"A long line of coaches and players are pretty pissed at me after that. We're both pretty emotional guys so that's what I deserve, you know. If you make bad plays, you're supposed to get yelled at by your coaches. It was just a stupid play by me.''
-- New England quarterback Tom Brady, on getting chewed out on the sidelines by offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien after a second-half interception.
"Hey! Good game, Business!''
-- Steelers linebacker James Farrior, leaving the Pittsburgh locker room Thursday night and shouting out congratulations to Roethlisberger. One of the other guys in the locker room said "Business'' was a nickname for handling one's business superbly.
"Can you say a prayer for Cutler's thumb?''
-- Final question for Denver quarterback Tim Tebow, a very religious man, on his conference call with Chicago reporters last Wednesday. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had recent thumb surgery, and it's unknown whether he'll play again this year.
"These guys, very few of them are ever going to make a dollar playing basketball. They are here to get an education at two great universities and they need to appreciate that. The world don't revolve around them, around basketball. They need to learn how to act. They need to have respect for the fact they are on a scholarship, that people come to see them play. That's just the facts of college athletics.
"There's too much glorification of all of sports in our society. The fact is, guys are here to get an education. They represent institutions of higher learning. Xavier has been a great school for years. We are trying to cure cancer at Cincinnati. I go to school at a place where they discovered the vaccine for polio and created Benadryl. I think that's more important than who wins a basketball game. And our guys need to have appreciation for the fact they are there on a full scholarship. And they're there to represent institutions with class and integrity ... I have never been this embarrassed.''
-- University of Cincinnati basketball coach Mick Cronin, after a full-scale brawl, one of the worst in college sports history, ended the UC-Xavier game Saturday in Cincinnati.
Good for Cronin, who suspended four players Sunday, three for six games each.
Florida-based NFL teams, their records and the status of their opening day head coaches:
|Fate of the Sunshine State's NFL Head Coaches|
The Bucs' fall has been shocking in its totality. I don't know that they could beat Indianapolis right now. In the last two months, they've lost games by 45, 28, 19 and 27 points. Raheem Morris is supposed to be a defensive innovator, and his team allowed 41 points Sunday to a team, Jacksonville, that hadn't scored more than 20 in a game all season.
With the problems the Bucs have had selling tickets, I think the Bucs would have to do something great in the last three games (Dallas, at Carolina, at Atlanta) for Morris to have any chance of keeping his job.
It occurred to me that Tebow must be getting slammed with media requests and pulled in different directions by the demands, so I asked Denver manager of media information Patrick Smyth just how slammed Tebow is. Smyth estimated Tebow has been getting about 100 requests per week, including the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CNN, FOX News and fitness and religious channels. No, no, no, no and no.
From Monday through Saturday last week, the most in-demand player in America's biggest game did the following with the media:
Monday: KOA radio interview (5 mins.).
Wednesday: Local press conference (10);
Conference call with Chicago media (10);
Interview, LA Times' Sam Farmer (14).
Friday: Taping KOA pregame show interview (5);
FOX-TV production meeting (15);
Interview, SI's Jim Trotter (18 -- includes five minutes just chatting)
Interview, FOXSports.com's Alex Marvez (6)
Sunday: The usual.
Total time spent with media on non-game days: 83 minutes.
Total minutes in six days: 8,640.
Percentage of Tebow's life spent with media last week: 0.9 percent.
Doesn't seem like too much of a distraction to me.
A comedy of errors (but I'm not laughing) led to this column being posted so late today. I regret making you wait.
I've caught a little bug in the last few days somewhere, and I've been trying to fight that off. I had to travel for a story early this morning, flying out of JFK at 6:55 a.m., and so at about 1:30 this morning, I lay down to sleep for three hours, unusual for my Sunday night. Woke up at 5. Rushed to get ready, got in the car to the airport and in five minutes discovered two very bad things: I left my cell phone in the car, and my flight, which I was told would have WiFi, did not.
Now that's what I call a great start to a day.
So I got on line quickly at the airport, tweeted my delay, informed my editors I was an idiot, and, with two hours of work left on the column, finished it on the plane and sent upon landing.
I can't figure out why I have this splitting headache.
"Is Tebow the Jordan of football Wow''
-- @paulpierce34, the admiring Boston Celtic, minutes after the Broncos erased a 10-0 deficit with six minutes left and beat the Bears 13-10 in overtime.
"I think Dad loves @TimTebow more than me.''
-- @Jesus_M_Christ, a phony admirer.
"Like Religion, #Tebow and the Broncos comebacks cannot be explained to nonbelievers.''
-- @Iceberg_Dan, a real admirer.
"How bout you fine James Harrison something more than money... The boy cheap!''
-- @CaseMcCoy6, the brother of Colt McCoy, after Harrison's helmet-to-helmet hit on McCoy left the Cleveland quarterback with a concussion.
"#SuburbanPoet mode engaged Feelin Rusty, no not a state of metal, Bense kickin it solo like Hans not Gretel.. Really? Yes really #MrReally"
-- @RustyBenson35, off-and-on Patriots safety, practice-squadder and urban poet, I guess, on Thursday. What it means, I do not know.
Because the MVP is sort of boring right now (Aaron Rodgers, with three weeks left, looks to be running away with it), I'm going to highlight other award races down the stretch. On Saturday, I asked my Twitter followers which Associated Press postseason award they'd like to see discussed here. It was close, but coach beat out defensive player. So coach it is -- for this week.
In AP voting, due the day after the end of the regular season, 50 ballot-holders among the national media vote for the All-Pro team and for each of the awards, like the MVP and Coach of the Year. Here's how I'd line them up today in the coach voting, keeping in mind one very important thing (which you'll see in number two):
1. Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco. A very, very close race that got paper-thin close Sunday when the Niners lost to the Cardinals. But to be 10-3 after meeting your full squad for the first time six weeks before the season, after your coordinators and many position coaches meet the players for the first time six weeks before the season, and after most of these same players floundered to a 6-10 record in a bad division last year ... that's great coaching and great organization.
2. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay. Remember: I'm handicapping the race with three weeks left in the season, so my order could certainly change. And if the Packers go undefeated after winning the Super Bowl, I'm going to be very tempted to pick a 16-0 McCarthy over a 13-3 or 12-4 Jim Harbaugh. Super Bowl winners have enough problems keeping their players focused on the job at hand. Going 16-0? Amazing. If they win out, the Packers will be on a 22-game winning streak entering the playoffs.
3. Gary Kubiak, Houston. At 10-3, with 2.5 wins coming with a third-string quarterback ... this is another guy who could move up in the last three weeks.
4. John Fox, Denver. Remade his offense, willingly, in midseason when it was obvious Tim Tebow was a better option quarterback than pro-style pocket quarterback. Good coaches adjust to their talent. Fox is the poster child for that this year, and the Broncos are contending because of it.
5. John Harbaugh, Baltimore. Since he took the job in 2008, Harbaugh has been chasing the Steelers with his Ravens. This year they swept Pittsburgh and are in position to play at home in the playoffs for the first time since the Brian Billick-Steve McNair Ravens of 2006.