On the Line: Mathis and McFarland

Colts defensive end Robert Mathis and the man who lines up next to him, Anthony "Booger" McFarland talked to the media about the Bears' offensive line, head coach Tony Dungy, preparing for Sunday's Super Bowl and more!


(on the Bears' offensive line)
"I see a lot of big guys that will get physical with you if you let them. They can beat you up."

(on using the defense's speed to their advantage)
"We have to make them play our game. We can't get into more of a power game, because that's not us. We are more based on speed, we shoot gaps, so that's how we have to do it."

(on playing against a team like the Bears who can run the ball effectively)
"You better get in your gap and stay there, because they're coming to move you up out of there so you just have to do your job."

(on what they had to do better as a team to improve against the run)
"It was just a matter of tackling. That was the equation. We had to tackle better, and that's the attitude we had to take with us to the playoffs, because if you lose now you're going home. Part of the solution to the problem is just worrying about doing what we have to do and worrying about ourselves and how to get the game plan done and how to execute it."

(on how it feels to have a good defense again)
"It feels good, knowing that we turned it on at the right time, at a critical time. We were just able to get it done."

(on making it to the Super Bowl)
"Actually being here and envisioning it are two different things. You envision it the whole time, saying ‘we want to get to Miami and we want to win.' Now we're actually here and we have to win. We've been good enough over the past three years to get to the Super Bowl and now we're finally in the position to take care of business."


(on if there is legitimate respect between the two teams)
"There is legitimate respect. Anytime you can go 15-3 says a lot. They definitely have our attention. They're a very good football team in all three phases of the game. We just have to be ready to play. It's going to be a tough game. It's going to be a very physical game and a very tight game. Nothing is made up, it's all real."

(on if reaching Super Bowl was a possibility when he joined the team during the season)
"It was definitely a possibility. When I joined them they were undefeated and we continued to be undefeated. We were 9-0 going into Dallas. We have a very talented team. It was just a matter of us playing up to our talent level and we started doing that going into the playoffs and here we are."

(on if the game plan against the Bears is in place)
"The game plan is there. Right now we're just going to fine tune it and go over it. We're going to get used to this Florida climate, and get ready to play, get the rust off from having a couple days off and just get ready to go play."

(on if he embraces the Super Bowl and the importance of the game)
"Absolutely. The thing about the Super Bowl is that there is nothing to hold back for. It's the end of the season and you're playing for all the marbles, an opportunity to play for a championship."

(on the importance of having Bob Sanders back at 100 percent)
"Bob's definitely one of the best safeties in the game. Any time you can add a playmaker to your defense, it definitely gives you a lot more momentum and a lot more playmakers on the field."

(on the effect that Tony Dungy's faith has had on the rest of the team)
"When you have somebody who is the same way on the field as they are off the field, it shows what type of man they are and what type of person they truly are. He shares that with us, not only in football ways, but also in life. It continues to help us, not only become better football players, but become better men each and every day."

Anthony McFarland leaves the field after winning the AFC Championship (Getty Images/Doug Benc)
(on how he got the nickname "Booger" and if he likes it)
"I got it when I was two years old. My mom gave me the nickname. I was a very, very bad kid to say the least. I got called a lot of things and one of them happened to be that. Some of my friends who were older kind of heard it and started teasing me with it. I love it. I've been called that for 27 years. It's just
part of me."

(on how excited he will be on Sunday)
"The first five minutes of a football game – I don't care what Sunday it is – you always have butterflies going and you always have a little nervous energy. Super Sunday is going to be no different. I think after the first five minutes, after you get through with that, it's time to settle down and play football."

(on how excited he was to join the Colts)
"I was excited to be moving to a winning team. As a competitor, you never want to lose. Obviously, for personal reasons, we developed a good rapport and a good relationship with a lot of people there (Tampa Bay). I still have that, but at the same time we only get a certain amount of time to play this game. So you want to enjoy it and you want to win. From that aspect I was very excited and I think Tony was."

(on what makes Tony Dungy so special)
"He never changes. He never changes. He knows who he is, and it doesn't matter who you are, he's going to be who he is all the time and he doesn't change."

(on if it took him some time to adjust to the Colts style of play)
"Not necessarily taken awhile, I just think that any time you come into a new situation, it takes time for you to get acclimated. It takes time for you to figure out what's going on. I've never been a guy who wants to come in and step on anybody's toes. So you come in, you take your piece and try to fit it in the puzzle. It may not fit on the left side, it may not fit on the right side, but you'll find your piece somewhere. And when it fits, that's where you're supposed to be. So it was just a matter of guys learning me, me learning the guys and us playing together. The guys in this locker room are very smart. They're not going to follow somebody or want somebody to follow them whose not a hard worker. Just like I needed to see them work, they needed to see me work. I needed to see them play and they needed to see me play. They needed to see how I conducted myself on and off the field. It was a learning process the whole team went through."

(on if practicing against the Colts offense helps the defense)
"Hopefully Chicago will come out like our offense – come out in four or five wide and not line up in tow or three tight ends and pound us a little bit, which is what everybody says the gameplan is going to be. Peyton Manning is a great quarterback. He sees things that not many people see. Our receivers – Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison– if there is a better duo in the league, somebody show them to me. You talk about Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson, I like Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes. Arguably, those guys definitely pose a threat for us in practice. The Bears bring a different type of threat. They're going to bring that old NFC mentality, almost three yards and a cloud of dust. Then you throw Rex Grossman in there, he's definitely made a lot of plays with (Bernard) Berrian down the field. You've got (Muhsin) Muhammad, who's a wily vet. They're a young team, much like us, on defense. They've got a couple of stars but they're very young and they're definitely playing well together right now. Whether or not it helps us, we'll find out on Super Sunday."

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