Quotes of the Week
“May have to give ol’ Thunder an IV after that one.”
—Peyton Manning, on the Broncos’ Arabian horse mascot, who sprints the length of the field after every Denver scoring drive. The Broncos set a franchise record Sunday with 52 points.
“My body was just on fire. As I got to the locker room, Dr. [John] Gray told me, ‘You can do whatever you want. You can throw me across this training room if you want. But your butt is not going back into that game.’ I said, ‘Actually, I do want to throw you across this locker room right now.’ But at the end of the day, I know it is all in my best interests to sit out and let the concussion settle down.”
—Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley, in a video posted on Vimeo.com, discussing the concussion he suffered in Cincinnati in Week 3.
“I love all my fans and I’m glad they follow me. But when you have a guy on there talking about, ‘I hope you tear your ACL,’ what human being would say something like that? Me personally, I’m gonna block you. If you’ve got something bad to say about me on Twitter, I’m gonna block you. I’m gonna say something to you first, and then I’m gonna block you … I’m a blocking machine!”
—Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
“Undrafted free agent. If you look at my Wikipedia page, it’s there. It’s a stamp. Might as well put it on my friggin’ forehead.”
—Detroit tight end Joseph Fauria, the Lions’ undrafted and very productive rookie tight end.
“Mom, no sense in going apartment shopping tomorrow.”
—Free-agent defensive end Austen Lane, writing for The MMQB Friday, conversing with his mother after leaving the field for the last time as a Kansas City player in Week 4 of the preseason. Lane was cut the next day, and is still coming to grips with what to do for the rest of his life.
Stat of the Week
Never has a precocious, well-regarded phenom of a football coach seen his career go up in flames in seven years the way Lane Kiffin has. The timeline:
2007: Hired at 31 by Al Davis as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.
2008: Fired at 33, blasted as a liar and “for bringing disgrace to the organization” by Davis, as coach of the Raiders. Went 5-15 with Oakland.
2008: Hired at 33 as head coach, with a six-year contract, at the University of Tennessee.
2010: Departs Tennessee at 34, after going 7-6 in his one season as coach. The Vols’ athletic director Mike Hamilton, asked to describe Kiffin’s tenure, says: “Brief.”
2010: Hired at 34 as coach of USC, with a contract reported in the $4 million-a-year range, the same neighborhood as the highest-paid coaches in college football.
2013: Fired at 38 as head coach of USC (in a parking lot at Los Angeles International Airport, according to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News) hours after losing 62-41 at Arizona State. USC announced the termination at 4:28 a.m. local time Sunday.
Now, finally, for the Stat of the Week:
Head-coaching record: 40-35. Career postseason or bowl wins: zero.
I don’t know Kiffin well. When he got the Raiders job, I remember meeting with him at his first training camp, and I found his attitude about taking a job under Al Davis at the age of 31 hauntingly pragmatic. His attitude that day seemed to me to be that of a man thinking: If Al fires me before the contract is over, I still have “NFL head coach” on my resume, I’ll walk away with $6 million, I’ll still get a great job because I’ve got a good reputation as an offensive coach, and chances are no one will blame me for whatever debacle happens here.
So amazing: Lane Kiffin is 38 year old, and he has “former head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and USC Trojans” on his resume. Oh, and enough money in the bank that he’ll never have to work another day the rest of his life, if that’s what he wants.
Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Only In America With Jerry Dept.:
This is the fifth year the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Lottery have teamed up to create a scratch-off lottery game. In the first four years that the tickets were on sale throughout the state, Texans have bought a mind-boggling $184 million worth of the Cowboys’ scratch-off, instant-win tickets. (The majority of the proceeds, almost $40 million, has gone to public education in Texas, according to Texas Lottery director Gary Grief.)
One of the prizes in the scratch-off game: access for two inside the Cowboys’ draft room the day of the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, and a briefing with Jones about the Cowboys’ draft strategy.
“They would get to see the board,’’ Jones said at a press conference the other day. “I guess that’s not good. But they do see the board early, get an idea of where we might go. And we really spend a lot of time talking with them about that.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates will play their first home playoff game since 1992 Tuesday night.
The Pirates’ last home postseason game, in the National League Championship Series, was played on the night of Oct. 11, 1992, at Three Rivers Stadium. Earlier that day, rookie head man Bill Cowher coached his fifth NFL game, losing to quarterback Mike Tomczak and the Browns, 17-9, in Cleveland.
The previous day, William & Mary sophomore wide receiver Michael Tomlin (not “Mike,” according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report of the game) had a 51-yard touchdown catch called back due to a holding penalty in W&M’s 21-19 victory over Penn in Philadelphia.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
After Barack Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani talked Thursday, Rouhani tweeted out some details of their conversation before Iran’s leader departed for home, including Obama saying words to this effect: “I wish you a safe and pleasant journey, and apologize if you’re experiencing the traffic in NYC.”
Since moving to the East Side of Manhattan a couple of years ago, United Nations Week (the early-fall week when the General Assembly is in session, and the most famous politicians in the world flood into the east side of the city) has been a revelation. The cops bring steel barricades to all the East Side avenues, and two to four cops spend five days on each corner, directing traffic so a U.N. business-only lane, to the far left on these streets, with barricades to the left and orange cones to the right, stays clear. This way, when a motorcade of Iraqi diplomats or God knows who comes speeding down the streets, the road is clear for them.
So: As a two-year resident of Manhattan, I’ve gotten used to walking when the walk signs say walk, and most other times, staying out of the street. It’s for my own good; stories of pedestrians getting plowed over by cabs and cars pop up daily. On Wednesday, I was trying to cross Second Avenue 10 blocks north of the U.N., I saw the white “walk’’ sign lit, and I took a couple of steps into the street.
“SIRSIRSIR!!!!” yelled a cop about 10 feet away from me, and I looked up, and here was a motorcade with a New York City cop car driving maybe 30 miles an hour being waved through the intersection …
So I jumped back onto the sidewalk. It wasn’t that close, really. But as I stood there and the motorcade got waved through, I saw three black Escalades following very, very close to the police car (which didn’t have a siren on). In the third vehicle, the window of the driver’s-side passenger door was down, and a man in what appeared to be brown military fatigues with two hands on some sort of machine gun was inside.
Nice to have the city back this morning.
Tweets of the Week
“Aqib Talib was awesome tonight—and will make for a fascinating contract decision for the Patriots, in the wake of the Hernandez affair.”
—@AlbertBreer of NFL Network, after the Patriots’ 30-23 win over Atlanta Sunday night. Talib, a talented cornerback who has been in trouble with the law and his former team, the Bucs, will be a free agent after the season, and the Patriots are thin at cornerback.
“Monte Kiffin on facing Peyton Manning after getting torched by Philip Rivers: ‘That’s not good.’ ”
—@clarencehilljr, longtime Dallas Cowboys beat man, on the Dallas defensive coordinator anticipating next week’s batting against Denver.
“Damn they fired Kiff.”
—@THEREAL_LENDALE, former USC and NFL running back LenDale White, an hour after the bizarre 4:30 a.m. firing of USC football coach Lane Kiffin Sunday.
“This is the 113th year that both Cleveland and Pittsburgh have had major league baseball. Up to now, never been in postseason same year.”
—@DannyKnoblerCBS, the longtime baseball writer, now of CBS.com, on the novelty of the 2013 Wild Card round.