Tuesday, February 14, 2012

6 comments MMQB Review: The Rise of Eli Edition

A few weeks ago Peter revealed to the shock and scorn of his readers that Super Bowl 46 was the exact same game as Super Bowl 42. Unfortunately, this revelation wasn't exactly true. This week Peter King has more shocking revelations for his readers. Apparently, and this may shock you so I hope you are sitting down, the Giants were really impressed by Eli Manning as he was coming out of Ole Miss. I am guessing, and this is just a guess, but this very reason could have been why the Giants traded for Manning. I can't say for sure, but that's just my guess. Peter discusses, yet again, the trade that brought Eli to New York on draft day in 2004. In his defense, it has been two weeks since he brought up that draft day trade. Peter then throws in a remembering of Whitney Houston (didn't know he was such a fan) and he has other Super Bowl leftovers for us to (not) enjoy.

The week-after-the-Big-One column is heavy on the Giants, as it should be.

Rightfully so. Justly done. Also, when Peter says MMQB is heavy on "the Giants" he means "Eli Manning and I won't mention the Giants defense but once or twice and I will never mention the part they played in helping the Giants win the Super Bowl." Really, 1/3 of this column is probably about matters relating to Eli Manning and not the Giants as a whole team.

For example, rather than tell us how the Giants picked Jason Pierre-Paul over Derrick Morgan (who was higher ranked on a lot of boards), Peter tells us yet again what led the Giants to trade for Eli Manning on draft day in 2004.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on the greatest Anthem I've ever heard at a game -- the late Whitney Houston's, 21 years ago.

I'm pretty sure the anthem was pre-recorded. That took a lot of the magic out of it for me. It was a great sound record or pre-recorded. Not sure this really merits too much mentioning in a football column. Still, Peter needs to kill space and even the loosest of ties to the NFL will do during the offseason.

We'll start in the stands at a football game in the small city of Oxford, Miss., a little more than nine years ago.

Scene 1: Nov. 2, 2002, Oxford, Miss.

"Scene 1." Sweet God, is Peter really pretending this is a play? I hope there is at least two intermissions. This is ridiculous.

Scene 2: Dec. 12, 2004, Baltimore. The one thing Eli Manning always has had is poise. That's what makes this horror show at the Ravens so weird, and so troubling.

This was a horror show because it was Eli Manning's rookie year and he was going up against a very good Baltimore defense. I remember this game because Manning was absolutely terrible, but a rookie quarterback struggling against a very good Ravens defense isn't troubling.

In the fourth start of his Giants' career, Manning was the definition of pathetic, four of 18 for 27 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions ... for a 0.0 passer rating. In the press box, one veteran Giants scribe took to calling Eli "Billy Ripken'' over and over again. As in, "The brother of a great player who'll just never make it.''

This veteran Giants scribe is now probably signing the praises of Manning and saying how he will be in the Hall of Fame. I feel like this scribe is Mike Lupica, even though I'm not sure how much he covers the Giants in-depth enough to be at a game. The one guarantee I feel comfortable making is this veteran Giants scribe (who will remain nameless for fear he will be shown as the reactionary sportswriter I imagine he would have to be in order to make a declaratory judgment on a quarterback based only on four starts) doesn't feel this way about Manning now and doesn't want this comment mentioned. God forbid a sports journalist is judged for making knee-jerk reactionary statements that are eventually proven completely wrong so we can put his (probable) current columns praising Manning in the right perspective. Absolutely don't give us this sportswriter's name.

The other day I asked Gilbride to pick the plays on that drive he thought were the crucial ones. He picked two. "The one to Manningham, of course,'' he said, "and a quick slant to Nicks. We were not settling for the field goal. No way.

Absolutely no freaking way the Giants were going for a field goal there. None at all. Not gonna happen.

Not unless we had to.

Unless they needed to of course. They would settle for a field goal if necessary. I mean, it could happen.

Two vital passes against Auburn, a streak down the left side and, on a Manning audible, a quick slant: Gain of 52.

Two vital passes against the Patriots, a streak down the left side and, on a Manning audible, a quick slant: Gain of 52.

Peter King is fascinated by parallels like this. He'll find one game where a quarterback led a 75 yard drive in college and then he will put it right below a 75 yard drive that quarterback had in a big game in the NFL and act like he just discovered the Ark of the Covenant.

Remember what happened in 2004. The Giants could have stayed where they were on draft day, at number four in the first round, and taken Miami of Ohio's Ben Roethlisberger. But Accorsi traded a bushel full of picks to San Diego to get Manning.

Oh my God, if Peter talks about this trade one more time I'm probably going to scream. I know of three separate times when Peter King has talked about the Giants-Chargers trade from 2004 this year. It was a very important trade, I know that, but can we stop mentioning it just once? We know Eli got traded to the Giants. We remember this.

In his split-second look to the left, Manning saw Manningham with a step or step-and-a-half on corner Sterling Moore, with Chung, hips open to the left and inside the numbers, with very far to turn and run to break up the play if Manning threw left to Manningham.

Peter is going on and on about Eli Manning now. When he said the Giants deserved credit so that's why he would be talking about them, I assumed he would mention the Giants defense a few times. He doesn't. Peter focuses on Eli Manning and how well he throws the football, so screw you New York Giants' defense.

I have been thinking about this throw by Eli Manning and I don't want to seem like I am taking anything away from the throw, but while it was an excellent throw it was also a fairly safe throw. I mean that as a credit to Eli Manning, not a criticism. I'm not taking anything away from Eli. The way he threw that football over Manningham's shoulder to the sidelines was far enough over to where the safety wasn't going to get there in time and the ball wasn't going to be in the field of play if caught by the safety. Also, the corner covering Manningham wasn't in a position to react to the football and make the catch. It was an incredible throw, but the way Eli threw the ball only Manningham could catch it and if he didn't catch it there wasn't much of a chance of a turnover. So it was a great throw, but the way he made the throw it really wasn't a risky throw. It doesn't take anything away from Manning of course. He is the one who actually made the great throw, but I think what makes that pass and catch so great is there was little chance of the ball being intercepted and only Manningham could have made the catch.

The greatest anthem ever sung. Well, in my opinion it was Whitney Houston's before Super Bowl XXV -- and I say that even though what we heard was recorded a couple of weeks before the game in a Los Angeles sound studio.

It was a great national anthem. It was also not sung live, so it was the greatest recording of the national anthem ever played prior to a football game. I don't consider the national anthem to be "sung" if a recording is being played over the loudspeaker while Whitney Houston sings into a dead microphone. I am part of the 1% of Americans who care about this. It doesn't mean this wasn't the greatest national anthem ever. It just means it wasn't sung live on the field, which would have made it greater in my mind.

Jim Steeg was the NFL's senior vice president of special events and he organized all aspects of the Super Bowl for 26 years. He booked Houston for the Super Bowl, and he was still shaken up by her stunning Saturday death when we spoke Sunday.

"Last night, [wife] Jill and I sat here, totally devastated,'' Steeg said from his San Diego home. "I have Whitney's anthem on my iPod, and last night I just sat here and listened to it. I got chills. I always get chills when I hear it. That was such a special moment in my life.''

At the risk of sounding insensitive, really? "Totally devastated." That seems a bit dramatic upon hearing the death of someone Steeg spoke last with probably 20 years ago and did not have interaction with over nearly the last two decades. I'm not making Houston's death seem less tragic or sad, but it always shocks and even amuses me at how people take the death of a celebrity like they lost a family member. Yeah, it gives you pause and makes you a little sad at first. But if you didn't know Whitney Houston or had not talked to her in over a decade, isn't it a bit much to be "totally devastated" or really shaken up by her death? She used drugs, had enablers around her and lived the life of a celebrity with a shit ton of money. Premature death isn't exactly foreign in those situations.

I'm surprised Peter doesn't breathlessly draw a parallel between Whitney Houston dying with the Giants winning the Super Bowl this year and Houston singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl where the Giants ended up winning two decades ago. They are the same game!

The difference with this anthem was that Houston actually sang it on the field before the game -- in front of a dead mike. "I was on the Giants sidelines, standing right behind Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks,'' said Steeg. "I heard her. It was fabulous.''

She was a great singer. I'm sure it was great. This is still lip-syncing if the words coming out of the speakers at the stadium aren't the words she is singing live.

Said Steeg: "Lip-syncing is the wrong phrase. She sang it. I heard it.

Nope, it is the right phrase. She wasn't singing into a live microphone live. That's lip-synching.

And the emotion on the field when she was finished was noticeable. I saw it on the faces of the Giants.

Steeg is referring to Whitney Houston actually singing into the dead microphone. The players were responding to the pre-recorded track. I really doubt they could hear Whitney Houston's live singing into a dead microphone over the loud track being played through the speakers. It was a great rendition of the national anthem, but it was pre-recorded and she was lip-synching. It doesn't take anything away from the performance, but it was not live. I will argue this until the end of days.

I'll never forget Taylor saying to Banks -- you think these guys are so intent on the game right then -- but he said, 'Oh my God! Is she good-looking!' ''

Unfortunately she was over the age of 18, so Lawrence Taylor wasn't that interested in Whitney Houston. Though later when she got into cocaine, she did look pretty attractive to Lawrence Taylor.

"If the committee switched up on the guys every five years or whatever ... I think some players would like to see some changes in who is doing the selection process every year because most of the time I think it's the same voters that come in and do all the voting. Outside looking in I would like to see a little more change up on who votes.''

-- New Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinee Willie Roaf, on ESPN 101 in St. Louis, via sportsradiointerviews.com.

You guys (and girls?) know I am all about kicking backwards-thinking voters out of position to vote for the Hall of Fame, no matter what sport. The problem with changing it up every five years is there would be voters for the Hall of Fame who don't have the experience to vote for some of these older players, not to mention I would probably rather a fairly consistent group of voters are present so every five years the criteria for making the Hall of Fame won't change or be altered. It just seems to me like there should be voters added and the votes can be made public. Adding voters and making the votes public (or at least allowing the voters to make them public) could help change things up.

Then Peter's "Stat of the Week" is about Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Because apparently he doesn't feel he's talked about it enough.

These two will always be compared to each other, because of the Draft Day 2004 circumstances. The one thing we can say about them: Neither the Giants nor Steelers were cheated with the man they picked.

Good point. Let's beat this idea in the ground some more.

a. I've seen 43 people try to spin the Wes Welker non-catch into some deep way of trying to understand why it was too difficult a catch to call a drop. An NFL coach told Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe his team would not have called that a drop. Whatever. The fact is, that ball contacted the palms of both of Welker's hands cleanly, and he was not touched by a Giant defender. Call it a drop. Don't call it a drop. I don't care. But Wes Welker has to make that catch. Has to.

I absolutely agree. A lot of people are knocking Brady for that throw, but it was in Welker's hands, so he has to catch that. Peter King and I agree. The world is ending.

This throw by Brady is being used as Example #1 that he is now overrated and rapidly on the decline. Welker had the ball on his hands and has to catch it. He wasn't in traffic and the ball was behind him, but not too far behind him. It was a poor throw and a poor catch.

b. Regarding Matt Light and Rob Gronkowski dancing the night away after the Super Bowl loss: I don't care. I don't know why anyone should care.

I don't care about Gronkowski dancing like he was, but when I saw the video I noticed he was moving very well for a guy who required surgery later in the week. I know there is a difference in playing football and dancing, but he was moving extraordinarily well. Obviously, he was alcohol-aided. Perhaps he should have gotten drunk and played in the Super Bowl.

The only reason the public found out about Light and Gronkowski is because everyone in America has a camera phone today, and nothing is truly private.

That's like saying the only reason a person was arrested for robbing a bank is because newspapers tend to report crimes. It really isn't an excuse any more than it is a reason not to rob a bank (or dance violently in this case). Camera phones are everywhere, so if Light or Gronkowski were worried about someone seeing them dance then they probably should have not entered the dance floor. Clearly, Gronkowski wasn't concerned at the time about who saw him dancing.

f. Are you telling me we have to wait until the fall of 2015 for another Giants-Patriots game, at least one that doesn't happen in the Super Bowl. Booooooo!

Does this mean we will have to pay attention to other NFL teams when they play each other? Say it isn't so!

g. Last four Giants-Pats games: New York 97, New England 89.

h. Last five Giants-Pats game: New England 106, New York 103.

According to these statistics the Patriots won the Super Bowl. 17-6. Actually, this whole statistic doesn't make sense to me at all. Maybe I'm missing something, but I think Peter has this statistics backwards or messed up in a way. The Giants went into the Super Bowl having outscored the Patriots over the last four games by 8 points, won the Super Bowl and have now gotten outscored by the Patriots by 3 points?

(Thanks to HH and J-dub for pointing out in the comments that Peter is working backwards to where the 5th game was a 17-6 game in 2003. I thought the last four games were all games prior to the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl this year was the fifth game. I didn't think we were working backwards, but working forwards where the Super Bowl this year was the 5th game. Hence my confusion.)

2. I think these are my Hall of Fame thoughts, as one of 44 voters who has been taking kill shots on various parts of my body in the last eight days:

This to be expected. When you have a secretive voting process combined with results that interest the general public it tends to create some criticism. Don't like it? Resign your position and don't vote for the football Hall of Fame next year.

b. Now, if you want term limits, you have to understand what you'll be getting. You'll be throwing out veteran NFL media folk and importing some less-experienced ones, in many cases. I understand the sentiment to throw the bums out, as in Congress. But I would ask this question: Do you want a new panel of bums if most of the replacements haven't covered the NFL long enough to have worked a game that Andre Reed played in?

Again, for fear of agreeing with Peter King...I agree with Peter King. Kicking the voters off the panel will get the bums out, but it will also cause voters with less experience to be voting. Maybe that's a good thing and a person wouldn't need to see Andre Reed play in order to vote "yes" or "no" to his induction. Though I am always critical of the "you had to be there to see him play" test, would rather a person who had seen Andre Reed play for most of his career vote for whether Reed should be in the Hall of Fame or not.

c. I work with and like Mike Florio. But as I told him the other day, it's personally insulting to read him say the 44 committee members are in this, in part, as some sort of power trip to hold some sway over the people we cover. I can speak for one person on the committee -- me. And I don't do this for the power.

Peter definitely does it for the ladies though.

e. Regarding players, coaches and club officials being on the committee instead of media people: Fine with me. If it happens, though, I believe it has to be 32 additional voters -- one former player, coach or club officials per team. I actually think this would be good. To have Bill Polian, Ron Wolf, Sonny Jurgensen, Dan Dierdorf, Bill Cowher, Nat Moore and Mike Haynes would be refreshing and smart. Now, the meeting would likely have to be two days long; the meeting this year was 7 hours and 34 minutes with 44 people.

Two days long? Well, nevermind then. We can't spend that much time deciding which NFL players/executives/coaches deserve the highest honor the sport has. These decisions need to be made in a day or less. No sense in wasting too much time on such trivial matters like which players deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

The only problem with having club officials on the board is if Bill Polian or Ron Wolf's name appears on the Hall of Fame ballot as a candidate. That's the only problem with having club officials vote and that's if an official is well-known enough to be voting for the Hall of Fame, there is a chance that official could also appear on the ballot.

h. When you tell me, "You're an idiot for leaving Parcells and Carter out of the Hall of Fame,'' tell me which two enshrinees you'd have left out.

Floyd Little. Last year. Yeah, he was great in his time, but he should not be in over Cris Carter. Little averaged less than 4 yards per carry during his career and had one 1000 yard season. So I would put Carter in over Little. Maybe I just hate old people. So Cris Carter can get in over Little last year and I have no issue with Parcells not getting in the Hall of Fame. I'm not sure I would vote for him myself.

6. I think all teams needing a wide receiver in free agency should line up for Mario Manningham. I don't see the Giants making anything but a cursory effort to sign Manningham, who likely will get at least $7 million a year somewhere. He believes he can play to a star level in the league and that he hasn't had the chance.

Every player believes he can be a star in the NFL if given the chance. Someone is really going to give Manningham $7 million per season? I'm not saying he isn't worth it, but if I am the Giants I am not giving him $7 million per season to be the third wide receiver. I disagree with Peter teams should line up to sign Manningham to a contract worth $7 million per year. Manningham had a good year (and an even better 2010), but I feel like $7 million per year for him would be a mistake.

8. I think the phrase "plays well with others,'' will be important for former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley to remember if he hopes to have success as the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh. He left behind some poor relationships in Kansas City -- and not just with GM Scott Pioli. Haley has to bond with Roethlisberger and help the QB produce at a consistent playoff level, while keeping three talented receivers content. It'll be an interesting chemistry experiment.

I'm not a Todd Haley fan. He's burned bridges at nearly every single one of his stops. How can this be ignored? He pissed off people in Kansas City, argued with Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin in Arizona, and argued with Terrell Owens in Dallas. I don't get why a team would hire Haley in any position. He just joined the Steelers and is already causing problems because he may not have been Mike Tomlin or Ben Roethlisberger's choice as offensive coordinator.

b. My gym in New York always has those Housewives of ... shows on. I have peeked. Is this what we have come to as a society?

c. That's how old I am.

The same people who watch these "Housewives of..." shows also read Peter's column. The same general public consumes both. That should be scary for him.
h. I haven't shaved since Super Bowl Sunday. How do I look?

With no picture along side this question, it's hard to tell. You do have a few cupcake crumbs in your beard I am guessing though.

i. Coffeenerdness: You're too inconsistent with the lattes, Manhattan Starbucks. I haven't owned an espresso machine for a few years, but I'll be getting one this week.

Fuck you Manhattan Starbucks! Now you've forced Peter King to get an espresso machine. That's right, instead of quarterly profits of $2.09 billion you will have quarterly profits of $2.09 billion. Hope you've learned your lesson.

l. Don't get used to 7,000-word columns in the offseason. Just got a little wordy over the weekend. Next week: Free-agent lists and opinions.

Next week's MMQB will be full of opinions? As long as they aren't about the Red Sox I think we can handle it. I'm kidding of course, every opinion will be about the Red Sox and how they don't spend enough money, but the money they do spend only goes to bums who can't hit or pitch a baseball.


HH said...

g. Last four Giants-Pats games: New York 97, New England 89.

h. Last five Giants-Pats game: New England 106, New York 103.

According to these statistics the Patriots won the Super Bowl. 17-6. Actually, this whole statistic doesn't make sense to me at all. Maybe I'm missing something, but I think Peter has this statistics backwards or messed up in a way. The Giants went into the Super Bowl having outscored the Patriots over the last four games by 8 points, won the Super Bowl and have now gotten outscored by the Patriots by 3 points?

You're missing something. The Super Bowl is one of the last 4 games between these two. (Presumably, the four games are this super bowl, the Giants at Pats game in November, the 2008 super bowl, and the week 17 game just prior to that). The fifth game was then presumably a 17-6 Patriots win several years ago.

Ericb said...

Maybe Peter went Eli heavy in this column to make up for pretty much ignoring his great play during Peter's month of Tebowgasms.

j-dub said...

yeah, pats beat the giants 17-6 in the 2003 season. Still, cumulative stats like that are pointless, especially when the data ranges over 9 years.

more dumb filler from PK

BR said...

Great left right combination on LT. I had to chuckle.

rich said...

In the fourth start of his Giants' career, Manning was the definition of pathetic, four of 18 for 27 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions

Holy shit, a rookie NFL QB playing behind a god awful offensive line with no receivers played poorly?

Too bad the media rushes to talk about how awesome these numbers would be if Tebow were putting them up.

But Accorsi traded a bushel full of picks to San Diego to get Manning.

It was two picks... a first the next year (Merriman) and a third in 2004 (Kneading) plus Rivers.

Two picks is not a bushel, especially when Merriman fell apart and Kneading is a friggin' kicker.

But Wes Welker has to make that catch. Has to.

I don't think has to is the right word. I think he should have absolutely made it, but it was in a position that he had to turn his upper body awkwardly.

I'd still put more blame on Welker for dropping it than on Brady's throw, but Brady had time to make a much better throw.

I think all teams needing a wide receiver in free agency should line up for Mario Manningham.

He's a decent number 2, but he has suspect hands, runs his routes inconsistently and while he'll make some ridiculous catches, he'll also screw up some gimmes. Then again, if some team wants to be dumb enough to give him 7M a year... go for it.

There's a reason why BB said that the defense needed to focus on taking out Nicks and Cruz, because he had just watched Manningham run a bad route that took him out of bounds (when he still could have gotten his feet in).

There are very few WRs in the league you give 7M a year to: Fitzgerald, the Johnsons and maybe, maybe Roddie White.

If you can get Manningham for 4.5-5M, you're probably okay, but he's not going to give you elite production as a number 1. Think Deon Branch's ill fated trip to Seattle.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, that makes sense. Here's what I thought...I thought the last four games were all games prior to the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl was the fifth game. Does that make sense? I didn't think we were working backwards, but working forwards where the Super Bowl was the 5th game. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I figured I could be missing something since it seemed so basic.

Eric, that's probably what happened. There is barely time to pay attention to MVP candidates when Tebow is involved.

J-dub, it was sort of a pointless stat. I'm not sure why I thought the Super Bowl was Game #5.

BR, thanks. Pedophilia and drug jokes are my specialty. LT is low hanging fruit, so I almost feel bad about it.

Rich, I remember that game. I'm not a Giants fan, but I clearly remember it. The Ravens threw some shit at Manning that just absolutely confused him. It happens when you are a rookie. That's looking like a great trade for the Giants. Still, I'm tired of Peter discussing it.

For me, that non-catch by Welker is 50% on him and 50% on Brady. Both could have made a play that would caused a completion, but neither was able to make the play. It wasn't such a bad throw that Welker couldn't have gotten it, but it wasn't good enough to expect Welker to definitely make it.

The Giants can not give Manningham $7 mil/year. Not with Cruz wanting money and Manningham being their #3 guy. I'm glad you chimed in on that b/c I'm afraid Manningham will be overpaid this offseason. It sounds stupid, but if I'm him I take more guaranteed money (if possible) with a lower salary/cap figure to be in New York with the Giants. The Giants have done well at developing young wide receivers. I would probably try to stay if I were him.