BEST IN SHOW
THE YEAR THAT WAS
From Manning to Manning, and from ol' ball coaches to young ball players, my favorite answers from athletes, coaches and broadcasters in 2012.
DAN PATRICK:What's on your mind? A simple question, but I'm constantly surprised by sports figures' answers. Here are some of the more memorable of 2012.
PEYTON MANNING: I don't know if I could get into medical school right now, but I'm probably closer than I was before, with all the medical jargon I've learned.
MARK MCGWIRE: I totally respect the [Baseball] Hall of Fame. They have rules. They have guidelines they go by. I totally abide by that. You'll never see Mark McGwire fight it.
TROY POLAMALU: When people say they feel a little buzzed or dazed, it's considered a concussion. I wouldn't [think that]. But if that is a concussion, any football player has 50 to 100 concussions a year.
JIMMY JOHNSON: The Number 1 motivator [in team sports] is fear. Fear of letting down your teammates, being embarrassed or losing the job. Where is the fear in Dallas? There's no fear [among the Cowboys]. It's a country club where everybody is buddies.
CHIPPER JONES: When I'm out there between the lines, I'm focused and ready to go. When the season's over, there's going to be a part of me that's going to take a deep breath and say, I'm glad it's over.
STEVE SPURRIER: Alabama, gosh, they look like they could beat a couple of those NFL teams that I've watched on Sundays.
NICK SABAN: LSU wasn't winning when I went there. Michigan State wasn't winning when I went there. Toledo wasn't winning when I went there. And Alabama really wasn't winning when I came here. I guess I gotta go someplace else.
JOHN CALIPARI: Everyone thinks this is my rule. I can't stand the [one-and-done] rule. One year is not what these kids should be about. People have to understand, Billy Hunter and the [NBA] Players Association own the rule. They're the only ones who can change that. Not the NCAA. Not the NBA.
DREW BREES: The perception is that we have this locker room full of hit men. That's not the case at all. I would say, for a lot of us, this was as shocking as it was embarrassing.
LARRY BROWN: [Michael Jordan] is brilliant, but he's around people that don't have a clue. They won't challenge him, and the more you challenge him, the more you get from him.
KERRI WALSH JENNINGS: I'm 33 and Misty [May-Treanor] just turned 35. That's not old by any means. If you're an athlete competing and kicking butt, who cares how old you are?
MIKE TROUT: No curfew. I live in the basement [of my parents' house]. I got everything I need. Home cooking ... it's awesome.
CHARLES BARKLEY: People forget I played on the second Dream Team. The second Dream Team really sucked.
ELI MANNING: With Saturday Night Live, going live doesn't bother me. I've done live every Sunday for the last eight years.
Congratulations to the for winning the ultimate tailgating challenge. Go to SI.com/grillseekers for the complete recap.
"Packers fans are going to hate me, but, yes, I would. I want him to do it. I really do. It's impressive to watch a player dominate the way he's dominated.... It would be almost devastating if he gets that close and doesn't get it."
—GREG JENNINGS, Green Bay receiver, on Adrian Peterson's trying to break the single-season rushing record against his team
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says conference realignment is all about making money, but it really doesn't help schools. "The problem with the money grab," Boeheim told me, "is we're all making 10 times what we used to make and we're still spending it." ... Foxsports.com columnist Jason Whitlock thinks Dwight Howard needs to be more of a leader on the Lakers. "Kobe's personality is so pervasive," Whitlock said. "Howard has to take control of that team defensively and get on Kobe's butt about his defensive play." ... NBC analyst Stan Van Gundy explained how the Thunder stay under the radar. "If you had [that team] in New York," Van Gundy said, "they'd be the most covered team in the league. As unbelievable as they're doing, they're overshadowed by the stories in New York and L.A." ... I asked LaDainian Tomlinson why his former team didn't consider moving Tim Tebow to fullback. "How could he block guys like Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, Brandon Spikes or Jerod Mayo?" L.T. wondered. "I think [instead] he could be a good change-of-pace guy at H-back or tight end."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
ROBERT BECK (PEYTON MANNING)
JOHN BIEVER (ELI MANNING)
DAVID N. BERKWITZ (HELMET)
PATRICK GREEN/SOUTHCREEK GLOBAL (TOMLINSON)
DOUGLAS JONES/US PRESSWIRE (VAN GUNDY)
COURTESY OF FOX SPORTS (WHITLOCK)
FRED VUICH (BOEHEIM)