As we recover from the (Regular Season) “Game of the Century” here is a look back at what some of the national media types were saying yesterday afternoon:
Quotes and excerpts from CBS’ The NFL Today pregame show:
On officiating crew calling New England-Indianapolis game:
Charlie Casserly: [They’ve called] only four defensive pass interference penalties this year. What’s that mean? That favors the passing attacks from both teams. The next stat which is interesting is they’ve called three offensive pass interference calls this year. That’s high amongst the league. It’s above average. Where does that fit? Randy Moss. What’s one of his favorite techniques? The Push off…I’d watch what happens with Moss today when he pushes off, whether they call it or not. The last stat, they (this crew) lead the league in calling roughing the passer. If I’m a defensive player, and I’m going to hit a quarterback today, I’d better be real careful. If it’s close I’m going to get called.
Dan Marino with Tom Brady:
Brady on teammate Randy Moss: It’s funny. Everything that’s been said or written about Randy is the exact opposite of what he is. You know, everyone says he’s this. He’s that. He comes in and you’re like, he’s great. He’s a great player. That’s what is most important.
Brady on running up score controversy that swirls around his team: We always respect our opponents. We always try to say the right thing, do the right thing and then it always comes back the other way like, I think people treat us like we’ve been a bunch of jerks…I’m sitting here saying, you know, we’re just trying to do the best we can do. Imagine me as an offensive player saying, that defense is kicking our butt, just ease off a little bit let them complete a few passes. That’s ridiculous.
Marino on Brady: It’s great being Tom Brady right now. All the wins but now he’s got all the toys with those receivers…Tom Brady right now is in quarterback heaven in New England with this offense.
CBS Staff Predictions:
Boomer: They’re (New England) not going to be derailed. They’re going to win 41-27. They’re not only going to win, they’re going to win the rest. And they’re going to the Super Bowl.
Marino: New England: 35-24
Cowher: New England: 31-20
Sharpe: Indianapolis: 38-31
From ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown:
Patriots at Colts: Which team has the mental edge?
Tom Jackson: “It is hard to believe that the Colts have an advantage when they walk in as almost a touchdown underdog in their own building. But I think that might be the edge. They (Colts) are used to being in this position when they play this football team. Mentally, they understand and have no illusion about who is on the other side of the football field. A lot of talk about respect and admiration, if the Patriots could beat you 60-0 today, that would happen.”
Mike Ditka: “(Coach Tony) Dungy and (quarterback Peyton) Manning have the mental edge. I’ll tell you why. This is not their first rodeo. They’ve been there before, they’ve done it. They’ve been the underdog to these guys last three times they played them and they beat them. And they know what it takes to beat them. I don’t care if they have their whole contingent or not, this is a very solid football team and I really believe in the bottom of my heart, somewhere along the way, it is going to come down to good versus evil.”
Chris Berman: “They both are 15-0. I want to see which defense gets an edge today. That might be the difference.”
Bill Parcells: “I don’t think either team has an edge. I don’t think last year’s game means anything or the fact that the Colts were Super Bowl Champs, or the Patriots past success against the Colts. This is 2007. This is a different deal. There are different characters on both teams. When this game is over – everybody thinks they may play again, I don’t think that’ll happen – the team that wins it will then definitely have an edge because they’ll know they can beat their opponent while the loser will not know that they can win. I think that’ll be a big psychological edge for the team that wins it.”
Coaches Ditka and Parcells on how to stop Tom Brady
Ditka: “The first thing you have to do is you must get Brady out of his comfort zone. I will play, basically, a 3-3-5. Not only the three would come every time, sometimes four. But I’ll have eight in coverage. I’ll play three corners and I’ll man up underneath. I’ll man up with those three receivers. You must disrupt those receivers coming off the ball. That’s the only thing Brady has a problem, because he has a great ability to pump one way and deliver the ball the other way. If those receivers are bumped and knocked off the ball where they are supposed to be, you’ve got a chance.”
Parcells: “I think a 3-3-5 might be restrictive to Dwight Freeney, their best pressure player, unless he becomes one of those rushers. If he does, he’ll be moving around like Mike (Ditka) said. I don’t think the Patriots will have too much trouble identifying that guy because the Colts are basically a four-man line and the players are used at looking at the numbers. But they can use (safety Bob) Sanders as an extra linebacker rather than one of the four defensive backs. If he becomes the fifth guy in a nickel situation, that five underneath can cause some protection change-ups for New England.”
Brady or Manning: Who’s under more pressure today?
Ditka: “I think it is Manning. He is a consummate professional. He puts the pressure on himself. He’s been in this position. He understands what a victory today would mean.”
Emmitt Smith: “Tom Brady. Mr. Kraft (New England owner) went out and spent some money in the free agency market to bring in Wes Welker, Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth, and also put some guys on that defensive side of the ball. He spent some money. It is up to Tom Brady right now to take care of that money. The only way to take care of that money is to win this game.”
Jackson: “It is Tom Brady because of style of play. When you ask what they ask of him in terms of throwing the football and doing it as much as he does, he has to have a good game. If I’m the Colts, I’m trying to hold him to a normal football game – three touchdowns instead of six, 300 yards instead of 450. If he plays a normal football game, we have a chance to win the game.”
Keyshawn Johnson: “I don’t thing it is either one of them. I think it is defensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts. I know that’s not the question, but it is Ron Meeks, the defensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts. He has to stop Tom Brady. Every coach in America who is a coordinator wants to be a head coach. This is the type of game where stars are born. If you look at coach Dungy’s track record, a lot of his assistants have become head coaches. If he (Meeks) does his job today, he’ll have an opportunity to jump up to the top of that rank.”
Parcells’ on who’ll be under more pressure from the opposing defenses in the match-up: “Neither one of these two guys helps you beat them. They don’t take sacks. They don’t throw interceptions. They both make big explosive plays in the passing game, and the other thing is their defense gets turnovers for them. Looking at it, the biggest difference I can find is that the Patriots seem to rush the quarterback better than the Colts. So I think, literally, Peyton Manning will be under more pressure than Tom Brady.”
From the FOX NFL Sunday Pregame Show:
Analyst Howie Long on today’s New England-Indianapolis match-up from a defensive perspective: “This Indianapolis team features the fastest defense I have ever seen. Period. And it starts with Bob Sanders. Defensively, both of these teams are different. New England runs complex schemes and that’s what has given Peyton problems in the past.”
Analyst Jimmy Johnson adds: “In the dome, on artificial surface, I give the edge to Indy. But, for all seasons, on grass, outdoors and in cold weather, I like New England.”
Johnson on accusations that New England has been running up the score on recent victims: “Maybe it’s my dark side talking here, but I’d much rather see 52 to nothing games that feature acrobatic catches and dominant performances than a 28-7 game in which one team is taking a knee and running the clock out.”
Long adds: “If you are among those who, after the Spygate scandal, questioned the validity of their championships, questioned their ability, or if you’re even just on their schedule, prepare to be crushed or do something about it.”
From NFL Gameday on NFL Network:
“They are going to go 16-0. They got over their biggest obstacle today.”
— Steve Mariucci on New England Patriots
“The biggest obstacle is going to be the game that is not obvious.”
— Deion Sanders on Patriots’ chances for 16-0 season
“Tom Brady had all the best supporting actors.”
— Deion Sanders on Patriots’ 24-20 win over Colts
“I can’t wait until these teams play again, and you know they will.”
— Steve Mariucci on Patriots-Colts
“He excited me because he didn’t run typical Randy Moss routes. He ran deep-ins and quick slants.”
— Deion Sanders on Patriots WR Randy Moss, who had nine catches for 145 yards
Here are some more links on the action yesterday:
Jason Cole has Jonathan Kraft making a complaint to the NFL about the crowd noise allegations.
John Molori goes over the opinions of the so-called experts and notes that this game actually lived up to the hype and hot air.
Michael Silver has Dwight Freeney and the Colts proud that they showed the world that the Patriots can be beaten. Wait a minute…did the Colts actually beat the Patriots yesterday?
In Monday Morning Quarterback Peter King is pretty convinced that if Marvin Harrison had played yesterday, that the Colts would’ve won. I’m pretty sure that if Rodney Harrison, Junior Seau, Eugene Wilson and others had played in the AFC title game, the game might’ve ended differently.
Tom Curran says that the Patriots “killed it” in every phase of the game over the last 10 minutes yesterday.
Mike Florio has the top 10 storylines from yesterday. Included are the ball calls and the fake crowd noise in Indy.
Vic Carucci says that the Patriots proved their worth yesterday.
Steve Silverman says that the Patriots still have much to prove.