Tuesday, December 2, 2014

5 comments MMQB Review: Super Bowl Preview, But Maybe Not Edition

Peter King was excited that Jay Gruden showed off his leadership abilities by making comments that threw Robert Griffin under the bus in last week's MMQB. He also clarified that while he was picking the Ravens to lose to the Saints, this didn't mean he thought the Ravens weren't the better team. I'm sure that made more sense in Peter's head. This week Peter talks about the Patriots-Packers game being a Super Bowl preview (so this means the Patriots' dynasty ISN'T over?), is giddy that Johnny Manziel made his first appearance in an NFL game, admits to being used as a conduit for a smear campaign, and somehow manages to compare Robert Griffin to Ryan Leaf. No agenda for Peter King though. Not at all.

Three months of the 2014 season down, two to go. Two months from tonight, in Arizona, Super Bowl XLIX will be played. There can’t have been a better Super Bowl preview than the game played in Green Bay between the Patriots and the Packers. So even. So well-played.

The NFL should just stop the season right now and make sure these two teams play in the Super Bowl. That's what the people want and that's what the people should get.

Meeting for the first time. Brady is 37. Rodgers turns 31 tomorrow. AFC meets NFC once every four years. That means, at least in this tableau, we’ll never see this again, unless Brady pulls a George Blanda and plays until he’s 45—or plays somewhere else.

So even if these two teams meet in the Super Bowl it won't be the same because it's not at Lambeau Field.

From late in the second quarter, when the Patriots pulled to within 16-14, I got the feeling this was going to come down to the end.

Peter King with his predictive skills! It's a close game late in the second quarter, perhaps this game will be close all the way until the end. I bet Peter wrote this down in a notebook so he could be sure to mention he thought this would be a close game. Gregg Easterbrook would be proud.

And the longer the game went, I was convinced that’s how it would go. And if we were lucky, maybe we’d get to see it again … two months from now, when the Patriots, if it happened, would play in Glendale for the first time since Tyree Velcro Sunday, when the 18-0 season went up in smoke in the last Super Bowl in Arizona.

Two things:

1. If the Super Bowl isn't played at Lambeau Field then it doesn't matter.

2. I thought the Cardinals were going to be playing in the Super Bowl in their home stadium? You know, Bruce Arians can win a Super Bowl with Drew Stanton. That whole thing. It's a thing that really could have happened. Is Peter giving up on that one so easily?

We’re getting way ahead of ourselves.

Yes, because "we" are writing this column then "we" are most definitely getting ahead of ourselves. Not Peter, "we" are.

We start in Lambeau. Green Bay sprinted to a 13-0 lead. New England got touchdowns from its typical bargain-basement types, Brandon Bolden and Brandon LaFell, to rally to within 16-14. 

Apparently the 3 year contract for $9 million received by LaFell is considered "bargain basement" by Peter King. At this point, he's just ignoring the truth and trying to make the narrative fit how he wants it to fit. LaFell was a great signing, but he's not a "bargain basement" type of player. The narrative says the Patriots always get contributions from unknown players, so Peter has to push this narrative even in the face of it being false.

On fourth-and-18, Belichick—rightly—sent out the field-goal team. Stephen Gostkowski, a worthy heir to Adam Vinatieri, wasn’t worthy here. Wide right.

Gregg Easterbrook would argue the football gods punished Belichick for not going for it in this situation. After all, if he had gone for it then it would have told the Patriots that Belichick was very serious about winning this football game. Alas, the football gods chortled as the kick went wide right when obviously the Patriots should have gone for it on fourth-and-18.

Green Bay ball. One first down was all Rodgers needed. Seemed easy enough, until it got to be third-and-four, with 2:28 left, at the Packer 43. New England was out of timeouts. This was it. Make a play, Rodgers kneels for three snaps and it’s over. Don’t make it, and you give it back to one of the best quarterbacks of our lives, pacing the New England sidelines, dying for one last chance.

Literally dying. Tom Brady passed away because he wanted one last chance. Bill Belichick will refuse to attend the funeral for Brady because he wasn't tough enough to not die during a game and every NFL writer on Twitter will mention "that's so Belichick" as he orders to Patriots players to attend practice rather than Brady's funeral.

Once clear of Hightower, a step or two past him, Rodgers zinged the ball toward Cobb, maybe two yards past the first-down line. Now Devin McCourty came off Adams and joined Ryan in coverage of Cobb. But McCourty was just a split-second too late to break it up.

The picture you are painting, Peter. It makes an Ansel Adams picture look like a nine year old child's drawing created using water colors bought from Michael's.

What do you remember when the ball’s coming toward you?

What kind of question is this, Peter? What's he remember? Cobb probably remembers that he needs to catch the fucking ball because the game will be over if he does.

Were you feeling the coverage on you—physically? Or do you just know they’re there?

Another tough question. I think Cobb felt the coverage more meta-physically. Perhaps 33% literally, 33% ethereally, and 34% from memory. Sort of how Peter feels the presence of Brett Favre wherever he goes. 

“Bleep!’’ Brady said on the New England sideline. Or something to that effect. He said it three times.

Important to know when telling this story.

One team made the play. The plays, actually. The other didn’t.

But that doesn’t mean in two months the same team will make them if they meet again. It was that close Sunday in Green Bay. It was that good.

So Peter means because the Packers made enough plays to win this game, this means if these two teams meet again in the Super Bowl that the Packers won't automatically make all the plays to win that game too? What? This is completely new information to me. I thought because the Packers won on Sunday then Tom Brady and the Patriots would never beat the Packers no matter how many times they played them. 

Five thoughts on the Rice verdict.

I was out of pocket Friday when Judge Barbara Jones issued her ruling that Ray Rice should be reinstated immediately.

We all know that Peter is at his most dangerous when he is out of the pocket, writing columns on the run.

But after I read her 17-page ruling, I was struck by the common sense of it,

"I'm shocked, no I am struck, by the fact there are other human beings who have the same amount of knowledge and common sense that I have. This Barbara Jones must be a special judge to have such common sense. Why haven't we heard of her before?"

1. How could the NFL possibly think that, after giving Rice a two-game ban to start, the continuation of a ban that reached 11 games was in any way fair? We all heard Roger Goodell say he got it wrong when he gave Rice two games back in July. Okay. Two games bad. Six games good. What is the possible justification for extending the ban to 11—and, if Jones hadn’t ruled when she did, maybe longer? The facts are these: Goodell saw the video of Rice dragging the limp body of his fiancĂ©e out of the Atlantic City elevator, then heard from him that she got that way because he made physical contact with her in said elevator. Goodell said he never saw the second video, the one of Rice making contact with Janay Palmer (now his wife).

Don't worry, after getting this story wrong two or three times, Peter is TOTALLY going to get back to figuring out whether Roger Goodell lied about seeing the elevator videotape before making his ruling on Rice's suspension. As soon as Peter gets done being out of pocket, he'll get right on this.

2. Rice’s future.

I spoke to two NFL general managers over the weekend about Rice, neither of whom is interested in signing him but who believe Rice will be in some team’s training camp in 2015...Having said all that, this GM did admit that Adrian Peterson would be different, because Peterson is closer to a premier player now than Rice. For the football advantages, the headaches with Peterson in your locker room would be more palatable than with Rice. I think it’s a long shot that Rice signs with any team before the end of the season, and as I said on NBC last night, there’s a slim chance it would be New Orleans and much less in Indianapolis, the two teams mentioned by Adam Schefter as sniffing around Rice.

Other than the Saints being the perfect location for Rice, I bet Ryan Grigson won't sign Rice simply because the fun of acquiring a running back is giving up a first round draft pick in order to acquire that running back. There's no fun in signing Rice without a first round draft pick being involved.

4. The judge in the Rice case didn’t accuse the league of any wrongdoing, but there was one striking piece of evidence she uncovered that has overtones of the Bountygate investigation. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk beat me to this over the weekend. Jones said in her report that Goodell called a meeting after the more ominous TMZ video aired in September, “at which they looked back at the notes of the June 16 meeting [with Rice] and ‘made sure all of us had the same recollection,’ ” according to Jones. That reminded me (and Florio) of the league finding fault with New Orleans coach Sean Payton for “instructing assistants to make sure our ducks are in a row.” Those sound like the same thing to me. They sound like each side is trying to get its stories straight.

Roger Goodell is offended that anyone thinks he saw the videotape before making his ruling on a two game suspension for Ray Rice. Goodell can't control EVERYTHING that happens in the league office, well except for those things he insists on having absolute control over like player punishments. But in this case he didn't know about the videotape, so let's all move on and forget about it all. Look! Something shiny! (Peter King runs and looks for that something shiny)

Finally on this topic: I quoted a source in July as saying Janay Rice made a moving case for leniency for Ray Rice during the June 16 meeting. My source was incorrect.

Not to kick Peter while he's down, but I think it was pretty well known back in the summer that Peter's source was wrong. It's probably that same source that gave Peter an indication the Ravens were going to allow Joe Flacco to leave in free agency after winning the Super Bowl.

I think I will kick Peter a little bit while he's down. I have stated in the past that Peter essentially reports what he is told, and seems to be a mouthpiece for whoever is giving him that information. He accepts what he is told at face value and doesn't seem to question much. It seems to me that Peter was clearly used in a smear campaign by the NFL. Peter didn't just quote a source in that July column on the Rice suspension, he essentially explained the reason for the two game suspension was due to Janay Rice begging for leniency and various other statements Janay Rice made to Goodell. Now it turns out that's not true and Peter seems perfectly content being used as a mouthpiece for the purposes of others.

According to Judge Jones’ report, Janay Rice was asked only one question during the hearing—how she felt—and she cried and said, “I’m just ready for it to be over.” I regret the error, and should have vetted the story further before publishing the account of one source.

I don't know, that sort of makes it worse in my mind. Why would Roger Goodell and the NFL have Janay Rice come to the hearing if they were only going to ask her one question in the presence of her husband, who had allegedly struck her? Oh yes, that's right, because Roger Goodell is an idiot who wants complete control over player punishment, but without all that needless bullshit like actually understanding the nuance and personal feelings involved with the crime. He seems to think in a domestic violence situation that the victim will tell the truth about his/her relationship with the accused. Goodell was over his head, but he lied and misled the public about what he knew and when, but that doesn't matter because it's all forgotten now.

Watching the end of the Bengals-Bucs game Sunday, it looked like Cincinnati was on its way to a loss. The Bengals were up 14-13, but with 26 seconds left, Bucs quarterback Josh McCown completed a 21-yard pass to Louis Murphy that advanced the ball to the Cincinnati 20. Now all the Bucs had to do was let the clock run down a few more seconds, spike the ball and summon the kicker, Patrick Murphy, for a 37-yard field goal on a calm weather afternoon in Tampa. The Bucs gathered at the line, and suddenly the red challenge flag flew from the Cincinnati sideline. Coach Marvin Lewis had thrown it. One problem: You can’t throw the challenge flag inside of two minutes of either half.

My first thought: Marvin is on the Competition Committee. Not many people in the game know the rules better. He knows you can’t throw the challenge flag inside the two-minute warning.

Then what could this evil genius be up to then?

The Bucs had had 12 men on the offensive side of the ball on the pass play to Murphy. Oniel Cousins came in as an extra offensive lineman/tight end, and rookie wideout Robert Herron, whom Cousins was replacing, just didn’t leave the field.

Now for the strange thing: Bill Leavy’s officiating crew missed the 12 men.

Is it strange that an NFL officiating crew missed this penalty?

I still find it amazing that the four officials on the field assigned to count bodies before every play didn’t have the Bucs with 12 men on the field—and may not have had them with 12 men on the second play either, if no Bucs player exited or entered the field before the snap of the ball.

Clearly Peter King hasn't watched some of the officiating in the NFL. It's the end of the game here and the officials are probably more worried about other penalties and making sure the ball gets spotted correctly and quickly. Therefore, counting the players on the field didn't seem important to them.

The St. Louis cops are ticked off at the Rams. The Rams hosted 50 business owners and clean-up-crew workers from Ferguson at the 52-0 rout of the Raiders—people who’d had their businesses torched or ruined in the wake of the announcement that officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the death of Michael Brown.

But five players touched a nerve before the game, entering the field with their hands raised in the familiar Hands up, don’t shoot mode of Ferguson protesters.

The SLPOA stressed that forensics tests didn’t support the claim that Brown held his hands up. After the game, one of the Rams in the demonstration, wideout Kenny Britt, said the players weren’t taking sides. “Not at all,’’ Britt said. “We just wanted to let the community know we support them.”

Well yeah, that's exactly taking a side since the "Hands up, don't shoot" pose is a form of protest. I wouldn't expect Peter to push the point, especially with a Rams player, since Peter tends to only ask softball questions. It's just that pose is widely seen as a form of protest in support of Michael Brown. If Britt wanted to let the community know he supports them then that's fine. Just own how you are supporting the community and don't act like you aren't taking sides.

The officers said they would demand a “very public apology” from the Rams and the NFL today.

The officers should have much better things to worry about rather than demanding a "very public apology" from athletes for exercising their opinion.

Cleveland’s backup quarterback might not be Cleveland’s backup quarterback after coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan look at the tape from Buffalo today. They’ll like what they saw on Manziel’s first drive, an eight-play, 80-yard, no-huddle Manziel-being-Manziel touchdown drive. But then Manziel fumbled on the next series under a heavy rush, and overall, his 13 snaps over 12 minutes were a mixed bag. What else would you expect against a front seven that brings constant pressure, after not playing for two months? That’s why I’d be very surprised if Manziel wasn’t given a shot to start Sunday at home against Indianapolis.

What Peter really means here is that he REALLY, REALLY HOPES the Browns choose to start Manziel because it will give him more to write about in MMQB. So Peter thinks Manziel should start, probably based mostly on selfish reasons in order to get a good story.

At 7-5, Cleveland can afford maybe one loss down the stretch. Hoyer, over his last four games, is a 53-percent passer with one touchdown and six interceptions. As good as he was in the first half of the season in solidifying Cleveland’s shaky offense without Josh Gordon, he hasn’t been good enough over the past month, or in the two games since Gordon came back. Manziel should get a shot, and now.

Compare Peter's statements here to his statements just a few weeks ago when he was shocked, SHOCKED, that the Browns had not had contract negotiations with Brian Hoyer since early Summer or late Spring. Peter's opinion changes dramatically in a month's time. One month he is amazed the Browns haven't had contract extension talks with Brian Hoyer, and the next month he's advocating that Brian Hoyer be benched for Johnny Manziel. This is why Peter King is a sportswriter and not running an NFL team. It's his job to react, regardless of a lack of consistency in his reactions.

McCoy will start against the Rams Sunday. “Yeah, yeah,’’ said coach Jay Gruden. “Colt competed. There are some things I wish we would have done differently, play calls and execution-wise, but I feel like he competed and did a nice job out there.’’ McCoy, after a slow start, threw for 392 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. In three games this year, McCoy has completed an eye-opening 75.3 percent of his throws, for a passer rating of 113.5. I still think Washington needs to play Griffin before the end of the year. They either need to see more of him before deciding whether to keep him—or, if they’ve already decided to jettison him, showcase him in a positive light so he can fetch a better return in trade.

Or possibly the Redskins have seen enough of Griffin and don't want to ruin any trade value he may have by putting him back on the field. Once Griffin goes to the Rams, I imagine Peter will like Griffin a lot more and possibly regret comparing him to Ryan Leaf (still to come in this MMQB).

There’s a reason to watch Dolphins-Jets tonight.

Oh, well I guess I watch the game if Peter King says there is a reason to watch.

One: It’s always good to see Cameron Wake play. One of the most underappreciated defensive players in the league.

Yes, if only "we" paid more attention to Cameron Wake then he wouldn't be so under appreciated. Unfortunately, "we" don't talk about Wake enough, so he doesn't get the attention he deserves. Peter thinks someone (but not him, of course, any talk about Wake would take up room normally reserved for drooling over J.J. Watt) should change this.

Then Peter has Luke Tasker, who plays in the CFL, write a little bit about the Grey Cup. To Peter's credit, he is trying to gain attention for the CFL. Unfortunately, I know nothing about the CFL and Tasker's team lost.

Fine Fifteen

1. Green Bay (9-3).
2. New England (9-3).

I'm surprised that Peter didn't have New England above Green Bay because he thought the Patriots were a better team, but it's just that the Packers happened to win this game. That's the sort of reasoning he used last week to pick the Saints to beat the Ravens on "Monday Night Football."

No one quite believes how fast Jordy Nelson is until he buzzes past a very fast corner like Darrelle Revis. That’s one takeaway from Sunday’s deserved 26-21 nail-biter. Another one: Never thought when I walked out of CenturyLink Field on opening night, after the Pack’s 36-16 loss to Seattle, that I’d have Green Bay No. 1 in the Fine Fifteen in Week 13, or in any week this year.

This shows just how reactive and knee-jerk Peter King is in MMQB. After one game, the opening game of the year, he thought there was no way the Packers could ever be the best team in the NFL. Granted, one game had been played in the entire NFL season, but Peter had already written off the Packers as ever being the best team in the NFL during the 2014 season. I'm not sure it gets more knee-jerk then that.

4. Philadelphia (9-3). Best thing about Mark Sanchez’s game on Thursday: one negative play. Zero lost fumbles, zero interceptions, one sack taken. Also liked his 28 rushing yards. Just okay throwing the ball, though.

Really? 20 of 29 for 217 yards and one touchdown is "just okay"? That's a typical game for Peter's hero and guy who he wonders ever feels any pressure, Russell Wilson. I don't think Peter would call Wilson "just okay" when he puts those type of numbers up.

5. Seattle (8-4). Seahawks are on the kind of run-of-schedule that reminds me when I used to cover the Giants for Newsday,and Bill Parcells would say the reason the NFC East teams were always so well-prepared for the playoffs would be the gauntlet they’d have to survive in the regular season... I think they have a good chance to make the kind of noise the Giants made as a 2007 roadie through the playoffs.

The Patriots-Packers game has the chance to be a Super Bowl preview, but Peter also thinks that the Seahawks could make it to the Super Bowl from the NFC. I realize Peter isn't actively making predictions, but it's sort of funny to me that he has the Seahawks making a Super Bowl run on the road like the 2007 Giants in the same column he has the Patriots and Packers meeting again in the Super Bowl.

8. San Diego (8-4). Remember the 37-0 loss in Miami, making the Chargers a feeble 5-4 entering their bye? Remember how we all wrote them off?

Nope, I remember YOU wrote them off, but I don't remember writing the Chargers off. In fact, I remember Peter writing this:

6. I think we can pretty safely say this morning that the Philip Rivers for MVP campaign has gone pffffffffft. It’s over.

And then I wrote this:

This is also an example of where Peter isn't looking at the entirety of the situation. So if Philip Rivers' MVP campaign is over, does that mean his playing outstanding during the last half of the season wouldn't push him right back in the MVP race? Of course not, but Peter is just making a knee-jerk reaction.

Yep. Peter's massive ego and apparently belief that he speaks for everyone who reads MMQB allows him to conclude that because HE wrote the Chargers off every other person wrote the Chargers off too. Peter has Bill Simmons Disease where when he's wrong then "we" were wrong, even though it was Peter making the inaccurate statement.

Well, they continued the tightrope walk back into goodness. They’re in the playoffs if the season was 12 games long.

And if the season were one game and there were no other teams in the NFL other than the Packers and Seahawks, then Seattle would have won back-to-back Super Bowls.

10. Arizona (9-3).Not saying the sky is falling or anything, but Drew Stanton is struggling mightily, and they’ve lost two straight with him playing.

I'm not saying "we" were wrong about the Cardinals, but they can't win a Super Bowl with Stanton as their quarterback. Not now, not ever. I still it is hilarious that Peter let that comment by Bruce Arians go unchallenged. It doesn't even take a hostile follow-up question to ask why Arians seemed so deluded.

T-15. Buffalo (7-5). That defensive front is downright scary. Ask Hoyer and Manziel.

Okay, I will Peter! (goes to look for Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel's phone number)

T-15. Baltimore (7-5).Yes, John Harbaugh, that was pass interference, absolutely, on Anthony Levine that led to the crushing winning TD.

By the way, there are 16 teams in the "Fine Fifteen." It's bad enough Peter can't even put one player as the Offensive/Defensive/Special Teams Player of the Week, but he can't even put only 15 teams in his "Fine Fifteen." 

(Still searching for Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer's phone number, I know I had it somewhere)

Offensive Players of the Week
(With apologies to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who deserves better after throwing six touchdown passes off the bench against Tennessee—but I chose two players here who were huge in big wins for their teams in Week 13.)

(Bengoodfella throws up his hands wondering why this award wouldn't go to one of the best offensive players of the week. That is the name of the award after all.)

Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay. He’s had better statistical days. But Rodgers, against a team that won seven straight and allowed less than 20 points per game in the process, had eight significant possessions—possessions when they were trying to score in the 26-21 win over New England at Lambeau Field, in what Mike Florio called Super Bowl 48.5. 

Until the Seahawks make their run to the Super Bowl like the 2007 Giants did.

Defensive Players of the Week
J.J. Watt, defensive end, Houston. He could—should—win this every week. (Except, maybe, when Houston has a bye.) Against Tennessee, he had his typical game of greatness: two sacks, six quarterback hits, four quarterback pressures, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a one-yard touchdown reception, when he lined up at tight end and leaked out of the formation. We are watching an amazing career unfold, and we should appreciate it every week.

Yes, "we" should appreciate watching J.J. Watt's career unfold. Why don't "we"? More importantly, I look forward to sportswriters spending the next decade trying to top each other with "How great is J.J. Watt" stories that essentially will become fan-fiction at some point.

Special Teams Players of the Week

Adam Thielen, wide receiver; Jasper Brinkley, linebacker, Minnesota. They blocked two Brad Nortman punts in the first 21 minutes, and both were returned for touchdowns—the first by Thielen himself and the next by Everson Griffen. How amazing is this: Minnesota hadn’t blocked a punt and scored a touchdown on it in 28 years … and the Vikings did it twice in the first quarter and a half Sunday.

Yeah, it's fucking amazing. Consider me impressed. I hate life.

(Continues searching for Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer's number, because Peter asked me to ask them a question and it's only polite if I do so)

“Days like today are what I live for. Literally. This is my life.”
—J.J. Watt, after another performance we just shake our heads at: two sacks, a touchdown catch, and a bunch of other flora and fauna you already read about in Defensive Players of the Week.

That's pretty sad if you think about it. If J.J. Watt literally lives to play football, then this doesn't bode well for his life after football. I guess I'm supposed to be impressed, but unless Watt is using hyperbole, it sounds like he would be the kind of athlete who gets depressed once he retires.

“Based on what I’ve seen, he would not be my quarterback next year.”
—Ron Jaworski, video-aholic, on the Mike & Mike show on ESPN Radio, on Robert Griffin III.

I feel like I can't ever read Ron Jaworski's opinion without remembering that he said Colin Kaepernick had a chance to be the best quarterback ever. It ruins his opinion for me. 

Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week

The Philadelphia coach, on either the difficulty of preparing for a Thursday game on a short week, or the tradition of Thanksgiving Day football, which the Eagles experienced against Dallas:
“Just tell us when we’re going to play. We don’t really read much into it or wax nostalgic. It’s not like we’re going to have a cornucopia and a turkey on the sideline. We’re just going to go play football.”

Brilliance. I can't find Johnny Manziel or Brian Hoyer's number to ask them how scary the Bills defensive front is, but maybe Peter should suggest I give Chip Kelly a call to tell him how brilliant I find him to be. Now if I could just find Chip Kelly's phone number. I'm terrible with phone numbers. Peter should just ask my wife and she will tell him. 

This is one of those statistics that doesn't really mean as much as it sounds like it means. Basically, the correlation between Bruce Miller playing 40% of the snaps and the 49ers winning games is really a correlation between the 49ers running the football (which tends to happen more often when they are winning already and Miller is naturally on the field more as a fullback when the 49ers are running the football more often) and winning football games. 

Pelini was fired by Nebraska after going 9-3 this year. That makes sense, the same way it made sense after Frank Solich went 58-19 at Nebraska and got fired.

Peter's lack of college football knowledge shows through here. Bo Pelini is not comparable to Frank Solich. Solich was 58-19 in six seasons with one Big 12 title, three Big 12 North titles, one National Championship appearance, and was 2-3 in bowl games with appearances in the Rose and Fiesta Bowl. Bo Pelini was 66-27 in seven seasons had zero Big 12 titles, three Big 12 North titles and was 3-3 in bowl games with the most prestigious bowl game he took Nebraska to being the Gator Bowl. This doesn't factor in the instances where Pelini acted like an ass on/off the field or bad mouthed Cornhuskers fans on tape. It sounds crazy to fire Pelini, but there isn't a comparison to firing Solich. Firing Solich may have been a mistake, while firing Pelini is a sign the Nebraska Athletic Director thought the program was stagnant, especially since the football team had lost four games every single year Pelini had been the head coach. 

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 13:

e. Cameron Jordan, the Saints’ precocious defensive end, with a deflection and interception of Ben Roethlisberger. Tremendous athletic play.

Jordan is 25 years old. Don't call him "precocious." I have a feeling that Peter doesn't even know what this word means. The word means "to exhibit mature qualities at a young age" and Cameron Jordan is an NFL defensive end, which means he isn't too young to be intercepting passes nor too young to deflect passes. If Cameron Jordan were 13 years old, it would be different, but Peter insists on giving Jordan child-like qualities for some reason.

g. Tre Mason, the 75th pick in the draft, playing like the fifth, sprinting 89 yards for a touchdown against Oakland.

The Rams are a team on the rise!

i. Adam Schefter reporting that Ray Rice has drawn interest from four teams about playing this season, including Indianapolis and New Orleans.

I'm not entirely sure why he would like Schefter making this report, but there are so many things about Peter I have given up understanding.

o. Former Steeler Keenan Lewis sniffing out a Pittsburgh flea-flicker and preventing Ben Roethlisberger from hitting an open Antonio Brown for a touchdown.

And I just read something in "Sports Illustrated" about how offensive genius Todd Haley had started cutting out trick plays and going with more basic plays the Steelers could successfully run.

q. The jet-sweep touchdown by Tavon Austin. When the Rams drafted him in 2013, this kind of make-’em-miss sweep is exactly what GM Les Snead had in mind.

The pay-off in making this draft pick is now complete. No further criticism should be warranted.

r. Beautiful interception by Cleveland’s Jim Leonhard (has he played on every team in the league, or is it just me?) off Kyle Orton.

I don't know. I'll call Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel and see if they can ask Leonhard.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 13:

a. The Cardinals, down 17-0 before Georgia Domians were all in their seats.

A defensive-dependent team with a defense that has suffered several injuries to important players with a ball-control quarterback and no running game...who saw this coming? (raises hand)

k. Why in the world did Andy Dalton, down 10-0, throw a vital ball into double coverage at Tampa?

Yeah, but he was super-clutch and led a comeback. That has to count for something, doesn't it?

3. I think there will be much discussion and little action about playoff reseeding, because owners are too in love with the guaranteed home playoff game for winning a division. But—and this is a significant but—what could change that is a major embarrassment. Such as, let’s say, 12-4 Seattle having to play at 6-10 Atlanta in a Wild Card game. Even the owner most in love with the current system will have to admit this shouldn’t happen.

Playing devi's advocate, what if the Falcons beat the Seahawks in this game? Would that change anyone's mind about playoff reseeding?

4. I think Jemele Hill of ESPN wrote a great story in crafting Janay Rice’s words. Janay Rice comes across as smart and strong. The two things from her piece that were most interesting to me:

On the public perception of her: “I still find it hard to accept being called a ‘victim.’ I know there are so many different opinions out there about me—that I’m weak, that I’m making excuses and covering up abuse—and that some people question my motives for staying with Ray. However, I’m a strong woman and I come from a strong family. Never in my life have I seen abuse, nor have I seen any woman in my family physically abused. I have always been taught to respect myself and to never allow myself to be disrespected, especially by a man. Growing up, my father used to always tell my sister and I, ‘We don’t need a man to make us, if anything it’s the man who needs us.’ ”

It's interesting only in that a woman who was abused or is currently abused by her spouse or boyfriend would be saying these same things. An abused spouse would deny continued abuse is occurring, explain how they are a strong woman (thereby proving it by making the decision to stay with the abusing spouse), and say she would never allow herself to be disrespected. Anyone who has met or worked around abused women know this to be true. Janay Rice's statements are interesting, but not in the way Peter thinks they are.

6. I think I hope I’m wrong about this, because Robert Griffin III seems like a good person. But I can’t help but conjure comparisons to Ryan Leaf.

Yep, you are very wrong about this. Even during his worst season, Griffin has not been as bad as Ryan Leaf was in his best season. But hey, Peter has to make silly, knee-jerk comparisons. It's probably in his contract that he do so.

Griffin has already had more success than Leaf had in his career, but there are a few things that are a little too close for comfort:

Leaf was picked second overall in 1998 after the Chargers traded up to get him. Griffin was picked second overall in 2012 after Washington traded up to get him.

This is more of a coincidence than it is a reflection on how Griffin is like Ryan Leaf on the football field. Peter should be smarter than this.

Leaf labored in the shadow of a perfect Colts quarterback picked one spot before him, Peyton Manning. Griffin labors in the shadow of a perfect Colts quarterback picked one spot before him, Andrew Luck.

Yet again, a coincidence that has nothing to do with Griffin's performance on the field compared to Ryan Leaf's performance on the field. 

Leaf helped get one coach (June Jones) fired, and was on his second (Mike Riley) when San Diego yanked him from the lineup in year three in favor of Moses Moreno, then released him after his third season. Griffin helped get one coach (Mike Shanahan) fired and was on his second (Jay Gruden) when Washington yanked him from the lineup in year three in favor of Colt McCoy. After the season with Griffin, who knows?

Bad teams get head coaches fired. It's not always a reflection on the quarterback. Did Peyton Manning get Jim Mora fired after the 2001 season?

But I want to be fair about this: Griffin, if he never plays another snap, has had a far superior career to Leaf.

"Here's a direct comparison between two players. I want to be fair though, so ignore my direct comparison between these two players because the comparisons are just coincidences."

Griffin was Offensive Rookie of the Year and has won 13 games, with a 90.8 rating. Leaf won four NFL games, with a 50.0 rating.

So stating Griffin "conjures up comparisons to Ryan Leaf" and "there are a few things that are a little too close for comfort" are completely off-base statements as compared to their performance on the field? So basically, they aren't like each other at all and there should be zero comparisons of Robert Griffin to Ryan Leaf made?

7. I think, to answer the questions of many from the other day about three NFC-only games on Thanksgiving, the NFL planned the holiday to be a rivalry day: Bears-Lions, Eagles-Cowboys, Seahawks-49ers. To the many who criticized the nightcap because it’s not a “natural” rivalry like the others (and I got a lot of that on Twitter), I would say there’s a good chance the Niners and Seahawks are the best current rivalry in football. I mean, today.

Oh, so the Seahawks and 49ers aren't the best current rivalry twenty years from now? What about being the best current rivalry 20 years ago? So by "current rivalry" you mean "today." Thanks for clearing that up. How precocious of Peter.

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

a. Smart column by the great Bob Ryan about what to do on the baseball Hall of Fame ballot with suspected PED users. Some lessons in here for football too.

It was a good column, but there is already a plaque in the Hall of Fame explaining the PED era in baseball. So "what to do" has sort of already been done.

f. Notre Dame … I do not understand.

It seems there are quite a few things you don't understand, Peter. That's okay and thanks for being specific in this instance.

i. Coffeenerdness: Personal record for espresso shots in one day: nine. I set it Sunday. Hey, it’s a long season.

Geez, calm the fuck down, man.

j. Beernerdness: My favorite three beers from the Thanksgiving holiday:

Zoe, an American Amber Ale, by Maine Beer Company. So I’m a sucker for their beer; it’s all so good. I liked the Pale Ale a little more because it’s not as dark, but this Amber has a distinctive wintry taste.

Oh, so the Pale Ale is NOT a dark beer. The name certainly fooled me. I would say the Pale Ale is currently one of the least dark beers. I mean, today. 

Who I Like Tonight

Miami 27, New York Jets 12. Athletes are funny people sometimes. You saw the winless Raiders, in their primetime showcase 11 days ago, legitimately beat the Chiefs, who were playing for something.

It seems Peter has Bill Simmons Syndrome where he uses the word "legitimately" in situations where it isn't necessary. So the Raiders didn't illegitimately beat the Chiefs? It was a totally legit victory?

The Adieu Haiku
You see Belichick? Rodgers-whispering, postgame:
“See you in two months.”

You don't believe Peter that this is what Belichick said? Just ask Belichick, he will tell you.


franc said...

maybe he meant "currently" like "this very instant", but then changed his mind and decided it was the best rivalry for the entire day.

Anonymous said...

Peter should definitely stay in the pocket. He's not a good scrambler and isn't very good at improvisation.

What did he even mean by that? Does he call his house his pocket? Or maybe he write columns on his phone and it autocorrected from something else?

Snarf said...

Ndamukong suh was the second overall pick, just like leaf...

How could we be so blind?!?

Chris said...

Anon it must have been a typo. Peter was clearly staring at someone who was holding up the line in Starbucks by fidgeting in his pocket, thus delaying Peter's Starbucks junkie fix he desperately needs.

Bengoodfella said...

Franc, it wouldn't shock me if Peter had done that. It's like the time he said Derek Jeter was the best player of his generation, then wanted to clear up by his "generation" he meant the last 25 years.

Anon, I've heard that term used before Peter used it. It's supposed to mean he will be out of contact or not be available for a period of time. So I guess he means that he wasn't able to write about it, which isn't really being out of pocket.

Snarf, to make matters worse Jason Smith was a #2 pick too and he played for the Rams which is the team that traded the #2 pick to the Redskins. The parallels are uncanny.

Chris, that could have been it too. He had nine espresso shots in a day? I want to know how much he spends on coffee-related products.