Quotes of the Week
“They had their hearts ripped out. They should hurt. That’ll make us better.”
—Kansas City coach Andy Reid, a day after after he and his players blew a 38-10 third-quarter lead and lost to Indianapolis 45-44 in one of the strangest games in NFL history Saturday.
“We owe ’em.”
—San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, on the rematch with Carolina this week. The Panthers beat the Niners in the regular season at Candlestick Park.
“Clutch. Tough. Great.”
—San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, on the play of quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the win at Green Bay.
“In the end we were not able to agree on the direction of the franchise. We’re looking for great things. If you look at where we are as a team, it was probably time to make a change.”
—Tennessee GM Ruston Webster, announcing the firing of coach Mike Munchak after three seasons Saturday.
“I can’t fire someone when I don’t believe they should be fired. Firing someone is awful.”
—Fired Tennessee coach Mike Munchak, to Jim Wyatt of the the Tennesseean. Part of the reasoning behind Munchak’s firing reportedly was his reluctance to fire members of his staff.
Stats of the Week
Andy Dalton’s 34 playoff drives over three games have ended thusly:
|Missed field goals||1|
The Bengals have lost the three playoff games by a combined 77-33.
One touchdown pass in 34 drives.
I don’t want to be too knee-jerk, but the Bengals are going to have to consider bringing competition to training camp for Andy Dalton. I don’t mean he should be benched, and I don’t mean Cincinnati should necessarily draft a quarterback in the first round, but the Bengals have too much defensive talent to watch the quarterback put up 33 points in 34 playoff drives.
Denver kicker Matt Prater attempted 101 PATs and field goals this year. He made 100.
He missed a 52-yard field goal in Week 11. Putting it another way, Prater was 94 of 94 on of 50 yards or less this season.
Factoids of the Week That May Only Interest Me
Dan Fouts gets an unwanted reminder of the coldest game in NFL history 32 years ago every year around this time: frostbite.
When it gets cold, Fouts feels pain in both feet and both hands from the middle of the hand to the fingertips—and has since Jan. 10, 1982, the day of the AFC Championship Game in Cincinnati between the Chargers and Bengals that was played in wind-chill that reached minus-59 degrees. The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote about this the other day, and Chris Mortensen reported on it Saturday morning. I spoke to Fouts Friday. “Nothing you can do about it,” he said on the phone. “It’s history. You just had to play in the game, and you had no idea this would come of it. The biggest problem, really, was there were no gloves for quarterbacks in those days. Kenny Anderson and I didn’t have the luxury that day that the guys today have.”
In 2012, predicting games each regular-season week for SI.com, I was 169-86-1.
In 2013, predicting games each regular-season week for SI.com, Don Banks was 169-86-1.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Forward, friendly, 40ish guy next to me on the train from Grand Central Terminal to Stamford Friday: “Who was that on the phone?”
Me: “Dan Fouts.”
Forward guy: “THE Dan Fouts?”
Me: “I think so—the former football player.”
Forward guy: “How’d you get him on the phone?”
Me: “Texted him. He called back. Good guy.”
Forward guy: “I bet that’s cool, talking to Dan Fouts.”
Me: “Yeah, it’s good.”
Silence for the next 35 minutes. He texted, I wrote, I got off in Stamford, he got off, and that was it.
Tweets of the Week
“Nature Boy Ric Flair flew into this s— hole to show us some love.”
—@AnthonyDavis76, the San Francisco right tackle, on Saturday night, on the professional wrestler flying into Wisconsin (it is unclear if Davis meant the entire state, the region, the city, whatever) to give the Niners a pep talk before the wild-card game Sunday.
Such a nice sentiment.
“Many of those that have asked, I have and will always favor the crew concept as opposed to all-stars. League and officials don’t agree.”
—@MikePereira, the FOX officiating analyst and former NFL vice president of officiating. Officials are hand-picked in the postseason based on grades in the regular season.
For the first year, this wild-card weekend had all-star crews, meaning crews were assembled based on regular-season grades. I wrote about that in my officiating series in December. The crux of it: Position by position, officials are ranked in three tiers based on their regular-season accuracy rating. Only officials in Tier 1 are eligible to work the Super Bowl; there is no minimum or maximum number of officials who can be in Tier 1, and usually there are between four and six officials in that tier for each of the seven field positions. But if there are, say, four officials who qualify for Tier 1, it is not necessarily the official with the best accuracy percentage who works the game. Other factors—positioning, mechanics, rules expertise and decisiveness—weigh into the NFL’s decision about who gets the Super Bowl call. There isn’t a set cut-off percentage separating the tiers, because every position could have different degrees of proficiency. If five referees are at 98.0 percent or better, and the sixth was at 97.25 percent, the logical line of demarcation would be between the fifth and sixth referee that season.
Tier 1 officials are eligible to work all postseason games. Tier 2 officials can work wild-card and divisional playoff games. Tier 3 officials are not playoff-eligible, and would be subject to a thorough offseason review and possible replacement by the league.
“Quarterback math: Jim Plunkett + Rich Gannon – George Blanda = Alex Smith.”
—@MikeTanier, of Sports On Earth, as Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith was laying waste to the Colts Saturday.
“I just saw Andrew Luck pulling a horse and buggy with his beard.”
—@HeavyOnions, during the Colts’ victory Saturday, referring to the Indy quarterback’s thick facial hair.
“Don’t even know what to say. That was devastating. It’s going to take awhile to get over that. Thanks #ChiefsKingdom for believing in us.”
—@GeoffSchwartz, Kansas City right guard, one hour after the incredible 45-44 loss to Indianapolis.
“I’ll predict right now if Bortles comes out and goes in 1st the HC and GM will b fired within 3 years”
—@greggabe, former Chicago director of college scouting Greg Gabriel, on Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles, who will enter the NFL draft, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Evidently, Gabriel is quite down on Bortles.