10 Quotes and a Cloud of Dust: AFC Championship
We meet again. People have been comparing this one to some of the great rivalries in all of sports. Ohio State-Michigan. Celtics-Lakers. Red Sox-Yankees. We should have seen this one coming. It was never going to be Ravens-Chargers or any other match-up. Patriots-Colts had to happen.
With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, the Patriots and Colts face off for the 9th time in 6 years, and the third time in the postseason. The Colts have won the last two regular season meetings, but the Patriots had won the previous six meetings, including the last two playoff games.
The hype has been building all week. The talk about LaDanian Tomlinson and Marty Schottenheimer is over. The Ravens are in the Colts' rearview mirror. Last week is over. Everyone's looking ahead to the game of the year.
Here are the top 10 quotes of the week, heading into the AFC Championship Game, Patriots-Colts:
10. "There are a lot of things that he sees that we don't see. He knows this game in and out. That is one thing that I really noticed when I first got here. You really can't put anything past him."
Patriots tight end Daniel Graham on Coach Belichick's knowledge of the game
Translation: "He's like Yoda. Or Gandalf. It's scary."
9. "I don't know. That's a good question. He is a smart coach. I couldn't say why other coaches don't have that ability."
Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour, when asked why Bill Belichick is so much better than other coaches at game management at the end of games
Translation: "There are a lot of stupid coaches in this league. We're out there busting our butts on every play and they're just standing there on the sidelines, waiting for the moment when they have to do something. And yet they still screw it up. Not our guy, though."
8. "I think at that point, to use the phrase that my dad used to use, 'The hay is in the barn.' You're confident in what you're doing. Certainly there's butterflies there, but you're confident in what you're doing and your team is confident and you just get a good night's sleep and get ready to go and play the game. I've never had a problem sleeping before a game."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
Translation: "I always sleep well when the preparation has been good and I expect to win. I'm going to sleep real well Saturday night."
7. "I think the last thing he cares about is what he dresses like on the sideline and how he presents himself when he does his press conference. I think he just likes to coach football."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
Translation: "No one's going to teach that man how to dress. At least that suit he had on today looked pretty good. I mean it could have been worse. He could have come out here wearing that purple sweater vest that Rex Grossman had on."
6. "Please, Colts fans. Don't sell your tickets to Patriots fans We need that stadium totally packed in blue. No Patriots." [WHDH]
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning
Translation: "Please, please, please, I'm begging you. I know basketball is king here in Indiana, but if we lose to the Patriots again I'm blaming you all for selling your tickets to the enemy."
5. "He's a funny guy, and I think you get to see that side of him in those commercials and for that reason I think it's good. We see him here as this serious guy, this driven guy, but he enjoys life." [Boston Globe]
Colts head coach Tony Dungy on Peyton Manning's commercials
Translation: "Hey I have a commercial too you know. The one with the quarterback in the car. And I tell him what to say to the girl. It's pretty funny, don't you think? We've definitely got the Patriots beat on commercials. They've got us on coaching, Super Bowl wins, maybe even at quarterback. But we have the edge in commercials, right?"
4. "I haven't tried to make the game any bigger than it is. Believe me, it's a big game."
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning
Translation: "I've got you all to talk about my past failures and how I can't beat the Patriots in the playoffs and how I don't come up big in the postseason and how I've never won a championship at any level. I sure as heck don't need to talk about it."
3. "It's the same feeling. When he goes out there, you always feel like he's not going to miss."
Colts head coach Tony Dungy on what it's like to have Adam Vinatieri on his sideline
Translation: "Better on our sideline than on there's. Remember that jerk we had last year? Most accurate kicker in NFL history they told me. Yeah, right. I'll take Mr. Clutch on my side, thanks. And if he goes out there and kicks the game winner for us, I'm doing the 'lights out' dance in the middle of the field."
2. "You think I want to answer that question? I'm glad I don't have to play against Tom Brady."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, when asked what he would be most concerned about if he had to face Tom Brady
Translation: "We win another Super Bowl together and Bill Polian will probably complain to the league enough that they'll have to split us up. Then I guess I'll have to figure out how to stop him."
1. "Yes, I think he's one of their best play makers-- I just found a few bucks in my pocket. Isn't that nice? That's a good feeling, isn't it? About 40 bucks."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, when asked about Colts safety Bob Sanders
Translation: "I love finding money in my pockets. It's kind of like the same feeling you get beating the Colts. Or dating Gisele Bundchen or Bridget Moynahan. It's that same kind of feeling. I'm sorry. What were you asking me?"
Patriots fans know just how Tom Brady feels. This postseason has been just like finding money in their pockets. Or dating Gisele Bundchen. Well, maybe not like that. After trouncing the Jets and improbably beating the Chargers last week, it's like Christmas in January.
And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the folks at CBS know how Tom Brady feels as well. They couldn't have planned this one any better if they tried. The top two teams of the last six years go head-to-head in primetime. The league's most recognizable and successful quarterbacks have the spotlight shined on them again. It will either be Peyton Manning's first ever trip to the Super Bowl, or the Patriots playing for their 4th championship in 6 years.
That's a good feeling, isn't it?
Darren is a regular contributor to Patriots Insider. You can find him in the forums under the name: DestinationSuperBowl. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by searching for "Darren Kelly"