"You know what we're here for! Revenge! It's a meal best served cold!''
-- Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, captured by the NBC cameras before the Patriots-Ravens game Sunday, referring, presumably, to revenge for losing the AFC Championship Game to the Patriots last winter.
"Insecurity drives me. I don't want to go back to Needham. I don't want to be the man in the frozen-foods section of the grocery store, the guy who, 10 seconds after I pass by with my peas, people whisper, 'That guy used to be the GM of the New York Jets.' ''
-- Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, raised in Needham, Mass., in a story by Nicholas Dawidoff in this week's New Yorker.
"Who wants to support something that puts on a performance of embarrassment? If I was a fan of the Carolina Panthers, I would be holding my head down in shame of the product that was out there today."
-- Cam Newton, after his Panthers lost to the Giants 36-7 Thursday night.
Get a hold of yourself, fella. A bomb didn't fall on Charlotte.
"Your decision to lock out officials with more than 1,500 years of collective NFL experience has led to a deterioration of order, safety and integrity. This affirmative decision has not only resulted in poor calls, missed calls and bad game management, but the combination of those deficiencies will only continue to jeopardize player health and safety and the integrity of the game that has taken decades to build.''
-- From a NFL Players Association Executive Board letter to the NFL's 32 owners on Thursday, sharply critical of the league's continued lockout of the 120 regular game officials.
The Detroit Lions have more issues than the health of Matthew Stafford, and that is putting it mildly. In the last five games, dating to last season, the Lions are 1-4, with the only victory coming in the last minute of the opener against St. Louis at home, and these are the ugly defensive numbers in that 1-4 disaster:
Points allowed per game: 36.8.
Passing yards allowed per game: 349.6.
Touchdown passes allowed: 14.
Interceptions by Lions: 1.
Completion percentage allowed: 70.3.
At Colorado College, Steve Sabol nicknamed himself "Sudden Death Sabol,'' because of his love of drama and love of football.
Sabol's email address included the phrase "SuddenDeath'' before the internet service provider.
The NFL always wants the focus to be on the players on the field. The focus is on the field, all right, but it's on the men in the striped shirts. Look at one of the biggest papers in the country last Wednesday.
The first four pages of the New York Daily News sports section contained nothing but coverage highly critical of the replacement officials.
With the Super Bowl champion Giants due to play the next evening at Carolina, 2,511 words of the paper's sports coverage were all about the replacements. Mike Lupica wrote, "It seems ... the league has put a bounty on itself." Tim Smith wrote of the Thursday night game: "All eyes will be waiting for Goodell's replacements to turn another NFL game into a farce.'' Beat man Ralph Vacchiano quoted Mathias Kiwanuka as saying it was inevitable that someone will get hurt because of the officiating incompetence. Further back in the sports section was a story about Eagle LeSean McCoy saying one of the replacements told him he needed him to produce for his fantasy team.
Not a travel note per se. More a lifestyle, world-we-live-in-today note.
Drove over to see Bruce Springsteen at the Meadowlands Wednesday night. Tailgated with our friends Jack and Karin, and a few others joined the parking lot party, including two women from near Sydney, Australia, celebrating their 50th birthdays this year by touring New York and New England and seeing Springsteen for the first time.
So the show starts. We're in an upper tier, last row. The fourth song is "Hungry Heart," which has the crowd going. The fifth song, "We Take Care of Our Own," is one of my new faves, from his latest album. I notice the four guys next me, maybe in their late 20s, all have their iPhones out, texting or reading email during the song. Next song: "Wrecking Ball." Now a few others, including the three people in the row in front of us closest to us, have their phones out. They're texting or reading. "Death to My Hometown" is next, and I look around, and it seems half the section is fooling around with phones.
We're such cellaholics. I get that. But outdoor concert events like this one, these are the nights where the experience should be enough to make you put away the phone (or at least stash it until you get in the bathroom), unless you're just writing down the setlist or something like that. If Steve Jobs were still here, I wonder whether he'd feel triumphant that the masses can't live without his invention for three hours, or despondent that the masses can't live without his invention for three hours.
-- @BrandonSpikes55, the Patriots' linebacker, at 12:41 this morning.
"Can someone please tell these f------ zebras foot locker called and they're needed Back at work !!!! #BreakingPoint''
-- @BrandonSpikes55, the Patriots' linebacker, at 12:43 this morning.
"Lee Corso has that look about him like he could go all 'Naked Grandpa' without too much provocation.''
-- @SC_DougFarrar, watching the Saturday morning ESPN college football preview show (evidently).
"Players who lost $$ investing w/Rosenhaus/Rubin remember lesson#1-never get financial advise from guy who buys u a lap dance 2 sign u"
-- @SageRosenfels18, former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels, on agent Drew Rosenhaus' relationship with financial adviser Jeff Rubin. The NFL Players Association is investigating Rosenhaus for allegedly steering clients to invest with Rubin, who lost millions in players' money.
As some of you know, I'm running a half-marathon to try to raise $50,000 to help former Saints special teamer Steve Gleason build an ALS Residence for ALS-afflicted patients in New Orleans, a project that will cost between $750,000 and $1 million. I can't thank enough the friends and strangers who have helped the cause so far. We're a tad over $35,000, so we're about 71 percent toward the goal -- but now there's only five days left until race day. I'm running/slogging-through the Hamptons Half-Marathon, on the eastern edge of Long Island, on Saturday.
The other day, I found myself with two Red Sox club seats to Tuesday's game against Tampa Bay at Fenway Park that I couldn't use, so I posted them on Twitter, saying I'd give the two seats to the first person to donate $250 to the cause. (What's second prize? Four club seats to a Red Sox game?) Within minutes, a fellow named Kevin popped up ... with a $250 donation.
I reached out to Kevin Johnson, 36, a history major at the University at Albany (non-traditional student who worked for a while, then went back to school), to make the details on getting him the tickets, and to thank him.
Turns out Johnson works 20 to 30 hours a week at a Target store in the Albany area. "I've been saving up a little bit and I wanted to give to something,'' he said. "This seemed like a good cause. I used to donate money to charities when I wasn't in school, and it's something I really want to get back to doing.''
"But $250,'' I said. "That's a lot. I mean, I can't thank you enough. It's incredibly nice of you to do this."
"I've been saving up a little,'' he said. "So I had a little to give.''
Johnson remembers Gleason from the Monday night game in 2006 when he blocked the Falcons punt in the Saints' first game back at the Superdome post-Katrina. He's sad about Gleason having ALS, and he said he wanted to wanted to reach out to help the Gleason cause.
I'll be thinking of Kevin Johnson Saturday morning on Long Island. Wow. How humbling.
College Football Championship Week roundup: Michigan State spoils Ohio State's BCS hopes
Spartans spoil Ohio State's BCS title hopes