I have a lot to catch up on. Had I had my notebook computer in New York, I would have been able to provide you with some of this stuff from Sunday and blog more, but my schedule prevented me from doing so. Perhaps the next time I go to TARCon, I’ll be better equipped. Here’s the quotage from the network TV NFL pregame shows from Sunday. Starting with The NFL Today on CBS:
NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES FROM CBS SPORTS’ “THE NFL TODAY” WITH
JAMES BROWN, DAN MARINO, SHANNON SHARPE, BILL COWHER AND
BOOMER ESIASON FOR WEEK 14 ON DECEMEBER 7
JAMES BROWN commentary on Plaxico Burress situation: The Plaxico Burress episode is the latest in a series of stories about a handful of NFL players who have made unbelievably poor choices, from the mistreatment of women, repeated violations of the law, substance abuse and now illegally carrying a loaded weapon. I believe in second chances, heaven knows we’ve all, myself included, have made plenty of mistakes. But here’s where the rubber hits the road. If one is a repeat offender, showing no remorse or desire to change, then it’s incumbent upon the team itself to take responsibility and move on. As the NFL personal conduct policy states, “Illegal or irresponsible conduct does more than simply tarnish the offender. It puts innocent people at risk and sullies the reputation of others involved in the game.” Now the overwhelming majority of players in the League are good people. And you know on this notion of being role models, you are role models whether you want to be or not. It comes with the territory. The only choice you have is what kind of role model you choose to be.
(On impact of not having Plaxico Burress in Giants lineup)
BOOMER ESIASON: (To Bill Cowher) Did you win the Super Bowl with Plaxico Burress when he was on your team? No. You actually let him go the year before. That’s right where the Giants find themselves, no Plaxico Burress, no Jeremy Shockey, no Tiki Barber, no Michael Strahan, no Osi Umenyiora – no big problem. There is no way in the world that Eli Manning is going to allow this team to lose this ballgame today, let alone the next few games. It’s all about the substance of this football team…This team is resilient.
(On whether players should be able to play without punishment or be suspended for using banned diuretics)
BILL COWHER: They should be suspended because it’s clearly stated in a letter that is read to the team as they get into training camp. Every coach does it. If you’re going to take a diuretic, make sure it is approved. This letter, as you can see it (over a copy of the letter shown), is given, the coach reads it to them. You are responsible for what you put into your body. It’s a no tolerance rule. I believe, as far as that information I got, they should be suspended.
SHANNON SHARPE: The NFL hides behind this was not collective bargained – we don’t have to tell you. When do you need a collective bargaining agreement to use common sense just to do the right thing? If the NFL had knowledge that this specific substance, this specific supplement, had a banned substance, why not go to the basis of your foundation, which are the players of the National Football League, and tell them, if you are taking this, cease immediately. Why not just do the right thing? Someone use some common sense. I know I don’t have to, but I’m going to because it’s the players and they represent the National Football League.
COWHER: If you’re going to take a diuretic, get it approved. That seems pretty clear to me. They took a diuretic and didn’t get it approved. It seems very clear-cut. They violated the rule.
? “INSIDE THE GAME” WITH CHARLEY CASSERLY
(On Giants Plaxico Burress)
CASSERLY: I talked to the NFLPA yesterday, and they told me they are going to file a grievance on behalf of Plaxico Burress because they feel the Giants’ discipline is too severe, including the four-game suspension. On Friday I talked with the Giants and asked them, what is Burress’s future with your team? They said they have not made that decision yet because they don’t have to. They’re going to wait and see what happens in the courts, and then see what kind of attitude change Burress has in the off-season. As far as he NFL goes, don’t look for them to invoke any discipline on Burress just yet. They will also wait until the court system plays this out.
? PLAYOFF PICTURE
(On AFC East race)
BILL COWHER: It comes down to Week 17 – the match-up with the Miami Dolphins going up to the New York Jets. It comes down to th
at one game – (the) winner wins the AFC East. I pick the New York Jets.
(On AFC Wild Card teams)
COWHER: I have Baltimore going in as wild card and I have Indianapolis. The most dangerous team to play in the AFC? The Denver Broncos. The quarterback, they’re better on the road than are at home. (Denver is) the most dangerous team in the AFC.
Now to ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown:
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes – Week 14ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson previewed today’s NFL games. Some excerpts:On whether the Giants will miss Plaxico Burress …Cris Carter: “You can’t replace 6-5, 230. He’s a rare commodity as an athlete and as a football player. … We talk about the physicality of the Giants, but part of that is Plaxico Burress as a receiver. Go back to the Green Bay game (2008 NFC Championship). What other receivers do they have on their roster that could have that type of game in sub-zero weather? They will miss Plaxico Burress. … He can dominate a football game.”Keyshawn Johnson: “They will definitely miss Plaxico because of his size — his ability to do different things in a game and change the game around. … They have other players at that position who they can plug in and do a pretty good job but when you are taking on the third and fourth corner it’s a different story when you are now the main guy and getting the first corner, the second corner, you are being double-teamed on third downs. That double coverage is no longer going to Plaxico Burress. There’s now eight, nine men in the box. It will totally change the way teams prepare to play them defensively.”Tom Jackson: “I don’t know how much you’re going to miss him. I’ll miss that 6-5. I’m not going to miss that drama. … You are going to miss the fact that this guy can draw the doubles and make the covers, but I’m not missing a guy who’s shooting himself in a club.”Mike Ditka: “They won’t miss him, not because of him but because of the way this club is built. This is a real football team. … They’re just going to plug somebody in and keep moving down the highway.”Chris Berman: “It’s like driving a beautiful sports car with a parking brake on with him.”Jeremy Schaap’s Countdown feature on Plaxico Burress included interview with Elisha Harris, Burress’s high school coach in Virginia Beach, Va., and surrogate father. Harris had intended to confront the Giants receiver about his recent behavior last Sunday — a meeting canceled after the Manhattan nightclub shooting incident.Harris: “There were some things that I was disappointed with. Quite frankly, I was gonna let him know what those things were. ‘What I’ve been reading, that’s not you.’ … He made a poor decision. I don’t know what all the facts are. I don’t know all that’s surrounding them, but I hope and trust that he gets an opportunity to re-write his wrong.”On the team that is the biggest surprise of 2008 NFL season …Tom Jackson: “Atlanta. It’s a Thanksgiving Christmas miracle. You think about where that team was a year ago – Mike Vick gone off to jail, the coach had exited – now Mike Smith in as coach, you get Matt Ryan come in as an outstanding quarterback. They’ve managed to turn things around. If there’s a No. 2, if I had to pick it, it would be Tennessee. Nobody could have envisioned this.”Cris Carter: “Atlanta. One year from the week of the sentencing of Michael Vick changed that franchise around.”Keyshawn Johnson: “Miami Dolphins. When you take a team from 1-15 … all of a sudden they are in a position to win the division and go to the playoffs.”Mike Ditka: “11-1 without your starting quarterback. It’s Tennessee.From Kelly Naqi’s exclusive interview with former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Richard Collier, whose life changed forever when a gunman shot him repeatedly while he was sitting in a car outside an apartment building the morning of Sept. 2. The attack inflicted 14 wounds that threatened Collier’s life and left him paralyzed below the waist. The entire interview aired on Sunday morning’s Outside the Lines with a shorter excerpt on Countdown.On whether his actions in any way contributed to him being shot …Collier: “I didn’t deserve it. I’m not gonna pity myself. I’ll deal with it but I feel like I’ve done nothing to contribute to this.”On his emotions after finding out his leg had been amputated …Collier: “That’s the most I’ve cried my whole life. Every day, anything would just trigger tears — watching football on TV, anything. That was my lowest point.”On doctors saying he will remain paralyzed …Collier: “It took a miracle to survive 14 shots, you know. It took a miracle for me to go to an NFL team, it’s a miracle for me to be alive right now, so I don’t listen to all that. I have faith in God, he’ll pull me through. … I feel like if I say that word (paralyzed), I’ve kind of given up. I have faith in God that I’ll walk again. So I’m very optimistic about that. I’ve gotten stronger and stronger everyday and my mind just won’t let me, I can’t give up like that. I have like a “never say die” type attitude, and I just can’t.”What he reflects on while spending time at a favorite spot, a nearby pond …Collier: “I like to watch people walk. It’s kind of strange, but it’s really big for me. Like, MAN, it was taken away from me, a lot of little things that I just never paid attention to, I do now.”On his physical health and rehabilitation …Collier: “It’s a lot of stuff to just get me to transition to be in a wheelchair and be able to move around without my lower half, so it’s a lot of arm exercises, all kinds of things with my arms — gotta push off and hold it, stuff like that. … I feel like I get stronger and stronger all the time, so I don’t feel like it’s overbearing or boring. I know it’s necessary, so I come in and work hard, just like I would if I was still playing for the Jags. … It’s much more difficult moving my whole body with just my arms, that’s real hard. I still have problems with it, so l have to like scoot and everything and push up, to move from the chair to here or the mat. It’s real hard, because I’m not a light guy. Even though I lost some weight, I’m still pretty heavy so I hate that. But I like lifting arms, I like doing bench-pressing, curls.
It kind of makes me feel like I’m back in the weight room with the guys. … I’m getting stronger though. I get stronger everyday, mentally and physically, spiritually also. I’m just working hard. I always have and always will.”On what he has learned about people through this experience …Collier: “With all the negative and hateful people in the world, so many good people (are) out there that are on your side.”On the Dallas Cowboys …Mike Ditka: “The Cowboys are one-dimensional. It is Romo. If he doesn’t perform, they are going to have problems.”On the Denver Broncos …Tom Jackson: “The Broncos are doing a pretty good Jekyll and Hyde act this season, but the tip is to watch Peyton Hillis. … If they can find a guy who can run the ball downhill, this team has a chance to go deep in the playoffs with the passing of Jay Cutler – Elway-like if you will.”
Mike Ditka criticized the Cleveland Browns fans during his “Ditka’s Doghouse” segment for cheering the season-ending injury that struggling quarterback Derek Anderson sustained last week …Ditka: “You have a right to enjoy the game but don’t abuse that.”On Cleveland potentially looking to hire Marty Schottenheimer this off-season …Chris Mortensen: “Browns sources say they are looking very hard at bringing back Marty Schottenheimer to the place where he got his NFL head coaching start. Schottenheimer has been out of coaching since he was fired by the Chargers after a 14-2 season, but his resume and his desire to coach a team with some playoff potential could entice him to return, even though he has not stated publicly he’s ready to come back.”
Here’s quotage from Fox NFL Sunday:
FOX NFL SUNDAY NOTES – 12/7/08
Analyst Michael Strahan on the message being sent by authorities with their treatment of Plaxico Burress: “Memo to every NFL player out there. Don’t think you’re above the law. Don’t think you’re going to cut corners because of your fame. If anything, those corners have gotten a lot sharper. By making an example of Plaxico, Michael Vick and even Martha Stewart, the authorities are scaring someone who is thinking about committing the same kind of crime. It’s an effective, easier way than to go out and search for dog-fighters or convince guys not carry around guns. The days of covering up mistakes, screw ups and even crimes for our celebrities and our sports heroes are over. I can’t stress this enough – the more famous you are, the bigger target you will be. Immunity has been replaced with a huge red ‘X’ across the chest. Finally, if the place that you are going to makes you feel like you need to bring a gun to be safe then don’t go. If you really can’t resist, fine. You hire security. You make enough and it is certainly cheaper than bail and a lawyer.”
NFL Insider Jay Glazer reported how the Plaxico Burress story has affected the rest of the league: “Coaches around the league have used the Plaxico Burress situation as a huge wake up call for their locker room. For example, (Panthers Head Coach) John Fox brought in an attorney and a police officer to go over gun laws with his players. He said, ‘I know my players have guns. It’s their right to have guns. I want to make sure they know all the laws for a concealed weapon in North Carolina and South Carolina.’”
Analyst Michael Strahan on the impact of the Plaxico Burress suspension on the Giants team: “They haven’t had him a lot this season and the team has played comfortably without him. Being able to run the ball helps out Eli Manning. They think that they can go wide receiver to Domenik Hixon. That’s why they suspended Plaxico right now. It wasn’t to just distance themselves from him, it was to say to the team, ‘Don’t worry about that. It’s over with. Now we’re going to move on and play without him like we have earlier in the year.’”
Co-host Terry Bradshaw considers Tom Coughlin for Coach of the Year: “Tom Coughlin, if you get Coach of the Year, you’ve earned it for the way you have managed this football team all year.”
Jimmy Johnson on a major factor in the Falcons impressive season: “Head coach Mike Smith put together a great coaching staff. Not a good coaching staff; a great coaching staff and that’s very difficult to do in today’s NFL because of contracts.”
Terry Bradshaw on the play of Falcons’ rookie quarterback Matt Ryan: “I would put Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. He is playing as well as any quarterback.”
Finally, NBC’s Football Night in America:
HIGHLIGHTS FROM WEEK 14 OF NBC’s “FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA”NEW YORK – Dec. 7, 2008 – Following are highlights from NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show, as host Bob Costas, co-host Cris Collinsworth, co-host Keith Olbermann, co-host Dan Patrick, analysts Tiki Barber and Jerome Bettis, and reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated take a look at the day's top storylines in the NFL:
KEITH OLBERMANN ON THE BILLS LOSING IN TORONTO: "All that CFL seemed to rub off on the Bills."
CRIS COLLINSWORTH ON THE JETS: "I apologize to Jets fans everywhere for putting them in the Super Bowl because they are dead."
CRIS COLLINSWORTH ON THE BENGALS: "Is it proper etiquette to send a thank you note after you play the Bengals?"
CRIS COLLINSWORTH ON THE SAINTS: "When the Saints can find a running game to go along with a very dynamic passing game this is a spectacular offense."
CRIS COLLINSWORTH ON MATT RYAN VS. DREW BREES: "It looked like two guys battling for the MVP Award out there."
KEITH OLBERMANN ON THE LIONS: "The Lions lost and Rod Marinelli didn't even have a funny news conference."
JEROME BETTIS ON CLINTON PORTIS PLAYING DESPITE INJURIES: "He does it because he has to. This offense is predicated around him running the football so he understands he's got to be out there."
I’ll have another update coming up tonight.