Madden, Michaels talk about the Patriots

Posted on January 3, 2008 
Filed Under Uncategorized

The “NBC Sunday Night Football” team of John Madden, Al Michaels and Jerome Bettis — along with special in-studio guest Jason Taylor — were part of a conference call this afternoon regarding the NFL playoffs, and had plenty to say about the Patriots. Here are some highlights:

MADDEN ON THE GIANTS EFFORT VS. PATRIOTS: “There’s only one way to play the game, and you play to win. I hate the way the season ends and meaningless games. It’s a regular season game and there’s no such thing as meaningless. I was so proud of the Patriots and the Giants and the way they played that game last Saturday night. The Giants have their place in the playoffs and they have nothing to play for but it’s not a meaningless game. If there’s a game and it’s on the schedule, to me there’s only one way to play it and I feel strongly about that. I felt so strongly about it on Sunday that I called Tom Coughlin just to tell him how great I thought it was – what he did and what his team did and how proud and grateful that the NFL ought to be because that’s the way it’s supposed to be played. And resting and being really scared and afraid to get hurt and all those things isn’t part of NFL football.”

BETTIS ON GIANTS: “People forget that the Giants really weren’t playing well going into that day, and this was a game that they really needed to get off on a good foot and play better going into the playoffs. That’s why it made so much sense for them to go out and play all their players and try to get some timing and some rhythm. I don’t think people really looked at that factor as well but it did make sense to go out and play hard because a lot of times when you don’t play those last couple games your timing and your rhythm is off, so that when you get to that playoff game and the tempo is a lot higher than the regular season and you haven’t gotten many reps going into that game, there’s going to be a couple plays where you’re behind trying to catch up.”

TAYLOR ON GIANTS: “I watched the game against the Patriots the other night like everybody else did in America, the effort and the way the Giants played and their approach to the game was great. I was proud of those guys and honestly proud of the Patriots and what they were able to accomplish.

“The Giants played better in that game than they did in the previous week. I think Eli is a very important part of what they need to get done in the playoffs. If he plays well I think the team will play well.”

MICHAELS ON GIANTS-PATRIOTS AND RESTING PLAYERS: “I can understand what some coaches do, in the Giants case the other night it was a matter of a game of historic significance that was not just another game. It was not Tampa Bay resting its guys or Jacksonville resting its guys. Part of what happened on Saturday night in New York had to be the fact that Tom Coughlin respects the game as much as anybody. This was a historic game. This was a game that everybody was going to pay attention to. This was going to be a game that was far more important than almost any other regular season game and certainly under the circumstances I’ve never seen one like that.”

MADDEN ON THE PATRIOTS: “They never say you’re flying under the radar when you’re the New England Patriots. All the accolades that they get, they deserve them. They played so well. [When] you watch them offensively, they were darn near perfect, defensively they were perfect. They have great talent that plays well and is coached well. They’re just fun to watch. When you’re America’s team, what that means is that there’s a large part of the people that are rooting for you but there’s also going to be a large part of the people that are rooting against you. I think what makes for America’s team is not everyone loves them. The original America’s team was the Dallas Cowboys. There were those people that loved them because they were America’s team but there were a heck of a lot of people that hated them because they were America’s team. I don’t know that everyone loves the Patriots but what they’ve done and what they’re doing, you sure as hell have to respect.”

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