Today, we look back upon some of the more interesting quotes from the man who has a PHD in Spin Doctoring; he is the Prince of Hyperbole; a Connoisseur of Wordsmithing and a Master of Rhetoric. He’s also the coach with more NFL victories (85) than any other here in The Land of Pleasant Living.
Of course I mean, the one and only Brian Billick.
* When questioned on Deion Sanders “questionable” status on the injury report:
“When you’re 50 years old, you’re going to be listed as questionable every week. At that age, questionable is pretty good.”
* During the 2005 season against the Cincinnati Bengals, Billick miscalculated and elected to attempt an unnecessary two point conversion. When questioned on it, Billick admitted his error but took the opportunity to take yet another swipe at the media:
“I started in college as an engineering major but as you can see, I’m too *** **** stupid to add, so I transferred to journalism.”
* After the Ravens defeated the Titans in January of 2001 to advance to the AFC Championship Game, Billick was questioned about his team’s swagger and confidence going into Adelphia Coliseum:
“When you go in the lions den you don’t tippy toe in. You carry a spear, you go in screaming like a banshee, you kick whatever doors in, and say, ‘where’s the son-of-a-bitch.’ If you go in any other way your gonna lose.”
* Brian Billick commenting how his training camp, relatively speaking, is like a Club Med:
“If you are tired or fatigued, there is a reasonable chance that your troops are also. Maybe you both need a break. In years past, the mentality in pro football was that a team will outwork and out-tough its opponents. This concept has proven to be naive. In the NFL, everyone works hard and is tough. To think otherwise is to set yourself up for defeat. What has evolved in the league is the realization that teams should focus on the concept of working more intelligently in order to get their players to the game healthy and fresh. This process must be monitored and gauged by leadership, which itself must also be healthy and fresh for battle.”
* “I quit. I give up. I’ve tried to be an advocate for the instant replay. I’ve tried to do the company line. I’ve said the right things. Dump the whole @#%&-ing thing. We’ve spent so much money on this thing, and it doesn’t work. … Move on.” ~ That’s Coach on one of his not so favorite topics — instant replay. By the way, that one cost him heavy coin.
* When asked after the Super Bowl season if Trent Dilfer would be part of the team in the future:
“At this point, I have no reason to think he won’t be. But we’re coming into a time with free agency where that’s up to Trent and his preparation, where we’re at, what our other free-agent situation is and what’s out in the market. It’s a free-agent market system, so to speak, and so from just a personal [standpoint], yeah, I would love to have Trent back.”
* “I don’t think you can really trust a man who likes to dance.”
* Billick had a feisty exchange with reporters when the sore subject of the Ravens’ anemic passing offense was raised:
“I’m going to be as succinct as I can. You can ask as many times as you want. I don’t give a rat’s a$$ about statistics. You win or you lose. I really don’t [care]. I really don’t. You can keep bringing it up all you want. We were there last year, and we went 10-6 and won the division. So you can put that in quotes, write it down and the next time you want to ask the question, just hold up the sign and say, ‘Say this.’
* Here’s Coach putting a positive spin on the team’s offensive woes in 2000 when they went 21 consecutive quarters without a touchdown:
“Now we’re 5-4 with the Number 1 defense in the league. Anyone who looks at our offensive film knows that what we’re doing is sound and that we’ve just hit a tough stretch. When I look back on this year, I know that how we handled this streak, and how we came out of it, will be what I remember more than anything.”
* After the Ravens missed on an opportunity to trade for the rights to draft Byron Leftwich:
“We legitimately couldn’t get the phone call through. The comparison [between Leftwich and Boller] is going to be drawn for a number of years, and it’s going to be fun to watch these two young guys develop into elite Qbs.”
* On why he didn’t revive the role of “Slash” when Kordell Stewart was a Raven:
“He can’t catch worth squat.
* On Adversity…
* “There are a lot of people in town that sh*t the bed on a regular basis, first bump in the road. I can’t control that. This team is a good football team. There was some adversity we’ll have to overcome, and they’ll either be with us on that, or they’ll continue to soil themselves and go someplace else.”
* During the season in which the Ravens pretty much blew up the team and fielded the youngest team in the NFL’s history, the Ravens had “it” handed to them in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2002. Billick’s post game reaction to the events on the field:
“On offense, their 11 kicked the sh*t out of us. On defense, those 11 kicked the sh*t out of us. And on special teams, those guys also kicked the sh*t out of us.”
* Prior to Super Bowl XXXV
“As much as some of you want to, we are not going to retry [the Ray Lewis murder trial]. It’s inappropriate, and you’re not qualified.” Billick also went on to say, “I’m not naive enough to not recognize that there’s going to be an interest, but to be quite frank, I’m a little disturbed with some of the focus being brought to it for the reason it’s being brought. I equate it to an ambulance-chasing mode; you decide that you want to take on a certain sensational aspect of it.”
Billick’s defense of Ray Lewis during the week leading into Super Bowl XXXV, set a tone for Billick and his relationship with the media that still resonated for years yet this may have been one of his shining moments. Billick did not want the media to disrupt the concentration of his players, particularly his team’s heart and soul, Ray Lewis.
A real stroke of public relations genius…
* Not long after making the statement above, a member of the assembled press asked Billick how he could tell so many people how to do their jobs. Billick answered,
“I have the podium, and you all are here to listen to me. Next question.”