It was a broiler Sunday in the upper Midwest, 85 with a scorching sun and St. Louis-like humidity that made fans and media at the Vikings’ first day of training camp look for any sliver of shade they could find.
Oh, 85 degrees with a scorching sun and humidity. How ever will they survive such treacherous conditions? Try it being 94 degrees with a scorching sun and humidity for a couple straight weeks and then get back to me.
On one such occasion, during a break in practice, Adrian Peterson, back after a season in self-imposed purgatory, took a water bottle from a camp aide. Before taking a drink himself, he held up the bottle to undrafted Boise State rookie fullback Blake Renaud. Renaud nodded, and Peterson squirted water in Renaud’s mouth for two or three seconds. Then Peterson took some water himself. Just a bit of common football courtesy his teammates have gotten used to.
(Adrian Peterson) "I need some help to rebuild my image, guys."
(Ben Dogra) "I know, we are working on it. I have an idea. When Peter King comes to the Vikings training camp this year, I will just ask him to pay special attention to you and perhaps write a story about what a great guy you are."
(Adrian Peterson) "That's ridiculous. No sportswriter would come up and spend time during training camp like this in order to help me rehab my image when he has plenty of other things to do."
(Ben Dogra is on the phone) "Yeah, just drive right up...Adrian, check it out! (points towards the entrance to the Vikings facility and the MMQB bus is pulling in)"
(Peter King hops out carrying two coffee drinks in his hands with his notebook tucked in the fanny pack he is wearing): "ADRIAN! MY MAN! Ben here says you are a good person now and no one else will listen to what a good teammate you are? That's amazing how I have found my fellow sportswriters won't report on information like this. It happens to me all the time, so I get called to report on how you are a great teammate now, just like I got called to point out Marvin Demoff knows exactly how to structure a contract so an NFL team could hand Alex Mack an offer sheet which the Browns wouldn't match. Good luck for me again that this story just falls in my lap! Can I just follow you around and note your good deeds?"
(Ben Dogra winks at Adrian Peterson as he and Peter King walk away)
“A great teammate,” quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said of Peterson. “I can tell you, the whole locker room’s glad to have him back.”
Which Bridgewater knows from his vast experience of one year in the Vikings locker room and never having played with Adrian Peterson before.
Pretty good player too. It is silly to judge anything of a veteran football player in an unpadded July practice … except athleticism. And in the first training-camp practice of his thirties (he turned 30 on March 21), Peterson made one move that showed the Vikings the athleticism they were missing at the position for the final 15 games of last season.
If you remember, Peter also encouraged Mike Zimmer and the Vikings to give Peterson incentive to show up to training camp and make peace a few months ago.
Backup quarterback Mike Kafka tossed an in-stride 30-yard touchdown to Peterson. Easy as pie. Followed by a smile. We’ve seen both—the juking move leaving a defender behind, and the smile—before.
Imagine what Peter would write on Peterson's behalf if the Vikings had not reworked his deal. Peter would be writing about all the other NFL teams that would be interested in a running back of Peterson's caliber and exactly how another NFL team could acquire Peterson, but only if they give Peterson a contract extension of course.
“I don’t see the end,” a relaxed Peterson said Sunday. “Straight up and honest with you, I feel like, and I don’t know if I’ll do this, because I feel like once my mind tells me, You know what—I’m not loving this game anymore, I’ll walk away whenever that time is. But I honestly feel I can play this game until I am 36 or 37 years old. And at a high level.”
BREAKING: A professional athlete feels like he can continue to perform at a higher level and has confidence in his abilities.
“I’m just glad we got to this day,” GM Rick Spielman said Sunday morning, as the Vikings came out for their first walk-through practice of the summer. “It puts an end to the saga, and we’re all so glad he’s here.”
Yes, it's wonderful to have one of the best running backs in the NFL returning, even though the running game doesn't matter anymore in the NFL. Right?
Only one thing Peterson said in an interview after the morning walk-through here surprised me. That was this: He was sure he’d never be traded all along.
Oh, I guess that's probably the best way to play this situation from Peterson's point of view. He was holding out and the rumors were just rumors. I'm not going to believe it, but I see why Peterson would say it.
“The reality, and just to be straightforward with you … I knew I really wasn’t going anywhere,” Peterson said. “I am the type of person that likes to look at things from different views, so I put myself in the Vikings situation—the owners, the head coach. We’re not gonna let you go.
Of course, Peter never says he WANTED to stay in Minnesota, just that he knew he wouldn't leave.
I revert back to the Percy Harvin situation. Me, if I was the owner of the Vikings, there’s no way I would have let him go. But unfortunately for us, he ended up leaving—
I think Peterson means "fortunately" for the Vikings, Harvin ended up leaving. I'm sure Peter transcribed this quote incorrectly, because knowing what the Seahawks and Jets know about Harvin I can't imagine that Peterson really thinks at this point that it hurt the team to not still have Harvin around.
So no bitter aftertaste about staying?
“No,” he said. “I like being here. “ … I’m in a good place. I have a beautiful wife and a beautiful family … I am really happy to be back with the Minnesota Vikings and to really get this season going.”
Of course Peterson wanted out. That's clear, but he's just happy to be back in the NFL at this point.
One of the reasons he’s here is the approach GM Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer took with the situation. They never opened the door an inch for Peterson to ever give him the thought that he might not play in Minnesota.
Because the Vikings weren't going to get the value they wanted back when trading a premier running back, especially a premier running back with such a large contract. It just wasn't happening, so the Vikings knew that even if they found a team to take Peterson, there would never be a team who would give them the value they wanted back for Peterson.
I made this point to Zimmer—even if the Vikings were able to get a low first-round pick for Peterson (dubious, given what he was owed on the last three years of his contract), how could they have gotten close to equal value for him?
Which is why the idea Peterson would be going anywhere, an idea that Peter didn't believe because he admits he thought Peterson had played his last game for the Vikings, was so ridiculous. The Vikings would never find a team willing to take Peterson's contract and give them a high draft pick for him.
Say the Vikings wanted a running back.
The Vikings wanted a running back.
“He’s a top 10 player in this league,” said offensive coordinator Norv Turner. “He will win games for us. He’ll be huge for us.”
Sort of like how Peterson was huge for the Vikings when he carried a Christian Ponder-led Vikings team to the playoffs. Except now, the Vikings have a real quarterback.
It struck me talking to people around the Vikings Sunday that Turner is a big reason why Peterson seems happy he’s here. Going back to his Emmitt Smith days as offensive coordinator in Dallas, Turner has always fed his running backs aggressively. “He’s proven in what he does,” Peterson said. “I was super excited about getting into his offense last year and now I finally get that opportunity.
Not excited enough to not hold out of camp, of course. Peterson was excited to where if he HAD to play for the Vikings then he'd be okay with Turner as his offensive coordinator.
Peterson did not want to discuss the events that forced him to sit a season. So no talk from him about the charges of child endangerment stemming from whipping his son.
And really, why should Peter push the issue and find out information that most people would want to know, as opposed to simply providing boring camp quotes like, "I feel great, I'm happy to be here, and I'm more excited for this year than I have been"? Asking questions his readers may want an answer to is not worth losing friends over.
I would have liked to hear his version of events, and how it changed him, or if it did. I did ask if he learned any lesson from the last year of his life.
Back off, Peter, Peterson may ask to shake your hand and cause it hurt if you keep hitting him with these type of questions.
“The most important thing I’ve learned—I knew this but this was a clear indication to realize it and stick by it—was to put your trust in God and not in man,” Peterson said. “Man will turn his back on you quick and God won’t, no matter what the situation is.”
This is also a lesson that Peterson's son learned as well. Don't trust a man, because he will beat the everliving shit out of you, so better put your faith in God...or what God you know as a child who isn't in grade school yet.
“The saying that age is just a number is so true,” he said. “It's all about how you take care of your body and how you view your age.
That's a good point. What I think Peterson means is that he viewed his son as a grown adult who also plays in the NFL, so the fact his son was only four years old should have no bearing. You step up and don't listen, you gonna get beaten like you are an old man. Better go find that God of yours, because he won't turn his back on you like daddy will.
Even if Peterson has two great years left and only two, that takes the Vikings through what should be a contending season this year and then a Super Bowl-hosting season with a new stadium next year. The franchise needs a billboard, and he’s it. The crowd was supportive of Peterson Sunday. He was cheered and asked for his autograph and made to feel welcome.
Fans tend to be quite forgiving. We are a kind bunch.
As one fan said while I walked in Mankato after lunch: “We all want him to have a great year, but there’s a lot of people uncomfortable with the whole story. I think they’ll come around. It might take a while. But he’s always been so good to the fans I think he’ll be loved again.”
(Ben Dogra smiles as the interview ends. Peterson didn't have to answer any tough questions he didn't want to answer, was able to throw a few "God" mentions in there, and reinforced how beloved he is among fans and teammates)
A few points to be made on the Russell Wilson non-deal, as Wilson has imposed a deadline of later this week to get a contract extension done or he says he’ll play
out the final year of his rookie contract at $1.5 million:
(And no, I don't know why Peter had the sudden font change, so I will use the same font just for fun)
YES! I WANT TO TALK ABOUT RUSSELL WILSON'S CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS! HOW COME NO ONE, ABSENT EVERYONE IN THE NFL COMMUNITY AND WILSON EVERY SINGLE TIME A MICROPHONE IS THRUST IN HIS FACE, HAS TALKED ABOUT THESE CONTRACT NEGOTATIONS?
It’s all well and good to ask a player to take less for the good of the team, but only one big star in recent years has done that. Tom Brady has, a couple of times. Every other player deserving of huge compensation—J.J. Watt, Peyton Manning (until being forced to take less this year), Ndamukong Suh, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, you name ’em—has maximized his contract and taken the most he could get. Just because Wilson is an unabashed and grateful Seahawk and says, “Go Hawks” at the end of interviews doesn’t mean he should take less than the market will bear.
1. Wilson should absolutely get as much money as he can get. I think the issue isn't that Wilson should take less money than he is worth, but there is a perception that Wilson isn't Manning, Brees, Rodgers, Suh, Watt or Tom Brady. He's not an elite player at his position, that's the perception.
2. Russell Wilson and his agent have been very, very loud about these negotiations, as well as have played a ridiculously stupid game of "I may go play baseball instead, so try to stop me by throwing money at me." So Wilson hasn't quite sat around waiting for a contract extension. He and his agent have taken this quest to the public, which isn't something any of these other players that Peter listed did, so there will naturally be more scrutiny since it's being drawn-out publicly over a long period of time. Other NFL quarterbacks get contract extensions outside of the press, while Wilson and his agent have essentially lobbied for one and not shied away from talking about how they want an extension done.
If Peter can't understand these two points I made and how that makes Wilson different from these other players he listed, then he won't ever understand.
What is the market for Wilson? People still seem to have trouble crediting Wilson for becoming one of the best quarterbacks in football. It’s either, “The defense wins games in Seattle,” or “He’d be nothing without Marshawn Lynch,” or “He’s still too short to be a great player.” Or all of those. (We never seem to hear, “His best receiver is Doug Baldwin.”)
Probably because "we" seem to keep getting told the Seahawks receivers are better than they are given credit for, which "we" seem to believe is probably true. So there is no need to pretend Doug Baldwin sucks when it fits the point Peter wants to prove.
Judging the market for any player is always problematic. Complicating this process is the fact that Mark Rodgers, who represents Wilson, works mostly with baseball players and is an unabashed fan of unrestricted free agency.
It's not the same thing. I hope Rodgers doesn't learn this the hard way, though I honestly have no idea what "the hard way" would be at this point.
In other words, Wilson will risk injury in the next two years—the Seahawks will likely apply the franchise tag to Wilson for 2016, at approximately $25 million—if there’s not a contract the two men deem market-worthy. And on the injury risk: When’s the last time a good or better-than-good quarterback in his prime suffered an injury so severe he couldn’t return from it?
Dante Culpepper? Troy Aikman retired at age 34 due to back issues. Plus, Russell Wilson plays a different style than the traditional quarterback used to play, so he could end up being more susceptible to hits in and out and out of the pocket. I just don't think, "Hey, quarterbacks never get hurt by an injury so badly it ruins his career. What could go wrong?" is the best attitude to have, especially now that the NFL is tracking concussions more stringently than ever and defensive players are faster and stronger than ever.
Surgeons are good these days. They repair players. I wouldn’t let the threat of injury drive me to sign a contract I didn’t think was fair.
This is, of course, ignoring the impact Wilson's ability to scramble has on his success by putting pressure on the defense and the increased threat of injury to any NFL player running with the football as large men are chasing him.
Is five years at $22 million per so drastically out of whack? That’s the current champeen of NFL contracts. Aaron Rodgers signed it two-and-a-quarter years ago with the Packers. The salary cap when he signed, in 2013, was $123 million. Now it’s $143.8 million. Rodgers’ Packer contract in 2013 was, on average, taking up 17.9 percent of the Green Bay salary cap. An equivalent contract today, when the cap has risen to $143.3 million, would be $25.6 million annually. So paying Wilson $22 million a year would seem to me a pretty fair deal.
But Peter, you ol' son of a bitch, you are assuming that Wilson is comparable to Aaron Rodgers. This is not a belief that everyone holds, so comparing Wilson to Rodgers isn't going to prove your point. No, for a franchise quarterback on-par with Aaron Rodgers, $22 million isn't out of whack. For a quarterback who some believe is simply a product of a great defense and running back, then $22 million per year would be drastically out of whack.
Peter consistently is making the assumption that Russell Wilson is on the same level as other elite quarterbacks. That's part of the issue though, isn't it?
Even $23 million per would arguably be right—and if the Seahawks choose to wait till 2016, there’s no way the price is going down by then. What if the Giants pay Eli Manning $23 million per?
I don't know. What if? Why is Peter using this hypothetical, as if Eli Manning being paid $23 million per year wouldn't draw criticism too?
Let’s say the two sides agree on Rodgers money: five years, $110 million, with guaranteed money being paid this year but the 2015 salary staying on the books for cap reasons. (Not likely, but possible.)
Check out how Wilson’s total compensation in his first nine seasons would compare to a player who hasn’t won as much but who was rewarded this offseason, with no hue and cry about the deal not being worth it.
Apparently Peter has resorted to outright lying in order to prove his point? "No hue and cry"? None? Perhaps Peter should do an Internet search for Newton and his new contract. Perhaps see some of the reaction on Twitter to that contract and then decide. Oh, and Newton made no cry or hue about the contract possibly not getting done over and over in interviews either, but I guess that doesn't matter much in this discussion.
Cam Newton, through end of current deal: Nine years, $125.8 million total, $13.98 million average.
Wilson, through end of projected deal: Nine years, $113.0 million total, $12.55 million average.
What this comparison sort of neglects is that Newton was already starting with a higher contract amount, so Wilson would be getting more money than Newton if he got "Rodgers money." Newton started his NFL career getting paid like the #1 overall pick while Wilson is getting paid like a 3rd round pick. That factors into the final totals that Peter has projected in this comparison, while not noting they were starting from two different places based solely on draft position. But hey, Peter isn't supposed to be good with numbers and just don't question it please.
It doesn’t seem a stretch to me to pay Rodgers money to Wilson, no matter what you think of the two men as players.
Son of a motherfucking son of a bitch's son of a bitch. YES, YES, YES, it totally matters what you think of the two men as players. Rodgers and Wilson are compensated based on (SAY IT WITH ME), what their two teams think of them as players. That is their value and they are paid based on this perceived value to their current team. So yes, if the Seahawks don't think Wilson is as good as Rodgers then they are going to be less inclined to pay Wilson like the Packers paid Rodgers.
Writing in the New York Times, Ken Belson quoted the daughter of the late linebacker, Sydney Seau, as saying she was disappointed she wouldn’t be able to give the speech he would have wanted to give at his Hall of Fame induction Aug. 9. Immediately protests came up on social media and the larger media (not sure the “larger media” is actually larger than social anymore, really), calling for Sydney to be able to give the acceptance speech. One problem: In 2010, the Pro Football Hall of Fame changed its policy for inductees who have died. They would have a five-to-six-minute introduction featuring the person designated by the family to introduce the honoree. Then no acceptance speech. Then the unveiling of the Hall of Fame bust by family members. Then on to the next inductee. (Fairness in reporting: I am one of the 46 selectors for the Hall of Fame.)
Fairness in fairness: This policy is silly and I don't see the issue with a family member giving a short acceptance speech on behalf of the deceased. I do know one of the big complaints about the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is it becomes too long, as if an athlete's lifetime hard work and talent being recognized should be under a time limit. So yes, I expect Peter to take the Hall of Fame's side on this. He's a company man through and through, no matter which company he is representing at that present time.
So, why the change? The induction ceremonies had become quite long and tedious.
First off, this is a huge honor that very few athletes ever achieve. It's hard for me to feel bad about the "long and tedious" part of the ceremony knowing that. Second, put a time limit on the speeches. Why is that hard to do? Rather than eliminate a speech entirely, just put a time limit on the speech and enforce it.
In 2009, when the late Derrick Thomas’ designated speaker, Carl Peterson, rolled on for 26 minutes in his pinch-hitting acceptance speech (and Chris Berman went long in introducing Ralph Wilson that year too) both the Hall and network officials thought the speeches had to be reined in.
Further proving that Chris Berman can ruin every fucking thing in this world when he puts his mind to it.
But the reason for this decision is brevity, not a problem with what would be said by Sydney Seau.
I understand the brevity issue, but I think a time limit would be a better idea. Of course, I'm talking about the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which keeps the balloting a secret and only allows a small amount of players to be inducted no matter how worthy the incoming class might be. Let's blame Chris Berman for Junior Seau's family not being allowed to give a short speech.
Tweetups. We will have one in Wisconsin, probably on Aug. 7. Leaning toward Milwaukee late on that Friday afternoon, but we’ll let you know as soon as we firm up details. I hope to have another one sometime on this tour. Stay tuned, and follow my Twitter feed (@SI_PeterKing) for details. Tweetups, for those unfamiliar, are pretty simple affairs. I show up somewhere—a bar, coffee shop, ballgame, training camp—and you come by and we talk for 60 or 80 minutes. (And, of course, you buy me a beer or a latte.)
This is clearly one of those "jokes" that isn't really a joke. Peter's kidding, unless you're going to do it of course. In which case, let him pick out which beer he hasn't had lately. It would probably be cheaper to buy Peter an entire case of beer rather than a latte, given how many shots of he puts in his coffee-flavored water.
I have loved the look of The MMQB since we were born two years and one week ago. A giant photo or photo illustration on the home page, and a giant photo again on the story pages. I can’t speak ill of the concept, because I’ve loved it. Still do.
But we decided to make a change. Mostly, I think, because I wanted us to be more diverse, particularly on our home page. Under the old system, we’d rotate four major stories on a timer. If you came to our site, you’d see one story; if you didn’t want to read, say, about Philip Rivers and the Chargers, you might hit another football site before the next story rotated in.
Basically, looking at the analytics for the site they found that people would land on the site and often leave quickly without clicking on an article or would click on one article and then not go back to the main THE MMQB home page. That's my best guess.
By the way, the time people spend on this site the last time I checked (2010, probably) is like 0.056 seconds. I'm pretty happy with that, because it means for a half-of a millisecond they think about not immediately leaving the page. It's those fancy and catchy titles I use for the blog posts which contributes to my great success, I know.
We’ll be nimbler, able to update pages more often. Soon, you’ll find better photo/gallery pages and slideshows, and more prominent places for our videos.
Bleacher Report, consider yourself being competed against.
“Who else do they have? Tell me, who else do they have?”
—A slightly bitter Junior Galette, former Saints pass-rusher, to the New Orleans Times Picayune, after New Orleans released him on Friday, dumping an incredible $17.6 million in salary-cap dead money on the team’s already bloated cap in 2015 and 2016
The Saints just gave Cam Jordan five years and $55 million, so I think they will be hoping that they have him to help out with the pass rush.
Pretty strong talk for a guy with 30% of the Saints’ sacks over the past two years. That’s significant. And he’s the best pass-rusher the Saints had. But Cam Jordan, Anthony Spencer and a couple of rookies with pass-rush pedigree will soften—not negate—the blow.
But hey, with Rob Ryan calling the shots on defense, what could go wrong?
“If I could counsel Russell, if he’d listen to me … he likes the city, he likes the teammates, he loves the system he’s in, it’s just all working for him … to hold out or not sign something to make an extra million bucks a year—now to a normal person that’s a lot of money, a really lot of money. But to a professional athlete, you know, and this is not his last contract, he’s going to sign another one in four years. So I think it’s a huge mistake. I just don’t understand it. If he plays this season for a million and a half, then I think it’s a huge mistake. I really do.”
—Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, to radio host Mitch Levy on “Mitch in the Morning” on Sports Radio 950 KJR, on the contract impasse between Russell Wilson and Seattle team executives. If he does not agree to a new contract, Wilson is due to make $1.5 million in this, the final year of his four-year rookie deal.
And of course remember that Mike Holmgren is ex-management and is an ex-coach as well, so his feeling will always lie with what helps that side of the NFL business out the most. I don't think playing for $1.5 million is a mistake. It can really work out, just ask Joe Flacco. I think the bigger mistake is to have an agent who doesn't recognize the difference in negotiating an NFL and MLB contract. They are not the same thing. The price of an NFL quarterback like Wilson could go way up, but also remember that NFL quarterbacks get the most praise and the most criticism based on how a season has gone. Not to mention, the Seahawks are due for a season of very bad luck, bad timing and some injuries. It sounds odd to say that, but in the NFL a team can just bottom out during a season for no good reason. For example, say your star safety is currently injured and isn't himself all year, while the offensive line has a bad season. For better or worse, if the Seahawks go 8-8 then some of that is going to reflect on Wilson. The idea he isn't an elite quarterback is going to be reflected in the offers he will get as a free agent (if he gets that far) should the Seahawks have a bad season which results in Wilson not performing up to his previous standard. It's not like MLB where the Marlins can be crappy, but Giancarlo Stanton's performance shines through. In the NFL, when things are shitty at another place on the roster, sometimes it bleeds into the evaluation of that team's QB.
“During the off-season I took a medication which is on the banned substance list. The medication is not a substance which would enhance my on-field performance in any way, and I genuinely was unaware that it was prohibited, but players are responsible for what is in their bodies. I will certainly exercise far greater caution in the future and will seek advice relating to the permissibility of any and all medications.”
—Denver defensive end Derek Wolfe, suspended four games by the league on Friday
It's the old, "Take responsibility while reminding everyone you aren't going to take full responsibility by pleading ignorance" statement that every athlete who gets busted for PED use, yet doesn't want to admit to PED use, will end up making. I'm pretty sure it's just a template statement that gets sent out now. Wolfe probably didn't even know he made this statement.
The Steelers signed Mike Tomlin to a contract extension through the 2018 season on Friday. Assuming Tomlin coaches the team these next four seasons—nothing in the NFL is certain, but the odds have to be heavily in Tomlin’s favor—that would mean the Steelers would have had three coaches in 50 seasons. Through 2014:
Chuck Noll: 23 years, 366 games.
Bill Cowher: 15 years, 261 games.
Mike Tomlin: 8 years, 137 games.
Over those 46 seasons, the Steelers are 152 games above .500. Pretty good argument for continuity, I’d say.
This is a partial argument for continuity, but a bigger argument for smartly choosing a head coach. It's a chicken-or-the-egg situation, but is the success of the Steelers due to having continuity or due to choosing the best head coach and not knee-jerk firing him after he's proven he is the right coach? Continuity means absolutely nothing if the right head coach wasn't chosen. So I'd say this is an argument for continuity and choosing the right head coach in the first place.
Regardless of the results of the 2015 season, Seattle will play at New England in 2016. Barring a rematch in Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara in February, it will be the first meeting between the two teams since one of the strangest and most compelling Super Bowls ever. Russell Wilson at Tom Brady, the rematch.
The strangest and most compelling Super Bowl ever! Until next year's Super Bowl or the next Super Bowl that ends in an exciting fashion. Peter is great with showing off his recency bias.
Until a few years ago, this time of year would have been filled with stories of rookie negotiations and potential holdouts. Glad that's gone— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) July 25, 2015
—Joe Banner, former Eagles and Browns executive. That’s what a rookie wage scale will do to the news, thank goodness.
This is the same rookie wage scale that Peter used to compare Russell Wilson and Cam Newton's salaries over the first nine years of their career if Wilson got "Rodgers money," while completing ignoring the obvious difference being that Newton had a head start on salary due to having been the #1 overall pick, while Russell Wilson was a third round pick. It's like saying two runners ran at the same speed in a marathon when one of those runners had a five mile head start.
Ten Things I Think I Think
For #1 on "things Peter thinks he thinks" he notes the NFL hired a new COO. Hey guys, the NFL hired a new COO. Don't pretend you don't care.
3. I think it’s always interesting to see the Green Bay Packers release their financials, which the team has to do because it is a publicly held company. This year, the mind-blower—to me—was the 20.6% increase in national revenue from $187.3 million in 2014 to $226 million in 2015. Think of that. National revenue is not only broadcast revenue, but all money brought in on national contracts. Also interesting: The Packers have spent $53.7 million to buy up 64 acres of land around Lambeau Field. That place is already a football fan’s paradise. Imagine if the club decides to build a football-themed amusement park or some such extension of Packerdom.
Or, and Peter King will try to control his emotions the best he can just thinking about this, an entire museum set up to honor Brett Favre. It could have a rollercoaster called "The Gunslinger," a gallery of games where you have to play games normally played by adults but have to play them like you are a kid, and a ride where it starts and stops several times along the track and everyone has to continuously get on and off the ride to commemorate Favre's inability to decide if he wants to retire or not. Visiting an entire theme park dedicated to Favre is probably one of Peter's life goals.
4. I think I really enjoyed Seattle wide receiver Ricardo Lockette’s piece for The Players Tribune on how the last pass of the Super Bowl has haunted him this off-season. It was Lockette, running the quick post at the Patriots’ one-yard line, who thought he was going to catch the winning touchdown pass, only to see New England rookie Malcolm Butler jump in front of him to steal it...It has hurt Lockette the entire off-season—and he said in the piece he appreciated Wilson saying to him on the team’s off-season training trip to Hawaii that he’s coming back to Lockette in a similar situation this year.
At least try to run it once this year in a similar situation and then go back to Lockette. Of course, Darrell Bevell has to call a passing play in a similar situation this year for Wilson to come back to Lockette, and I'm not sure he would have the guts to do that...at least in a big game like the Super Bowl.
5. I think it’s amazing that Peyton Manning has never been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
These are the things that amaze Peter King.
He’ll go now, to see his former Colts GM, Bill Polian, inducted on Aug. 8. That’s a good thing. But I’ve not met a player with more reverence for pro football history than Manning, and this is his first visit? Surprising.
Yes, this is incredibly shocking and also very, very not that exciting. The Pro Football Hall of Fame isn't going anywhere and maybe Manning wants to stay away from it for as long as possible in order to make it more special once he is inducted.
6. I think if I’m Saints owner Tom Benson, I’m asking GM Mickey Loomis—if I haven’t asked him already—about the incredible Junior Galette contract that’s going to bite the franchise hard the next two years. Loomis has done a very good job overall over the past decade in resuscitating a moribund team and stocking it with Super Bowl talent.
He has done a good job stocking the team with talent, but he's also given out some bad contracts and had to trade his best offensive skill position player due to the salary cap difficulties the team is having. There is more to being a good GM than putting a good team together on the field, namely rewarding the players on this team and compensating them in order to put the team in a good financial position in the long and short-term. Loomis has put the talent together, but he's made a mess of the cap for the Saints over the past couple of years. I know they wanted to "go for it" while they still had Brees and there was always the hope Galette would start to mature in proportion to his talent.
I wonder if Peter believes the Saints should just keep Loomis around for the next decade, no matter how well he does in his job as GM, simply because continuity is so important? The Steelers wouldn't just fire Mickey Loomis, so obviously the continuity of keeping Loomis as the Saints' GM, no matter the results over the next few years, is what will lead the Saints to the most success.
I’m suggesting they should have been smarter in the first place before giving a risky (but very talented) player so much guaranteed money.
Hindsight is 20/20. I couldn't find any evidence Peter said this prior to Galette being released and getting in trouble. I guess Peter can't comment on every contract extension an NFL player signs, but it's easy to say after the fact the Saints should have been smarter.
7. I think for those who wonder why in the world the Rams—with a civic community willing to do far more right now to build a new stadium for the team in St. Louis than either San Diego or Oakland is willing to do for their teams—are the favorites to move to Los Angeles, the answer really is quite simple. The owner wants to relocate his team to L.A.
I feel bad for Rams fans. They are a group of fans who have supported their team and are going to lose that team to a city that seems to be rather lukewarm on actually having an NFL franchise.
9. I think Josh Freeman—cut by the Dolphins on Friday, probably ending any shot of a further NFL career—will look back on his career one day and say, “I should have worked harder.”
He were go again. Peter is still bitter that Freeman contributed to his (Peter's) friend, Greg Schiano, not succeeding in the NFL. So whenever Peter gets the opportunity, he inexplicably takes his frustration out on Josh Freeman, as if Freeman is the laziest, most over-paid player in the history of the NFL.
Especially in Tampa Bay.
Keep protecting your friend, Peter. Who cares if anyone sees through it?
But when you sign with the Vikings in 2013, and it lasts one game; and when you sign with the Giants in 2014, and it lasts five off-season weeks; and you sign with the Dolphins in 2015, and it lasts 10 off-season weeks, and you’re cut on the eve of training camp, at age 27, with Matt Moore the backup who has beaten you out … the message is pretty clear.
That message being that Matt Moore is a quality backup quarterback who has played in the Dolphins' offensive system for a few years? Josh Freeman isn't very good, there's no doubt about that, but I can't figure out why Peter treats him differently from other quarterbacks who have failed after having initial success. Where's the disgust for Matt Schaub, who was traded for a 6th round pick to the Raiders, then got beaten out by Derek Carr while being paid $8 million, then got released by the Raiders, and signed with the Ravens for $2 million? He took more money from the Raiders than Freeman took from any of these three teams that Peter lists, the Texans would rather have Fitzpatrick than Schaub, then he couldn't beat a rookie for the starting job and now he's a backup. Where is the disgust for Schaub? That's right, Schaub didn't help to get Greg Schiano fired.
Freeman was talented enough. But beginning with the Greg Schiano Bucs, he just didn’t dedicate himself to football the way a starting quarterback should.
It all comes back to the Buccaneers and Greg Schiano. It's embarrassing how Peter seemingly has this bizarre vendetta against Josh Freeman. Any chance he gets, he mentions what a pathetic loser Freeman is, while letting other quarterbacks off the hook when they change teams and underperform.
Better work this screed back though, Peter.
Josh Freeman has been resigned by the Dolphins.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) July 28, 2015
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Story of the week: It’s on Chip Kelly, by Kent Babb of the Washington Post. I had no idea—and I don’t assume many people in the NFL did—that Kelly was married for seven years in the ’90s.
You also shouldn't assume that many people outside of Eagles fans give a flying fuck.
c. My gosh. I saw Alex Rodriguez hit three home runs, two of them monster shots (one measured at 452 feet that I swear was a 500-footer), at Target Field Saturday night. I am no A-Rod fan, but come now. He’s got to be getting tested regularly now, so this isn’t cheating. Is it? Is there any way it possibly could be? You know me, and you know what I think of A-Rod, but for a guy a few days shy of 40 to hit three homers totaling 1,300-plus feet, and a guy certain to be getting tested out the wazoo … I mean, you’ve got to give the guy his due.
It's almost like he's a good baseball player or something.
d. It has to be very hard for baseball Hall of Fame voters. I have no idea how I would vote on the ’roid guys. But after watching that display Saturday night, I might be inclined to vote for Rodriguez. Might.
Apparently viewing three home runs in person is enough to push Peter King over the edge to vote for a player who used PED's. Normally, he wouldn't vote for A-Rod, but he saw those home runs IN PERSON! So that's the tipping point. Maybe A-Rod should invite all the baseball Hall of Fame voters to a game and then convert them over to voting for him by hitting a home run.
i. Beernerdness: Farm Girl Saison, Lift Bridge Brewery (Stillwater, Minn.). The Saison has become my second-favorite beer, next to the white beers (Allagash White, Avery White Rascal, i.e.),
I wouldn't doubt that Saison and white beers would be Peter King's two favorite types of beer. It makes so much sense.
l. Todd Frazier hit his 100th career homer Saturday night. Could have sworn it was 200, at least.
I'm not entirely sure what this means. Peter hasn't really mentioned Todd Frazier before. Okay, so he is wrong about how many homers Frazier has hit? It's a weird comment in my opinion.
m. How can it be July 27, and Yasiel Puig has six home runs?
I don't know, Peter. I just don't know.
o. One more bit of praise: ESPN.com’s Mike Sando did a terrific job for the second year in a row, polling 35 NFL coaches and front-office people anonymously and asking them to rank the starting quarterbacks in the league. I thought the rankings were fair and apt: Joe Flacco 10 and Matt Ryan 11 felt right; Alex Smith 16 is another one that seemed very good, because so many evaluators trash him; and the tremendous variation of opinion on Russell Wilson (who was eighth) captured sentiment around the league about him.
But it's not out of the realm of imagination that Wilson gets "Aaron Rodgers" money though, right? Because everyone should share the same evaluation of Wilson that Peter has of him. Again, these are the type of questions which are causing the Seahawks to not just hand Wilson "Rodgers money" and I'm not even sure Wilson doesn't want more than "Rodgers money" at this point.
The Adieu Haiku
We wait. Deflated.
Twenty-seven goshdarn weeks.
Tom Brady twisteth.
Yet last week, Peter was advocating for Roger Goodell to take away Brady's punishment, do more research and then decide on the Patriots'/Brady's punishment after the 2015 season. So Peter thinks the resolution to this controversy has taken too long, but he wants it to take even longer? How does that make sense?