Quote of the Week I
"Well, we're going to be a good football team, regardless of what happens.''
Quote of the Week II
"We've communicated that to Brett, that we have since moved forward. At the same time, we've never said there couldn't be some role he might play here. But I would understand his point that he would want to play.''
Quote of the Week III
"What's going on with Brett Favre? Do you think he's coming back?''
I may be paraphrasing slightly, but you get the point.
Stat of the Week
I don't know how this stat escaped me ... but I'm sure it has not escaped the new Baltimore coach, John Harbaugh.
In 2006, the Ravens led the NFL with a plus-17 turnover differential. In 2007, the Ravens were last in the league with a minus-17.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
The 2007 census data came out last week, and there was continuing ominous news for three Rust Belt cities with NFL franchises.
Pittsburgh, the nation's 59th-largest city with 311,218 people, is now smaller than Aurora, Colo. (311,794). Pittsburgh has lost 7 percent of its population since 2000. I've noticed in recent visits the stark downturn in several city neighborhoods.
Buffalo (272,632) has dropped from 59th to 68th in the city-population standings and now is less than half the size of Oklahoma City. Meanwhile, Long Beach, Fresno, Mesa (Ariz.), and El Paso all outsize Cleveland (438,032), which has dropped from 34th to 40th. Worse news for Cleveland: No city has lost a bigger chunk of its people since 2000 than Cleveland -- 8.3 percent. Cleveland ... the nation's 40th-largest city. Shocking. Just doesn't seem possible. I should note that all of these figures are city populations only and don't include suburbs. Cleveland's are sprawling.
I'm not playing Taps for these towns, but that news underscores the importance of an NFL team for civic pride. When people look around their hometowns and find not a lot to get fired up about, they turn toward their civic institutions and say, "Give us something to make us feel good about our future. Please.''
Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week
Oregon. South Dakota. North Dakota. I realized the other day that I'm 51 and I'd never spent appreciable time in any of those states. So I was happy to be in Portland and its suburban neighbor to the north, Scappoose, the other day. Driving through Portland is what it's like to drive through a European city in some ways, because of all the bikes in such a green-conscious city. So imagine my surprise when I picked up The Oregonian Thursday to read this headline atop page one: "Bike-car clash morphs into melee.''
Seems a driver didn't like the way a bicyclist was running red lights and driving recklessly in downtown Portland, and he yelled at the guy to stop being so careless. The cyclist got off his bike and told the driver to get out of his car if he wanted to make such a fuss about how he was operating his bike. The driver of the car got out. And the bicyclist started -- according to police reports -- beating the driver of the car with the bike. Yes, beating the driver of the car with his bike, holding the bike over his head and assaulting the defenseless driver at least five times, leaving the mark of a bike chain on him.
Not sure what the moral of the story is, but it's not good.