Since the football world was stunned by the release of the Ted Wells report 12 days ago and roundhoused by the strong league sanctions last Monday, you haven’t heard much out of the New England camp aside from two scripted statements of indignation and a lawyerly screed about the weak points of the Wells Report.
Other than the detailed response to the report and the two statements where the Patriots stated the Ted Wells report didn't prove anything, they really haven't said much. Just ignore the three separate times over the past week that they did say something and it will seem like they have been suspiciously quiet.
In his first public comments since being hit with the biggest team sanction in the 95-year history of the National Football League, Patriots owner Robert Kraft told The MMQB over the weekend that he is convinced his quarterback, Tom Brady, played no part in any football-deflation scheme before the AFC Championship Game in January.
Wait, the owner of the Patriots thinks that Tom Brady is not guilty of taking part in the deflation scheme? So the guy who has a vested interest in Brady not being a part of the deflation scheme in fact believes Brady was not a part of the scheme? Man, this changes everything.
Asked if Brady had told him he was innocent, Kraft said: “Yes. Because we had the discussion—if you did it, let’s just deal with it and take our hit and move on. I’ve known Tommy 16 years, almost half his life. He’s a man, and he’s always been honest with me, and I trust him. I believed what he told me. He has never lied to me, and I have found no hard or conclusive evidence to the contrary.”
This sounds familiar. I hear this a lot. It's not that little Tommy didn't study hard enough in class or was screwing around and didn't study, it's that the professor didn't give Tommy enough time to study for the test. Plus, he has that special learning disability which requires he not spend too much time focused on one thing so it was wrong for the professor to even expect Tommy to try and pass the test. And no, little Tommy would not smoke pot. He was raised better than that. It was his roommate's pot and I believe little Tommy because he and I have a good relationship.
He is convinced the Wells Report distorted the science to fit a conclusion that doesn’t work. He thinks the league has nothing but what he called “ambiguous circumstantial evidence” on the Patriots.
And really, I imagine Robert Kraft is such an expert on science that he immediately knew the science was distorted. All of this in an effort to give one of the NFL's best and most marketable players a stain on his honesty. It's part of the NFL's new marketing strategy to make their best players look like liars and cheats.
“This whole thing has been very disturbing,” Kraft said.
I agree. It's also been boring and I'm tired of talking about deflated balls. Unfortunately this isn't going away any time soon, especially since the Patriots are fighting the penalties tooth and nail.
“I just get really worked up. To receive the harshest penalty in league history is just not fair. The anger and frustration with this process, to me, it wasn’t fair. If we’re giving all the power to the NFL and the office of the commissioner, this is something that can happen to all 32 teams.
Haha! Oh sure, NOW Robert Kraft doesn't want the commissioner to have all the power that he has. When it comes time to punish NFL players who get in trouble with the law or negotiate a CBA, the owners are fine with Goodell having all the power he needs, but when it's their team who gets dinged by a power-hungry commissioner, all of a sudden Roger Goodell has way too much power. Gee, who gave Goodell all this power?
“If they want to penalize us because there’s an aroma around this? That’s what this feels like. If you don’t have the so-called smoking gun, it really is frustrating. And they don’t have it. This thing never should have risen to this level.”
Let me give my opinion again. I think this is all silly. The NFL does not, so this is where we are right now. I think spying on other teams and placing bounties on players is much worse than deflating footballs. But there is a lot of circumstantial evidence surrounding Brady and the Patriots that there were deflated footballs being used. I'm more concerned about the rumors of communication systems going out for the visiting team during games played at Foxboro than I am about deflated footballs. The bottom line is that Robert Kraft can be angry, but he helped to make Goodell into what he is.
There was much Kraft wouldn’t say, and he was at times curt, which is rare for him.
I understand there are things Kraft wouldn't say, but to believe the NFL has some vast conspiracy to use circumstantial evidence to bring down the Patriots is silly. Sometimes there isn't a smoking gun on things like this. Sometimes there is only a deflated gun.
Kraft is no absentee owner who swooped in to buy an out-of-town franchise. Born in Boston, he’s lived in the area his entire life except for his college years and talks proudly of having attended at least one Patriots game in every one of their 55 seasons. He bought the franchise 21 years ago and oversaw construction of a privately funded stadium finished in 2002. The Patriots have won four world titles under his ownership. You bash Robert Kraft’s franchise, and you bash his family.
OUR OWNER CARES ABOUT HIS TEAM MORE THAN YOUR OWNER DOES! NO ONE DENIES THIS! IT'S UNASSAILABLE!
Asked about his current relationship with commissioner Roger Goodell (which was until two weeks ago warm and convivial), Kraft said: “You’ll have to ask him.” He wouldn’t answer further.
Did he stomp his feet while he said this?
What can not be forgotten during this interview with Robert Kraft is that he has incentive to back Tom Brady and swear by Brady's honesty. It's Brady's legacy, as well as Kraft's legacy that's on the line. So while I believe Kraft believes Brady is honest, they both have incentive to do what they can to protect their name and legacy. After all, the Patriots are Kraft's family.
Asked whether he might violate NFL bylaws by going to court to try to get the league penalties overturned, Kraft said, “I’m not going to comment on that at this point in time. I’m going to leave it. I won’t say.”
I get why Kraft is angry, but a certain part of me thinks the Patriots (and Kraft) just need to accept the punishment is harsh and let it go. That's what they did as I wrote this, so I think this was probably a smart move. It sounds passive to say that, but the owners didn't give a shit about Roger Goodell being harsh and swinging his dick around with power when it benefits them. Once they are on the other end of the dick-swinging (and this reference will stop here, no worries) they don't like it so much. I understand Kraft is angry, but I'm not sure not speaking to Roger Goodell will get him to change his mind on the length of Brady's suspension or the loss of draft picks.
Asked why he suspended club employees John Jastremski and Jim McNally despite fiercely proclaiming his organization’s innocence, Kraft refused comment—for what he claimed were a variety of reasons.
This is an incredibly valid question. When Robert Kraft doesn't answer it then he's not being forthcoming. I understand he feels the Patriots got screwed, but suspending the employees who he claims are innocent is a really odd move. By being secretive on why this move was made, it looks like from an outsider perspective that he suspended them for not keeping their mouth shut or some other nefarious reason.
(As I finished writing this, it turns out the NFL requested these employees be suspended. It's interesting. It's not interesting that the NFL would ask that these employees be suspended but the Patriots not address this is why Jastremski and McNally are suspended. It's not like the Patriots are on good terms with the NFL right now and would feel the need to keep this secret. Even knowing the NFL requested they be suspended, why not acknowledge this? Odd.)
Kraft is on five significant league business committees. He chairs the lucrative broadcast committee, and the NFL is in the midst of contracts worth an estimated $40 billion through 2022 with the networks and DirecTV. Asked if he would remain as active in league affairs as he has been, Kraft said: “I’d rather not get into that for a week or two.”
Kraft may take his deflated ball and go home.
This weekend, the Kraft-Goodell relationship felt like Obama-Putin. The tone of Kraft’s voice made it sound like it’s too early for peace talks.
I think it's interesting that Peter subconsciously put Kraft in the "Obama" role and Goodell in the "Putin" role.
Kraft’s anger is based largely on the fact that he feels the Wells Report chose to highlight some bits of science and ignore others. For instance, there were two gauges to measure the air pressure in footballs in the officials’ locker room before the AFC title game. Referee Walt Anderson couldn’t swear which he used to do the pregame measurements, but his “best recollection” is he used a Wilson-logoed air-pressure gauge to measure the footballs...The average of the Wilson-logoed gauge measurements of the 11 footballs was 11.49 psi, which would put the balls well within range of the predicted halftime pressure. The other gauge measured the balls, on average, at 11.11 psi, which was seen as below the minimum allowed by the Ideal Gas Law and a sign the footballs may have been tampered. But what if Anderson used the Wilson-logoed gauge pregame, and again at halftime, and the balls were in the proper range as predicted by science?
Selfishly, I'm ready to move on from talking about this. The fact the PSI of a ball is being discussed in-depth based on a reading from two separate gauges just is the most boring and inconsequential thing to me. I feel like I'm being punished in still having to hear about deflated footballs. I thought the penalty for the Patriots was steep, but again, the NFL owners created this Goodell monster and backed up him when he needed backing up. It's their monster and Dr. Frankenstein can't sit around and wonder who created it.
“Anderson has a pregame recollection of what gauge he used, and it’s disregarded, and the [Wells] Report just assumes he uses the other gauge,” Kraft said. “Footballs have never been measured at halftime of any other game in NFL history. They have no idea how much footballs go down in cold weather or expand in warm weather. There is just no evidence that tampering with the footballs ever happened.”
Right, there is evidence there was an intent to tamper with the footballs. It's incredibly disrespectful to the public's sense of logic to believe "The Deflator" was a nickname used for anything other than to deflate footballs. The balls may not have been tampered with, but there definitely seems to be an intent to tamper with the footballs.
There is enough evidence that casts the Patriots and Brady in a bad light—the fact that McNally referred to himself as “the Deflator” in a text message; the six phone calls between Brady and Jastremski over three days once the first deflation charges surfaced, after they hadn’t spoken for six months ; the texting between McNally and Jastremski about inflation of footballs.
Somebody was doing something to the inflated levels of footballs and Tom Brady suddenly struck up a relationship again with Jastremski after the charges surfaced. So either this is all one big misunderstanding and Brady picked a bad time to re-start a relationship, or something fishy was going on with the inflated levels of the footballs.
I asked Kraft why he seemed to grudgingly accept the 2007 Spygate sanctions but not these.
“Last time,” said Kraft, “there was no dispute about the facts. The team admittedly said what happened. … It was illegal to videotape [the opposing sidelines], and in the end we admitted it and took our penance. This is very different. In 2007 we did something and acknowledged the fact of what was done. This is an accusation of wrongdoing, without proof.”
As usual when it involves the NFL, if there is no video evidence then there is no other way of proving something is true. It takes video stating, "We see what you did" for the NFL owners, players and executives to actually acknowledge something did occur.
The Patriots have to hope they get some relief from Brady’s appeal to the league office (a longshot), and then must determine if Brady as an individual or Kraft on behalf of the organization goes outside the family to challenge the league ruling. There were indications over the weekend that Kraft was leaning against going rogue and suing the league, but talking to him, it still felt like a fluid situation.
I wouldn't consider "going rogue" to be the same thing as exercising the ability to file a lawsuit against the NFL. Again, I do take a great sense of LOL'ing out of this situation. Everyone hates Roger Goodell at this point.
“How do you think Garoppolo will do, if he has to play?” I asked.
Brilliant question, Peter. Shitty. Robert Kraft thinks Garoppolo will play really, really shitty. That's what I'm absolutely positive the answer is going to be to this question that need not be asked because what else would Robert Kraft say?
“My gut feeling is the same as yours,” Kraft said. “He is a very hard worker, a very fine young man, but until the bullets are flying and you’re out there, no one knows. Think about how many of these first-round picks, even, don’t make it. [Garoppolo was the team’s second-round pick in 2014.] He works hard and he studies hard, though.”
Well, that's still a dumb question, but Kraft basically is like, "I don't know and don't plan to find out." It's a non-answer because Kraft can't fathom how Brady won't be available. I don't take this as a real opinion of Garoppolo's ability, but evidence that Kraft hasn't gotten to the part of processing Tom Brady will be out of action for four games.
“Deep down,” Kraft said, “I would hope that’s an academic question.”
It's probably not. Hey, this is the Roger Goodell that the owners wanted. They wanted a commissioner who was strong, stood for keeping the game of football strong and would keep his foot on the throat of anyone who stepped out of line on or off the field. It's not so much fun now, is it?
The drama in San Francisco, to be sure, will be Kraft and Goodell dueling at 10 paces. Aside from moving the goalposts to the back of the endzone in 1974 and adopting the two-point conversion in 1994, the NFL hasn’t had a significant change in the way it keeps score in its 95 seasons.
I believe what the owners are likely to pass isn’t a perfect plan, but it’s a good starting point—
When I read this, all I hear is "It will be a shitty plan until the owners go back in and fix the shitty plan once it is revealed as shitty."
With a success rate of 99.5 percent for PATs over the past four years, and with the rising number of touchbacks with the kickoff line pushed up five yards recently, the dead spots in games are, well, really dead.
I watched a few touchdowns followed by PATs, TV timeouts and touchbacks over the weekend on NFL Game Rewind, and this is an estimate of how much time there is several times per game when absolutely nothing happens:
PAT—About 55 seconds from the time a touchdown is scored until the time the ref signals for a TV timeout.
TV timeout—There are 20 per game, at 1 minute 50 seconds per timeout.
Touchback following the TV timeout—About 75 seconds from the time the game comes back from commercial to when the offensive team breaks the huddle and approaches the line for first down.
That’s exactly four minutes between plays of substance—the touchdown and the first play on the next series—assuming a PAT and a touchback. That’s a lot of nothing time.
Baseball is dying because it's so slooooooooooooooow. There is just so much standing around. Football is thriving because it's so fast-paced and exciting! The players actually do something when they are on the field.
Pushing the PAT back is the first step in that direction. It may not be enough, but it’s better than the 19-yard gimme that exists now.
Maybe show the owners videotape of why they should move the PAT back. It seems videotape is the only way to convince the owners there is a problem that needs to be corrected.
Then Peter talks about a Fay Vincent op-ed regarding the deflating of footballs by the Patriots. It's Fay Vincent. He and Murray Chass are best friends, so based on that I'm not interested in Fay Vincent's opinion.
“If you live to be a thousand years old, will this make any sense to you? Will it make any godd— sense?!”
—David Letterman, in his memorable post-9/11 monologue, on the frustration and anger over the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
This is David Letterman’s last week hosting the “Late Show with David Letterman.” His final show is Wednesday. I just thought that was the most memorable thing he’s done—at least in my memory.
It makes me laugh that Peter adds "---at least in my memory" to this thought. Obviously if Peter thinks this is the most memorable thing that David Letterman has done then it's from his memory. It seems like it just goes without saying. If Peter could remember something Letterman did that was more memorable then he would have named that as the most memorable thing.
“Mr. Brady believes he has never turned down [an autograph] request. If receiving an autograph from Mr. Brady is evidence that you are being rewarded by him for nefarious conduct, then hundreds or even thousands of people must be part of a scheme of wrongdoing.”
—Also from the Patriots’ rebuttal
Deep sigh. I think there is more to Brady's involvement than just providing an autograph. The Patriots' rebuttal did more to make them seem desperate and reaching for explanations than if they had just not rebutted the report at all. They made some good points, but the amount of laughable material in the rebuttal made me feel they were just reaching to explain what was really going on.
“I have no comment at this time, and support our troops, and God bless the USA.”
—“Saturday Night Live” cast member Taran Killam on NBC Saturday night, playing Tom Brady, asked repeatedly in an “interview” if he was guilty of any connection with football deflation before the AFC Championship Game.
In other words, the satire on Brady rarely answering hard, direct questions was in full bloom on the TV show.
Tom Brady doesn't have to answer hard, direct questions if he doesn't want to. That's his right. He talked with Ted Wells and has received his punishment. He's done all he is required to do. The Patriots are doing a good enough job of trying to rebut the report without Tom Brady holding a press conference and announcing that he didn't do anything wrong. Every controversy like this doesn't have to be a public spectacle.
But will the NFL really be fixing the PAT if part of the new solution is pushing the kicking point to the 15-yard-line, meaning the PAT attempt on a kick would be from the 32 or 33? It does not seem so. Longtime Pittsburgh TV anchor and commentator John Steigerwald forwarded these numbers to me, and they’re interesting.
2014 NFL Field Goal Accuracy, 30- to 39-yard attemptsNFL kickers make more than 99 percent of extra points—on average, over the past three seasons—and so the percentage is going to go down if the scrimmage line is moved back 13 yards. But as Steigerwald points out, only slightly.
Field goals made: 272.
Field goal attempted: 302.
Field goal percentage from 30 to 39 yards: 90.1 percent.
Field goals made: 272.
Field goal attempted: 302.
Field goal percentage from 30 to 39 yards: 90.1 percent.
NFL kickers make about 99.5% of their extra points from the current distance. From 30 to 39 yards they make 90.1% of the extra point attempts. That's still a high percentage, but I wouldn't at all say it's "only slightly" bigger than 99.5% . If Peter took a 9% pay cut then I doubt he would consider this to be a "slight" pay cut. The same principle applies here. 90.1% is still a high percentage of field goal makes, but it's not "only slightly" a lower percentage than 99.5%. That 9% decrease in field goal makes isn't slight.
My first reaction at Odell Beckham Jr. being named to the cover of the new Madden video game: The guy’s played 12 NFL games, zero in the playoffs. Could we please let him earn it first?
It's a video game cover. Why should Beckham Jr. have to earn a video game cover? Who cares? Peyton Hillis was on the cover of Madden. He had one season during his career where he exceeded 600 yards rushing. He did about as much as Beckham Jr. has done to earn the cover.
If the Madden game is about not just what you’ve done but what you’re about to do—and clearly the marketing of this game is about the exciting young player staying hot—then Beckham might be the easiest choice in the league. He enters the 2015 season on fire.
So what's the point? I don't think I understand the point Peter is wanting to make here. If his point is that video games are about entertainment and the cover of Madden isn't a testament to a player's career achievements...then yeah, it's pretty obvious. It's a video game.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I kept wondering what the GPS in my car was trying to say over the weekend as we left New York City headed for my nephew’s college graduation dinner in Baltimore.
It was probably saying that you should know where you are going and don't completely rely on GPS to get you where you want to go in an area you aren't familiar with. I'm kidding of course, Peter's GPS was most likely signaling to other GPS in the area to put it out of it's misery so it doesn't have to continue to lead this sad existence of having Peter constantly spill coffee on it.
You know how the female voice in those GPS systems can mispronounce with the best of them?
Yes, I hate how the computer voices don't pronounce words properly. #privilegedamericancomplaintsfromtheyear2015
Well, as we drove onto the New Jersey Turnpike and headed south, the voice said, Merge left and head south toward Carsley, or something like that.
The audacity of this computer voice. Peter has no idea where he's going and this is the best the computer voice can do? Unacceptable. What is Peter supposed to do? Accept responsibility for knowing where he is going? That's not his job.
A mile or so later, the voice said, Merge left and head south toward Carsonley.
There is no Carsonley. Now I was getting confused.
I have an idea, and this comes from someone who is terrible with directions, since you know that you have to merge left, how about you merge left and look for something that sounds like "Carsonley." Obviously you need to merge left and I doubt there are two places that sound nearly the exact same such a short distance from each other. Merge left. Who cares what towards, it will make sense eventually, but just merge left for now.
Here came the sign, as we approached the lovely area of the Turnpike north of Newark Airport, for the highway that was about to split in two going south. On the left-hand side of the road, the New Jersey Turnpike south, it read:
Well, now you know. I do hate it when a GPS gives the correct directions, but mispronounces words though. It's like, why do you even exist if you can't pronounce words correctly? Go kill yourself and Peter will find another GPS that takes on the responsibility of figuring out where the hell he is supposed to be driving, because it is NOT Peter's job to know where he's driving to. It's your job, computer voice on the GPS that didn't give inaccurate directions.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the candor of the representatives of La’el Collins—now—is to be applauded in the wake of Collins going undrafted and then signing as a free agent with Dallas.
Yes, let's applaud the candor of Collins' representatives. They were so candid AFTER they lied. This apparently impresses the hell out of Peter.
Robert Klemko of The MMQB
Peter really doesn't have to mention who Robert Klemko works for. It's known at this point.
Most of us in the media business, I think, believed it was a bluff when agent Mike McCartney warned teams not to draft Collins, who was wanted for questioning in a murder case the week of the draft, and later questioned without being detained by police in Louisiana. Had he been drafted, McCartney told teams, Collins would have sat out the year and re-entered the draft in 2016. So no team drafted Collins, and McCartney and his agency, Priority Sports, got their way. By not being drafted, Collins got to pick where he wanted to play, and he chose Dallas, where he could be a luxury piece on what could be the best line in football.
Apparently La'el Collins is a future Hall of Famer. I learned this after the draft was over and NFL teams were recruiting him to play for their team. I thought he was a first round draft pick who appears to be very talented yet unproven in the NFL, but little did I know how popular he would end up being.
“We can put it on the record now,” McCartney told Klemko. “We were never going back in the draft. If someone had drafted him, we would’ve had a long, long discussion about it, but at the end of the day you can’t go back in the draft. He could get injured, gain weight, or 10 great tackles could come out. Too many risks.”
THANKS FOR YOUR CANDOR IN INITIALLY LYING BUT TELLING THE TRUTH NOW!
Peter King also appreciates Pete Rose's candor. He told the truth about gambling on baseball. What candor! Rose didn't admit to gambling on the Reds while he was the manager, but I'm sure that revelation is for the next book he's writing. He's gotta milk the revelations over time for maximum income potential.
Does it really count as being candid if Collins' representatives continued lying and eventually told the truth? Didn't his representatives just lie until they decided to tell the truth? It's how I see it at least. They insisted for negotiating reasons that Collins would re-enter the draft if a team drafted him, but after the draft was over and he signed with the Cowboys, they said they were probably lying about that. As I said last week, Peter King must be a great father to have if he thinks lying and then eventually telling the truth is being candid.
2. I think for those who say: Whoa—McCartney was lying. You’re defending lying? Not necessarily. McCartney’s most important job was protecting his client, and putting Collins in the best place possible for 2015, 2016 and beyond after an unprecedented event before a draft.
They absolutely did a great job. There's no doubt about that. But they didn't display candor until they had nothing to lose by being candid. That in itself sort of ruins the point of applauding McCartney for being candid. Why applaud him for telling the truth once he felt it wouldn't hurt him to be candid?
Peter King is an odd person to think the candor should be applauded in this situation. The job McCartney did should be applauded, but he wasn't exactly honest.
And there was no guarantee that McCartney, in the end, wouldn’t do what he said. If Collins got picked by a cold-weather team, maybe he’d have told McCartney to just forget it, and he’d go back in the draft pool next year.
I can see why Peter had trouble with the GPS. It seems that he has difficulty reading AND listening. the exact quote from McCartney:
“We were never going back in the draft. If someone had drafted him, we would’ve had a long, long discussion about it, but at the end of the day you can’t go back in the draft.
I'm trying to figure out in that quote where Peter gets the indication that Collins would have gone back to the draft. Is there room for flip flopping in the use of the term "never" when it comes to going back into the draft? It seems to me like Collins would never have gone back into the draft and there seems to be a pretty strong guarantee that McCartney wasn't going to do what he said. Mostly because he said he wasn't going to do what he said. No wonder that GPS kicked Peter's ass, his listening and reading comprehension skills seem to be struggling.
6. I think it hit me the other day, doing a little research on running backs and the draft in recent years for a Todd Gurley story I’m working on. The draft is a crapshoot, period.
Peter King just realized the NFL draft is a crapshoot. By the way, he's one of the most respected and well-known NFL sportswriters. Not that this should concern anyone that Peter King has been covering the NFL for almost 30 years and just realized the draft is a crapshoot. Apparently it took the Rams drafting a running back for Peter to finally realize this. See, even though he hasn't won a playoff game in a decade, is overpaid for his record with the Rams and has never lived up to his perceived reputation, Jeff Fisher does serve a purpose to society!
But the running back position is the crapshootiest of all positions, at least lately. Some of the backs picked in the top two rounds since 2009: Christine Michael, Montee Ball, Trent Richardson, David Wilson (injured, I know), Isaiah Pead, LaMichael James, Mikel Leshoure, Daniel Thomas, Jahvid Best, Ben Tate, Montario Hardesty, Beanie Wells. Between 2009 and 2013, 26 backs got picked in the first two rounds, and half of them are current flameouts.
I'm not going to do research on this due to time constraints (plus, I feel like my gut is correct), but my gut instinct is that the running back position does not have the highest percentage of flameouts drafted in the first two rounds since 2009. I'm simply glad that Peter finally realized the draft is a crapshoot and am amazed he at any point felt otherwise.
7. I think the underrated acquisition of the offseason could well be Dennis Allen re-joining the Saints as the assistant to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Sean Payton loves Allen, who always has been good at taking unaderachievers (such as last year’s disappointing second-round cornerback, Stanley Jean-Baptiste) and making them contributors. Looking forward to seeing the New Orleans secondary be more aggressive and efficient with Allen’s help.
Plus, the Saints then have an obvious person to take the place of Rob Ryan if the Saints defense starts off the season struggling. But a Rob Ryan defense would never struggle would it? He's Rob Ryan, defensive coordinator extraordinaire.
9. I think you can add Oakland coach Jack Del Rio to the chorus of those who felt the NFL’s sanction of the Patriots “was a little bit overdone.” It get curiouser and curiouser.
Jack Del Rio is the head coach of an NFL team, an NFL team that could one day face sanctions from Roger Goodell for doing something that Goodell didn't like. That colors his thinking. The players think the sanctions were a bit much too, because they don't like Roger Goodell. NFL teams are afraid Goodell could come down hard on them in the future, and those who don't agree the sanctions are heavy-handed are probably not going to speak up at this point for a variety of reasons (their owner wants them to stay quiet, respect for Brady, etc), so it makes sense for everyone to gang up on Goodell. It doesn't mean the sanctions were fair or unfair, but this quote from Del Rio is more evidence that Roger Goodell is not popular these days and has become very open criticism.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
d. Great front page of Mississippi’s Jackson Clarion-Ledger on Saturday—B.B. KING: “The thrill is gone.” That’s the entire front page, with a gigantic broadsheet photo of King, who died Thursday from Type 2 diabetes at 89. Imagine: still performing at age 89. That’s what King was doing.
And I bet Peter knew two songs by B.B. King, "The Thrill is Gone" and "When Love Comes to Town" by that jokester band, U2 and King. He can eulogize B.B. King all he wants of course, but I'm betting the collaboration with U2 makes up the majority of Peter's knowledge of B.B. King.
e. The most amazing factoid in the wake of the horrible Amtrak crash near Philadelphia that killed eight commuters last week: The track and infrastructure on the northeast corridor train route that still transports thousands of people a day is up to 150 years old. Not all of it, of course. But some. Which means it was laid or built, in part, right around the time of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
So Peter is saying these parts of the track are holding up well for their age? Or is Peter saying that Amtrak deserves more funding? I'd love to know where political expert Peter King wants to come up with these funds to take care of the backlog of repairs for a train service that consistently loses money. Peter doesn't know. It's like his screeds against guns and most of his other political observations. Peter hates guns and that's all he knows. Amtrak needs money to update their tracks and that's all Peter knows or cares about.
g. The St. Louis Cardinals are apace to draw 3.5 million fans for second straight year. What a franchise. What a baseball town.
They play the game the right way there. That's all I know.
l. Paul Pierce is absurd. Steph Curry is absurder.
I can't believe Peter didn't include, "I don't watch the NBA much" prior to making this comment. It's tradition that he make an observation about the NBA immediately after pointing out how much he hates NBA basketball.
p. Steve Kerr’s agent, remember, was Mike Tannenbaum. Yes, that Mike Tannenbaum, before he took the job heading up the Miami Dolphins’ front office.
It would be impossible for me to forget this since it was brought up repeatedly before, during and after Kerr was negotiating with the Knicks and Warriors to be their head coach.
r. Column note: I will be away next Monday, and Greg Bedard will be filling in for me in this space. My daughter Laura is getting married Saturday afternoon in California.
Oh, that should be fun. Maybe Greg Bedard writes stupid shit and I can mock him too. I'll have to read the MMQB and see if it's worth the time.
Kings are coming from as far away as Spain and England, from New York and Connecticut. I’ll be back June 1.
But not B.B. King, because he's dead. Maybe King should have left money for Amtrak to fix parts of the rail system in his will. Peter would posthumously love him then. The thrill would be back.
The Adieu Haiku
In San Fran this week,
if you see Bob Kraft, tell me
if his eyes shoot darts.
Worthless. I hope Bedard doesn't include a haiku next week. Just worthless.