"I don't know if that's not something that's done in the National Football League, but what I do with our football team is we fight until they tell us the game is over. There's nothing dirty about it. There's nothing illegal about it. We crowd the ball. It's like a sneak defense and we try to knock it loose. If they watch Rutgers, they would know, that's what we do at the end of the game. We're not going to quit. That's just the way I coach and teach our players. Some people were upset about it. I don't have any hesitation. That's the way we play: clean, hard football until they tell us the game is over."
-- Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, on coaching his player to smash into the Giants' victory formation at the end of the game Sunday. Giants coach Tom Coughlin was enraged by it.
"I don't know. He must like the cougs."
-- Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews, on the relationship between 25-year-old Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and 37-year-old actress Eva Longoria, on "The Dan Patrick Show."
"I bought a pair of Uggs, to be just like him."
-- Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, on Tom Brady, who is an ad man for the Australian furry footwear company.
One of the reasons there's such a stalemate between the NFL and the regular officials is the pension. Many of you have asked what that means. According to attorney Mike Arnold, who represents the officials, the NFL contributed $5.3 million to the officials' pension system in 2011, and planned to reduce that number to $2 million in 2012 under the current league bargaining proposal.
Under those numbers, the NFL contributed $44,167 per man to the 120 officials' pensions in 2011, and would contribute $16,667 per man in 2012. That's a difference of $27,500 per man.
"When we were hired,'' said referee Scott Green, a member of the officials' negotiating team, "we were told, 'Here's what the compensation is, and here's what the pension is.' We don't think it's fair to have such a major give-back without being able to negotiate that at all.''
That's the biggest under-the-radar reason we're entering day 16 of no substantive talks between the officials and the league.
Each week, thanks to play-by-play game dissection by ProFootballFocus.com, I'll look at one important matchup or individual performance metric from one of the Sunday games. One week removed from an inglorious debut at Cleveland, Michael Vick matched up against the chameleon fronts and odd rushes of the Baltimore Ravens, so I asked PFF czar Neil Hornsby to dissect how Vick fared in his 75 snaps against the Ravens, and how much punishment the embattled Vick took in the 24-23 Philadelphia victory.
Running. Ten rushes for 34 yards, broken down into two kneel-downs, three quarterbacks draws (including the winning one-yard run with two minutes left), four scrambles, and one muffed handoff to Bryce Brown. Other than the kneel-downs, he was hit on every run as he either dove head-first for extra yardage (twice) or ran out of bounds -- when, on one play, he sent the CBS sound man with the parabolic mike to the ground in a collision.
Passing. The numbers: 23 of 32, 371 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, two sacks, 12 quarterback hits, five additional hurries. On the 12 plays in which he was hit, Vick's average time holding the ball before being contacted was 3.3 seconds; to put this in context, Matt Hasselbeck's average time to throw last year was a league-low 2.4 seconds, meaning he takes an extra second when he's under duress to try to find a receiver. Vick's longest pass of the day -- a 49-yarder (47 in the air) to DeSean Jackson late in the third quarter -- was his best throw of the day. But his decision-making, and his judgment when there was traffic in the short middle of the field, was suspect. Three times, including his one interception, he didn't seem to see linebackers or defensive backs lurking in plain sight. His stats when clean, as expected, were far different than when he was pressured.
When hit or hurried: 9 of 15, 181 yards, no touchdowns, one interception.
When not pressured: 14 of 17 for 190 yards, one touchdown, one interception.
Summary. Vick continues to be a man who has no regard for his body and he did whatever it took to win; hanging in until the last second to make throws, or diving head-first for first downs, for example. As much as we say the Eagles have to change him, it's obvious Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg aren't going to be able to. But his game-winning drive, 80 yards in 10 plays, was a thing of brilliance. He didn't make a bad throw and had to convert only two third downs.
He made nearly every throw in this game. He can look superb, but then he seems to lose concentration and throws something back across his body or into the middle of the field; two or three times he took chances that a veteran quarterback shouldn't take. Nearly all his interceptions last week and the ones this week (together with those that were dropped) came from linebackers not being where he expected. His weakness in these two games has been short underneath. You wonder how much longer he'll be able to take the physical pounding he takes.
Career interceptions for great current defensive backs: Ed Reed 59, Charles Woodson 55, Champ Bailey 50.
Career interceptions for the Pittsburgh defensive coordinator: Dick LeBeau 62.
Now batting first for the Natick Knights of the Boston Men's Senior Baseball League, playing second base, No. 22, Doug Flutie.
(And you thought he'd be some other number?)
The shortstop is younger brother Darren Flutie. The third baseman is older brother Bill Flutie.
So last week, Flutie drove home from his NBC college football broadcast duties at NBC in New York on Saturday night to Natick, a three-and-a-half-hour drive up I-95 into the Boston suburbs. He drove past the high school field where the Knights were scheduled to play Cambridge Sunday at 10 a.m. He noticed a steady rain had left big puddles near third base and home plate. Flutie got out of the car, just before 4, took out a cup, and began ladling the puddles away.
Flutie went home, still worried about the field. He drove back to the field around 6:30 a.m., raked the Speedy Dry on the wet areas, then went home for a while to wait for the game.
(Flutie was telling me this story in the NBC Sports Network room where we prepare for our Friday shows, in Stamford, Conn. At that point, Hines Ward, who works with us on the Friday shows and the weekend shows at NBC in New York, piped up in amazement: "The Heisman Trophy winner raking the field! Crazy! I want this to be video-cammed!'')
This is a 30-and-over league. Doug Flutie is 49. I asked him why he stopped by the field at 4, and then went back a couple of hours later with the drying agent, to make sure the 10 a.m. game would be played.
"I enjoy playing,'' he said. "And I don't want the game to be canceled."
Flutie went 1 for 4 for the Knights. That evening, his 40-and-over team, the Waltham Braves, had a game. Flutie went 0 for 2. But on Wednesday, Flutie pitched the Knights to a 14-1 victory in the third and deciding game in the best-of-three series against Cambridge. "Pitched nine innings,'' he said Friday, "and I feel fine. My arm's great."
Check out the batting race in the 30-and-over league.
Check out the stolen base leaders in the league.
Two games of amateur baseball on a Sunday in September.
"That's me in a nutshell,'' he said. "Not trying to prove anything to anybody. Just out there having fun."
"#CBS. Can't Beat Stanford!!"
-- @TigerWoods, after the Cardinal beat USC for the fourth straight season.
"Namath says that Tebow can't play QB for the Jets. With 220 career picks, and a 65.5 career QB rating, there were times Joe couldn't either."
-- @JetsWhispers, 16-year-vet Jets beat man Dan Leberfeld, on Joe Namath's view that Tim Tebow should not be groomed as the team's quarterback.
"NYC's new sugary drink policy is the single biggest step any gov't has taken to curb obesity. It will help save lives."
-- @MikeBloomberg, the mayor of New York City, after the city's Board of Health passed an ordinance banning the sale of soft drinks containing sugar larger than 16 ounces at restaurants and movie theaters, and by street vendors.
The health department, which voted 8-0 to approve Bloomberg's proposal, estimated that 5,000 city residents die each year from obesity-related causes, and said the explosion of giant soft drinks containing sugar had became a major contributor to children getting fat. One board member, Joel Forman, told the New York Times, "I can't imagine the board not acting on another problem that is killing 5,000 people per year.''
Neither can I.
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