Roethlisberger Reflects on Retirement
NFL Conference Championship -
CINCINNATI HAS ARRIVED
"Enough of this 'why not us' bullsh*t. It is us."
—Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah's pregame pump-up speech skipped the typical underdog cliches in favor of reminding the Bengals who they really are. (Joe Danneman, )
"I'm tired of the underdog narrative. We are a really, really good team. We are here to make noise. We are a really good team with good players and coaches."
—Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has also dropped the underdog narrative. (Paul Dehner Jr., The Athletic via Twitter)
"Looks like we're going to the AFC Championship."
—During his postgame press conference, Burrow revealed that kicker Evan McPherson told the Bengals this on the sideline just before hitting his game-winning 52-yard field goal. (ESPN via Instagram)
"I'll tell you the reason I kinda said it. How I explain it is I feel like, kinda saying something like that, you gotta back it up and so after saying that there's kinda no other option but to go out there and make it."
—McPherson confirmed his quote, providing an explanation behind it. (America's Newsroom via Twitter)
I AM BECOME MAHOMES, DESTROYER OF PLAYOFF DREAMS
"When it's grim, be the Grim Reaper and go get it."
—Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid dropped this gem to Patrick Mahomes just after the Bills scored with 13 seconds left. (Kansas City Chiefs via Twitter)
"This is brutal, you know. It's going to hurt for a long time. It's going to be on my mind for a long time. It's gonna take a long time to get over. You don't look forward to this situation, you don't look forward to being out when you had a great opportunity. And this is one of those things only time will heal."
—Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill laments the team's loss to Cincinnati in the divisional round. Tannehill finished the game with three interceptions.
"Well, I don't think Ryan or myself or anybody did enough to win the game. That's how it goes. It's never going to be about one person, not as long as I'm the head coach, which will be a while. So, it'll never be about one person. We have to play better, to get open, not fall down. Defense gotta get some turnovers, we can't turn the ball over, we know that. We can't get stopped on downs. Those are all the things that we talk about and the reasons why you lose. Our third-down conversion wasn't good enough, our ability to score touchdowns in the red zone. But we all have to play better, we have to coach better."
—Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel refused to let the blame fall on any one player's shoulders. (NFL.com)
THE GREAT OVERTIME DEBATE
"The rules are what they are and I can't complain. If it was the other way around we'd be celebrating. We didn't make enough plays tonight."
—Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen's immediate thoughts on the NFL's overtime rules following the Bills' 42-36 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City won the overtime coin toss, then orchestrated an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown to seal the game.
"I wouldn't be opposed to it. That's a hard thing. It was great for us last night, but is it great for the game, which is the most important thing we should all be looking out for? To make things equal, it probably needs to be able to hit both offenses, both defenses."
—Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on potentially changing the overtime rules. (Sporting News)
"I think the way we've got it is fine. It doesn't bother me. I think you should be able to stop someone on a touchdown if you want it back. That's fine to me and I know that it's real tough not to get it, but I never felt like it wasn't fair. Those are the rules. I used to think the old one was fine. That was the one I grew up with watching when we had 15 minutes and the first one scored, I didn't think much was a problem with that. I think I do like the ones better now, but give us the rules and you know the rules and that's what you go in trying to win the game on. So usually, my mind doesn't change based off of what happens."
—San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan offered a defense of the current overtime setup, emphasizing the need for the defense to get a stop. (Niners Nation)
PACK IT IN
"There are a lot of decisions to be made, a lot of players whose futures are up in the air. Definitely will be interesting to see which way some of those decisions go. But I'll have conversations with (general manager) Brian (Gutekunst) in the next week or so and get a little bit more clarity. And think about my own future and how much longer I want to keep doing this."
"I think this thing is definitely going to look different moving forward. Green Bay has a lot of decisions, a lot of guys with opportunities. So it will be interesting to see what things look like moving forward. But I am thankful for this time, for this team. Super disappointed. Bummed out. Frustrated with how I played tonight. Frustrated with how it ended. But can still be grateful for this season and these guys."
—Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers admitted he hasn't thought much about his future yet, but his postgame comments on the state of the Packers seem pretty illuminating. (NFL.com)
"Winning the Super Bowl, but I don't know that's this year. I'd love to end on a Super Bowl … but I think I'll know when I know. … But there's a lot that's inconclusive."
—With speculation about Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady's future brewing, Brady told NBC the picture-perfect end to his career. (Dov Kleiman via Twitter)
"I think as I've gotten older, I think the best part is, is football is extremely important in my life. And it means a lot to me. And I care a lot about what we're trying to accomplish as a team. And I care a lot about my teammates. And the biggest difference now that I'm older is I have kids now, too, you know, and I care about them a lot as well. They've been my biggest supporters."
"My wife is my biggest supporter. It pains her to see me get hit out there. And she deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad. And I'm gonna spend some time with them and give them what they need, 'cause they've really been giving me what I need the last six months to do what I love to do. I said this a few years ago, it's what relationships are all about. It's not always what I want. It's what we want as a family. And I'm gonna spend a lot of time with them and figure out in the future what's next."
—Brady offers some insight into the different factors affecting his offseason decision-making, including his family's input. (Let's Go! With Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald, and Jim Gray)
PRIMETIME PUNDIT PAYTON
"I'm not looking at that path right now. At some point. I don't think I'm finished coaching. But I was excited to get two or three calls from people in the TV industry."
"When I say that, all I'm saying is somebody who's close to someone says 'Man, you'd be really good here.' We're only 24 or 48 hours removed from it. That's not my plan. My plan is for someone to tell me we think you'd be good at in-game analysis or in-studio."
—Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton touched on what he hopes to do after stepping away from the team on Tuesday: transition from on-field decision maker to on-air media personality. (The Athletic)
CAN'T SPELL 'KALI MA' WITHOUT AN 'L' AND AN 'A'
"All the guys on the sideline were like, 'Man, you were in a dark place.' And I said, 'Sometimes you gotta go to those places,' you know? Make some plays happen. I was enjoying the moment."
"In my mind, I live for those kinds of moments. I would've loved to have been taking a knee up three scores but it's a whole lot more fun when you've got to make a play like that to win the game and just steal somebody's soul. That's what it feels like sometimes when they're sitting there saying, 'Man, we just had this great comeback.' And you get to reach in there and take it from them. That's a whole lot of fun."
—Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford compared stifling Tampa Bay's 24-point comeback attempt to snatching their soul from their body. (The Rams Wire)
BYE-BYE BIG BEN
"I don't know how to put into words what the game of football has meant to me and what a blessing it has been. While I know with confidence I have given my all to the game, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all it has given me. A boy from Finley, Ohio, with NFL dreams, developed at Oxford at Miami University, blessed with the honor of 18 seasons as a Pittsburgh Steeler and a place to call home. The journey has been exhilarating, defined by relationships, and fueled by a spirit of competition. Yet, the time has come to clean out my locker, hang up my cleats, and continue to be all I can be to my wife and children. I retire from football a truly grateful man."
—Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reflects on his career after announcing his retirement. (Sporting News)
"Ben defied the TB12 Method in favor of the 'Throw Some Ice On It' method his whole career, and ended up an all-time-great with six Pro Bowls and two Super Bowls. There's more than one way to bake a cake!"
—Tom Brady gives a light-hearted sendoff to his longtime AFC rival. (Tom Brady via Twitter)
ONE GIANT SCREW-UP
"We've done everything possible to screw this kid up since he's been here."
—New York Giants owner John Mara gives a brutally honest assessment of how the team has handled quarterback Daniel Jones after announcing his team's commitment to Jones this upcoming season. (Adam Schefter, ESPN via Instagram)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
EVERY DAY IS MOTHER'S DAY
—A Kansas City Chiefs fan tracked down Donna Kelce to thank her after her son Travis Kelce scored the game-winning overtime touchdown against the Bills.