So late Sunday night, as the Steelers were winning the final game of the 2014 regular season, completing the last bit of the playoff puzzle, I had a well-placed 49ers operative on the phone from California,
We all know from Peter's "investigation" into the Ray Rice-elevator incident that Peter's operatives are never wrong, unless they are lying to him, in which case they will probably be providing incorrect information.
“This year was doomed from the start,” said the 49er smart guy. “It’s the classic example of, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’
Not only is this operative well-placed, but he can provide fancy quotes as well. This isn't just a football guy, he's a SMART football guy.
it was always, ‘Sources say this, sources say that.’ You cannot run a successful organization with one side of the building leaking stuff to hurt the other side of the building. And it never stopped.”
Says the guy who is currently giving this quote to Peter King AS A SOURCE WHILE LEAKING INFORMATION ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION'S INNER WORKINGS. But I'm sure this well-placed operative never hurt the organization by leaking information. Never. It's totally different when he does it. Not that he would do it of course.
• Coaching carousel. (Always hated that phrase. A carousel is a place of fun. You think Mike Smith is having any fun today? Or his doomed staff in Atlanta?)
"I am going to choose to use a phrase and then claim I hate this phrase, even though there is no reason I should have to use this phrase if I don't want to use the phrase, but I will use it voluntarily and then claim I don't like using it."
If there is one takeaway from this MMQB, it's that Peter wants readers to know a carousel is a place of fun. Always remember that.
• I have made my choice (or choices) in the crowded MVP field. It’s a fun race in this I’m-right-and-so-you’re-an-idiot Twitter era,
Don't worry Peter, people thought you were an idiot way before Twitter came around. There was just no easy forum to express these feelings. It's not Twitter that created people who like pointing out you are wrong. But no really, keep blaming technology.
and I spent a few hours over the weekend divining my decision, and then it got messed up in the early Sunday window, and then messed up further in the late-afternoon window, but early this morning, the light bulb went off and … well, read on and you’ll see.
What's the opposite of waiting with baited breath? That's how I feel right now.
• What makes Khalil Mack tick?
I like this guy.
It's okay to like Khalil Mack everyone! Peter King has given us permission to do so. Bless you Peter!
It’s been a long time coming. In retrospect, the Niners would have been smarter to cut the cord last winter if Harbaugh could have been convinced to take the Cleveland job; that way, San Francisco could have gotten compensation for him, and the rebuilding could have started earlier. Instead, this was a wasted year.
Yes, hindsight can be very useful. This is why building a time machine is so important. Because then the 49ers could go back in the past and do what they probably should have done one year earlier, but didn't know they should have done one year earlier. Of course, if the 49ers had gotten rid of Harbaugh a year earlier then without the benefit of hindsight football writers like Peter King would have criticized them for getting rid of a successful head coach. Once things got bad, this criticism doesn't seem to be prevalent. Rest assured, the 49ers would have gotten destroyed for trading a successful head coach coming off three NFC Championship appearances. Winning cures all.
In October, I ran into Ronnie Lott in Chicago. He was stunned the Niners seemed ready to divorce Harbaugh, and recalled how uncomfortable it often was playing for Bill Walsh. “Getting guys to play at their highest level is not always a comfortable thing to do, but that’s what Bill coached us to do,” Lott said. “I wanted a coach who’d get the best out of me, out of us. I didn’t want a buddy.”
Peter is about to make a comparison to Bill Walsh and it's not a good one. Many head coaches are hard to deal with, and when they are successful with the organization, then this difficulty can be dealt with. Jim Harbaugh wanted to get paid like a Super Bowl winning coach. He had not won a Super Bowl and the issue wasn't just with the players, but with 49ers management. That makes it different.
That led me to call Carmen Policy, team president/ombudsman during the Walsh era, who I recall was so often the referee between Walsh and many in the organization, occasionally owner Eddie DeBartolo. “There were times under Bill where it was a constant crisis-management situation,” said Policy. “But you’re winning, and so I’d say, ‘If we can just keep it together for the next month, month and a half, we’ll be okay.’ Eddie had this insatiable desire to win, and Bill did too.
And here is the difference that Peter isn't seeming to acknowledge. Jim Harbaugh acted like and wanted to get paid like a Super Bowl winning coach. Bill Walsh WAS a Super Bowl winning coach.
Jim Harbaugh is like, "Pay me as if I were a coach who won the Super Bowl."
Trent Baalke is like, "But you haven't won a Super Bowl. That's not the end-all, but you haven't won a Super Bowl and want to be paid like you have. Also, you and I differ in ways that really are fundamental. You think I should draft different players and we don't always agree on the direction of the team."
It was all about winning, every day. I don’t know that any players loved Bill, but they had respect for him, and they knew he could lead them to the promised land.”
It's not the players that had the issue. It was 49ers management. In every business, when the fancy suits don't get along over the long-term and don't share the same vision a divorce will occur. This is how it is in business and life. Sports aren't different.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will be interviewed, and he has a chance to get the permanent job; Fangio is very well-respected within the building, and in particular on the staff. I hear Baalke may have interest in UCLA coach Jim Mora, who was San Francisco’s defensive coordinator for five years (1999-2003). And I hear the offensive staff, at least most of it, is likely to be purged—though Baalke and/or York could make a couple of aides (offensive line coach Mike Solari, running backs coach Tom Rathman) part of the deal for the new coach.
I think Jim Harbaugh should still be the 49ers coach in a perfect world, but he isn't the only good head coach in the world, so the 49ers need to move on if that's what the situation requires. It's obvious with Peter's "Can't they just get along?" attitude that he hasn't worked in an office or organization where two or more people simply can't co-exist. Logic goes away and keeping a talented person becomes secondary to preventing a toxic atmosphere.
Fans don’t care who’s at fault. They don’t care that Harbaugh was increasingly difficult to get along with. They know that he, probably more than any single person, was responsible for taking the Niners from irrelevant to the Super Bowl. And so they’ll be watching, warily, as York and Baalke make a crucial hire for the future of the franchise.
It sucks. No doubt. Harbaugh wants to get paid and he didn't agree with some of the personnel moves that Baalke made over the past few offseasons and drafts. Winning cures everything and when the 49ers stopped going 12-4 and making the playoffs, a change was going to be made. If 49ers fans can't trust Baalke to make a good coaching hire then they shouldn't trust him to make smart decisions for the organization either. I don't see why 49ers fans wouldn't trust him. I think Baalke deserves some trust based on his record of player acquisition through the draft and free agency.
Think of it. Other than maybe the absence of the 49ers—which we’ve seen coming since midseason—and the presence of the Cowboys, is there anything that really shocks you about the playoffs this year?
Other than a team with a losing record hosting a playoff game? Other than the Cowboys being in the playoffs at all?
let’s take a look at the four matchups coming on the first weekend of the playoffs.
NFC: Arizona (fifth seed, 11-5) at Carolina (fourth seed, 7-8-1), 4:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Cardinals need to repeat history here. In 2008, as the lower seed, they flew to Charlotte under very similar circumstances. They’d lost four of their last six in the regular season, just as they have this year. That season, Arizona was on the Super Bowl express, the classic example of a team with a big star getting hot (Larry Fitzgerald: 546 yards, seven touchdowns over four playoff games) at the right time. Big difference, of course, is that Kurt Warner was the quarterback then, and either Ryan Lindley or a gimpy Drew Stanton will be at the helm now. Carolina will try to run. It’s probably the Panthers’ only hope.
Yep, it's their only hope. If they can't run the ball, Ryan Lindley will tear the Panthers' secondary apart.
(Please don't let this happen. Please.)
AFC: Baltimore (sixth seed, 10-6) at Pittsburgh (third seed, 11-5), 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC
This could be the last game of a great rivalry.
What? The last game of a great rivalry? Did Ozzie Newsome say, "There will be some changes after the season" and Peter King thought this meant the Ravens would be folding as an organization or selling off all their players for beer money?
This could be the end for 37-year-old James Harrison, a mainstay in this game, as well as 33-year-old safety Troy Polamalu. On the other side, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are gone, and Suggs is 32. So enjoy this test of wills on a cold Saturday night at the confluence of the Three Rivers. It’s the game of the weekend.
Because we all know that the Ravens and Steelers have proven terrible at drafting and finding young talent to replace the older talent that retires or leaves in free agency. It's the end of an era maybe, but it's not the last game of a great rivalry. Players will be replaced and the rivalry will continue. Don't be a drama queen.
AFC: Cincinnati (fifth seed, 10-5-1) at Indianapolis (fourth seed, 11-5), 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS.
This looks like the most even matchup of the weekend. Big question: Can Andrew Luck beat the Bengals by himself?
Andrew Luck is a pretty good quarterback, but he does need receivers to throw the ball to and an offensive line blocking for him. So no, I don't think Luck can beat the Bengals by himself. Fortunately, the genius Ryan Grigson has put a great team around Luck, right? Three seasons of ingenius drafting has put a great team around Luck. Isn't that what I hear?
The Colts have held two of their last three foes to 10 points, but they were offensive weaklings Houston and Tennessee. The last three playoff teams Indy hass played have scored 51, 42 and 42 points.
I don't hate Ryan Grigson, but I do chuckle a bit at how he has built the Colts team. They are obviously a great offensive team, but the question of how he's built the defense does hang in there in my mind. Grigson is very well-respected as a GM, but I'm interested to see how he continues to build the defense. He's seemed to focus solely on offense and helping out Andrew Luck. Which is a good idea, but the Colts have to stop opposing teams too. Playing Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Houston six times this year doesn't answer the questions too well for me.
First order of business: Will the league office see Ndamukong Suh’s stomp on Aaron Rodgers’ leg during the second half at Green Bay Sunday the same was as the Lions saw it—which is to say, inadvertent?
Nope. It was intentional and he should be suspended for the playoff game.
The Bucs should just turn in the card for Mariota now, and other draft/coaching/GM notes.
Brilliant idea! What could change between now and May? Absolutely nothing could change. Peter should be a GM and decide on his team's draft pick in December. I'd like to see that.
The Bucs will have a delegation, led by GM Jason Licht, at the Rose Bowl Thursday to see Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota duel Florida State’s Jameis Winston. I recently asked five GM/personnel types in the NFL about the two players, and it came out the way I thought: 5-0 in favor of Mariota, because of on-field and off-field things,
And those are the only two options for the #1 overall pick in the draft? It seems to be there are quite a few other options at #1 overall.
• The Browns may now be in the market for a quarterback—because of Johnny Manziel’s knuckleheadedness. They pick 12, 19 and 45, and have an extra four from the Sammy Watkins trade. If there’s a non-Mariota quarterback they like, they have the ammo to move up and get him if that’s what’s needed.
At some point the Browns will draft a good quarterback and will get credit for doing so. Sort of like how the Seahawks threw a bunch of shit at the wall in free agency and trades to find a quarterback before finding Russell Wilson and then he ended up paying off big time.
• So much of the draft predictions are impossible now, because several of the teams picking high in the first round could have different pickers, depending on the outcome of GM and coaching searches in the next couple of weeks.
But the Buccaneers need to draft Marcus Mariota. This is known for sure.
• I think the Titans will certainly consider a quarterback at No. 2. I don’t believe for a minute they’re all-in on Zack Mettenberger as their quarterback of the future. Not that this isn’t possible, but it cannot be a certainty.
No way. I can't believe the Titans aren't sold on their 6th round pick in this past year's draft. Usually 6th round picks develop quickly or not at all.
• I wonder if Stephen Ross is having buyer’s remorse this morning, having announced he is keeping Joe Philbin and then seeing the bizarre display Sunday in Sun Life Stadium. Not only did Miami lose to the rival Jets, but the loss was ugly, with NFL Network reporting Mike Wallace basically quit the game late in the first half when teammate Charles Clay caught a touchdown pass.
But Joe Philbin cared about the Dolphins players this year. Remember? He visited the players in their rooms and this brought everyone together? This was part of Peter's training camp report and how things would be COMPLETELY different in Miami this year.
Then Peter takes a long time to tell us who he chose as MVP, only to cop-out and choose two players. Why? Because, he's Peter King. Showing balls and making a concrete choice isn't something he is capable of doing.
The anatomy of a Most Valuable Player decision:
Are there people who read MMQB who really give a shit about Peter's thought process? Give us a sentence or two on the process and then give the freaking answer. Don't bore us, get to the chorus. It's amazing to me how Peter really thinks his readers need a thorough day-by-day accounting of how he came to his MVP decision.
Friday. Realized I’d better start coming close to a final decision, with the votes for the Associated Pressseason awards due in a few days,
I'm betting Peter broke out into a flop sweat at the thought of this deadline which he had known about for months. Life as a sportswriter is very stressful.
Watt, theoretically, could be having the best season by a defensive player ever, yet because his team was going to finish out of the playoffs, it seemed foolish to make give him my MVP vote. How much value can a defensive player have on a 9-7 team, particularly one that finishes in the bottom half of the defensive team stats?
This is stupid. How much value could a defensive player have on a team without other great defensive players and steady quarterback play? Gee, I don't know. The Texans could be 5-11 or 4-12 instead of 9-7.
Too many great quarterbacks are having great seasons that while not indistinguishable are close in merit, and it’s impossible to pick one; so in this one season, I should pick the best player in football instead. That’s what I was thinking as the day dawned for Week 17.
What a revolutionary idea. Choosing the best football player as the MVP.
One other issue about the MVP race. I firmly believe that Peter was a little nervous about voting for Aaron Rodgers because a vote for Rodgers could give him an MVP award, which would in turn possibly make Brett Favre's accomplishments in Green Bay still look impressive, but also move Rodgers closer and closer to Favre's legacy in Green Bay. I absolutely believe this. I firmly believe Peter King would take his friendship with Brett Favre and Favre's legacy in Green Bay into account when voting for MVP.
Sunday afternoon. NBC Viewing Room, as the early games begin. If Watt overtakes Justin Houston for the sack title (entering the day, it’s Houston 18, Watt 17.5), and Romo and Rodgers are so-so, I’m thinking Watt’s the guy. In the first 11 snaps against the Jaguars, Watt beats the second pick in the ’13 draft, Luke Joeckel, for two sacks, one of them forcing a fumble.
Yeah, J.J. Watt should be MVP if he can beat some shitty Jaguars offensive lineman for a sack, while Rodgers plays the Lions' defense. Brilliant reasoning.
Then Rodgers injects heroism or some such trait into the derby in Green Bay late in the afternoon. With the NFC North title on the line, he goes down in agony with a strained calf while throwing a first-half touchdown pass. He has to come out of the game, then returns to a thunderous ovation and chants of “MVP! MVP!” early in the second half to lead Green Bay to a 30-20 victory. “Impossible choice,” I say to no one. “Just impossible.”
I wonder what Peter would do if he had to make decisions that really fucking mattered as part of his job. Choosing a player for a postseason award is "impossible," then what would happen if he made a decision like having to choose two employees to lay off? This teeth-gnashing from sportswriters is hilarious to me. It's a postseason award, not anything that is really important. Quit with the drama like you are choosing whose life to save.
A couple of times over the years with the AP, I have split my MVP vote. Once, famously. In 1997, I gave half to Brett Favre and half to Pittsburgh cornerback/safety Carnell Lake. Favre tied Barry Sanders that year for the award, preventing him from winning three straight MVPs outright. A few folks in his family weren’t very happy about that vote, and Favre kidded me about my good friend Carnell Lake a few times.
Long story short, Peter splits his vote between Watt and Rodgers. I told you that Peter considers his friendship with Favre as part of his MVP vote. Don't think Peter isn't aware of how a full vote to Aaron Rodgers would affect his good friend Brett Favre's legacy in Green Bay. A full vote for Rodgers means he is one step closer to eclipsing Favre's legacy in Green Bay. Friendship before all else.
The winner: a tie. I will split my vote between Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Watt.
I'm sure the Favre family appreciates it, Peter. You didn't even hurt anyone's feelings while making this "impossible" decision. Good for you. Now you and Brett Favre can have beers on the porch and you won't have to worry if he is a little angry with you.
I have been impressed with how Oakland first-round pick Khalil Mack has carried himself this year. He gets it. He gets the football part, and he gets the off-the-field part, and he gets that he hasn’t accomplished anything yet because his team is at the bottom of the AFC West.
As long as Khalil Mack doesn't do something like get Greg Schiano fired or get injured then Peter will continue to like him.
The Fine Fifteen
1. Seattle (12-4). There are many reason why the Seahawks will enter the postseason as the most dangerous team, but this is the big one: During Seattle’s six-game winning streak, foes have scored three touchdowns. That’s one every eight quarters.
Remember Peter King's trepidation about the Seahawks even as he ranked them the 3rd best team in the NFL?
Seahawks 36, Packers 16, and the story line for the next week was something like this: Yeah, we know no one ever repeats in the NFL, but this year’s different. Seattle’s unstoppable. No weaknesses. Everyone who didn’t pick Seattle to repeat, change your picks now.
Seattle since the opener:
Points scored: 97.
Points allowed: 97.
3. Seattle (3-2). Since opening night, mortality.
And my thoughts at the time:
The Seahawks have played the teams that are #1, #2, #4, and #9 on this list. They beat two of those teams. So I don't know if it is "mortality" any more than it is a really difficult opening schedule.
And what do you know? By the end of the season the Seahawks are ranked as the best team in the NFL by Peter!
2. New England (12-4).I don’t have a lot of confidence in either fifth seed Cincinnati (Oct 5 in Foxboro: Pats 43, Bengals 17) or fourth seed Indianapolis (Nov. 16 in Indianapolis: Pats 42, Colts 20) journeying to Foxboro in 12 days and beating the rested Patriots.
Here's Peter when listing the assumptions "we" thought were correct, but really weren't.
Ten things we think we thought about the 2014 season before this weekend:
The Patriots would have their usual AFC East stroll to a playoff bye, and the other three division stumblebums would fight for second place.
Yep and it happened that the Patriots ran away with the AFC East again.
7. Detroit (11-5).The 24th straight loss to the Packers in Wisconsin means the sixth seed in the NFC, and this daunting road to the Super Bowl, if favorites hold the day: at Dallas, at Green Bay, at Seattle. Not sure there’s been a tougher road recently.
I'm sure Peter has said this before and there are always upsets along the playoff road. So I don't know if form will hold.
11. Arizona (11-5).Last six games: 2-4. Last six games: 12.2 points per game. They played very competitively against a beat-down 49ers team Sunday, but it’s hard winning playoff games when you can’t score past the teens.
I try not to be Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead (he loves to link his old articles on Twitter when he's right about something) and point out every time I am right, but isn't this something that a few people (myself included) saw coming? The Cardinals have to score points to get to the Super Bowl. Fortunately, they are playing a fairly inept Carolina offense, but still, if they can't run the ball and can't throw the ball they aren't going to win a Super Bowl with Drew Stanton.
12. Carolina (7-8-1).On a neutral field, I’d like Arizona, narrowly. At Charlotte, I like Carolina.
The Panthers have lost two straight home playoff games to NFC West teams.
Offensive Player of the Week
Aaron Rodgers, quarterback Green Bay. John Wayne-like. The numbers in the 30-20 NFC North title game over Detroit were so very Rodgers (17 of 22, 226 yards, two touchdowns, no picks), but it was how he did it too. Rodgers aggravated his left calf strain in the second quarter while throwing his first touchdown pass of the afternoon at Lambeau Field, then returned in the second half to get the save against the Lions. Quite a performance. Was it an MVP-ensuring performance?
Not in Peter's opinion it wasn't.
Defensive Player of the Week
J.J. Watt, defensive end, Houston. With his umpteenth signature game of the season—three sacks, a safety, a forced fumble, six tackles—Watt kept the Texans’ playoff hopes alive until the Ravens rallied to beat Cleveland. The Texans finished 9-7 and out of the money, but now we’ll see if one of the best defensive seasons will be good enough to earn Watt the MVP award.
Not in Peter's opinion it wasn't.
I believe splitting your MVP vote is not making an MVP vote at all. When Peter chooses two players for an individual award, he isn't making a choice at all. He's choosing to not make a choice and this shouldn't be allowed. I'm sorry that choosing an MVP is so hard, but a choice has to be made.
Goats of the Week
Justin Gilbert, Josh Gordon, Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns. Three words: Grow up, gentlemen.
But Manziel is so different now! Doesn't Peter remember how he had lunch with Manziel that one time before the NFL Draft? It was a whole new Johnny Manziel and not at all an image makeover to help his draft status.
“Is the NFL going somewhere?”
—Jim Harbaugh, after his final game as the 49ers coach, asked if he would miss the NFL.
I can't wait for Jim Harbaugh to come back to the NFL in three years after he wears out his welcome in Michigan and an NFL team throws a ton of money and power at him. This will happen.
In the past five seasons, the Patriots have won the division by 3, 5, 5, 4 and 4 games.
But after Week 1 Peter said the assumption the Patriots would run away with the division was a fallacy. Whoops.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
So the Christmas break allowed the King family to gather in northern Connecticut on a stormy Christmas Eve for a family dinner.
If asked where Peter King would meet his family for Christmas dinner then Connecticut would be my answer. For me, Peter King and the stereotype of rich, white, out-of-touch Connecticut go hand-in-hand.
We got to binge-listen to eight episodes of “Serial,” back and forth to dinner. This is the 12-episode podcast describing in great detail the 15-year-old murder of a Baltimore high school student, Hae Min Lee, that resulted in her former boyfriend, Adnan Syed, being handed a life sentence for her death—a killing he said he didn’t commit. Syed participates by phone from his prison in Cumberland, Md., and host Sarah Koenig and her intrepid staffers find the rest of the key characters in the stale murder case they bring to life. I finished the last episodes over the long weekend.
I won't cover this much because I don't listen to this podcast, but I don't think giving spoilers and opinions on a podcast is a travel note. If there is no note that actually involves traveling, then perhaps don't have a travel note. If MMQB is a buffet like Peter King insists then don't put chocolate covered strawberries on the menu as "fruit" for a salad because you think there needs to be fruit for a salad on the menu.
@JManziel2 Didn't ask for it, but I'll throw it out there. If being the best doesn't consume your every waking thought, do something else.
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) December 25, 2014
Curt Schilling doesn't think Johnny Manziel could evolve into an NFL quarterback because Schilling doesn't believe in evolution and thinks that it's Obama's fault Manziel hasn't succeeded in the NFL so far.
Week 17 in Seattle. Again. Why do I feel like I will run into Ned Ryerson on the street tomorrow morning?
— Kevin Demoff (@kdemoff) December 27, 2014
Sunday marked the 10th straight loss for the Rams in Seattle. Three times in this current December streak of games, the loss foiled the Rams’ effort to finish .500 or above.
I'm sure Rams fans feel that way too when they are told the team is "on the rise" and the team commits itself to a quarterback who can't be relied upon. But sure, it's not like Jeff Fisher is paid as if he is an elite coach or anything. Next year, that's the year Fisher finally finds a reliable quarterback. Just give him time and a contract extension.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think this is what I liked about Week 17:
o. CBS crew (Steve Tasker/Steve Beuerlein/Andrew Catalon) reporting Rex Ryan won’t take a defensive coordinator job.
Why would Ryan take a defensive coordinator job when he can sit out of football for a year and take a broadcast job that will automatically make the media put his name in the hat for any NFL head coaching vacancy? There's no point in actually coaching when Ryan can become a hot coaching candidate simply by not coaching.
p. Good Florio stat Sunday: If Florida State beats Oregon on Thursday, Jameis Winston will be 28-0 as a collegiate starter.
I guess that is a stat which is interesting. If you know Florida State hasn't lost in two years then you would know Jameis Winston hasn't lost as the FSU starter too.
s. Greg the Leg, good from 52, and it would have been good from 62, at Seattle.
Sure the Rams don't have a quarterback really and their head coach and GM make personnel moves like they know there isn't a real sense of urgency to win immediately, but Greg the Leg could play for the Rams for the next decade. That's something to build on.
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 17:
What Peter liked:
g. Jordan Matthews, a good draft choice by the Eagles, with a rookie season that in most years would be a superior one—67 catches, 872 yards, eight touchdowns.
What Peter doesn't like:
b. Kelvin Benjamin had a good rookie year, but two drops in the NFC South title game? Not good.
I completely agree these two drops were terrible, it's interesting that this is what Peter focuses on since Benjamin has 73 catches for 1,008 yards and 9 TD's on the year. Matthews' drop percentage is 5.8% while Benjamin's is 5.5%. But Matthews had a superior rookie year in most seasons, but it isn't superior because another rookie wide receiver had a "good" rookie year.
d. Jay Cutler’s look, wrapped up on the freezing bench in Minnesota, pregame: Get me outta here!
While Cutler has been terrible, can you blame him? His coaching staff has thrown him under the bus.
5. I think if I’m John Schneider, who is not a what-could-have-been guy, I have to ask myself at least occasionally: Why didn’t I take Golden Tate for half the money and zero compensation over Harvin? (I know they happened 10 months apart, but if Seattle passed on Harvin, they’d have saved about $5 million in cap money annually, plus first-, third- and seventh-round picks.)
Again, this is complete hindsight. The Seahawks couldn't have known Harvin wouldn't be a better receiver than Golden Tate two years ago and it's not like Harvin didn't contribute in the Seahawks' Super Bowl victory. This is annoying. These weren't moves made by the Seahawks at the same time and Peter wants the Seahawks to predict the future and know Golden Tate is going to be a great receiver for the Detroit Lions and choose not to trade for Percy Harvin. Just totally using hindsight to unfairly second-guess John Schneider.
c. Tom Brady at Peyton Manning. It’ll be their 17th meeting, assuming both return in 2015.
My reason to live continues to exist.
Some of the best matchups, of course, won’t be known until we see where (if anyplace) Rex Ryan lands, what happens in Chicago, and where the surprise change is made. There’s always one. Or three.
See? There is no sense in Ryan taking a coaching job. His not being employed in the NFL will have the football media pushing him as name for a head coaching job until he takes another head coaching job.
9. I think Rams owner Stan Kroenke must be thinking (though how would we know what he thinks—the man never speaks) this after the team’s 11th straight non-winning season:
Why am I paying Jeff Fisher $8 million per year and not getting good results?
Of course not! It's not Fisher's fault and isn't Les Snead's fault and certainly isn't Kevin Demoff's fault. Nothing is.
I empathize with Jeff Fisher never having a good quarterback situation to deal with.
Really? You empathize with Fisher that he and Les Snead have chosen to do nothing with the quarterback position and continue to rely on Sam Bradford, a guy the Rams aren't even certain should be the quarterback of the future, to be the starter going into the season with little competition for his job? The conscious choice to waste the time and money of Rams fans by relying on a player who consistently can't stay healthy, you empathize with Jeff Fisher about that? I personally think decisions like that are why coaches and GM's get fired. There would be a good quarterback situation to deal with if Fisher and Snead had not relied on Austin Davis and Shaun Hill to be the options at quarterback if Bradford got injured.
The excuses for Fisher...they kill me. It's nice to have friends in the media.
But for all the resources and draft picks the team has had, 20 wins over three years just isn’t enough, which makes 2015 a vitally important year for Fisher’s future coaching the Rams.
This is an understatement. Snead and Fisher need to run the Rams like they will get fired if the team won't improve, not like they have 5-7 years to fumble around and then get a contract extension should they get it right for one year. But that's how it is. Jeff Fisher hasn't won a playoff game in a decade, and hasn't had a winning record with the Rams, but the 4th year of his mediocrity may be the time to start evaluating the job he's doing?
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
b. Stupid me. I didn’t get to any movies in the last week. Unbroken and Selma are first in the queue.
Thanks for the update. Feel free to not do it again.
e. Central Park on Christmas: Like the highways around Los Angeles at 4:30 in the afternoon. That was amazing, to see hundreds in line to go ice-skating and hundreds more just hanging around in the park in the middle of Christmas afternoon. I don’t know what I expected, but I thought Christmas was more of a homebound holiday.
People choosing to go outside on Christmas Day. What an amazing and marvelous sight.
The Adieu Haiku
So long Jim Harbaugh.
They say you were a big pain.
Hmmmm. Bill Walsh was too.
They also say that Bill Walsh was a pain who won Super Bowls. Jim Harbaugh has only had four seasons with the 49ers, but he wanted to be paid like Bill Walsh when he isn't quite Bill Walsh yet.