Monday, February 8, 2010

9 comments MMQB: Peyton Manning Pulled a Favre Edition

Well thankfully the Super Bowl last night did not go to to overtime. I was getting a bit concerned about that around the time the Saints converted the 2 point conversion. If was afraid the Super Bowl would go into overtime and Peter King would lose his mind. Fortunately that didn't happen, but Manning did throw probably the worst (or most untimely) interception of his career to Tracy Porter. Of course a Monday morning wouldn't be completely without Peter King's take on the last game of football for this NFL season. (I still can't believe what a terrible interception Manning threw to Tracy Porter. That was terrible. Did he not notice the Saints were jumping the short routes a lot in the 2nd half? Did I notice this once and then latch on to it but it isn't true? I thought he could see they were jumping those routes.)

Today Peter sums up the Super Bowl in his MMQB.

It's right, it's fair, it's just, it's good, it's shocking. You were not dreaming (or nightmaring, if you live in Indiana). The Saints have won the Super Bowl.

Ok Peter, let's be honest here. The Saints were IN the Super Bowl and were only 1 of 2 teams that could have won the game. It wasn't shocking they won the game. They were a 4.5 point underdog, it's not like they shocked the world.

"Oh when the Saints ... come marching in ...'' They did that one for a while. And "You Are My Sunshine,'' the state song, which has roots to former Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis, and a couple of "Who Dat'' songs.

I am over the "Who Dat" crap. My rule is I get tired of shit like that when a team wins the Super Bowl or other title. It's motivating and cool to the point a team wins a championship, then it's annoying to me.

It got quiet for a minute, and Carville piped up loudly: "I still can't believe we won the Super Bowl!''

James Carville should be reminded he did not win anything. I am pretty sure he is not on the Saints team. And yes, though I find him mildly amusing, my idea of hell is being stuck on a tour bus with James Carville.

(I didn't realize this, but I am a little bitter that an NFC South team won the Super Bowl)

The play that signifies it all was on the mind of everyone on the bus. In the middle of the rolling party, someone else piped up: "Can you believe we called that onside kick?''

Oh, I can. It had Sean Payton written all over it.

Well no shit, Peter. He called the fucking onside kick and is the head coach of the Saints, so I would be very surprised if the onside kick call didn't have him written all over it. He had told the guys at CBS he may onside kick the opening kickoff. I don't know if anyone else caught Phil Simms saying that, so obviously this kick was something Sean Payton wanted to do.

It's the Super Bowl, and I'm going to write about an onside kick, and about two absolute nobodies who so powerfully influenced the outcome of the biggest game in the history of the New Orleans Saints.

Can we write about 2 Hall of Fame quarterbacks who picked the absolute worst time to make terrible throws in back-to-back games against the Saints? Does this warrant a discussion at some point you think?

I like Peyton Manning, I have borderline defended him on this blog several times, but he does have a tendency to lose some big games. I know he personally doesn't lose them, but it is something I have noticed. Sort of like how I noticed Tony Dungy's teams do better after he quits coaching said team.

Perfect. Ambush. That's the name of the Saints' onside kick, the one that continued the Colts' downfall in Super Bowl 44. The reason it's so perfect is that it's right for Payton, and right for this derring-do team with the cocky defensive coordinator and the only slightly less cocky head coach and players and fans who have yearned for so long to deserve to be cocky. In this case, Ambush was so mind-blowing because:

A. It was the first successful onside kick not in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl game?

B. If it failed, it was stupid to give Peyton Manning short field position?

C. Cockiness really had nothing to do with it, but really it was more of a move that showed confidence in Morstead and the Saints defense?

And so Payton walked by Morstead's locker and dropped that little bomb on him, and he told the rest of the special-teams leaders, and 25 minutes still were left before the start of the second half. Morstead sat at his locker, looked straight ahead and tried to keep his heart from pounding out of his chest.

"I wasn't worried,'' Morstead said later. "I was terrified. He dropped it on me near the start of halftime, not near the end, and it's such a long halftime. All I could think of was how stupid I'd look if the kick doesn't go 10 yards, or if I blow it.''

Who said pro athletes are cocky and overconfident? Thomas Morstead sounds like the type of punter that would shit his pants if the opposing team tried an all-out rush to block one of his kicks. If Jim Caldwell was alive, possibly someone should have told him this little nugget prior to the Super Bowl...if he were alive of course and wanting to coach an NFL team.

In each of their three practices last week, the Saints worked on the onside kick five times. They christened it "Ambush'' for the element of surprise, obviously.

Thanks Peter. Some things don't need to be explained. This was one of them. But thanks for believing your audience consists of people with an IQ of 95 and little ability to reason logically.

He put his trust in the hands of a kicker, Morstead, kicking the first onside kick of his life, and in a special-teamer, third-year safety Chris Reis, perhaps the most anonymous of the 45 Saints who dressed Sunday. Morstead because he was the kicker, Reis because he was the feistiest of his kick-chasers and would scratch and claw for the ball if he had to.

Chris Reis is David Eckstein with football pads on. He would claw, kick and scratch if he had to in order to get the football. Unfortunately, any idiot would probably realize clawing and scratching would also require the freedom of at least one hand. Which isn't a good way to keep a hold of a football if scrappy-ass actually Reis ended up with it.

The ball at first lay underneath Reis' legs as bodies flew in trying to get it. "I was able to get the ball into my hands and just cradle it here,'' Reis demonstrated for me later in the locker room, with his hands cradled around his stomach, slightly bent over. "So I just pulled it tight to my body and held on.''

(Peter King) "Chris, show me how you cradled that ball in your strong manly arms. Demonstrate on me if you if care to, I don't mind. Pretend I am the ball."

(Chris Reis) "Um, no thanks Peter. (screams loudly) "Can someone get me a damn football!"

(Peter King) "No football is necessary. Just use me and pretend I am a football. I am sort of shaped like one."

(Chris Reis begins to break into a sweat until someone throws him a football) "Ok, it's like this..."

(Peter's face looks disappointed)

"So I just figured I better hang onto it for dear life,'' he said. "The Colts were punching at it and grabbing for it, trying to get it out. But I didn't care if they broke all my fingers. There was absolutely no way in the world I was going to let go of that ball. That was our ball.''

No, Chris. If they had broken all of your fingers, they were going to be able to get the ball at that point.

Oh, this is hyperbole? I think it is much more interesting and funny if I pretend it isn't hyperbole.

"I can't believe it,'' said Morstead, a rookie from SMU. He's a tall kid, wiry and athletic and thoughtful. "I still can't. You've got to love playing for a coach who puts that much trust in his players.

It is always easier to put trust in players when the head coach doesn't have players who execute poorly. That always helps. For example, it doesn't make sense for Jim Schwartz to put a ton of faith in his players, because they aren't all very good players.

I thought Indianapolis lost this game as much as the Saints won it.

Well of course Peter King doesn't think Peyton Manning and the Colts lost the game. Peyton has never lost a game, other people on the team are to blame for the loss of course.

Two: I hated the decision by the Colts, on third-and-one in the final minute of the first half with two timeouts left by the Saints, to run into the middle of the line.

Did anybody else notice the lack of coaching that Jim Caldwell did during the game? No disrespect to him, but he really hasn't had to coach all year and he sure as hell wasn't going to start now. I know the fact a coach is just standing there doesn't mean he isn't coaching and that there isn't much for a head coach to actually teach Peyton Manning, but I just don't feel like Caldwell is paying attention to the game.

I immediately thought of what Lilja told me during the week: "Sometimes we'll be standing there during the Anthem, and we'll look across the field at the size of the other team, and it's like they're the varsity and we're the junior varsity.''

There are downsides to having a small, speed based offensive line. One of those downsides being that a run up the middle on third-and-short just may not work that well. No one told the Colts this apparently.

On the news of the selections: We considered 10 all-decade players among the 14 players nominated. This was the best group of candidates I've had to consider in 18 years on the committee. You might wonder why Cris Carter and Shannon Sharpe (or whoever else didn't make it) fell short. In Carter's case, I was surprised that Andre Reed passed him and made the cutdown from 15 to 10 while Carter didn't.

Ridiculous in my mind. Andre Reed does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame more than Cris Carter.

The difference there might be that Reed's team won bigger games, but that's just a guess.

When will this "team reasoning" for the Hall of Fame go away? So Andre Reed was a better wide receiver than Cris Carter because Andre Reed's team was better than Cris Carter's team? What kind of idiotic logic is this? Is the Hall of Fame a team award or an individual award?

On Little's election: I did not support the Denver running back because I felt his numbers and impact were shy (3.9 yards per carry, one 1,000-yard rushing season, 54 rush yards per game), but as I've said on many occasions, I'm one voter, with an equal vote to the other 43 voters, and the will of the voters spoke loudly. Senior Committee nominees need 80 percent of the vote to be inducted, and both Little and LeBeau got at least the requisite 36 votes to get in.

Floyd Little getting in the Hall of Fame is a sham. Those numbers Peter just showed us all, that is a good reason for Floyd Little not to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Though I can't tell you what Legwold said in his presentation, I can tell you I discussed this with him after the presentation and Legwold said he kept records of each carry and where Little was first contacted by a defender behind a subpar Denver offensive line. Legwold said about 30 percent of the time, Little was first hit behind the line.

So Floyd Little made the Hall of Fame because one journalist from the city where he played "viewed" his games and said 30% of the time he was contacted by a defender behind the line of scrimmage? It's this data that got him in the Hall of Fame? So the voters ignored the statistical data that said Little didn't deserve to make the Hall of Fame and paid attention to the memory and records of a journalist instead.

Is the Pro Football Hall of Fame trying to make the baseball Hall of Fame look smart and logical or something?

Over the last two decades, the best three-technique player is Randle, whose 137.5 sacks for someone who played inside is remarkable. I consider him the best three-technique since the position became prominent. I've heard Brett Favre say it a couple of times: He's the best defensive player he played against.

Well maybe Brett Favre should be the one who gets to vote for the Hall of Fame. Obviously if Favre says something it has to be true right? Brett Favre would certainly never lie or have an incorrect memory in any fashion.

Also, that extends Peter's streak of mentioning Brett Favre in every MMQB since at least last January. I can't wait to see how far this goes. I am tempted to count back from January 2009 and see how far back Peter has mentioned Favre in every MMQB.

On Grimm making it. I always thought a Hog should be in the Hall because Washington's offensive line is the best over time of the last 30 years.

(Bengoodfella getting a headache) So because the ENTIRE offensive line was good, one individual player should get in the Hall of Fame? How does this make sense?

2. Indianapolis (16-3). I know everyone's concentrating on the Colts not being able to convert third-and-one late in the first half, gifting the Saints with three points before halftime, and for allowing New Orleans to recover an onside kick. But for my money, the Pierre Garcon drop midway during the second quarter was just as big.

You mean the drop where Garcon ended up negating a third down conversion and a 30 yard gain in the Super Bowl? Are we sure this was a big play Peter? Great insight, Captain Obvious.

3. Minnesota (13-5). So if Brett Favre does retire, who's next?

Brett Favre is not retiring. Shut up about this. I refuse to pay attention to Favre's retirement/non-retirement crap this spring and summer (and fall?).

9. Baltimore (10-8). If I'm the Ravens, I pounce on Donte' Stallworth with a totally incentive-laden contract. It's just what they need (a veteran receiver who still has a chance to be good) at low guaranteed money. And it's just what he needs -- a blank canvas. A chance.

Then he and Ray Lewis can have discussions on what it is like to have killed another human being! Great idea Peter. Can the Ravens sign Leonard Little too?

10. Philadelphia (11-6). Breakout Eagle of 2010: LeSean McCoy.

Hold back on these bold predictions Peter! I am not sure the Eagles potential starting running back for next year and 2nd round pick this past year could have a good year.

13. Carolina (8-8). I realize Julius Peppers is coming off a good season, but I'll believe he won't be a Panther when I see it. Who else is going to step up and pay him more than $15 million a year, on average?

Um, not the Panthers unless something drastic changes. Usually if a team hasn't made any contact with a free agent they franchised the year before, that is not good news for the hopes of that player being re-signed by that team.

Dolphins fans must be puking this morning. On their own field, the player Nick Saban and Miami doctors passed on outdueled the great Manning to win the Super Bowl.

NO, NO, NO, NO! I am so tired of this lie. The Dolphins and Chargers DID NOT pass on Drew Brees. They did not offer him enough guaranteed money and he turned them down. They made him contract offers but they weren't big enough with guaranteed money for Brees, so BREES TURNED THEM DOWN. I like Drew Brees but I hate this revisionist history.

Last week, Favre throws the late pick to blow it. This week, it's Manning who, down 24-17 with 3:25 left to play and driving, threw errantly to Wayne, allowing Porter to romp 74 yards with the insurance touchdown.

What a terrible, terrible pass by Manning. What makes it even more difficult to believe he threw that pass is that just a few plays earlier he had almost gotten picked off on the same side of the field. If he had thrown the ball across his body, I would say it was as bad as Favre's from two weeks ago, but it was a bad pass regardless. I don't want to over react to this loss and interception by Manning, but I thought the Colts had a good chance and should have won this game.

3. South Florida is an odd mix. At the Broward County Convention Center, where the media worked last week, there's an adjoining strip mall with a French bakery and some lunch items. I went in and ordered a tuna on croissant, and the woman behind the counter had trouble understanding me. She was French, and spoke no English. "Croissant ... tuna?'' I said, and she said a bunch of things in French, and I'm not fluent, so I just nodded, and I looked around at the other help there, and no one seemed to know English, and I thought: How odd. A real French bakery, in the midst of an American/Hispanic area. I wonder who goes in there, and what happens if they want to order something more complicated?

I think people go in there and then point to what they want. It's a French bakery, how much really complicated shit could they be cooking?

(I know nothing about cooking, but it's a bakery, the food is probably already laid out in front of the customer. The customer should point and signal in some fashion to the food he/she wants. It shouldn't be overly difficult to order for Peter. Maybe I am underestimating the complexity of this, but I don't think so.)

4. I will say this about the rooms at the very nice Doral Golf Resort and Spa, where I stayed Saturday night after a speaking engagement there: Not sure whether the rooms are separated by cardboard or oak tag, but I was able to hear a fairly intense conversation between a couple of golfers ticked off at their round the previous day. And it was nice of them to let me hear the commercial 64 times on various ESPN shows.

I am sure they appreciated hearing Peter's conversations and complaints about how the coffee didn't taste right and Peter complaining about what's up with all these foreigners who don't speak English? If no one speaks English, how do they know what coffee Peter has just ordered? Also, where are all the dogs at? There are a ton of dogs in Boston!

These are all things the golfers had to hear coming from Peter's room.

Thus did David Sills commit to play for Lane Kiffin -- or whoever the coach for USC will be six seasons from now. It's depraved for an institute of higher education to guarantee a seventh grader a scholarship. It's irresponsible for parents to commit their son to such a major decision five-and-a-half years before he has to make it.

David Sills is not committed to USC. He hasn't signed a letter of intent and is in no way locked into the program. What is depraved is that Peter thinks a 7th grader is actually locked in to USC in 2015 and he covers football for a living (Ok, maybe it is not depraved, but it fit what I was saying).

c. Kudos, too, to Chris Mortensen, for his terrific job with Dr. James Andrews on Drew Brees' revolutionary shoulder surgery in 2006. Mort, with Andrews, saw the MRI of Brees' ruined shoulder, and Andrews said the damage from the injury suffered in the last game of the 2005 season with San Diego was so severe that there was a 360-degree tear of the labrum -- basically, that it was torn from the bone -- and that the bone broke through the skin from underneath the shoulder. Gruesome, and very valuable to know how great the surgery was ... and how incredible it was that Brees even played football in 2006.

Yet every media member is second guessing the Chargers and Dolphins decision to not offer Brees more guaranteed money in 2006. Why would they have offered him more guaranteed money when it was incredible he even played in 2006? How can it be justified for someone to criticize the Dolphins and Chargers for not giving Brees more guaranteed money in a contract to play in 2006 AND think it was incredible Brees played in 2006? I don't see how these two positions can be rectified.

5. I think the most interesting writer's comment about our Hall of Fame election process Saturday came from a J.W. Nix, of something called Bleacher Report. He decried the process that resulted in former Chargers and Cardinals coach Don Coryell not being elected to the Hall on Saturday. Wrote Nix: "This is a despicable crime still perpetrated by the voters, as shown by the recent induction process. It also shows that Canton must change their induction system. [Retired players] are the ones who truly know who belong, especially considering there are countless voters not even knowing what positions many gridiron legends played ... [This year's voting] also shows the corrupt political process involved in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.'' America. What a country.

I know! What's with this freedom of speech crap everyone is perpetuating? How can people have the audacity to express their opinions in a public format when they aren't an "expert" like Peter or work for a major organization that cares more about money than sports? Only people like Peter King should be able to give their opinion, because sportswriters like him are experts dammit!

8. I think Bill Polian won't say it, but I bet he'll think at some point this week: Are we destined to be Atlanta Braves? A team that wins divisions and pennants but only one world championship?

Hey! As a Braves fan I take exception to this. When the Colts make 5 Super Bowls in a 9 year span (one was a strike year but I will still count it), then we can compare them to the Braves. The Colts are like a Braves team that choked before they made it to the championship game (round). So in my mind, the Braves were a more successful franchise in the 90's than the Colts in the 2000's and there is no comparison between the two when it comes to playoff choking. The Braves are more elite chokers.

9. I think I'll be reminded most of today that my Player of the Decade is 9-9 in the playoffs.

This means nothing. What has Peter and others said was the difference in this game? Garcon's drop, the onside kick, Manning's late interception and the Colts failure to convert a third-and-one. Only one of those were Manning's fault. It should have an effect on his legacy, there's no doubt, but I don't know how much it should affect his legacy since the loss isn't completely on him.

Though part of me is a little concerned that Manning threw the late interception and generally couldn't produce many points in the 2nd half. Is the Saints defense really that good? I guess so.

g. The Who seems a little passed to me, and I like The Who. Time to modern-up the halftime. If I'm 52 and say meh to The Who, that's not good.

The vocals sounded terrible, Roger Daltry was lip synching at one point, it is hard to get 5 songs in a short time and not have it sound discombobulated, and it wasn't a bad performance, but a performance you would expect from a band that has been playing for 40 years, is missing 2 original members, and is using touring musicians. That's not a compliment.

j. Had a good hour Tuesday with Jason Cole's journalism class from the University of Florida, and I informed the group that the cleverest Tweet or e-mail would make this column. Uh, Dave Gardner, you sent the only e-mail or Tweet -- and so you win.

This is a shining example of what a popular writer Peter King is.

"My goal in life is to be mentioned in Monday Morning Quarterback. I've never told anyone that, but it's true.'' Inside joke (a good one), and Dave wins. Wrote Dave: "I figured if it worked for you with the New York Times, it might work with me too.''

If that's your goal in life, I hope it is a tongue-in-cheek goal and not an actual real goal. If it is a real goal, then God help you.

Fortunately, Peter is going to be writing his MMQB until June, which means I will get to critique his writings out to the masses every week until then. Oh...wonderful.


Kevin said...

I think we all enjoy Peter's comments about the lousy hotel room service or bad free coffee he gets while covering these games, but this one was my favorite:

k. And I just heard the AFC team practice facility at TCU in Fort Worth will be 36 miles from the media hotel in Dallas next year. Yikes. These regional Super Bowls make me long for San Diego and New Orleans.

Here we have Peter complaining about a Super Bowl he'll be covering in 350-something days!

Bengoodfella said...

Kevin, that's a good catch. Hilarious. I read that comment and completely missed that.

He is already complaining about having to travel and it is a full year from now when he will have to do it. That is classic Peter King.

Dylan Murphy said...

I'm not saying I'm for against the onside kick call, but isn't it interesting how that one decision makes Sean Payton go from hero to goat? If they don't get it, they're probably down 17-6. Even though they've got a great offense, that's not a great spot to be in. That call was the game right there. Gotta love that Payton would risk the momentum of the game on an onside kick call. But just from a sports fan's perspective, I love the call. From a man who put money on the Colts, I hate it.

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, I do think it is interesting that he could be an absolute hero or a goat based on that one call. It was a gutsy call. If they hadn't recovered that kick the story would have been the Saints knew they couldn't beat the Colts so they had to try anything and everything...which still didn't work.

It's a good call at that point, but it took more balls than I would probably have. It sounds like he just wanted to change the momentum of the game, and he did.

Dylan Murphy said...

Yeah I definitely would not have made that call, simply because of the backlash if it had failed. If that was the most exciting moment of the game (or the Tracy Porter pick), then Jim Caldwell managing to not react, again, to anything, was definitely the least, while the Saints sideline couldn't seem to get enough of fist pumping after every positive play.

Bengoodfella said...

Not to sound like Bill Simmons but I was amazed at how the Saints sidelines was jumping up and down and seemed happy to have anything happen, while the Colts were so business-like and unemotional.

It was so interesting to me. It's like the Saints were trying to win but the Colts expected to win and just thought doing what they always do would suffice.

KentAllard said...

Good call in pointing out that Peter mentioned how horrible Brees' injury was in the same column that he bashed the Dolphins for not signing him. If he had not recovered, the Saints would have tied up a lot of their cap space in a useless QB. They rolled the dice and won.

There are a zillion Haitians in Miami, as well as it being a fairly cosmopolitan city, so it's not the biggest surprise to run into someone who speaks French. She probably speaks English, too, but thought PK was an asshole, so she pretended she didn't. I'm sure he pronounced it CROW-sant.

Martin F. said...

I still think Wayne was hurt more then they let on.

hehe Kent, and he probably called her "Darlin'" too.

Peter makes a boatload of money, if he wants to get a room closer to the TCU facility I'm sure he could. Oh wait, yeah, it probably wouldn't be free then. What a bitch, he's gonna have to drive his free rental car from his free hotel room to the practice facility. Boo fucking hoo. My friend drives 90-120 minutes each way to get to her job and nothing about it is free. Peter has become almost as insulated and spoiled as the athletes he covers.

Bengoodfella said...

Kent, I thought it was pretty inconsistent to mention how Brees was so injured and then act like a team should have given him the money he required. The gamble paid off for the Saints, that's just the bottom line.

That was pretty bad. I know that lady does speak English, she just didn't want to because she didn't want to speak English to him.

I don't know if Wayne was injured or not, but he certainly didn't make an impact in the game really. That's an interesting thought he may have been injured.

I completely agree that Peter has become insulated and spoiled like the athletes he covers. He drives a free car to the Super Bowl and bitches, when many people would pay a ton of money to get to go to the Super Bowl.