Quotes of the Week
“It’s not the right time or place to talk about my relationship with Dan Snyder. Or it’s not the right time or place to talk about something that happened a year ago.”
—Washington coach Mike Shanahan, declining after an embarrassing loss to Kansas City to talk about an explosive story from ESPN Sunday morning that claimed he almost quit at the end of the last season, in part because of the ultra-close relationship between Snyder and quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“Oh yeah. There is no doubt in my mind.”
—Denver coach John Fox, asked by NFL Network’s Michelle Beisner Sunday if he felt he was close to death when he was stricken with a heart ailment on a Charlotte golf course Nov. 2.
“The last straw was losing … We’ve got a lot better talent than Jacksonville, and to have them beat us twice, that’s not acceptable to us. If they’re better than we are, fine. But we didn’t play smart.”
—Houston owner Bob McNair, in announcing the firing of Gary Kubiak on Friday after almost eight seasons as Texans coach.
“I’m gonna be honest with you: You look like a succulent baby lamb.”
—Will Ferrell, playing Ron Burgundy, interviewing the real Peyton Manning via satellite on ESPN.
Peyton Manning has been interviewed by a lot of people in his 16-season NFL career, and a lot of observations have flowed back and forth in those interviews. But I feel quite sure no one has ever told him he looked like an edible infant sheep.
“I want my son to know his story.”
—Saints center Brian de la Puente, on naming his recently born son Makenzie “Rivers” de la Puente in tribute to former Saint Steve Gleason, now battling ALS, in comments to Katherine Terrell of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Gleason and wife, Michel, decided to have a child after he was diagnosed with the fatal disease, and their son is named Rivers. Steve Gleason has been very public in fighting ALS, and NFL Films recently documented his rugged journey to Machu Picchu in Peru.
Stat of the Week
For the strangest coaching career in the last 30 years, I nominate Wade Phillips.
Notable notes on his résumé:
• He has been the head coach of six franchises in 28 years.
• He holds the NFL record (unofficial) by being the interim coach of three teams, including the interim coach of the Texans after being the short-term replacement for Gary Kubiak for three games while Kubiak recovered from a mini-stroke. That almost should count twice.
• He was the losing coach in the Music City Miracle game.
• He was the losing coach in the last NFL playoff game in Los Angeles, in 1993 (Raiders 42, Broncos 24).
• He replaced Dan Reeves twice—in Denver in 1993, in Atlanta in 2003.
• He was replaced by a Mora twice—Jim Mora (the dad) in New Orleans and Jim Mora (the son) in Atlanta.
• In his first game as a head coach, interim with the Saints in 1985, he beat Dieter Brock, Jeff Kemp, Eric Dickerson and the Los Angeles Rams, 29-3. That was the year the Rams made it to the NFC title game and lost to the Fridge, the Punky QB and the Super Bowl Shufflin’ Bears.
• He’s been the defensive coordinator on seven teams: New Orleans, Philadelphia, Denver, Buffalo, Atlanta, San Diego and Houston. He also coached Houston’s defensive line. The Oilers, that is.
• I once saw him at a U2 concert.
His career coaching record, via Pro-football-reference.com:
|2013||66||Houston||Interim||2 (so far)||0-2|
Factoid of the Week That May Only Interest Me
Five of them, all involving the school with the most surprising sports result of the weekend, Coastal Carolina:
1. Coastal Carolina, competing in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, played its first football game outside the Eastern Time Zone Saturday—and this one was really outside the Eastern Time Zone. In Missoula, Mont., 2,489 miles from the school’s campus. In the Mountain Time Zone. Against favored Montana (if for no other reason than the Grizzlies are used to frigidity and the Chanticleers had never felt anything like this). It was minus-5 at kickoff, with a 20-below-zero windchill (75 degrees colder than the kickoff windchill temperature for Coastal’s game at home last weekend).
2. Coastal Carolina, whose campus is located nine miles from Myrtle Beach, won one of the coldest games in college football history, 42-35, over the Grizzlies.
3. The reward for Coastal Carolina in the next round of the playoffs is its first game ever in the Central Time Zone. The Chanticleers travel 1,592 miles to Fargo, N.D. (where the low Saturday was minus-18) next weekend to play the 12-0 North Dakota State Bison, who are looking to win the national FCS title for the third straight year. The Bison actually roam in a climate-controlled pen, playing home games in a dome.
4. The football coach at Coastal Carolina, Joe Moglia, was the CEO of TD Ameritrade six years ago. He left Wall Street to chase his dream of being a college football coach.
5. (I am now about to write the strangest short paragraph in the history of Monday Morning Quarterback.) Coastal Carolina University has salt-water angling and Quidditch as club sports. Quidditch is a game adapted from the Harry Potter book series, played by two teams of seven players, who ride flying broomsticks and shoot at six different goals using balls called the Quaffle, the Golden Snitch and the Bludger. They do use broomsticks, but my understanding is, players run on the ground and do not actually fly.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Went to Louisville the other day to speak to the good people of the RV industry. Back at the Louisville airport waiting to fly home, I sat in the terminal restaurant with SI publisher Frank Wall and Chicago-based ad exec Tom Buerger. “There’s Chris Matthews,” Wall said, nodding at a table a few yards away. “Wonder what he’s doing here?”
“Bet he was here for a speech,” I said. “Google ‘Chris Matthews, University of Louisville, speech.’ ”
Wall went to work. “Yup,” he said. “Spoke at the University of Louisville Author’s Forum.”
Even I sometimes surprise myself with my consistent strokes of genius!
Tweets of the Week
“Thank you Mike Tomlin for being in Pittsburgh #MPtakeover #purplesnowday”
—@ravens, which was used by Baltimore native and Ravens fan Michael Phelps Sunday, after Jacoby Jones walked a tightrope down the sideline to score a crucial late-fourth-quarter touchdown to help the Ravens stun Minnesota.
“Indoors in the dome.. outdoors in the snow..the Lions are a turnover waiting to happen.”
—@wingoz, ESPN’s Trey Wingo, after Detroit’s sixth fumble of the day at Philadelphia. In the first half.
“@bryan_croley: @TonyDungy ‘Are you officially retired for good? If not, would you take a job coaching a college team?’ Retired for good.”
—@TonyDungy, answering a Twitter follower’s question Sunday morning.
I guess that settles that.
“Re Mariners/Cano/Jay Z, deals that close usually don’t go away. After testosterone lowers a bit, sense they’ll find common ground.”
—@adbrandt, The MMQB Business of Football columnist Andrew Brandt, tweeting at 8:44 a.m. Thursday, not long after it was reported talks between Robinson Cano and the Mariners had broken off and he wouldn’t be signing there.
Within three hours, Cano and the Mariners had a deal, pending a physical.
Seems like Mr. Brandt has been through these things before.
“Asked 15 Pens last year if fighting should be banned from hockey. Only one said yes: Brooks Orpik. Doesn’t want to be a vegetable someday.”
—@JoshYohe_Trib, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, after Orpik, himself a noted agitator, was pummeled in the head twice while on the ice by Bruin Shawn Thornton and taken on a stretcher to a Boston hospital.
The violence in hockey is out of control. It has to be fixed.
“From a press release announcing a policy luncheon in Hartford with Sen. Chris Murphy: ‘During the luncheon Senator Murphy will discuss: XYZ’ ”
—@capitolwatch, Connecticut political reporter Daniela Altimari.
From the files of Press Releases Sent Before Being Proofed Dept.