"It's difficult in the sense that the outcome is obviously not good for one of us. With that being said, you worked this hard to get here, and then all of a sudden, you have to play your best friend, obviously you would like to be maybe in the other conference and you play him in the Super Bowl, or you would like to play him in the AFC Championship Game. But it didn't work out for us that way this year. So, that's the difficult part, but I think the good part is that we're so good of friends that we know we're going to compete against each other, but then after, whoever wins it, we're going to be pulling for that guy until he gets to the Super Bowl and wins it. That's how we've always felt, and that's how we always look upon these type of situations when we get in them."
(on how often he and Coach Dungy talk during a season)
"We just talked once this week. We talked earlier in the season a couple of times. If anything is really bothering either one of us, we get a pretty good feel for each other, or if we feel like we need some help, we'll call each other. But other than that, we'll see each other when the season is over most of the time. We keep in contact and watch each other play, I know that."
(on if he looks back at he and Coach Dungy's careers, from a bad
Buccaneers team in 1996 to turning it around, then being a part of the first
playoff game in 2002 in which two African-American head coaches coached against
each other and now it is not something even thought about)
"And that's what's great, because that's not even mentioned. I was thinking about that, too. The last time we met, Tony had just gone from Tampa to Indy, and that was the first time that occurred. It was kind of a newsworthy deal, but now, no one is even saying that, and that's great. I think Tony looks at it that way and I look at it that way. Tony's done a remarkable job, not only at Tampa when we got started down there, but with the Colts. He has the longest streak now as a coach (with Colts), with five consecutive times going to the playoffs with a good football team. He's done a great job up there."
(on QB-Trent Green and with him coming back after his injury, does he
regret going with Green instead of Damon Huard)
"No. We still got where we wanted to go. Obviously, we got into the playoffs. It was his team, and it's always been his team. He didn't lose his job. He lost it because he got hurt. He was ready to come back. When he came back, he played pretty well and then he had some tough stretches. We played some pretty good defenses, which is always kind of tough. We ended up winning three out of four, I believe it was, and (Damon) won five and lost three. So, at the end, we won enough games to get in, and that was important. Now, I think he's been in playoff situations, obviously, played these guys in that shootout game (in 2003), I guess. So, I think that it's one of those situations where I just anticipate he's going to play well."
(on facing Peyton Manning and what makes him a good QB)
"For one, his presence and poise on the football field. He has an uncanny ability to always keep his poise when that clock is ticking down. He never gets into a panic mode. He looks at his reads as long as he can look at them and tries to get you to show him what you're trying to do, and then obviously his accuracy, his accuracy with the football. He's uncanny with that, can make all of the throws that you need to make. A lot of people say he's not mobile, but he has the ability in the pocket to slide and buy some time, especially on his play action. I think he does a great job getting depth away from the line of scrimmage where when you're rushing him, it's very, very difficult to get there. And he can throw the ball anywhere on the field. He's very accurate down the field. He throws the ball down the field very, very accurate. He can find the windows in your defense. If you're in man to man, and you have your back turned to him, he'll put the ball in an area where really the receiver has the best chance to catch the ball. Along with that, along with being a winning quarterback in this league and all of the games he has won, all of the yards he has thrown for, I think he's a great representative of what a great quarterback is. I know the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I played against his dad, so obviously his son has taken on a lot of his dad's traits."
(on despite all of their success, QB-Peyton Manning and Coach Dungy being
criticized for not getting to the Super Bowl and if that is the culture we are
"Yes, exactly. There's no doubt about it, and that's the ironic thing about it. You sit here and you go, ‘Okay, they haven't won a Super Bowl, so, okay.' Well, there are going to be a lot of guys that never won a Super Bowl. There are a lot of great players, a lot of great coaches that maybe never coach in a Super Bowl game. And that's what the difficulty is. When you start winning, you continue to go to playoff games. It seems like the pressure on those teams mounts even more, and you lose sight of all of the good things they have done. I don't lose sight of that. I was a former athlete and I'm a coach now. Everyone wants to win a Super Bowl, and sometimes with the luck of the draw or your team is hot and you get in there and all of a sudden you win one, I mean Bill Cowher, it took him a long time to win a Super Bowl. And he finally won one. Marty (Schottenheimer) hasn't won one yet, and Marty has had some great teams. He has the winningest record of any (active) coach I think in sports right now. And all of a sudden, there's pressure on him if he doesn't win a Super Bowl with the Chargers, and he didn't have a good year. And I think it's crazy."
(on the Colts' run defense)
"Obviously, people are making a big deal out of it. I think what happens to you is this: they are a quick defense, they were built to play fast. At times, what happens to teams, if games are close, in other words, with anybody you play, and the game is close, and especially against these guys, you know you don't want to get in a shootout, because if you get in a shootout with them, you have problems. You can't win it most of the time, especially at home. They're 8-0 at home. You're not going to get in a shootout battle and win the game. So, you're whole mindset is, ‘We have to play keep-away.' Well, how do you play keep-away? You have to try to run the ball. Well, if you can run it and they don't get up a couple of scores, you can continue to run it. Not saying that they're bad, but because you continue to keep running the ball. You don't want to give them the ball. So, it puts an extra burden on your defense all of a sudden. It's like anything else. Any coach would prefer to run the ball rather than to throw it, because you can control the game. Now against them, that's your whole mindset anyway, because you're going, ‘Hey, if we don't make first downs and control this clock and let them get on the field, we can't slow them down most of the time.' Most defenses aren't going to be able to slow them down. I think that's the mindset when you play them. And if it happens that way, people run the ball on them. And then they say, ‘Well, they can't stop the run.' Well, the game is close. If the game's not close, they go up two scores and the run is not even a factor anymore, because you're not trying to run anymore. You're trying to catch up with them."