News and Sound Bites From Week 16 on
NFL GAMEDAY MORNING
“I’M NOT GOING TO GO IN AND BE WORRIED ABOUT PLAYING A PERFECT FOOTBALL GAME; THAT’S NOT WHO I AM. I’M GOING TO BE LOOSE AND ENJOY IT.” – Ben Roethlisberger
“TENNESEE NEEDS HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE MORE THAN PITTSBURGH BECAUSE DEFENSE TRAVELS.” – Warren Sapp
“I LOVE WATCHING RAY LEWIS AND ED REED PLAY. THEY’RE WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION.”– Charles Barkley
NFL GameDay Morning, the first information packed show on the air Sunday mornings, checks in at 9:00 AM ET on the only network dedicated entirely to football. Warren Sapp, Marshall Faulk and Steve Mariucci alongside host Alex Flanaganjoined in studio by Adam Schefter, bring fans the latest news, injury reports, pregame analysis and game previews on NFL Network.
Schefter’s News Reports:
- Nothing’s official yet, nothing can be until after the season. But Mike Singletary is on his way to having the interim removed from his title and becoming the 49ers head coach for 2009. San Francisco could make the announcement as early as the days after the season, according to league sources. At this point, it will take something drastic for the 49ers not to name Singletary, and even then it is difficult to envision what that could be. Singletary already has survived some well-documented incidents that caused some to question whether he was the right man to lead the team in the future. But through his audition, he has proven he is. The 49ers have won at Buffalo, beaten the New York Jets, and been more competitive than they were early in the season. Singletary has ignited a spark in the players that rarely was seen before. In fact, Singletary has been so convincing that it has gotten to the point where if he were not brought back, there would be disappointment amongst the masses.
- The Lions have been very quiet about their search for a new general manager, but you can connect the dots. When they do launch the official search, you can expect them to look in the direction of Rich McKay, the Atlanta Falcons president. Rich McKay went to Princeton with Bill Ford Jr., one of the Lions chairmen. He knows a lot of people in the Lions organization and is well respected within the league. When the Lions do start to interview candidates, it would be surprising if Rich McKay was not on the list.
- The Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings in the history of their franchises have never had a running back lead the league in rushing. We all know what Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner have done this season. These are the two leading rushers in the league. Right now, Adrian Peterson has a commanding lead over Michael Turner, however Peterson is hobbled and Michael Turner has had a few big games this year so a big game today could have him catch up to and overtake Peterson.
- Signs continue mounting that this will be Brett Favre’s final NFL season. Favre is wearing down both physically and emotionally. He no longer throws downfield nearly as effectively as he once did. Rarely does he have the long-strike touchdown passes that once came to mark his career. He throws with less power and runs slower, as evidenced by his first-quarter, 27-yard run last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Of course, this is hardly surprising for a 39-year-old. But Favre infrequently has acted his age in the past. Emotionally, Favre rarely displays the exuberance that marked his play for years in Green Bay. This season he has not been spotted carrying one of his teammates over his shoulder after another impressive touchdown pass; more often, Favre has sat on the bench, emotionless. And it’s not as though the season hasn’t gone well; it has. The 9-5 Jets are tied for first place and Favre has led the team to memorable back-to-back victories at New England and Tennessee. Favre is wearing down now. It is not going to be any better next season when he is 40.
- Only slightly less unthinkable than the idea of Brett Favre playing for the Jets is the fact that the Packers are 1-6 in their past seven games. A team that last season had home field advantage in the NFC and was one of the conference’s favorites this preseason has slumped badly. It has lost six of its nine games by four points or less, so the team has been in games; it just has not been able to win them. Still, even with the tremendously disappointing season, general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy are safe.
- Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is weeks away from wrapping up a deal as monster-sized as he is. He could be the NFL’s new $60 million man. Surveyed this week about the type of deal that Haynesworth would command this off-season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, league executives estimated that the Titans defensive tackle would land a five- or six-year deal worth an average of about $10 million per season with well over $25 million guaranteed. It’s easy enough to figure how they derived the figures. The game’s highest paid defensive ends, Indianapolis’ Dwight Freeney and Minnesota’s Jared Allen, make about $12 million per season. The game’s highest paid defensive tackle, Chicago’s Tommie Harris, makes about $8 million per season. Haynesworth is regarded as one of, if not the, top NFL defensive tackle. Almost every team in the league needs one, but teams that could wind up making a run at Haynesworth include Atlanta, Denver, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay and of course, Tennessee, which will want to retain its Pro Bowl defensive tackle. For now, Haynesworth is resting his sprained knee and is expected back for the playoffs.
- When Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson stepped down last week, it marked what promises to be the first of many significant changes in Kansas City. In fact, Chiefs coach Herman Edwards told his entire coaching staff last week to start searching for jobs for the 2009 season. One coach said Edwards told them they would not be back in 2009, and some Kansas City assistants immediately began making job inquiries around the league. Another Chiefs official said this was simply Edwards warning his staff that nothing can be counted on in 2009 and they should start looking around. But the bottom line is, with a new president and general manager coming in, nobody on the staff is safe. Kansas City’s new brain trust ultimately will decide whether to bring back Edwards, who has one year remaining on the four-year contract he signed in 2006. And it is impossible to predict which way it will go being that no one is sure who will be making the decision.
- There is a restaurant in Detroit that is promising fans that if the Lions win today against the Saints that they would give out free pizzas to Lions fans on Tuesday.
Quotes from NFL GameDay Morning:
“Jerry Jones is learning that when you accumulate all this talent, it doesn’t constitute a team. A team is when guys come together and play with one common goal. They are very talented, when you look at them player for player, but they don’t play as a team.” – Marshall Faulk on the Cowboys’ record for play in December
“He revolutionized the game. If you wanted to give a picture of what Sammy Baugh was like. You would take Peyton Manning, Champ Bailey and Shane Lechler and combine them into one player.” – Adam Schefter on Sammy Baugh
“Fish don’t swim well in the cold.” – Marshall Faulk on the Dolphins playing in Kansas City
“When you give a guy $100 million, he is a franchise quarterback.” – Faulk on Ben Roethlisberger
“This is a game that the Giants must stake their claim in… if they let the Panthers win, they may be playing in a Wild Card weekend game.” – Faulk on the Panthers at Giants game
“This is an early Christmas gift for the Steelers, because taking Haynesworth out of the middle of that defense really aids them with their running game.” – Warren Sapp
“Tennessee needs home field more than Pittsburgh because defense travels.” –Sapp on the highly ranked Steelers defense
“Age has caught up with the defense…but to win 11 games is remarkable.” – Faulk on the Patriots
“These guys are the catalysts for their teams. They both have the ability to break tackles, make big runs and get tough short yards.” –Faulk on Atlanta RB Michael Turner and Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
Kara Henderson 1-on-1 with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger: NFL Network’s Kara Henderson sat down with Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger to talk about playing through injury and the Steelers season to date:
“Guys see me in a different light. I’ve worked hard to prove to them that I want to be a leader and that’s paid off.” – Roethlisberger on being voted captain this year
“Mike is a younger guy and we can communicate on a different level because he’s the new guy on this team as a head coach. It’s not a knock on Coach Cowher. I was honored to have played with him and won a Super Bowl with him.” – Roethlisberger on his relationships with his coaches
“I’m not going to go in and be worried about playing a perfect football game, that’s not who I am. I’m going to be loose and enjoy it.” – Roethlisberger
“Before every game I say my prayers and tell Coach Hep to enjoy the show. He has the best seat in the house now.” – Roethlisberger on his former college coach Terry Hepner, who died last year
“We don’t like it that way, but the game is on the line and everyone digs down a little deeper and does what needs to be done to win the game.” – Roethlisberger on late game comebacks
“You live by and you die by the sword. If I had thrown the ball away on that last play we would have kicked a field goal and gone into overtime. There are times where maybe I do, but there are times where big plays can happen so I’m not going to change the type of player I am.”
– Roethlisberger on criticism that he holds onto the ball too long
“I’m not going to play to the detriment of the team.”
– Roethlisberger on playing through an injury
**To access the video link of the conversation with Ben Roethlisberger please visit:
Charles Barkley joins the crew in studio:
“I love watching Ray Lewis and Ed Reed play. They’re worth the price of admission.” – Barkley
“It takes a lot more than talent to win in any sport.” – Barkley
“I try to be outspoken on social issues. I don’t think I was as outspoken when I was playing.” –Barkley
“I felt like he was the luckiest guy in the world because he could have killed himself or somebody else. As athletes we are targets and I’m a gun guy. I don’t think you should ever have one in a night club, but I do carry a gun. I feel safe with it.” – Barkley on Giants WR Plaxico Burress
“Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb have never gotten the credit they deserve.” – Barkley
“The reason that football and boxing are my two favorite sports is because you cannot have any sissies in either of those sports.” – Barkley
**To access the video link of the conversation with Charles Barkley please visit:
- Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants will stream live on Sunday Night Football Extra on NFL.com and NBCSports.com. Complementing that stream will be a number of extra features to enrich the viewing experience including additional camera angles, in-game highlights, picture-in-picture technology, live statistics and other interactive elements. Sunday Night Football Extra will also include in-game studio updates from the NBC Football Night in America team and NFL Network talent.
On NFL.com the following video clips from NFL GameDay Morning are available for viewing:
Today’s game guide: Find out today’s most compelling matchups to watch for Week 16
Sapp O’Claus: Warren Sapp puts on his Santa hat and gives out some creative gifts to players around the NFL http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80d7f929