Gentlemen, look around you. Look at your teammates. Look at your brothers in blue and gold. I have never seen such a band of fighters as the men of this team. There is not a drop of quit in any man here. You have given me everything you have, every minute, every week, till the end of the bell. You play hard, and you play for each other, and you never say die. I am proud to have every single one of you at my back every week.
Now I don’t have to tell you what a challenge we face this week. Team rosellini is as strong a competitor as we have faced all season. She has the best record in the league, it’s true. But her one loss was an epic beatdown. And she is due for another one. And this is the team that can give it to her. If we fight like I know we can fight, we can take her down. I know that we can.
I believe this because the projections show this to be true.
I believe this because the nature of her team leaves her vulnerable to our skill.
I mean, look at her team, men. Look at that roster and tell me which of her players, which of the men on her Goliath of a team, you would rather have instead of any of the men beside you. I can’t see one. I would take you, my team, every time, because I know what you can do, I know who you are, and I know how hard you fight – and I need that fight from every single one of you if we are going to be the giant-killers that I know we can be.
Now I know also that we all know there’s a hole in our roster this week. We all feel the loss of Ezekiel Elliott. But that just means we have to dig deeper and fight harder to perform without him and make him proud of us in his absence.
Randall Cobb’s already done it. We all watched Cobb and the Packers on Thursday night. We watched the passing in that game go crazy, and we watched Cobb step up and answer the bell. Cobb, we asked a lot of you this week. We asked you to produce 9 points, which is more than your weekly average. And you rose the challenge and gave us 17. 17 points. That is the heart of a champion right there. That is fight.
Mason Crosby’s done it too. Now Crosby didn’t make every kick he attempted this week, but did he let that stop him from contributing to this team? Hell no! He kept kicking for the Packers and for Team BlueAndGold, and he did what he needed to do to bring victory to Green Bay and opportunity to us. We asked him for 8 points, and he delivered exactly 8. He fought hard and he did his part.
So now it’s our turn, men. Now it’s your time to step out and step up and do what you need to do, perform like I know you can perform to bring victory to this team.
Now it won’t be easy. Brady and Edelman, your Patriots will be facing a Steelers team that will be desperate to prove that their season isn’t over just because they have to play without their quarterback. You know what that’s like in New England, don’t you? So you know how hard they’re going to play. That just means you have to bring your best to the field. Show those Steelers that it takes a special team to do what you did, and they don’t have what it takes.
But it will take both of you. Brady, you’ve been a man on a mission since you came back to football. Don’t you dare start thinking you can let up now. And Edelman, every offensive weapon on the Patriots has had their turn to shine this season. They’re starting to doubt you out there, which just means it’s your moment to step up and remind those doubters just who they’re dealing with. Fight for this team, but fight for yourself too – your reputation, your honor.
A.J. Green, you and your defense are also facing a hobbled team this week. We’ve all seen how Cleveland can’t keep a quarterback healthy. They have one player who has stepped up this season to carry their team, Terrelle Pryor, and now he’s injured too. Their season is close to over. All they’re playing for now is pride and avoiding going 0-16.
Don’t underestimate them. Keep fighting, because you know that they will. This has the setup to be a phenomenal matchup for your Bengals. That’s why I’ve brought your defense on this week, because the potential for a blowout is so strong. But it won’t happen if you don’t fight for it. With the Steelers hobbled, your division could be yours for the taking – if you fight for it. With Team BlueAndGold’s turnaround, the playoffs could be ours for the taking – if you fight for it.
Kyle Rudolph. Welcome back. I hope you’re rested up from your bye week, because your team needs you now. You have to face Philadelphia this week, and their defense is not to be underestimated. But your offense is still the most impressive in the NFL this year. I know this game is personal for your quarterback. He was traded away to make room for a rookie. The Eagles didn’t believe in him. But you do. Show him. Make those Eagles regret what they lost. Step up for Bradford, and step up for Team BlueAndGold.
Which brings us to you. Gore and Gordon. Our running backs. I know I’m asking more of you than of anyone. Your position has led this team each week, because of your consistency and your domination. But this week you don’t have Elliott to anchor you. It’s just the two of you out there, which means you need to fight harder than you’ve ever fought to succeed without his leadership. I wouldn’t be asking this of you if I didn’t know you were capable. Gore, you have to face the Tennessee Titans. They’re a divisional opponent. You know them well. So you know you can succeed against them, and you know exactly how to do it. And Gordon, you face the Atlanta Falcons. Their offense is intimidating, sure. But their defense is their weakness. And your team will need you. The best thing your Chargers can do is to keep giving you the ball, letting you grind it out and keep the clock working and keep that scary Atlanta offense off the field. Step up for them. Make it happen.
That goes for all of you. Step up and make it happen. Fight. Be the men that I know you can be, be the fighters that I know you are.
Now go out there and kick some ass today!