Observations apropos of the opening of the gridiron season:
"Football is nothyng but bestely fury and extreme violence, whereof procedeth hurte, and consequently rancour and malice do remayne with thym that be wounded, wherefore it is to be put in perpetuall silence."
—SIR THOMAS ELYOT
"It's pretty hard to describe how that feels, throwing a pass and seeing a man catch it and seeing him in the end zone and seeing the referee throw his arms up in the air, signaling a touchdown, signaling that you've done just what you set out to do. It's an incredible feeling. It's like your whole body is bursting with happiness.
"I guess there's only one thing in the world that compares with it."
September 12, 1976
"To watch a football game is to be in prolonged neurotic doubt as to what you're seeing. It's more like an emergency happening at a distance than a game. I don't wonder the spectators take to drink."
"A good coach needs a patient wife, a loyal dog and a great quarterback, but not necessarily in that order."
"When a person looks at a game of football, he tends to see a reflection of his own life. If it's mainly violence and getting ahead and winning at all costs, he'll tend to see that in the game. Or if life is mainly statistics and numbers and measurements, he'll tend to see that.... People look at the game and project their own reality onto it."
"I won't mention the name of this particular team we were playing, but at half-time we came in, pulled off our socks and began putting iodine on the teeth marks in our legs. Coach Bob Zuppke said, 'I'll tell you one thing: if we ever play this team again, it'll be on a Friday.' "
"Football is a sensible game—but it is surrounded by crazy people."
"If I can hit a man hard enough so he has to be carried off the field. I'll be glad to help him off."
"I do know that if a boy wants to play football and for any reason you keep him from it, you will probably find that his character—or his temper, at least—will not improve."
"Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors."
"Tackling is more natural than blocking. If a man is running down the street with everything you own, you won't let him get away. That's tackling."
"There is something in the swoop and shock of a hard tackle at the knees which stirs a racial memory and satisfies an ancient desire."
—MAJOR FRANK CAVANAUGH
"Football has become so complicated, the student will find it a recreation to go to classes."
—T. S. ELIOT
"I'm for the upperdog. I was for the underdog because I was one. Now I see the pressures that are on the upperdog.... The average fan cannot appreciate the pressure and emotional peak you must reach each week to keep from getting knocked off your perch at the top."
"Never tell 'em how many lettermen you've got coming back. Tell 'em how many you lost."
"When I'm traveling. I ask farm boys how to get to a certain place. If they point with their finger. I move on. If they pick up the plow and point with it. I stop and sell them on the University of Minnesota."
"It's a lot tougher to be a football coach than a President. You've got four years as a President, and they guard you. A coach doesn't have anyone to protect him when things go wrong."
"If lessons are learned in defeat, as they say, our team is really getting a great education."
"Fewer than three touchdowns is not enough, and more than five is rubbing it in."
"We brought up our rookies much different than they do now. During training camp, if we went to a tavern and a rookie came in—well, he just didn't dare come in. Rookies found their own joints."
"A head coach is guided by this main objective: dig. claw, wheedle, coax that fanatical effort out of the players. You want them to play every Saturday as if they were planting the flag on Iwo Jima."
"We think Tarkenton uses audibles when we're chasing him. Audibles like 'Help.' "
"Gentlemen, you are about to play football for Yale against Harvard. Never in your lives will you do anything so important."
—T. A. D. JONES
"When you do everything right and the ball is on target, you get what I think is the biggest thrill in football—you get to run with the ball."
"To those who loved, as I did, the old-time football—the very thud of the ball, the scent of bruised grass, the mighty rush of a hundred men, the swift and cool defense—there is something insufficient in the presence of a whole university sitting and shivering in the chill wind around an arena where a few picked gladiators push and wrestle."
—COLONEL THOMAS HIGGINSON
"I was able to belt a lot of quarterbacks around. It was the only part of the game that I liked."
"There's no such thing as a 'brilliant' quarterback. He just happens to be the player calling the signals. When he calls the right one, he's a champ. When he calls the wrong one, he's a chump."