"History was running through my mind. Us against no, us against can't.''
-- San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis, after his clutch touchdown catch in the final seconds lifted the 49ers a 36-32 victory over New Orleans.
"How the hell is that not a fumble?''
-- Giants play-by-play man Bob Papa, on the Giants Radio Network, after ref Bill Leavy did not overturn a first-quarter non-fumble call against the Packers.
"I'm sure if we win, I'll have nothing to do with why we won.''
-- Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, four days before Sunday's playoff game against Houston, sounding like he was lamenting not getting enough credit, because he doesn't put up glamorous numbers.
You can make numbers say what you want them to say, and Flacco had a good passer rating for this game (97.1) after a 14-of-27 day with two touchdowns and no interceptions. But if you watched the game, you know Flacco missed his share of open receivers and didn't have a very good day.
"I have a great deal of confidence in me.''
-- Rex Ryan, coach of the Jets, as storm clouds and loud anonymous Mark Sanchez-rippers circled in the water around the embattled franchise.
"Al Michaels is my favorite. By far. C'mon, everybody misses John Madden. It sucks that he's retired, but at least we've still got Michaels. He is the last of the true icons still calling games. Just hearing his voice, it's nostalgic, man. It brings you back to when you were a little kid. His voice is ill. I don't know how long Al Michaels plans on doing the Sunday night games for NBC, but if he retired tomorrow, it would really [expletive] suck.''
-- Eminem, to Peter Schrager of GQ.
The Carolina Panthers scored 210 more points in 2011 (406) than they did in 2010 (196).
Cam Newton accounted for 210 points in 2011. He threw for 21 touchdowns and ran for 14. Those 35 touchdowns, multiplied times six points, equal 210.
Busy week for NFL referee Gene Steratore, who traveled a long way to go 21 miles between Tuesday and Saturday evenings.
On Tuesday, he reffed the Louisville-Providence Big East men's basketball game in downtown Providence. He woke up Wednesday and flew from Providence to Lincoln, Neb., a distance of 1,489 miles, to do the Penn State-Nebraska men's game that night. Then he flew back east, and Saturday night he was in Foxboro to do the Denver-New England AFC divisional playoff game.
Providence is a popular place to stay before and after Patriots games because of its proximity to Foxboro. Steratore had to take a 2,978-mile detour to spend two working nights in eastern New England.
Busy Beaver, that Steratore. He got up early Sunday and flew to Columbus to do the Big Ten battle between Ohio State and Indiana.
The Oakland Raiders might be the most impetuous drafting organization in NFL history, and the 2012 draft is a good example.
They traded the first-round pick in October as part of the Carson Palmer deal with Cincinnati.
They traded the second-round pick last April as part of a deal to obtain New England's third- and fourth-round picks in 2011. Oakland used those picks to take tackle Joseph Barksdale and running back Taiwan Jones, neither of whom started a game for the Raiders in 2011.
They gave up the third-round pick in August to choose Terrelle Pryor in the Supplemental Draft. Pryor has not seen the field yet.
They traded the fourth-round pick to Washington in 2010 for quarterback Jason Campbell. Campbell got hurt in October and is a free agent, likely to play elsewhere in 2012.
They traded the seventh-round pick to Seattle as part of a deal to obtain linebacker Aaron Curry in October. He played well for the Raiders after the trade.
Not including compensatory draft picks, that means the Raiders' first regular draft choice in 2012 will be on day three, midway through the fifth round, on approximately the 148th overall selection. (The exact choice depends on how many compensatory picks the league will dole out this spring.) The Raiders' first choice, a compensatory pick for the loss of Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency, would be at the end of the third round at the earliest -- the 97th pick overall.
The Raiders have also surrendered their second-round pick in 2013 as part of the Carson Palmer trade; that pick could rise to a first-rounder if the Raiders make the AFC title game next year. And they've also lost a mid-round pick in 2013 as part of the Aaron Curry trade.
So let's tally this up.
In 2012, Oakland has two of its seven draft picks left.
In 2013, Oakland has five of its seven draft picks left.
With holes in an aging roster, they've traded seven of their 14 draft choices in the next two drafts ... including a one, two twos and a three.
Good thing new owner Mark Davis gave GM Reggie McKenzie a long-term contract.
Location, Location, Location Dept.:
There is a Renaissance Hotel built into the Gillette Stadium complex. A media friend of mine stayed there while on assignment for the Broncos-Patriots game over the weekend. On Friday night, his stadium-view room cost $299 plus tax. On Saturday, game day, the room went for $709.
Add tax to that a room tax of $40.41 and an "occupancy tax'' of $42.54. (I've always loved that one -- the occupancy tax. Hoteliers are taxing you because you're occupying the room. Well, what did you expect us to do with the room? Use it to shoot free throws?)
Total bill for staying in a regular Marriott Hotel room for one evening: $791.95.
So my friend went back to the hotel 90 minutes after the game, after working for the day, looking for a cold beer before bed. Bar closed.
All in all, a heck of a two-day stay in Foxboro. I can only hope his accounting department at work understands when he files an expense report for two nights at a Renaissance Hotel, and the bill for the room tops $1,100.
"Here's the crazy thing,'' my buddy told me. "The place was sold out.''
"A repeat of the unexpected news that broke in 1957: NY Giants heading to San Francisco.''
-- @JohnLowe86, longtime baseball scribe John Lowe from Detroit.
"Ravens, Niners & Giants: the 3 teams that run & defend the best, all still alive. PATS will their hands full with any of them."
"That said ... I'll take my chances with Brady, Belichick & #75 any day! #GOPATS''
-- @DonnieWahlberg, actor and lover of all teams Boston, with a double-Tweet.
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