"That is the beauty of the NFL. Everybody is so close, and everyone has a good football team in the NFL. The margin of error between winning and losing is really tiny, and the ball can bounce your way, or the ball can go off somebody's fingertips, and it changes the whole outlook of careers -- not just games, careers. We had some balls go our way. We have got to have a little luck in some games to get to the Super Bowl and win this game. You have to have some good players and good coaches, and we had a little bit of all of that.''
-- Giants GM Jerry Reese.
"Hit me right in the hands. It's a play I never drop. It comes at the biggest moment of my life.''
-- New England wideout Wes Welker
"Tom has seen my poetry. I think Tom enjoys it. Tom enjoys the Suburban Poet ... A lot of the guys on the team know me as the poet, the Suburban Poet. At some point, I thought, 'Most of the guys don't know my name. They just call me the Poet.' ''
-- New England practice squad player Ross Ventrone, who fancies himself the Suburban Poet.
Ventrone says instead of singing the Villanova fight song when young players have to sing their college's song on demand by Patriot veterans, he throws out a poem.
I asked Ventrone for a poem or two. He has taken to doing Twitpoems, 140-character jobs he fits to Twitter. Here's his tribute to aardvarks:
Eyes open when it's dark.
Interesting animal style,
Big Ups to aardvarks (we need you out there).
"Aardvarks are a nocturnal burrowing animal (eyes open when it's dark) that not a lot of people are familiar with,'' Ventrone wrote via email. "So I just show them love by saying we need you out there. Ha-ha.''
The seven-hour, 34-minute election meeting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012 had one inescapable trend: The longer the 44 voters debated a candidate's case, the more dubious his prospects became. The longest discussions Saturday:
Bill Parcells, coach: 57 minutes, eliminated in cut to 5.
Ed DeBartolo Jr., owner: 41 minutes; eliminated in cut to 10.
Andre Reed, wideout: 29 minutes, eliminated in cut to 10.
Dick Stanfel, guard: 25 minutes, did not receive 36 votes required for election*
* Stanfel was a Senior Committee nominee. There are two of those per year. Those candidates are voted on differently than the 15 modern-era candidates, in that they simply need to get 80 percent of the votes -- 36 of the 44 voters must vote yes.
We debated Willie Roaf for eight minutes, Dermontti Dawson for 10, Chris Doleman for 13, Cortez Kennedy for 16 and Curtis Martin for 19. That's 66 minutes for the five modern guys who made it ... just nine minutes more combined than the entire Parcells discussion.
The David Tyree Velcro catch was the last reception of his NFL career.
Awkward moments at the Colts facility last week on the four days the Patriots were there to practice. Usually, when an NFL team's facility is being used for a Super Bowl, the team empties out and returns the day after the game. But because Peyton Manning was doing serious rehab in his attempt to return from neck surgery, Manning was at the facility most days until 10 a.m., leaving before the Patriots arrived. But still the Patriots used the Colts' locker room, which chapped not only Manning but many in the Colts organization. Most assumed Brady would be in Manning's locker, but he wasn't. Instead, it was the chairman of the board on the New England D: Vince Wilfork.
Four of them:
1. The Orlando Magic had a game Saturday night in Indianapolis against the Pacers. But by the time the NBA schedule was finalized after the season was delayed, the Magic couldn't book hotel rooms in Indy for the Friday night two days before the Super Bowl. So the team played Friday night in Orlando and flew to Cincinnati -- the airport there is just south of town, over the Ohio River in Kentucky -- and stayed in a hotel in Florence, Ky. That is about 112 miles from Indianapolis.
It's the next part of the trip that boggles my mind: At 1:45 p.m., the team boarded a bus at the hotel and went back to the airport, went through security, boarded a plane, flew 28 minutes to the west side of Indianapolis, deplaned, boarded another bus and drove 20 minutes from the Indianapolis airport east through the Super Bowl snarl to the arena in downtown Indy. Now, that's a drive I've made many eight or 10 times in my life, owing to the fact I used to live in Cincinnati. I am stunned any thinking person, or travel expert, would suggest that the best way to go is to fly.
That's an all-highway, 90- to 100-minute drive. The Magic could have left at 1:45 p.m. and been at the arena by 3:30, at the latest. They arrived at 4.
I saw Brian Billick and Lions CEO Tom Lewand getting coffee Sunday morning. "Totally understandable,'' Billick said. "Players hate buses.'' Got it. But what would you rather do -- be on one bus for 90 minutes or be on a bus for 15 minutes, go through security, get on a plane, be on the plane for 30 minutes, land, and get on another bus for 20 minutes?
2. I love the Indy airport, by the way. Did you know it's the only major airport in the United States that's been built since 9/11? Good restaurants, plentiful good coffee, short walks from counters to gates, still shiny (it opened in 2008).
3. The JW Marriott was the best Super Bowl media hotel I've been in. Bar none, hands down. Friendly staff, comfortable room, great TV, 12-minute walk to the stadium. Perfect ...
4. Until Saturday night. So I've had a room on the southeast side of the hotel, overlooking Victory Field on one side and the heart of downtown on the other. Saturday night, DirecTV had a big party at Victory Field. When I went to sleep around 11:30, I felt like I was at the party, not in a hotel across the street from it. Some band playing there had the bass turned up, and the thump-thump-thump of it was maddening. But I can sleep through pretty much anything, so I went to bed.
Woke up and the clock radio read "3:03,'' and the booming bass was louder, and there was something vibrating in the room, like glasses clanking in the cupboard when you live right next to train tracks and a freight train rumbles by. In my room is a vase, and it sits on the marble-covered desk-bureau combination piece of furniture. That vase was rumbling ever-so-lightly on the marble top. I got up, took the vase off the desk and put it on the carpeted floor, and prayed that the siege from across the street would end soon. I guess it did. Woke up at 6. Silence.
"Obama we can't wait too see you.''
-- @Prince Amukamara, the Giants' rookie cornerback, just before midnight.
"There were fewer people at the Maxim Party than are out there for the coin toss.''
-- @PeteAbe, the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham, who was not exaggerating. Much.
"I Been Thru A LOT...But There Are Ppl In This World w/ More Serious Problems So I Cant Hang The Head....Thank You Lord #Blessed''
--@TiUnderwood, New England wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, after being cut late Saturday by the Patriots, a move that left longtime Super Bowl attendees (like me) wondering if a player had ever been released on the day before a Super Bowl for a reason other than disciplinary.
"If Gronk were a reporter, he'd be Walter Gronkite.''
-- @Moosehead04, fan Ryan Bailey, on the burgeoning nickname-mania of New England tight end Rob Gronkowski.
"One more day before I'm released from my cage.''
-- @AaronHernandez, at 1:11 p.m. Saturday.
Penguins squeak past Ducks in shootout
Johan Franzen scores two as Red Wings pound Devils in Detroit