Friday, February 12, 2010

6 comments Peter King Helps Continue Saints Post-Super Bowl Back Slapping

I know the Saints won the Super Bowl and I know that is super special and they deserve all of the coverage and accolades they have gotten, but sometimes the coverage gets a little overdone for me. I feel like sometimes even the smallest move gets kudos when it shouldn't. I have a bunch of articles on the Saints that are bad journalism that I have bookmarked that says many of the same things. Peter King feels like he needs to chart the Saints path to the Super Bowl victory in his mailbag, while giving the Saints credit for every move they ever made.

First, I didn't cover Peter's mailbag last week because it wasn't especially terrible, but I thought I would cover a little bit of this week before I covered his mailbag for this current week. Here are a couple of bad passages from Peter's mailbag last week.

This is Super Bowl number 25 for me, and I'm not particularly sentimental about it. It's a Groundhog Day type of week for me and those who have covered a lot of these games. The buses run like Swiss watches, the schedules are tight and unbending, and the quotes are homogenized and almost always meaningless. But hey, Super Bowl fever! Catch it!

Attending the Super Bowl again? How boring. It is always good to hear that a journalist who gets paid a ton of money to do his job absolutely finds it tedious and boring. Fans of the Saints and Colts were shelling out hundreds of dollars for tickets, not to mention how much they spent on food and lodging, just so they could go to the Super Bowl. Peter gets to go for free (THIS IS HIS 25TH YEAR IN A ROW HE GETS TO DO THIS!), gets free lodging, free food, and probably gets a press box seat...and complains about it. Much like on Monday when Peter was complaining about the time it takes him to travel in his RENTAL CAR for next year's Super Bowl. While others can be happy with a situation, Peter complains because it doesn't meet his standard of perfection.

Three quick points while crawling through morning-rush-hour traffic on I-95 toward the stadium, before getting to your e-mail:

Oh my God, Peter has a commute? How terrible! No one else in the United States has to commute to their job every day.

I thought teams were steering clear of Mike Martz because stories of how hard he was to work with in San Francisco and Detroit were following him. (Not my stories, but stories from those staffs.) I think Martz is brilliant, and now he has a potentially brilliant quarterback to work with.

No offense to Mike Martz, because I do respect his ability to coordinate offensively, but how many offensive coordinators would look good with Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Torry Holt, and Isaac Bruce at the skill positions of a team? I would say quite a few.

What exactly did he have in San Francisco and Detroit? Not brilliant quarterbacks.

Oh ok, so Mike Martz didn't do well in San Francisco and Detroit because he didn't have brilliant quarterbacks. If this is the standard that must be met for an offensive coordinator to do well in the NFL there wouldn't be many good offensive coordinators. I have to say, as much as I respect Mike Martz, Peter King's excuses about how he failed with the Lions and 49ers because he didn't have a brilliant quarterback falls flat. Peter doesn't think Martz merely needs a competent quarterback, but Peter think Martz requires a brilliant quarterback. A lot of guys could succeed in the NFL as a coach if they had a brilliant quarterback. It's the good coordinators that win with a competent or average quarterback, or make an average quarterback better that impress me.

But what I would love if I were a Bears fan is that Cutler has a lot of Warner's characteristics.

I don't dislike Jay Cutler, but I don't see too many characteristics of Kurt Warner in him. Maybe physically I can see the comparison but Warner seems to be a less abrasive and less divisive teammate than Jay Cutler. I don't know if I see the leadership qualities in Cutler that Warner exhibited either.

Here's what Warner told me about Martz, his offense and his role in it: "What was perfect for me was that Mike drew the game up exactly the way I always wanted to play football -- with a lot of quick decisions to be made. He wanted to play decisively, not be afraid to make decisions and live with them. And I had the great toys at my disposal in that offense. I played exactly the way the offense was drawn up by Mike. It was a perfect marriage.''

The key part of this quote in my mind:

He wanted to play decisively, not be afraid to make decisions and live with them. And I had the great toys at my disposal in that offense.

Basically Warner is saying he had good teammates around him that helped him make decisions and live with them. I don't know if I see Jay Cutler having those weapons around him, unless Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox develop more than I anticipate this offseason.

The Bears still need to rebuild that sieve of an offensive line, and no draft picks in the top 70 of the draft doesn't help.

Remember what happened in Martz's offense when the Rams offensive line wasn't good? I remember fumbles and turnovers occurred. Not to be negative about the Bears prospects, but I think the Bears offensively are not even close to be on par with the Rams offense in the early 2000's with Warner. So if Martz runs a similar offense with an offensive line that isn't great, I predict some bad things could happen for Bears fans.

I'll be hosting a Tweetup (a meeting of the 379,740 or so who follow me on Twitter -- well, hopefully not all of you) at 8:30 p.m., the Fort Lauderdale Renaissance Hotel on SE 17th Street adjacent to the Broward County Convention Center. All are welcome, Tweeters and non-Tweeters alike. I'll be there to answer any questions, mingle, and be totally opinionated. I'll have several guests, among them Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who will be on hand to sign copies of his The Ultimate Super Bowl Book,'' a gem with things that even the biggest fan of any teams didn't know about each one of the Big Games.

If Peter King wrote a book about each of the 25 Super Bowls he attended, it would consist primarily of complaints about the traffic and the coffee at each venue. Who would have ever though there would be a lot of traffic in the city that is hosting the Super Bowl?

The funny part is that Bill Simmons tweeted this week that Miami was a ghost town but Peter King is complaining about the traffic being slow moving. Maybe they drive at different times of the day.

From Christopher in Blackburn, England: "Dear Peter, love your column and follow it religiously. With the Super Bowl closing in, what it your favourite Super Bowl moment?"

"Well Christopher, among the 25 boring Super Bowls I have had to endure in order to do my job, I would say my favorite moment is at Super Bowl 34 when I walked in the press box and there was this beautiful spread of cheeses and crackers on the table. The coffee was from Starbucks and there were waitresses who would come around to our computers and give us refills anytime we wanted them. At halftime, the management of the facility then brought in a large cake to honor my 15 years of covering the Super Bowl. Ordinarily, I wouldn't accept food just for doing my job (as well paying as it is, it does have its headaches, like a lot of traffic), but as much hell as it is to cover the Super Bowl I figured I deserved it. After the long waits in traffic, the long lines at the coffee shops, the idiot drivers who don't know where they are going (who the hell drives at 7:50 in the morning during the week? Are breakfast places that busy in the morning? I don't think so. Why are people on the road at that hour?), and the long hours I have to work in order to interview the NFL players before the big game...I thought I deserved a piece or two of cake."

"So, I ate 4 pieces and Donnie Banks told me after the game they would have to forklift me out of there and I laughed. But no, literally Christopher, I had eaten so much food, cake, and coffee my body functions had shut down and my left leg had gone into diabetic shock and I could no longer walk. As they were using a stretcher to get me out of the room, I accidentally vomited on one of the nice Asian waitresses (don't worry, I sent her a signed copy of that week's MMQB), and Donnie Banks and I could not stop laughing. Fortunately, after about an hour I finally was able to use my left leg again and was able to leave the stadium, but I remember laughing with Donnie Banks about how absurd the situation was. It was a great memory for me."

That's what I imagine Peter would say. His real answer was much more boring.

From CJ in Baltimore: "As a weekly reader of MMQB, I find you to be an intelligent writer. However, your comment about Rex Ryan's giving the finger being 'commendable behavior there (at an MMA event)' was pretty ignorant. MMA is no more violent than football and even has less injuries, and the participants aren't getting arrested for shooting themselves or kicked off events for partying too hard. Please do some research before making uneducated comments again."

PK: On Twitter and in e-mail, I heard from a lot of MMA fans saying similar things. You are probably right. I have never been to an MMA event

I like how Peter tries to crack a joke about a sporting event he has never attended because he is perfectly fine stereotyping the fans of MMA. It's pretty typical Peter King. I have never attended a MMA event and don't have an interest in the sport, but I also don't believe I am better than other people and can look down on the hypothetical behavior at these events.

Let's see why Peter did stereotype a little in this situation:

I just thought it was a funny line, and if I offended you and any other MMA fans, I apologize.

And of course anything that is funny can't be offensive. Right, Michael Richards? Right, Don Imus? Really, I didn't find Peter's line about MMA to be offensive and this guy is over reacting a little bit. It is true that Peter seems to tend to look down a little on others, so I wanted to burn him a little for that.

Now for this week's Peter King mailbag...

"You get a chance to add the explosiveness of Reggie Bush to your team, and that's something that comes along maybe every five, 10 years. I don't care what the Jets offered us. We were keeping the pick. If that's a gamble, I'll gamble like that every time."

Sean Payton, the day of the 2006 NFL draft, after the Saints eschewed offers to trade down and instead stayed with their first-round slot and picked USC tailback Reggie Bush.

No offense to Reggie Bush, but he wasn't a huge reason the Saints won the Super Bowl. Bush also wasn't a gamble in the 2006 NFL Draft and I still think the Saints could have made a better choice. Just because they won the Super Bowl doesn't mean Bush was the right choice. I think D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Marcus McNeill, DeAngelo Williams, Nick Mangold, or DeMeco Ryans would have fit in well on this Saints team as well as, if not better than, Reggie Bush does.

I don't know why Peter is leading off the mailbag with a quote by Sean Payton regarding a draft pick the Saints made which was an underachieving pick. This choice of Reggie Bush wasn't a turning point for the Saints.

OK, so Bush didn't turn out to be worth anywhere near second-pick-in-the-draft money. So the guy New Orleans picked 106 spots later, guard Jahri Evans, is a more valuable player to the team today.

"Here's a quote I am going to start this mailbag off with that will mislead the audience into thinking I believe Reggie Bush was the reason the Saints won the Super Bowl."

I exhume Payton's quote from a 2006 reporter's notebook for a simple reason: The Saints won Super Bowl 44 because they not only played Peyton Manning well on defense (any team limiting the Colts to seven points in the final 45 minutes is playing great defense) but also because they dared to be great over the last four years.

And in the latest fashion, like the onside kick that went to Hank Baskett and the failed fourth-down attempt, Sean Payton is getting credit for his failures leading to success. I don't get how a semi-failed non-gamble was the key to the Saints winning the Super Bowl.

But even with that call, it's too easy to say the Colts went conservative all game and that's why they lost. Not true. They lost because Pierre Garcon dropped a second-quarter gimme that would have extended a drive and likely made the score 13-3 or 17-3 with five minutes left in the half.

It's too easy to say the game plan the Colts used when they had the lead was the reason they lost the Super Bowl. Peter doesn't think that is it. He thinks it was one play the Colts made with a 10 point lead that made the difference. Not the various other plays where the Colts were too conservative, but just individual plays in the game. I personally think these two go hand-in-hand, but what do I know, I am not an NFL insider like Peter.

They lost because they got lazy and allowed the Saints to execute an onside kick to start the second half. And they lost because Manning threw the interception going in to tie it.

What Peter fails to understand is the reason the Colts didn't have a larger lead going into the 2nd half is because they mismanaged the clock and were too conservative at the end of the 1st half. All these things Peter listed are true, but the Colts lost grip on the game began with the conservative play calling and poor execution by the Colts.

They played their game, which is to not take major chances and let Manning make enough plays to win. And Manning missed on a play he shouldn't have late, and the Colts lost.

If the Colts had game planned better in the 1st half, the margin of error for the team wouldn't have been that thin in the 2nd half. This is a very important point that must be made.

Now, about the Saints. Look at the decisions they've made since the Mickey Loomis-Sean Payton duo began running the show. Signing Drew Brees. Drafting Bush.

Bush was widely considered the #1 pick in the draft and "experts" were astounded the Texans took Mario Williams over Bush. Drafting him at #2 was in no way a gamble. The Saints should get no credit for this move, especially since Bush hasn't been terrible, but he also hasn't been quite the guy everyone thought he was. So they took a guy at #2 who was the consensus #1 pick and he has by all standards underachieved...and Loomis-Payton get credit for this?

Dealing for medical-risk Jonathan Vilma,

Vilma was not a huge medical risk. He had played in every single game in the 3 years before he got injured and got hurt in 2007 and then played all 16 games the next year. Sure, Vilma had a medical condition that was found, but it didn't appear to be a long-term problem and he was mostly traded because he didn't fit well in a 3-4 defense.

The Jets got Dwight Lowery, who has been pretty good for the Jets and another draft pick I can't find. It allowed the Jets to start David Harris and Eric Barton in Vilma's place so it worked out fairly well for the Jets. My point is that Vilma wasn't a huge injury risk and he was traded because he didn't fit the Jets defense.

Stealing Gregg Williams from the Packers.

If anything at this point, Peter should give Sean Payton credit for giving up some of his salary to hire Gregg Williams. Of course Peter is too busy giving Sean Payton and the Saints credit for things that DIDN'T work, which ultimately lead to the Super Bowl victory over the Colts in his mind.

Taking a deep breath and deciding not to overpay cornerback Ron Bartell in free agency this year, instead not upping the ante for Bartell and signing Jabari Greer instead.

Yes, because Jabari Greer clearly outperformed Ron Bartell this year (sarcasm alert!). The Saints passing up the chance to beat the 4 year $28 million dollar deal Bartell got from the Rams and then signing Greer to a 4 year $23 million dollar deal seems like a nearly even trade off to me. Considering the difference in the performance of the two players, I think the Saints could have been fine either way. Besides, it was Tracy Porter who made a name for himself this postseason, not Greer.

And -- I know you won't think this is big, but it just shows in a micro sense how smart this team has been run -- signing Mike McKenzie to cover Randy Moss Nov. 30, when the Patriots came to town and the secondary was beaten up like a tomato can by Mike Tyson.

Yes, the Saints were absolutely brilliant for signing "the best veteran free agent cornerback who knew the Saints system already" that was available at the time. What a smart move by the Saints! Other teams would have signed a different player, but the Saints were smart enough to think, "Mike McKenzie is still in playing shape, he knows the system and he is calling and begging us to give him a chance. We need another player in the secondary because don't have enough healthy players, perhaps we should take a look at him!"

Sarcasm aside, McKenzie was a logical signing for all the reasons above I listed. After a team wins the Super Bowl, sometimes the coaching staff and front office start to get a little bit too much credit in my mind.

This game ought to be cause for celebration in Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Buffalo and all those places where fans are down and think they don't have a chance.

(Bengoodfella shaking his head)

Peter King must not realize the Saints made the NFC Championship Game in 2006 and were 8-8 last year in a tough division. These four teams should not celebrate because none of these teams are even close to having a recent resume that looks like the Saints recent resume does. I hate to break it to Peter, but the Saints were good last year, they just had a lot of injuries and a bad defense. They were in NO WAY as bad as the Rams, Lions, Browns and Bills have been recently. I don't even know if Peter King is watching the same NFL as me.

"You went to our camp in '06,'' he told me at the Saints' victory celebration at the Intercontinental Hotel around 1 Monday morning, "and you said, 'This is the worst team in the league.' Didn't you?''

"I think I did,'' I said.

I think this is more reflective of the shitty nature of Peter King's guessing ability and knowledge about NFL football than it is about the Saints and how they have turned their team around. Again, Peter thought the team that made the NFC Championship Game was the worst team in the NFL in 2006. Obviously, he was wrong and this is a better example of the crappy nature in regard to Peter's team evaluation abilities than the actual talent of the Saints at that time.

Of course Peter doesn't think about this because his ego wouldn't let him think he can't evaluate a team very effectively.

From Ross of Star, Idaho: "Any difference in your mind between Sean Payton's onside kick and Darth Hoodie's infamous fourth-and-two? My reasoning is that both were great, gutsy, high-risk/high-reward calls designed to 1) keep the always-dangerous Peyton Manning on the bench, and 2) give each team its best chance to win by dictating the circumstances of the game. The crime, for Bill Belichick and the Patriots, was failing to execute. What would have been the media verdict had Payton's crazy/brilliant gamble similarly failed?

The media would have jumped down Payton's throat just like they did to Bill Belichick. He would be a coach that ruined what momentum his team had in the game by giving Peyton Manning a short field and giving him confidence when he didn't have any at the end of the 1st half.

The media's reaction to a situation ALWAYS depends on the result of the situation...and that opinion changes whether a play/move works or not.

PK: The difference there was about 42 yards, I'd guess -- the Colts getting it at the New England 28 or 29 rather than at their own 30, approximately, after an average punt. So if they failed to pick up two yards, they'd be giving Manning a very short field, versus making him drive 70 yards.

On the onside kick, the object was the same -- prevent Manning from having a possession. But there were 30 minutes left, not two. And if the kick had failed, Manning would have gained 30 yards, approximately, if you estimate Indy would have gotten the ball at about the New Orleans 45. So I think the gamble wasn't as big as Belichick's, though I think the comparison is apt.

It looks like we aren't getting an answer from Peter about what the media's reaction would be if the onside kick didn't work.

From Ted of Chicago: "When will the media make a huge deal about Peyton Manning running off the field and not shaking hands with the Saints, even as Brees was looking for him? I remember in your infatuation with the Patriots and Coach Belichick, you reminded us over and over and over about how Belichick didn't shake Eric Mangini's hand and what poor sportsmanship it was. Quit giving Manning the Favre treatment and call him out for a classless mistake.

We all know calling Peter King out for his inconsistencies never works. He just gets defensive and starts spouting nonsense in defense of what he was trying to say.

PK: I realized Manning did not hang around to shake hands with the Saints on Monday morning while reading the paper. I didn't see it Sunday night. Yes, I believe Manning should have sought out Brees on the field and shaken hands with him. That was the right thing to do.

So where is the outrage? Granted, the camera was on Mangini and Belichick, so that lack of a handshake was easier to see, but the question was "where the outrage at the lack of sportsmanship," it was not a question about when exactly Peter King found out Manning didn't shake Brees hand.

I also was told yesterday that he found Brees after the game and congratulated him.

That's fine, but the question wasn't any of this. The question was why Manning got off easy for not shaking the hand of Drew Brees. I hope everyone remembers the world went apeshit when LeBron James didn't shake the hand of an opponent last year. Why wasn't there a similar ruckus when Manning did the same thing? That's all the question was.

You seem pretty angry about this, by the way.

Oh yes Peter, because if there is anyone who should criticize others for being angry over small events it is the guy who almost boycotted an entire hotel chain for not holding his reservation, the same guy who gets angry when everyone doesn't speak English at bakeries, and the same guy who routinely complains about free coffee. Ted from Chicago didn't mean to write in with such a menial NFL question to a writer who covers the NFL when there are far more important things to be angry about, like people who talk on their phone loudly in public.

From Keenan Sanders of Columbus, Ohio: "Why isn't the Super Bowl played on a Saturday? I know it would shorten Super Bowl week, provide fewer days for corporate events and the game wouldn't be in prime time. But I think even more people would watch the game and not be tired for work the next day.''

I have always wondered why the Super Bowl isn't on a Saturday night as well. The NCAA Tournament gets good numbers during the Final Four on these nights and I have to believe the game would still be widely watched. I think I would enjoy the Super Bowl more if I didn't have to go to work the next day.

PK: I know the league has considered this. I think it all revolves around when the NFL believes it can get the best TV numbers, and analysts say the audience would be higher on Sunday night than Saturday night.

I don't know if I believe this because people are going to make time to watch the Super Bowl. Most people don't watch television on Saturday night because they are out doing other things, well the Super Bowl works well with those who want to go out and they can watch the game.

From Alex Ochoa of Horizon City, Texas: "Peter, why do you think that there is corruption when it comes to voting for the HOF? Players need to make sure that they don't get on the wrong side of media and be a media darling instead.''

I just laughed at this. I don't know if it is correct or incorrect, but I still laughed at it.

PK: Corruption? Be careful there. I don't see it. As far as players being on the wrong side of the committee members, I can't speak for 43 others in the room. I can only speak for myself. And let me just say there was no love between me and Lawrence Taylor when I covered the New York Giants in the '80s. But when his name came up, I supported him and spoke up for him, despite some who had problems with his off-field problems.

I am not sure why Alex Ochoa from Horizon City, Texas needs to be careful when he is merely disagreeing with Peter, but apparently Peter has an idea to beat Alex's ass for suggesting there is corruption in the voting process.

I don't know if there is corruption, but Peter uses a sure-fire Hall of Fame player as an example of where he didn't let his personal perception of a player affect his vote and I think it is a terrible example. Now if Lawrence Taylor was a more borderline Hall of Fame player, what would the result be at that point? Taylor was going to make it whether Peter advocated for him or not, based on his on-field numbers, but is there corruption when it comes to more borderline players? Peter's answer doesn't help me figure that out.

Charles Haley not getting in this year -- at least for me -- had nothing to do with the fact that he was awful to the media during his career.

Well obviously these aren't necessarily going to be biases the voters have that are clear to the voters themselves. That doesn't mean the voters weren't biased against Haley subconsciously.

From Paul of Newburgh, N.Y.: "I have a hard enough time choking back your Favre love all season, if you ruin soccer for me I'm going to lose my mind. The game is growing and that last thing we need is you ruining it.

The title Peter gave for this email?


I rears its head because Peter mentions Brett Favre EVERY SINGLE WEEK in his MMQB. I don't know Peter King could be surprised Favre gets talked in an email sent to him since Peter has spoken about him every week in his MMQB since January 2009.

Ouch. I'll have to make sure to incorporate "Brett Favre'' into my first column from South Africa. Seven times.

That's not funny because Peter has incorporated "Brett Favre" into every other MMQB, even when it is not warranted, so I fully believe he may talk about Favre in a column about soccer. I actually think Peter King is so obsessed with all-things Brett Favre he doesn't even know how much he talks about him.


ivn said...

And to think I was one of those "Bush over Mario" people...all that hype for what turned out to be Dave Meggett 2.0

Hiring Mike Martz was such a dumb idea. The problems on the o-line are obvious. The Bears recievers can't run the routes his playcalling requires and since he has no idea how to use the TE (Vernon Davis got so much better after Martz took a hike) Greg Olsen will continue to fade out the offense. Then again it's not like the Bears had a choice...who would want to work for stingy owners, an incompetent front office, and a lame duck head coach?

Martin F. said...

Martz had decent tools to work with in Detroit, and their offense wasn't half bad. the Lions are an organization that just seems to refuse to build from the inside out though. They never seem to have superior offensive or defensive lines or a top notch linebacking crew. There is only so much a wide out or qb can do with no blocking, and it's hard to win games when you're giving up 24+ points every time out.

ivn said...

Forgot to mention that a precision passing offense is not necessarily a sound strategy in a home stadium that starts getting pounded by shitty weather about halfway through the season (one of the reasons I think Robbie Gould is the best kicker in the league but that's another story). That's probably a reason why the Bears have been most successful as a "running and defense" team.

Martin F. said...

Preach it IVN!

Bengoodfella said...

I still remember hearing about that the Texans were taking Williams over Bush. I thought it was so ballsy, but it worked.

I don't hate Mike Martz but you do make some good points about the offensive line problems, the fact the receivers may not be built for the offense and the effect on Olson. Also, I am with you on the fact precision passing may not work outside of a dome and in the weather Chicago gets. I would normally like the hire, but I think Martz has a lot to prove in Chicago.

Martin F, that's a good point as well and though I think the Bears are going to try and strengthen the offensive line, Martz's offense requires a good one. We have seen that at his other stops in the NFL.

It's a calculated risk to hire Martz. I don't know if it will work. He is a good coordinator but Chicago has to upgrade some spots before I get too excited about it.

Martin F. said...

I think Martz in Chicago is going to be a disaster unless he changes a bunch of the things he does to run an offense. In Detroit he had some talent at wide out, and a qb who could make fast reads, if not good reads, and a mediocre running game. I don't think he has much in Chicago beyond Cutler's arm.