A weekend that looked so meh late Sunday afternoon suddenly exploded in charisma and controversy and storylines deep in the heart of Texas—and out west this morning, with the news that Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles.
What's the big deal? Kroenke is planning on building an NFL stadium where everyone can get together and watch NFL games on a giant screen. I don't see the big deal. He never said an NFL team would play in the stadium. Maybe Kroenke just wants to build a big stadium and charge admission in order to have 75,000 people in the Los Angeles area watch Rams games together. It could happen.
The Los Angeles Times reports today that Kroenke intends to develop a new venue in Inglewood, a few long spirals from Los Angeles International Airport. The news certainly will increase the pressure on St. Louis to make its best offer to keep the Rams by the end of this month.
First Rams fans get stuck with the spinning of the wheels regime of Jeff Fisher and now they might lose their team permanently to Los Angeles. Slaps in the face don't come much tougher. But hey, be sure to support the St. Louis Rams while you can. Also, feel free to contribute a few bucks to their relocation fund. You know, those moving trucks don't pay for themselves.
Back to game four of wild-card weekend. To the fourth quarter of game four, with more drama than the previous 3.75 games combined.
Peter King loves himself some DRAMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAA!
Dallas 24, Detroit 20 was the kind of game that:
Caused Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie to join Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones in a pulsating three-way Cowboymaniac hug in the owner’s box in Arlington, Texas.
Chris Christie. I have never thought whether I had respect for him or not. I just got annoyed at the thought of him in Jones' box and I'm not sure why.
Made Cowboy-holic LeBron James tweet with 10 exclamation points to a player I’m sure he’d barely heard of before the game, young pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence.
He was a second-round pick in this past year's draft, Peter. He went to Boise State. I don't follow the Cowboys and I knew this without looking it up. Do your job better and this is a good reason why you shouldn't assume because you haven't heard of a player others haven't heard of that player either.
Should forever change the national opinion of Tony Romo.
You can always trust Peter King with an overly-reactionary take. Tony Romo may throw five interceptions against the Packers, but the opinion of him is forever changed. That's what I'm to believe? Such bullshit. The national opinion of Romo will always be whatever knee-jerk reaction sportswriters are willing to write down after the past week's Cowboys game.
The last game of the weekend—I’ll get to the details in a few moments—likely made the Seahawks breathe easier. They won’t have to face the frightening defensive front of the Lions in the divisional game Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
The Lions had 42 sacks on the season and the Panthers had 40 sacks on the season.
Your first look at the matchups in the NFL’s final eight:
Peter probably wonders who this Ndamukong Suh guy is that plays for the Lions. This past weekend is the first he's heard of that guy.
NFC: No. 4 Carolina (8-8-1) at No. 1 Seattle (12-4), 8:15 p.m., FOX. Seattle has allowed just three touchdowns and 39 points in the past six games. But these are not the midseason Panthers. In the past month, Carolina is 5-0, by an average of 16 points per win. Check out the Panthers’ running game the past five weeks, since they woke up from their 65-day winless streak. They’ve rushed for 271, 123, 209, 194 and 188 yards. Seattle’s stingy on the ground, though, allowing just 3.4 yards per rush. Cam Newton is going to have to come into play, with his legs and arm, for the Panthers to have a good shot Saturday evening in Seattle.
BREAKING NEWS: An NFC team's quarterback will have to play well to win a road playoff game against the #1 seed in the NFC. Who would have thought it?
NFC: No. 3 Dallas (13-4) at No. 2 Green Bay (12-4), 1:05 p.m., FOX. I love the fact that this game happens at High Noon (Central Time) in Wisconsin. That’s when Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers will walk to midfield, shake hands, turn around, walk 10 paces … ooops. Wrong dueling imagery.
Actually, the game starts at 12:05pm. It's right there in what you wrote. So Romo and Rodgers may meet at midfield and then not shoot each other, but the game doesn't happen at High Noon. The imagery though...well, I can almost taste the dirt, lack of gun play and forced humor.
This year, Romo led all NFL quarterbacks with a 113.2 rating, and Rodgers was second at 112.2.
But if Romo has a bad game then the reactionary media is going to push the narrative on Romo back into the old direction. Then Peter will marvel how it's "Same old Romo" a few days after stating the narrative around Romo changed.
AFC: No. 4 Indianapolis (12-5) at No. 2 Denver (12-4), 4:40 p.m., CBS. Peyton Manning and his Indy heir, Andrew Luck, have faced each other twice. Pretty close. Wins: Broncos 1, Colts 1. Score: Broncos 64, Colts 63. “I don’t know if it’s about hype,” Demaryius Thomas said Sunday. “I know it’s just another playoff game.” Difference is, for the 38-year-old Manning, he’s at the point where he doesn’t know if this is his last shot. Amazing to think, really, that Manning might have to beat the man who succeeded him, Luck, and the man with whom he’s linked in history, Tom Brady, to get back to another Super Bowl.
The narrative almost writes itself. Almost. But since it doesn't write itself then Peter will be glad to write the narrative himself. There HAS to be a back story to any playoff game. The game can't just be enjoyed as a competition between two quality teams.
And now, on to the Dallas-Detroit game, to the fourth quarter, arguably the best 15 minutes of drama this season.
Midway through the third quarter, Dallas trailed 20-7. Romo drove Dallas 79 yards to the one, and DeMarco Murray got the 80th yard on fourth-and-goal; Detroit, 20-14. A Dan Bailey 51-yard field goal made it 20-17 five minutes later. On the next series for Detroit, the Lions had third-and-1 at the Dallas 46, and Matthew Stafford threw a pass up the left seam for tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens, with the ball in the air close to Pettigrew, never turned around and ran into Pettigrew as he reached to try to make the catch. Back judge Lee Dyer, with a clear sightline to the play, threw the flag for pass interference.
“Pass interference,’’ referee Peter Morelli said in the stadium. “Number 59, defense. Automatic first down.”
At least pick up the flag and get your shit together before announcing to the stadium that it was pass interference. That makes you look just incompetent rather than incompetent and just a little bit shady.
When the call was made, Dallas receiver Dez Bryant sprinted out on the field, helmetless, to protest to one of the officials. Players aren’t allowed to be on the field without helmets, so that should have been a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty.
But if there is no penalty on the play then this didn't happen either. All events surrounding the penalty are thereby erased because the penalty didn't exist. I guess that's how it seems to work.
On TV, Pereira said it was clearly interference. Seventeen seconds after making the original call and announcing a first down, Morelli said over the PA: “There is no foul on the play.”
"There are not the droids you are looking for."
Apparently, Dyer didn’t stick with his call, deferring to Bergman’s judgment. But I’ve seen crew conferences after flags were thrown, and the flag is picked up. I have never seen a flag thrown, a referee announcing the penalty and the first down, and then going back and saying, in effect, it’s a do-over. When it happened, Pereira, on FOX, said: “Wow.” Sort of how I felt. Instead of having first down at about the Dallas 25 with eight minutes left, Detroit had fourth-and-1 at the 46… and then punter Sam Martin had an inopportune shank. Ten-yard punt.
And the appearance that the NFL is favoring the Cowboys or Dean Blandino's appearance on a Stephen Jones party bus had something to do with this call being reversed immediately starts to be discussed. Nothing shady happened, but I agree with Peter (vomits), why doesn't the NFL keep officiating teams together during the postseason? If anything, that is the exact time of the season officials who are familiar with each other would need to work together in order to ensure the calls are made and announced in a timely, accurate fashion. The experience together has to help these officials do their job better.
Five plays into the drive, with the season, and legacies, on the line, Dallas trailed 20-17. Fourth-and-6 at the Detroit 42. A 60-yard field goal try? Nope. A coffin-corner punt? Nope. “I give Jason [Garrett] credit,” said Witten, sitting on 975 catches for his career. He wasn’t sure what the call would be.
The ball was right there from Romo. Right on target. Gain of 21. Five plays later, Dallas had the go-ahead touchdown. Romo to Terrance Williams, again.
“That’s the biggest catch of my career,” Witten said. “Me and Tony, we’ve been through so much. Playing for the division title the last three years in a row,
vacationing in Mexico during a bye week while the Cowboys are in the playoffs,
and coming up short every time.
That's what she said.
DeMarcus Lawrence is 22. An edge rusher from Boise State picked in the second round last May, Lawrence hadn’t had a sack in seven games during an injury-marred rookie year.
Jadeveon Clowney would never have gotten this important sack during his injury-marred rookie year.
Right after Lawrence fumbled, just around the time he was beating himself up on the field, LeBron James, the noted Cowboys fan, tweeted: “Are u kidding me!!!!!!!!!! Just fall on it big fella. SMH.”
Then LeBron displayed his typical loyalty and said he liked the moves his Yankees made in the offseason and really thinks his
After the game, Witten found Romo. “We hugged it out,” Witten said. This is their 12th season together. Witten arrived as a third-round pick from Tennessee, Romo as a free-agent from Eastern Illinois.
“I had a moment with Tony,” he said. “It’s sort of ironic how it all played out. All the times we didn’t win, and how painful it was for so long, the disappointments … But I wouldn’t change anything now. Not at all. That’s what makes this moment so great.
I'm pretty sure that's not irony.
Baltimore 30, Pittsburgh 17. I thought this rivalry was going down the tubes earlier this year. Baltimore and Pittsburgh split 20-point wins this year, and the thrill, much of it, seemed to be gone. But I wouldn’t say it’s gone. I’d say it’s just not the same—and now, with Troy Polamalu a regular player instead of a special one, and maybe aging out of the game at 33, the Steelers need to find some new blood to invigorate the rivalry.
Peter wouldn't say this rivalry is gone. Not at all. Peter in last week's MMQB when discussing the Baltimore-Pittsburgh playoff game:
This could be the last game of a great rivalry.
So the rivalry isn't over, this was just the last playoff game in the rivalry. Got it. It's not over, but this rivalry just had it's last game. It's totally different things.
And Joe Flacco continued to be a far better playoff than regular-season quarterback. In his last five playoff games, Flacco is 5-0, with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions—and ratings of more than 105 in each game.
Joe Flacco in the regular season: 64% win percentage, 60.5% completion percentage, 1.3 TD's/0.80 INT's/227 yards passing per game and a 84.6 QB rating.
Joe Flacco in the playoffs: 71% win percentage, 56.0% completion percentage, 1.5 TD's/0.57 INT's/209 passing yards per game and a 88.2 QB rating.
If only using recent information then Peter is correct. If using Flacco's numbers for his career and not conveniently ignoring information that doesn't match what Peter wants to prove, it's a little more questionable whether Flacco is "far better" in the playoffs than the regular season.
“Everybody’s different,” he said after the game, when I wondered why he’s so good when the stakes are so high.
The correct answer is, "Just a little bit of recency bias" to explain why Flacco is so good when the stakes are high.
Indianapolis 26, Cincinnati 10. The MMQB’s Robert Klemko was at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday afternoon and will have a report on this site later today about Andy Dalton’s fourth loss in four playoff games.
Please do. Peyton Manning lost his first three playoff games I think. I'm not defending Dalton, because that's impossible to do, but simply noting this fun fact.
From the Cincinnati 36, Andrew Luck was chased by Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap, and as he began to fall, Luck threw a dart 36 yards into the end zone to rookie Donte Moncrief. The ball couldn’t haven been located better if Luck had carried it to him.
If Luck had carried the ball to Moncrief then he wouldn't have had to locate the football at all because he would be handing the ball to Moncrief.
Sounds a little like Luck’s predecessor in Indianapolis, and the guy he’ll be facing in Denver on Sunday.
Push that narrative! Push it!
Major news in the NFL-returns-to-L.A. saga early Monday morning. The Los Angeles Times reports that Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood. Kroenke is teaming up with Stockbridge Capital Group, which owns the 238-acre Hollywood Park site, to build an 80,000-seat stadium and a 6,000-seat performance venue as part of a major retail-office-residential development, which is being dubbed the City of Champions Revitalization Project.
Don't forget Rams fans. This is how the Kroenke's feel about you after supporting the team over the past few years of mediocre football. Never forget it's your responsibility to support a team that hasn't made the playoffs in a decade after you have dealt with the Rams team not having a winning season since 2003. It's your job. Support Jeff Fisher and the Rams until the time comes when the Kroenke family puts together a group that wants to put a winner on the field for the city of Los Angeles.
News of the development will put pressure on the city of St. Louis, which owns the outdated Edward Jones Dome. The Rams can convert their lease there to year-to-year next month and leave as early as the end of the 2015 season.
Teams move, shit happens. I get it. I just feel more sympathy for Rams fans that the organization has blown smoke up their asses for a decade now about attempting to compete and even hired a head coach in Jeff Fisher who has the resume that to compete immediately, except it hasn't worked out that way. Maybe by the time the Rams move to Los Angeles they will give a shit enough to take care of the quarterback position.
Business is business though.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the Rams are moving to Los Angeles—yet. Shortly after the story broke this morning, I spoke with veteran Times NFL reporter Sam Farmer, who has covered the story of the NFL’s flirtations with Los Angeles since 2000.
Farmer: It would certainly be pins and needles time for the city of St. Louis. The city has to come back by the end of the month [of January] with a serious proposal to keep the Rams. That’s when the Rams can roll over the lease to a year-to-year deal. This move ratchets up the pressure on the city of St. Louis and will smoke out the city’s best deal. This is a dramatic, bold and aggressive move toward the nation’s second-largest market, and a market that had the Rams for decades. And it’s the second-richest owner in the league, with deep ties to Los Angeles, who has a history of making bold and aggressive moves like this one. So St. Louis certainly should be concerned.
So it's not a done deal and this is just a way for the Rams to put pressure on the city of St. Louis. The city of St. Louis has the best baseball fans in the country, so maybe they have the best city management who will give Stan Kroenke the deal he wants to stay in St. Louis. Either way, come and support the 2015 Rams! They won't rely on Sam Bradford to stay healthy this year, they swear.
Scott, the longtime ESPN anchor, died of cancer of the appendix Sunday morning in Connecticut. He was 49. I didn’t know Scott, but I’ve thought for a while what a powerful and important person he was in the media—because of the void he filled. I thought Keyshawn Johnson put it perfectly on ESPN Sunday morning when he said, in effect, that Scott’s legacy is that all announcers should be themselves rather than try to conform to what he or she thinks some boss or network wants. After the show, Johnson called to expound.
“When I took the job,” Johnson said, “I went out to dinner with Stuart, and I basically said I didn’t want to change who I was to win an Emmy or anything like that. My Emmy is with the hearts of the fans I reach. And he said to me, ‘You have to be yourself.’ I just didn’t want to wear a white shirt and red or blue tie every day. If that’s what you want to do, great. I wanted to wear colors. I’m colorful. I wanted to wear pocket squares. I wasn’t necessarily going to conform to the King’s English. I wanted to resonate in my community.’’
Not to be picky, but Johnson said essentially this exact same thing on ESPN Sunday morning while on the air. So the "expounding" is really just a reiterating of what Johnson had already stated on the air.
Last Tuesday, in the midst of awards season, The MMQB gathered 26 voices of respected analysts to vote on 2014 honors. Aaron Rodgers won The MMQB’s first MVP award, but the story may have been that J.J. Watt got 8.5 first-place votes to Rodgers’ 15.5. What follows is how each voter had his top three picks for MVP. A note: My first-place voted was split between Rodgers and Watt; The MMQB’s Greg Bedard split his second-place vote between Tony Romo and Rodgers. In those cases, my second-place vote was vacated, and Bedard’s third-place vote was vacated.
|Voter, Affiliation||1st Place Vote||2nd Place Vote||3rd Place Vote|
|Andy Benoit, The MMQB||Rodgers||Brady||Luck|
|Kevin Clark, Wall Street Journal||Rodgers||Watt||Gronkowski|
|Trent Dilfer, former player, ESPN||Rodgers||Watt||Brady|
|Rich Eisen, NFL Network||Rodgers||Watt||Murray|
|Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk||Rodgers||Romo||Wilson|
|Scott Fujita, former player, FOX Sports||Rodgers||Romo||Luck|
|Neil Hornsby, Pro Football Focus||Rodgers||Lynch||Watt|
|Robert Klemko, The MMQB||Rodgers||Watt||Roethlisberger|
|Scot McLoughlan, former NFL GM||Rodgers||Watt||Brady|
|Tom Pelissero, USA Today||Rodgers||Brady||Roethlisberger|
|Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders||Rodgers||Watt||Roethlisberger|
|Mike Silver, NFL Network||Rodgers||Watt||Brady|
|Alex Stern, Elias Sports Bureau||Rodgers||Romo||Brady|
|Ben Stockwell, Pro Football Focus||Rodgers||Watt||Roethlisberger|
|Jenny Vrentas, The MMQB||Rodgers||Watt||Brady|
|Peter King, The MMQB||Watt/Rodgers||–||Romo|
|Greg Bedard, The MMQB||Watt||Romo/Rodgers||–|
|Albert Breer, NFL Network||Watt||Rodgers||Brady|
|Ryan Clark, player, Washington||Watt||Rodgers||Murray|
|Steve Cohen, Sirius XM NFL Radio||Watt||Murray||Rodgers|
|Alex Flanagan, NFL Network||Watt||Brady||Rodgers|
|Jason McCourty, player, Tennessee||Watt||Rodgers||Brady|
|Geoff Schwartz, player, NY Giants||Watt||Rodgers||Brady|
|Ross Tucker, former player, radio host||Watt||Rodgers||Romo|
|Steve Gleason, former player||Murray||Rodgers||Brady|
|Khaled Elsayed, Pro Football Focus||Luck||Rodgers||Watt|
Mike Florio and Trent Dilfer are on this list? I thought Peter said these were "respected" analysts? And Geoff Schwartz, Ryan Clark, Jason McCourty, and Steve Gleason? I thought these were analysts making the MVP selections? These are current or former players not employed as analysts. Oh, and also notice how Peter is the only chicken shit who couldn't decide on one person to receive his first place MVP vote. Just choose one person. If Peter can't do it then he shouldn't have a vote.
It seems a fait accompli that the league will expand from 12 to 14 playoff teams, seven per conference, in 2015. I don’t like it. Wild-card weekend already has a good chance every year to have one or two slumping teams. What’s the purpose, other than money-making? It doesn’t make the game one iota better.
I'm sorry, I got lost after you asked what the purpose was other than money-making. It's the NFL, what other purpose do they need?
Anyway, I wanted to see what the public thought, so on Sunday, on Twitter, I asked: “Do you favor the NFL expanding the playoff field from 6 teams to 7 per conference in 2015?”
I kept the Twitter poll open for eight hours, closing down at midnight. The results:
Yes: 121 votes.
No: 903 votes.
How many people will still watch the playoffs with 14 teams? I imagine the vote would be easily flipped around. So the NFL can make more money and it won't cause people to stop watching. Why wouldn't they expand the playoffs? The NFL is going to dilute the product to make as much money as possible until they can no longer make more money.
That’s encouraging: 88.1 percent of you—at least those of you who responded—do not want to see an expansion of the playoffs. I hope the 32 owners listen. I doubt they will.
Why should the owners gives a shit what the fans want when the fans will watch the games anyway?
The Fine Fifteen
1. Seattle (12-4). Two wins for the Seahawks in the bye week: They don’t have to face Detroit in the divisional game Saturday; Carolina is playing pretty well, but the Lions would have been a tougher first foe.
That's the second time you have written that, Peter. I feel like you mean it.
3. Green Bay (12-4). This stat cannot get too much play this week: Dallas (8-0 on road, only unbeaten road team in the NFL) at Green Bay (8-0 at home, only unbeaten home team in the NFC). Is it possible that the best game in the entire postseason will be this divisional game at high noon Central time on Sunday?
12:05pm. That's when the game starts.
5. Denver (12-4). Peyton Manning missing two bye-week practices. Not a big deal, but not nothing either.
Peyton Manning missing two practices may or may not mean anything. Peter will split his vote between this meaning and not meaning anything.
9. Pittsburgh (11-6). I chortled at Twitter in the wee hours Sunday morning,
Yep, I'll stop reading there at the chortling.
10. Cincinnati (10-6-1). It’s absolutely not fair to blame the fourth wild-card loss in four seasons on Andy Dalton. He didn’t hand the game to Indianapolis, and he was missing so many key components. But—and this is an important but—Dalton did himself no favors by making zero plays on downfield throws. His receivers got little separation, to be sure. But Dalton did nothing to help his team either.
Let me see if I can get this all straight:
-It's unfair to blame Andy Dalton for the Bengals' fourth wild card loss in four seasons.
-Andy Dalton is sort of to blame due to his performance in this wild card game.
-Dalton's performance can be excused because his receivers couldn't get separation and he was missing important parts of the passing game.
-Andy Dalton should still have connected with these receivers even though they weren't his best offensive weapons and couldn't get separation.
So it's not Andy Dalton's fault because it's not fair to blame Dalton, but Andy Dalton didn't help the Bengals win the game so it is sort of his fault.
11. Carolina (8-8-1). I want to give the Panthers defense a modicum of credit for what happened Saturday, and I shall.
Nah, don't. It's better that way. When giving credit, be sure not to mention the Seahawks held the Cardinals to 216 yards two weeks prior to the wild card game and the 49ers gave up 397 yards to the Cardinals. Both Cardinals games were quarterbacked by Ryan Lindley. Don't mention that while giving credit and then act like giving up 78 total yards of offense should have been expected.
But I have been covering the NFL since 1984, and the performance by Arizona was the worst offensive performance in a playoff game I’ve seen in those 31 seasons.
Why the "but" part of this sentence? Did the performance of the defense have nothing to do with this?
13. Arizona (11-6). Cards went 3-5 post-Carson Palmer injury, with some of the worst quarterbacking seen by mankind. Incredible, but Bruce Arians and GM Steve Keim are going to have to employ a third quarterback in 2015 who they figure can actually play winning football. That’s going to be tough duty, particularly because a third quarterback never gets to practice with the first unit and thus has his development stunted, but with the relative brittleness of Carson Palmer, the Cardinals have no choice.
I don't blame Ryan Lindley at all. He's a third-string quarterback plucked off the practice squad of the Chargers. He shouldn't be expected to win a road playoff game.
14. Kansas City (9-7). Regarding the KC passing game, from Andy Reid’s first year to the second: 158 fewer yards, six fewer touchdowns, gave up eight more sacks and had a lower passer rating. And 7.0 yards per attempt is not good enough.
Alex Smith plus not very good wide receivers. That's the formula for this to happen.
Offensive Players of the Week
Joe Flacco, quarterback, Baltimore. How symmetrical is this? Flacco’s rating in the 30-17 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday night at Heinz Field was 114.0, the same as Romo’s against Detroit. (Flacco: 18 of 29, 259 yards, two touchdowns, no picks.)
I don't understand how this is symmetry and not just a coincidence. For this to be symmetry isn't there another tie between these two quarterbacks required? Like Flacco used to be the Cowboys' starting quarterback or something? Without another tie between Romo and Flacco, this is just a coincidence.
Tony Romo, quarterback, Dallas. America kept waiting for Romo to make the big mistake Sunday, and it never came.
I really didn't keep waiting. It's amazing for Peter to believe, but all of America doesn't immediately buy into the narratives the media spins.
Maybe his signature moment as a Cowboy until Sunday was the botched hold in the playoff game at Seattle a hundred years ago, but not anymore.
Riiiiiiiight. Everything is different now and no matter how Romo performs this upcoming Sunday against the Packers, the narrative surrounding him has changed. You keep believing that one Peter.
Luke Kuechly, linebacker, Carolina. It’s difficult to separate the bad Arizona offense (like, all-time bad) from how well the Carolina defense played Saturday in Charlotte. But any team that holds another NFL offense, regardless how bad it is, to 78 yards deserves plaudits.
Peter sees symmetry in two quarterbacks having the same passer rating, but works hard to separate an offense's performance from the opposing defense's performance, because there can't be a close connection can there be?
“Winning isn’t the only thing matters. Winning with class is what matters.”
—49ers CEO Jed York, on KNBR radio in San Francisco after Jim Harbaugh left the team to coach Michigan.
Says the CEO of the team that suspended Ray McDonald after the team was eliminated from playoff contention.
On Sunday, Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has been fined $450,875 in his five-year NFL career, was blocked by Dallas left guard Ron Leary, whose salary this year is $495,000.
Thanks Gregg Easterbrook.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I thwarted a pickpocket Friday.
Not a pickpocket trying to pick someone else's pocket of course. Peter doesn't care about other people who get robbed, but he thwarted a pickpocket trying to rip him off.
The guy was trying to pick my pocket near the corner of 52nd and Madison in Manhattan.
Maybe I'm being unfair, but when I read "I thwarted a pickpocket Friday," I think Peter thwarted a pickpocket from stealing from someone else. If Peter were a superhero, he would be the type of superhero who prevents bad things from happening to himself, not others.
I felt someone bump into me from behind. Odd, because the sidewalk was crowded but not teeming with people. I turned to see what the deal was, and as I turned, I felt a light tugging on my right rear pocket.
Is that where you keep your wallet, Peter? (starts jotting down notes for future reference)
The guy, maybe 50, dressed in a long winter coat, had a stunned look on his face. Like: I was just supposed to bump into you, and then apologize, and walk away with your wallet before you knew what happened.
BUT YOU CAN'T DECEIVE PETER KING!
Not unless you claim to have a source who knows exactly what happened in the league office on the day Ray and Janay Rice appeared in front of Roger Goodell and claims to also know the reasoning why Goodell came to the decision for Rice's suspension that he did. At that point, yes, you can deceive Peter King.
“I know what you were doing,” I said, while he extricated his hand from my rear pocket—my empty rear pocket, covered by the bottom of a hooded sweatshirt—and he walked very fast up the street and then jogged across Madison Avenue, disappearing into the crowd.
So the sidewalk wasn't crowded enough for Peter to think it was normal someone bumped into him, but was crowded enough to where someone can "disappear" into it? Got it. Chase the pickpocket! Make the story more fun!
Two takeaways: Very thin wallets are good. And very thin wallets, in front pockets in New York City, are very good.
1. (continues jotting notes) So you DO keep your wallet in your front pocket?
2. If someone is going to pick Peter King's pocket they better make sure they are ready to potentially grab a handful of or brush up against Little Peter King as well.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think this is what I liked about wild-card weekend:
e. Cam Newton’s hustle to catch Antonio Cromartie—after his awful second-quarter pick.
Yeah, great job fucking up by throwing a dumb interception and then making sure the Cardinals only slowly scored seven points instead of immediately scoring seven points.
(Cam Newton) "Hey, I burnt Ron Rivera's house down."
(Peter King) "You did? What a moping asshole you are!"
(Cam Newton) "But I saved all of his wedding pictures and his pets."
(Peter King) "Great job, son!"
i. Jonathan Stewart’s last five games: 104.8 rushing yards per game. That’s Ron Rivera football.
It's amazing what you can do when you don't give the ball to DeAngelo Williams and give it to the team's best running back instead.
m. Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson, noting Cincinnati was missing 11 touchdowns and 1,500 receiving yards with the de-activations of A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham.
It's not fair to blame Andy Dalton for the loss, but let's blame him a little bit for not playing well.
q. Who the heck is Rex Burkhead?
A running back from Nebraska who was good enough in college to hold off Ameer Abdullah for two years. He's pretty good and versatile. Sort of a Danny Woodhead, without the hyperbole, type of player. Wait, was this a rhetorical question?
s. Great point by Justin Rogers, who covers the Lions for Mlive.com: Sunday was the 48th game of backup quarterback Kellen Moore’s NFL career. He’s been inactive for all 48.
Is Peter going to start laying into Kellen Moore or something in the way he laid into Josh Freeman? Moore was undrafted by the Lions anyway.
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about wild-card weekend:
h. Steelers safety Mike Mitchell, with a huge blown coverage on the Torrey Smith touchdown catch.
i. Mitchell, in fact, with an all-around bad game, which included taking a terrible angle on Owen Daniels and allowing a vital third-and-13 conversion on the drive that made it 23-15 Ravens with nine minutes left.
I haven't seen every game Mitchell played with the Steelers this year, but based on my one year of experience with him, this isn't shocking at all.
n. Events conspired against Andy Dalton, with all the injuries. But lord, can you make a play, man?
I love when Peter implores quarterbacks to "make a play." I don't even know if Peter knows what he means when he writes this. Dalton isn't a scrambling quarterback, Peter acknowledges that Dalton's receivers hadn't gotten much separation, and yet he wants Dalton "to make a play." What exactly does this mean in the context of the playoff game? What play does Peter think Dalton is capable of making?
3. I think this is everything you need to know about why Carson Palmer is one of the most valuable players in the NFL this season (though I do not advocate him getting MVP votes): With Palmer active this season in the first nine games of the season, Arizona scored 18, 25, 23, 20, 30, 24, 24, 28, and 31 points. In the eight games after he tore his ACL and was lost for the year, Arizona scored 14, 3, 18, 17, 12, 6, 17 and 16 points. That’s right: With Palmer, the Cards scored 18 or more every time. Without Palmer, the Cards scored 18 or less every game.
Carson Palmer is one of the most valuable players in the NFL, but not deserving enough to get MVP votes of course. At least Peter didn't have Palmer share a first place MVP vote with J.J. Watt and Aaron Rodgers.
6. I think the playoffs should be a reward for very good teams, not a television-filler because the NFL can get great ratings with two extra games. But then again, I know that’s a naïve way to look at it, thinking about the quality of the games rather than several more millions being generated.
It is naive and not at all the way that the NFL will choose to look at the playoffs. The playoffs are simply another way to make more money for some teams and it just so happens these playoffs lead to a team winning the Super Bowl.
7. I think if I were the Buffalo Bills, this is exactly what I’d do: Hire Mike Shanahan.
Last playoff victory? 2005. He's 48-64 since that time. But carry on.
Keep Jim Schwartz with an extension and a raise. And trade for Jay Cutler.
Peter is just fucking with his reading audience now. Trade for Jay Cutler AND hire Mike Shanahan. Because Shanahan and Cutler had so much success together in the past or because hiring an experienced head coach takes less pressure off Bills management to where they can say, "We hired a guy who has won two Super Bowls, who knew it wouldn't work out?"
Shanahan is the one who found and drafted Cutler and got him going on the right foot in Denver in 2006.
Yes, he "found" Cutler in the first round of the NFL Draft. Andrew Luck was "discovered" by Chuck Pagano.
The defense is ready to win playoff games now (not just qualify for the postseason), and it’s time to sell out to try to get the big-armed quarterback, who is scarred right now but still far better than the alternatives, to give Buffalo a legitimate offensive chance.
I still believe in Jay Cutler of course...mostly because he isn't the quarterback for my favorite team. It's just, this seems like a worse option than hiring Mike Shanahan and having him choose a quarterback in the draft. RG3 had his most success with Shanahan as his head coach.
8. I think I’m not sure if this is just my imagination, but doesn’t it seem like Oakland’s spending a lot of time interviewing the JV candidates, while the other teams are questioning varsity ones?
The Raiders interviewed Mike Shanahan on Monday. So...........yes or no?
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
c. Had my first Primanti Brothers sandwich as my pregame meal Saturday: The Pitts-burger. Two pieces of Italian bread with a patty, cole slaw, fries and tomato. The woman at the table next to ours wore a Steelers’ tank top, and on her right shoulder was a tattoo of the Steelers’ logo.
I'm not sure at all why this is a notable observation. This woman was just trying to eat her food with Peter King staring at her and making a mental note to comment on her tattoo. Please leave people alone while in public.
d. Geez, don’t scare us like that, Bono.
I have no idea what Peter means by this, but if it involves retiring from making music permanently, then Bono should scare us more often.
h. Beernerdness: One of the good things about hitting the playoff trail is trying the local beers. Though Great Lakes Brewing is not technically in Pittsburgh, I’ve had several of its beers over the years in the ’Burgh.
"I love trying local beers when covering the playoffs. Now here as an example of this is a story about a beer I tried on the playoff trail that isn't a local beer at all."
i. Tremendous job by Ohio State. I wonder if Urban Meyer will ever be tempted to go to the NFL.
Why? He has everything he needs at the college level and history has shown that Meyer doesn't always enjoy the stresses that come with a head coaching job. So he would put himself in a position for more stress by becoming an NFL head coach? Why?
The Adieu Haiku
Stuart Scott is gone.
So many grew up with him.
“BOO-YAH!” they all say.
Rich Eisen, your eulogy for Stuart Scott looks like a diaper filled with diarrhea compared to the poetic words contained in this haiku. Feel embarrassed.