NEWS, NOTES & QUOTES FROM CBS SPORTS’ “THE NFL TODAY” WITH JAMES BROWN, DAN MARINO, SHANNON SHARPE,
BILL COWHER AND BOOMER ESIASON FOR WEEK 17 ON JANUARY 3, 2010
BILL COWHER RESPONDS ON “THE NFL TODAY” TO RUMOR/REPORT OF MEETING WITH BUFFALO BILLS
►On rumors/reports of Bill Cowher being mentioned for coaching jobs
JAMES BROWN: Let me turn my attention to Coach Cowher because there have been an awful lot of reports about you and various coaching jobs. What is your response to these stories?
BILL COWHER: As I referenced to before, I am not going to talk about any jobs during the regular-season. I’ve got my own issues up here. I’m trying to catch this guy (pointing to Shannon Sharpe) in the picks segment. It’s taking all my attention to do that.
►NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell joined Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf in the booth during the Pittsburgh-Miami game in Miami
(On competitive spirit of teams at end of season)
GOODELL: I think the integrity of our game is the most important thing we do. We want our players to play, and our teams to win. I think we have to do more structurally to incent people to win and to play. I don’t blame the coaches in Indianapolis for what they did. I understand exactly what they did, but we’ve got to create that incentive.
(On reports NFL is considering draft choices to teams in order to keep them competitive)
GOODELL: Well, we’re considering a lot of different things. We’ve talked with our Competition Committee. We’ve talked with John Madden’s committee. How do you incent people to do it or reward them? I don’t think you can punish people for not playing. The other thing that has to happen is you have to make it clear to the public that you’re not going to be playing somebody, just like we do with our injury reports.
► QUICK HITS
(On New York Jets possibly making Playoffs by “backing in”)
COWHER: Absolutely not. When you look at this, you don’t just take last week’s one game. Look at the body of work. They’ve won four-of-their-last-five games. They are 8-7. Of those seven losses, five of them have come from five-points-or-less. Yes, there’s no dynamic offense. They have a rookie quarterback. They can run the football. They can play defense. They’ve earned it. They don’t have to apologize to anyone.
BOOMER ESIASON: The Jets got lucky last week. They went, in a matter of five minutes, playing against the best team in the NFL to the worst team in the NFL. All of Rex Ryan’s Christmas wishes were fulfilled by Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts.
(Reaction to Indianapolis taking out starters last week and losing)
COWHER: Every player should want to play. I think that’s what makes them a special team. But as a coach you also have a responsibility to put the healthy players out there. They earned the right. They can’t earn a higher seed. They’ve got home field, got the week off. They did not want to take a chance. We saw what the Indianapolis Colts were without Peyton Manning. If you put him in there and he gets hurt in the fourth quarter of another meaningless game, there’s going to be another backlash that goes out there. They did what they felt was in the best interest to win a championship, not worry about a streak. And I think that’s the most important thing.
BOOMER: The other thing about this is the players were never consulted. They were never asked how they felt about this. But they put a bull’s-eye on their back right now. Because if they don’t make it to the Super Bowl, or they lose and don’t even get there, think about the pressure and backlash in Indianapolis.
COWHER: The dynamics of that I don’t know, but there is an edge right now in Indianapolis. It’s amazing this backlash. If it were me as Coach Caldwell, ‘There are people out there questioning our integrity, questioning whether we can do this.’ You need an edge. When people start to question you, an edge is created.
SHANNON SHARPE: I’m not going to question it because we had a similar problem when we were going for back-to-back Super Bowls. That was our goal going into the season – to repeat as champs. Mike (Shanahan) said let’s win our division, have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and embrace anything that comes along with that. If 16-0 were to come along with that, we were going to embrace it…Do not be afraid to be great. The Indianapolis Colts, I think they shied away from being great, 16-0. There’s no guarantee by resting Peyton Manning or your starters that you’re going to even get to the Super Bowl.
DAN MARINO: There’s already a history there. When you think of how they’ve handled this in the past, they haven’t won playoff games when they’ve rested their players. It’s as simple as that. They’ve done it four times. In the years when they’ve been in the playoffs and rested players, they never went to the Super Bowl in those years. In fact, they’ve only won one playoff game and they lost four. The philosophy does not work for them, no matter what you say.
►“INSIDE THE GAME” WITH CHARLEY CASSERLY
(On Mike Shanahan possibly being named head coach in Washington and putting together a staff)
CASSERLY: Here are two names I’ve heard, first of all his son, Kyle Shanahan, presently the offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans. Last summer Kyle Shanahan turned down a contract extension and has told people he would like to coach with his Dad. So I would expect him in Washington as the offensive coordinator. On the defensive side of the ball, Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. His contract is up and he’s not been interested in signing an extension with the Bengals. My opinion, I expect him to be in Washington as the defensive coordinator.
(On coaches getting contract extensions)
CASSERLY: First of all, Marvin Lewis, who is my candidate for Coach of the Year, going into the last year of his contract, I expect him to get offered a contract extension by the Cincinnati Bengals. Next up, Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans. I know Bob McNair is happy with the progress of the team. Gary Kubiak is going into the last year of his contract. Not only do I expect him back next year, I expect him also to get offered a contract extension. And finally in Jacksonville, despite media reports and speculation, I expect Jack Del Rio to be back next year as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has three years to go on his contract.
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