Remembering John Madden
THE NFL SAYS GOODBYE TO JOHN MADDEN
NFL Week 17 - "Nobody loved football more than Coach. He was football. He was an incredible sounding board to me and so many others. There will never be another John Madden, and we will forever be indebted to him for all he did to make football and the NFL what it is today."
—NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. (NFL.com)
"This is a loss that is as big as the legacy that John Madden created. A legacy of love. Love for family, for football, and for life. I am not aware of anyone who has made a more meaningful impact on the National Football League than John Madden, and I know of no one who loved the game more."
"When I think of a person of sports who is worthy of the term 'larger than life,' I have always thought of John. And I always will."
"If you knew John, he made your life better. For me he was a trusted confidant, advisor, a teacher, and above all, a very dear friend. When he walked into the room, it was a better day. When he talked, you listened, and you learned. When he laughed, everyone in the room laughed. And when he got back on the bus to leave, you always wanted more. You were always looking forward to his next visit."
—Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (DallasCowboys.com)
" I think we all, probably, set out to try to have a good professional career. John had about five of them. He set the standard for coaching in his era. They had the best record, best teams, championships, and all that. Raiders had a great style of play that was very, I'd say, captivating. He certainly did a lot for the league and the competitiveness of the league. He was a great champion for minorities and minority scouting. Some of the great players that they had with the Raiders from the smaller black colleges, he and [Al] Davis brought into the organization."
"Then he moved to broadcasting and, certainly, increased the popularity of the game, singlehandedly, by quite a bit. I don't know how you'd ever measure that, but I think everybody that liked football enjoyed John's commentary. A lot of people who probably didn't even care about football found John entertaining and watched football because of him. He brought a lot of people to the game. He brought a perspective to the game that was very unique. Loved by all."
—New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (ProFootballTalk)
THIS WEEK IN REFLECTING ON THE FUTURE
"I don't ever speak in definites or guarantees, that's just not what I've ever done or who I am. But looking at the bigger picture, I would say that all signs are pointing to this could be it. Regular season, that is—I know we still have a chance to potentially get a playoff game there if things fall our way and we take care of business and things have to happen. But in the grand scheme of things, in terms of regular season, signs are pointing that way, this could be it."
—Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took a moment to recognize that Monday's game against the Cleveland Browns may be his last regular season game at Heinz Field. (ProFootballTalk)
"Football has been good to me. I was able to walk away unscathed. I don't want to sound like I'm retiring, but I've had some great memories. ... It takes more than one guy. I had a moment on the sideline, you look back over the years and the guys who taught you ... they understood what "Keep Pounding" meant. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm so let down because the city of Charlotte has been good to me. ... You feel empty, like damn, are you good enough? I'm not going to complain about getting into a rhythm, about what this person didn't do. ... I'm going to be a man and take responsibility."
—Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took time to reflect on his lackluster return to the team. The Panthers won the first game of Newton's return, where he was featured in goal-line packages, but have since lost their next five games, all of which Newton started. (Jonathan Alexander, The Charlotte Observer via Twitter)
"I wouldn't rule [retirement] out. I think that I'm just enjoying this season for this season. Playing next year will definitely be in the thought process. One of the things that, and you and I have obviously talked about this over the years, wanting to not be a bum on the way out and to still be able to play I think is important to me. If this year has taught me anything it's that, you know, I still can play. I still have a love for the game. I'm still super competitive and still enjoy the process of the week. I miss practice and it's tough to not be out there, week after week now, but I still do love competing and I love being out there. There'll be a lot of things that I weigh in the offseason."
"I'm just savoring this year, as much as anything. It won't be something where I'll drag it out for months and months. I'll have conversations with my loved ones after the season, with Brian [Gutekunst] and [team president] Mark [Murphy] and [cap guru] Russ [Ball] and the coaching staff and then make a decision at some point. You know, I'm not going to hold the team back from anything and once I commit, if it's committing to move forward here, it'll be a quick decision."
—Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, when presented with the idea he would either play in Green Bay or with a new team in 2022, specifically noted he would not rule out retirement. Rodgers also took time to praise members of Packers personnel, including general manager Brian Gutekunst, head coach Matt Lafleur, and wide receiver Randall Cobb. (Acme Packing Company)
GIVE MICAH PARSONS HIS OWN NATURE SHOW
"We're not alligators. We don't get paralyzed after we eat."
—Dallas Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons on staying hungry after clinging the NFC East title. (B/R Gridiron via Twitter)
"Tre was looking for an animal, and everybody wanted to be the lion, but I was like, 'No, there's only one lion.' I was talking to Donovan Wilson and told him, 'You could be a jaguar. I like jags, they can jump, and they can swim. They actually go and kill alligators, dive into the lakes and kill them.' Then Tre came over and he mentioned some things and I was like, 'Nah, Tre you a eagle, bro. You in a league of your own.' And he was like, 'an eagle?' And I was like, 'Yeah, eagles only fly with other eagles. No other bird can reach their altitude.' So Tre's the eagle and I'm the lion. He owns the air and I own the ground. So that's what we've got to do. That's why we're 7-11."
—Parsons has gone as far as categorizing his teammates as their own animals, turning the Dallas Cowboys defense into an Animorphs book. (David Helman, DallasCowboys.com via Twitter)
"Sony has that (mindset) where 'I can't stop chugging along,' He's like a choo-choo train. It's just 'Choooo! Choooo!'"
—Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson took a different route from Parsons, likening running back Sony Michel to a locomotive. (L.A. Daily News)
BE KIND, DON'T REWIND
"Not for one reason at all do I think we have to restart this thing."
"When you look around our division and you look at when the Cardinals were really rolling and they had all of their guys going, they had a lot of star players on their football team. Like, National Football League star guys. The Rams looked like they were pretty loaded up as well. You could see it. The Niners have a lot of firepower."
"I'm looking at our club, I like what we had. I liked every aspect of what we had. But as it turned out, the guys in our division—it's why this is the best division in football, and it was noted for that going maybe into the middle of the season. The talent is there. We're up against it."
—Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll believes that his team does not need to hit the reset button in order to be competitive in 2022. Seattle's 10 losses this season thus far are their worst total since 2009. (NFL.com)
Reporter: "Hey Saquon, I know you guys are going back to Chicago where, obviously, you tore your ACL last year. Some players are looking for closure. They'll go back to the spot that it happened and spit, maybe even piss. Some would maybe even want to burn down the stadium that it happened in. Is that something you've considered doing for all this?"
Saquon Barkley: "Nah."
—New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will assumedly be handling his return to Chicago in a healthier manner than whatever this reporter assumed. (Bobby Skinner, Talkin' Giants via Twitter)
THE RHULES OF THE ROAD
"I believe it's 1,000% working, I just know no one can see it and I apologize. As I tell our team all the time, it took Jay-Z seven years. He had to start his own agency to become an overnight sensation. It takes time."
—Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule understands that his 10-21 record since taking over as head coach hasn't been ideal. Rhule, however, sees a path to growth similar to that of recording artist Jay-Z. All he needs is Jay-Z's kind of time. (Nick Carboni, WCNC via Twitter)
"I would much prefer passion over apathy. I would much prefer pressure over nothing, right? I could do something else. I think our fans are great, they support us, and sometimes you need to be booed."
—Rhule on the boos of Panthers fans. (Joe Person, The Athletic via Twitter)
"Where that Jerry Sullivan at? What the f*ck's he got to say?"
—Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer shouted this as he ran off the field following Buffalo's 33-21 win over the New England Patriots. Buffalo reporter Jerry Sullivan had previously asked Poyer whether he felt embarrassed by the team's prior performance against the Patriots. (Tim Graham, The Athletic via Twitter)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
I can't stop laughing at this. pic.twitter.com/Cvvf49z25Q
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) December 26, 2021
—One brave journalist took the time to ask Bill Belichick about his New Year's Resolution after the Patriots' loss to Buffalo. Needless to say, the coach wasn't the most forthcoming.
"I want to be as brave and courageous as she was, asking that question to Coach Belichick after a loss. That's what I want for the New Year."
—Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady applauded the reporter for her bravery after the fact. (Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times via Twitter)
— Justis Mosqueda (NFL Owner) (@JuMosq) December 28, 2021
Jacksonville Jaguars fans have been holding a "KhlownOut," using avatars of clowns with giant moustaches as avatars, in hopes of encouraging team owner Shad Khan (whose facial hair is impressive) to sell the team.