Tuesday, January 14, 2014

7 comments MMQB Review: Everything Worked Out Exactly How "We" Wanted It Edition

In last week's MMQB Peter King once again mourned the lack of the Pittsburgh Steelers presence in the NFL Playoffs, criticized Andy Dalton as much as possible, and named dropped Dan Fouts to a complete stranger. Peter was excited about the close Wild Card weekend games except for the Chargers-Bengals game, which sucked because Andy Dalton ruins everything. This week Peter talks about the fairly uneventful Divisional Round games, gleefully discusses the upcoming AFC and NFC Championship Games the media (and Chargers fans may claim the NFL) so desperately wanted to see happen (not that the media plays favorites or prefers certain games over others or anything), and is amazed at his ability to get around the United States using modern travel and view changing weather. Interestingly, Peter doesn't really discuss the officiating during the Divisional Round, which I found to be interesting simply because the officiating didn't play a part in determining the outcome of any game, but there were some really bad calls made throughout the weekend. It's almost enough to make a person miss the replacement refs. I think it is ridiculous how Peter threw a hissy-fit about the Chiefs not being given another chance to kick a field goal during Week 17 and called for Roger Goodell to do something about the bad officiating, but is very nearly silent about the officiating during the playoffs.

The title of this MMQB is "Just How it Should Be" which seems like something Chargers, Panthers, Colts and Saints fans might choose to disagree with. Yeah, these are probably the best four teams right now in the NFL, but I can think of four fan bases that didn't want this upcoming weekend's matchups.

You scramble to find some championship Sunday that’s setting up exactly like this one: two of the greatest quarterbacks ever meeting for the 15th time 

I feel like it is entirely possible Peter gets some sort of sexual excitement out of a Brady-Manning matchup. It's not Patriots-Broncos that are meeting, but Brady-Manning of course being the two "teams" that are matching up. At the very least Peter has a calendar where he rips off a page every day while counting down to the next time Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet up. I'm not sure what's so exciting about a fairly one-sided rivalry like this one, but it gets Peter all hyped up.

a burgeoning Steelers-Ravens-type rivalry with two charismatic kid quarterbacks on the verge of stardom on the other.

And the best part about Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick is they both answer the phone when Peter calls them. That's the sign of a true quarterback, someone who is willing to kiss the ring.

It was less of a quarterback game then, but still, Billy Kilmer and Earl Morrell started that weekend. In 1990, Raiders-Bills and Giants-Niners were buzz-filled games, and the drama was in the totally unexpected: Buffalo beat the Raiders by 48, and Jeff Hostetler beat Joe Montana. In 1998, Atlanta-Minnesota and Jets-Broncos had lost just nine total losses coming in, but Chandler-Cunningham and Testaverde-Elway just doesn’t have the ring of this weekend’s matches. On the AFC side, the 2006 title game is mindful of this year’s game—Tom Brady at Peyton Manning, with the teams a combined 20 games over .500—but Drew Brees and Rex Grossman in the NFC … not the same as Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.

As if there was any doubt all Peter cares about is the "name" matchup, then this should help seal the deal for you. All of these AFC and NFC Championship Games featuring teams with very few losses weren't nearly as exciting as this year's AFC and NFC Championship Game matchups because Peter can hype the shit out of them. Who cares about Drew Brees versus Brian Urlacher and the Bears great defense? Boring! Peter would much rather have quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson that people have heard of. After all, can anything be more exciting than a championship matchup between two run-based teams with quarterbacks whose main goal is to keep the ball moving on offense and not make a mistake? Drew Brees? Boring, who the fuck is he anyway? This is a great week for Peter because the hype for the championship games is going to be immense. The hype is all Peter cares about. Drill the same storylines into the ground, use hyperbole, and then the columns pretty much write themselves. How could anyone be excited to see the 49ers and Seahawks play each other without some hype surrounding this game?

I’ve looked back to the 1970 merger, and this championship weekend just has a unique feel to me. No dogs allowed. The four power teams that should be here are.

At least Peter isn't playing favorites of course. By the way, the Indianapolis Colts have beaten three of the four "power teams" that are in the championship games and Carolina had beaten two of them. So it's not like the teams in the Divisional Round were just completely unworthy of advancing.

We’ll see which New England team shows up: the one that’s consistently been reliant on Brady’s right arm for this century, or the one that’s suddenly a power running team. “One thing about New England, and Bill Belichick,” Champ Bailey said by phone from Denver Sunday night, “They do a great job of putting their guys in position to win, no matter how they play. They never show the same things week to week.” For many, this will be a referendum on Manning’s place in the pantheon.

Shut up. The media has turned every playoff game into a referendum on Manning's legacy. This drama has been beaten into the ground. For many in the media, every Peyton Manning playoff game is a chance to get a cheap "Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrr----Peyton Manning can't win in the playoffs because he's a choker" column out the deal. It's ridiculous the same narratives the media insists on driving into the ground. The 49ers and Seahawks hate each other! How revolutionary! Let's ignore the Saints-Seahawks and 49ers-Panthers game both featured teams that didn't like each other, so that is the state of affairs in some playoff games, and drive the 49ers-Seahawks hatred into the ground! Great, consider it in the process of being done.

For at least three hours Sunday, I hope America will stop judging what it will think of Manning in 2033 to enjoy a great football game.

What a crock of shit. It's you in the media who can't enjoy Manning for three hours without trying to define his playoff legacy. Don't pull this crap blaming the fans. If anything the fans get their talking points from the media who refuses to let a playoff game go by without mentioning Manning needs this win to help define his legacy.

San Francisco (14-4) at Seattle (14-3), 3:30 p.m. PT (6:30 p.m. ET). Think how far these two teams have come in 22 months, since Pete Carroll sat on a runway in Denver, hoping to somehow plead his case to get Manning to come play in Seattle (Manning didn’t take the meeting), and Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman flew cross-country to work out Manning (he picked Denver).

No, he did not! Jim Harbaugh did not fly cross-country to watch Peyton Manning work out. Harbaugh was just hanging out near the Duke football facility and it so happened that Manning was working out in there. Jim Harbaugh was perfectly happy with Alex Smith as his quarterback until Smith got injured and then Harbaugh was even more perfectly happy with Colin Kaepernick as his quarterback.

They’ve developed under-the-draft-radar quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson since.

Kaepernick was a high second round pick and Russell Wilson was a pretty famous college quarterback, but I guess if you don't watch college football they were under-the-radar quarterbacks.

They’ve built tremendous defenses, the kind that made Pittsburgh-Baltimore the most must-see TV games in the league in the final years of the Ray Lewis era.

Oh, Pittsburgh. If only they were not cheated out of a playoff spot Peter King surely thinks they would be in the AFC Championship Game right now. Funny how Peter's anger at the officials and missed calls has disappeared now that he doesn't have to champion the Steelers getting into the playoffs anymore. Officiating is a major problem in the NFL until Peter's favorite teams are no longer affected by bad officiating. Just make sure Peyton Manning doesn't get ripped off by a bad call, that's all Peter cares about.

I walked into the Seahawks’ locker room after the 23-15 win over New Orleans and looked around. To the left, quarterback Russell Wilson, unwinding. To the right, wideout Doug Baldwin and running back Marshawn Lynch, heroes, surrounded by reporters. Middle of the room, right, the DB area, were corner Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas holding court, and safety Kam Chancellor walking through. To the left, pass rusher Cliff Avril, and farther down, defensive lineman Michael Bennett and middle linebacker/defensive signal-caller Bobby Wagner, all talking about their roles in an impressive defensive performance.

The keys to Seattle beating the Saints and advancing to the NFC Championship Game. All acquired by Seattle since 2010. All acquired under the watch of GM John Schneider,

What Schneider has tried to get are players who love football, who have been marked down, who have some special gifts (Wilson’s charisma, and his Tarkenton-like ability to evade and then throw accurately), and who, rarely, as in the case of the costly trade for Percy Harvin, require a very big risk. 

To be fair in regard to Russell Wilson, Schneider did a great job evaluating Wilson and choosing him in the draft. I won't take that away from him. But his quarterback evaluation skills up to that point left something to be desired. He has traded for Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst, and even signed Matt Flynn right before drafting Russell Wilson. He hit on Russell Wilson in the draft, but it was sort of a quarterback carousel there for a couple of years in Seattle.

Only time will tell if Harvin was worth the picks and the money; it looks like a reach now. But Schneider’s not sorry he did it. Cost of doing business. He won’t play it safe.

Which is an admirable quality in Peter King's opinion, as long as you are signing Josh Freeman and paying him $2 million. That's an attempt to not play it safe which is just stupid and Peter is forced to call it stupid in every MMQB from the middle of November to the end of the season.

Sherman and Thomas made Graham’s life miserable, timing their physical arrival to a millisecond before a pass arrived and driving Graham nuts. There’s an art to that. Some call it interference that isn’t called. The Seahawks call it pass defense.

The Seahawks have the tall cornerbacks that can be physical with Jimmy Graham. Not every team has tall corners who can be physical with Graham, so that's a huge advantage for them.

The Patriot Way is any way.

Or maybe there is no such thing as the Patriot Way. That could be it too.

Watch the 53-yard pass from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola Saturday night in the rout of Indianapolis. Know why it happened?

Because Tom Brady threw a good pass that ended up in the arms of Danny Amendola who then used his legs to run for a touchdown?

Colts safety LaRon Landry got sucked up by the threat of another run by New England, another reminder that these aren’t the aerial Patriots. These are the ones who can crush your spirit with a 46-carry, 234-yard, six-touchdown game.

So what’s happened to New England? Is this a permanent change, some nod to Tom Brady at 36 not being the thrower he once was?

Son of a bitch, of course not. Don't play stupid games with your readers. Everyone knows Tom Brady is not a game manager all of a sudden after throwing for 4300 yards during the season.

Not at all. Not even close.
The Patriots are doing what they’ve always done under Bill Belichick: what works.

I'm glad Peter gets paid seven figures to provide us with this type of analysis. One game where the Patriots run the ball against a bad run defense and Peter thinks he's telling us something by telling us the Patriots will continue throwing the football and not become a run-oriented team.

You’d never think the Patriots would be a running team, with Tom Brady playing quarterback.

No, I wouldn't think that because Ridley ran for over 1000 yards last year and Corey Dillon existed as the Patriots running back for a few years. I know the Patriots can run the ball and will run the ball. When the Patriots have two of the best tight ends in football on the field at the same time, it makes more sense to throw the football. When the receivers for the Patriots are guys named Thompkins, Dobson, and Amendola, running the ball becomes a better option.

It’s a tribute to Belichick, and to his offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels (and to Brady, quite frankly, because he won’t squawk about turning and handing it off 46 times), that the offensive transition hasn’t grounded the team.

Tom Brady just wants to win football games. If that involves running the ball 46 times it makes his job easier and that's not going to piss him off.

Five Things I Think About the Niners.

3. They are a good match against the Seahawks’ run game because of how well they plug the gaps. You saw it against Cam Newton Sunday, with Ahmad Brooks stuffing him,

and with the two inside ’backers, NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, not allowing the Carolina run game to get any traction.

If you ask me, the one who didn't let the Carolina run game get traction it was the idiot calling the plays for Carolina, Mike Shula. After his play calling performance two days ago, I'm surprised the Redskins haven't tried to hire him yet.

5. Like Crabtree, Anquan Boldin’s the type of physical receiver who will be a tough cover for Seattle. He warmed up with eight for 136 against Carolina, and this is his time of year. You saw how he played in January for Baltimore last year.

If only the Ravens had kept Boldin then they would be in the AFC Championship Game this season, facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that everyone wanted to see.

Blowing a pair of 17-point leads would have been gasket-exploding, particularly when one was 24-7 with seven minutes left in the game. The specter of Rahim Moore may not have been in the heads of the Broncos as the clock wound down and Philip Rivers dissected the defense. But I bet it was.

This may not have been in the heads of the Broncos players, but Peter bets it was. Of course it may not have been, but Peter probably thinks it was. He's an excellent mind-reader.

This week’s going to be filled with the blunt-force trauma of great expectations, and another showdown with the Patriots. I can imagine Manning Saturday night in the hotel, watching New England, thinking, “Not them again.” He won’t admit that, but he’s had so many of these Belichick and Brady battles.

Come sit on Peter's lap, Peyton. He'll make you feel better about having to face the big, bad Patriots again.

Some Saintly thoughts.
And not just because the editor of this column, Tom Mantzouranis, is the biggest Saints booster this side of Steve Gleason:

So Peter does have an editor and this editor has a Twitter account? I feel like this can't be true. Also, it's nice of Peter to fill up half of a page with thoughts on the Saints. Remember early in the year when Peter said he was going to try to write less about certain teams and more about other NFL teams? Apparently Peter doesn't remember this.

For as good a play-caller as Sean Payton is, and as valuable a player as Marques Colston is, and as smart a quarterback as Drew Brees is, the Saints’ prayer of a last drive was stupid, and it had the fingerprints of each man on it.

How precocious of them to leave fingerprints on this drive.

First play: a short curl to tight end Jimmy Graham in the middle of the field. Graham had been held without a catch for the first 59-and-a-half minutes Saturday, and this terrible play-call smacked of stat-padding. (Or stat-something.)

This was a terrible throw since it wasted so much clock, but of all the times the Saints have padded their stats, Peter tries to call Sean Payton out on a short gain for Graham to pad his stats? This was just a dumb pass, that's all.

Let’s recap: With 24 seconds left and trailing 23-15 with 59 yards to gain against a very good defense, your chances are not good. But you should have four plays if you’re smart. Maybe five. New Orleans got three off, and one was a spike. I’m still shaking my head over the mismanagement, a day and a half later.

It pains me to do this, but it's silly to blame Sean Payton and Drew Brees for the last play of the game. If Colston had gone out of bounds then the Saints would have gotten four plays off, just like Peter said they could have done. Brees and Payton didn't tell Colston to throw the football forwards and they also weren't trying to pad the stats by giving Jimmy Graham an eight yard completion.

Watched a lot of rookie left tackle Terron Armstead in the game. That wasn’t just a good decision Payton made in benching Charles Brown with two games left in the regular season and replacing him with the third-rounder from Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Oh, it wasn't a good decision! Look at Peter King actually growing a pair and criticizing an NFL coach who is one of his buddies.

—it was a great decision.

You got me there, Peter! I was completely fooled. Here for a second I thought Peter King might take on a specific personnel move that Sean Payton had chosen to make. I wonder if Terron Armstead is still having nightmares of Greg Hardy as Hardy rushes past him to sack Brees again? I wonder if Peter thinks it was a great move to go to Armstead in the short-term since it cost the Saints home field advantage and a chance to play the 49ers/Panthers at home rather than go to Seattle? Of course Peter doesn't think about this because the game against Carolina no longer exists in Peter's mind due to him only being able to focus on the immediacy of the game he just saw.

Plugging in Armstead, however, wasn’t the best move Payton made in this return-to-football year. Hiring Rob Ryan was. He installed a more aggressive defensive philosophy and instilled the kind of junkyard-dog attitude the Saints haven’t had since Gregg Williams’ way was working four years ago. The defense got run on by Seattle on Saturday, but Russell Wilson struggled all day—

These are the things that happen when you force Wilson into obvious throwing situations on third down. Rob Ryan should coast off the job he's done this past season for at least another 1-2 seasons. The media loves him, so once the Saints defense drops into the 15-20 ranking for overall defense I'm sure Ryan will get a job offer from an NFL team to be their head coach, where the media can then drool all over him for his bluntness. Not that the NFL has a good ol' boys network or anything, right Jay Gruden?

Fine Fifteen

It's shockingly pointless to do a power rankings during the playoffs. 

1. Seattle (14-3).

2. San Francisco (14-4). This is what America wanted, right? The two best teams, in The House That Noise Built.

Well, it certainly isn't what I wanted and I live in America. It sounds like this is what the media wanted to see happen on the NFC side of the playoff bracket, but I'm not sure it was unanimous throughout America.

3. Denver (14-3). This is what America wanted, right? Manning and Brady, for the 15th time?

I just want to see competitive football games. The storyline, contrived or otherwise, don't matter to me. I would guess that most NFL fans feel the opposite of how the media feels. The media loves the storylines and thrives off them, while the average NFL fan just wants to see a competitive game. If this weekend's matchups lead to the best games, I'm guessing that's what the NFL-loving public wants to see. I could be wrong and Peter could be right.

8. Green Bay (8-8-1). Lots of teams have secondary problems to solve, and Ted Thompson runs one of them. The problem for Thompson is he also has offensive line and defensive tackle problems too.

If only there were a way to pay NFL players who don't currently have a contract to play for the Packers or a way to choose college players in an orderly fashion who want to play in the NFL where each NFL team gets their pick of a college player based on that team's season record in descending order of record. Oh well, I guess the Packers are screwed then.

11. Kansas City (11-6). Smart idea, trying to extend Alex Smith. I’d extend a quarterback who piloted my team to more points this year than Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick did with theirs.

Yeah, it's a great idea to permanently accept above-averageness at your QB position. Also, the comparison here to Brees, Wilson and Kaepernick is a little misleading. Brees is a better quarterback than Smith, while Wilson and Kaepernick are still in their second season as NFL starters.

13. Cincinnati (11-6). Re the loss of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to Washington: You can bet new Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will run it more than 43.8 percent of the snaps in 2014 … and that Gio Bernard and whoever his running mate is next year (BenJarvus Green-Ellis or someone else) will have more than 390 rushing attempts between them. That was the major gripe inside the Cincinnati offices about Gruden—that he didn’t run enough.

And now Gruden is going to pilot an NFL team with a quarterback who plays his best while running the football or using play-action off the run. What could go wrong?

14. Pittsburgh (8-8). Any doubt the Steelers paid the right receiver? Antonio Brown: 110 catches, 1,499 yards, eight touchdowns. That’s gotten lost in the postseason folderol but shouldn’t have.

Yeah Peter, you pretty much led the charge with most of that postseason nonsense. Not that Peter is self-aware enough to know this obviously. Peter thinks what he writes in MMQB also reflects the thoughts of his MMQB readers, so when he is wrong, his readers are wrong too.

Goat of the Week
Mark Ingram, running back, New Orleans. Biggest single contributor to any of the four losses all weekend. With the Seattle crowd in full nuttiness on the first series of the game Saturday, Drew Brees had a perfect screen set up for Ingram on third down. Guaranteed conversion, and a crowd-silencer. Ingram dropped it. Early in the second quarter, Ingram tried to make three or four hard yards up the middle and was met by defensive end Michael Bennett. Not a particularly hard collision. But Ingram coughed the ball up, the Seahawks recovered, and Marshawn Lynch—the hard-running, elusive back Ingram was drafted to be—ran for a pinball touchdown a moment later, and it was 13-0. Ingram has had a few moments for New Orleans (he was a plus last week in the Wild Card win at Philly), but overall, the first half mirrored his New Orleans career.

I watched Ingram a lot at Alabama and I don't think I ever got the hard-running, elusive back feeling from him. He was often compared to Emmit Smith, who I think is totally unlike Marshawn Lynch, so I'm not entirely sure what Peter is talking about here. If any running back on that Alabama roster was the elusive, hard-running back then I would have guessed it was Trent Richardson.

“What’s weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth. That’s priority number one.”

—Peyton Manning, asked after the playoff win over San Diego whether it was “weighing on his mind” that a neck exam will decide his future with the Broncos.

No wonder the NFL loves Peyton Manning so much. He's a good shill for their favorite products. Bud Light is the official beer of the NFL. I guess we should be happy he didn't say he wanted a slice of Papa John's and a Bud Light. 

“We will see them again, and it’s not going to be sweet. I can’t wait to play them with a new set of refs and a new game.”

—Carolina safety Mike Mitchell, still angry at the officiating after the Panthers’ 23-10 loss to San Francisco.

Then Mike Mitchell committed a stupid personal foul penalty, got burnt deep by a tight end, followed by him making one tackle and strutting proudly afterwards.

The biggest attendance days in the 12-year history of CenturyLink Field:
Date Foe Attendance
Jan. 11, 2014 Saints 68,388
Dec. 2, 2013 Saints 68,387
One fan. One little fan.

I'm pretty sure Peter attended the game on Saturday in Seattle, so it was Peter who made the difference in the biggest attendance day in the 12-year history of CenturyLink Field. I'm surprised he's not bragging about this.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Travel Note of the Week

Craziest day of weather in my 56 years on earth Wednesday:
5 a.m. Eastern Time, 8 degrees. Flag a cab in Manhattan for the trip to JFK and a flight to Los Angeles.

11:50 a.m. Pacific Time, 74 degrees. Walk out of LAX into the Los Angeles sun. Stopover for a short lunch near the airport on the way to Seattle.

5:35 p.m. Pacific Time, 44 degrees. Steady cold rain pelts me outside the terminal at SeaTac.

It's almost like the United States is a large country with many regions that have different temperatures and climates due to the disparate elevations, bodies of water and other factors that may affect a weather in one of these regions.

I was frigid, I was T-shirted, I was cold and wet. What a country.

How precocious of you!

Two more notes. Memo to the hiney trombone deep in coach on the JFK-to-Los Angeles Delta flight Wednesday morning: Did you just assume we’re all deaf? …

Perhaps he just assumed you were minding your own business or talking on the phone with Dan Fouts. Yes, THAT Dan Fouts.

“I like Crabtree but Jim greatest catcher ever what are you smoking?”

—@JerryRice, yes, THE Jerry Rice, after hearing San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh say wideout Michael Crabtree has the best hands in history.

Thanks for clearing that up, Peter. I thought you were talking about the guy who writes for "Variety" or the independent consultant up in the Greater Seattle area. 

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about the playoff weekend:
a. Jim Zorn raising the 12th Man flag. Excellent choice.

Why would Texas A&M still be playing football in mid-January and why would Jim Zorn raise a flag for a college he didn't attend?

c. Khiry Robinson. The guy’s a revelation. The undrafted quick back from West Texas A&M got the ball in the open field and was face-to-face with 2012 first-round rush linebacker Bruce Irvin. Robinson deked Irvin, made him miss and added eight yards to the play.

Gregg Easterbrook is going to be all over this one, while ignoring highly-drafted Marshawn Lynch ran all over the Saints. Actually, Gregg will refer to Lynch as "unwanted" because the Bills traded him.

k. Adam Schefter’s nugget about Washington naming Jay Gruden head coach—and never telling 49ers coordinators Greg Roman and Vic Fangio, who were preparing to interview with Washington GM Bruce Allen for the job, that the interviews were cancelled.

Oh, the Redskins. Dan Snyder runs a tight ship over there, doesn't he? But once Snyder was able to coax Gruden out of retirement from working in the "MNF" booth I'm sure Snyder was so eager to see what Jon Gruden could do that he didn't think to have the other interviews canceled.

r. The Arizona Cardinals placing an ad in Dan Dierdorf’s adopted hometown newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, congratulating Dierdorf on his 43-year NFL career as he retired Saturday. “Thanks for always holding the line, Dan,” the ad said, with a nice photo of Dierdorf in pass-pro in front of Jim Hart. The Cards, of course, moved to Arizona from St. Louis, where Dierdorf built a Hall of Fame playing career. Dierdorf’s final CBS telecast was Saturday in Foxboro.

Sometimes when Dierdorf was still broadcasting games for CBS it felt like he was already retired...or possibly not paying attention.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about the playoff weekend:

b. Saints safety Rafael Bush smashing a defenseless Percy Harvin high on the third play of the game in Seattle—and the third play of Harvin’s return. That’s going to cost Bush a lot of money.

What was the issue with that hit? It was Bush telling the Seahawks offensive players that it isn't just the Seahawks defense that can come out and play physical and hard during the game. Obviously no one wants Harvin to get hurt and it was a penalty, but Bush was just trying to set a tone that the Saints defense was coming to play on the day. It's okay for the "Legion of Boom" to be physical and hit hard, but it's something not to like when the opposing team does the same thing?

h. All the yapping in Carolina. Lord, it looked so bush league.

It's all bush league until the Steelers-Ravens or Seahawks-49ers are yapping at each other, right Peter? Oh, and one of the people responsible for the yapping was your boy Anquan Boldin.

j. One thing about officiating crews I really dislike is their inability to cut the chippiness out of big games. The Carolina-Niners game was a perfect example. Waaaay too much taunting and a missed obvious head-butting from an emotional Anquan Boldin. Those things have to be called.

This is the sum total of Peter's discussion of the officiating in this weekend's playoff games. That's it. No long screed about how the NFL has to get these calls right because it costs teams yardage and points, no mention of any officiating errors in the San Diego-Denver game. I would just think a writer who mentioned a missed call by the officials during a regular season game 3-4 separate times in MMQB one week, then brought it up again the very next week, would have more than just a passing "Those things have to be called" mention for the poor officiating in the playoffs. Guess not. But hey, if Peyton Manning got screwed by an official's call or didn't get to touch the ball in overtime then the league needs to investigate and fix this travesty immediately.

l. But see, I blame the officials partly for Harbaugh’s freakathon. If they’d have kept control of the game, there’s a chance that idiocy wouldn’t have happened.

Don't go too hard on them Peter and don't mention the Chargers-Broncos game. Lord knows no other experts on NFL officiating had issues with the officiating. Whatever it takes to get to the Brady-Manning matchup "we" all want, right?

5. I think the Browns are going to find a coach, someday. But a year after Chip Kelly said no, it’s clear that this is the job that’s scaring away the most candidates. And it’s clear the Browns want an offensive coach to develop the quarterback of the future. Thus the Josh McDaniels/Adam Gase/Ben McAdoo fascination.

I can't figure out why the Browns can't find a head coach. They fired their last head coach a year into his tenure and the front office can't seem to draft the right guys to help turn the team around. What's not to like? I'm sure Bill Simmons' buddy Mike Lombardi will turn things around though. After all, he knows Bill Belichick and when has anyone associated with Bill Belichick ever failed in the NFL, whether it be as a coach or as a GM?

7. I think I am so pleased to see Mike Zimmer, finally, being a serious candidate for two coaching jobs, and being interviewed a second time in Minnesota.

"It's always pleasing when qualified white assistant coaches get job opportunities as a head coach they so richly deserve," says the writer who earlier this year was talking about the NFL needs to do a better job of getting qualified minority candidates a chance to interview and be a serious candidate for NFL head coaching jobs. Minorities NEED to be considered serious candidates for these NFL head coaching jobs, unless a qualified white candidate shows up, in which case good for him that he gets an opportunity.

8. I think I don’t view Dan Le Batard the way some in the public do—as the freedom-fighting Edward Snowden of sports media for surrendering his baseball Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin. I don’t like what he did. When you become a Hall of Fame voter, you agree to abide by the rules of the game. If you don’t like the rules, whatever they are, don’t vote. But to assign the vote to whomever you choose is wrong.

I understand this, but other Hall of Fame voters have publicly solicited opinions on who they should vote for into the Hall of Fame. I'm not defending Le Batard's actions, just saying baseball Hall of Fame voters assign the vote to whomever they choose in a different way sometimes.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

b. Such a loyal guy, that Robert Gates.
c. … he said, dripping with sarcasm.

Right, because Robert Gates is the first person to write a book where he rips the decisions that a President of the United States has made. I guess when it is a Republican President getting ripped in a book Peter doesn't care about loyalty and likes to hear about the bad decisions made, but when Peter's vote for President gets ripped in a book then where's the loyalty? I don't know this for sure, but it seems like this is a contradiction Peter would be guilty of based on this "loyalty" comment.

Thanks for your advice last week about how to clean a coffeemaker. Turns out a couple cups of white vinegar and water, cycled through the process with a pause in the middle to let the vinegar mix work, and then two cycles of water running through the machine, did the trick just as you said.

You know where else this information can be found? In the directions to the coffee maker that appear on the piece of paper you can find in the coffee maker box after the box is opened. It shouldn't be shocking to me that a person who expects perfection in every sip of his coffee, whether it be free coffee from a hotel or coffee from a gas station, doesn't know how to properly clean a coffee maker. Maybe Peter should think about how he doesn't even know how to clean a coffee maker the next time he rips a barista for pouring too many shots into his cup of coffee and insinuates he can do the job of a barista better than someone employed as a barista could.

j. Tina Fey is ridiculously funny.

I don't know where society would be without these important and astute observations from Peter.

The Adieu Haiku
Tom-Peyton 15.
There are no new angles. So …
Can they play today?

Well, better just beat the old angles on a Brady-Manning matchup into the ground. 


Eric said...

My prediction: Game 1 - Manning will beat the hell out of Brady - physically. With "the club". Denver will advance.

Game 2 - Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick will have a 100 yard race. If Russell Wilson can throw the ball farther than Kaepernick by more than the amount of yards Kaepernick wins the race by, Seattle will move on. Seattle wins because of Wilson's cannon.

In the Super Bowl, the two QBs will engage in an intense game of self mutilation, and the losing team will be the one with the QB who passes out first.

I'm so tired of this "QB1 vs. QB2" bullshit. Seriously. The QBs aren't even the story in the Seattle vs. SF game. In the other game Peter would have us believe that the general mastery of Manning that the Patriots have displayed over the years must have something to do with Tom Brady's Tom Brady-ness. FML. Sports writing just makes me angry these days!

HH said...

Watch the 53-yard pass from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola Saturday night in the rout of Indianapolis. Know why it happened?

Because Tom Brady threw a good pass that ended up in the arms of Danny Amendola who then used his legs to run for a touchdown?

It wasn't a touchdown. It was just a long completion. Get it together, Ben.

HH said...

It's almost like the United States is a large country with many regions that have different temperatures and climates due to the disparate elevations, bodies of water and other factors that may affect a weather in one of these regions.

OK, I laughed,

Matthew Cleary said...

I don't even understand the Brees Grossman comparison. Was it a slight on Brees? I can't blame Colston too much for the forward pass. 2 secs on the clock and he thought he didn't have time to get out of bounds I guess and he tried to make a river city relay play.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, Brady v. Manning gets people to watch and gets Peter excited. So that's the story to him. The Big Lead had something up earlier this week where they showed the Brady v. Manning matchups usually hinged on someone that isn't either one of them. So yes, there are other players. Though we don't get to hear about them as much.

HH, I imagined the word "touchdown" was in what Peter wrote. Sadly, I do proofread what I right, so I imagined the word "touchdown" twice.

Peter is mystified by weather.

Matt, supposedly that was a drawn-up play, which I actually think was brilliant in theory. The Seahawks would not have expected the Saints to only try to get one more play off, so they could have caught them by surprise with a designed play for the end of the game.

I guess it was a slight at Grossman and how he wasn't a very good QB. I don't know. Peter likes excitement and apparently Drew Brees having the chance to go to his first Super Bowl wasn't exciting enough for him.

Steve Sprague said...

Peter doubled down on his idiocy about the matchups on Twitter after the column posted. Someone asked if there were any championship weekend slates as compelling during the 49ers - Cowboys rivalry during the early '90s.

The counters to the Boys-49ers matchups were Buf-Mia, Buf-KC, Pit-SD. "Meh" according to the great Peter King.

For someone who loves quarterback matchups as much as he does you'd think he would have realized the first two games featured Kelly vs. Marino and Kelly vs. Montana. I'd say each matchup was on par with Brady vs. Manning.

Bengoodfella said...

Steve, no way! No matchup of two Hall of Fame QB's is as good as the matchup between Manning and Brady. Not that Peter King has a bias towards the immediacy of the upcoming game or anything

It doesn't shock me he doubled down. He's all about Manning-Brady.