John McKay: Remembering a Football Legend Through Quotes
John McKay is remembered by some to be a college football Hall of Fame head coach that won four National Championships.
Others recall he was the very first head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that lost their first 26 games.
Dick Vermeil called McKay "Dial-a-Quote," having faced him as a head coach of UCLA and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Here is a few of his best in no particular order.
“It bothers me that they (the national media) have picked us to be the worst team in football. Because what they are doing now is challenging your physical and your mental capacity and my ability to coach you. Now, this hurts me. Second-worst team, I could stand it. But not the worst team.”
“We’ve broken down the expansion teams and they’ve averaged winning 2.7 games their first year, which to me is rather difficult. I figured out the 2, but the .7 has got me wondering what the hell is going on.”
"Kickers are like horse manure. They're all over the place."
"We didn't tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking."
"Intensity is a lot of guys that run fast."
"Emotion is highly overrated in football. My wife Corky is emotional as hell but can't play football worth a damn."
On his team's blocking strategy: "Hold when you're at home and don't hold when you're on the road."
"If you have everyone back from a team that lost 10 games, experience isn't too important."
On how coaching an expansion team is a religious experience: "You do a lot of praying, but most of the time the answer is 'no.'"
“I’ll probably take a little time off and go hide somewhere. We will be back. Maybe not this century, but we will be back and we will be a better football team.”
On the Buccaneers poor special-teams play, “They were absolutely horrible and that’s the best thing I can say. Besides that they were bad. These people are not poorly paid you know.”
On the play of Joe Namath in the Jets' 34-0 victory over Tampa Bay, “Namath is still Namath, but I must say that our guys were nice to him. I noticed when they knocked him down, they helped him to his feet. That was gentlemanly. I thought one stood around long enough to get his autograph.”
On how badly the Bucs looked in losing to the Steelers, 42-0, “There were times I felt like leaving the stadium and hitchhiking home.”
"If a contest had 97 prizes, the 98th would be a trip to Green Bay."
On Tampa Bay ending its 26-game losing streak: "Three or four plane crashes and we're in the playoffs."
On the weaknesses of linebacker Hugh Green: '`He's not twins.''
On Bill Capece, who was waived in 1983 after missing a field goal and extra point: "Capece is kaput.''
On place kicker Pete Rajecki having a bad camp with the Bucs because McKay made him nervous: "I don't think he's got much of a future here, because I plan on going to all the games.''
On the Bucs' 42-0 loss to Pittsburgh on a very cold day: `"I remember in Pittsburgh we had no players and the ones we did have wanted to stay at the hotel by the fire. I was ticked because that's where I wanted to stand.''
On the importance of an older quarterback's mobility: "As a person gets older he doesn't get faster. Our quarterback will run from fright or lack of protection."
On fan mail he received as a Tampa Bay coach: "It was about three-to-one that I was not an SOB. But there were a lot of ones.''
On the Bucs early games: "Every time I look up, it seems we're punting.''
On O.J. Simpson carrying the ball 47 times in a USC game: "He doesn't belong to a union. Anyway, the ball doesn't weigh that much."
On opening days: "Opening games make me nervous. To tell the truth, I'd rather open with our second game.''
On training camp: "It's shattering when a player loses interest in camp. When you lose your desire to stand around and eat steaks, you lose everything.''
Following a 51-0 loss to Notre Dame in 1966. "I told my team it doesn't matter. There are 750 million people in China who don't even know this game was played. The next day, a guy called me from China and asked, 'What happened, Coach?'"
After a series of questionable calls helped Notre Dame tie No. 1 USC 21-21 in 1968, McKay was asked about the officiating. He answered, "I'm not surprised. The referee is a fine Catholic fellow by the name of Patrick Murphy."
Asked if Lynn Cain of the Atlanta Falcons was ready to play against the Bucs: "Let me know if Cain is able.''