Friday, January 29, 2010

11 comments Peter King Explains Why He Hates the Colts and Jets

I have a dream. I dream that Peter King writes a weekly mailbag which is several pages long and contains tons of questions posed by his readers followed by Peter's answers to these questions. I am afraid my dream may never come true. In this week's mailbag he answers exactly 4 questions that he was posed from his MMQB. None of these questions relate to how insensitive he is to call Sean Payton and Drew Brees "orphans" and subtly compare them to those New Orleans citizens who went through Hurricane Katrina. Peter also explains why he pretty much ignored the entire AFC Championship Game in this mailbag as well.

Let me give you a hint as to why he ignored it. He's really, really busy people. So you can't expect him to pay full attention to 1 of the 3 most important games that are played each NFL year. That's just too much to ask of him. Because he's really busy. Don't ask him to cover the NFL completely, he has to pick and choose which parts he needs to cover in his MMQB.

Four topics this morning: Overtime, how impressive the Indianapolis skill-position machine is, what really happened on the 12-men-in-the-huddle play, and your Tweet-rage over my choice of material for Monday Morning Quarterback this week.

It's smart of him to just not bring up the whole "orphans" comment. No one noticed and called him out on it, so there's nothing to apologize for. If Peter King makes an insensitive statement in a forest and no one hears it then there is nothing to apologize for.

But there's one thing you should know as you suggest different ways to go about fixing overtime, if you believe, as I do, that the system is inherently unfair and needs to be overhauled: Don't invent new rules.

How are we going to overhaul overtime without inventing new rules for overtime? Do the fans get to vote on the team that tried the hardest and was the grittiest? Wait, that's a new rule...

Wouldn't any change in the current overtime system be considered inventing new rules?

Don't suggest the college rule, with alternating possessions beginning at the opposing 25, don't suggest the first team to six points win, don't suggest an eight-minute time clock.

How about an arm wrestling contest? Gator wrestling contest? Two men. One steel cage. One chicken. First person to catch the chicken wins the football game?

If I were in a room with Peter King making these suggestions, he would boldly look me in the eye and speak with his coffee flavored breath and tell me, "Don't make these suggestions. They're horseshit and the Competition Committee doesn't appreciate you trying to make suggestions to fix overtime, so shut up and quit trying to be helpful. Care for a donut or perhaps a Cinna-Bun?"

Because the one thing I've learned from talking to members of the Competition Committee about overtime recently (not in the past couple of weeks, but the past couple of years) is they chafe at inventing guidelines that would make the game in overtime different than the game in the first four quarters.

Other than the fact in overtime the first team to score wins the game, which is a rule that makes the game different from the NFL game that was played for 4 quarters over the last 3 hours.

My two thoughts about overtime:

1. Sometimes we make the solution a lot more difficult than it has to be. I actually really like Rulebook's idea to flip a coin at the beginning of the game to determine who gets possession first in overtime. It allows both teams to game plan and decide how they want to manage the last few minutes of the game. For example, the Vikings clearly would have been more aggressive towards the end of the game had they known the Saints would get the ball first. I like this idea and think it is fair.

2. I don't think making different rules for overtime would change the game too much like the Competition Committee does. Hockey does a shoot-out after an overtime period and so does soccer and nobody seems to have a problem with those forms of determining the winner of a game. In fact, people probably find shoot-outs to be more exciting than the game itself sometimes.

That is why I have advocated a simple tweak to the rules: Ensure both teams get to touch the ball once in overtime, either by an offensive possession for each team or by a turnover on the first series of overtime that results in a defensive touchdown.

This is a simple tweak but also doesn't fix the problem. Peter has suggested this idea before and I think it is pointless. What if both teams score a touchdown? Does the game then go to sudden death? If so, then why have each team get one more possession when they have played 60 minutes of football previously? What will one more possession decide that multiple possessions haven't already decided? Why give each team one more possession, then go to overtime? If that's the solution, then just going to sudden overtime would make sense since both teams have already played an entire game.

Here are the scary postseason numbers for the second and third Indianapolis receivers, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, versus the entire Saints corps of wideouts (Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem):

Two Colts2736013.33
Four Saints2125412.13

We have an official "Small Sample Size Alert" in effect for Peter King's mailbag. There are so few good conclusions that can be drawn from this 2 games worth of information it's not even worth criticizing it.

Keep in mind that Garcon is a second-year player from tiny Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, and Collie is a fourth-round rookie from BYU. Neither played at football factories.

"Football factories?" Who is writing this column? Gregg Easterbrook? It's 2010, isn't it about time we all realize there are great football players located at smaller schools in the United States? Just like a high profile college may sign a 3 star recruit that develops into a star player in the NFL, a small college could sign a 2 star recruit that develops into a great player in the NFL.

At this point with the rise of non-traditional powerhouse NFL programs, I think it makes sense sometimes to realize "football factories" aren't the only college teams that can find good players.

For Manning to show the trust in these two receivers so early in their professional careers (they've combined for 134 catches in 18 games this year) tells me Manning was ready to turn the page after the on-again, off-again late career of Marvin Harrison. The Colts didn't know from week to week many times in his last two years if Harrison was going to play or not because of an injured knee, and knowing Manning the way I do, I know he hates uncertainty.

(Peyton Manning) "Tell me I am the best quarterback you have ever played with Marvin and that you love me."

(Marvin Harrison sitting quietly but seething inside) "I don't want to."

(Peyton Manning starting to raise his voice) "Tell me I am the best. Come on, I audible a lot and use intricate hand signals to tell everyone on the field what to do! Sometimes I even cup my hands to my mouth scream words that mean absolutely nothing in an effort to confuse the defense and the average television viewer. Who else does that?"

(Peter King) "I would tell him he is the greatest Marvin. Peyton hates uncertainty. Care for a coffee or a bag of Doritos?"

(Marvin Harrison very angry but looking calm. He reaches for the gun in his right sweatpants pocket, puts his hand on the gun in his left sweatpants pocket, and knows he has one in a holster on his leg if he needs it) "I ain't telling you shit asshole! Don't push Marvin Harrison! A bitch that pushes Marvin gets put in the ground and silenced like the bitch he is!"

(sprays gun fire around the room as Peyton ducks and Peter King doesn't even realize what is going on because he is complaining about how much cream was put in his coffee)

(Marvin Harrision staring at Peyton Manning) "You don't know what I can do to you when you push me!"

(Runs out of the room to go shoot a random passerby)"

(Peter King) "Peyton, I think you are the second greatest quarterback ever. That's for certain...and I do love you."

(Peyton) "Thank you Peter. I love certainty and want to be in control of everything, much like the dictator of a small South American country would. I am glad you recognize this. Care for an Oreo cookie?"

I expect Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to play Manning the way he played Brett Favre and Kurt Warner the last two weeks. Williams preaches collapsing the pocket so the quarterback doesn't have the time or space to step up in the pocket and evade the outside rushers.

Get pressure in the quarterback's face? What a brilliant scheme! Obviously this is going to be the strategy, it doesn't take a genius to figure this out, but HOW is the Saints defense going to get to Manning when he was the hardest quarterback in the NFL to get to this year? That's my question.

Darren Sharper told me Sunday the Saints' mission against Favre was, "Cut off the head, and the body will die.'' In other words, beat the crap out of Favre and see how many plays he makes at the end of the game if you physically manhandle him. I can guarantee you that inside the Saints' facility this week, Williams will be telling his men, "See? It worked against Favre; he threw a terrible pass near the end of the fourth quarter because we beat him up all game.

I really don't think Favre threw that bad pass at the end of the game because he was tired of getting hit by the Saints. I just think it was a bad pass. I could be wrong.

Last week, the Vikings changed the personnel group that was supposed to be in the game on the ill-fated play they called with 19 seconds left -- switching from one tight end and a fullback to two tight ends. So when the play was called, Tahi stayed on the sidelines until a coach -- I don't know which one -- told him to go into the game.

I guess we'll find out which coach told him to go into the game, because that's the coach that will be getting fired in the next couple of weeks.

Here's a minor complaint. Why can't Peter find out which coach told Tahi to go into the game? It's his job to find out all kinds of cool NFL insider crap that readers will want to read about. I know he is so focused on giving us stories on Peyton Manning and his usual puff piece type crap, but I want to know which Vikings coach told Tahi to go into the game dammit. I need this.

Why have an NFL Insider on the payroll if he can't get interesting information like this? It's not like the Vikings organization is leak proof or anything. Pretty much anything related to Brad Childress and Brett Favre last summer got leaked and I want to know which coach sent Tahi in the game.

Much uproar in e-mail and Twitter-land over my column Monday. Leading with Favre, writing more about the Vikings than either of the winning teams, writing nothing about the Jets, writing way too much about Tim Tebow. Does that just about cover it?

It covers it perfectly, yet doesn't excuse it. I can't wait to hear Peter's reasoning for this.

I thought I'd explain the process I went through over the weekend and how it differed from usual weeks. Then, if you still are in a ripping frame of mind, have at it.

Oh no! Peter had to adapt to an ever changing environment! No one else has to do this. I feel sympathy for him now.

I usually write about 8,000 words, in-season, in Monday Morning Quarterback. This week, I was writing the NFC Championship Game cover story for Sports Illustrated, which is about a 2,200-word story and a different kind of writing.

I will never criticize Peter for how long his MMQB is. He writes a lot. That's a compliment to him and I just want to be nice to him for half a second (or .452 seconds...just to irritate Gregg Easterbrook).

I'm trying to write things in there that no one else will write before Wednesday afternoon, when our magazine comes out.

Examples of things Peter writes that no one else will write:

"Brett Favre may be Jesus Christ himself."
"Has anyone noticed those small dimples on Peyton Manning's chin?"
"The Colts receivers really like playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback."
"Breleigh Favre is sad."
"Deanna Favre is sad."
"Brittany Favre had a funny Twitter post."
"Drew Brees and his wife really like New Orleans and New Orleans likes them."
"The Super Bowl will come down to which team can get the most pressure on the other team's quarterback."
"Rex Ryan says funny things."
"Brett Favre tells funny jokes."
"Drew Brees and Sean Payton are similar to victims of Hurricane Katrina in that they are both orphans and have suffered."

That entails working quite a bit after the game, which obviously cuts into my MMQB writing time.

That sucks when your high paying job conflicts with your other high paying job.

So this week, I figured, my game's going to be over about 10 p.m. Eastern Time. I'll be tied up with interviews and maybe going out to see players or coaches after they leave the stadium, and I'd be really pressed for time. I got out of the Superdome about midnight Eastern,


What Peter should have written is that he visited the VIKINGS locker room and did some interviews. If he spent time in the Saints locker room, it didn't show in his MMQB.

So the question of why Peter didn't cover the Jets at all and very little of the Colts and Saints isn't answered here.

then visited Saints coach Sean Payton's postgame party at a steakhouse a mile from the 'Dome, then got back to my room to write about 1:45 a.m.

Going to a party does not count as being "pressed for time." It's interesting Peter went to this party because he sure as hell didn't have any quotes from Sean Payton after the game in his MMQB, so I will assume he went there purely for social reasons. Big fail by Peter King to try and pretend he was working. If he was working, it didn't show in what he eventually put in his MMQB.

When I knew my schedule would be crazy last week, I prepared two items for the columns that I thought would be interesting for the masses -- my first interview with Tim Tebow and a look at where the junior-eligible players fit in the NFL draft's first round. I wrote those things Friday and Saturday, and a few other regular column fixtures. Sunday, I watched the AFC game, writing some as that game took place, and then filed about 3,500 words before the start of the NFC title game.

So Peter already had nearly 50% of the column already written before the NFC Championship Game. Obviously he had to get an interview with Tim Tebow in, because at some point Brett Favre will retire and it will be time for Peter King to idolize the hell out of another NFL quarterback.

That left me about 4,000 words for the column left to write overnight Sunday, plus my game story for the magazine.

So basically Peter was going to write 4,000 words (or half his MMQB) on the Vikings-Saints game no matter what happened. So the reason he didn't mention the Jets and barely mentioned the Colts is because he wasn't going to do it anyway. He wanted to focus on the NFC Championship Game.

The reason for my lack of Colts coverage is that often I try to do a phone interview with a player or coach from a big game, but to do so this week would have been difficult while covering another game; it's a bit impractical to interview a player from another game for 15 minutes and miss the game I'm covering.

Apparently no Colts players were available to talk at halftime of the Saints-Vikings game, after the NFC game ended or even later in the evening when Peter was at Sean Payton's party. Yeah, it may have been a little hard, but it was possible, and Peter watched the entire Jets-Colts game, so it doesn't explain why he couldn't have at least written more of his observations about the game.

Now, as far as the New Orleans-based coverage goes, I thought there were three interesting angles: the Favre interception/possible end of career/big beating he took; the questionable play-calling and 12-men penalty by the Vikes on their last drive; and the story of the Saints making the Super Bowl.

So basically Peter thought there was nothing interesting about the Saints other than the fact they made the Super Bowl, while he was intrigued the Favre-ian sub-plots on the Vikings side.

For Sports Illustrated, the story has to be the team that moves on, not the team that is left in the wake, and so I chose to do the Saints marching on for the mag. The Vikings stuff I chose to lead the online column.

I can partially accept this. In reality, there should be enough interesting Saints related material to put in MMQB AND the Sports Illustrated magazine article. It's not like Peter hasn't written other stuff about the Saints this year. He clearly could find material about the Saints previously for his MMQB, I don't know why he can't seem to find enough for a magazine article and MMQB after the Saints make their 1st Super Bowl in franchise history.

I wasn't so concerned about Peter not talking about the Saints that much, but the fact the Vikings lead the column. The Saints were mentioned AFTER he had repeatedly talked about the Vikings and Brett Favre's future. If Peter has to write about the Saints, it makes sense to do it for the magazine, but it would also make sense to write some more about the Jets-Colts game and then lead the MMQB with information about the Saints going to the Super Bowl...or observations from Peter watching the Jets-Colts game. Pretty much anything but focusing on one of the losing teams and not even mentioning the AFC Championship Game loser would have been acceptable.

I knew at the time it would be odd to write more Vikings than anything else, but when you have to make difficult journalism decisions, they're not always going to be popular.

One thing that annoyed me was that he didn't mention the Jets at all really and barely mentioned the Colts. Normally, I would be all for Peter ignoring the Jets and Colts, but in this situation, I feel like he should have talked more about them and at least have given his observations on the game...which he didn't really do.

I am glad Peter found it odd, yet he still wrote more about the Vikings. It's almost like he doesn't believe he controls what he can write about each week in his MMQB.

From Jim Rhodes of Portland, Ore.: "Over that past several years, more and more defenses are being coached on how to strip the ball from offensive players and there is an emphasis on creating a fumble as opposed to making a tackle. Don't you think it's difficult for anyone to hang on to the football if a defensive player's sole purpose is to strip the ball? I think what is actually happening on the field is not a lack of ballcarriers not securing the ball but rather the increased emphasis by the defense on causing fumbles. Your thoughts?''

PK: You're onto something. When Gregg Williams took over the Saints' defense, he put into place something none of his players had done before: At the beginning of practice, he has every defensive player go through six stations, practicing how to strip or punch out the ball.

So what is Peter's answer? He says this reader is on to something, but then he says that Gregg Williams instituted the stations where the defensive players practice stripping the ball out and the players haven't done this before. So if veteran players like Darren Sharper, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper, Jabari Greer, Randall Gay, and Scott Fujita hadn't done this drill before, is there really an increased emphasis on causing fumbles in the NFL, or just an increased emphasis on the Saints team? Remember many of the Saints players had played with other NFL teams in their career, so it's not like they would only be exposed to the "Saint way" of doing things.

But here's the thing, Jim -- if you know that's coming, as Adrian Peterson certainly did, there are ways to protect against it. As I wrote Monday, ask Tiki Barber how he fixed it.

That doesn't really answer the question, because Jim was asking if a focus on stripping the ball was more popular now among defensive coordinators. Peter responded by saying Jim was on to something, but used the same example Jim used of the Saints causing fumbles as proof of this. Then he said none of the Saints had ever done the drill before. So it leads me to believe other teams don't focus on causing fumbles as much as the Saints do. So no Jim, it's not a trend at this point. Thanks for asking Peter though.

From Clayton Wood, of Muscle Shoals, Ala.:"I hope we can finally settle the debate about whether or not Favre is the best quarterback of all time. Clearly, he is not...What separates the truly elite quarterbacks from the really good ones is their mental toughness and ability to avoid costly errors. After the costly mistake Favre made last night, I don't see how anyone can rank him among the best all time, like you always say. Am I missing the mark on this?''

No, you are not missing the mark on this. Brett Favre is not the greatest quarterback of all-time. I know it hurts Peter King emotionally to know this to be true.

PK: The terrible throws he made at the end of the 2007 and 2009 NFC championship games have to be a major mark against his legacy, to be sure.

Along with the 6 interception playoff game against the Rams and his 4 interception playoff game against the Vikings. As I said last week, I don't believe playoff game statistics should hold more weight than regular season statistics, but they have to be accounted for at some point.

The best quarterback ever is Otto Graham, I believe, because he played for 10 years in pro football, at the top of the players who played quarterback at the time, and won seven championships with the Browns. I'd have Joe Montana, Sammy Baugh and Johnny Unitas -- at least -- ahead of Favre, and in short order there's a good chance Peyton Manning will be ahead of him.

Here is Peter's list of the 12 greatest quarterbacks of all-time. To give him credit, he doesn't have Favre #1 on the list, but he also has Favre above Manning and Roger Staubach and thinks Joe Montana is the #3 quarterback of all-time. So there is room for improvement in my mind. He says Manning needs another title to pass Favre, so basically he is saying Favre, all things being equal, is a better quarterback than Peyton Manning, which I don't necessarily agree with.

We all know Peter wants to say Favre is the greatest quarterback of all-time. He just knows if he does say this his readers will tear him apart limb by limb...possibly not literally, but definitely in Tweet and email form.


KentAllard said...

Rulebook's pregame coinflip idea may be the best one I've ever heard. It would make overtime a more organic part of the game, a team trailing by seven that scores a touchdown might decide to go for two rather than let the other team have the ball first in OT...just a few of the reasons this good idea will never be implemented.

Just FYI, but real hockey fans despise the shootout. Most of us refer to it as the "skills competition" and wish it would go away.

Go said...

I expect Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to play Manning the way he played Brett Favre and Kurt Warner the last two weeks. Williams preaches collapsing the pocket so the quarterback doesn't have the time or space to step up in the pocket and evade the outside rushers.

Thanks Pete. I expect Colts defensive coordinator Larry Coyer to try to get his men to put pressure on Brees and to try to force turnovers.

And by the way, Farve threw for 310 yards. Terrific scheme. Are they hoping to hold Manning under 350 yards? I cannot see how this game will be close. And I am hoping to God this game goes to OT and is won on the first drive.

BTW Ben, what is your analysis of the ACC (basketball) so far? I still see Duke winning the reg. season by 2 games but the Terps have been a nice surprise for me so far. I'm trying like hell to get tickets to senior night vs. Duke. Grieves' last game at home. It should be wild at the Comcast Center.

rich said...

don't suggest an eight-minute time clock ,

don't suggest the first team to six points win


they chafe at inventing guidelines that would make the game in overtime different than the game in the first four quarters.

contradict one another. How is current OT (first to 3) okay, but first to 6 "different." How is first to 3 okay, but an 8 minute quarter using the same rules as the first 4 quarters "different"? I think my brain just melted a bit.

Neither played at football factories.

And Hofstra doesn't have a football team anymore. Point: Colston.

Lance Moore went to Toledo.

Those Saints receivers and their football factories. Never mind Dallas Clark went to Iowa and Reggie Wayne went to Miami.

I also throw my full support behind a running "Care for a [food]?" joke in all future Peter King's articles.

Bengoodfella said...

I do actually like the pre-game coin flip in regard to overtime. It's simple and wouldn't change the game too much. Plus, the team who didn't get the ball first in OT would already know that was the case and could plan accordingly.

Real hockey fans despise the shootout, I will have to remember that. I am not a huge fan but it can be exciting at times when a game is in a shoot out. I can see how real hockey fans would hate it though.

Go, it was some obvious analysis wasn't it? Not exactly earth shattering. I am really leaning towards the Colts as well. Really the Saints defense didn't play that well and Manning will have two weeks to pick them apart.

As far as the ACC goes so far, I don't think UNC is out of it quite yet. I actually see GT as the best team in the ACC right now, which really surprises me. Duke can't win a game on the road and I think they are in a bunch of trouble tomorrow at Georgetown. Personally, Maryland hasn't surprised me too much. I know we talked at the beginning of the year and we thought Maryland would be 3rd or 4th and that is where I think they will be. They have a good team this year.

I think UNC is going to start playing better, but I can actually see Duke taking the ACC. I don't trust Duke on the road against UNC and Maryland. So if you asked me, i see it going:

1. Duke
2. GT
3. FSU
4. Maryland
5. UNC

Of course once I see UNC, Duke, and Maryland all play each other I will be more confident.

rich said...

Also BGF, if you need something truly asinine to tear apart, check out Bill Simmons article (

He sets up 6 rules/"levels" of torture and then completely ignores them when ranking the most tortured teams.

He also goes on to rank the Eagles 12th because the Phillies won the WS in 2008, but then ranks the Jets 11th (because I guess the Yankees, Rangers and Islanders titles that were won just don't count).

Number 6: San Francisco (didn't they win 3 SBs in the 1990s?)

Number 1: The Cubs (Bears and Bulls).

I think in order to be a successful sports journalist these days you have to contradict yourself and generally be an idiot.

ivn said...

In regards to OT I've always wanted to keep it sudden death with the stipulation that the teams can't kick field goals.

Re: Simmons, he also shafts Seattle even though the only team in the city to win a championship moved to Oklahoma and the only other team in the city to make it that far lost the most poorly-officiated Super Bowl I've ever seen. And there's a stupid outdated grunge reference thrown in.

Martin said...

Don't Peter's excuses for why he could write about the AFC Game sound like the ones that come from a 17 year old? "I couldn't take the trash out, cause, like me and Rodney had to go to Taco Bell."

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, those ideas do contradict each other don't they. That's what happens when we try to get too fancy to fix the problem.

Yes, bigger name schools do have a larger number of better players but there are good players at smaller schools as well. Good point a/b Colston and Moore. The Colts have other receivers who went to "football factories," don't forget Gonzalez went to OSU. I don't even see why it is relevant really.

I like food jokes and I like making fun of Peter King, so I like it when he offers food. I think I will keep the running joke up as long as it doesn't get old because I laugh when I type it...sadly.

I haven't even gotten to the Bill Simmons column for today. I have ignored him for so long, it's ridiculous. I am going to see if I can find that article and then see if I have anything productive to add to it. I generally hate levels of things and rankings, so there is a good chance I won't like it. I wish Bill would write more in the middle of the week because it is harder for me to get something up on the weekends.

I don't know how he ignored Seattle. That's like his pet case up there. If there is any city he should put in the listing, it is Seattle. It makes sense right?

Martin, I don't even get why he couldn't talk more about the Jets-Colts game. He writes his observations every single week, I don't know why this week had to be any different for Peter. I don't get it. I read the article in SI on New Orleans and he repeated some of the material he put in MMQB on the Vikings in SI...he could have done something similar for the Saints. Or at least talked more about the Colts-Jets game.

KentAllard said...

I just read the Simmons article about <>Jennifer Love Hewitt's tits levels of torture. Ugh. After reading those whiney letters I need to apologize for every time I've bitched about my own favorite teams. It was like someone held up a mirror to show how ugly I am.

And as for a franchise being so tortured other fans start to sympathize with them: No. I'm ecstatic every year the Cubs don't win the World Series, and believe "Maple Leafs Eliminated From the Playoffs Day" (December 1st) should be a national holiday in Canada and the U.S.

KentAllard said...

Ah, The strikethrough tag doesn't work on the comments. Good to know.

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah, I know. I have written some really bad crap before when complaining about my teams. I have been very overdramatic at times.

I'm telling you, when the Cubs win a World Series it is going to make everyone who hated the Red Sox "bandwagon" go crazy. It is going to be 10 times worse.