Wednesday, January 1, 2014

12 comments MMQB Review: The Steelers Not Making the Playoffs Has Made Peter Sad Edition

(I will be doing the NFL playoff pick 'em challenge against Bill Simmons and Peter King again this year. I will put up the post as soon as Bill Simmons' picks come out on Friday. If anyone else wants to join in and try to make playoff picks then look out for the post on Friday/Saturday and put your picks in the comments of that post. I think about 8-10 people who want to participate would be the limit. Just wanted to give everyone a head's up.)

Peter King told us last week that franchise quarterbacks come up big in big moments, which is a statement neglects to mention that franchise quarterbacks also can come up big in normal moments so they won't have to come up big in big moments late in a game. Peter also told us through Tweets that Cam Newton had to beat the Saints to justify his selection as the #1 overall pick. There was also a continued amount of mayhem in Peter's Fine Fifteen rankings per usual and he marveled yet again at what a crazy and unpredictable league the NFL is. This week Peter talks about the Browns firing their head coach, runs the risk of alienating his BFF Brett Favre by talking positive about Aaron Rodgers and just doesn't understand why Americans choose to take pictures of things that King Peter King doesn't think Americans should take pictures of. No mainstream writer gets all up in the business of perfect strangers like Peter King.

Not much happened on the last day of the regular season Sunday. 

There were no Hollywood endings this week! 

The greatest regular-season game of Aaron Rodgers’ career.

Naturally, Brett Favre had better greatest regular season games in his career.

“Then this game. Today’s in the top three of all of my games. It was special, for so many reasons.” Including some eye-opening words about the team physician we all assumed he hated.

Here goes this "we" shit again. Does Peter have multiple personalities and that's why he says "we" or does he just want to say "we" when he is personally wrong to make himself feel better about being wrong by pretending everyone thinks the exact same things that he thinks? I think Peter's ego can't handle being wrong so he says "we" as a group thought Rodgers hated the Packers team doctor.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to be lifelong Browns fan and 2013 Browns coach Rob Chudzinski Sunday night around 9, getting blindsided by the rumors of your firing after the last game of the season in Pittsburgh, wondering on the two-hour bus ride home if they could possibly be true, and then listening to club president Joe Banner destroy your dream, dismissing you after just 352 days of a four-year contract?

I would think "Damn, I'm making $10 million for not doing anything over the last three years of this contract and no one is going to think any less of me for being fired by the Browns because it's assumed the Browns as an organization doesn't seem to know what direction it needs to go in. I'm going to go cry into my $10 million dollars now. Later bitches."

I told the news to one of the stalwart Browns, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, at 9:55 Sunday night. “We fired Chud? Are you kidding me?” he said, stunned. Wish I was.

Chud probably should not have been hired by the Browns in the first place. His Panthers offensive players didn't like the way he called the offensive plays and weren't sad to see him go, but if you are going to hire a head coach then don't fire him because he couldn't turn a team with a revolving quarterback situation around. It's just bad form and not fair.

In the Year of the Blown Call, it’s fitting that as two officials from the Bill Leavy crew stared at a blatant violation on a 41-yard field-goal that would have won the game for Kansas City, neither threw a flag. The kick went wide right. Ryan Succop should have had a second chance from five yards closer, but he didn’t, and San Diego won in overtime. If Succop had converted, there’d have been a five-way tie for the sixth playoff seed in the AFC at 8-8, and the Steelers would have won the tiebreaker.

These officiating failures are fun and games until one of Peter's favorite Northeast teams misses the playoffs due to an officiating failure. At that point, something needs to be done.

And Pittsburghers wake up this morning, read this, spit out their coffee and wonder, “Is this karmic payback for The Immaculate Reception?”

Or perhaps more accurately these are the type of things that happen when you don't play well during the season and end up with an 8-8 record. 

Peyton Manning finished his assault on history. He broke the record for passing yards in a season (5,477) by a single yard over Drew Brees, and extended his record of touchdown passes in a season to 55 with a four-TD first half at Oakland. He’ll need 18 touchdown passes next season, at 38, to pass Brett Favre’s career-TD record of 508.

Manning is going to have to work really hard to break Favre's interception record though. That's going to take a lot of bad throws for Manning to surpass Favre there.

Déjà vu all over again. Every one of the wild-card games is a rematch from playoff games past.

Nearly every wild card game is a rematch from a game played earlier this year too. Only the New Orleans-Philadelphia matchup isn't a rematch from a game played earlier this year.

Aaron Rodgers is grateful for Pat McKenzie.

BREAKING NEWS: An NFL player appreciates and doesn't hate the team doctor that helped him heal and come back in time during the season to help his team make the playoffs.

Rodgers bearhugged McKenzie.
“I’ll keep what was said between us,” he told me. “But I will say it was a good moment. I have so much respect for that man.”


Very few people other than you, Peter, thought that Aaron Rodgers hated the Packers team doctor. You thought this for some reason, and this wasn't a universally shared opinion, yet "you" think "we" also believed Rodgers inexplicably hated the Packers team doctor.

No clearance in Week 13. None in Week 14, None in Week 15. None in Week 16. As time went on, you could see the frustration in coach Mike McCarthy, and you could practically hear the grinding of the teeth when Rodgers would make his public pronouncements. The season was slipping away, and Rodgers wanted to play. Though Rodgers said most of the right things in front of the cameras, there were whispers that he thought McKenzie was being too cautious with him.

These whispers turned out to just be the careless whispers of Brett Favre's memory trying to create uncertainty in the mind of Peter King and create controversy on the Packers team where there may be none.

It paid off because Rodgers wasn’t in pain during the game, he said. “I felt really good,” he said. “I never took any big shots all day.” He was sacked three times, but never a shot that landed him on the area that was hurt 48 days earlier. The game was an odd one for Rodgers, because though he wasn’t and didn’t feel rusty, he made two uncharacteristic throws in the first 16 minutes that got intercepted and threatened to put Green Bay too far behind.

If this were Brett Favre who made the throws then Peter would say Favre was "Tossing the ball around the field in a fit of joy much like a precocious child eager to get back on the field and help his team." It's not that Favre was careless with the football, he just cared too damn much. That's the ticket.

It helped that James Starks and Eddie Lacy were so effective (68 of 80 yards on a third-quarter scoring drive came on the ground), and Rodgers didn’t have to do everything himself.

It's almost like football is a team game or something.

As Julius Peppers steamed in, unblocked, from Rodgers’ left, Kuhn dove at him to try to save the sack. Good move. Rodgers spun out of it and Peppers just got one hand on him.

Or as Peppers probably said after the game, "Well, I got one hand on him, but couldn't tackle him. No big deal, life goes on. I still get paid, right?"

safety Chris Conte sat near the first-down line, the Bears 40, stunned to see Randall Cobb—in his first game back, too, after rehabbing a broken leg—streak past him.

Conte thought Cobb's leg was still broken and there was NO WAY Cobb could get behind him while playing on crutches.

And so now 12-4 San Francisco comes to 8-7-1 Green Bay for a late Sunday afternoon game. The long-range forecast is for snow showers Saturday and a wind-chill temperature between zero and 5 degrees at kickoff Sunday.

I understand the NFL wants to reward teams for winning their division, but it's silly to me that a 12-4 team has to go on the road to play a 8-7-1 team simply because the 12-4 team played in a tougher division. There were three teams in the NFC West that would have had a better record than the Packers, yet the second place team in the NFC West has to go on the road to play the Packers in the playoffs. Those are the rules I guess. I get rewarding a team for winning their division, but it just doesn't feel like the Packers earned a home playoff game to me.

A little more than a year ago, when Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns from Randy Lerner, the most sensible thing he said concerned the coaching merry-go-round the team had been on. Haslam was a minority owner of the Steelers when he bought the Browns, and stability, obviously, was the Pittsburgh way of doing business.

As I've said before, it's easier to be stable when having success. It's a "chicken or the egg" thing about stability. Is a team successful because of stability in the organization or is the success of a team lead to the stability in the organization? The Jacksonville Jaguars have had a decent amount of stability in terms of head coaches and ownership allowing the upper management to run the team as they see fit. The Jaguars haven't had a ton of success of late, despite some sense of stability.

More Haslam, from October 2012: “One thing I learned from watching the Steelers is the importance of consistency in coaching, and how much it sets you back when you’re always making a change. When you change coaches, it can be a three- or four-year deal to get back.”

Actions speak louder than words. It's easy for an owner to talk about what he wants to do, but it is much harder to go out and actually put this into action. A lot of teams would like to copy the Steelers, but if just copying another team led to success then success in the NFL for an owner would be easy.

That brings us to Rob Chudzinski. The new regime led by Haslam and president Joe Banner went through a battery of interviews, clearly preferring Oregon’s Chip Kelly. But Kelly wasn’t ready to commit, and then he committed to Philadelphia, so the Browns turned to Chudzinski, a Browns fan since his youth in Toledo.

Not that the Browns settled of course. They really wanted Chud as their head coach and loved him in that capacity. They loved him so much they had to set him free. If Chud comes back to them, then they are meant to be together.

I expect Cleveland brass will say, politely, that the team simply wasn’t improving. The Browns looked like a strong defensive team in the first month (Cleveland started 3-2) and disintegrated into one that lost 10 of its last 11. 

When hiring an offensive coach who went through multiple quarterbacks in his first year as a head coach, it seems completely fair to judge him based on the defense not improving. Only the Browns would hire an offensive coach and then fire him because he couldn't keep the defense playing at a high level over one season.

If Banner and Haslam tell the truth, maybe they’ll say not everyone is cut out to be an NFL head coach, and maybe Chudzinski was one slot above the job he does best: offensive coordinator.

Make that two slots above what he does best: tight ends coach.

And if they kept Chudzinski, they’d be asking him to develop the next quarterback, along with offensive coordinator Norv Turner. What if there was a disconnect between the quarterback the front office wanted (I hear Cleveland really likes Johnny Manziel, who is not the Aikmanish pocket passer more to Turner’s liking) and the one the coaches preferred?

Then I would ask why the Browns have hired front office personnel that isn't on the same page as the coaching staff the Browns have hired. I would also ask why the front office seems to think they are smarter than Norv Turner, who despite not being a great head coach, has shown he is capable of instructing and helping a quarterback succeed in the NFL. I think the important thing to do is to hire coaches that are on the same page as the front office. Seems simple, but apparently it isn't.

“Three since 1969?” Jackson said. “That’s incredible. Next year will be my ninth season here—and it’ll be my fifth head coach.”

Yeah, but the Browns are going to get it right this time. For sure. When has Mike Lombardi ever failed?

Five things all over the map.

1. Miami sounded Sunday night like a place of change. I wouldn’t be surprised to see coaching staff changes, and I’m hearing mixed messages about GM Jeff Ireland.

But has the Bill Parcells Seal of Approval! How could Jeff Ireland ever be replaced when knowing that Bill Parcells had faith in him?

2. Be careful about making Josh McDaniels the next coach of the Browns.

Okay, we will be sure to not wildly speculate as to who the Browns will hire and leave the wild speculation all up to you, so that when you are wrong you can claim "we" all thought Josh McDaniels was staying in New England.

But he’s not the kind of guy itching to be a head coach, I’m told. He’s happy coaching Tom Brady and working under Bill Belichick, I’m told.


I would bet a small amount of money that Josh McDaniels is looking to stick around New England and poach that job from Bill Belichick in 25 years when he is talking about retiring.

Then Peter does what he will probably do 20 times this offseason, which is update us on the Rams draft situation.

Snead made it clear that, with the second pick, the Rams are open for business. He’d like to get an extra first-rounder out of the deal if possible, and with a major bargaining chip like Jadeveon Clowney or Teddy Bridgewater (if the Louisville quarterback comes out, as expected) in play, he may be able to reach his goal. “There are going to be some teams that want to pick a quarterback,” said Snead, “and that could increase the value of our pick. I have told people I’m not sure I know how to draft without multiple first-round picks, so I’m always going to be interested when it comes to making sure I can continue to do that.”

And really, how can a GM be expected to do this job well if he doesn't have multiple first round draft picks?

5. Remember this about being the top seed. In the last 19 seasons, only once (2009, New Orleans and Indy) have the two top seeds entering the playoffs advanced to the Super Bowl. In the last generation, home-field advantage has become decreasingly important. My two low seeds to watch this year: No. 5 San Francisco and No. 5 Kansas City.

I'll be sure to keep my eye on the 49ers. Pretty risky low seed to watch coming from Peter. Should the general public keep an eye on the 49ers, who made the Super Bowl last year and the NFC Championship Game the year before that? Probably not. Don't bet it all on a risky horse, Peter.

Then Peter updates us again on the Rams draft situation. I wasn't kidding when I said Peter would update us on the Rams draft at least twenty times this offseason. I'm keeping count. We are at two times he has mentioned the Rams 2014 draft at this point and discussed it with some sort of depth.

No, it’s not the Jelly of the Month Club, all you Christmas Vacation devotees. It’s the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. When the Rams traded down four spots last year, from No. 2 overall to No. 6, it allowed Washington to move up to take Robert Griffin III. In addition to the sixth pick in the ’12 draft, Washington gave St. Louis a second-round pick in 2012 and first-round picks in 2013 and 2014.

I'm confused. This trade looked smart for the Rams initially, then didn't look smart when Robert Griffin led the Redskins to the playoffs and now the trade looks smart for the Rams again. It's almost like time is the real determiner of which team "won" a trade involving multiple high draft picks.

The Rams have made five trades involving the original pick or the tentacles of that pick, and have six players from the trade under contract today.

I'm too lazy to do the skit right now, but let's all watch Peter Kin do Marvin Demoff's bidding and remind the MMQB audience what a great well-run organization the Rams are. Kevin Demoff is the greatest COO in the NFL and Jeff "8-8" Fisher is just a brilliant hire and his career record doesn't at all reflect his skill. Don't doubt it.

But at the end of the day, the original trade down with the Redskins will only be very good for the Rams if Sam Bradford becomes an upper-echelon NFL quarterback.

It's been four years. Peter went all-in on Cam Newton last week saying he had to play well against the Saints to justify his selection as the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, but Peter is still holding out hope Sam Bradford will be an upper-echelon NFL quarterback. It seems the key to avoiding criticism from Peter is to kiss the ring and then don't lead your team to the playoffs or close to the playoffs so Peter doesn't raise expectations for you.

And by the time the Rams know whether he will be, the fruits from the trade will already be used up. Bradford, of course, is about six weeks out from ACL surgery and is projected to be fully healthy for the start of training camp in seven months.

Well of course. Because we all know the Rams don't have enough information on Bradford from the 49 games he has started in the NFL to determine whether he is an upper-echelon quarterback or not. How many games does it take to evaluate a quarterback? 65? 80? Peter seems ready to make judgments on other NFL quarterbacks (like the way he has killed Geno Smith this year), yet he seems willing to give Bradford more time to prove himself. Interesting if it wasn't obvious why Peter does this.

As you read further up, St. Louis brass is likely to look to churn the pick again this year. If Cleveland is in love with a quarterback and wants to move up—or if any team is—the Rams will listen and try to turn another high first-rounder into multiple good prospects.  

Of course if other NFL teams know the Rams want to trade a high draft pick for more picks then they may not be willing to make a great offer that the Rams want to accept. The Jaguars are at #3 and so quite a few teams will probably want to leapfrog them to get up to the #2 overall spot. It also happens, and this is my opinion, that I don't think the Rams are going to get another offer of three 1st round picks and a second round pick for a team to move up 2-3 spots (the Browns would have to move up two spots from #4 to #2) in the draft. That is unless the Browns absolutely fall in love with a passer and are convinced the Jaguars are going to take that quarterback. I'm getting a headache. My point is I can't see the Rams getting another offer like the Redskins offered to move up to draft RGIII.

Now Peter begins defending Matt Flynn, which is interesting to me since I made a point a few weeks ago that Peter is all about criticizing Josh Freeman for stealing $2 million from the Vikings this past season, but seems to have no problem with Matt Flynn taking $8 million from the Raiders to do nothing.

I look at Oakland, where Flynn was shipped in the offseason, and I see the Raiders floundering at the position after cutting bait with him nearly three months ago. I see the Bills, who did the same after a short trial with Flynn when E.J. Manuel was down. And I say: You’re telling me Matt Flynn couldn’t have helped either team, either playing or by providing depth?

The quarterback position isn't necessarily a place on the roster teams look to provide "depth." NFL teams look for quarterbacks who know the offense or can quickly pick up the offense and can come in and not embarrass themselves. "Depth" is usually for other parts of the roster.

I say this after watching the Packers for the past month, because Matt Flynn saved their season.

Yes, he did. The Packers have a pretty good set of offensive weapons, even with Randall Cobb injured and neither the Raiders or the Bills had quite the amount of quality veteran players that can help Matt Flynn succeed. The Bills and Raiders needed a quarterback who could make the players around the quarterback better, but Matt Flynn needs good offensive weapons around him to become successful. The Raiders, Bills, and Packers had different needs in a backup QB.

But the cavalier treatment of him, particularly in a quarterback-needy place like Oakland, troubles me. When I was in training camp with the Raiders, I remember GM Reggie McKenzie telling me Flynn wasn’t the most gifted athlete with the biggest cannon, but he was smart, confident and the right guy to lead the Raiders in a time of transition. Boom. Ten weeks later he’s on the street.

Because he was beaten out for a starting spot by Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor. The Raiders weren't going to keep Flynn around to be the third-string quarterback. They didn't treat Flynn cavalierly, Flynn didn't earn a starting quarterback or backup quarterback job with the Raiders. Bottom line. I find it interesting Peter continues to criticize Josh Freeman for stealing $2 million of the Vikings money, while he thinks Matt Flynn (who was also beaten out at the quarterback position for a roster spot) was in some way treated cavalierly by the Raiders when they released him and paid him $8 million to fail. Not that Peter plays favorites of course.

Finally back in his comfort zone, Green Bay, Flynn orchestrated a tie and two wins in his five games. He was good, not great. But I would submit that if you watched Flynn in the second half of the Minnesota tie and the two wins (Dallas and Atlanta), you’d see a quarterback who belongs on the roster of a good team, and starting for some teams.

Matt Flynn is a really good backup QB who needs a good set of offensive players around him to become successful. Flynn knew the Green Bay system well and thrived when put back into that system. He clearly didn't grasp the Raiders or Bills system quickly enough to earn a roster spot. The same goes for Josh Freeman. They aren't the same quarterback, but both players have a comfort zone and seem to need time to pick up new offensive systems. For some reason, Peter portrays Freeman has a huge villain and Flynn has having gotten a raw deal.

Bottom line: If you know what Flynn is as a quarterback—and former Packer exec McKenzie did know what he was—why be impatient with him? Especially when the realistic goal of the Raiders this year should have been to get the quarterback right for the future.

You be impatient with Flynn if you aren't sure you will get 2-3 more years to turn the Raiders team around. If Flynn is getting paid $8 million to play quarterback then he needs to come into the Raiders training camp and produce. No quarterback making $8 million per year should be given a few years to produce. Why is it fine for Flynn to get time and deserve patience, but Josh Freeman doesn't? I don't like Josh Freeman, but it seems Peter is contradicting himself here.

Based on the last month, Oakland has zero idea who its quarterback is for 2014.

And keeping Flynn on the bench this year or allowing him to fail on the field would have corrected this problem? Flynn was beaten out by McGloin and Pryor in training camp. This is well-documented.

Fine Fifteen

1. Seattle (13-3). That is some bitter relationship between Seattle and St. Louis. Glad no one was hurt out there.

The Seahawks are just jealous of the Rams super-awesome drafting abilities and incredibly bright future. Seattle wishes, given one or two more years of incredible coaching by Jeff Fisher, they too could make the playoffs.

5. New England (12-4). Think of the agonizing four losses the Patriots have had in this four-loss season … 13-6 in a torrential downpour in Cincinnati, 30-27 with that push-the-pile penalty against the Jets, 24-20 on the wrongly picked-up flag in the end zone in Carolina, 24-20 with four shots into the end zone to win in Miami. Amazing how close this team came to the best record in football with the mayhem it dealt with at the skill positions all year.

Yeah, the Patriots are expected to be good so there's no way Bill Belichick did a good job of coaching. After all, a great coach can't do a great job of coaching a team that is expected to have success.

13. Arizona (10-6). What an admirable team, with a great future.

So the 49ers and Seahawks are built for success in the future, the Cardinals have a great future, and the Rams are putting together a young team that Peter expects to compete in the future? Peter does realize it's not possible for all four of these teams to have super-bright futures right? One of these teams is going to underachieve and get a coach fired. It's just not possible for four teams from one division to make the playoffs. These four teams will play each other and beat each other up even if all four have bright futures. Something has to give.

14. Pittsburgh (8-8). I wish they’d gotten in.

We know, Peter. We know. You really wanted to see the Steelers in the playoffs over the Chargers and I'm going to lazily blame it on East Coast bias.

Offensive Players of the Week
Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay. Rodgers has had better days numerically that this one: 25 of 39, 318 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, 85.2 rating. But the great ones play great when it’s most important.

It's the NFL where there are only 16 games. Every game is important.

Goats of the Week

Ryan Succop, placekicker, Kansas City. Missed the 41-yard field goal that would have beaten the Chargers in regulation and sent the Steelers to the playoffs.

The Bill Leavy officiating crew. Missed the illegal formation penalty against the Chargers on Succop’s 41-yard missed field goal attempt that would have given Succop another try, from 36 yards.

Two things:

1. It's quite clear that Peter really, really wanted to see the Steelers make the playoffs. The idea of the Chargers playing the Bengals doesn't excited him enough. And really, the NFL playoffs should be about what teams Peter wants to see play each other and not based on merit.

2. Why is Ryan Succop a goat? The Chiefs weren't trying to win the game by benching most of their best players and the Chiefs are already in the NFL playoffs. Does Peter really think Succop gives a flying fuck if the Steelers aren't in the playoffs or are in the playoffs? Succop is mad he missed the kick, but it's not like Andy Reid and the Chiefs were trying extraordinarily hard to win the game. Plus, whether the Steelers or Chargers make the playoffs is irrelevant to Succop. He's not a goat.

If Succop had been given the second shot and made it, well, that would have put Pittsburgh in the playoffs, not San Diego. The worst part of this: Two officials—who appear from the tape to be side judge Keith Parham and umpire Ruben Fowler—were staring straight at the line from behind the Chargers rushers before the snap of the ball. They had to see the seven Chargers on the line to the right of the ball, which is illegal. Teams can have only six men on either side of the ball when it is snapped on a field-goal try.

Bad missed call. Much like when the overtime rules helped the Chargers win a playoff game without Peyton Manning getting to touch the ball in overtime, now that one of Peter's favorites has been harmed by a missed call or a bad rule, he is all up in arms about that rule.

“I was shaking and sweating. There were tears in my eyes. It was really weird. Here was this Heisman Trophy winner, giving me a ball that he scored with.”

—Law Waddill, 10, of Raleigh, N.C., the first young fan Cam Newton handed a ball to after scoring a touchdown in an NFL game, from a terrific story in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer.

Scott Fowler of the Observer spent a month searching for kids who’d been gifted a football by the Carolina quarterback after he scored a touchdown. That’s been a Newton tradition since he became an NFL player in 2011; he’s done it between 40 and 50 times. Fowler found 16 of them, including a girl with ADHD and hearing aids who was profoundly inspired by the gift. Fowler gathered them for a photo at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, and Newton surprised them by showing up and spending 30 minutes with them.

Winning cures everything. Just last year Peter was focused on Newton's "Superman" act after scoring a touchdown (which he still does this silly act and it's no big deal, why?...the Panthers are winning games) and ignored that Newton gave the ball to a young fan after scoring the touchdown. Now that the Panthers are playing well, Peter forgets about the "Superman" act and starts to focus on what Newton does with the football after scoring a touchdown. Winning cures everything and sportswriters love to change a narrative about a player after a team starts winning games. 

“It’s a conversation between me and the coaches.”

—Quarterback (we think that’s the position he plays still) Josh Freeman of the Vikings, to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, on why he has been buried on the Minnesota quarterback depth chart for most of the three months he’s been employed by the team.

(checks watch) Yep, it's time for Peter to bash Josh Freeman for daring to be paid $2 million and be inactive every week. I don't get Peter's issue with Freeman. The Vikings wanted to see if Freeman could be their quarterback of the future and paid him a one year contract of $2 million to find this out. Freeman is not the QB of the future and the Vikings are out $2 million this year only and don't have to re-sign Freeman. I find it impossible to understand why Peter is infatuated with Freeman being such a waste of a roster spot.

He is active for two others but doesn’t play. He is inactive for the other nine, including Sunday’s finale against Detroit. After he played the one game, he did have a concussion, but Freeman has reportedly been ready to play but not used for the last nine weeks.

Nice work if you can get it: One bad football game, 11 on the bench, $2 million.

Writing like this, where Peter is very clearly playing favorites, is what is wrong with modern sports journalism. $2 million to sit on the bench. It's not the end of the world.

Freeman will be an intriguing, and mysterious, prospect for some team in 2014: a 26-year-old quarterback with a 4,000-yard season under his belt, left to rot by two bad teams in 2013.

Matt Flynn was also left to rot by two bad teams in 2013. The fact he ended up back with the Packers in an offense he knows well means he is exempt from criticism from Peter. Of course, prior to rejoining the Packers Peter wasn't criticizing Flynn anyway and had plenty of criticism for Freeman, so there's that too.

I greatly dislike Josh Freeman and like Matt Flynn, but Peter's reaction to these two players' season is very interesting to me.

So you want to be a football coach, eh?

No, no I don't.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Travel Note of the Week

Holiday time in New York. Tourist season. I was at Grand Central Station the other day, doing a little shopping in the concourse. The place was mobbed.

Was it busier than Grand Central Station, Peter? Meanwhile with all of these people around Peter immediately took it upon himself to stare at strangers and criticize their behavior while they are minding their own business.

There’s a huge Apple store there, and as I walked by, there was a crowd at the bottom of the stairs leading to the entrance of the store. Logjam. People couldn’t get by. And I looked up to see a line of tourists waiting to take photos with the Apple logo. Sometimes I don’t get America.

I don't get America either. Why can't a person simply shop for his Christmas gifts without worrying about what everyone else is doing? America is so weird. Americans like Peter are so odd in that he just can't mind his own business.

It's the Apple logo. Tourists take a picture of it. Let them do it. Don't be a big city snob and act like "It's just the Apple logo and I see it everyday" and make it seem like tourists (tourists, people who come from out of town  to visit New York and take pictures) are odd for taking pictures of things they want to take pictures of.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 17:

a. Ryan Tannehill, on his second-quarter touchdown throw to Mike Wallace, showed precisely what very good quarterbacks in the league have to show: accuracy and smarts under intense pressure, against a free rusher. He’s become a very impressive quarterback this year.

But has Ryan Tannehill become a very impressive quarterback this year? Look at the NFL passing leaders and try to find a category of substance that Tannehill ranks in the Top 15 in. He's 11th in completions (but 7th in attempts), 10th in passing yards, tied for 12th in touchdown passes, tied for 7th in interceptions, first in sacks taken, and 13th in yards per game. He's improved this year, but I don't know if I would consider him to be very impressive quite yet. Give him an offensive line and another year, then I will see if I could call Tannehill impressive.

Peter lauds Tannehill on a day where he goes 20-40 with 1 TD and 3 INT's. Of course, why would Peter let reality on this day interfere with his perception of Tannehill's play as exemplified by one pass? 

b. Good luck, Scott Green. You’ve been a good ref. The game will miss you. Sunday in Cincinnati was Green’s last regular-season game.

Thanks for explaining, Peter. Your readers are so stupid they probably thought Scott Green had died and needed you to tell us Green was retiring.

j. The Tony Romo story is why Adam Schefter’s so good, people.

Now Schefter has to work on getting his BFF Mike Shanahan another NFL head coaching job.

n. Good point from ESPNBoston’s Field Yates: Scott Pioli, my NBC partner this season,

And good friend, don't forget Pioli is Peter's good friend. Not that it would EVER affect Peter's reporting of course. Never.

had a role in drafting seven Pro Bowlers—four for the Chiefs and three for New England.

This is Peter King advocating for Scott Pioli to get another NFL GM gig. Because all a GM has to do is draft good players and has no other job responsibilities and we should ignore that the Chiefs went from having the #1 overall pick under Pioli to making the playoffs the very next season. Yep, choosing a good head coach is also the job of a GM. Peter is silent on the Chiefs improvement under a competent head coach hired by a competent GM in Kansas City of course.

I understand Peter wants his buddy to get another NFL coaching job, but a GM's job is more than just drafting good players. The Panthers old GM drafted all five of the team's 2013 Pro Bowlers, but this doesn't mean he deserves another shot to be an NFL GM.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 17:

b. Matt Cassel failing to make a Metrodome memory in the last game ever there, missing a wide open Jared Allen (yes, Jared Allen) in the end zone in what would have been a second-quarter touchdown.

Hey, didn't Scott Pioli trade a 2nd round pick for Cassel? I guess Peter only brings that up when Cassel plays well.

f. Jeff Fisher has to get control of his team. Way too chippy.

Don't make Marvin Demoff call you, Peter. He will do it.

4. I think I would not like to be officiating boss Dean Blandino when he goes into his meeting with senior staff, including Roger Goodell, today at the league office in New York. Too many mistakes, easily spotted ones, keep happening in the league. How on earth can you be an umpire or side judge staring at the defensive line and see seven players on one side of the center—clearly in violation of a league rule that says six is the most players on the line of scrimmage on either side of the center before a field goal or PAT—and not throw a flag?

Dammit, Peter is not letting this travesty go. He is going to sit down at a Cincinnati lobster restaurant and have a heart-to-heart with Roger Goodell (after first taking a picture of them wearing lobster bibs together of course) and explain how a missed call should NOT have kept the Steelers out of the playoffs.

A missed call like this is obviously inexcusable, but Peter has harped on it quite a bit. The Chiefs should have gotten another chance to make this field goal. More than just this missed call kept the Steelers from the making playoffs this season though.

The league owes the Steelers and the people of Pittsburgh a mea culpa.

No, the world as a whole is owed a mea culpa. 

And I’m beginning to think the offending officials on such obvious plays like that should have to sit a game. It’s just too important a situation for the only consequences during the season to be an offending official not making the playoffs. Coaches bench players if they don’t perform. Blandino should be able to bench officials if they don’t perform.

It's all fun and games until a team doesn't potentially make the playoffs because of a missed call.

7. I think—no, I know—that Greg Schiano has not been in contact with Penn State, and he is telling the truth when he says he has the only job he wants right now.

Oh, this is awkward. Mr. Schiano, you have been fired. How about having some interest in the Penn State job now?

The Penn State job would be a lot more desirable if it wasn’t facing two or three years more of mediocrity. That’s why you see Bill O’Brien exploring NFL jobs. He knows he’ll struggle to win there over the next couple of years, and by the time the program turns, he might not be the hot college name anymore.

I would imagine that if Bill O'Brien turned the Penn State program around and caused them to be nationally relevant and ranked in the Top 25 consistently again then he would be an even hotter coaching name. What do I know though?

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

e. Coffeenerdness: I went to a Dunkin’ Donuts with Tom Curran of CSN New England on Friday. His order: “Medium hot coconut, with milk, three Splenda, four ice cubes.” Wh-wh-what? 

Yeah, screw you Tom Curran. How dare you have the option of choosing a drink that Peter King finds to be odd and then taking that option and ordering the drink! America is such a weird place.

I then grilled Curran on his choice.

Of course he did. No one in America is allowed to make a decision without first explaining to Peter King why that decision was made. We are all subject to explaining ourselves and actions to Peter.

Re the coconut: “Gives the coffee a tropical feel.” Re the ice cubes: “Stops the coffee from being mind-bendingly hot so I don’t have to wait a half-hour to drink it.” Whatever you say, Tommy.

Oh, you jester! Peter would have to be the worst person to spend a day with. He would ask questions and force you to explain why you do anything that you do during that day. It would be like spending the day with an inquisitive five-year old who considers himself to be morally superior to every other human being.

f. Beernerdness: I’ll be back with this next week.

Don't come back and we will call it even.

The Adieu Haiku
London Fletcher, gone.
He loved the name I gave him.
“The Black Seau.” Thoughts?

I'm thinking you are probably a little racist...just overall. 


Slag-King said...

The long-range forecast is for snow showers Saturday and a wind-chill temperature between zero and 5 degrees at kickoff Sunday.

Didn't Peter lambasted the poor weatherman a few weeks ago for making a similar long-range forecast. I've taken meteorology class, and from that class, I've learned most forecasts over 3 days in the future are all based on averages of past events on same day. Farmer's Almanac uses this. Basically the weatherman that predicted the weather for the Super Bowl was using the Farmer's Almanac which is fine as long as you understand that this is probability based on past events. Granted Peter might not have known this, but shredding some poor chap to make oneself look smart is very poor form...wait, he does this in almost every travelogue.

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah, he lambast a NJ weatherman for trying to predict the weather for the Super Bowl. Like you say, it's pretty Peter's thing to do. He tends to make rules and then has no need to follow the rules he has set out for others.

Anonymous said...

Tourists annoy me too, so I learned a handy trick. I don't shop in places that are in EVERY SINGLE TOURIST GUIDE.

Anonymous said...

Conveniently not mentioned by Peter: the Steelers lost to the Raiders and Vikings this season. Had they simply beaten two bad teams, they could have made the playoffs on their own merits. I'm just surprised he stopped short of calling for a public execution of those officials.

I'm pretty sure any intelligent Steelers fan would say the team didn't play well enough to make the playoffs, and when you leave your fate in the hands of a team that wasn't even trying to win on Sunday, well bad things can happen. Peter, of course, isn't an intelligent fan, so he's going to cry about a missed call like that's the ONLY reason the Steelers missed the playoffs.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, that helps though doesn't it?

Anon2, my brother-in-law is a Steelers fan. I haven't gotten his take on the situation yet, but at Thanksgiving he seemed to accept the fate that the Steelers had simply not played well enough in the beginning of the season to make the playoffs.

The officials were very wrong in not giving the Chiefs another FG attempt, but more than an officiating error kept the Steelers out of the playoffs this year. Like you said, if you put your fate in other teams losing in Week 17 then bad things can happen.

Frank said...

Not much to add here other than "wow" at the anger about the Steelers not making the playoffs. I can't believe King still gets paid to publish this drivel. Just the bits I read in this blog post alone border on the obsessive; doesn't his editor (if he has one) ever tell him to lighten it up a bit or back off a point once he's made it five or six times in the same article? Just sad that he's getting paid a s***load more money than a lot of people for what he produces.

I don't begrudge any writer for making it big and getting paid to do what they love, just like I don't think about how much pro athletes make, but think about King's hate for Freeman. That's you, Peter King. You are the Josh Freeman of sports writing.

Anonymous said...

"The league owes the Steelers and the people of Pittsburgh a mea culpa."

Such as Super Bowl XL?

Bengoodfella said...

Frank, I don't begrudge Peter for making money either, but he really does tend to harp on some issues doesn't he? I get he wants to discuss the officiating errors, but he makes 3-4 separate mentions of the bad call. It was a missed call, we get it. Also, why does he continually harp on Josh Freeman. It was a low risk move the Vikings made. It isn't dragging the team down and Freeman is now a free agent and the Vikings know Freeman isn't their next QB.

Anon, not a Seahawks fan are you?

Matthew Cleary said...

I hate Big Ben so I wGenoappy that the steelers got bounced. It's hilarious to think that Succop is a goat because he cost the steelers a playoff berth. Is that even logical? Not hilarious that Geno Smith gets such a raw deal with Peter. 8-8 with no skill talent? Stafford, Bradford, both Mannings, Palmer etc all had 8-8 records and Peter cut them plenty slack.

Bengoodfella said...

Matthew, I would bet Peter chalks up the Jets good record to Rex Ryan. Geno Smith definitely wasn't a very good QB this year, but he had nothing to work with. Jeremy Kerley was his best receiver. Peter was pretty hard on Smith this year and I have to wonder if it will continue next year or not (or if Smith is the starter next year). I think Peter should have gone easy on Smith, given the lack of talent, but Peter takes shots at players who haven't kissed the ring whenever he can.

Succop isn't a goat because Peter is assuming he cares whether the Steelers get in the playoffs. Steelers fans and Peter King are the only ones who care that Succop missed that kick.

Matthew Cleary said...

Great point. I notice Peter likes to anoint the precocious kid quarterback like Tebow, Favre, Flynn etc. I guess Smith doesn't act like a little kid that just plays like a child.

Bengoodfella said...

Matthew, he tries to play like an adult, which is no way to win a football game.