We have come to the end of the regular season in the NFL. Twelve teams will now go after a Super Bowl title; the rest … well, happy new year?
If your coach didn’t get fired, that’s cool, and if your team is in the playoffs, you have to wait five more days to watch more football.
To help your champagne hangover and bide our time until Saturday, here are some of the best quotes of the season.
Please, to make Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia happy, “just kind of sit up and just, like, have a little respect for the process.”
First, meet your new heroes
“When I woke up this morning, I was feeling pretty dangerous.”
“[Tom Brady] ran me out of Oakland in the Tuck Game … And here I am 20 years later, and guess who’s still there? That’s why I’m back.”
— Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, via Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei
“There’s a stack of analytical data … that people don’t even know how to read. It’s one thing to have the data, it’s another thing to know how to read the damn thing.
“So I’m not going to rely on GPSes and all the modern technology. I will certainly have some people that are professional that can help me from that regard. But I still think doing things the old-fashioned way is a good way. And we’re going to try to lean the needle that way a little bit.” — Gruden, at the NFL combine, on any changes in his philosophy after being away from coaching for 10 years
“I used to go to Busch Gardens in Tampa … you go to Busch Gardens, and they’ve got a white tiger. You go 12 times or 13 times, the white tiger was always in his cage. But the white tiger came out today. Bryant came out.” — Gruden, during the preseason, on wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who was later cut, then brought back to Oakland before being suspended for violating the league’s substance-abuse policies
“It’s hard to find a great one. It’s hard to find a good one. It’s hard to find one.” — Gruden, without a hint of irony, barely two weeks after the Raiders traded All-Pro pass-rusher Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears
Jalen’s got thoughts
“I called him soft, called him a punk. … Receivers are, like, naturally soft, so sensitive.”
“He just got a brand-new contract, and he is terrible. People think he’s so great. No, he’s not. Tom [Brady] made him look good. Tom could take me as a receiver, and I’d be a first-team All-Pro.”
“Allen is trash.”
Personnel decisions of all kinds
“We were horrific in all aspects of football today, all aspects. Based on that game today, we couldn’t make enough changes. We should fire every person that was on that field today, starting with me. That was horrific.”
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter after losing 48-10 to the Chicago Bears in Week 10.
“Yeah, it was pretty easy.”
“There wasn’t anything to do there but each other.”
— Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews on becoming a father after a year with the Buffalo Bills, via The Philadelphia Daily News
A brief Cleveland sports history lesson
“So really? The Cleveland team became the Baltimore Ravens? … Damn. That hurt, didn’t it?”
— Cleveland Browns receiver Jarvis Landry, via Cleveland.com
Strange analysis and decisions, sometimes in third person
“It is going to be a tragedy if I don’t make the Pro Bowl this year, I’m telling you all that right now.”
— Jacksonville Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson during the preseason. Fast-forward to now: He didn’t make the Pro Bowl.
“Goat cheese, goat milk, goat skin. Goats eat grass, and you got to make time for what’s important. You know, there’s no time when you’ve got to get your workouts in.”
“If you take all the G.O.A.T.s from every arena, the G.O.A.T.s of music, the G.O.A.T.s of basketball, the G.O.A.T.s of baseball, all the G.O.A.T.s. … He’s the G.O.A.T. of G.O.A.T.s. That’s Drew Brees.”
“My wife gave me crap the one day, told me I need to look more interested out there. But I’m just trying to stay out of it. I’m not comfortable out there. I don’t need to get too creative.”
“I had enough big decisions to make during the course of the day, I didn’t want to have to make any more. Plus, the flag didn’t fit very good in my pocket. I didn’t know if it was going to fall out.”
— Green Bay Packers interim coach Joe Philbin after losing all of his challenges in 83 seconds of returning to head-coaching duties
“Big Ben, he’s one of the best quarterbacks of all time, but he hasn’t seen Takk McKinley, and that’s just me being honest. Great quarterback, respect him, but he hasn’t seen me.”
— Falcons pass-rusher Takk McKinley on facing Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. The Falcons did not sack Big Ben.
“I can’t speak for anybody else, but I know Virgil Green thrives in hostile environments. I want you talking. I want you saying bad things to me. I always say, ‘You’re talking sexy to me.’ When people are talking crazy like that, they’re talking sexy to me.”
— Los Angeles Chargers TE Virgil Green speaking in the first and third persons about liking to play road games.
“I really don’t like water. I’m trying. I really just don’t like it. You know when you get that stomach feeling, and it’s all slushy? I’m trying to stay hydrated. Sometimes, I just got to get an IV. It’s just necessary.”
— New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., explaining why he had to leave games due to dehydration, via NJ.com
“I don’t think anyone has our number. Unless they would have called us.”
— Brown on whether the Patriots had the Steelers’ number after winning five straight matchups before Pittsburgh’s Week 15 win.
And now, some words of encouragement from Bill Belichick
Some good, old-fashioned beefing
“Another grudge game for me, right? Like Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Chargers, yeah, Denver twice, Houston — two different teams in Houston. Pretty much got the league covered now.”
— Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who has coached for nine NFL teams, on his many “beefs”
“There’s only one cheetah in the league, just know that. You can’t be a cheetah and run a 4.48, or whatever you run.”
“No, I don’t think they played well at all. We dominated the game. Turnovers, we gave them some points, and that’s what happened. They suck.”
In the Browns’ second meeting with the Bengals, Mayfield stared down his old coach as he ran down the sideline celebrating a touchdown.
“Look at Dallas’ history. They always choke. So we’ll go down there and make them choke.”
— Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill before his team played in Dallas in December. The Eagles lost 29-23.
“I don’t really have a relationship with Russell. We were teammates. We played through a very special time for the franchise.”
“Yeah, I’ve also seen him throw five picks in the game, so you see what he’s capable of on both sides of it. You understand that he can be defended, so you go out there and give it your best shot.”
— Sherman on the downside of Wilson’s style
The hair makes the man
“I feel outstanding. Don’t let the voice fool you. I feel great. There’s no excuses coming from me. So we’re ready to go. And I’ve got enough hair gel, all right, for me and Kliff Kingsbury [laughs].”
— Rams coach Sean McVay, while sick, avoiding a potential L.A. hair gel panic
Finally, some parting Belichick wisdom
“It’s the National Football League. Nobody died.”
— Belichick, following the Patriots’ last-second loss to the Miami Dolphins
Remember that wisdom if your team didn’t make the playoffs.