guy."

-- Bucs director of pro personnel Erik Widmark. 57 players who were under contract to the USFL in July 1986 made opening day NFL rosters.

"I imagine some guys here looked at him and wondered what he was doing in camp. But Sam played for me for three years, and he deserved a chance. The only thing Sam lacks in the NFL is about four inches."

-- Saints coach Jim Mora, the former coach of the USFL's Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, on 5-foot-9 linebacker Sam Mills.

"If this team does not pay me like they are paying their other back, I would suggest strongly that the team try to trade me or pay me because I'll be very unhappy and … I can be a very disruptive force."

-- Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, who was paid about $450,000 a year, less than half that of new teammate (and former New Jersey General) Herschel Walker's new salary.

"I told [my father] I will not give him another ticket unless he retires from work. I told him he put up with a lot, and it was time for him to sit back and enjoy life."

-- Former Houston Gambler/New Jersey General Jim Kelly, weeks after signing a record-setting 5-year, $8 million contract with the Bills.


* * * * * *

FURTHER PITTSBURGH PORTENTS

"It was a worse smell than just skunk. It was a rotten skunk smell, if you can imagine that."

-- Steelers security director Jim Boyle Jr., after the team's Latrobe, Pennsylvania, training camp was invaded by seven rabid rodents.

LIFE IN A NORTHERN TOWN

"I see Mankato as a black hole. I hate it. I guess I shouldn't bad-mouth it too much, because I don't have to live here. But I feel like I fall off the edge of the world when I come here. I know how the pigs are doing and how the corn crop is doing but that's about it."

-- Vikings center Dennis Swilley, counting the days until the end of training camp.

ELSEWHERE IN MINNESOTA…

"We were really interested in making sure they had good workout facilities so we could stay in shape."

-- Chiefs defensive end Mike Bell, who reported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Duluth to serve four months on a cocaine distribution conviction.

DEBBIE DOES DORSETT (or THE DEVIL IN TOO TALL JONES)

"We don't have a dish here and we won't get one just to watch the Cowboys practice. I'd rather go to a porno movie. I couldn't think of anything so boring as watching them practice."

-- Unidentified NFC general manager, asked whether he was watching the Cowboys' televised 3:30 p.m. Pacific training camp practices. The broadcasts cost $2 per day to Dallas-area cable subscribers, but could be picked up for free on commercially-available satellite dishes.

OPPORTUNITIES

-- The Bears and Cowboys met in the preseason American Bowl at Wembley Stadium. The 82,699 tickets, put on sale in mid-May, sold out in three days. (Three years earlier, the Cardinals and Vikings had drawn just 32,000 to Wembley in a one-off organized by a British promoter.)

"The way the popularity of American professional football is growing here, the NFL will be under enormous pressure in five or ten years to have an NFL-franchised team in London. Besides, it's no further from the East Coast to London than it is from New York to the West Coast."

-- Bob Coe, who was selling $5 million annually in American football merchandise at his four Gridiron Sports stores in Britain.

"He is admired very much in Great Britain because we are, of course, a nation of eccentrics, and [Jim] McMahon has a few eccentricities. He is viewed, in a way, as a kind of Johnny Rotten of American football."

-- Nicky Horne, host of Channel 4's American Football, on the Bears' punky quarterback.

"It was so long ago, and I was so young, that I'm really looking forward to seeing it again. Trying to remember it will be fun. We got into London quite a bit. But it was blacked out most of the time."

-- Cowboys coach Tom Landry, who served as a B-17 bomber pilot during World War II.

LAND OF CONFUSION

"My feeling is, American football's just jazzed-up rugby with all this padding and helmets. It seems to me that all that padding and the helmets is taking it a little overboard. I mean, in rugby they don't even wear long trousers."

-- British freelancer Nick Ludlow, working as the soundman for a Chicago television station's practice coverage.

"The publicity has suggested that William Perry is the greatest player in the game, a battering ram of massive poundage. Yet in the flesh he is a crashing disappointment. Compared to the magnificence in the physiques of some or even most of the other Bears, he is an out-and-out fatso -- squat, and waddling."

-- Sunday Times of London. The Fridge scored the final touchdown of his career in the 17-6 win.

"I asked a policeman what would happen to him, and he said they'd probably let the ladies take care of him. I was going to ask what that meant, but I never got the chance."

-- Walter Payton, on the streaker arrested during the fourth quarter.

SO FAT SHE FLOATS

"Dolphins linebacker Hugh Green is living on a 55-foot boat that he docks in Fort Lauderdale. The name of the boat is 'Yo-Mamma III.'"

-- Notes column, August 24.

MAKE SURE YOUR CALLING'S TRUE

"'This is the best thing I've ever done. I make a good living at it. As long as I can do it, why not do it until someone does it better or I can't?"

-- 40-year-old Atlanta Falcons center Jeff Van Note, entering his 18th season in the NFL.

"I'm just like people going to work. They go to work because they have to, and that doesn't mean they like it. Probably 2 percent of all the people in the whole world like their job, and me, I'm in the other 98 percent who don't like their jobs."

-- 29-year-old Minnesota Vikings running back Ted Brown, contemplating immediate retirement.

"My feelings really haven't changed about football, but I'm not stupid."

-- Brown, a few days later, opting to play out his $300,000 per year contract.

ACTUALLY, FAMILY CIRCUS IS A COMIC STRIP

"Some of the patterns he ran were right out of a comic book."

-- Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, after waiving third-round draft pick David Williams.

THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT

"It was more like the Swiss Cheese defense. It was full of holes, and it stunk."

-- New Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, whose team gave up 598 (yes, 598) passing yards in a 45-38 preseason loss to the Chargers.

"Oh good. It means he's running with the ball 1,000 times a year."

-- Ryan, unimpressed with Earnest Jackson's back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Jackson was benched for the first two regular season games before being released, becoming the last of seven starters from the 1985 Eagles purged from the roster.

"They don't have the same tempo we like to play. This was almost a waste of time for us. I guess they're happy with the way they do things here. It's just that the Lions ruined our tempo because they laid down, wallowed in the mud like hogs."

-- Ryan, after a week of joint practices in Detroit.

"He wasn't invited back. He doesn't work on the positives."

-- Lions coach Darryl Rogers, unhappy with the frequent brawls.

"Mixed emotion is watching your new car go over a cliff with Buddy Ryan in it."

-- Unidentified Eagles player.

HIGHWAY TO THE PRACTICE FIELD

"I'll work a normal day and then be able to attend practices in the afternoon, if traffic isn't too bad."

-- Los Angeles Raiders rookie running back/Navy ensign Napoleon McCallum, who worked a 5 a.m.-to-2 p.m. weekday shift as a supply officer on the Long Beach-docked USS Peleliu.

"I wouldn't want to even be your grandmother, you money-grubbing football player. You ought to be paying us taxpayers back."

-- Hate mail sent to McCallum by an unidentified 75-year-old woman, one of many people who believed McCallum wasn't honoring his five-year post-Academy commitment.

"They think I should be a fighter pilot, or somebody behind a missile launcher, but not everybody does that. Why can't I just work hard like every other American?"

-- McCallum. In 1987, he was reassigned to a ship in the Indian Ocean, stalling his NFL career.

LOOK AT THEM YO-YOS

-- "Super Bowl Shuffle" knockoffs "Let's Ram It," "Living the American Dream," and "Silver and Black Attack," plus the Browns' bizarre "Masters of the Gridiron."

RUNNER-UP, MOST CONTROVERSIAL NFL-RELATED MILK CARTON OF 1986

"The Raiders completed a deal recently to have their season schedule printed on the side of milk cartons throughout Southern California. … To make room for the schedule, the milk company decided to remove all of its pictures of missing children."

-- Notes column, September 7.

SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE BY DAVID WILLIAMS

-- The cover of the 16-page comic book mailed to Heisman voters to promote Temple running back Paul Palmer. Palmer would lead Division I-A in rushing yards in 1986, but still finished second in the vote to runaway winner Vinny Testaverde of Miami.

THEIR ENEMY WAS IN THEMSELVES

"I thought they stopped the clock on first downs to reset the chains. Obviously, they don't."

-- St. Louis Cardinals coach Gene Stallings, who in his first-ever game as a head coach called for a run with 18 seconds left on fourth-and-2 from the Rams' 4 trailing 16-10. The Cardinals failed to get off another play after Stump Mitchell gained 2 yards.

"We were trying to get some points. And if we called draws it's because we were trying to move the ball down there. And we felt that was the best way to do it."

-- Stallings, the following week. The Cardinals, with all three timeouts, had the ball at their own 46 with 1:35 left in the second quarter and ran out the half with an incompletion and two runs.

"The rally was meaningless. We're a 1-6 football team, and we're explaining another frustrating loss. It isn't much fun."

-- Cardinals quarterback Neil Lomax, whose offense used the final 7:19, running out of time at the Redskins' 11, in a 28-21 loss.

HE WISHED IT WAS SUNDAY

"I was hit in the ribs. I was hit in the head. I don't know where else. ... I hate Thursday night games."

-- Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason, bemoaning the upcoming lack of recovery time after an overtime win over the Bills.

FIRESTORM

"It's distracting because it's such a Hollywood mentality out here. Some people think they're the next Robert DeNiro. I have no such visions of grandeur; I'm a defensive end. But football isn't the most important thing in L.A. Everybody wants to be a star."

-- Howie Long, whose Raiders were 0-2 for the first time since 1964.

-- Long, of the 0-3 Raiders, hanging out with Mel Gibson on the set of Lethal Weapon.

BIGMOUTH STRIKES OUT

"They cause fights. They don't want to get blocked. They're pansies. ... [Mike Singletary]'s a big baby. Watch the films. One of their guys jumps offsides and he goes crazy on him, embarrasses him. Would you like a teammate like that? … Player for player, Washington is better. Chicago has better linebackers but their linebackers are babies. Once they get knocked on their butts a couple of times, it'll change their outlook on the game. And I'm sure I'll be one of the guys knocking them on their butts."

-- Eagles rookie fullback Mike Waters, looking forward to facing the Bears.

"He wasn't doing his job. He wasn't blocking who he was supposed to, so you don't fool around with people. You get him the hell out of there."

-- Buddy Ryan, who benched Waters after three plays.

TAILS FAILED MIAMI

"'Just let us win the coin toss.'"

-- Jets quarterback Ken O'Brien, asked what he was thinking after throwing a last-play touchdown to tie the Dolphins 45-all in regulation. The Jets won five plays after receiving the overtime kickoff. O'Brien and Dan Marino combined for 884 passing yards, a record that stood until 2011.

SYNCHRONICITY '86

"He's not our savior. He's not our God. What he is, is our foundation to build on. We're not hunting and hunting and hunting."

-- Bills coach Hank Bullough, on Jim Kelly, who had directed the Bills offense to 57 points in the first two weeks. The Bills lost both games.

"The man is not God. He can't be perfect every day. We were all telling him to keep his head up. If he quits, we're done for real."

-- Dolphins running back Tony Nathan, displeased with Miami fans booing Dan Marino, who had directed the Dolphins offense to 119 points in the first four weeks. The defense allowed 142.

ONE OF THESE QUARTERBACKS MADE THE HALL OF FAME

"There must be some type of contagious disease, because everybody's catching it."

-- NBC color commentator Sam Rutigliano, during the first quarter of the wretched Week 4 Steelers-Oilers game. Mark Malone went 1-of-9 for 8 yards with an interception; Warren Moon went 1-of-3 for 9 yards, fumbled twice, and was sacked five times.

NO ONE IS TO BLAME

"Apparently, the message was pass INcomplete and I heard pass IS complete. I repeated it back and then our communication broke down."

-- Umpire John Keck, whose mishearing of the video replay official's ruling in the Week 5 Raiders-Chiefs game turned an incompletion into a Raiders touchdown.

"I looked at the replay again just to make sure and then I heard the whistle and looked up and tried to get him. But the [extra point] was over and there was nothing I could do."

-- Replay official Jack Reader.

"Illegal block, Number 27, receiving team."

-- Referee Chuck Heberling, penalizing the Steelers punt return team for a block in the back in the fourth quarter against the Packers.

"It was not Number 27. We don't have a number. It's still half the distance to the goal line."

-- Heberling, after being alerted that that the Steelers didn't have a No. 27 on the roster.

"We talked a few minutes and decided there wasn't a foul against Pittsburgh. The umpire called up to the instant replay man and to verify that No. 27 was on the white team."

-- Heberling, postgame. The push in the back was a legal play by Gary Hayes, No. 27 of the punting Packers; the replay review was not.

"[Instant replay]'s the worst thing to happen to football in a zillion years. Is that strong enough? It takes away the human element. That was the fun part of pro football, being able to argue with the refs."

-- Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth, who was taking classes at the University of Cincinnati Law School four mornings a week.

HIS FIRST IMPULSE WAS TO DO A RAMBO

"He did something -- I don't remember what -- and I went after him. I grabbed him by the face mask and slung him around and his helmet came off. He gave me the 'no mas' look and I said 'fine.'"

-- Raiders defensive end Greg Townsend, who precipitated a brawl by spearing Chiefs guard Brad Budde in the back, then stomped on the unhelmeted head of Chiefs tackle David Lutz, and finally ripped the helmet off of Chiefs guard Mark Adickes. Townsend became the first player in four years to be suspended by the league for in-game conduct.

HE BE ILLIN'

"He was givin' him the business down there."

-- Referee Ben Dreith, simulating a fist to the crotch while announcing a personal foul call against the Jets' Marty Lyons in Week 5.

"Time out, Baltimore."

-- Dreith, late in the second quarter of the next week's Colts-Saints game. The Hoosier Dome crowd booed him for the next minute.

ANOTHER EARLY EXAMPLE OF TROLLING

"They're the luckiest or worst 4-1 team in football."

-- NBC commentator Paul Maguire, discussing the Jets on NFL '86. In every week for the rest of the regular season, he picked them to lose, even in a home game matching the 9-1 Jets against the 0-10 Colts.

A QUICK HIT, THAT'S HIS GAME

"I think I'm a football player. ... I think my number is 33."

-- University of Texas running back Edwin Simmons, arrested on suspicion of burglary while standing naked in a West Austin backyard. Simmons blamed marijuana use.

TIRED AND EMOTIONAL, PERHAPS

"Our defense isn't as good as the teams in the rest of the league."

-- Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer, during a morning interview with Chicago radio station WLS.

"I was dead asleep. I don't know what I was asked. I was tired."

-- Kramer, who had no recollection of the interview when it was played back for him later than afternoon. Kramer entered alcohol rehab in July 1987.

TRAGEDY PLUS NINE MONTHS

"Four weeks ago we were the Star Wars offense. Now we are the Challenger offense."

-- San Diego Chargers assistant head coach Al Saunders, whose team scored 50 points in Week 1 but only 54 over the next month. Saunders nevertheless became head coach when Don Coryell "resigned" three weeks later.

OUT OF THE FRYING PAN…

"I was putting away one of those big knives, one that you carve turkeys with. It caught the edge of the drawer and my hand slipped down [onto the blade]. I wasn't careful enough. I'll stay out of the kitchen from now on."

-- New England Patriots wide receiver Irving Fryar, who missed the 1985 AFC Championship Game after cutting several fingers on his right hand. The Boston Globe later reported that the injury was suffered during a fight with his pregnant wife.

"The guys are taking steps toward getting the team cleaned up. I was one of the guys who voted for it. I'm drug-free baby. Test me today if you want."

-- Fryar, three days after Super Bowl XX, after the Boston Globe reported that Patriots coach Raymond Berry had threatened to quit unless his players submitted to drug testing. Fryar was one of six players confirmed by Patriots general manager Patrick Sullivan to have admitted use of illegal drugs to Berry.

"The damage may already have been done. Half the people who saw the paper are going to believe I'm a drug addict, a wife-beater, and a gambler -- the trifecta. The next thing people will be writing that I'm a homosexual. My credibility is shot."

-- Fryar, after the NFL confirmed in late May that it was investigating Fryar for betting on games. Nothing resulted from the investigation.

"This is just a shakedown. At no time are we going to pay this man [Glenn] Hill one penny."

-- Fryar attorney William Rowerdink, in response to an assault and battery suit for an alleged May 2 incident at the Back Bay Hilton. The case was thrown out two months later for lack of evidence.

"I thought if I could fair catch we'd at least have time for a couple of long shots."

-- Fryar, who fair caught a punt with no time left on the clock in the Patriots' 31-24 Week 6 loss to the Jets.

"It was time to get on the horse."

-- Fryar, whose 59-yard punt return touchdown broke open New England's Week 10 win against the Falcons.

"You know, I was going to jump for the ball when I saw it up there. But then something told me not to jump, something told me to just stay there with my feet on the ground and not jump."

-- Fryar, whose catch of a Hail Mary rebound spoiled Jim Everett's Rams debut in Week 11. Fryar had fumbled away two punts earlier in the game.

"He was apparently frustrated that he couldn't help his teammates in a close game."

-- Patriots director of publicity Jim Greenridge, following the Patriots' Week 12 win over the Bills. Fryar, who had separated his left shoulder during the second quarter, left Foxboro Stadium without permission during the second half, distractedly "missed a fork" while talking on his car telephone, and was concussed after driving his Mercedes into a tree. The Patriots took no disciplinary action, but the town fined him $20 for failure to stay in marked lanes. The tree was cut down in 2011.

"There was a lot of room when I fielded the punt. I thought I could break it. I always do."

-- Fryar, who decided to return a punt from his own 1 with 1:55 left trailing by 3 to the Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round. Fryar was only able to get to the 10, and the Patriots were safetied on the next play.

BITE THIS, FOUR EYES

"Most teachers must teach four-letter words in the English classes in New York and New Jersey. I didn't realize folks spoke only four-letter words there. Now I know why the teams are called the Jets, the Mets, and the Nets."

-- Denver Broncos head coach Dan Reeves, hit in the head with a bagel thrown from the Meadowlands stands during a Monday nighter at the Jets.

THE FRIDGE WAS SO LAST YEAR

"When he takes off his uniform, that's what you see."

-- Unidentified Chicago Bears staffer, explaining why the team was now calling William Perry "Mudslide." Mike Ditka, believing that further weight gain had sapped Perry's quickness, stopped using him in short-yardage situations on offense after Week 6.

"Larry puts on his Superman suit once a year, but the rest of the season he puts it back in the closet."

-- Cincinnati Bengals general manager Mike Brown, upset with 270-pound running back Larry Kinnebrew's frequent leg injuries.

"The little guy beat us by himself. He was their No. 1 offense. No matter how he got the ball, he made it exciting."

-- Detroit Lions coach Darryl Rogers, on 5-foot-7, 143-pound Cleveland Browns kick returner Gerald (Ice Cube) McNeil.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done it. I certainly wouldn't do anything to hurt kids, as much as I love them."

-- San Fernando Valley youth football coach Ron Fidler, suspended for giving his preteen players dehydrating pills to make weight for a game.

SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON IN PITTSBURGH?

"It looks like we attract our own."

-- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll, encountering an inch of sewer water from a burst pipe in the Steelers' locker room following a 34-0 home loss to the Patriots.

THEY ALL LAUGHED

"We're not all together yet, but we'll have a Chicago-type team in no less than a year."

-- New Orleans Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson, whose team was 3-4 at the time.

LEARNING ON THE FLY

"They didn't do anything special … except for the special teams. I guess that's why they call them the special teams."

-- Minnesota Vikings kick returner Rufus Bess, whose fumble on a kickoff set up a game-winning field goal for the Cleveland Browns.

AS EFFECTIVELY DECEPTIVE AS PUTTING THE FRIDGE IN SEPTADECIMAL

"We'll put [2, his new uniform number] in Roman numerals. That way he'll look taller."

-- Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Vainisi, who made a mid-October trade with the Rams for the rights to unsigned USFL refugee Doug Flutie. Flutie wore No. 22 at Boston College and in the USFL.

"What is he worth to me? How much change do I have in my pocket?"

-- Bears linebacker Otis Wilson, just thrilled to have a fourth quarterback on the roster.

MAYBE A SPLITTER

"Hank Bullough is the head coach of the Buffalo Bills and will be here next year. Print it. That's a fastball. Not a curve. That is straight down the middle."

-- Ralph Wilson, owner of the 2-6 Buffalo Bills.

"The decision was made very, very recently that a change in direction was needed."

-- Bills general manager Bill Polian, who fired Bullough after the next week's loss to Tampa Bay.

M-E-T-S METS METS METS

"My whole life revolves around this stuff. How often do we beat Washington on a Monday night? Maybe it's sophomoric, but I haven't thought of anything but Dexter Manley for eight days and we're out there with third-and-long and we can't hear because the fans are cheering for the Mets. They should have gone to the game at Shea."

-- New York Giants tackle Brad Benson, after the Giants Stadium crowd repeatedly responded to events from Game 7 of the Mets-Red Sox World Series, happening 20 miles to the east. The deciding game of the Series had been delayed one day by rain, causing the conflict.

IT AIN'T ENOUGH FOR HIM

"Hello, you've reached the Joe Montana Hotline at St. Mary's Hospital and Medical Center. We have wonderful news. Joe Montana was discharged from the hospital Monday morning."

-- The last of the daily automated messages set up to deal with the 2,000-plus daily calls at the hospital where San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana underwent back surgery in mid-September. Montana had ruptured a disc during the season opener against Tampa Bay.

"For him to go out and put his back under direct, unprotected trauma is crazy. I told Joe from the first day I met him that I don't recommend that people I do surgery on go back to anything that's out of control -- that they should stay in control of their spines for the rest of their lives."

-- Dr. Arthur White, the orthopedic surgeon who operated on Montana, during a panel discussion at an annual conference for back care specialists. Montana would make his return against the Cardinals the next day, less than two months after the surgery.

"People have made a big deal of it. But it's the same as a person who breaks his foot skiing. As soon as he can, he's back on the slopes again. Because he loves it. Same for me. I'm back because I love the game."

-- Montana.

"We're not going to play pattycakes. If I get there, I'd like to ring his clock. If he's hurt, don't play him. ... Am I going to pass up a good lick? No."

-- Washington Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley, preparing to face the 49ers in Montana's second game back. The Cardinals had complained that the referees had given Montana extra protection.

"It was kind of like the feeling last year when [Joe] Theismann broke his leg. It was an eerie feeling. When you see somebody laying there, not moving, it's an eerie feeling. We lost that game last year, and I think the injury affected us. I had to forget about it this time. There was too much at stake."

-- New York Giants nose tackle Jim Burt, who knocked out Montana late in the second quarter of the Divisional game. Montana suffered no further back injury but was seriously concussed.

BAY AREA COLLEGE FOOTBALL ROUNDUP

"We're completely different from Big Ten bands. Those are exquisite machines. You have to have a rather clone-like mind. We've devolved into the world's largest rock 'n' roll band."

-- Arthur P. Barnes, faculty adviser to the Stanford band, which was suspended for two November games due to an "accumulation of problems" that included urinating on the field and marching in phallic formations.

"You've stripped me bare of my heart and my mind. Do you want to see everything?"

-- University of California head coach Joe Kapp, responding to a press conference question as to whether coaching decisions had anything to do with Cal's lack of success. Kapp then proceeded to unzip his fly. He was fired a month later.

ALTERNATE HISTORY QUESTION: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE OILERS KEPT EVERETT?

"Like everyone else in Southern California, I'm curious. Let's throw him in there. He can't do any worse."

-- Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson on rookie quarterback Jim Everett, acquired in an early-season trade after the Oilers couldn't come to contract terms with the third overall pick in the draft. The Rams had cycled through eight different starting quarterbacks since 1980.

"I feel handcuffed until the game is out of reach. We run the ball, get down 14-0 and then I hear 'OK Warren, let's make a miracle happen.'"

-- Warren Moon, benched at halftime of a 28-7 Week 9 loss to the Dolphins. The Oilers passed just twice before the two-minute warning of the first half. The 30-year-old Moon, in his third season in the NFL, had the second-lowest passer rating among qualified quarterbacks in 1986.

"We've been rowing across the lake. Now, we finally have an outboard motor. We knew we'd get there eventually, rowing, but the blisters sure hurt."

-- Rams head coach John Robinson, after Everett's three-touchdown debut against the Patriots in Week 11. Everett would start 108 of the Rams' next 109 non-strike games.

IT'S OVER. GO HOME.

"I'm not saying that they'll skunk us, but we went up there last year with some different formations, and they handled them very well and very quick."

-- Missouri Tigers coach Woody Widenhofer, who held a closed-door practice before playing Iowa State.

"Woody has got a million excuses, and saying we spied on his practices last year is his way of making more excuses. We just wanted to make sure there was no doubt about who won the football game."

-- Iowa State coach Jim Criner, who called a timeout with five seconds left before kicking a field goal that made the final score 37-14. Missouri was a four-point favorite.

"They've had a lot of problems over there. Maybe there's a clause in Criner's contract that says if he scores enough points they'll keep him."

-- Widenhofer. Iowa State's football program was under NCAA investigation for numerous recruiting violations; Criner lasted one more game before being fired.

"There wasn't anything we could do about the score."

-- Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, after beating Missouri 77-0 the next week. Widenhofer agreed.

I'M LEAVING DISNEY WORLD!

"I know what I want this Christmas. I want to get the hell out of Tampa Bay. I don't care where I'm going. I just want out. I want to play football for a number of years, but not if there is no fun."

-- Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Sean Farrell, whose team was 2-11, addressing a riverboat crowd at the team's weekly Disney World fan gathering. Farrell got his wish two months later when he was traded to the Patriots.

WE LIE BEST WHEN WE LIE TO OURSELVES

"[The sack total] went down. It's better than last week."

-- Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham, who had just been sacked nine times by the Seahawks. The Eagles were sacked 104 times on the season, 34 more than the previous record.

"I think an A-plus. I know that sounds arrogant, but I believe it. I can't say I've made any mistakes. That's what counts."

-- Buddy Ryan, asked to grade his coaching of his 4-9-1 team.

MAKING SOMETHING HAPPEN

"I thought I'd bring a little more excitement out there. The fans were getting bored, and I thought I'd bring them back to their feet."

-- Chicago Bears cornerback Mike Richardson, whose lateral of an intercepted pass was itself picked off and returned for a Buccaneers touchdown. The touchdown made the score 42-7 Bears.

H.E.L.L. IN THE N.F.L.

"He's a devil on earth, that one. He stole all our money and said goodbye. ... I don't want to talk about him."

-- Elaine Irsay, Robert's mother, speaking to Sports Illustrated for a must-read profile.

"It's untrue. We'll be filing a $100 million suit against them Monday. And a federal judge in Chicago will get the court case and I've got all the papers to prove they're almost all wrong."

-- Robert Irsay. The article refuted, among other things, Irsay's claims that he played football for the University of Illinois and fought in New Guinea during World War II. The suit was never filed.

"I exposed myself, but that wasn't my attitude towards the crowd."

-- Indianapolis Colts coach Rod Dowhower, who split his pants while fainting at the end of his team's second loss to the Dolphins. Dowhower made it to the locker room with a towel around his waist.

"One word: not good."

-- Dowhower, asked to summarize the then-0-9 Colts' season.

"I knew when I got up Monday that it was over. I put on a white shirt. I figured I might as well look good for this thing."

-- Dowhower, fired at 0-13. Irsay then refused to pay Dowhower for the remaining two-plus years on his contract, claiming that Dowhower's failure to call Irsay twice weekly constituted a breach. Dowhower filed a grievance with the NFL and won a settlement two years later.

"I'll show them the real Ron Meyer, who has credibility and validity."

-- The new Colts head coach, who backed out of an oral agreement with Purdue in order to take the Colts job. Meyer's first move was to activate the supposedly out-for-the-season Gary Hogeboom off injured reserve.

"Miracles do happen."

-- Colts cornerback Tate Daniel, who blocked a Falcons punt and returned it for a winning touchdown with 20 seconds left.

"I wanted them to win. Any team that goes the whole season without winning -- that's bad. ... But I don't want them to win anymore. I want them to get Testaverde."

-- Colts fan Dean Gumbel, watching in an Indianapolis bar. The Colts would go 3-0 under Meyer, dropping them behind the 2-14 Bucs in the upcoming draft.

THE BELTWAY BUBBLE

"What else is happening? Are we at war or anything? I've been here [at Redskin Park] for 15,000 years."

-- Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, during a December news conference.

"I haven't. What did he do?"

-- Gibbs, asked in a follow-up question whether he had heard of Oliver North, the ubiquitous face of the Iran-Contra scandal.

COWBOYA PARANOIA

"It feels like they're looking for me. I can't put my hands on a guy without getting called. I have a reputation for holding, apparently."

-- Dallas Cowboys tackle Paul Pozderac, who was flagged three times and gave up a sack on the final drive of the Cowboys' 17-14 loss to the Giants Week 9.

"It just seems right now, the officials are very conscious of the color of our jerseys. Officials are human. And for a team that has been as visual and successful as the Cowboys, they might be reacting the way people do all around the country. They either like us or they don't -- there's no in-between. There's nothing to say that they don't resent our image, don't resent our success. Maybe this is the cross we will have to bear for being a successful football team."

-- Dallas general manager Tex Schramm, after the Cowboys had two touchdowns called back the next week against the noted NFL-league-office-favorite Raiders.

"Not many teams like the Cowboys. They resent the success the Cowboys have had. People might say it's because of our record [7-8], but there are teams with worse records that have players in the Pro Bowl. I think it's the image of the Cowboys."

-- Cowboys safety Michael Downs, after no Cowboys were named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in franchise history.

-- Cowboys coach Tom Landry, retreating to the Anaheim Stadium locker room under police protection in the third quarter after a death threat was phoned in to the stadium. Landry returned to the sideline wearing a bulletproof vest under his sweater.

"[G]uys were saying, 'I'm not going to stand over in that area.' You can laugh about it now, but at the time, it was very scary."

-- Tony Dorsett.

THERE WILL BE SOON

"Wipe that smile off your face, OK? Just wipe that smile off. There is nothing funny going on right now."

-- Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche, opening his press conference following a loss to the Broncos.

"How come you kicked the door?"

-- Denver NPR reporter Lee Frank, who had seen Wyche enter the interview room.

"You get out of here, get him out of here. 'Why did you kick the door?' What kind of question is that?"

-- Wyche, who then left the podium to wrestle away Frank's microphone.

"This interview is over unless you get him out. ... That's your [expletive] piece of sponge."

-- Wyche, who had managed to take off the microphone's windscreen. Frank was led out of the interview room by security.

"Next time you get frustrated, squeeze this."

-- Note attached to a teddy bear sent to Wyche from Frank, accepting Wyche's apology.

SECOND AND THREE YO-MAMMA III's

"When they did that, it set the tone for the whole second half."

-- San Diego Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow, who watched the Seahawks convert a second-and-52 thanks to a roughing the passer penalty. This is the longest to-go distance since at least 1981.

FOOTBALL IN AMERICA'S DAIRYLAND

"That is the only thing that counts right now, football. That is the only thing that I want to talk about. I don't want to talk about my personal business until the season is over."

-- Green Bay Packers cornerback Mossy Cade, whose trial for a November 1985 alleged sexual assault had been postponed until after the 1986 season. Cade started all 16 games.

"Here you see the ball is gone and here's McMahon's standing there and here comes Martin ... the ball is long gone … what is this?"

-- CBS announcers Tim Ryan and Johnny Morris, watching a replay of Green Bay Packers defensive end Charles Martin's super-late hit on Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon. McMahon aggravated a right rotator cuff tear, ending his season; Martin was suspended for two games by the league.

"The Charles Martin episode … what he did was nowhere near what the fatso or whatever his name is did to [Neil] Lomax. So you tell me what's fair."

-- Packers defensive coordinator Dick Modzelewski, referring to a preseason incident in which Refrigerator Perry picked the Cardinals quarterback up and threw him to the ground. Perry was fined $2,000; one major difference was that Lomax had the ball at the time.

"That was just his towel. It wasn't a hit list. If that was the case, all of us would have had a towel."

-- Packers safety Tiger Greene. Martin had worn a towel with the numbers of five Bears offensive players and the word "Win" on it; McMahon's No. 9 was first.

"We had been getting a lot of phone calls and letters telling us they were not going to buy the product anymore because of those football panels. They didn't think it was the kind of image we should be showing to youngsters."

-- Morning Glory Farms [De Pere, Wisconsin] consumer products manager Tom Hudock, whose company's milk cartons included pictures of (among other NFL players) Packers receiver James Lofton, recently accused of a December sexual assault of a woman outside a Green Bay bar.

"It just came to the point where we had to make some kind of stand. This is something I don't think we can continue to live with."

-- Packers coach Forrest Gregg, announcing that Lofton would be suspended for the final game of the season. Lofton was acquitted at trial in May 1987; Cade was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail.

THE CHIEFS PROMOTED THEIR SPECIAL TEAMS COACH TO THE HEAD JOB IN 1987

"If someone had told me we'd have 515 yards to their 171, I'd have said we were a shoo-in."

-- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll, whose team gave up three special teams touchdowns in a 24-19 loss to the Chiefs. The win clinched Kansas City's first playoff berth in 15 years.

PAUL MAGUIRE, GENIUS

"We just started sliding, sliding, sliding. And now we've hit bottom."

-- New York Jets defensive end Marty Lyons, whose injury-riddled team had just been blown out 52-21, its fifth straight loss after opening the season 10-1.

HATE-WATCHING THE PATRIOTS

"Cris Collinsworth is a hero down here. Tell him he's ruining his reputation."

-- Florida Woman, calling ABC to complain about the language being used by various Bengals during the broadcast of the season-ending Patriots-Dolphins game on Monday Night Football. The Bengals, who needed a Patriots loss to make the playoffs, had several players being filmed watching the game in a Kentucky bar; the uncensored live audio was inadvertently aired to those with satellite dishes.

"That's bad for us."

-- Sam Wyche, learning in the second quarter that Patriots quarterback Tony Eason would miss the rest of the game with a shoulder injury. The Patriots won 34-27, winning the AFC East and knocking the Jets down to a wild card berth, which eliminated the Bengals.

PUTTING THE 'U' IN EDUCATION

"Did the Japanese sit down and eat with Pearl Harbor before they bombed them?"

-- University of Miami defensive tackle Jerome Brown, who then led a team walkout at a pre-Fiesta Bowl steak fry.

"Excuse me, but didn't the Japanese lose that war?"

-- Penn State punter John Bruno. Undefeated Penn State won the game 14-10 and finished No. 1 in the polls.

DON'T DREAM IT'S OVER

"We have no plans for a loss. If we lose it will be like a toboggan that's racing down a hill and hits a log, sending everybody flying."

-- Chicago Bears president Mike McCaskey, before the divisional playoff game against the Redskins. The Bears lost 27-13 behind a woeful performance from Doug Flutie, making just his second career NFL start. One week later, McCaskey fired general manager Jerry Vainisi despite a 29-3 regular season record over the previous two years.

THE ETERNAL DILEMMA

"If you fall on the ball, you're embarrassing them. If you go for the field goal, you're embarrassing them. If you run the ball, you're embarrassing them."

-- New York Giants coach Bill Parcells, who had sent his short-yardage team onto the field up 52-24 on fourth-and-1 from the Packers 8 with 2:09 left. Packers assistant coach John Hilton gave "an obscene one-fingered gesture" to the Giants' bench and then to the coaching box; the Giants called timeout and sent in the field goal unit.

"I almost felt bad about it. I don't know … you score so many times, you keep lining up and kicking extra points, you look over at the 49ers, at their faces. What the hell, they're guys like us."

-- Giants left guard Billy Ard, whose team had just beaten the 49ers 49-3 in the divisional playoff game. The Giants' backups did not score in the fourth quarter.

SOME THINGS WILL NEVER CHANGE

"All I was thinking was, 'Get the tie.' Everything was going our way. It didn't make sense to go for the win right then."

-- Browns coach Marty Schottenheimer, who opted for a field goal from the Jets' 5 with 11 seconds left in the divisional round with the Browns trailing 20-17. The Browns eventually won in double overtime, though not before missing a 23-yarder in the first extra period.

PLAYING GAMES IS PART OF HUMAN NATURE

"We're just reacting to a normal healthy event in the life of this community we live in, together. Those people for whom the game just doesn't matter can come right on in and join us at the 11 o'clock service, if they want. I'm sure all six of us will do just fine."

-- Rev. James Barnes, pastor of Denver's Trinity Methodist church, on criticism for holding a special 8 a.m. service the morning of the AFC Championship Game. The game, played in Cleveland, started at 10:30 a.m. Mountain Time.

"In the huddle after that kickoff to the two he smiled -- I couldn't believe it -- and he said, 'If you work hard, good things are going to happen.' And then he smiled again."

-- Denver Broncos wide receiver Steve Watson, on John Elway's demeanor before The Drive. The Broncos, trailing the Browns by seven with 5:32 left, drove 98 yards for the tying touchdown, and later won in overtime.

TAILS FAILED WASHINGTON

"When it hit, it rolled on its side and turned over. It was almost as if the wind was on their side."

-- Washington Redskins co-captain Neal Olkewicz, whose team lost the coin toss of the NFC Championship Game. The Giants opted to take the 30-mph tailwind instead of the kickoff and jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead after two Washington punts failed to make it past midfield.

LITERALLY THE BEST TIGHT END IN FOOTBALL

"It says 'Photo Day' here. It doesn't say anything about interviews."

-- Taciturn New York Giants tight end Mark Bavaro, who posed for pictures during the Super Bowl media session before spending the next hour on the team bus.

HUEY LEWIS WAS WRONG

"[He] knows football. But his studious nature makes him the butt of jokes and his voice puts people to sleep."

-- New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson writing in his 1986 book Point of Attack about defensive coordinator Bill (Captain Sominex) Belichick.

"I'm not a Buddy Ryan or a Joe Collier, and they probably don't want to be me, either. I'm not trying to create any image, and I like to think you don't have to have that. I like to think it's what you achieve. I don't think Buddy Ryan is the head coach in Philadelphia because he said Eric Dickerson would fumble two times, but because he created a hell of a defense with the Bears and everyone saw what he achieved. I still think you get jobs on merit, not personality."

-- Belichick, on whether his personality had hurt his chances of becoming a head coach.

NEW YORKERS HATED ON PHIL SIMMS BEFORE IT WAS COOL

"You're too easy on Phil Simms."

-- Ambulance driver, in his vehicle, to John Madden, sitting on a Central Park bench on a fall morning.

"People have a hard time believing he's a good quarterback. For some reason -- the way he looks, what he says -- he's vulnerable. Everyone picks on him. He's an easy guy to step on. I guess it's just hard to like blond-haired, blue-eyed guys."

-- Madden, the week before the Super Bowl. Simms completed 22-of-25 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns in the game and was named Super Bowl MVP.

PUZZLING EVIDENCE

"We didn't have an isolated camera on [Broncos tight end Clarence] Kay because he is not a high priority. So we checked all ten of our videotape cameras to see what we had. The 10th one we checked was the reverse angle that we showed."

-- CBS director Sandy Grossman, after immediately-available replays provided to the replay official failed to overturn what was called on the field an incomplete pass. John Elway was safetied on the next play. Eight minutes later, CBS broadcast a replay of what appeared to be a clear catch.

"Louie, that safety just cost us thirty-four grand."

-- Assistant, to Caesar's Palace bookmaker Lou D'Amico. The prop bet paid off at as high as 7-to-1.

MAYBE LARRY KINNEBREW CAN HELP

"The only problem is sometimes it's hard to find a phone booth."

-- Lawrence Taylor, the regular season MVP, asked in a post-Super Bowl press conference about his Superman shirt. (He eschewed the cape he wore on Photo Day.)

NEW JERSEY AND THEM: PERFECT TOGETHER

"If they were still the New York Giants, then I would throw them a much-deserved ticker tape parade. ... Let them have a parade in Moonachie."

-- New York City mayor Ed Koch, before the NFC Championship Game. The team held its post-Super Bowl celebration at Giants Stadium instead.

Posted by: Guest on 14 Sep 2017

13 comments, Last at 18 Sep 2017, 7:11pm by LionInAZ

Comments

1
by dryheat :: Fri, 09/15/2017 - 9:16am

This is fantastic. Thanks for the memories.

2
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/15/2017 - 10:36am

I knew he was a shit, but I didn't realize Bob Irsay was an even bigger loser than the less intelligent of his sons.

4
by dryheat :: Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:17am

Yeah, that article reminded me of lots of things, and taught me many others. What a prick of an egomaniac. Little Jimmy really had no choice but to become what he is.

7
by apk3000 :: Fri, 09/15/2017 - 12:47pm

I think someone posted a link to that before in a comment somewhere, but yeah, the man was garbage.

3
by Jim C. :: Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:14am

Cosell's comments in the USFL trial are even funnier when you know that he was a graduate of NYU Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review.

5
by James-London :: Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:27am

This is awesome. There's some great stuff in there. The best quote by a mile, is Tom Landry on returning to the UK. Poignant.

Kudos on the Oran 'Juice ' Jones reference

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

6
by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 09/15/2017 - 12:19pm

The Bo Jackson shibacle is the ultimate Hugh Culverhouse experience, and I don't think anybody even vaguely believes the Bucs didn't know what they were doing in screwing Bo Jackson out of his college eligibility so he'd be available in the draft.

8
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 09/15/2017 - 2:34pm

I can't believe they forgot about John Elway.

Guys with a semi-viable baseball career can hold out indefinitely from the NFL.

9
by PatsFan :: Fri, 09/15/2017 - 5:53pm

Ah yes -- Paul Maguire trolling the Jets, vindicated by their collapse down the stretch. I remember that well! (Esp since NE eked out a 1-game division win).

10
by dbostedo :: Sat, 09/16/2017 - 7:32pm

This was amazing... as usual!

11
by straw18 :: Sun, 09/17/2017 - 9:35am

I remember Maguire and the weekly Jets hate, and the Jets responding with a collapse after 10-1. Great stroll down memory lane, thank you!

12
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 09/18/2017 - 10:09am

I was still a teenager but the NFL was massive in Britain that year. Actually went to the Bears-Cowboys American Bowl preseason game at Wembley along with 3 or 4 of my mates after one of their dads got us all tickets.

Looking back it was a pretty disappointing experience as Wembley didn't have any decent replay screens, there was a greyhound/speedway track around the pitch making it hard to see the action and of course being preseason, none of the stars played beyond the 1st quarter. But we felt privileged to have experienced.

Reading all the quotes reminds me of simpler days. I understood less about the world so I didn't understand the nuances of Al Davis vs the NFL, the USFL vs the NFL - even what an antitrust suit was. There wasn't wall-to-wall NFL coverage like these days so from January to July, all you had was the draft and snippets of other NFL news. Reading some of those quotes you see a lot less PC replies and thinking.

The Cardinals endgame situation reminds how bad coaching used to be outside of a few select coaches. Some coaches really didn't seem to get any deeper than "you have to establish the run" and "defense wins championships". Think sometimes the NFL has become overanalysed these days with people just looking to criticise anything they can where actually in those days, there was genuinely terrible decision-making going on.

13
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 09/18/2017 - 7:11pm

This is a genuine treasure trove. The two calls by Ben Dreith are priceless.