There are also times when it is impossible to band together because your teammate says something really, really stupid and you just cannot summon the strength to support him.
Such was the situation facing the Steelers this week, when linebacker LaMarr Woodley claimed that the Patriots and Bengals would “lay down” in their regular-season finales in order to prevent Pittsburgh from making the playoffs. Then, Woodley proceeded to insist that nobody wants to play the Steelers in the first round of the postseason because they are so fiercely powerful that the prospect of facing them is simply terrifying.
What team has Woodley been watching this year? The Steelers are 8-7. They lost five games in a row down the stretch. They lost to Cleveland.
When informed about Woodley’s comments, his teammates – particularly Ryan Clark — got a good laugh out of it. Just like the Patriots did.
In other news, Tedy Bruschi shares some critical information about what it takes to go undefeated and Chad Ochocinco starts his battle with Darrelle Revis a bit early.
"All of them lay down. No one wants to see Pittsburgh in it. That's just how it is. Everybody knows we're a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs, no matter how we played the whole year. Once we get into the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers is a playoff team."
–Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, in The Associated Press, predicting the Patriots and Bengals will intentionally lose to avoid Pittsburgh in the playoffs
"Now if it were last year's [Steelers team], yeah, they probably wouldn't want to play us. But this year's team, I don't think strikes fear in anyone."
–Steelers safety Ryan Clark, in the AP, on LaMarr Woodley’s comments
"From a Michigan guy, too. That surprises me. Usually, we keep our mouth shut. I'm going to give Coach [Lloyd] Carr a call. Straighten him out."
–Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, in The Boston Globe, on LaMarr Woodley’s comments
"You only can go 19-0 if you go 16-0 first.."
–Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, on ESPN, on the Colts’ loss to the Jets in Week 16
"Darrelle Revis couldn't cover me in a brown paper bag on a corner of a Manhattan street inside a phone booth. It's impossible."
–Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, in the AP, on Jets shut-down cornerback Darrelle Revis
"If they didn’t want to have to count on us to win games, they shouldn’t have lost games. … Whenever you’re counting on other teams to win for you, you’re in a bad situation."
–Patriots left guard Logan Mankins, on NESN.com, on the Texans
"You know, I've been through a lot, obviously — winning Stanley Cups, All-Star games, Olympics, what have you, but this is right there with them all. This is so cool and to see the kids out there, everyone soaking it all in. I mean, this is what it's all about."
–Bruins forward Mark Recchi, on NESN.com, on the Winter Classic
"I don't have many feelings toward that. That play has really come and gone in my mind. He's a really good player for them and does some good things for them. He's someone that we have to do a good job keeping away from the quarterback because he's a good blitzer."
–Brady, on Boston.com, on facing Bernard Pollard for the first time since the safety hit him in the 2008 season opener and tore Brady’s ACL and MCL
"It’s like the Beatles reunited and George Harrison and John Lennon came back from the dead or something. They are definitely paying top dollar."
–Anonymous scalper, on NESN.com, on the public’s desperation to see the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park
"Until any player in here is the head coach, you follow orders and you follow them with all of your heart. That's what we've done as players. We follow orders. Our orders were not to give up a turnover, not to give up a kick return for a touchdown. There's not many games, under any circumstances, that you win when you have turnovers and give up a kick return for a touchdown."
–Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, on ESPN.com, on Jim Caldwell’s decision to bench the starters during Sunday’s loss to New York
"I do think the one thing that I want to say to our fans is that, to a man, we'd like to apologize for yesterday."
–Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, in the AP, apologizing to the New York fan base after his team was officially eliminated from playoff contention
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