A peek behind the curtain of the NFL

By Mark Paulette

A look at the very real thoughts and conversations being had around the NFL as we approach week 12.

AFC East:

  1. New England Patriots, 8-2:

Outer Belichick: “We’re onto Miami.”

Inner Belichick: “But Bill, can’t we just admit…”

Outer Belichick: “[Scowl], Miami.”

Subconscious Belichick: “The league has had 17 years to figure me out, we finally look vulnerable, and this is the crap they throw at me? Jeezus Chrsst. Linda, call that painter, time to change the boat’s name from ‘Seven’ to ‘Eight Rings.’

  1. Buffalo Bill, 5-5:

Sean McDermott: “You know when your mom says it’s always better to admit something than try and hide it? Well, how about we lose all of the rest of our games and I start that kid who used to do our laundry at QB so no one can call us frauds for beginning 5-2.”

  1. Miami Dolphins, 4-6:

Adam Gase: (In August) “How can we get as much disappointment as possible this year? Go 0-16? No, no, that’s not original, the Browns try that every year. We need to be BOLD. I got it! First, we’ll sign Jay Cutler and make him our starting QB, then we’ll have an assistant coach release a video of his little mid-day ‘pick me up’ routine, and finally I’ll trade our best player to Philadelphia just to prove I can.”

Adam Gase: (Present, puffing a cigar whilst on the beach) “Just like I dreamt it.”

  1. New York Jets, 4-6:

Todd Bowles: *Eeyore sigh* “Only we can screw up trying to lose.”


AFC North:

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers, 8-2:

Mike Tomlin: “Obviously, we have a great team this year. And the standard is the standard, such is life in the National Football League. We have a big windshield and a small rearview mirror. There’s a fine line between drinking wine and stomping grapes. We must hope we have a strong creed within our building, and then, obviously, we cannot fail. We will play those a**holes from New England, and we will lose. I’m just being straight with you. Thank you, God bless.” (Lines 1-4 were real Mike Tomlin quotes. Nobody has better coach speak. Nobody.)

  1. Baltimore Ravens, 5-5:

John Harbaugh: “Can we just not play offense and let our defense score a few TD’s and set up Justin Tucker from anywhere inside of midfield?”

  1. Cincinnati Bengals, 4-6:

Marvin Lewis: “Does anyone even know we exist? If so, how do I still have a job? But hey, they can’t harass me for not winning a playoff game if we don’t make the playoffs…”

  1. Cleveland Browns, 0-10:

Hugh Jackson: “Guys, hey guys! We can still make the playoffs!! No, really! We just need to win out, have the Patriots and Chiefs both win out as well; have the Steelers go 4-2 down the stretch, with three of those wins over Baltimore, Cincinnati and Houston; have the Ravens go 1-5 the rest of the way, with the one win coming week 16 vs. Indianapolis; have the Bills go 1-5 down the stretch, with their one win coming over Miami; have the Dolphins go 2-4 the remainder, with one win over Buffalo and the other over Denver; and then we just need the Chargers (4-6), Broncos (3-7), Raiders (4-6), Colts (3-7), Texans (4-6) and Jets (4-6) to all finish 5-11!”

DeShone Kizer: “Coach! Take a breath, you’re turning blue!”


AFC South:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars, 7-3:

Doug Marrone: “Gaw, I can’t take the stress of having Blake Bortles as my QB for another second. Our defense, plus [Leonard] Fournette; man, even if we had Eli [Manning], we could actually be legit.”

*Lights up cigarette*

Wife: “Hunny, the doctor said no more of those.”

Marrone: “Fine, bring me the bologna.”

  1. Tennessee Titans, 6-4:

Mike Mularkey: “Soooo…how long until everyone else figures out our record is just a bunch of malarkey?”

  1. Houston Texans, 4-6:

Bill O’ Brien: *Deep in thought with pointer finger firmly placed in butt-chin* “Man, I miss DeShaun [Watson]. I finally knew what it was like to have that thing called a…oh, what’s it again? Qawuuartier bach?”

  1. Indianapolis Colts, 3-7:

Chuck Pagano: “Alright, who are we playing this week? Jeez, the Montreal Allouettes really gave us a tough time last week. They’re a sneaky 3-15.”


AFC West:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs, 6-4:

Andy Reid: “I’m just gonna keep pretending I’m an offensive genius and roll with it ‘cause no one’s called me on it yet. Hell, we just scored nine points on the Giants, but they won’t blame me. Nope, that’s what I keep Alex Smith around for.”

  1. Los Angeles Chargers, 4-6:

Anthony Lynn: “Alright guys, this week, like every week, our goal is to be real competitive and then lose by three points at the end. ‘Lose by THREE, on THREE! One, two, three, LOSE BY THREE.’”

  1. Oakland Raiders, 4-6:

Jack Del Rio: “Umm, yeah. I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”

Marshawn Lynch: “That phrase is trademarked by Marshawn Lynch and is not to be used without the express written consent of Marshawn Lynch, mang. That will be $10 dollahs.”

  1. Denver Broncos, 3-7:

Vance Joseph: “I…”

Sergio Dipp: “I got this one, coach. HE. IS. OUT. HERE. TONIGHT…HAVING THE TIME. OF. HIS. LIFE.”

John Elway: “Ugh, this team is soft.”

Aqib Talib: “Why don’t you stop spitting seeds in your warm booth and come say that to my face?”

John Elway: *Carefully places sunflower seed between horse teeth and chomps down*


NFC East:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles, 9-1:

Doug Pederson:

“Fly, Eagles Fly!

On the road to victory!

Fly, Eagles Fly!

Score a touchdown

1, 2, 3!


Hit ‘em low,

Hit ‘em high,

And watch our Eagles fly!

Fly, Eagles fly!

On the road to victory!”

Dallas Cowboys, 5-5:

Jerry Jones: “Thank you, Jason, but this talking stuff is for the big boys.”

Still Jerry: *Deep breath, a gargle to clear the Johnny Walker Blue Label from his throat* “Roger, I know who you are, but I don’t know what you want. If you’re looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have any money…that’s a lie, I got all kinds of green-faced men. I got a palace with my name on it; ‘Jerrah Wurld’…anyways, umm where was I? Oh yeah, but what I do have is a very particular set of skills. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let Zeke [Elliot] play now, that will be the end of it – I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. You may have your $50-million per year and lifetime jet. But if you don’t…I will look for you, I will find you…and I will kill you.”

Washington Redskins, 4-6:

Jay Gruden: “It was a tough one, we felt like we really had New Orleans on the ropes this past week…”

Kirk Cousins: “YOU LIKE THAT?!”

Gruden: “Dammit, Kirk, how many times do I have to tell you; we need to win before you can yell that?”

New York Giants, 2-8:

Ben McAdoo: *Looking in bathroom mirror* “That’s right, your hair’s not stupid. You’re a sexy, sexy, man. You just fearlessly led your team to a victory. You command respect. You sweat excellence. This team will fear how much they love you.”

Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie: “Yeah, it’s pretty clear we won by accident. Alex Smith just kept throwing it to us.”

Reporter: “Do you think this will bode well for your coach’s future?”

Cromartie: “Please, we quit on that fool months ago.”


NFC North:

Minnesota Vikings, 8-2:

Mike Zimmer: “You know, I just keep looking for reasons to bench Case [Keenum] but he’s not giving me any. Teddy Bear must be patient, this is his football team, but right now, it’s also Case’s, and we’re just gonna ride this happy little train for as long as we can. And paint happy little trees in our happy little forest, so every tree can have a friend…sorry, I’ve been watching too much Bob Ross on my off days.”

Detroit Lions, 6-4:

Jim Caldwell: “Shucks, playing on Thanksgiving every year really stinks. I just want to sit back in my recliner with a bowl of stuffing and wear my easy pants. Until then, I’m just going to keep making this pouty face on the sidelines.”

Green Bay Packers, 5-5:

Mike McCarthy: “Is it too late for me to recant that statement I made about my QB room being exactly where I want it with Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan? Does anyone still have Favre’s number? He looked pretty beefy in that Copper Fit commercial.”

Chicago Bears, 3-7:

John Fox: “Hah! And Marvin Lewis wonders why he still has a job?! He clearly hasn’t been paying attention to me the last few years.” (His real quote from today was “We’re not quite there, honestly.” No…you don’t say?)


NFC South:

New Orleans Saints, 8-2:

Sean Payton: “Of course the one year we’re finally good again and win eight in a row we can’t get more than one-game separation in the division. Oh well, ‘WHO DAT?!’”

Carolina Panthers, 7-3:

Ron Rivera: “God, I really hope Cam [Newton] went to see that fashion expert I gave him the number of. And for the love of God, will someone please, please just burn all his hats?”

Atlanta Falcons, 6-4:

Dan Quinn: “Heeey, I know what you’re thinking. You guys thought we were gonna blow it Monday night. I know, I know, that’s what we do. We choke, we can’t hang onto a lead. 28-3. But thankfully we were up against the one man as poor as me when it comes to clutch decision making – Pete Carroll.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4-6:

Dirk Koetter: “Yeah, no, Jameis [Winston] isn’t really hurt. I just shut him down after that weird finger eating stunt. Scared the team. And look, Fitzy is 2-0, so I think we’ll just stay with him until Jameis learns to not invade other people’s space.


NFC West:

L.A. Rams, 7-3:

Sean McVay: “I’m 31 years old, I have a great, cropped haircut, and I’m the head coach of a first-place football team. I’m everything Ben McAdoo wishes he was. And have you seen what I did with Jared Goff? #QBwhisperer.”

Seattle Seahawks, 6-4:

Reporter: “Why did you attempt the fake field goal?”

Pete Carroll: *Vigorously chewing gum* “Would’ve been a big play. Would’ve given me an excuse to yell boom. I like yelling boom. It backfired. We have to learn from our mistakes.”

Reporter: “But you don’t learn from your mistakes. Remember that time you threw the ball from the one-yard line in the Super Bowl?”

Pete Carroll: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Reporter: “It was literally just three years ago in Super Bowl 49. You called for a pass on the one-yard line instead of handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch and winning your second-straight Super Bowl.”

Pete Carroll: “No, I don’t recall.”

Reporter: “How can you not recall?”

Peter Carroll: “My therapist said I needed to forget it and move on.”

Arizona Cardinals, 4-6:

Bruce Arians: “We wouldn’t be losing all these games if Goodell would just let me wear my damn fedora on the sidelines.”

San Francisco 49ers, 1-9:

Kyle Shanahan: “John, did you really ask Belichick if he would trade Tom Brady to us?”

John Lynch: “Yeah.”

Shanahan: “What did he say?”

Lynch: “Nothing, it was just silent for 13 minutes. I could feel him staring at the other end of the phone. Finally, I just asked for Jimmy G and I think he was still in shock from the last question so he said yes.”

Shanahan: “Nice, alright, so can I play Jimmy this week?

Lynch: “No, everybody knows that quarterbacks are just like stocks. You must put all your money in one account, and let it sit there and do nothing. It doesn’t depreciate or accrue, it just sits.

Shanahan: “Is that how stocks work? That doesn’t seem right.”

Lynch: “I don’t know, I played defense.”

Shanahan: “What does that have to do with stocks?”

Lynch: “I don’t know.”

Shanahan: “So, back to the quarterback situation, what are your thoughts there?

Lynch: “I don’t know. I mean no.”

Shanahan: “No, what?”

Lynch: “I don’t know.”

Shanahan: *mumbles under breath* “This is why we’re 1-9.”


Mark Paulette is the Executive Producer of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.