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Gut Reactions: Week Sixteen

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Gut Reactions: Week Sixteen

  • Aaron Rodgers. Your NFL MVP.
  • This Packers defense desperately needs to get Ryan Pickett back.
  • Speaking of the defense - what is with the huge cushions the Packers' defensive backs keep giving opposing receivers? I could understand it if you were up against, say, DeSean Jackson. But a 12 yard cushion for Roy Williams? Really?
  • And speaking of huge cushions, its no secret how opposing coordinators are attacking the Packers on third down. They know they're going to get a blitz from Capers, so they do one of two things. They either have their receivers run swallow crossing stuff under the huge cushions, or if the defensive backs are up near the line of scrimmage, they run them off with some vertical stuff and release the back or a tight end late behind the blitz. It happens week after week and it is absolutely killing the Packers.
  • Nice start from Jermichael Finley, but I would have liked to see him hold onto that first one he dropped (that second one was a catch if the refs actually applied, you know, the rules)
  • Mike Neal actually flashed something tonight -  in the 4th quarter after the game was long decided against a horrible pass blocking offensive line - but something.
  • Fantastic job by a very patchwork offensive line tonight. Marshall Newhouse in particular should get a mention for doing just enough to keep Julius Peppers at bay. Rodgers' quick release and decision making obviously helps, but the guys did a great job up front.
  • If I'm Mike McCarthy, I have Matt Flynn make his second career start next week against the Lions.
  • The road to Super Bowl XLVI goes through Green Bay.
  • Merry Christmas everyone.
  • Like Like
  • 3 points

Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (80) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Packer Fan in Fibland's picture

I am really hoping that Flynn starts next week as well.

How about Jarrett Bush on special teams? He did a great job helping to contain Hester.

Merry Christmas!

Al's picture

I disagree, Rodgers needs to start the game and play at least a quarter just. He doesn't need 2 weeks off, and I would really like to win the game too.

Packer Fan in Fibland's picture

One missed block and Rodgers could go on IR. He is the best in the league, he will do fine with sitting on the sidelines. There is no evidence that having an extra week off would be bad for him. Especially for a guy that did not have "enough off season workouts".

Mojo's picture

The defense really really sucks. 199 rushing yards when we knew they were going to run. This game should have been 55 to 3.

Bearmeat's picture

GB's D is not going to hold anyone to under 300 yds. Most offenses will get 400 on them. BUT in every game but ONE this year, the D has gotten multiple turnovers. The D's job is to keep people under 25 points, and that's enough of a recipe to win with the offense being healthy come playoff time.

Maybe SF can keep GB under 30 - but no one else will. And that SHOULD be enough to win it all.

And if it isn't - it will be an epic fail. And it will be on the D.

mark's picture

Ok, no offense Bearmeat, but this is bullshit. This defense just got worked by a gym teacher, kahlil bell and roy williams. Here's the first thing...this defense can't tackle for jack shit! TACKLE. It is the 1 fundamental thing a defense needs to do on every single play. Give me a break. This isn't about some mystical thing, "oh well, everyone can put up 300 on the Packers"--nonsense! This is about a simplistic breakdown in fundamentals. There was one play tonight where Tramon went for a strip with absolutely zero help behind him, and the Bear (whoever it was, I forget) ripped off another 25 yards. ENOUGH! And the fact that we still haven't nailed this shit down in week 15 is a maaaajor fucking problem. Our MVP QB isn't going to be there every week to bail us out with 5 TDs, nor should we expect him to be. So let me be crystal clear: unless this defense gets its shit together, don't anyone be surprised if the Packers are one and done in this year's playoffs. Yup. One and done.

Tonight was awful. I hate the Bears, and sure, like the rest of us, I'll take the W, but good lord, unless this team wakes up, get ready for a cold shower come playoff time.

mark's picture

One more thing: when was the last time you saw BJ Raji make a play? I'll wait.....

Otto's picture

The poor tackling looked like a by-product of the defense's attempts to cause turnovers. Instead of sticking a guy, they were pulling on the ball and getting dragged. They're focusing too much on it right now.
DJ Smith was such a refreshing change when he was in for two weeks because he didn't do that stuff. He just made tackles.

Normthe1's picture

+.5 because I agree, except not quite to the extent that I think the D is not quite as shit as you think, close, but not quite...

Bearmeat's picture

No - it's not bullcrap. At all. The D can't stop a nosebleed - but they are good at intercepting the ball. They don't tackle well. They don't run well, possibly excepting Shields - who doesn't tackle anyway.

They don't pass rush well except for CM3 occasionally.

The don't stop the run well except for Pickett.

So - they rely on turnovers. If they don't get 2 a game - they give up 30 points. It's a bad Defense.

So I reiterate what I stated before - if GB doesn't win it all, it'll be so disappointing and it'll be on the defense.

Bearmeat's picture

And dood - don't vent your anger on me. I'm frustrated at the whole defensive operation too - From TT not resigning Big Sexy all the way down to every player on D having a worse year than last year.

I'm a fan. I hope they win too. If I had to bet on the odds, GB would be SLIGHT favorites now. But not much more than that. I would not be utterly shocked if they go down.

mark's picture

yo bearmeat, didnt mean to vent on you, sorry about that. and like you pointed out, we basically share the same frustration. my only issue was the notion that we should somehow accept the fact that this defense will give up 300/400 per game. true, we're in week 15 and that's been the reality all year, but i still think it's more a matter of poor play and bad tackling rather than some mix of unfixable deficiencies. this defense is 100% capable of playing better, and i think if the team is going to repeat, they will need to.

sorry again for the negativity, i just didn't want to sugarcoat it. just felt it was time to sound the alarm, so to speak. go pack go.

Bob's picture

Can't argue with what you said Bearmeat. These guys seem to be living on their past glory. It's time for them to step up and be men.

PackersRS's picture

Two games (Chiefs and Saints game, unless you consider 4th down stop a turnover).

Completely agree on the point.

Oppy's picture

Defense isn't great, but it's not horrible when it comes down to points allowed.. And that's the stat that really matters, right?

They are ranked at #13 in the league in average points per game allowed with 21.2

That is not "really really suck(y)". It's better than average.

Yes, the run D is not good without Pickett. Yes, the give up a lot of yards. But ultimately, the Packers' Defense gives up less points per game than 18 of the 32 NFL teams... And the Packers' offense scores more on average per game than 31 of 32 NFL teams.

That sounds like pretty good odds for winning a football game. The Defense could stand to improve quite a bit, but it's still a slightly better-than-average defense in the stat that actually counts.

Viscapackers's picture

14 wins is an impressive and unforgettable feat and I have high expectations for this team. Getting Bulaga, Pickett, Jennings, and Clifton Back will be huge.

That said, tonight was a rather weak performance. #12 was awesome and that pass to Jordy was a masterpiece, but the team we beat tonight is terrible, probably worse than the Colts. They seemed to quit on plays and have an atrocious secondary. I'm not sure we can be too excited about the 35 we dropped on them, but we can drop points in a hurry when we find a groove, that is for sure.

Did anyone else feel like Hawk was little more than a warm body on the field today? He bited on every misdirection and gets eaten up by every blocker. I praised him last year, but this year he has been outperformed and seems to be a shadow of himself.

lebowski's picture

If DJ Smith replaces Hawk next year, I'll be a very happy man.

Sam's picture

I've always been in AJ's corner even when most weren't but I have to say Smith seems to have a much better nose for the ball. I sadly have to agree DJ will take his place eventually

longtimefan's picture

I hope Pickett can make it back in good shape for the playoffs..Our DL cant get any type of pass rush...

I am not worried about our offense scoring, but man...Our defense is really starting to scare me..

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Just now? You haven't been watching all season? This is our defense longtime, for better or worse. They hemorrhage yards, and get takeaways... It r what it r. Embrace it Broseph!

Bob's picture

Problem with this defense is it spends to much time on the field. I believe it's the reason McCarthy went for the onside kick last week. He knew that his defense was exhausted and couldn't stop a local high school team. They were on the field almost all game, just like last night. I don't understand the play calling on defense. When the defense forced 3rd and long, they play soft coverage and the offense converts. They have players missing assignments(linebackers not picking up backs out of the backfield). Peprah keeps leaving his assignment to jump shorter routes(receiver open in back of endzone) They're stuck with what they have now, to late to make changes on defense. I would have liked them after they saw how well Smith and Francois played to switch to 2 lineman, 5 backers(excluding Hawk), and move Woodson to safety.

longtimefan's picture

Visca---Hawk MAYBE still trying to get back into the swing of things, was out for a bit...

We are not sure how much his injury is hindering him

Packers Fan in Atlanta's picture

I can't buy this. Bishop still played better and his was the more severe injury of the two.

Mike McCarthy's picture

"If I'm Mike McCarthy, I have Matt Flynn make his second career start next week against the Lions."

No sacks on Rodgers against the Peppers and the Bears with their chances at the playoffs on the line. I think Rodgers will play at least a half against the Lions. Especially if Clifton and/or Bulaga are back.

Oppy's picture

All things considered- not least of all the health of the Packers' o line- what the Packers achieved vs. the Bears' defensive front in terms of protection was very reassuring if not impressive.

That said..

Detroit's Defensive Line >>>>>>>> Chicago's Defensive Line.

Not. Even. Close. (IMO).

I would not assume because the Packers held of the Bears' 4 man front that they are good to go vs. the Lion's 4 man front.

Chicago is built around the pressure of the DE's and their LB corps.

Detroit is absolutely STACKED across the defensive line. They have those edge-pressure DE's, but they personnel to collapse the pocket up the middle as well.

Detroit has the finest D line in the NFL, imo, bar none.. My worst nightmare was that the Lions were going to pick up Cullen Jenkins.. My lord, with that versatility added to that already stacked line? Shivers.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

With you Nagz, Flynn should start. Very proud this team won 14 games... First one to do so.

We have two home games to Indy, nobody.... NOBODY is gonna come into our house and take Indy away from us, this isn't '07, this cast and crew just won't let it happen.

Nagz, what is a swallow route? " They either have their receivers run swallow crossing stuff"... Lol, I know what you mean and I've been burned by auto spell more than once too. Merry Christmas everyone!

I read somewhere that this is the closest the bears series has been since the 40's??? The only thing I want To see from this team aside from a bunch of other stuff is regaining the all time win record.


Mojo's picture

Yes, the all time series between the two is getting tighter. With A-Rod around for the next ten years the Pack should take the lead in about five years.

Bob's picture

Do you think if the Lions win this week? They will gain confidence and be a real threat later in the playoffs? In my mind, you go out and beat them bad and destroy any sense of confidence they have before they play their first playoff game.

PackersRS's picture

The Bears really thought that they didn't need to double Jermichael Finley. After the first 2 drives, they started blanketing him. Glad to see Jones step up like that.

Mojo's picture

Drops aside that's why they need to resign Finley.

Bob's picture

That would be one very expensive decoy. He may have great hands, but they aren't much good for catching footballs. A really good tightend would have had at least 3 more catches last night.

jack in jersey city's picture

great to see james jones step up and have a good game. we need him now badly. i would also like them to resign finley but i wouldn't break the bank for the guy. he still has to prove himself worthy and still needs to grow up a bit. that said, he can be a really, really great player if he wants to be.

Packers Fan in Atlanta's picture

Probably won't need to after all the drops this year, which is ironic. Once he gets his guaranteed money, I see him not pressing anymore and going all out for passes like he did before injury last year.

Bob's picture

Great players make blocks also, I saw at least two plays with a quick pass to a receiver and Finley was responsible for one block. Can you guess who made the tackle on both plays?

Bob's picture

By blanketing you must mean, covered with a defensive back. A man his size should have dominated that game after that move.

PackersRS's picture

I mean shifting coverage.

It's rare for any team nowadays to simply put 2 defenders in one guy.

What you do is you ask one to play underneat coverage and another guy to play on top.

That's what the Bears did (that's what the Chiefs did and the Bears copied)

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

This defense puts no fear into opposition offenses. None. Who wouldnt love to play us? You know you are gonna get a ton of yards, and one of these days, the opposition will get TDs instead of FGs.

Bears start their third string RB, a weak WR group, and a QB who hasnt even been on a roster this year, and at times, he made it look like he was playing flag football with his buddies on a Saturday afternoon. At half time, the Bears were competitive, and were outgaining us in the offensive categories, except for maybe passing yards (dont have stats in front of me). Even in the 2nd half when the game was beginning to get out of reach, and did get to be out of reach, this defense cant stop anybody. So we are up by 21, big deal. Get some stops on third down and get off the field. But no, they give up 3rd and long way too many times, and drives are extended. They are gambling way too much, and cant play precise enough defense to stop the pass. I was hoping that it wasnt all because of the pass rush, but, I have resigned to the fact that maybe it is.

Its a good thing games are 60 minutes because after 30, and with the Bears getting the ball to start the 2nd half, the coaches were able to find and make adjustments for an offensive explosion. 10-3 at half time....REALLY?????

Also, give up on the draw. Tonight was another example of how it doesnt work. If the play is designed to give up a loss of yards, its been really successful this year. I dont recall a draw this year that has gained any more than 2 positive yards.

Special Teams, even though Hester was hobbled, they didnt allow any big returns. They did a great job tonite.

Offensive line, being reworked for this game, was outstanding.

Whew, that was a lot to say, and I dont think I have fully covered everything. As for Aaron, Ryan, Jordy, James, and all the other standouts tonite, great game boys, well deserved. 14-1. Wow, its awesome.

Zeke's picture

"Who wouldn't love to play us?" Seriously? They're 14-1 for a reason. The other team has to play defense, too.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

Zeke, I hear ya. But records go by the way side come playoffs. That stat NBC showed during the game was alarming. The defense has given up more yards than our offense has gained. Sure, it shows the defense is great at turnovers (short field), but its still too much yards. Way too much for me, and it shows a glaring problem with this team. I love this team, and love what it has done, but I dont want this season to be a disaster because the defense has too many shortcomings in order to be considered great. They dont have to be great, but be competitive.

PackersRS's picture

Sigh... Yards... Alarming... Football in the 60's... Chargers last year...

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

Sorry, meant to say 14-3 at the half.

Zeke's picture

I agree that if the season ends without a ring it will most likely be because of the defense (unless they play the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, of course). But I think looking at the big picture there are not many teams that match up with GB. SF has a good defense but I don't see them scoring more than 21 points. The Saints have the offense to keep pace, but their defense is just as bad and they'd be playing on the road and in the elements. Detroit is young and stupid, the Packers seem to be in the Falcons' heads, and who knows which Giants team shows up? And if it's Dallas, who cares? A long way of saying that the defense is what it is and won't likely improve between now and the playoffs, so they are going to have to do it with offense. Injuries, any-given-Sunday, etc., are the great equalizer, but I still like their chances to be on the podium in February even with this defense.

Cheddarhead's picture

49ers have the worst red zone offense in the NFL.Lions,Giants,and Cowgals don't scare me but the Saints do. But their defense isn't spectacular either. Look for a shootout at Lambeau.It's likely that N.O. will go to S.F. and Detroit will go to G.B.

PackersRS's picture

Gregg Williams refuses to play coverage. He's the blitz king. How's that gonna work at Lambeau against Rodgers?

I like our chances.

Bob's picture

"Gregg Williams refuses to play coverage. He’s the blitz king. How’s that gonna work at Lambeau against Rodgers?"

And what happens to Brees and his receivers in the elements.

PackersRS's picture

I watched last night's game.

A lot of what Brees does is dependant on the ball having the trajectory he's expecting it (he forces a lot of passes, and lobbies a lot of passes).

He throws a lot of balls when he's being harassed. He completes a lot of those, but I'd bet it's because he has made those throws so many times in that dome.

His arm strenght isn't close to Rodgers', the receivers aren't used to run routes at Lambeau.

And that defense doesn't worry me one bit. Dead last in turnovers.

KurtMc's picture

A. Nagler - The point of the year. This WILL be the make or break point in the playoff's. The Pack needs to address it. Try rushing nobody, play position & let the secondary/LB's eat the space.

A far better way than vacating 5 - 7 yards & let the opposing QB dink & dunk for the first down.

Hopefully, the Dom will have something special in store for playoff teams he hasn't shown. You'll have 2 weeks to work on it.

Bottom line - I think we"ll play Detroit 2x back to back.

fish/crane's picture

You hit it. The D we've seen ahead by three touchdowns most of the year will not be the D we see for the final three games.

davyjones's picture

Key Stat of the game--

0 penalties for ----you guessed it----0 yards.

Has that happened all year??????

chris's picture

We have to be playing the most vanilla type of defense we can play right now. Yes I saw the blitzes on 3rd downs but they all seemed to be very similar if not the same. Each week I continue to wonder if we are not just holding back defensively as I see our corners are just playing so far off. However we could simply be trying to limit the big play which still has not stopped. I would really really really like to think Capers will open up his bag of tricks for the playoffs. Anyone else think that this is a possibility.

Nerd's Laptop's picture

It's possible. But we'll also get Pickett back, and maybe Neal will get a little stronger. Maybe Zombo will even be back.

packeraaron's picture

Zombo is "back" - he was a healthy scratch against the Bears.

Bob's picture

Zombo didn't look that good on recording I have of previous games. Might be rust from not playing, but the old fish out of water describes his play.

BrianD's picture

Our offense is so incredibly entertaining that I get a little bored when they put up a dud like today's first half or the KC game. I'd love to analyze and hate on the defense but at this point, at 14-1, I'm sitting back, watching the games, and enjoying the ride.

Go Pack Go

djbonney138's picture


Go Pack Go!

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture


FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Side note: has anybody ever seen a better entrance into the endzone than Simpson's from Cinci yesterday? I can't think of one that tops it, been trying... Anybody have anything? That may be the most awesomely ridiculous thing I've seen on a football field.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

Agreed. Maybe a high jump star in high school?

Mojo's picture

Agree Fitz, rewatched about a dozen times.

fish/crane's picture

Raji at Soldier Field.

Tommyboy's picture

Yeah, I've watched it about 100 times and tell anyone who will listen about it. Very cool.

Bob's picture

Yes that was awesome, but I won't give him a sticks the landing, his hand touched the ground -5 points. :)

Nerd's Laptop's picture

I thought Shields might have been trying to bait the QB with those huge cushions.
As for Finley, I thought the reason MM challenged that call was to try to help Finley get his confidence back. Was that the Calvin Johnson rule?
And what's up with Starks not knowing the plays? Arodge turns to hand the ball off and there's no one there. Do they practice those plays?
The 2nd quarter was a patented MM lull. No biggie.
The Oline impressed me, as did Grant. Grant gets better as the season goes on, but he seems to have the Bears' number in particular.
I thought So'Oto looked decent. He was getting some pressure.
Hawk was hard to watch at times.

chris's picture

when will we find out if we play on january 14th or january 15th??? need to have off work!

redlights's picture

I expect to see Starks in the Bad in the morning. Twice missing the assignment, making Rodgers run naked into the defense; Wow!

Seems Howard Green isn't quite up to last year; probably why he's bounced from team to team. Really think we'll see lots of DL on draft day.

SB XLVI: Packers 65; Patriots 62. 2OT

packsmack25's picture

The first time it was Grant that screwed up the play

Bob's picture

Oh please, Packers 72 Patriots 0.

Two running backs same mistake, That's a little strange, maybe not a running back mistake.

AndrewInAtlanta's picture

I think A-Rod plays at least a qtr. He currently has the all time QB rating and he won't want to win that sitting on the bench (like Ted Williams the year he hit .400)
We can all rationalize the defense all we want but if we don't come up with something better in the post-season, well, let's just say I'm very concerned

Idiot Fan's picture

My guess is that Manning sat most of the last game in the year that he set the record, so it wouldn't actually be all that different to sit Rodgers.

Bob's picture

Please don't make facts up. I just checked your comment. Last day of the 1941 season was a doubleheader. Williams played in both games and went 6 for 8. He did not sit on the bench, he was under .400 at the start of the day and did not stop playing until it was impossible for him to be less than .400 even if he went hitless the rest of the day.

JerseyCheese's picture

Something interesting I found on Peter Kings MMQB. I believe you said Rodgers is not as good in his prime as Favre was in his, Nagler. Check this out:

One last point: Rodgers' year, by most or all measures, is a better one than Brett Favre had in any of his three MVP years, 1995, '96 and '97. Favre was, in touchdown-to-interception ratio, 38-13, 39-13 and 35-16, and Rodgers' completion percentage, yards and rating this year were better than in any of Favre's three years.

Read more:

Austin Auch's picture

I am going to click your link just to see the stats... However I refuse to read anything Peter King unless it is on KSK.

Bob's picture

Just finished rewatching the telecast. What I thought I saw during the game last night was confirmed. Looks like Starks reinjured his ankle. It happened near the end of the 3rd quarter, there is a shot of him in a pile, teeth showing, eyes closed. He never returned to the game after.

Tommyboy's picture

Is it me, or does Ryan Grant look better every week? He's showing more burst than he has all year and is nearly finding his way to busting big ones. He has certainly looked better than Starks (who I know has been out with an ankle, but as of TODAY, Grant looks better).

Jake's picture

I feel like it's kinda been Grant's thing to come on strong late in the season.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

The Packer offense showed a great attack beginning with the first series and beginning with 1:56 left in the 1st half and onward. Between those two points the offense was nothing more than abysmal. I'm not sure why it takes McCarthy and Rodgers so long to figure out how to beat press man coverage. On the two-minute possession to close out the half you finally saw a deep cross by Jones and on one play we saw Nelson motion to a hip position off of Finley in an attempt to run 3 Jet Flanker Drive. I understand the desire to push the ball down field but the offense becomes one dimensional in the passing game when that's all they do. For the first time in a long time we finally saw motion by wide receivers across the formation to get free releases. Most of the time it's simply static sets with motion by the TEs to identify man coverage or set protection. Rarely do we see motion by the receivers. Sometimes we see shifts and that's it. The Packers will need to do more of this as they move forward as they will begin to see more press man with single high or 2 man coverage.

As far as the defense was concerned, yards mean nothing. For all intents and purposes, the game was done when it got to be 35-10 with just over 14 minutes to go in the game. However, I'm more concerned with the late adjustment to play more Base 3-4 on 1st and 2nd down rather than sticking in Nickel. The first drive I could understand the use of Nickel. At that point the defense is trying to figure out the basic plan of attack. But to not make an adjustment much more quickly after the Bears declared their intentions is puzzling and disturbing. The fact is the Bears were at least 90% run the entire first half on 1st and 2nd down, personnel groupings aside. I understand Pickett is out but the personnel is there to at least throw Base in once in a while when it would be advantageous to do so. You'll notice that Capers began to throw in Base when they weren't getting the run stopped in Nickel. It is my opinion that he waited too long to make the adjustment and let a poor offense stick around far too long by letting them get in to manageable down and distances.

Moving forward the Packers can ill afford to make adjustments so late. Much improvement from the offense and mode of attack in the passing game, minus the mid 1st to late 2nd quarter "brain freeze." Much more concerned about the poor adjustments by the defense in the first half.

Glorious80's's picture

>Between those two points the offense was nothing more than abysmal. I’m not sure why it takes McCarthy and Rodgers so long to figure out how to beat press man coverage. Moving forward the Packers can ill afford to make adjustments so late. Much improvement from the offense and mode of attack in the passing game, minus the mid 1st to late 2nd quarter “brain freeze.” Much more concerned about the poor adjustments by the defense in the first half.<

A good discussion of what has been puzzling me about the on-off quality of this "unstoppable" offense that dates back several seasons and now the defense this year. Thanks much POC.

PackersRS's picture

Agreed on all accounts.

One hypothesis is that they didn't have to alter anything for press coverage early on, so they've been reluctant to change the formula that has been working so well for so long.

Like MM said, Sundays is about us. I'd counter that with the notion that they don't need more reps and chemistry in week 16, rather it'd be better to work on alternatives to be ready for any possible scenario, but, again, it's just an hypothesis.

Point Packer's picture

Mike Neal is playing his last (and first sort of) season as a Packer if there is a God. Ted got that one wrong. He does a great job imitating my 6 year old brother when I kicked his ass as a 14 year old.

PackersRS's picture

Well that explains a lot. No offense to you, but chances are you're gonna have another mentality when you become more experienced.

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"The Bears still suck!"
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."