ESPN NFL Sunday Countdown Pregame Notes – Week 15

From ESPN – 


ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 15

 
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson previewed today’s NFL’s week 15 games, along with Suzy Kolber, analyst MerrilHoge, and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen. Some excerpts:
 
On the attention surrounding today’s Patriots-Broncos game…
Berman (joking): “I didn’t know the Super Bowl was being played today but apparently it is.”
 
Note: content in the entire 12-12:30 p.m. ET half hour of Countdown was devoted to Tim Tebow and discussion of the Patriots-Broncos game. (Countdown also acknowledged that Tebow was referenced 133 times during the three-hour show.)
 
On Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow…
Ditka:  “To be a great athlete, you have to have skill. You have to have a will, and you have to be able to execute. He can do all three of these at different times. … He’s a hybrid, but what he does, he does so well, and what they do well offensively,they do well as a team, not because of him alone.”
Hoge: “One thing that I have noticed the last six or seven weeks, not that Tim Tebow’s getting a little better. This team’s getting better. This team’s understanding the kind of system and philosophy they want to run to favor the strengths of TimTebow. That’s what’s happening.”
 
On Tebow’s success late in games…
Jackson: “The first three quarters of a football game, he is the worst quarterback in the National Football League in terms of throwing the ball. The last nine minutes and into overtime, he is as good as anybody in the league.”
Ditka: “If the game’s close at the end, it is ‘Tebow time.’ I don’t know why it happens that way, but it happens.”
Carter: “He has an unbelievable amount of faith in his ability to be able to win in tight situations.”
Berman: “The louder it gets in the arena for Tebow and Tom Brady and those types of quarterbacks, the quieter it gets to them.”
 
On Tebow’s future in Denver…
Johnson: “When you look at the body of work of all the quarterbacks in the National Football League that have won football games and have gone on to win Super Bowls, their first three quarters of those football games is not what Tebow is doing rightnow. … I don’t know that he’s the quarterback of the future.”
Jackson: “To some extent, the decision is being taken out of the hands of Broncos management. … He’s going to be the starter next year. … He (John Elway) would have problems with Denver fans if, in fact, anything happens to this kid. It’s Denver,it’s the nation, it’s worldwide as we have commented on today.”
Ditka: “I don’t care what he looks like in practice. Bottom line is wins. … The guy wins football games.”
Carter: “Having a Super Bowl quarterback is a pipe dream.”
Trent Dilfer (reporting from Denver): “Tim Tebow’s gotten remarkably better, especially the last two weeks. As you study the film, this is a different player. … Tim Tebow will never have to throw the ball in as tight a windows as other quarterbacksbecause of the threat he possesses as a designed runner. You put those two things together, the rapid development and the conflict the defense is under, and I think Tim Tebow is set up for success in the future.”
 
On whether home field advantage during the playoff games in sub-zero conditions could hurt the pass-oriented Packers…
Carter:  “There is an element that could alter the entire playoffs, and that is weather. There’s some days when you wake up and you are not going to be able to throw the football. … Those are not the best conditions for people who have the lowestbody fat on the team.”
Jackson:  “Green Bay has won 19 games in a row, 11 games in a row at home. Those games have been played everywhere in all kinds of weather. … If you’re better than Green Bay in Green Bay, let’s see.”
Johnson:  “An outdoor team, running the football well, that can hurt them. If they draw the Giants, it can be a bad matchup”
Ditka:  “I don’t think the field’s going to affect them. I think it’s a big advantage for them to play in Green Bay. … When you go into Green Bay in January, you know it’s cold. They live in it every day.”
 
On the one-game suspension of Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison…
Jackson: “You have to show some contrition. Pure and simple. It’s time to do it.”
Johnson: “I think he’s idiotic. I think he’s stupid. … He says things at times where you just sit back and you go ‘wow’. I know as a player, I was a lightning rod but I would never do stuff and say things like that about the Commissioner or anybodyelse.”
 
Note: Both analysts cited Harrison’s comments about Commissioner Goodell from Men’s Journal this summer
 
On Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh returning from his two-game suspension…
Jackson: “I want him to keep his edge. I don’t want him to hurt the football team. I don’t need the suspensions. I don’t need the penalties. What I need is him to channel that to the next play. … I think he’s got a great chance to be the great playerthat he should be.”
Ditka: “He can’t get the penalties. He’s got to back off with those and be smarter.”
Carter: “Until he starts making better decisions, I don’t feel any reason to change my opinion about him. Because you are what you do.”
 
On Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton…
Hoge:  “His willingness to make some anticipated throws is what has really blown me away this year, and what he’s improved the most.”

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