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The question is not whether Saquon Barkley is the best running back in this draft class. The question is whether any running back, even one as good as Barkley, warrants a top-five draft selection in the NFL in 2018.

20 Dec 2007

The Week in Quotes: December 20, 2007

compiled by Ben Riley


"I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it. [Owner] Arthur [Blank] and I have had some pretty constructive discussions. I basically will oversee the football operations. We'll meet today -- not in Atlanta -- and work out some of the final details but I don't think there's any deal breakers here."

-- Bill Parcells on December 18, 2007, describing what seemed to be his impending plan to join the Atlanta Falcons as head of football operations

"Arthur wants to rebuild the football operation. I'll hire a general manager and then we'll hire a coach. We'll do this together, the GM, the coach and myself. The coach absolutely will not be Bill Parcells. All this happens if we finalize this thing, which I expect to do."

-- Parcells (ESPN.com)

"It's gossip and we don't have an answer for that."

-- Falcons interim head coach Emmitt Thomas, reacting to the Parcells-to-Falcons rumor (AtlantaFalcons.com)

"Late last night it was revealed to the media by a source outside the Falcons that we were close to reaching an agreement with Bill Parcells to lead the club's football operations.

Prior to the information becoming public, we had reached an agreement in principle with Parcells, and we met with him this morning to complete the contract. At that time, we were made aware by Parcells that he was considering a revised offer from the Miami Dolphins. He later informed us that he would not be signing a contract with us."

-- Official statement from Falcons owner Arthur Blank on December 19, 2007. Is there a reason people feel compelled to lie to this man?

"We remain committed to looking at every option for building a championship-caliber team for our fans. I have stated we will leave no stone unturned in doing so, and this effort is one example of that. We gave it our best shot, and it didn't work out."

-- Blank

"We will continue down the same overall path, proceeding with plans to hire a general manager and a head coach. We will identify and consider every strongly viable candidate for these positions, with the goal of hiring the best. Rich McKay remains President of the club and will retain general manager responsibilities until a new GM is hired."

-- Blank, making General Manager Rich McKay the lamest of lame ducks

"We will be making no further comment on the Parcells matter."

-- Blank (ProFootballTalk.com)

"Really? You can't control it. But somebody like the Big Tuna, regardless of who's in the front office or who's not, brings a lot of respect and a lot of credibility with him. He's a Hall of Famer. If you're a free agent out there, that might draw you in."

-- Dolphins defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday, reacting to the Parcells-to-Dolphins rumor. By the way, Parcells is not in the Hall of Fame. (ESPN.com)


"Donovan really seems to believe that his days in Philadelphia are numbered. When I spoke with him before the game, I got the impression that Donovan is a little hurt by what he sees as an organization distancing itself from him and an organization that's overly concerned about the negative fan reaction to him."

-- Fox sports reporter Pam Oliver, reporting on her pregame conversation with Donovan McNabb before the Eagles-Cowboys game

"But Donovan told me point-blank: 'My knee is not an issue. The next place I go, I will win,' and also that he will keep a smile on his face for as long he's in an Eagles uniform."

-- Oliver, during the same report

"I didn't say that."

-- Donovan McNabb, after being informed of Oliver's report

"I don't feel that way. I've said I want to be here eight more, nine more years. If that's possible, we'll see."

-- McNabb

"I just feel like our relationship is definitely broken. It's not easy to be called a big, fat liar. You wake up to that and it's unpleasant."

-- Oliver, reacting to McNabb's allegation that he was misquoted.

"Don has a degree in communications [from Syracuse University]. He knows how TV works. He knows how the media works. You can't trip him up. All interviews I've ever done with him, you can't get him to say something he didn't want to say."

-- Oliver

"My only professional regret is: Why on Earth did I bend over backwards to make it less impactful? And then wake up to ... to someone throwing you under bus like that."

-- Oliver

"All I can tell you is I stand by it 100 percent. It's on-my-mother's-grave accurate. That's the bottom line."

-- Oliver

"I can't imagine reaching out to him or him reaching out to me and it being an honest conversation. I felt like I had had an honest conversation and he called me a liar."

-- Oliver (Delaware News Journal)


"Oh yeah. He'll go. It'll be him. As far as I know."

-- Soon-to-be-fired Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner, when asked if Bears "quarterback" Kyle Orton would start this Sunday

"We'll play the guys who give us the best opportunity to win. We're not announcing any starting players, period. Hopefully, I'm making that clear."

-- Bears head coach Lovie Smith, refusing to endorse the view of his offensive coordinator

"I thought he made a lot of good decisions as far as checking the ball down."

-- Smith, evaluating Orton's play against the Vikings (Chicago Tribune)


"Right now, Jessica Simpson is not a fan favorite -- in this locker room or in Texas Stadium."

-- Terrell Owens, describing the relationship between the Dallas Cowboys quarterback and America's sweetheart

"With everything that has happened, obviously with the way Tony played and the comparison between her and Carrie Underwood, I think a lot of people feel she has taken his focus away."

-- Owens

"Other than that, she was high on my list until last week."

-- Owens.

"Oh, I got a message for her when we make the playoffs. Just stay tuned."

-- Owens (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


"The way fans took it, in my opinion, was probably wrong."

-- Herm Edwards, seemingly refusing to apologize for telling Chiefs' fans last week to "get over it," the "it" being the Chiefs' 4-10 record

"I think our fans are great."

-- Herm

"I just think that when you're going through tough times, it's no different if you're a football coach or you're a fan: You have to get over that part of it and get ready to prepare to win games."

-- Herm

"Without fans, you have no one to watch you play."

-- Herm

"If it was misinterpreted, I apologize."

-- Herm, semi-apologizing (Kansas City Star)


"He said, 'Listen, if you get down to the 1, take a knee.' I was like, 'Ahhh...' He said, 'Take a knee, Westbrook, take a knee.'"

-- Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, explaining the "stern" advice Eagles tackle Jon Runyan gave him during the closing minutes of the Eagles-Cowboys game. With a little more than two minutes to play, Westbrook ran 25 yards and then, per Runyan's advice, took a knee on the 1-yard line instead of scoring the touchdown, allowing the Eagles to run out the clock. (Philadelphia Daily News)

"Thank God for Greg Camarillo."

-- Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, thanking unheralded Dolphins wide receiver Greg Camarillo for scoring the Dolphins' game winning touchdown on Sunday against the Ravens. The Dolphins are now the happiest 1-13 team of all time. (Palm Beach Post)

"I've never played in a game like that. It was fun, though. At one point, I got tackled and I got snow and dirt, kind of smashed together, all up in my facemask.''

-- Browns running back Jamal Lewis, who plowed through the snow for 163 yards to help his team defeat the Bills last Sunday by the score of 8-0

"It looked like something I saw on the Discovery Channel. Like something about the North Pole."

-- Bills running back Marshawn Lynch, describing the same game (Sports Illustrated)

"Al Gore can't get off the field!"

-- NFL Network announcer Bryant Gumbel, referring to 49ers running back Frank Gore during Saturday night's Bengals-49ers contest (and making a late charge for TWIQ's Quote of the Year).

Remember to send your quotes to quotes-at-footballoutsiders.com. And if you are looking for a charity to donate money to this time of year, you could do worse than George Martin's A Journey For 911.

Posted by: Ben Riley on 20 Dec 2007

85 comments, Last at 23 Dec 2007, 2:40am by Tri Shanku


by Diane (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 12:19pm


by Sam (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 12:24pm

What happened to the outstanding Wade Wilson quote we were promised earlier?

by Tim (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 12:27pm

Al Gore.... playing football since creating the internets...

by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 12:30pm

My favourite this week is the Ben Riley quote about Arthur Blank;

"Is there a reason people feel compelled to lie to this man?"

And while the Chiefs are done, Herm has home-field in the quote-offs.

by Diane (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 12:30pm


Al Gore has been playing Madden'08 over the Internet ... does that count?

by register_allocation (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 12:34pm

Parcells is not in the Hall of Fame
I thought it was pretty common to refer to people like Parcells (that are almost certain to enter the HOF when they are eligible) as hall-of-famers? Usually qualified as "future hall of famers", but still...

by dgc (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 12:39pm

Wasn't Joe Gibbs talking to Blank about coming back to football when Spurrier quit and Snyder swooped in? Sounds like he needs some sort of good luck charm.

by Biebs (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 12:46pm

I'm not sure if the "Bill Parcells is not a Hall-of-famer" is necessary. Brett Farve is occasionally referred to as a Hall-Of-Fame QB, because he will be in the HOF.
Even if Parcells goes Rich Kotite on the Dolphins he'll still be a HOF coach.

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:07pm

I have to wonder how Arthur Blank ever managed to function in the business world if he is such a poor judge of when someone is lying to him. Or maybe he is more trusting in football than he would be in his business? I find it hard to believe that this is the same guy who founded the Home Depot chain.

by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:10pm

Maybe Arthur Blank is just really skilled at picking out great liars, then offering them jobs?

Admittedly, its not a great skill to have, but its still a skill.

by Temo (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:10pm

What if Bill Parcells or Favre is embroiled in a dog fighting scandal (or I guess in Parcell's case, some sort of racehorse scandal)? Does he still make the hall of fame?

by rick (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:14pm

Kyle Orton showed a complete inability to make throws other than check-down throws. In a dome. Why couldn't the Chicago coaches see this in practice and in film of his wretched rookie year ?

by Geronimo (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:15pm

Does anyone know the origin or etymology of the phrase "throwing him under a bus"?

I heard this phrase for the first time just a few years ago, and it was a football player describing how he wasn't going to point fingers and "throw my teammates under a bus."

Since then, I've heard this phrase dozens of times, but only in a football-context.

Is the phrase older than this? Does it appear in other contexts? It's a great metaphor -- even though it's over-the-top, it captures a cartoonish image of really ruining someone/something that's both horrible but playfully comic.

Anyway, if anyone knows anything about it, I'd love to hear it.

And Happy Holidays to everyone, from RaiderJoe to defensive Pats fans to rabid Pats haters to the guys and gals who think that Detroit Roy Williams is the "Other Roy Williams" and those who think "Horse Collar Roy Williams" is the "Other Roy Williams," to those who think Manning is better than Brady and those who think Brady is better than Manning, to those who think sample size matters, and those who think DVOA is really flawed but post here 1000 times anyway.

I've tried to capture every category of poster but I bet I've left some out.

But most of all, best wishes to Aaron and the people behind the site. Thanks for creating this zany and one-of-a-kind place for football chatter.

by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:19pm

Where does that 'Chicago Quarterback' thing come from?

by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:19pm

#9 Maybe he made more effective use of chainsaws in his previous business? Most people won't lie to a man threatening them with dismemberment.

by doktarr (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:22pm

RE: #9,

I think there's a very different skillset involved in building a business and owning a sports team. Blank build the Home Depot having a savvy sense of what the market wanted, where to position his product, and how to build recognition for the brand. By all accounts he has done a good job marketing the Falcons and building goodwill in the community, so he hasn't lost these skills.

Where Blank has failed is finding people to run the football side of things for him. My guess is that Blank would have been similarly bad at trying to attract a big-name CEO to run Home Depot for him, but he ran that himself. He knows little about pro football, though, so he has to find help, and that's where he struggles.

by Mike B in VA (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:25pm

#15 wins the thread.

by vikinghooper (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:31pm

Why does Pam Oliver rate any importance?

Not to criticize her, because I'm 100% sure what she is saying is true, but she is a non-entity. She was hired because she is cute, and she is now not that cute and easily replaceable. I know her feelings are hurt, but she probably made a lot of money that was not very difficult to deposit, and now that she is making life difficult, acts like her level of importance equals McNabb.

TV can find 5 million Pam Olivers, not many McNabbs exist. She needs to get over her inflated self-importance and realize that if she makes players look bad, she won't have a job.

Now Jim Gray can do things like that, because his JOB is to be confrontational because no player would threaten such a diminutive weasel.

by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:34pm


From the week 4 Audibles thread. After Griese stunk as badly as Rex, Sean's comment was

" There is no Rex Grossman. There is no Brian Griese. There is only “Chicago quarterback."

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:38pm

#15 - ROFLAO.

by Mark (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:42pm

I've said it beofre (though I don't think on this site), I wish McNabb could take a hit off the field as well as he takes the hits on the field.
Guy's got a fragile ego.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:43pm

vikinghooper, I have no feeling one way or another about Pam Oliver, but her job is to ask questions like she posed to McNabb. Why are you being so derogatory to her?

by John Morgan (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:43pm

#13, what a gracious post!

Anyway, the best answer I can find for the etymology of "throw under a bus" is from phrases.org.uk: From Slang: the Authoritative Topic-by-Topic Dictionary of American Lingoes from All Walks of Life by Paul Dickson (Pocket Books, New York, 1990), under “Automotive Slang,” “throw under a bus — Sales talk for selling someone a car or van with all the extras and options at full sticker price or better.”

I read another post that posits that it derives from the music industry. Specifically, touring, --> the touring bus. I figure if a gig went poorly, you might throw the new drummer under the bus or something like that.

Oh, and the one group I think you left out is amateur bloggers who occasionally post w/ their links attached.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:46pm

On the bright side, at least T.O. didn't insinuate that Romo was gay, not that there is anything wrong with that.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:46pm

After a bit of poking around, I found at least one story on the origin of "thrown under the bus" here: http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0610a&L=ads-l&P=9003

by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:53pm


Essentially "under the bus" is a nicer way of saying "So terrible I wish they were dead", which seems to come mainly from rock n roll.

by dazed and confused (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 1:57pm

I loved the jamal lewis quote when I read it this weekend and I'm glad it made it here ...my kind of guy (well except for the drug part)

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:01pm

#11 - It seems like an awful waste of an expensive race horse to fight them.

by stravinsky (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:02pm

I think Arthur Blank is the luckiest man alive to flirt with the Parcellinator and come out intact. I think in two or three years he's going to be awfully thankful that Parcells went to Miami.

Unfortunaely, Blank is not one to learn from this flirt with disaster. I expect to hear that he's hired Charlie Casserly any day now.

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:04pm

#16 - I think we had this conversation, but didn't Blank hire some big name executives who proceeded to run the Home Depot into the ground?

As an aside, all the Home Depots around me suck, and never have what I'm looking for.

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:06pm

Who is the best GM/Head of Operations in football? Polian? He's pretty much the only one we hear about. I suppose Savage is making a name for himself with recent personnel moves.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:07pm

IMO, it should be "QB CHICAGO" but that is, after all, another game entirely...

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:07pm

#18, On the contrary, I think Pam Oliver is the only sideline reporter that adds anything to a broadcast. I would stenuously object to the notion that TV can find 5 million of her. They can't seem to find 5.

Essentially “under the bus” is a nicer way of saying “So terrible I wish they were dead”, which seems to come mainly from rock n roll.

No, no...."throw under the bus" has it's origins in the corporate world. If your boss blames you for a failure in order to absolve himself of culpability, he "threw you under the bus". Basically, killed your career. I would guess it's origin takes its roots from the odd news story about an ordinary man or woman saving somebody's life by yanking them or pushing them out of the way of an oncoming bus, occasionally killing themselves in the process. So this would be the opposite of self-sacrifice.

Throw into the lake or pushed him in front of the bullet would work equally well.

by vikinghooper (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:13pm

Will Allen,

I love your posts and it's nice to see a Viking fan with your insight.

I actually have no real beef against Pam Oliver myself, but if you look at the history of why cute females are on the sideline, it was to get players to open up because, let's face it, Oliver was a megababe 5 years ago. Pam probably didn't see herself quite like her superiors did, and therefore now has gone all substantial and journalistic.

Now Mc Nabb sees her for what she was hired to do; be cute, get him to open up, and eventually create controversy which leads to more money for the NFL secondary to more story lines.

So my issue, Will, is that this is a non-issue , a tempest in a teapot, and we should be talking about Tarvaris' atrocious coaching, not Sarkozy's girlfriend, Jon Benet's killer, or Pam Oliver's hurt feelings.

With Winfield and Rice out, the price for the Bears victory was steep. Imagine Samuel and Moss out for the Patriots.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:15pm

Agreed on Oliver. There are plenty of player "puff pieces" or as some here like to term it "slurp jobs".

Oliver asked questions and reported the answers. That is the fundamental asapect of her job. The problem with most of these nitwits is that they don't know what question to ask so the answers are incredibly bland.

Pam asked a good and highly legitimate question. And Donovan provided what is likely a very honest answer.

And Jim Gray asked a scumbag if he was willing to apologize for that which he ADMITTED....ON PAPER. And the scumbag refused to great fanfare by the public. Only to have said scumbag look to leverage an apology much later in the form of a tell-all book.

Jim Gray was RIGHT TO ASK THE QUESTION. Both in the context of the time (1999) and as vindicated by history.

We need MORE reporters asking good questions. Not LESS.

Good grief................

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:15pm

but if you look at the history of why cute females are on the sideline, it was to get players to open up because, let’s face it, Oliver was a megababe 5 years ago. Pam probably didn’t see herself quite like her superiors did, and therefore now has gone all substantial and journalistic.

Keyshawn? That you?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:23pm

Good looking people tend to get more t.v. jobs. This is notable?

by Bob Coluccio (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:24pm

Is there a reason people feel compelled to lie to this man?

All I know is that every time I go to Home Depot, assuming I can actually find someone who will help me, I end up more confused than when I came in.

Yeah, I know he's not with them anymore, but that's the customer service model he created. I assume.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:26pm

Well, Vikinghooper, it isn't a big deal, but nothing in the NFL is, really. But if NFL news is going to be reported, it is newsworthy when a prominent qb calls a network interviewer a liar.

by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:27pm

On Blank:
I feel kind of sorry for Blank and Falcons fans. So sorry that I'm almost tempted to want to lend them Belichick and Pioli for a year, just so they could see what it's like to have a well run team. Almost...

I think both Home Depot and Lowes (the two stores of that type around here) have gone downhill recently, but luckily, in slightly different directions, so when one doesn't have something, the other usually does.

On Jamal Lewis:
Did it never snow in Baltimore? I know Baltimore is warmer than Cleveland, but doesn't it get snow occasionally? Do the Ravens play in a dome? And wouldn't playing three games a year in places like Pittsburg, Cleveland, and Cincy (not to mention a game or two ever three years or more in Foxboro, Buffalo, or New York) lead to a snow game at some point in his career?

Bryant Gumbel's quote is the .best. .quote. .ever.!

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:27pm

Actually, it's even MORE newsworthy when said reporter doesn't cave.

by mrh (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:28pm

Here's what I don't understand about sideline reporters: why do the networks have them doing features and background stuff? There is no need to be on the sidelines to do that; any studio talking head or color commentator can do those types of reports. Meanwhile, we get nothing on what's actually happening on the sidelines. Isn't that what a sideline reporter should be covering (hence the name)? Not McNabb's future, or Brett Favre's past but the here and now in a football game.

From time to time I listen to a Chiefs radio broadcast. The sideline reporter is Bob Gretz, an old print journalist who also happens to be the KC media NFL HoF voter. The broadcast constantly cuts to him to give us a sideline perspective on penalties, what just happened on a play, injury status from the Chiefs' bench, interactions between coaches and players, etc.

This would be the standard if network broadcasts (including the NFLN) were about covering the game as opposed to cross-promoting TV shows, hyping celebrity players, and beating dead horses.

by Bob Coluccio (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:29pm

Hard-hitting reporter Pam Oliver interviewing Tony Romo after the victory over the Lions: "And the girls are swooning!"

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:32pm

#42...That would be nice. Occasionally Siragusa does that, and does that well, but eventually the conversation is always steered to what he had for lunch.

by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:36pm

On the Pam Oliver thing:

I haven't followed it, so I'm just going on the quote that was posted here. But the problem seems to be that Pam Oliver is reporting not on what McNabb SAID, but rather what HER feeling of the SENSE of what he might have been IMPLYING was. Re-read the quote (I added emphasis):

Donovan really seems to believe that his days in Philadelphia are numbered. When I spoke with him before the game, I got the impression that Donovan is a little hurt by what he sees as an organization distancing itself from him and an organization that’s overly concerned about the negative fan reaction to him.” ... “But Donovan told me point-blank: ‘My knee is not an issue. The next place I go, I will win,’ and also that he will keep a smile on his face for as long he’s in an Eagles uniform.”

She never claims that Donovan said that he thinks the Eagles want to get rid of him. She just says that "he seems to believe" that based on the fact that she "got the impression". In other words, she wanted to report a story that Donovan is hurt about the Eagles thinking of getting rid of him, but McNabb didn't actually say that, so she went ahead and reported her story anyway but based it on her own feelings and impressions. Other than the quote "the next place I go" (and this could very easily have been misquoted--it definitely seems out of place next to the smile comment), there is nothing in Donovan's quotes to support her conclusion, and if there had been, she certainly would have quoted it.

So no, she's not lying. But she is being a shoddy journalist by reporting hearsay and vague impressions as facts because they happen to support what she thinks makes a good story, regardless of the fact it may not be true and it may cast aspersions on McNabb's character or make problems for his relationship with his team. That's what she deserves to get called out for.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:39pm

Absolutely, mrh. If the networks wanted to use sideline reporters to inform people about in-game developments, it would really be interesting for knowledgeable fans. So much of the networks' productions are geared for people who only have a faint interest in the game; that is how you end up with some t.v. sctor in the booth for 20 minutes. Maybe when t.v. goes fully digital, a second audio channel can be devoted for football fans, while the ladies from The View do the main broadcast.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:39pm

#45 Good point. Pam did make it a point to say that she actually softened the language McNabb used....so who knows?

by Geronimo (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:41pm

John Morgan, Devin McCullen, Podge, and dryheat,

...thanks for the feedback about the "throw under bus" phrase.

Fascinating stuff! I especially like the idea that it started with the music industry. I hope that's true.

It never occured to me to think that it's the opposite of the classic selfless-life-saving move, but I think that's a very clever read.

#42 (mrh): I agree with you. The quality of a televised football game is slipping further and further. Personally I think the NFL is messing with a winning formula and they are deluded if they think they'll win "young" fans with the cross-promotional hype stuff. But then again, I'm not one of the six-figured MBA's they no doubt have coming up with these strategies...

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:42pm

MJK, I have no opinion on whose version is correct, but I believe McNabb is claiming flat out that he never said what Oliver directly quoted.

by Just Another Falcon Fan (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 2:43pm

– Official statement from Falcons owner Arthur Blank on December 19, 2007. Is there a reason people feel compelled to lie to this man?

It's the porn star mustache.

by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:08pm

I thought the purpose of sideline reporters was to create a secondary diversion so we can miss the plays that commercials don't ruin.
But I give Oliver credit. She finally started pulling her hair forward to cover up that forehead. (That's no forehead...that's a spacestation.)
It's gotta be the HGH. I think she was on page 286 of the Mitchell report. Come to think of it, have you ever seen Barry Bonds and Pam Oliver in the same place at the same time?
Thanks everyone, I'll be here all week. Tip the veal! Try the waitress!

by Flounder (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:14pm

Re: 8 Yup. Much to my chagrin, Adam Vinateri is constantly referred to as a "hall of famer"

by vikinghooper (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:14pm

My last attempt at this Pam Oliver imbroglio.

Donovan McNabb was booed the day he was drafted. He never won a Super Bowl. He is obscenely wealthy. He now may leave Philadelphia, although hopefully not for Minnesota.

Now Pam Oliver creates controversy around him and he falls into her trap, and a story is born. She also feels bad to be called a liar. Sorry Pam, everyone knows Donovan is lying. The point is there is no story here.

Someone said, but reporters should ask tough questions. Whether McNAbb stays in Philly or not is not really his call, it is Philly's call.

So the whole Oliver as victim story just pushed me over the edge of what I hate about how the NFL is reported.

I like the NFL for the physical and mental strategy used and needed to be successful. I hate the puff pieces, non-stories, and drivel that the NFL creates to try to appeal to non-football fans.

I want people to comment on why 9 calls went against the Bears on MNF.

But please, let's stop the non-issue fluff crap pieces about Pam's feelings and Donovan's feelings.

by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:26pm

Does anyone know the origin or etymology of the phrase “throwing him under a bus”?

Late entry into this sweepstakes: No less a luminary than NYTimes On Language columnist William Safire has taken this one on. Click my name for story.

by gmc (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:39pm

No Wade Phillips?


by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:44pm

In the Safire article, it seems the phrase means to get crushed....as in, be on the cutting edge, or you'll get stampeded and destroyed. Which dovetails with the music industry explanation.

This may be the original use of the phrase, but the meaning of the phrase has definitely changed to the scapegoating meaning. I wonder when and how.....or if the two evolved independent of each other, which I think might be the case.

by Geronimo (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:55pm

54 and 56: thanks. The Safire piece was interesting!

The scapegoating meaning is definitely dominant today. I seem to recall first noticing the phrase in 2003 or so, and so I wonder what football player said it "first" from a prominant platform?

My memory is making me think it was a player commenting on T.O.'s treatment of Jeff Garcia, but I'm just not sure.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:56pm

Here's what I don't get - isn't Pam Oliver a TV reporter? If she interviewed McNabb, why wasn't she recording it? If it was said in passing, why was it being reported in the first place?

I always found it weird when a TV reporter (or radio, for that matter) gives out material second-hand for a sourced story. Isn't the whole point of the medium to stop doing that?

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 4:07pm

I think Arthur Blank needs to star in one of those Southwest Airlines "Wanna get away" commercials.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 4:10pm

Re 24

Just give him some more time. Although I think that may have been the only thing he didn't insinuate about McNabb, so maybe his attention span doesn't allow him to use the same insults on more than one person.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 4:11pm

vikinghooper, that was my original inquiry. Since when is asking a question a "trap"? Either answer or don't answer it. You are right; who cares?

by Scott (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 4:14pm

Re: Under the Bus

I had heard a (possibly apocryphal) story that it has its origins in the Boston Busing Crisis in the 1970s. That someone who deigned to support or at least not vehemently oppose busing was threatened with being thrown under the bus. I don't remember reading it in Common Ground though. It's probably too convenient to be true. Maybe it's just a nice, vivid image that came about organically.

In other news: Isn't the TO stuff great? He's like Krakatoa on May 19, 1883.

Finally, I love this string of quotes from Kevin Mawae, on Mangini, from the NY Post:

"You have a young coach coming in that's trying to win the confidence of his team, and obviously, he's doing things that go against the grain of what a lot of the older guys on the team were used to or know shouldn't be happening. The last thing you want is a guy that knows all the rules in there, and I definitely would have been one of the guys to call him out on it."

"I think I was a big asset to the team, and I still could have been. I was the first guy in his office to congratulate him and tell him he's the kind of coach that our team needed, as young as we were at that time. My only regret is that he didn't just tell me outright then that I wasn't in the plans. I'm better off for it."

Is it me or is Mawae saying basically:
'I would have called Mangini out for not letting us get away with stuff, but I was let go because I wanted to get away with stuff, even though I told him to his face we needed a guy who didn't put up with guys like me, who want to get away with stuff.'

by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 4:20pm

Re 45:

Reporters job aren't just to collect facts and report them. Their are definitely supposed to give their impressions. Imagine if Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein simply reported the facts of Watergate, and not what they felt was going on.

by Rex Grossman: Eyebrows of DOOM!! (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 4:44pm

Giant forehead or no, Pam Oliver is hot. Click my name for YouTube confirmation.

Would it be possible to publish Herm's quotes in haiku form? Slate turned Donald Rumsfeld into a brilliant poet, surely you could do the same...

by Flounder (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 4:51pm

Re: 57 That seems way to recent. I swear I heard that phrase plenty of times in a sports context as a child in the 80's.

by AmbiantDonkey (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 4:54pm

re: 12
It's easier to make throws in practice, no one is trying to hit you. I think it was reasonable of the Bears coaching staff to think that Orton might have become a better player with 2 more years of NFL quality coaching since his rookie season. In hindsight it doesn't look like he's any better. You can't coach accuracy.

by MarkB (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 5:05pm

Herm Edwards pisses on KC fans, and no one cares. Belichich doesn't hold the handshake with Dungy for sufficient milliseconds, and he's a monster. It's all about the story, isn't it.

by notastud (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 5:14pm

A couple that got missed:

"Ben Roethlisberger, you are a stud. You are a big, strong stud."

"Jacksonville is not a team of Brett Farves, I'll tell you that."

-Dan Dierdorf, calling the Jacksonville-Pittsburgh game

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 5:49pm

Re: 67

Well, apparently the KC fans cared. That's why Herm had to make his half-assed apology.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 6:10pm

Re: 68

Please tell me those weren't embellished. Please tell me he actually say that second one. I am begging you.

by Groy (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 6:51pm

I hate to be the killjoy, but the TO quote is a joke. He issued a retraction today (link in name) and even uttered the very un-TO

"I have to be patient and I have to make myself realize Tony has played only a year and a half of football," Owens said Monday. "So, he really hasn't seen a lot of football. He's learning on the fly, and we've had success."

by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 7:04pm

AND it was a well-timed retraction that nipped any possible team chemistry killing / media-circus problems before they got out of control.

Is our little T.O. growing up right before our eyes?

by Mig (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 8:09pm

RE 55:

Can't believe it either. Wade's comments about Romo's thumb were incrediblely DUMB.

by Catfish (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 11:54pm

Here's a comment from the Petrino to Arkansas thread that sheds some light on why Arthur Blank has gotten screwed so much:


For those of you who have followed Art Blank throughout his Home Depot and now Falcons career this outcome is not staggering.

I worked for the guy for over 15 years and his list of good qualities is endless. Great man and even better business person.

His fatal flaw. Hiring.

Seriously, the list of train wreck disaster employees at Home Depot that Art “had to hire” is miles and miles long.

He just flat out can’t see talent at any level and one of the biggest reasons he left HD was the fact that the HD BOD told him that his opinion was no longer valuable when it came to executive hiring decisions.

Bob Nardelli, the ex-GE CEO who left HD much, much worse than how he found it and with $210MM bucks.

Blank had been courting him for YEARS…you can see how that ended.

Vick, Nardelli, Petrino…and the worst part of it…Art is a VERY hands-on leader. You won’t be able to pry hiring away from him with any size crowbar.

My guess is that he has to interview anybody who gets hired into the Falcons organization.

:: Home Depot Executive — 12/11/2007 @ 10:01 pm"

by crack (not verified) :: Fri, 12/21/2007 - 1:04am


To further Catfish's post Nardelli came in and tried to Six Sigma his way to prosperity. He looked at all the customer facing employees and figured they weren't producing anything so he could cut them. Nardelli is the reason for the crappy customer service at HD.

by sanddog (not verified) :: Fri, 12/21/2007 - 10:44am

I think the fact that blank even spoke to parcells confirms catfish's point. Parcells is well established as the most mercenary man in the nfl, and blank seeks *him* out amid the turmoil of 2007? Utterly baffling.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/21/2007 - 10:49am

Re: 71

I'm not sure how many people took his comments seriously, but I'm going to guess it wasn't many. If God himself came to me and gave me a choice between seeing TO poison Dallas the way he poisoned Philly or having a cure for cancer I'd have to take a minute to think about it, but even I didn't really think he was serious. But that doesn't mean I can't dream. Stop trying to ruin my early Christmas present! Killjoy!

by Jets Fan (not verified) :: Fri, 12/21/2007 - 11:21am

.. I think mawae was communicating that mangini did things that were ilegal (pushing the envelope in camp, etc etc) and he is saying that if he and some other outspoken veterans were there, they would have called him out on it. So mangini gave him and kendall the boot. Could be. But no, he wasn't referring to what he wanted to get away with, he was referring to what mangini gets away with -with a bunch of younger, less experienced guys.

by Nick (not verified) :: Fri, 12/21/2007 - 11:52am

The McNabb-Oliver saga took another turn a day or two ago when McNabb somewhat went back on his denial. Now he says the reason he was upset is that his comments were made during a conversation with Oliver, not during an interview. He basically said that since he was just talking to her and not responding to a question, it was out of bounds for her to report it. I am trying to find a transcript but the sound bite is getting a lot of play on local radio here.

by patsfandan (not verified) :: Fri, 12/21/2007 - 12:17pm

too bad the Pitt-STL game came too late for TWIQ - Gumbel is putting on a late charge for the championship through his sheer number of entries. such as "this is a critical game for STL. If they don't win, they are in danger of not making the playoffs." He had a number of Al/Frank Gore style entries last night.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/21/2007 - 12:36pm

Gumbel is just flat out lazy, and the NFL should investigate getting out the contract, if there is any language which requires Gumbel to maintain a minimum level of professional effort.

by b roo (not verified) :: Fri, 12/21/2007 - 5:02pm

Re #71 and #72
Do you really think those comments by TO are positive and a sign that he's grown up? The guy has two subpar weeks in a row and rather than accept responsibility he throws Romo under the bus and blames it on his alleged inexperience. Fortunately for Dallas it won't destroy team unity because Romo won't let it. Unlike the thin-skinned McNabb who would snipe back and forth with TO on the sideline and in the media blaming each other, Romo just keeps a smile on his face and goes out and plays football.

by good grief (not verified) :: Fri, 12/21/2007 - 5:37pm

... thrown under the bus... hmmm... I wonder where that came from ...

by Lac Daddy (not verified) :: Sat, 12/22/2007 - 5:11pm

The only NFL Network telecast I've seen (in English) was the Denver-Houston game. I remember thinking that Bryant Gumbel was actually pretty good... until I realized he was sick that night and someone else was anouncing for him...

by Tri Shanku (not verified) :: Sun, 12/23/2007 - 2:40am

Just wondering.. does Arthur Blank ever get those mails promising millions from Africa?

Happy holidays, everybody!