Tuesday, January 21, 2014

3 comments MMQB Review: We Get the Super Bowl We Deserve Edition

Peter King was celebrating that the participants in the AFC and NFC Championship games were the teams "we" wanted to see play in those games in last week's MMQB. He was also strangely somewhat silent on the officiating during the divisional round weekend. Peter became mystified about the disparate weather conditions experienced throughout the United States and revealed the shocking truth that Tina Fey has comedic talents, which isn't something you expect from a person who had their own comedic sitcom on NBC and was the head writer for "Saturday Night Live." This week Peter talks about the outcomes in the games we all wanted to see which led to the Super Bowl we all wanted to see, somewhat recounts (again) how Peyton came to play for the Broncos and talks about underrated traffic, since that's a thing and all.

“Proud of you, bro,” Cooper Manning called out to Peyton Manning in the Broncos’ locker room Sunday, and a minute or so later, the family gathered around a showered Peyton at his locker. Club employees kept the media from hearing family business. Peyton’s back was to the room, his upper torso bare;

"His lithe body still wet from the quickie shower he took. Manning's hair was wet also, perfectly formed drops of water beading and falling down his face. Manning's torso showed the battle scars of late night Papa John's pizzas and cold Coors Lights. Though it was obvious Manning didn't have time to hit the gym everyday, it's obvious there is muscle and definition in Manning's upper body, just waiting to be brought out by a caring man. Perhaps an older man, perhaps someone who knows what it's like to be in a locker room, but not a member of either team battling for dominance. Perhaps someone who works as a sportswriter and is independently wealthy so he could love Manning for who he is inside, not for the things that bare upper torso does on the field of football battle. Perhaps that man is Peter King of THE MMQB."

I imagine in what little spare time Peter has he writes Peyton Manning fan-fiction softcore porn like this.

My eyes found the scar on the back of Peyton’s neck, the remnant of one of his four surgeries to repair a neck problem that threatened to force him into retirement a couple of years ago.

"Peter could touch the scar, but that would be wrong..or would it be right? Would it show Manning that Peter understands what he's been through or would it remind Manning of a pain, a pain that even Peter couldn't take away in the darkest and coldest nights when huddled by the fire. It's best to ask permission to touch the scar, even though Manning didn't ask permission to work his way into Peter's heart." 

At age 37, in a conference championship game, against Bill Belichick’s team.

“Kinda makes this special,” said dad Archie, standing off to the side.

Kinda.

"If only Archie knew how special this all really felt. Archie would never understand though. Peter somehow felt jealous and angry at the same time that Archie wouldn't understand and yet he still had Peyton's heart."

I saw a family walking in Denver Saturday with the dad and two girls all in orange MANNING 18 jerseys. The guy in front of me at Starbucks Sunday morning had an “OMAHA! OMAHA!” Manning T-shirt on, and I guess you know what that’s about.

"Is Omaha an audible call or a suggestion from Peyton at the possible location of his and Peter's home together once Manning retires? Or was it simply a rendezvous point where they could steal off together into another area of the world? Either way, Peyton's bare upper torso was making Peter's mind run wild. Peter had to control himself."

And now the Super Bowl will get the added boost of Manning trying to win his second Lombardi Trophy, as if a New York/New Jersey Super Bowl needed extra luster. Just as Eli won a title in his brother’s stadium in Indianapolis two years ago, now Peyton will try to win a title in Eli’s stadium in New Jersey.

This has to mean something. If it doesn't, then Peter will make this mean something.

This week, Gase decided to put a play in the game plan that raised eyebrows in the offensive meeting room. The fourth tight end on the team, Virgil Green, had played in 47 games for the Broncos over his three Denver seasons. He’d never run the ball once. In his 48th game, Sunday, Green had a running play in the plan. “Pretty different,” Manning said. “You know, Belichick prepares them for everything. But a run by Virgil Green was not on their hit chart anywhere.

Question. Adam Gase gives Peyton Manning two plays he can run and then Manning chooses the play the Broncos will run. Does this count as offensive coordinating? I understand there are similar situations on other teams where the quarterback has audible capabilities or capabilities to change the play, but if Gase is sending in two plays every time and Manning chooses one, is he really calling the plays or is Manning calling the plays?

As Manning got the call in his helmet from Gase, the offensive coordinator reminded him: “We need about five yards for a field goal here.” Manning went to the line, saw the big gap over right guard, saw the two safeties deep, and paused his cadence. He went to the line and changed the call.

“All week,” Manning said, “[Gase] said, ‘Don’t be afraid to check to the run if you get that look.’ And when he told me we needed five yards to get in field-goal range, he was saying, ‘If you like the look for the run, check to it, and don’t think twice about it.’ Sure enough, the seas kind of parted there.” Gain of 28.

I have to say that, was a really good play call here...no matter who was responsible for it.

Manning liked Gase’s idea. Inside the 5, on an early down, the Patriots were inclined to bring one or more safeties down close to the line. “Not a good look to run the ball,” said Manning. On 1st-and-goal from the 3 midway through the third quarter, Gase called the play—for a run, not a pass. And when Manning got to the line, he saw the safety cheating down, and so Manning changed the play to a pass. “We got the perfect look,” Manning said. Demaryius Thomas pressed cornerback Alfonzo Dennard toward the corner of the end zone, then broke quickly to the post.
Wide open. Touchdown.

See what I am talking about when I ask whether Gase is really being the offensive coordinator for the Broncos. No disrespect to Gase, but it seems like Manning changes a lot of the calls at the line. My point is that it's always good to have Peyton Manning as the quarterback when you are an offensive coordinator.

You want drama with your Super Bowl?

No, I don't want drama, I want an exciting Super Bowl. Peter, you are the one who wants drama so you can write about it.

I’ll give you drama: Peyton Manning trying to win his second world title and change the debate about his legacy in the first, and probably only, Super Bowl ever to be played in the biggest market in America.

Now that IS drama. Let's beat this storyline into the ground to where it begins to overshadow the fact the best offensive football team and the best defensive football are playing in the Super Bowl. I need drama to overshadow the actual Super Bowl being played.

To sum up: Sherman made the clinching play in the Seahawks’ 23-17 win over the Niners. Sherman writes for The MMQB. I am the editor-in-chief of the site. I am 56. I did not like what he did seconds after the game, screaming answers angrily to questions by FOX’s Erin Andrews.

How dare Richard Sherman play a violent game which involves tackling another person and then within two minutes of the game being over not turn into Mr. Rogers! It's horrendous that Sherman can't immediately change his personality after winning the biggest game of his career.

However, I’m not firing Richard Sherman. I’m not muzzling Richard Sherman. I asked him to write for us for the season, and write he shall do.

Plus, whatever Sherman writes for THE MMQB will probably get more pageviews now that he freaked out on live television and we all know that sports websites only care about hits and advertiser's money, integrity or accuracy of the statements the writer is making be damned. Not that Sherman doesn't write accurately or with integrity, but he gets pageviews and that's really all that matters in the end.

Colin Kaepernick. I know about the three turnovers in the last 11 minutes. That cannot happen, and it did, and it cost San Francisco the game. But the touchdown pass he threw is one of the most amazing throws I’ve seen covering football. Running to his right, Kaepernick elevated and, with both feet off the ground, snapped off a perfect spiral, which went 26 yards in he air and landed perfectly in Anquan Boldin’s hands. An amazing throw. A rope. It would have been great if was standing flat-footed.

I realize I'm biased and you guys are probably tired of hearing this stuff, but imagine if Cam Newton (or even another quarterback that Peter didn't hang out with this summer while eating pizza) had committed three turnovers in the last 11 minutes of the NFC Championship game (Peter did name Kaepernick his "Goat of the Week" so that counts for something). Peter stated Newton had to justify his selection as the #1 overall pick and the Panthers franchise quarterback by beating the Saints in a regular season game, but Colin Kaepernick commits three turnovers in one quarter during the NFC Championship game and it's no big fucking deal in the long run, because hey, he threw one really good touchdown pass. Let's just say I don't think Jay Cutler would get this "no big deal" reaction either from Peter if he committed three turnovers in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game.

He’ll get better and learn when to take chances and when not to.

Oh, so he's just learning! Fantastic. Other young (and old) quarterbacks are constantly on the clock with Peter, and while I recognize Kaepernick is still learning and has been very good so far in his career, I can't help but think Peter wouldn't be willing to overlook three mistakes in one quarter if a guy like Andy Dalton committed them.

Chancellor made an acrobatic fingertip pick on the ball. “You have to know your job in this defense on every play,” said Thomas. “He’s a great student.” But he’d be nothing without the big stick he carries. In the Super Bowl, the collisions between he and Julius Thomas could be legen

Wait for it...

dary.

There we go.

Spoke to the four head coaches named in the past week and explored with each what I consider their biggest tasks, at least immediately.

Let me guess:

Jim Caldwell: Trading for Peyton Manning.

Jay Gruden: He's just excited about coaching the Raiders.

Ken Whisenhunt: Talk Kurt Warner out of retirement and find eight running backs he can rotate through over two years to replace Chris Johnson after the Titans team releases him.

Mike Zimmer: Figure out how Jay Gruden got a job before he did.

Jim Caldwell, Detroit: Fixing Matthew Stafford.

I can pull up any gamefilm and show you how our footwork drills help you. In a nutshell, the feet and eyes work together. If I’m throwing in a particular direction, my footwork is pointing in the same direction—directly at the target. We’ll work on it with Matthew, and he will do them flawlessly.”

But what about the "Throw it up and hope Calvin Johnson can catch it" play? It doesn't require good footwork, so why work on footwork?

Jay Gruden, Washington: Getting the most out of Robert Griffin III.

For the St. Louis Rams, the 2012 trade of the second pick in the draft—which Washington used to select Griffin—is the gift that keeps on giving. Four starting Rams have come from the deal, and there’s still the second pick in the draft this year remaining.

This is supposed to be about what Jay Gruden needs to do to turn the Redskins around and of course Peter finds a way to shoehorn in a mention that the Rams have a ton of draft picks from the Redskins and have a really bright future. Marvin Demoff, the gift that keeps on giving.

I’m not going to try to turn RG3 into Andy Dalton or Drew Brees. He isn’t them. They’re not him. I would be foolish to try to turn RG3 into a pocket passer. It would be foolish. The way he is as a runner, we have to take advantage of that. He strikes fear into defensive coordinators when he runs outside. I’m going to let him be himself.”

Because "Griffin being Griffin" hasn't caused any problems over his first two seasons in the NFL, has it? Maybe Gruden should teach Griffin to slide or actually give him some offensive weapons to work with.

Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee: Developing some quarterback, who may not be on the team yet.

“It’s easy to look at that and say we didn’t develop a quarterback,” Whisenhunt said

It's easy to say this because it's true.

“When Kevin got hurt [both in 2011 and ’12] is when we struggled. And after the Super Bowl, we lost Karlos Dansby, Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle, Calvin Pace, Antonio Smith and some linemen, and that hurt.

What does losing free agents have to do with developing a quarterback? I can see Whisenhunt saying it was hard to win games after losing these free agents, but what does losing (mostly) defensive free agents have to do with whether Whisenhunt developed a quarterback at Arizona or not? This sounds like a flimsy excuse for Whisenhunt not developing a quarterback in Arizona.

The mistake I made when I look back now was changing guys out—we went through too many—and what results from switching them out a lot is you see things that are open, and the new guy misses the read or makes the wrong check. One of the things I’ve learned is the approach of the quarterback has to be almost the gym-rat kind of approach. I had that with Philip Rivers [as San Diego's offensive coordinator] this year, through the roof. He can’t get enough of it. Push me, push me, coach me. That’s him. That’s exactly what Russell Wilson is. So passionate. You are not gonna keep him from being successful.”

So basically what Whisenhunt learned is that he needs to find an established quarterback to work with so he doesn't have to develop a quarterback.

Too early to tell if Jake Locker is Whisenhunt’s guy.

“I haven’t studied him as much as I need to,” Whisenhunt said. “I have seen good, and I have seen bad. No question he has ability, and I have heard good things about him. The question is, can he harness the ability, and can he be consistent?” That’s been the question about Locker since he was a phenom at the University of Washington.

If consistency has been the big question about Locker for seven years now, maybe the answer is already there.

Mike Zimmer, Minnesota: Building a program.

He learned under Bill Parcells while a defensive assistant in Dallas in Parcells’ last head-coaching stop, and he thinks he can learn today from Bill Belichick.

Oh, so he learned from Bill Parcells. So that means Zimmer is going to start his career off exceptionally well and then coast on his reputation for a few decades while being successful, but not as successful as his reputation makes it seem like he should be?

A quarterback would help. Expect the new offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, to mold a high draft choice into the quarterback of the future, with a veteran like Matt Cassel to back up and start if need be.

Good thing the Vikings haven't spent a first round pick recently on a quarterback or else the fact this quarterback wasn't mentioned at all during this passage would mean that player deserves criticism for not living up to his draft billing, but Peter isn't going to provide criticism because he likes that hypothetical first round draft pick quarterback and Peter will focus on the quarterback the Vikings spent $2 million on in the hopes he could replace the first round draft pick quarterback that doesn't exist. Good thing that didn't happen.

This is sort of what I was talking about earlier when discussing how Peter plays favorites with players. Peter harped all year on how Josh Freeman was a waste of $2 million, but he never once mentioned that Freeman was on the Vikings roster because Christian Ponder wasn't living up to his billing as the 12th pick in the 2011 draft. But yeah, other quarterbacks have to constantly justify their draft position or their ability to be a starter in the NFL to Peter, while he doesn't criticize the 12th pick of the 2011 draft at all, but instead criticizes the quarterback the Vikings bring in to make for the incompetence of Ponder.

Greg Bishop, a well-respected New York Times scribe soon to join Sports Illustrated, is covering the Australian Open for the Times and watched the NFL games Monday morning in Australia. I was curious about how the game is viewed there, and asked Greg to file something about it. Here’s his report from Melbourne:

This sounds riveting, completely necessary and not at all like filler put in MMQB to make the column more bloated. I'm just glad MMQB hasn't turned into an overly-long column that gets away from the original premise where Peter King provided inside information on the past week's NFL games. Including things such as "What does Australia think of the NFL," one page of quotes/Tweets/Peter's thoughts and then another entire page of Peter's thoughts seems like inside information on the past week's NFL games to me and not at all away from the original premise for the column.

I asked two gentlemen who shared a table why they were there. Work, naturally. One was Scott Filion, a New England Patriots fan from New Hampshire. The other was Esan Frederick, from Bermuda. Both left their wives upstairs. They would have watched the games regardless.

“It’s early,” Frederick said.

“Too early to drink,” Filion added.

It's never too early to pregame before a football game. Never.

Andrew Poy, a teacher who moved here recently, sat at my table for the second-half of Broncos-Patriots. He loves the San Francisco 49ers, a team he pledged his loyalty to based on Coach Jim Harbaugh and a steely defense.

(coughs) Bandwagon fan. 

He said the game was growing in popularity here, but hurdles remained, mostly related to the time difference. It is difficult to convince friends to watch football at 5 a.m. on Monday mornings.

“I’ll tell you,” he said, “that Anquan Boldin is the toughest bloke in American football.”

Everyone agrees that Anquan Boldin is the toughest guy in the NFL. Everyone agrees the Ravens should have skimped on improving their defense and kept Boldin around during the 2013 season and then they would have won back-to-back Super Bowls.

Fine Fifteen

Still pointless to do in the offseason and Peter even skimps on explaining why he ranks each team in each spot of the "Fine Fifteen," which only serves to underline the pointlessness of the exercise. 

1. Seattle (15-3)

2. Denver (15-3)

I'm guessing Peter will have these teams arranged in this order this week and then flip-flop them once he picks the Broncos to win the Super Bowl despite the fact no games have been played which would give him no logical reason to flip-flop their spots, though it wouldn't shock me if Peter put Seattle #1 in his Fine Fifteen and then picked the Broncos to win the Super Bowl.

5-9. Carolina (12-5), San Diego (10-8), New Orleans (12-6), Green Bay (8-8-1), Philadelphia (10-7).

10-15. Indianapolis (12-6), Kansas City (11-6), Arizona (10-6), Cincinnati (11-6), Pittsburgh (8-8), Chicago (8-8).

But hey, it killed space and made the column seem longer. So that counts for something, right?

Coach of the Week

Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator, Seattle. All season, Quinn has rotated his defensive front intelligently and gotten players like Michael Bennett to accept different roles than they traditionally played. It paid off with a brutish tour-de-force second half against the Niners. The Seahawks forced three turnovers in the final 11 minutes and swarmed around Colin Kaepernick so much that, watching at home, Peyton Manning had to be thinking, “Can we play six offensive linemen against them in the Super Bowl?”

Or Manning was thinking, "It's a good thing I'm a Hall of Fame quarterback and I'm going to look at ton of tape to see if I can recognize what the Seahawks defense is trying to do and adjust the protections in order to make sure I have time to throw the football."

“Tom Brady owes me his house. I’m the reason why he’s married to who he’s married to. I’m the reasons for a lot of that, because they overturned that call.”

—Oakland safety Charles Woodson, on NFL Network’s GameDay First pregame show Sunday, harkening back fondly to the day 12 years ago when the Tuck Rule helped start the New England run of three Super Bowl wins in four years.

Interesting. It's not like Brady didn't win two other Super Bowls and hasn't appeared in two Super Bowls that he didn't win or else it would seem like Charles Woodson is just sour that the Raiders lost the game partially due to the Tuck Rule. 

I'll spare you the wall of text, but Peter then re-prints comments made by Jim Caldwell at his introductory press conference, which basically reads as a biography.

One of the great descriptions I’ve ever heard about a person is velvet and steel, that an individual should be, particularly guys that play this game, like a piece of steel wrapped in velvet. So, on the field you’ll find a hard-nosed, tough, fast, physical individual. But then out in our community, you’ll see them as caring, as kind, as cordial as you’ll ever see a human being. That’s the combination we’re looking for, civility and toughness.”

—New Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, introducing himself at his first press conference with the Lions.

That, folks, is how you tell people who you are, and the kind of people you want on your team.

Caldwell does realize he is coaching the Lions, right? A football team? It's all well and good to want these types of players, but if these velvet and steel football players can't perform then Caldwell won't be a coach for the Lions for long. My opinion of Jim Caldwell is probably well-known around these parts. I'm sure he'll be great in working with Matthew Stafford and I'm glad he wants cordial players on his team, but at some point he has to coach them. There's where his head coaching track record concerns me.

“Why do they call it Happy Hour when what it is, is people drinking and bitching about their jobs? I never got that.”

—Tight ends coach Mike Pope, formerly of the Giants. He was released from his job last week, as you read in my tribute to him above.

I just liked the quote, and I couldn’t find any other place for it, so here it is.

Except that's a misinformed quote that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what Happy Hour is outside of the stereotyped Hollywood version of Happy Hour. But yeah, it's a great quote if you enjoy quotes based on Hollywood stereotypes where the person being quoted is more misinformed than insightful. Happy Hour isn't a way for people to drink and bitch about their jobs. It's called Happy Hour because people mingle and talk over drinks. It's just not just raging alcoholics bitching about their job.

Let the record show that, for the $11 million he earned this season from the Seahawks, and for the first-, third- and seventh-round picks the trade cost Seattle, this was Percy Harvin’s 2013 output:

Seattle games: 18.
Harvin games: 2.
Number of Seattle offensive plays: 1,087.
Number of offensive plays for Harvin: 38.
Number of Harvin offensive touches: 5.
Offensive yards by Harvin: 47.
Harvin touchdowns: 0.


But again, Peter spent multiple weeks eviscerating Josh Freeman for being inactive when all it cost the Vikings to obtain him for the season was $2 million and he is now off their payroll. Harvin's lack of production isn't entirely his fault due to injuries, but I still can't figure out how other players escaped Peter's ire with their underproduction, but Freeman was on Peter's radar every week.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week

2. The AFC media hotel over the weekend was the classic 122-year-old Brown Palace Hotel. Six presidents have stayed here. And The Beatles. And I thought: I have been here before. I was … 32 years ago, when the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News brought me in for a job interview when I worked in Cincinnati. Very cool place, with a big atrium lobby and a grand staircase up from the lobby to all floors. Thirty-two years. That’s the record between stays at a hotel for me.

BUT DID THE COFFEE IMPROVE OVER THE LAST 32 YEARS! THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS ISN'T IT?

3. Traffic in Denver is insane. It’s underrated nationally.

Where are these national rankings of traffic in cities? I'd love to know since Denver is underrated in terms of traffic, where are they currently rated and where should the city be rated? I ask because how am I supposed to know if something is underrated if I don't know where it's rated. Otherwise, it just sounds like Peter is using hyperbole and making things up.

It took me 90 minutes at rush hour Friday afternoon to drive 14 miles from the southern ‘burbs of Denver to downtown. Crawled along as though I was on the Garden State Parkway, headed south for the shore, on a July Friday afternoon at 5.

Peter had difficulty driving one time during this past weekend so obviously if the traffic insane during the weekend of the AFC Championship game it has to be insane every other day also. It's so underrated. I think Minneapolis traffic is overrated. I went there one time and there was no traffic on the streets at 4am. So overrated.

“Will never forget loud curse by John Schneider in GB Draft room when Buffalo took Marshawn Lynch ahead of us in ’07. Now he’s got him.”

—@adbrandt, The MMQB’s Andrew Brandt, after Lynch ran for a pinballing touchdown in the NFC title game. Brandt was a Green Bay executive at the time, and Schneider a club scout.

The Packers ended up with Justin Harrell instead.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about championship weekend:

f. The power of Manning to make the stadium church-like quiet just before any Denver snap. Almost disquieting. If there’s an audible peep, he’ll raise his hands and simmer the loudmouth down.

This is the first and only time this has ever happened. Stunning.

"Manning waved his arms in the air in an attempt to quiet the crowd, but also in an attempt to best the demons Peter knew were inside him. Manning's arms were erect out to the side, showing off his rough but gentle hands, then would fall flaccidly to his side as he barked out another line call as if he were a football dominatrix, lording over everyone else, but also giving an intense feeling in his eyes of longing for you to be a part of him."

i. Robert Ayers, the second draft choice of Josh McDaniels, with a sack of Josh McDaniels’ quarterback.

This must mean something! Peter will immediately think of a narrative.

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

b. Tom Brady overthrowing Julian Edelman on what could have been a touchdown midway through the first quarter. Good play design, good route by Edelman. Just overthrown.

c. Tom Brady, missing too many deep throws.

It's almost like he's human. I'm sure there are calls in New England to trade Brady, release Brady or give Ryan Mallett a chance to start over Brady next year. 

d. Hated the 3rd-and-20, slip screen to Edelman on the last play of the first quarter—with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie out briefly.

Because there are so many 3rd-and-20 plays the Patriots should have used in this situation.

g. The archaic policy in the NFL that has only certain plays reviewed. Every play should be reviewable. Too much at stake to see a clear error on the JumboTron and, because some plays cannot be reviewed, you can’t fix it. And don’t say it’ll make the games interminably long. Each team gets two challenges per game, and a third if they win both of the first two. That’s not excessive. It should happen.

I agree with Peter on this one. What was more irritating when talking specifically about the ball that Bowman ripped out of the Seahawks player's hands is that it was obvious Bowman got possession of the football and any official paying attention should have seen this.

3. I think, barring a successful appeal of his $21,000 fine for unnecessary roughness for a hit to the head and neck of a defenseless receiver (Percy Harvin), Saints safety Rafael Bush played the NFC playoff game against Seattle for, well, let’s figure it out. (The NFL shouldn’t rescind or lower the fine, in my opinion; it’s the classic definition of a high hit to a defenseless receiver.) But here’s the balance sheet:

Payment for divisional game: $23,000.
—NFL fine: $21,000.
—Federal tax on $2,000 remaining: $792 (at 39.6 percent of Bush’s salary).
—FICA on $2,000: $153.
—Louisiana state tax on $2,000: $120 (at 6 percent of Bush’s salary).
 

Total fine, taxes: $22,065
Bush’s take-home pay for the game: $935.

First off, $935 isn't bad for a day's work. This is especially true since Bush is getting this money in addition or as a bonus to his yearly salary. I'm starting to believe fines should be a percentage of a player's pay and not a set amount. Because $21,000 for Rafael Bush is much different than $21,000 for a higher paid safety who can absorb that fine better. And yes, I realize all NFL players get paid the same amount for playoff games, but I'm talking in general as it relates to fines during the NFL season.

5. I think if you wondered why Ken Whisenhunt took the Tennessee job instead of Detroit, remember two things: He might not have gotten the Detroit job, and Tennessee was willing to pay him a premium to accept its job Monday instead of waiting for whatever happened in Detroit. “The Lions were still involved in their process,” Whisenhunt told me, “and they felt strongly about coach [Jim] Caldwell, and Tennessee moved quickly.” That’s code for, “I had better take the job with the offer on the table.” Secondly: I’m not convinced Detroit—with a better overall team than Tennessee, and certainly a better quarterback—is a better job. With Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler having five more prime seasons (if injury free) apiece, that’s four games every year against a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback. In the AFC South, there’s Andrew Luck, and then only question marks.

The idea a head coach takes a job based on the division rivals and how hard the division may be is silly in this age of NFL parity. Jeff Fisher had the choice between the Rams and the Dolphins a few years ago. He chose the Rams, but now the NFC West is the toughest division in the NFL, while the AFC East has the Patriots and some question marks after that. I don't know why Whisenhunt chose the Titans job over the Lions job, but any coach that chooses a team based on the division that team is in doesn't seem so smart to me. The NFL is known for parity and the AFC South could be strong in two seasons.

9. I think the greatest statement in Inappropriate Parking Lot Behavior History was issued Friday, on the heels of news that Jets tight end Kellen Winslow was cited for public lewdness and possession of synthetic marijuana in New Jersey after a woman in a Target parking lot alleged to police that she saw Winslow with his penis out in the car. His publicist, Denise White, said: “Kellen pulled over to a parking lot to smoke what he thought at the time was a legal substance. He changed his clothes in his vehicle as not to smell like smoke when he returned home. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate that took place, and if there was police would have investigated further and charged Kellen, which they did not....Dom Cosentino of NJ.com reported that two open jars of vaseline were found on the console of his vehicle by police, and when an investigating officer approached the car, “Winslow sprang to an upright position.”

It sounds like Winslow was already in an upright position if you know what I mean. But hey, Winslow is a soldier and a soldier has to do what he has to do when working on the front lines of battle.

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

e. Great work by my former colleague, Jeffri Chadiha, now with ESPN, on his E:60 story on Niners linebacker NaVorro Bowman searching for the father he vaguely knew, and the family he never knew existed. Really good story-telling.

Not sure this is a non-football thought since it pertains to a football player.

h. Darren Sharper’s in trouble. The former safety was suspended by NFL Network without pay after being charged with suspicion of rape in California. And Saturday, the New Orleans police said he’s suspected in a sexual assault there. From my experience with Sharper—all good—that’s something I never saw coming.

I'm glad Peter cleared that up. I wouldn't expect Peter to tell us that based on his experience with Darren Sharper he completely expects that Sharper would rape someone.

The Adieu Haiku

Peyton v Sherman.
Big contrast: Erin Andrews
doesn’t fear Manning.

Because Erin Andrews only "fears" big, angry black men. That doesn't sound slightly racist at all coming from Peter. At least Richard Sherman doesn't have a history of mooning people, though in Manning's defense he did have to run extra laps.


3 comments:

Ericb said...

You might have a future in writing Peter King slash fiction: Peter/Manning, Peter/Favre, Manning/Peter/Favre threesome, maybe more. Enjoy the nightmares

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, any future writing Peter King fiction involving threesomes is no future at all.

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