Thursday, January 31, 2013

With the Super Bowl almost upon us — the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will play in New Orleans on Sunday — here’s a look back at some of Jim Murray’s writing on various football figures:

Jim Murray Football Quotes — Quarterbacks, and more . . .
Pete Rozelle — March 24, 1989
    The Super Bowl is his monument . . . Michelangelo has his David, Da Vinci his Mona Lisa — Rozelle has the Super Bowl.
John Unitas — September 18, 1961
When Unitas is right his fractions are as slow as Silky Sullivan's by the fourth quarter. He is so pooped. Even the press roots. "Take 'em in, John," pleads a writer whose fingers tremble like Hamp Pool's in his anxiety for the home team.
Terry Bradshaw — September 17, 1989
    He could throw long. He could throw short. He could scramble. He was probably the most effective quarterback who ever played the game.
John Elway — January 22, 1987
    He could write his name with a football, make it sing "Dixie" or open a bottle with one at 20 paces. He completed more passes than the Fifth Fleet on leave.
Dan Marino — January 18, 1985
    You're supposed to grasp the ball with two hands, hoist it behind your ear, wind up, plant your feet, close your eyes and heave. Marino just kind of flicks it 55 yards like a guy flicking lint off his tie.
Joe Montana — January 15, 1990
    Giving Joe Montana the ball is like giving Rembrandt a brush or Hemingway a pen.
Ronnie Lott — December 10, 1991
    Lott is unarmed but dangerous. Lott is not supposed to be carrying the football — unless, of course, he is carrying the guy carrying the football.  Which is often.
Joe Namath — June 8, 1995
    In the little world of sports, there are words and incidents that come ringing down the corridors of time.  There is Ruth calling his shot, Louis summing up an opponent with "he can run but he can't hide," . . . and there is Joe Namath on the eve of the 1969 Super Bowl saying "I guarantee it!"
Jerry Rice and his ability to hospitalize defenses —  November 29, 1994
    "He's probably responsible for more nervous breakdowns in the NFL than any receiver in the game."
Lynn Swann and where the Steelers discovered him — January 19, 1979
     "You wonder whether the Pittsburgh Steelers found him on a pond in Holland or in the third act of ‘Lohengrin’ or ‘Siegfried.’ ”
JIM MURRAY on Pro football coaches:
On Don Coryell — Cardinals and Chargers 1973-86
    "I have seen guys look happier throwing up."
On Chuck Knox — Rams, Bills, Seahawks
    "A press conference was called yesterday to announce the new head coach of the Rams. A limo pulled up, the passenger door was opened, and nobody got out."
On Norm Van Brocklin — Vikings and Falcons 1961-1974
    "A guy with the nice, even disposition of a top sergeant whose shoes are too tight."
On Bill Walsh — 49ers 1979-1988
    "You half expect his headset is playing Mozart."

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