Quotes of the Week
“This is an afternoon game in Hawaii.”
—CBS play-by-play man Ian Eagle, with 1:48 left in the Chargers-Raiders game, at 2:32 a.m. today, in the NFL Network game telecast.
“And in Fiji.”
—Eagle’s partner, Dan Fouts.
“The key is, you want to do it about every five years or so. Naked bootlegs only work when you don’t tell anybody.”
—Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, after he ran for his first bootleg touchdown in years at Dallas Sunday, giving Denver a 28-17 lead on the way to a 51-48 win.
“I think I made the right decision. It’s really hard for me to even explain it. But the way that’ll make sense for me to explain it to people who watched me play is … I was really very much an introspective guy … and for me, coming into the NFL with so much passion and drive for the game … and really enjoying those 10 years, and then, when that drive and determination and fire started to fade a little bit, and when it faded enough, I just knew it was time to go … After 10 years, the time was right, there was nothing else to stay for, and we were kind of rebuilding, and it was time to move on.”
—Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, on his decision to retire at age 30 after the 1998 season and 10 years in the NFL, on The MMQB Podcast With Peter King this week. I asked Sanders if he’d had second thoughts in the intervening decade and a half, and it didn’t sound like he has.
“If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team, even if they’ve had a storied history, that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”
—President Obama, in an interview with the Associated Press, on whether the Washington franchise should consider replacing its team name.
“Nobody says it’s a good law, nobody says it’s a bad law. But it’s a law. Did you see the Giants game on Sunday? They lost 31-7. And do you know what the Giants didn’t say after that game? ‘If you don’t give us 25 more points by midnight Monday, we will shut down the [bleeping] NFL!’ They didn’t say that! What I’m saying is: Wouldn’t it be nice if the United States Congress aspired to the maturity and problem-solving … of football players.”
—Jon Stewart last week on The Daily Show, urging our elected leaders to re-open the government and to stop using a budget debate to protest a health-care law some of the politicians don’t like.
“Ed Reed. I was born to do this.”
—Houston safety Ed Reed, during the self-introductions of the defensive starters on Sunday night’s NBC broadcast, at the point when most players say which college they attended.
Stat of the Week
One thing largely ignored in the rush to say how wronged new Viking Josh Freeman was by the Bucs in the last couple of weeks: He’s been playing bad football going back to last Thanksgiving.
Shouldn’t we judge players by how they play? Seems like we’ve heard every excuse—coach Greg Schiano is a hands-on-your-throat, privacy-invading nutcase, mostly—for why the Bucs were losing and Freeman was playing poorly. Now, Schiano certainly deserves his share of the blame for a team that has lost nine of 10. It’s his team, and it’s his job is to instill the kind of discipline found lacking at times this year (as in Lavonte David’s late hit in the first game, allowing the Jets to win). But all of the blame on Schiano, or most on Schiano and some on second-year offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan? I’m not buying it. Freeman has to take his share of the responsibility too—a lot more than he’s been assigned in the public view so far. (Last week Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune documented a series of Freeman screwups, including missing the team breakfast and being late for the bus on opening day, then skipping two team meetings after being demoted from the starting job.)
So: I set out to compare Freeman’s last 10 starts to some reviled quarterbacks, just to see how he fares. Let’s say I asked a good football fan, “Who’s the worst starting quarterback in football right now?” My money’s on the fan saying Blaine Gabbert. If Gabbert isn’t the one, he’s close. And who else has been judged to be a bad quarterback in the last couple of years, so bad he can’t find employment in the league? Tim Tebow.
Comparing the last 10 starts (including playoffs, in Tebow’s case) of the three men:
I’m not a big fan of the quarterback rating stat, because it over-emphasizes interceptions. But Mark Sanchez and Matt Cassel were the bottom two in rating in 2012, and they were both above 66. The completion percentage, 50.8 percent, is the worst thing for Freeman. Maybe he’ll be able to turn it around quickly in Minnesota, but it bears watching. This is 10 sub-par games, not one or two.
Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Frosh wide receiver Deion Sanders Jr. caught his first collegiate pass Saturday for Southern Methodist. It was one of 71 passes the Mustangs threw in a 55-52 loss to Rutgers.
Of the 46 players who dressed for 5-0 New Orleans Sunday, 19 entered the league as undrafted college free agents. That’s 41 percent of the roster coming up the hard way. Seven of the 22 starters weren’t drafted.
What does that mean? Seattle and New England have a boatload of undrafted players on the roster too, and it tells me those teams scout well, know the kind of players their coaching staffs want, and then go and get them. And the coaches coach them well.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
There is no moral or lesson to this story. It’s not deep, or even very interesting. It just is something that happened to a traveling person.
I went to Boston for Game 1 of the Red Sox-Rays series. On Saturday morning at 8:15 I boarded the Acela in Back Bay, the second stop on the Boston-to-New York route. The train was crowded already. I walked through the Quiet Car, found an unoccupied two-seat row, and sat down. The train left the station. A few seconds later a fellow came up and said the two seats were taken. I looked at the back of the seats, which had no tags on them noting how far the passengers were going. And there was nothing on the seat—no bag, no newspaper, nothing to show that anyone was sitting there. “You sure?’’ I said. He said he was. He and a friend were sitting there, and his friend had gone to the café car to get something to eat, and he was quite sure the seats were his. I gave the guy a good look. Seemed like an earnest man. If I didn’t move, I was basically calling the guy a liar. So I moved, and sat with a quiet apple-eater (he had two of them on the wordless journey) for the 3.5-hour trip to Manhattan.
I didn’t think much about it. He probably was telling the truth, and when I looked down the aisle later, he was sitting there with another guy.
Tweets of the Week
“Cracked open a window in the warm Oakland Raiders press box. Weed seems to be wafting into the press box.”
—@MartyCaswell, producer/reporter for the Mighty 1090 Sports Radio station in San Diego, covering the Chargers-Raiders game, in a tweet logged at 1:58 a.m. ET this morning.
“A Cam Newton turnover just sealed the Cardinals’ win in the game you’re not watching.”
—@MichaelDavSmith, Pro Football Talk manager editor Michael David Smith, while the Cowboys and Broncos were having a barnburner in Texas—and Carolina and Arizona were playing a forgettable game in the desert.
“Dirk Hayhurst…COULDNT hack it…Tom Verducci wasn’t even a water boy in high school…but yet they can still bash a player…SAVE IT NERDS”
—@DAVIDprice14, after allowing nine hits and seven earned runs to Boston in a 7-4 playoff loss Saturday, criticizing TBS analysts Hayhurst and Verducci (Hayhurst, a former minor-league pitcher who had a cup of coffee in Toronto; Verducci, a New Jersey high school baseball and football star) for having the temerity to break down his losing performance.
1. Price did not include his career playoff record in the tweet: 0-4, 5.81 ERA.
2. He sounds a little Crawfordy to me.
3. Good luck pitching in New York, or wherever your next stop is, David.
4. Pitching crappy and tweeting soon afterward is probably not the best idea.
On Sunday, Price blanket-apologized—he also got into it with some fans after the game on Twitter—and tweeted: “Last night got out of hand and I apologize for the things that I said on here … if I offended you I am very sorry for doing so…#thatsnotme”
“My question to Pollack: What would you say to the man who denies your daughter/sister/wife/GF/niece an opportunity because of her gender?’’
—@trenni, Comcast Sports New England anchor/reporter Trenni Kusnierek, after ESPN college football analyst David Pollack said women should not be allowed on the 12- to 18-member College Football Playoff selection committee. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to be named to the committee, according to an Associated Press report.
“The #Giants are getting Beason? I thought they were pretty deep at injured reserve.”
—@MikeTanier of Sports On Earth, after New York acquired linebacker Jon Beason from the Panthers. Beason has missed 28 games in the last 25 months due to injury. It’s probably best to say how many games Beason has played since the start of the 2011 season: seven.