Showing posts with label hyperbole is the worst thing in the world. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hyperbole is the worst thing in the world. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

11 comments MMQB Review: Peter King Writes an Entire Page of Dedications to Derek Jeter, Wonders When Someone Will Recognize Paul Konerko Is Retiring Too

Peter King discussed how the Broncos and Seahawks saved the NFL in last week's MMQB. He also explained how Roger Goodell needs a domestic violence czar and was amazed at how Americans love their technology. Peter compared Russell Wilson to Joe Montana and said that Wilson is up there with Brees, Brady, Rodgers and Manning already. This week Peter looks at the best players on the season so far, it turns out that hand size and a bad Pro Day don't mean Teddy Bridgewater sucks (anything to say Mike Mayock?), Mike Glennon is better than I think (though I thought he should have been the starter this year for the Bucs), and Peter dedicates an entire page to Derek Jeter. Because this is an NFL column, you know.

As we near the end of a strange Week 4 in the NFL (margins of victory this weekend: 31, 24, 28, 24, 3, 7, 6, 21, 19, 13, 5, 21), let’s take stock of the race that’s looking very fun, and very different than usual: the NFL MVP race. Different because the usual suspects—Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, who have won five of the past seven MVPs—have company.

Peter was bored by the games this week, so he decides that this year's MVP race is TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM EVERY OTHER YEAR'S MVP race. Sure, in past years Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and maybe another player were in the discussion with Manning and Brady, but this year is different because...umm...Peter wants it to be different I guess.

At the four-week mark, here’s how I see it:

If you can't tell, this will be a fluffy MMQB because Peter was bored with the Week 4 games and would prefer to discuss postseason awards in September and recite quotes others have given about Derek Jeter.

1. Philip Rivers, quarterback, San Diego. He just keeps getting better. Building on last year’s 5% improvement in completion percentage—stunning for a 10-year vet—

It's almost like a full season hasn't been played yet and Rivers has time to regress to his career completion percentage.

Rivers came back after a one-point loss to unbeaten Arizona to strafe three straight foes, most impressivly leading the Chargers to 30 points in a Week 2 win over Seattle.

Ys, that was dfinitly most impressiv.

2. DeMarco Murray, running back, Dallas. Jerry Jones might have hated picking Zack Martin over Johnny Manziel in May—you know he did—but he wasn’t hating it Sunday night, basking in the glow of a 38-17 rout of New Orleans. “I don’t recall ever seeing a Cowboy team in my 25 years play better, including the effort and including mistake-free execution, than we played in the first half,” Jones said. It’s ball-control. It’s spending high draft picks smartly and conservatively on offensive linemen.

It's sort of like how protecting your quarterback is a great idea. Why improve your team when you can go sexy and draft Johnny Manziel?

4. Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle. At the helm of the best team in football, Wilson has completed 69% of his passes, thrown just one interception and done what he had to do when he had to do it.


John Stockton never led the NBA in scoring, and Wilson will never lead the NFL in passing yardage. Wilson is a point guard, an excellent one.

Stop forcing this John Stockton comparison. It wasn't very good a couple of weeks ago and it hasn't improved this week. John Stockton was also not considered to be as great as Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, while Peter has stated that Russell Wilson is up there with Manning and Brady. So even if I used Peter's comparison to Stockton then it still doesn't make sense in the context of how he talks about Wilson.

Now that we’ve gotten the debate going—and I understand that I don’t have a player from the Cards or Bengals, the only unbeatens in football, on the list—I’ll look forward to hearing your arguments for the quarter-season MVP. I’ll use the best arguments you’ve got in my Tuesday Mailbag column.

And honestly, Peter wouldn't put Andy Dalton in the top five of the MVP race even if the Bengals finished the season 16-0. He thinks Andy Dalton is the B.J. Armstrong of the NFL.

Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles are not supposed to be as poised as Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, but they were in their starting debuts.

Details, please.

Stop writing like you are a 16 year old girl about to gossip, please.

I was sure Smith would launch into orbit two or three times Sunday if he had great success against his former team, Carolina. He had great success. “And I didn’t even spin the ball after I scored, really,” Smith said from Baltimore a half-hour after his seven-catch, 139-yard, two-touchdown day against the reeling Panthers. “It’s not about the old team. It’s about this team.”

It's interesting how the media starts paying attention to Steve Smith and how good of a receiver he is once there is a narrative to write. They have something interesting to write about, so Peter King decides it's a good time to give Steve Smith a call. Peter didn't care about Smith over the past few years, but Smith's words can help Peter write a story, so Peter is all-ears now.

Late in the first half, Smith had a step on Carolina cornerback Melvin White—a 2013 practice foe with the Panthers—and Joe Flacco floated a perfect ball into the end zone for him. As Smith reached for it, White tackled him. The back judge threw a flag on White, but Smith somehow managed to catch the ball. “I can’t let them win,” said Smith, and I wasn’t sure if he meant corners in general, or the Panthers. “I really wasn’t thinking of playing against my old team. I was just thinking, focus on the job so I can help my new team win.”

Steve Smith carries a grudge with everything and everyone, so it shouldn't surprise me he does the same to the Panthers for releasing him this offseason. He's my favorite Panthers player of all-time, if forced to choose, but his grudge holding in this case seems a little bit like an example of a lack of maturity and self-awareness. No one likes to be released, but football is a business.

The Panthers stood beside and supported Smith for 13 years as he violently attacked three teammates, settled out of court with one of those teammates who he violently attacked, demanded a trade no less than twice, was a consistent source of malcontent in the locker room, when given the chance to play with a good second wide receiver (Keyshawn Johnson) Smith decided he would rather engage in a passive-aggressive battle of egos rather than get along, and complained about nearly every quarterback who has ever thrown him the ball. Just this past offseason he asked to be released, refused to take a pay cut and then was released after the Panthers couldn't trade him. This is the third time he has actively requested a trade or release from the team, but it's the Carolina Panthers who are the bad guys for daring to release him. He's my favorite player of all-time and I am happy he is happy in Baltimore, but there is nothing to be bitter about. He was kept around when other NFL teams would have taken the chance to release him and not stand by him. It's how Smith motivates himself, to act like he was wronged in some fashion, but sometimes he convinces himself so hard he was wronged that he starts to believe his own bullshit. As many times as Smith has decided he was done with the Panthers, it's supremely hilarious that he gets angry about the Panthers finally deciding they were done with him.

And now I move on...

Smith walked into the middle of the locker room. “Old man playing a young man’s game,’’ he said. “Gonna have to ice up.”

The man can give a quote though.

Mike Glennon is better than you think.

Don't tell me how good I think Mike Glennon is. I think Glennon should have been the starter this year. Maybe Mike Glennon is better than YOU think, but you insist on everyone being wrong about Glennon because you were wrong. Stop using the word "you" in this context. It's annoying.

Glennon, the former North Carolina State starter (he pushed Russell Wilson out), called it “the most monumental win I’ve been a part of.” And the most unlikely outcome of the year, the 0-3 Bucs beating a team that destroyed Carolina on the road last week.

Glennon didn't push Russell Wilson out. He had two years of eligibility left and the N.C. State head coach (Tom O'Brien) told Russell Wilson if he wanted to be the Wolfpack's starting quarterback then he needed to focus solely on football during the summer, rather than also playing baseball. Russell Wilson decided he didn't want to do that and transferred to Wisconsin. Wilson wasn't "pushed out" by Glennon. His need to play baseball and football forced him out. 

Mike Glennon played pretty well in a shitty situation last year. He isn't better than "we" think. Don't tell "us" how good "we" think Mike Glennon is you haughty dipshit.

“I will keep you posted,” a Raiders spokesman texted me early this morning. It’s just a matter of time for Allen, who cannot survive with a porous D plus Matt McGloin becoming the third starting quarterback in the last six weeks now that Derek Carr is out with a sprained knee ligament and sprained ankle. But if Allen is in jeopardy, what of GM Reggie McKenzie, who let a legit left tackle, Jared Veldheer, go; scotch-taped together a defense of veterans who’d seen better days; and paid real money to Matt Flynn and Matt Schaub to play quarterback and got results from neither.

Come on, Peter. Where is the "Matt Schaub is a waste of talent and is a huge asshole for stealing money from the Raiders" talk? Last year Peter railed on Josh Freeman repeatedly for daring to be signed by the Vikings for $2 million. Nearly every week Peter mentioned what a waste Josh Freeman is. This year, Matt Schaub is making $8 million to be the Raiders third-string quarterback and Peter hasn't even really criticized Schaub yet. I guess Schaub gives Peter better quotes than Josh Freeman ever did. Or maybe it is that Josh Freeman contributed to Peter's buddy, Greg Schiano, getting fired in Tampa Bay.

The logical replacement for Allen would be Tony Sparano, who I will guarantee will get his players to play hard for him. I don’t know how well they’ll play, but I know they will play hard.

I see the Bill Parcells Effect still works. This is the same Tony Sparano who went 28-32 with the Dolphins, right? I don't think he's the long-term replacement, though since Peter is among the many sportswriters who worship at the altar of Bill Parcells it wouldn't surprise me if Peter suggested Sparano should be the long-term replacement.

Noting the quarterbacks of the future, and their Sundays:

Teddy Bridgewater (age 21) started his first game. Against Atlanta he led six scoring drives in three quarters, completed 19 of 30 without turning it over, and left a good first impression. But Bridgewater is a smallish guy, and his second-half sprained ankle was a reminder of some of the reservations teams had about him before the draft.

(Straw man rant alert) Keep helping your buddy Mike Mayock out, Peter, by mentioning there were reservations about Bridgewater's ability to stay healthy. Keep working hard to make it seem like he didn't ignore all of Teddy Bridgewater's tape and give Bridgewater a bad evaluation based simply on hand size and his Pro Day. Protecting friends is important to Peter, so even if Teddy Bridgewater becomes a Pro Bowler I am betting Peter won't mention how his buddy Mayock based his evaluation of Bridgewater on a bad Pro Day and small hands. I overly love Bridgewater. He'll be the best quarterback in this draft.

Ryan Tannehill (26) had a day of redemption, completing 74% of his throws in London to beat the moribund Raiders; he had 14 straight completions at one point. So much for the motivational ploy, or whatever that was last week from Joe Philbin, of not naming him the starter during the week.
Andrew Luck (25) was the day’s most productive QB, 29 of 41 for 393 yards and four touchdowns in the 41-17 rout of Tennessee. “I’m embarrassed,” said Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt. Lots of coaches feel that way after facing Luck for three hours.
Colin Kaepernick (26)

Are these three guys the quarterback of the future? It seems like they are the quarterbacks of right now doesn't it?

EJ Manuel (23). Okay, I’ve never been hounded by J.J. Watt for three hours before, so this is easy for me to say: But Manuel looked shaky at times in the loss to Houston—completing just 48% of his throws—and continued a troubling trend: His accuracy has been worse than the previous week in each of his last three games.

Like you said in training camp, Peter. He just needs to throw it deeper and see what happens. Right? That's the solution you proposed?

It’s been three weeks since the damning Ray Rice video unleashed a torrent of criticism directed towards Roger Goodell and the NFL offices, causing the league to uber-focus on domestic violence. Here’s what I know:

Keep working on restoring Goodell's image Peter. Gotta keep carrying that water.

Goodell in Austin over the weekend. On Saturday night he visited a domestic-violence hotline that the league is helping to fund in the wake of the firestorm.

See? The NFL is spending the millions upon millions it earns every year to start a hotline. Who said based on their actions they don't care about women ?

At one point during the meeting with Strong, Vincent said, the coach pointed at a picture in his office of his two daughters. He quoted Strong as saying, “This is a constant reminder to me. I just think about my daughters. No means no. Here, if you put your hands on a woman, you are through.”
Said Vincent: “The man is taking a stand. He made it clear that playing at Texas is a privilege, not a right. Basically, you have to be willing to let your best player go.” That was the message, too, from Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary in the players meeting last week.

So basically it is still up to individual NFL teams to punish players because the NFL cares so much about domestic violence they aren't willing to step in and punish a player before he gets the benefit of due process. I'm not criticizing, simply stating what's going on. Roger Goodell is all about telling NFL teams what to do, except when it comes to punishments for players who still get the benefit of due process, in which case he of course wants individual NFL teams to take the heat so he'll leave those decisions with those teams from now on.

Goodell is safe … for now. In the past several days I’ve spoken to high-ranking officials from eight teams, either the owner or high-ranking club officials with knowledge of the owners’ feelings, about the future of Goodell, with the proviso that they would not be quoted. Several points came through. There’s currently no movement or momentum to remove Goodell as commissioner. But there’s an asterisk there, as two of the owners said. They want to wait for former FBI director Robert Mueller’s report into the NFL’s actions in the Rice case.

The owners want to make sure the investigation they have rigged to go Goodell's way really does go Goodell's way. As long as that happens and they can point to that report from an "independent" investigator as reason to keep Goodell they will. The game is rigged, but the owners don't want to do anything regarding Goodell just in case.

If Goodell is found to have lied about the Rice video or other pertinent facts in the Rice investigation, he’ll be in serious trouble. (Though no one I spoke to feel he has lied.)

Again, this is the problem with the investigation. The two owners responsible for overseeing it, and most other NFL owners as well, are just assuming Goodell hasn't done anything wrong despite any evidence to the contrary. I don't know, it seems to me like Roger Goodell probably did lie, but then again I don't have a stake in him staying on as commissioner.

If he’s found to have been culpable, or not on top of the investigation in a material way, he could be in trouble as well.

He won't be.

There’s more trust inside the ranks of ownership than in the wider population that Mueller’s report will be far-reaching and legitimate, although one owner agreed that it was a mistake for the chief investigator in the case to have ties to the NFL, as Mueller’s Washington firm does.

It's good to know the NFL owners have confidence in the man they chose to lead the investigation into whether Goodell lied or not. I would be surprised if the owners didn't have confidence in the guy their fellow owners chose to use in investigating Goodell's actions.

This surprised me: The owners I spoke with want Goodell to cede authority in discipline cases. They think he spends too much time—and it’s certainly true in this case—going down a rabbit hole of unending controversy on an issue the league should have had buttoned up years ago.

How does that surprise you? What got Goodell in trouble is he has his fingerprints all over punishments handed down to players and he handed down a punishment many considered too light in this circumstance. The owners don't want Goodell being the judge, jury and executioner because it brings criticism his way. It's just another way of protecting the NFL brand to hand authority off in discipline cases.

In general, the sense I got is that when the Mueller report is released, and if Goodell stays on, owners will urge him to concentrate more on league matters and growing and improving the game, and much less on discipline.

That will fix everything. As long as Goodell runs the NFL and isn't allowed to use his judgment in discipline cases then nothing should go wrong. Protect the Shield!

That’s a key point: Owners and team executives know how committed the NFL is to building its presence internationally, and that they’ll play a central role in where it goes from here. The league’s current resolution to play regular-season games in the U.K., as voted on by the owners, runs through the 2016 season, and Waller hopes to have a new resolution in place before that one expires.

I really don't want the NFL to go to London, but nobody asked my opinion. Obviously the NFL owners know better than I do. I will be pissed when my favorite team loses a home game because the NFL wants to convince London to love the sport of American football.

In the short term, Waller says to expect three NFL games played at Wembley Stadium during the 2015 season (England is hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with two matches scheduled at Wembley for Sundays in September, one reason the NFL will stick with three games). Two of those games will be played on consecutive weeks, to test how the stadium’s field holds up to that wear and tear. This is important, because if there were a team in London, its schedule would likely be played in two- to three-game blocks, home and away.

I don't see how it could work. Games would have to be played in London in blocks and I don't think it's fair for a New Orleans Saints team clinging to hope for a playoff spot to have to play in London in Week 16 and then fly back to play a "win-and-in" game in New Orleans the following week. I already hear about West Coast NFL teams who change their schedule while playing on the East Coast, much less playing in England where teams will suffer from jet lag. What happens when the Seahawks play in London and then have a home game the next week?

Bidwill told the panel of fans this weekend that the Cardinals, who played a preseason game in London in 1983, “would love to play another game—as the visiting team.” That’s the challenge for the NFL, finding more volunteers each year to give up a home game. If there were a team based in London (and, yes, the NFL wants that, more than a six- or eight-game collection of games featuring different teams), that question would be answered. But the NFL is not there yet.

I am of the opinion I never want my team to give up a home game so the NFL can convince another country to love American football. It's spitting in the face of that team's fan base to only get 7 home games while being charged for 8 (actually 10 games) and I don't see how the logistics would work out without a lot of work to make it happen.

In tribute to Derek Jeter

Not only is this a football column, but doesn't Peter think there have been enough Jeter tributes of late? Hasn't this been done already?

The paths of the Jeter and Manning families have crossed numerous times. Charles Jeter, Derek’s father, helped the Mannings set up Peyton Manning’s PeyBack Foundation early in his career. Eli Manning sometimes called Derek for Yankee tickets. Peyton and Derek Jeter once had a very private dinner after a Monday night game in Indianapolis. “That night may have been the only night ever that [Indianapolis restaurant] St. Elmo opened for two people to have dinner: Peyton and Derek,” Archie said. And in May, Peyton showed up at Yankee Stadium to see Jeter play. “I wanted to pay my respects and see him play for the last time,” Peyton said that day.

Such a riveting story. I think a story about a baseball player and a quarterback who is on his bye week is perfect for MMQB. I wouldn't expect Peter to NOT mention Peyton Manning a few times during a weekend when Manning's team isn't even playing. I think a whole page on Jeter is a bit much, but Peter has said before he thinks Jeter is the best player of his lifetime, if Peter's lifetime began over the last 30 years.

“I’m so glad what happened the other night,” Archie Manning said Saturday. “It’s justice. It’s God-sent.

God has sent The Jeter down to show the world how to treat the media and bang attractive brunettes at the same time. I wouldn't insinuate that The Jeter is like Jesus or any other Biblical figure, but only because no Biblical figure has more than 3,000 hits like The Jeter does. Either way, The Jeter is from God.

Reactions from around football to Jeter’s end, and what he leaves:

Yes, PLEASE! Because the only thing I care about more than Peter's opinion on Derek Jeter is someone else's opinion on Derek Jeter and be sure to put these reactions in a column about the NFL so they will be totally out-of-place. There are only 22 people who give a memory of Derek Jeter or provides thoughts about The Jeter. Only 22! If Peter put this much effort into MMQB every week it wouldn't be the 40% NFL-related, self-involved shit show the column has become.

Bill Parcells, Hall of Fame coach

"Oh please, Mr. Parcells! Give me a quote about Derek Jeter. Please sir?"

Champ Bailey, free-agent cornerback
“They should retire No. 2 in baseball. Definitely one of the greatest athletes ever.”

Yeah Champ, that's what they should do. The Jeter and the dude who integrated baseball, they are both on the same level. Retire both of those jerseys. Not that the Jeter worship is veering widely into hyperbole or over-praise at this point or anything.

Boomer Esiason, former quarterback, current CBS announcer

“Even as a Mets fan I have to admit Derek Jeter did it the right way.

(Chokes to death on hyperbole)

Justin Tuck, defensive end, Oakland Raiders
“With all the great things he did on the field my favorite with Jeter would be him taking time to have a conversation and take pictures with my dad during batting practice one day at Yankee Stadium. The way he ended it with the walk-off was unbelievable. I thought hitting a home run for his 3,000th hit was crazy but how he ended his Yankee career is fitting for how he played the game. He deserved to go out with a bang like that.”

Hey Justin Tuck, Jeter didn't end his Yankee career with a walk-off, but thanks for paying so much attention.

Mike Mayock, NFL Network analyst

(From 1992 prior to the MLB Draft) "Sure, Derek Jeter had great high school numbers and a history of leadership, but look at how small his hands are and he had a bad workout before the MLB Draft. So let's ignore his entire high school career and focus on those two things. Then if I'm wrong, I'll just pretend I never said anything bad about Jeter."

Wait, wrong quote from Mayock.

John Harbaugh, coach, Baltimore Ravens: “Three or four years ago I threw out a first pitch at an O’s game. Sitting in the stands, there he was in the on-deck circle and I caught his eye and he nodded. Very classy.” …

Wow, real in-depth interesting story there. "ONE TIME, JETER NODDED AT ME!"

Brett Favre, former quarterback: “Awesome, and only fitting he go out that way. Classy player. I’m honored to say I watched him play this year in Seattle.” …

And really, why wouldn't Peter King roll over and ask Brett Favre if he has a quote about Derek Jeter? It's not like Peter is obsessed with Favre and it's not like Favre craves any little mention of his name to get back in the spotlight again for even a brief moment.

Ron Rivera, coach, Carolina Panthers: “I grew up a Yankee fan so I thought it was great the way he finished his career. And I love the Jeter commercial with the Frank Sinatra song.” … 

Maybe Jeter can play offensive line or fix whatever the hell is wrong with the Carolina defense? No, that's not his job, it's yours? Great, then do it.

Greg Schiano, former Tampa Bay coach:

And who am I to say that Peter King has favorites and Schiano is one of his favorites? I'm sure there are other fired NFL coaches who gave a quote to Peter about Jeter. (checks list) Well, maybe not. I think I see where much of Peter's anger towards Josh Freeman comes from. Freeman didn't help Peter's buddy Greg Schiano keep his job in Tampa Bay. So Peter, the unbiased reporter that he is, took it upon himself to bash Freeman constantly in retaliation for not playing well in Tampa Bay for Peter's friend, Greg Schiano.

Not him. I was watching the game the other night, and when the O’s hit the two-run homer to go up 5-4, I thought to myself, if this thing gets to the bottom of the ninth, he is going to win it. Sure enough…”

Did you write "Game Over" in your notebook, Greg?

Fine Fifteen

1. Seattle (2-1). Coming off the bye, the Seahawks will put on their traveling pants, with trips that are three, two and three time zones away over the next four games: at Washington (next Monday), Dallas at home, at St. Louis, at Carolina. The last two will be early games in Eastern Time. Tough stretch.

Fortunately they are playing both the Rams and the Panthers, who currently both stink.

3. Denver (2-1). Who’d have thought the game of the week in Week 5, between two teams with a total of one loss, would be Arizona at Denver?

Nobody, that's who! "We" never thought these two teams would be playing each other with a total of one loss. The NFL is so crazy, which comes as a new shock to Peter King every single season.

8. San Francisco (2-2). One thing you learn about the Niners under Jim Harbaugh in his three and a quarter seasons as coach: They don’t stay bad for long.

This is a lesson that Gregg Easterbrook has yet to learn.

9. Philadelphia (3-1). Predictable loss.

But of course it was. "We" didn't know the Eagles would lose, but Peter King totally knew.

Offensive Players of the Week
Steve Smith Sr., wide receiver, Baltimore. The day couldn’t have gone any better for Smith, playing his first game against the team that brought him into the NFL 13 years ago: seven catches, 139 yards, two touchdowns, a 19.9-yards-per-catch average. What’s significant about Smith’s production so far is that he went to a team that didn’t really need him, and he’s played so well that he’s forced balls to come to him and not to Torrey Smith or Jacoby Jones.

Really? The Ravens didn't need Smith? Wasn't it just last year that Peter King was freaking the hell out because the Ravens traded away Anquan Boldin, but now with much of the same receivers coming into this year (Jones, Smith, Pitta, Brown) the Ravens don't need another receiver? Interesting how that works.

Goat of the Week
Brad Wing, punter, Pittsburgh. Wing’s feeble 29-yard punt with 50 seconds left put the ball on the Pittsburgh 46, giving the Bucs, trailing 24-20, a short field to traverse to try to win the game. And win it they did, on a great Vincent Jackson catch in the end zone with seven seconds to play.

It's definitely not the Steelers defense that was at fault here. Always blame the Australian, Peter.

Wing's Wikipedia page was changed to "Wing is a terrible Australian punter" for a period of time. I always enjoy Wikipedia changes. When an athlete screws up like Wing did, he's asking for a Wikipedia page change.

“I’m 35 yards old. I just ran around those guys like they were schoolyard boys.”
—Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., after his two-touchdown, 139-yard performance in the Baltimore rout of Smith’s old team, the Carolina Panthers.

I mean, yeah, but take away the lucky 61 yard catch and it was a 6 catch, 78 yard, 1 touchdown performance. Obviously not bad, but not quite running around everyone on the opposing team.

The Colts’ 41-17 victory over Tennessee in their second division game of the season got me thinking about how vital the franchise quarterback is in today’s game.

Really? It took that victory for Peter to start thinking about this?

Meanwhile the Titans have lurched from the final years of Steve McNair to Vince Young to Collins to Matt Hasselbeck, and it’s very much in question whether Jake Locker can be the long-term solution. Houston has gone from Derek Carr to Matt Schaub to Ryan Fitzpatrick, with no indication if current backups Tom Savage or Ryan Mallett could be the future.

It seems Peter's editor has taken a vacation. "Impressively" was misspelled earlier and now he has mistaken Derek Carr for David Carr.

Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy, one of the game’s best backs, has 39 yards rushing over the past two weeks.
Minnesota rookie back Jerick McKinnon had 55 yards rushing on his first snap of the second quarter Sunday afternoon.

This is a Gregg Easterbrook-type note that essentially means nothing and provides no real statistical or informational purpose.

Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week
On the toughness of Nick Foles, and the quality of toughness in general for a quarterback:

There's no wisdom here. Only quotes like,

I’s a quality in this league that you have to have. Because no matter who you are playing, you’re going to get hit. You’ve got some big, angry people running after you and trying to take you down. To stand in there and not worry about it and know you’re going to get hit but you have to deliver the ball on time is a really underrated quality at that position. Right now he’s really shown what I’ve seen all along from him. It didn’t take the Washington game for them to admire his toughness.”

Chip Kelly admires his starting quarterback's toughness. Alert the presses.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

My dermatologist’s office is in Winchester, Mass., a 20-minute drive from Boston (in moderate traffic). Even though I live in New York, I’ve kept the same dermatologist, because she’s so thorough.

Yes, you mention this every time you go to the dermatologist. It is as interesting and relevant now as it ever has been.

I haven’t followed the taxi-versus-Uber battle in the country, though I’ve heard about it. I also cannot draw definitive conclusions based on one experience.

Anyone who has ever read MMQB knows that Peter will now draw a conclusion based on his one experience.

But I will say this: Based on my Wednesday experience, I will certainly be using Uber again, and probably often.

No definitive conclusion drawn after one experience, but Peter will be using Uber again, and probably very often.

My Sports Illustrated colleague, as the rain poured down during the day Thursday. Most everything Jeter-related has been for sale in the past six months. Why not the rain?

Yep Peter, we aren't all as big of a group of idiots as you believe. I'm pretty sure everyone gets it. No need to explain.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 4:

n. Great news tidbit from Albert Breer on NFL Network: E.J. Manuel is working with a “mental conditioning coach” from Florida State. Presumably to feel better about himself.

Peter thinks Manuel needs to work with a "throw it deep no matter the consequences" coach. That would improve Manuel's game tremendously. Maybe Kyle Orton can show Manuel how it is done. Also, how about those Florida State quarterbacks under Jimbo Fisher? Christian Ponder, E.J. Jameis Winston will be coming out of college soon. I know about the history of bust Florida State defensive ends, but Fisher is about to put three quarterbacks in the NFL in five years, one has been a bust, one is getting there and then there is Jameis Winston.

o. Good column by Gary Myers in the New York Daily News on Sunday. How ironic it would be if the Jets had to negotiate with fired GM Mike Tannenbaum if Rex Ryan is dismissed as coach—after this season or any season? Tannenbaum, who now works as an agent, has a hot defensive coordinator, Seattle’s Dan Quinn, in his stable.

Tannebaum should put a clause in Dan Quinn's contract that the Jets would have to hire Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow as co-quarterback coaches if they hire Dan Quinn. That would probably be enough to make sure a deal didn't get done, so maybe a bad idea.

3. I think I’m still trying to figure out what Joe Philbin was trying to do, motivationally, by not announcing who his starting quarterback was last week. I also think I am not alone. Miami’s rout of Oakland doesn’t change that.

It's almost like if you combine Philbin's general cluelessness about Jonathan Martin being bullied by Richie Incognito with his bizarre and ridiculous mind games surrounding whether Ryan Tannehill would start this week, that a person could come to the conclusion he doesn't exactly know what he's doing as an NFL head coach. On the bright side, he is still doing bed checks and talking to players before bed, so I'm sure the Dolphins players love him for that.

6. I think we vastly overestimated the Saints.

(Looks around the room and wonders who "we" are...then realizes while Peter's use of "we" when he is personally wrong and doesn't want to take responsibility for it so he blames "we" for being wrong is still annoying, in this case I personally may have overestimated the Saints. If I were Peter King, I would say "we" were totally wrong about the Saints)

Not only on defense—Rob Ryan’s unit isn’t even mediocre; it’s bad—but the offense is not nearly as reliable as a normal Drew Brees offense.

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that a Rob Ryan-led defense is regressing.

The Saints can rebound from 1-3, because there’s not a super team in the NFC South. But the ugliness of the first month won’t be easy to overcome.

"The Saints can rebound because the NFC South sucks, but the Saints may not be able to rebound."

7. I think if I ran the NFL, and I had the kind of image problem (crisis, really) that the NFL has right now, I’d be looking for people who are universally respected to help me dig out of the hole.

I think if I were a sportswriter, and I knew who ran the NFL, then I would act like this image problem isn't a PR issue that needs to be corrected or can be fixed by simply not having the NFL commissioner make discipline decisions anymore. I would be critical of the commissioner since it's pretty obvious he has been lying or being willfully ignorant through this whole image problem crisis. But then again, that would involve me being a sportswriter who isn't an NFL lapdog.

9. I think if Bill Simmons has proof that Roger Goodell lied, then I’ve got no problem with what he said that caused ESPN to suspend him for three weeks. If it’s his opinion that Goodell is lying, then I’ve got a problem with it.

Keep carrying that water, Peter. You can do it. What evidence the public has heard seems to point that way. The alternative is this is one of those convenient situations where the man in charge of disciplining NFL players decides he doesn't want complete information before suspending a player and no one around him advises him to get a copy of the hotel elevator camera footage that would have clarified the situation and justified the suspension given.

How do you publicly say someone is lying and is a liar—adding profanities for emphasis—without knowing for sure?

I won't defend Bill, because this seems like one of his strong opinions intended to push himself into the national conversation to me. It so happens I agree with him, but if Bill Simmons got in trouble for claiming something he couldn't prove as true then he would still be a bartender back in Massachusetts. A lot of his writing career is based on assumptions and theories he hopes are true, but doesn't necessarily have the proof to back up his claims.

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

a. One thing about this baseball season that I loved: the rise of the middle class. Kansas City in the playoffs (the coolest thing about the season), Pittsburgh in the playoffs again, Oakland (barely) in the playoffs, Seattle knocked on the door, Baltimore in the playoffs.

Middle class? Oakland is 25th in payroll and Pittsburgh is 27th.

b. Dustin Pedroia’s Venezuelan twin, Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, finished with 225 hits—25 more than any other player in baseball.

Peter has more in common with Bill Simmons than he cares to admit. He can only view a player through the prism of a Red Sox player. It looks like the American version of Pedro Martinez, Clayton Kershaw, will win the MVP this year. I'm betting the right-handed, younger version of Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Trout, will have a great playoff performance.

c. Jordan Zimmermann might have thrown the least-celebrated no-hitter in memory Sunday, because of the meaninglessness of the game and it happening on the day of Jeter’s last game and on a big NFL Sunday.

Is it considered ironic that Peter mentions how overshadowed Zimmerman's no-hitter is in a column where Peter talks about the NFL games, but doesn't really seem to have considered them "big," and Peter dedicated an entire page to Derek Jeter in that column?

f. Have you ever seen Being There, the Peter Sellers movie about the simpleton gardener-turned-presidential adviser? What a movie. Watched it again over the weekend. A shame Sellers died too soon. He was brilliant in that film.

It's a shame Peter Sellers is dead. He could dance and entertain Peter more. Peter needs more entertainers alive so they can serve the sole purpose of continuing to amuse him.

i. So long, Paul Konerko. I hope someone notices you’re retiring too.

Again, this from the NFL sportswriter who dedicated 16.667% of this NFL column to Derek Jeter. Yes, it would be nice if someone noticed Konerko was retiring too, but that would take away from the Jeter worship that I'm sure Peter King thinks everyone else is taking part in.

j. Shouldn’t a man with more home runs in his career than Johnny Bench, Andre Dawson, Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Piazza and Jim Rice get a little more fanfare on the way out?

You are the asshole who dedicated an entire page to Derek Jeter in this very column, then mentioned Paul Konerko twice on the last page of the column, using two whole sentences to do so. Pot meet kettle.

l. Wishing Ben Bradlee, one of the true journalism giants, comfort these days. Word comes today that the longtime Washington Post managing editor is in hospice care. I’ve always been a big fan.

You have always been a big fan of hospice care? That seems rather insensitive, Peter.

New England 30, Kansas City 20. Good point from ESPN Stats & Info on the pressure Tom Brady’s facing. He’s under pressure on 25.6% of the snaps through three weeks, triple what it was four years ago. This is a very big week for the Patriots, at least to me. The narrow win over Oakland looks especially weak in the wake of the Raiders’ horrible performance in London against Miami. But I trust Tom Brady to make plays tonight more than Alex Smith.

At no point should the reverse ever be written. Never should someone write, "I trust Alex Smith to make more plays than Tom Brady."

The Adieu Haiku
How ’bout them Cowboys!
Who thought they’d be 3 and 1?
Go figure football.
Quick font change for Peter in the Adieu Haiku. Perhaps Peter's editor is truly on vacation. Enough about the NFL, let's talk more Derek Jeter. Peter hopes at some point Paul Konerko gets his due also. That is someone else's job though. Peter lacks the ability to be self-aware enough to understand that person could have been him. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2 comments MMQB Review: Peter King Can't See Too Good, But Thinks That Is Joey Montana Over There Quarterbacking the Seahawks

Peter King discussed domestic violence in last week's MMQB. Hopefully we have all of the discussion of moral issues out of the way for the rest of the NFL season. Everyone is suspended, sorry I mean on the commissioner's exempt list, and all is well in the NFL again. Well, you know, except for the whole "Roger Goodell lied repeatedly about whether he saw the Ray Rice tape and what Rice described to him as happening on the elevator" thing, but based on Peter's lack of discussion on this topic in last week's MMQB, I'm guessing that issue won't be pushed hard any time soon. Peter King also criticized Matt Cassel for not playing well against the Patriots, but then praised him for playing well on one drive for some reason. So the NFL's arbiter of right and wrong is back this week to discuss how Russell Wilson saved the NFL, says the NFL needs a domestic violence czar (and now we are swinging the pendulum to overreacting in response to an under-reaction), and is amazed at how much Americans like their technology. I guess it's easier to be uppity about technology when your employer provides most of your electronic devices to you at no cost.

The adrenaline was still flowing for Russell Wilson an hour after a game that was supposed to be high drama, and actually was.
“The NFL needed this game,” Wilson said.

The NFL is saved. Because of you, Russell Wilson. Thank you for all you do. If it weren't for that Broncos-Seahawks game, I might have just stopped watching the NFL all together. Thank God Peter begins this column with such flowery language, because otherwise I wouldn't want to read another word about the NFL without Peter telling me the league is saved.

Games like this one are why people won’t throw the NFL out with the trash because of the Ray Rice scandal.

Which, by the way, is the same thing I thought last week as Peter was having an emo-breakdown about whether he should give up watching the NFL or not. People love the NFL and won't give it up because a few bad apples get in trouble for domestic violence allegations.

The NFL is on fire. The first Super Bowl rematch in 17 years couldn’t put it out, of course. But it could remind people who love football but are pissed off at it why they loved it in the first place. Wilson and Manning and the Broncos and the Seahawks did their best in three hours and 33 minutes to put some salve on the sport.

These narratives don't write themselves, you know. Peter has to put a lot of time into acting like the NFL will fall apart with no one watching the sport one week, followed by an exciting football game the next week that totally redeems the entire sport.

After Manning engineered one of the best drives of his career—six plays, 80 yards, no timeouts, 41 seconds, ending in a touchdown pass and two-point conversion—Wilson made it look easier in overtime. Does the man sweat? Does he get cotton-mouth?

I don't know. We'll see how he feels when his future ex-wife comes after any future earnings he might have if/when they go to court.

(I know that has nothing to do with anything, it just felt fun for some reason to be a hater)

On a brisk 13-play, 80-yard drive to start OT, Wilson threw the ball six times, handed it off three and ran it four times himself. And Seattle won 26-20.

It was a great last drive, no doubt. The Broncos couldn't seem to keep Wilson in the pocket.

Tony Dungy compared Wilson to a young Joe Montana a couple of weeks ago, and the hyperbole-prompted snickers were everywhere. But what about Wilson isn’t Montana-like?

Oh Peter, so many things about Wilson aren't Montana-like. Can't we just let Russell Wilson be Russell Wilson and stop prematurely comparing him to Hall of Fame quarterbacks? Can't Russell Wilson just stand on his own until his career comes closer to ending? What is wrong with just stating he is a really good quarterback? Or would that just not involve the excessive amount of hyperbole required for MMQB? It constantly annoys me how sportswriters have to start the comparisons of one player to another way too early. What isn't Montana-like about Wilson is he hasn't played at a high level for over a decade, while Montana did. Simmer the fuck down.

Shorter guys. Don’t put up gaudy stats. Teammates love them. Coaches love them. Tremendous internal drive to win. Both 25 when they won their first Super Bowl. And, most important, they play big in the big games.

Welp, it's settled then. Russell Wilson is Joe Montana. Nothing left to do or prove at this point. So for the rest of his career, no matter how the rest of his career ends up, Russell Wilson IS Joe Montana. That's the takeaway here?

“That’s a team record,” Wilson said by phone from the bowels of CenturyLink. “When we play against the best, like we did today, it’s a humbling experience. I want to be up there with those guys one day. It’s a thrill to be able to play in games like this, against guys like Peyton, and I just want to excel when we play them. It can’t get any better than a game like this today.”
I want to be up there with those guys one day.
You’re there.

No, he is not there. If Russell Wilson plays like Blaine Gabbert for the rest of his career then he will be considered like quarterbacks such as Brady, Manning, Rodgers and Brees? That is what Peter is saying? That's pure bullshit. Wilson is getting there, but he's not there. Stop being a hyperbolic drama queen. Wilson is on his way to being considered a great quarterback, but he's not there after less than three full seasons in the NFL.

Wilson gathered his offense before he took the first snap and said, “This is what we live for, fellas: championship moments. Let’s go out and embrace it.”

Then he said, "Is that John Candy sitting in the stands?" and Peter King knew that Russell Wilson was a great quarterback just like Joe Montana. Nothing could ever change that, unless something in the next decade ends up changing that.

“I know I shouldn’t say this,” Wilson said, “but I actually wanted overtime. Of course I want to win in regulation, but overtime is so much fun. I live for those moments.”

Just like Joe Montana. In fact, Russell Wilson's real last name is "Idaho," but he changed it because he didn't want everyone to make the obvious comparison to Joe Montana. Wilson's real last name is also a state, just like Joe Montana. Joe Montana played quarterback at Notre Dame which is a university located in a state in the United States, just like Russell Wilson played quarterback at Wisconsin which is a state in the United States. Joe Montana played football and Russell Wilson played with Monte Ball. Joe Montana got traded to the Chiefs late in his career, which made Steve Young the 49ers starting quarterback. Russell Wilson is young and has never played the Chiefs. Joe Montana wore #16 in San Francisco, Russell Wilson wears #3 for the Seahawks. If you add them together you get 19 and that's the number Montana wore for the Chiefs. I don't think anyone has ever seen them in the same room together either.

“My father always told me, ‘Don’t be afraid to excel.’ ” Russell Wilson was taught well.

See, now that's where Joe Montana is more like Blaine Gabbert. Montana's dad told him "Don't be afraid to fail miserably." I guess they just aren't that alike and Joe Montana's father is an asshole for not teaching his son well.

When I think of Drew Stanton, I don’t think of many big NFL moments. None, really. But I do think of the man who was signed by the Jets in 2012, paid a signing bonus of $500,000, then traded seven days later because the Jets had a crazy brainstorm and impulsively signed Tim Tebow.

Don't blame Tim Tebow for that. God did it. It wasn't impulsive at all. It was God's will to give Tim Tebow another chance in the NFL. God wanted to show that Tebow is a terrible quarterback and he should immediately give up the sport as quickly as possible. He had a plan.

“I signed with the Jets because I thought it was a great situation, and because I had the word of [coach] Rex Ryan and [then-GM] Mike Tannenbaum that I’d be the backup. A few days later I started hearing rumors about Tim and the Jets. I said, ‘No way.’ They just paid me a bonus and committed to me. So, my wife and I are down in Florida the week after I sign with them. It’s her birthday. We’ve got a doctor’s appointment—we’re going to find out whether she’s pregnant with a boy or a girl. We find out it’s a boy, and I come out of the doctor’s office and my phone’s blowing up. The Jets got Tim. We went for a walk along the Intracoastal Waterway, trying to figure out what to do. I mean, I was shocked. I had their word, and then this happened.

It sounds like a terrible situation for an organization to pay you $500,000 to do absolutely no work at all. With a child on the way, especially. It's just, how is Stanton supposed to survive with $500,000 in his pocket and having to do absolutely no work to earn it?

“But, sitting here right now, it’s one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

He got $500,000 to do nothing. He went from the Jets to a team coached by Bruce Arians, who has Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck on his resume as two quarterbacks he helped coach early in their career.

Shortly after signing Tebow, the Jets traded Stanton to Indianapolis, where he would back up rookie Andrew Luck. The Colts’ offensive coordinator was Bruce Arians. Stanton hadn’t worked for him before. When he got to Indy, Stanton loved the guy, and Arians loved him back.

But it was not to be. Andrew Luck was standing in the way of their love. So Arians had to leave. He had to go. He couldn't be around Stanton and not have him as his own and Stanton was stuck in Indianapolis backing up Andrew Luck. Impulsively, Arians went to Arizona to be the Cardinals coach and hope he could find another quarterback to love. It wasn't to be.

But it wasn't over then and it's still not over now, because Arians brought Stanton with him to Arizona. They reunited, but now Carson Palmer stood in the way of their love.

In two games, Stanton is 32 of 62 (51.6%), with two touchdowns and no picks, a rating of 83.5. “My stats stink,” he said, “and I don’t care. Stats mean nothing to me—wins do. I love Bruce’s offensive philosophy. He wants to push the ball downfield. That fits me. The numbers aren’t going to be great.

Right, the numbers won't be great because you aren't a great quarterback. This is the typical language a shitty quarterback who somehow manages to win games uses. Understood. But the love, the love Arians and Stanton feel makes it all worth it.

Arians has a deft touch with his quarterbacks. He had Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh for years, then Andrew Luck for one year in Indianapolis, and then he helped resurrect Palmer’s career in Arizona last season. Now Stanton.

It's almost like he's good at coaching up quarterbacks.

What an amazing story: The Arizona Cardinals, half of their defensive keystones gone and keyed by a quarterback who hadn’t taken a snap since 2010 and a receiver who was playing small-college football a year ago, beating the San Francisco 49ers and alone, ahead of Seattle, atop the NFC West. Football is a crazy game.

"We" didn't expect this to happen! "We" are shocked that football is a crazy and unpredictable sport. Who knew this could be true?

As Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton raises his game early in 2014—and we have to be careful here, because Dalton has been a very good regular-season quarterback, only to fail in the playoffs in each of his three NFL seasons—it’s becoming clear that the multifaceted game plans of first-year Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson are a big reason why.

Of course Peter has to shit on Andy Dalton a little bit. Because, why not? Dalton still didn't win a playoff game this past weekend.

Also, in summary:

Andy Dalton has succeeded in his first 3 years in the NFL because of Hue Jackson's game planning, even though Jackson wasn't his offensive coordinator during his first three years in the NFL. Maybe he is raising his game this year, but it's not like Dalton was really shitty previously. Russell Wilson is a great quarterback like Joe Montana because he is individually great under the same offensive coordinator he's had since he was a rookie. Dalton's great play is a by product of those around him, while Wilson's success is not attributed to any help around him. Okay then.

Dalton said self-assurance is a big part of his game, and of Jackson’s. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. When he calls something, I really think it’s going to work,” Dalton said. That’s what a quarterback wants in his play-caller.

No, Andy Dalton said THE TEAM is playing with a lot of confidence. He did not say that referring to Hue Jackson. It is Peter King who has decided that Hue Jackson is the big reason Andy Dalton is a good regular season quarterback. Andy Dalton did not say that, Peter King wants to believe he did.

“It’s one of those deals where the coach might say, ‘Great play. Don’t make that same read again,’ ” Dalton said. But Dalton also knows Jackson will probably have something else strange in the game plan when the Bengals come out of their bye week—and it will probably work. Through three weeks, he’s had a good run of play calls.

Yes, and that is why Andy Dalton was a good regular season quarterback when Hue Jackson wasn't making the play calls. Of course.

I completely recognize the difference in Andy Dalton and Russell Wilson, but I find it funny how Peter goes on and on about Wilson in MMQB being individually great while ignoring Darrell Bevell and the Seahawks defense helping him be great, while heaping zero praise on Andy Dalton and simply stating the play calling is why Dalton is so great this regular season. Interesting difference to me.

We’re still waiting to hear the Ravens’ reaction to the damaging ESPN story claiming the organization knew how bad the Ray Rice tape was but tried to downplay it to minimize his league punishment.

Later, Rice’s attorney told club president Dick Cass that the video was “horrible” and, according to ESPN, Cass responded by urging for Rice to enter a pre-trial diversion program. Meanwhile, according to ESPN, the Ravens were arguing for leniency for Rice, and strongly urged commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Rice for only two games. That’s what Goodell did.

So Peter is going to talk about the whole "Roger Goodell possibly lied and is now trying to hide behind tough retroactive stances" issue in this week's MMQB? It was left out last week, so I can't help but wonder. Of course Peter isn't going to actually go hard on Roger Goodell. They have a lunch next week at Skyline Chili and there can't be any awkwardness at such an occasion.

Either way, the Ravens have some explaining to do, particularly with respect to Sanders and Cass. If Sanders knew how damaging the elevator video was and passed that information on to upper management, and Cass pressed for leniency knowing how bad the elevator tape was (as ESPN suggested), both men could have to answer to owner Steve Bisciotti and/or the investigator retained by the league, former FBI director Robert Mueller.

But, neither NFL owner overseeing the investigation sees Roger Goodell's job security as being in question. They have already stated this, so it's hard to really give a shit what Robert Mueller finds. If nothing changes, it's just a pointless investigation.

Ryan’s numbers were ridiculously good—six punts, 50.2 yards per punt, and a 47.7-yard net; only one of the six punts was returned for positive yardage. Ryan was huge in the biggest game of the year so far because he kept giving Peyton Manning long fields. And long fields in Seattle are most often fruitless fields. Most impressive was this fact: Manning never led the Broncos to a score on a possession following a Ryan punt. That’s a huge day’s work.

Great punting never gave Peyton Manning an easy field to go against the NFL's best defense. But Peter's takeaway from the Broncos-Seahawks game is how Russell Wilson is already up there with Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, while he is also just like Joe Montana. Peter passes up explanations for contributions to Wilson's success in favor of hyperbole.

Said coach Pete Carroll: “Jon Ryan just had an incredible influence in this game, throughout. If there was anybody who was MVP, it might have been Jon Ryan today with his effort, because he had probably the best day of his career.”

Jon Ryan is already up there with the greatest punters in NFL history.

Oddest event of the day: Rams tight end Jared Cook dropped a fairly easy touchdown catch in the end zone against the Cowboys, and went back to the Rams’ sideline.

Jared Cook didn't play up to the expectations his talent level indicates? That's not really that odd. It's been the story of his career so far.

Quarterback Austin Davis stuck his hand out as if to say, Hey, we’ll get ’em next time. No worries. Cook angrily slapped his hand away. Strange, because it was Cook’s fault, and he was acting all angry when the quarterback went to tell him it’d be fine. And so Sunday evening, Cook tweeted: “My actions from today’s game were truly a mistake—unintentional and in the heat of the moment. There is never an excuse for unsportsmanlike conduct and I apologize to everyone.” Good for him.

It's a team on the rise full of really great players who are also great guys!

Amazing how quickly we’ve forgotten the story of 2013. There’s Jonathan Martin starting at right tackle for a playoff team, San Francisco. There’s Richie Incognito sitting at home, wishing his phone would ring so he could play guard somewhere, anywhere. Martin plays, and it’s as if what happened 11 months ago never occurred.

Stop saying "we" have forgotten. No, "we" haven't. It's just an older story now.

That has been the backbone of the NFLPA’s argument for three years: We do not want the same body—Goodell or his people—to pass judgment on players and then hear the appeals. It’s double jeopardy. It’s patently unfair. Finally, the players won. And it’s right. The new system will be more fair.

And as one league official estimated, 80% of all appeals heard by the league are in recreational or performance-enhancing drugs. So how far would Goodell have to go now to simply turn over all appeals to a third party?

Maybe Roger Goodell could turn over the appeals to his good friend Godger Roodell, who totally hates domestic violence and is the wisest man that Roger Goodell knows.

It is past time that Goodell passes off the job of discipline in general in big cases, particularly in the legally complex and time-consuming domestic violence cases, where I think he should name a domestic violence czar who would take all of those cases out of the hands of teams and into the hands of a uniform NFL code-interpreter.

But if Roger Goodell names a domestic violence czar (and where is Bill Simmons to apply for this job? He wants every "czar" job in the NBA, so maybe he should take this "czar" job) then that will be perceived as the NFL expecting there to be enough domestic violence cases from their players to require enough time that an individual person will be responsible for take those cases. That's probably not a great message the NFL wants to send.

Goodell would sort of be saying, "The NFL takes domestic violence seriously, so because we currently and probably will in the future have enough domestic violence cases for it to take up a lot of my time, I'll pass all of those on to a third-party."

How a domestic violence czar could work: As soon as there is a charge of domestic violence, the czar and her/his staff would investigate the case initially to see if there is enough evidence to take the player off the field immediately, to judge how due process should work in the case, and to see what alternatives there are for employees (such as a non-football-illness designation, as the Cardinals did with Jonathan Dwyer after he confirmed concerns about his mental health in talks with the team and local police).

Sounds great, but it's still a bad message to be sending to the public that there will be enough domestic violence cases to require a czar AND a staff for that czar. Besides, this would involve giving up some of his powers to a third party, and I don't think Roger Goodell has shown he is entirely capable of embracing this.

The status of players charged with domestic violence is too important an issue in society to be left to teams. The league should have one uniform policy, to be administered by a certified expert in the area.

But if there is a uniform policy then couldn't NFL security look into the situation and administer the policy, just like other NFL policies are administered? I don't know if this is a bad idea on it's face, but it seems like an overcorrection to make up for the NFL's lack of response to domestic violence cases. Domestic violence is a very important issue, but I think it's important not to overcorrect.

Goodell needs to get out of the morass of this issue and leave it to an expert or small group of experts to handle. Too many women’s groups—and women—won’t trust him no matter what the NFL does with domestic violence going forward. 

And of course, if Roger Goodell can't be trusted to implement and administer a domestic violence policy then that brings up the question of why he should be trusted to be the NFL commissioner? Or is domestic violence policy implementation Goodell's only weak spot and he's solid at figuring everything else out? But hey, he's forming a committee so I'm sure that means everything is in good shape now.

It shouldn’t have taken 38 months to get HGH testing in the NFL; that’s obvious. This should have been done a couple of years ago.

I guess we'll see how that goes, right? I'm interested. I will say that much. HGH testing in the NFL could be fun.

Fine Fifteen

1. Seattle (2-1). Does Russell Wilson feel pressure? Ever?

Never. He's like, no, he's better than Joe Montana in that way. 

2. Cincinnati (3-0). Amazing performances continue with the rout of the Titans. What don’t the Bengals do well right now? Andy Dalton even catches touchdowns. Gio Bernard is turning into a terrific all-around back. And look at the defense: In three games, opposing quarterbacks have a league-low 56.9 rating. Now the Bengals have the early bye, then … Bengals at Patriots in 13 days sure looks like it could be a great game.

Please remember I picked the Bengals last in the AFC North this year. It made sense at the time to me...and me only.

4. Arizona (3-0). Three wins, by 1, 11 and 9 points. An average running game (3.9 per carry) and caretaker Drew Stanton making enough plays to win the past two weeks. The difference: The Cards’ defense is so much better than anyone thought it would be, holding foes to 2.9 yards per rush and a 57% completion rate.

Not at all, actually. I think quite a few people thought the Cardinals would have a good defense. But yeah, you were wrong, so "anyone" was wrong too.

5. San Diego (2-1). Danny Woodhead is not a minor loss.

Oh good, so Chargers fans can feel good kno---

It’s a huge one

You got me again, Peter! Peter, when you do this it isn't a little annoying. It's really annoying.

But Philip Rivers has been so good over the past 13 months. I just trust him to handle the loss of his pass-catching running back to injury and move the receptions to someone else. My money is on Donald Brown,

That's a risky bet, Peter! What tipped it off? The fact Brown got 30 carries on Sunday?

Offensive Player of the Week 
Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount, running backs, Pittsburgh. With the Steelers’ season at a crucial early-season point because of an awful loss at Baltimore last week, Bell and Blount absolutely smoked the Panthers on Sunday night.

I see what you did there, Peter. You are being blunt in saying the Panthers were smoked by these two running backs. I just hope the Panthers season doesn't go to pot.

DeAndre Levy, linebacker, Detroit. Levy had 10 tackles, including the safety, and broke up two passes. As a playmaking outside ’backer with the size (238 pounds) to play inside, Levy has become almost as important to the Detroit D as the big guys up front—it’s just that no one knows it yet.

"No one" knows it yet. Only Peter, but "we" will figure it out. "We" will only have figured it out once Peter tells us Levy is just as important as the big guys up front because "we" can't know anything Peter doesn't know first.

This from a Marist/NBC poll of 606 adults, taken last week, on the state of the NFL today:

Twenty-nine percent believe Roger Goodell should be forced to resign—which, conversely, could be taken (and I am sure will be by the league) that Goodell has 71% job approval. That’s not what it says, though. The question was whether Goodell should be forced to resign, not whether he is doing a good job at running the NFL.

There is also a difference in being forced to resign and voluntarily choosing to resign. And yes, I think this 29% could be taken quite a few ways, but Peter naturally leans towards presenting it as a favorable result for Goodell.

Eighty-six percent say the current controversy will not change how much pro football they watch. Only 11% said they are likely to watch less of the NFL. (Three percent said it would make them watch more, oddly.)

Right, which is why Peter's fit last week about "Is the NFL worth watching still?" was just a horseshit knee jerk reaction. Few people, and especially a guy who makes his living off the NFL like Peter King, are going to stop watching NFL games due to players getting arrested for domestic violence.

Among southerners polled, 51% feel the kind of corporal punishment used by Adrian Peterson on his son is right.

I would love to know what "southerners" are and where they are from. I would find it interesting to know this.

Jose Altuve is unbelievable...On another level of amazement: Look where Altuve, a Venezuelan toiling in anonymity in Houston, stands versus some of the best players in major league history when you compare the best season for hits that each one of these players had

NO ONE had heard of Altuve until Peter King just alerted baseball fans to his existence. "We" didn't even know how good he was!

Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week

The Philadelphia coach, on offensive diversity:

I hope your brain can handle the wisdom about to spill forth.

How do you want to defend us? Doesn’t matter. If there’s a matchup we can exploit, we’ll exploit it. We don’t have a set number [of touches] that this needs to go here, this needs to go here. A lot of times, it’s different guys, different games. And one game it’s one guy, another game, it’s another guy. So it’s not by design that we are trying to go one way or another way … In the four years [at Oregon], one year the leading receiver was a wide receiver, one year it was a tight end and one year it was a running back. Here is what happened at Oregon. We were up 50 points in a lot of games, so we threw the ball less than ever. And I had that question last year a thousand times that you really emphasize the run. Well, when the score is 50‑3 at halftime, we are not coming out in the second half and jacking the ball around.

Chip Kelly doesn't say a certain player needs a certain set of touches and if he is up 47 points he will stop throwing the ball. Pure wisdom.

I hope our running backs carry the ball more than we throw the ball this year in every single game, because if they do, that means we are winning every single game.”

This would be an amazing quote if almost every other NFL coach didn't feel the same way. I really think Peter needs to think more about his Chip Kelly wisdom every week. They aren't bad quotes, but they are also not as enlightening as Peter seems to think they are.

Walking back from Central Park around noon Saturday, I spied a crazy-long line outside the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. The line weaved in a maze of crowd-control stanchions, hundreds of people in the maze, and at the end of the maze, the line went east down 59th Street, a full city block to Madison Avenue.
It wasn’t too tough to guess what it was for—the rollout of the iPhone 6. I asked one of the security dudes: “How long a wait if I went to the end of the line right now?”

So I went to the end of the line and asked a couple of young guys, 20 or 23, waiting with their heads in their iPhone 5s, “Did you know you’ve got about a six-hour wait in front of you? That’s what the security guy told me.”

Of course Peter has to antagonize these two guys. Because Peter isn't satisfied simply knowing that he doesn't have to wait in line for a new phone because he'll get his free phone in a timely fashion from one of his employers when he wants to upgrade his current phone. It seems Peter has an issue with minding his own business. What's the purpose of going up and starting a conversation with these two guys? To rub it in they have a long wait? Obviously they know they have a long wait, so other than talking to them in order to have an anecdote for MMQB speaking to them in order to remind them of their long wait serves no purpose.

“They told us it was about five,” one of the guys said.
Well, that certainly makes all the difference.

Stop being condescending. It makes you sound like an elitist asshole to go up and antagonize two people choosing to wait in line for the iPhone 6. Maybe you wouldn't choose to spend your time doing this, but they have, so mind your own damn business.

It annoys me when Peter will comment on what other people choose to do. Let people live and quit staring at them while they are in public and commenting on their actions.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 3:

a. Nate Irving, stoning one of the toughest short-yardage backs in football, Marshawn Lynch, at the goal line on the Seahawks’ first series.

Peter thinks the Panthers certainly didn't stone Blount and Bell on Sunday evening. Those guys weren't stoned at all.

q. Russell Wilson, with the game on the line.

Does Russell Wilson feel any pressure at all? Ever? No matter what happens from now on in his career, his 2+  years of playing quarterback for the Seahawks will have him as considered elite. He's up there with Manning and Brady.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 3:

b. You paid Evan Dietrich-Smith to play like that, Tampa?

No Peter, in a complete turn of events Dietrich-Smith paid Tampa Bay for the honor of playing for them.

d. Danny Woodhead going off on a cart in Buffalo. One of my favorite players to watch—just gets so much out of his talent.

This was not a minor loss. It was a huge loss.

m. I don’t know whether I like it or don’t like it, but those pool shots in Jacksonville are just strange.

Considering this is under the "Things I didn't like about Week 3" then I would say you didn't like this. I'm glad you need help clarifying your own feelings on this subject.

4. I think it’s stunning to think this. But in light of the investigation of sexual assault against him, and in light of his shoplifting incident, and in light of his incredibly vulgar outburst while standing on a table (!) in front of scores of Florida State students, and in light of the NFL being on fire over its handling of domestic violence, and in light of any move by an NFL team to add a player with a history of misogyny, I think it’s possible that whenever Jameis Winston enters the draft—in either 2015 or 2016—there’s a good chance he will not be a first-round pick.

I think what's stunning is it is currently September and Peter King is claiming there is a good chance Jameis Winston won't be a first round pick almost eight months from now. It's ridiculous really. This from the guy who bitched and whined in April about how the NFL Draft coverage is so saturated. He doesn't mind talking and speculating about the draft in September, but it's everyone else's fault the draft coverage is saturated in late April.

To claim Winston is not a first round pick is insane. It's September. If Florida State goes undefeated and Winston plays well over the rest of the season or takes the Johnny Manziel Tour of Redemption during the draft process he will most certainly be a first round pick. But no, Peter thinks it's worth reporting in September there is a good chance Winston won't be a first round pick in May. It's not like NFL teams talk themselves into taking quarterbacks in the first round or anything.

If I’m an NFL GM, it would scare the heck out of me. If I’m the wife of an NFL GM—or owner—thinking of drafting Winston, I’m asking some pointed questions.

If I'm an adult who covers the NFL for a living then I would know talk like that is very common inside the locker room.

6. I think if you’re waiting for me to call for Roger Goodell to be fired, you’ll have to wait a while.

I'm not waiting for you to do anything, Peter. In fact, I could care less what you say or think on the issue. It's not like what you say suddenly becomes the ruling line of thought. So if you are waiting for me to care what you think, you'll have to wait a while.

I’m not into mob rule either.

Yes, you are not into mob rule. Especially when it comes to Roger Goodell. Let's wait for all of the facts to show themselves. There's no rush to judgment here, because Peter will let others do that. He's gotta save his moral outrage for things like bad tasting coffee and people who talk on their cell phones in public. Otherwise, when it comes to NFL players, Peter proved last week that he doesn't mind being the great moral arbiter of our time. Now those players who commit domestic violence, people will go hard on them, but not ol' Roger Goodell. Peter is still waiting for someone to find out what exactly Goodell knew and didn't know about that Ray Rice elevator tape, because clearly Peter is done investigating this. At this point, he may find out something that would hurt his relationship with the NFL commissioner and that just can't happen.

I strongly believe that on Friday he should have clarified what he meant when he told Christine Brennan of USA Today that the evidence from the video of Rice punching his fiancée in the Atlantic City elevator “was not consistent with what was described when we met with Ray and his representatives.” That will be a key component of the Mueller report. ESPN and the New York Daily News both reported Rice was unequivocal about what he told Goodell, that he struck Janay Palmer with his hand and knocked her backward in the elevator, causing her to lose consciousness. Goodell had two chances Friday to clarify that simple point, and he should have—among other issues he should have been more forthcoming about to a nation starving for news on this important issue.

By "clarifying," I'm assuming Peter means "stop lying about what you were told" or "explain how what wasn't consistent about what you were told, because it sounds like you knew exactly what happened."

7. I think, if you want to know the difference between Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer in terms of why one is playing and why one has been banished when neither has had his day in court, it is not complicated. McDonald met with the Niners and said he was not guilty of attacking his fiancée. The team, after some investigating of its own, believes McDonald’s story. Dwyer denied to the Cardinals much of the substance of the charges against him—that he head-butted his wife, causing her a broken nose. But in the course of looking into the story, the team discovered that Dwyer had threatened suicide multiple times.

Wait, so the 49ers believed McDonald's story? Is that all Carolina or Minnesota had to say to get the media off their ass for not initially suspending Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson for the season? So if the team claims they believe the player, then Peter sees no issue with continuing to allow that player to participate in practice and games. I'm also a little confused how Dwyer also denies the claims against him, but because he has threatened suicide multiple times then he has to be lying.

The team had four choices: release Dwyer, let him continue to play, de-activate him each week, or place him on the non-football-injury list. That list would allow Dwyer to get medical and psychiatric care to determine the extent of his troubles. The Cardinals chose the NFI list. Dwyer can’t play for the Cardinals this year but would be allowed to sign with another team.

Oh, so the real difference has nothing to do with domestic violence, but has everything to do with Dwyer's mental health?

That was a nice escape clause Arizona had, because keeping Dwyer on the team might have been a media circus.

But again, Peter agrees with this decision, not because the Cardinals did "the right thing" and avoided a media circus, but for Dwyer's mental health. How come I don't believe this? Was it impossible for Dwyer to play and still get medical and psychiatric care? I just wonder because it seems like the real difference in these two situations is the 49ers believe McDonald's story and the Cardinals don't believe Dwyer's story.

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

a. My best to the family of Dave Rahn, former 49ers PR man, who died of melanoma Thursday. Dave was a good, good man with a terrific work ethic, and he was as professional a person as I’ve dealt with in this business. Rest in peace, Dave.
b. I’ve had two significant melanoma surgeries, and it’s nothing to fool around with. Sunscreen and regular checkups are the only way to beat it—or to compete with it.

Why is this consist of two different points? They are related to the same topic, just combine them into one point.

i. Ran the 6.2-mile Central Park loop, with the half-mile hill I dread, in 59:23 Saturday. Now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write, running that course in less than an hour. Last week I cut off the toughest mile on the run, the northern hill at the top of the park, and substituted that mile with a run on the flat streets of midtown Manhattan. On Saturday, I included the hill. Glad I did—but I paid for it when I woke up Sunday.

Thanks for the update. You know, interest in reading MMQB also means we are interested in you as a person as well.

The Adieu Haiku

Russell Wilson wins.
He just does. No dazzling stats.
Low maintenance too.

Gee, why had you not mentioned this before this haiku? I'm glad this haiku exists because I needed the information that had been mentioned three other times in MMQB to be written at least one more time.

Friday, November 8, 2013

8 comments This Week Gregg Easterbrook Thinks the Indianapolis Colts Are the Best Team in NFL

Gregg admitted to being wrong (yet again) in TMQ last week when he stated a football game was over. The game wasn't really over and the team Gregg didn't expect to win ended up winning the game. Have you noticed that Gregg seems to make this mistake on a near-weekly basis? Not shockingly, Gregg didn't change much of what he usually writes in TMQ last week. He acted like an ass-monkey by criticizing the Cowboys for "jogging" after Calvin Johnson and stayed on the fence about whether the Chiefs were for real or not. This week Gregg decides that the 6-2 Colts might be a playoff contender, makes a few comments about how NBA GM's make trades, and criticizes television shows for not being accurate enough. For a weekly column that is intended to be about football there is always a lot of discussion that has very little to do with football.  I think this is due to the fact I really don't believe Gregg understands the game of football and this is why many of his observations, criticisms, and critiques of NFL teams sound so nonsensical at times. He creates these rules like "do a little dance" to convert fourth downs in order to make rules that help him understand the game of football better.

As the Indianapolis Colts stormed back in the fourth quarter at Houston, a question presented itself: Will the Colts, even without Reggie Wayne, emerge as the best NFL team?

I don't know. So far Gregg has asked whether the Broncos and Chiefs are the AFC's best team. It seems every week a new "best team" in the AFC emerges in TMQ.

Indianapolis is not impressive statistically, outgained on the season. But the Colts make plays when the pressure is on.

Hyperbole alert!

In terms of what this column calls authentic wins -- victories over other top teams -- the Colts are the best so far, 3-0 versus those on track for the playoffs (San Francisco, Denver and Seattle).

How surprising that the Colts are the best team so far in this sub-category of wins that Gregg has just created. The amount of wins in this sub-category for the Colts miraculously supports Gregg's thought that the Colts may be the best team in the NFL. Funny how that works.

How do others compare? Undefeated Kansas City and stats-a-palooza Denver each have only one victory over a team with a winning record, in both cases shaky 5-4 Dallas.

Ah yes, "shaky" Dallas that has one fewer win than the Colts do. This is the same "shaky" Dallas team that lost to the Chiefs and Broncos, who have one loss between them, by a grand total of four points. In fact, this "shaky" Dallas team has lost four games this year by a grand total of 14 points or as many points as the Colts have lost by in their two losses this season. Aren't numbers fun? 

Cincinnati has a quality win over New England, but also three losses; Chicago has a quality win over Cincinnati, but also three losses; Green Bay is 1-3 against other winning teams; Detroit 2-2 against other winning teams. Seattle beat the 49ers but lost to Indianapolis, making the Seahawks 1-1 in authentic games. San Francisco 1-2 against top teams. New England has just one quality victory, over New Orleans, which in turn has just one victory over a winning team. For authentic accomplishments, so far Indianapolis is tops.

And yet, notice how Gregg changes his metric throughout this paragraph. The Bears have one "quality" win, the Packers have a 1-3 record against "winning" teams, the Seahawks are 1-1 in "authentic" games. Gregg has to change the metric around because the Bears have two wins over teams with winning records (or "authentic" wins as Gregg would normally would call them) and if the Bears have two wins over winning teams then it doesn't make the Colts three "authentic" wins quite as much of an accomplishment. The Patriots have a victory over the Jets and Saints, as well as a win against the 4-4 Dolphins, so they have lost two games and could be seen as really close to the best team in the NFL if you use Gregg's ever-changing "winning team" metric.

The first choice of the 1998 draft brought them Peyton Manning and a long stretch of winning; the first choice of the 2012 draft brought Luck, whose style of play is so similar to Manning's it's spooky.

They are both right-handed white quarterbacks. It's amazing how they are so similar.

Though Luck has an athletic dimension Manning lacks -- Luck runs well, and seems unfazed when hit in the pocket.

Luck throws passes from the pocket, just like Peyton Manning does! Are we sure they aren't related?

Feels an awful lot like it's 2003 again in Indianapolis, the year Manning's Colts began their streak of seasons with at least 12 victories.

I guess it doesn't feel like any of the three other seasons prior to 2003 when the Colts made the playoffs with Peyton Manning as the quarterback. Does it feel like 1999, Manning's second year in the NFL when the Colts won 13 games? I guess not, even though Gregg saying it felt like 1999 (Manning's second year in the NFL) would better achieve the symmetry he is trying to find between Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning. Wait, I just realized both Luck and Manning have an "e" AND an "n" in their first names. It's so crazy how alike they are.

In a development that made this columnist cheer, in the fourth quarter on "Monday Night Football," Bears coach Marc Trestman heeded years of hectoring by Tuesday morning quarterbacks and went for it on fourth down in his own territory. The result was victory.

But the Bears had dropped six straight to the Packers and needed a change of mindset. Chicago went for it and converted with a 3-yard rush. The possession became an 18-snap, 95-yard, 8:58 affair that numbers among the greatest clock-killer drives in the annals of the sport.

Gregg really needs to stop with the hyperbole. This wasn't one of the greatest clock-killer drives in the annals of sport. It was a great, long drive. Let's pull back the reins on the hyperbole. Gregg went hyperbole-crazy last week when he asked whether a Super Bowl-caliber team ever had a player receive a taunting call. His hyperbole is getting to be a bit much.

Trestman's decision even followed the metric, tested by thousands of computer simulations, laid out in my 2007 column linked to above:
• Inside your own 20, punt.
• From your 21 to 35, go for it on fourth-and-2 or less.
• From your 36 to midfield, go for it on fourth-and-3 or less.
• From the opposition 49 to opposition 30, go for it on fourth-and-4 or less.
• From the opposition 29 to opposition 3, go for it on fourth-and-3 or less.
• From the opposition 2 or 1, go for it.
• Exception: inside the opponent's 25, attempt a field goal if it's the fourth quarter and a field goal causes a tie or gives you the lead.

I'm not going to argue these points. There's no way that it is possible to make hard-and-fast rules on when a team should punt or go for it. I know Gregg prefers hard-and-fast rules or seeing things as black and white because it helps bring order to his understanding of football, but there's no way strict rules like this should be used by an NFL head coach to determine when to and when not to go for it on fourth down. Coaches should make a decision to go for it or not on fourth down based on the situation, not by using some strict rules that don't take time left in the game, the score of the game or any other variable aspect of a football game into account.

Sweet 'N' Sour Series of the Week: Washington leading 24-21 with 21 seconds in regulation, officials signaled touchdown for San Diego's Danny Woodhead. Then they reversed -- correctly -- and spotted the ball on the 1. The home crowd roared. The visiting Bolts had first-and-goal on the 1 with 21 seconds, holding two timeouts. San Diego went run no gain, timeout, incompletion, incompletion, field goal to force overtime. The Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons took the opening kickoff of overtime and moved the length of the field for the win. Sweet for the home team, sour for the visitors -- who left a timeout on the table.

Perhaps the Chargers should have called a timeout, but they shouldn't have called a timeout simply for the sake of using all of their timeouts and they shouldn't have run the ball just so they could claim they used all of their timeouts either. The Chargers have Philip Rivers as their quarterback so it's usually a good idea to make sure the ball is in his hands, especially since Danny Woodhead got no movement forward on first down at the goal line.

Some might say the R*dsk*ns prevailed by going back to their roots, spending much of the contest in a college-style pistol set with two running backs and a tight end forming the letter "A" around Robert Griffin III, resulting in 209 rushing yards. But TMQ attributes the Persons' victory foremost to the Washington cheer-babes.

Of course he does. Why else could the Redskins have won this game other than for non-football related reasons? It's Gregg's middle-aged, pervy love for cheerleaders wearing as few clothes as possible that led the Redskins to victory, not anything the Redskins football team did to win the game. I wonder what Gregg would have said about the cheerleaders if the Chargers had rushed the ball in regulation to score a touchdown and win the game? I'm guessing he would have left out what the cheerleaders wore during the game because it didn't fit his theory that the team whose cheerleaders wear the least clothes in the coldest weather will win the game.

Prime-time NFL contests on NBC and ESPN consistently dominate their ratings periods. But there's an opponent the NFL cannot seem to get off the field -- the two top prime-time ratings dramas of last television season and, so far, this one: "NCIS" and its little brother, "NCIS: Los Angeles."

Which is ridiculous because these kind of shows are so unrealistic. Who wants to watch a cop show that isn't only about police officers drinking coffee and pulling over speeders?

Now, desperate to crank out plots -- the shows are up to 340 total episodes -- "NCIS" scriptwriters often dispense altogether with jurisdiction. Businessman murdered? NCIS is on the scene. Terrorist sympathizer owns shell corporation? Call in NCIS. Cold War-era atomic warheads stolen by a creepy guy with a Peter Lorre accent? NCIS to the rescue: no FBI, CIA, local or state police on the case, just a bunch of boat-lovers.

I guess Gregg is really looking forward to the "NCIS" episodes that feature a multi-episode arc where the members of NCIS discuss jurisdiction issues with the local police regarding a murder that was committed. It sounds exhilarating, doesn't it? But hey, these are the kind of television shows that Gregg Easterbrook wants to watch because they are realistic.

A high percentage of episodes concern dire terrorist threats from sinister foreigners who are vaguely Middle Eastern, wear $1,000 suits and are terrible shots. The creepy guys are plotting mass slaughter; good-looking, wisecracking NCIS agents use super-advanced technology, plus kickboxing moves, to stop every plot in time for a buddy-bonding scene.

As I always write, for someone who doesn't like this show very much Gregg Easterbrook seems to watch it a lot and know a lot about the plot of each episode.

Most television crime dramas exaggerate both the frequency with which law-enforcement officers kill suspects, and the likelihood of law-enforcement officers themselves being killed. 

Yes, we know this because you tell us this regularly. Every. Single. Week. We get it, the frequency of times in which law enforcement kills suspects is exaggerated on television.

At least a dozen NCIS agents have been murdered during the shows, which depict just two small units of a large agency. Last year the actual NCIS held a memorial service for the six agents killed in the line of duty in its history.

Yep, it's a television show and is completely fictional. I think everyone but you has a grasp on this fact.

"NCIS: Los Angeles" depicts the bustling NCIS office in the City of Angels, but there is no NCIS bureau in Los Angeles.

Well, in the fictional world of television shows there is an NCIS office in Los Angeles. It's fictional, not real. Fictional, not real. Fictional, not real.

Last season's story arc had the Justice Department relentlessly pursuing heroic agent Jethro Gibbs to put him in jail, though Gibbs has pretty much single-handedly rid the entire world of crime. The smirking prosecutor obsessed with destroying Gibbs was identified as an "independent counsel." Congress abolished the Office of the Independent Counsel in 1999. Within the tube, the job lives on.

I wish someone had abolished TMQ in 1999. Yet, much like any horror movie antagonist Gregg Easterbrook can not be killed and will always come back to haunt his readers with criticism of fictional television shows.

Viewers get no clue: in one frame the agents look cool in tight clothes and in the next frame they are holding stuff, they're never actually seen pulling anything out. Except that a close look at "NCIS: Los Angeles" action scenes shows all four agents have their handguns stuffed down the backs of their pants, even during office work or routine field investigation. A gun in the waistband may fall out when the bearer is running or exiting a car -- why don't their guns fall?

Most likely because it is a television show and is supposed to be entertaining while not reflecting reality. I don't want to spoil anything for Gregg, but those aren't real guns the actors are using either. They are prop guns.

TMQ guesses the actual NCIS does not allow agents to carry guns in their waistband. Plus, stuffing a gun down the back of your pants an excellent way to shoot yourself in the keister.

Actual NCIS also doesn't employ only attractive people who crack-wise and seem to have no other life outside of their job.

The tough-guy detective played by LL Cool J is fluent in Arabic, Ruah's character is said to be fluent in five languages, the lead detective played by actor Chris O'Donnell is said to be fluent in nine languages. Regardless of how they acquired language skills a diplomat would envy, none seems to spend a single moment maintaining proficiency, which is essential to fluency.

They probably practice their fluency while on the toilet, which is something else that isn't shown because this is a television show and no one cares to see someone take a poop or a piss.

Then Gregg criticizes "NCIS: Los Angeles" a little bit more for making it seem like terrorism is rampant. I've said it a million times before, but it's a television show. It's not supposed to be realistic.

The Colts gave up a lot of yards, but figured out the weaknesses of the Houston offense in time to hold the hosts scoreless in the fourth quarter. Indianapolis coaches seem to have prepared their team for early success by the desperate Texans, followed by gradual comeback.

Yeah, I'm sure Chuck Pagano prepared his team to start losing early in the game, followed by the Colts trying to come back later in the game.

(Chuck Pagano): "What we are going to do is start losing early, maybe get down by 15-20 points, then start to come back in the second half."

(Andrew Luck in his Kermit the Frog voice): "Coach, why don't we just start playing well in the first half and then we won't have to come back in the second half?"

(Chuck Pagano): "It's the game plan shithead! The game plan is to start losing early in the game and then play well in the second half. Everyone gather round me, fortunately the Indianapolis area had a child with cancer die this week. Let's get some inspiration from his death so we can win the game in the second half (flips off Andrew Luck), not the first half."

Houston coaches could not have prepared for Gary Kubiak suffering stroke-like symptoms as the first half concluded, which put the sideline into turmoil.

If the Colts are smart enough to prepare to lose in the first half and then come back in the second half, they could also prepare for a stroke by the opposing team's coach.

the Texans blitzed seven; extra blockers gave Luck time to find T.Y. Hilton for the touchdown, as Luck took a lick that might have unsettled Peyton Manning.

How could it unsettle Peyton Manning? He and Andrew Luck are exactly alike.

The Texans' late attempts to "make a play" on defense only made plays for Indianapolis. Houston is now first in defense against yards but 27th against points. Don't blame all of that on pick-six mistakes by Matt Schaub, who was not on the field Sunday. The Texans' defense could not hold a fourth-quarter lead at home. That's on the Texans' defense.

Well, part of the reason the Texans are first in yards on defense allowed and 27th in points is because Matt Schaub has given the Texans' opponents good field position with his nine interceptions. Schaub has thrown 4 pick-sixes this year. If you take away the 4 pick-sixes that Schaub has thrown and the pick-six T.J. Yikes! threw, then the Texans would be first in yards on defense allowed and 16th in points allowed. So yes, Matt Schaub isn't to blame for the Texans collapse against the Colts, but his habit of throwing pick-sixes hasn't helped the Texans defense ranking at all in terms of points allowed per game.

NBA general managers like nothing more than getting rid of players, allowing the team to position itself to sign new players to get rid of.

The fact this is how Gregg believes the NBA works tells me enough to know he somehow manages to be even less informed about the NBA than he is about the NFL. NBA general managers get rid of players to acquire draft picks, expiring contracts, and valuable young players in order to build a better team in the future.

In the NFL, most teams enter the season with a decent chance of a winning year; in the NBA, many teams enter the season knowing they are certain to stink, and needing excuses lined up in advance. The most reliable excuse is, "We're losing now to clear cap space for those fantastic players we will sign next summer."

Except in some cases it is absolutely true this is what a team is doing. The Rockets had been dumping salary for a year or two so they could go after Dwight Howard and they were fortunate enough to land him. Teams also clear cap space so they can get draft picks in exchange for expensive players. The Thunder built their team by drafting well, the Pacers built their team by smartly signing free agents and drafting well, and the same goes for the Bulls. It's not about just signing free agents, but drafting players who will develop into stars. A good way to get draft picks is to trade players currently on the team for these draft picks. 

NBA general managers talk endlessly of the fantastic players they might sign the following summer.

Actually, NBA general managers don't talk at all about the fantastic players they might sign the following summer because that's called tampering. But no Gregg, it's clear you know jackshit about the NBA, know jackshit about what NBA general managers do, and are just making things up right now. Just keep writing about the NBA so you can make it clear to your readers that you are the kind of asshole who manages to be completely wrong and isn't scared of showing us all just how wrong you can be.

The amount of times over the years that Gregg Easterbrook has lied to his readers is outrageous. Here is a great example of just an outright lie. Gregg claims NBA general managers talk endlessly about the players they might sign the following summer, but this is impossible because it's tampering. Gregg is lying.

Usually the desired free agents never materialize. When they do, half the time it doesn't take long until the team is desperate to get rid of them.

Gregg has zero examples of this he can share with us. He prefers to just make generalized statements and can count on his fellow uninformed readers to email him saying, "Wow, you are so right Gregg. The NBA sucks. I haven't watched a game in five years now, but like you, I am going to pretend I still know everything about the NBA."

Because the 2014 draft and 2014 summer signing period are expected to be strong, NBA teams including Boston, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Milwaukee have denuded their rosters to stockpile cap space and/or picks. Any team taking this tack must ensure it has a terrible season to maximize its lottery odds.

Considering the following players have been taken in the first three picks of the last five NBA Drafts (I won't include the 2013 draft, so the five drafts before that one):

Anthony Davis
Kyrie Irving
John Wall
Blake Griffin
James Harden
Derrick Rose (with Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook taken immediately after him)

You can see why a team would count on getting a high draft pick in order to help turn their team around. LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Durant were draft picks taken in the first three picks of the draft. It's not silly to hope to get a high draft pick in order to turn the team around.

The Chiefs remain undefeated, following a 1-12 streak last season with a 9-0 streak so far. But in addition to a soft schedule, the Chiefs haven't faced a starting quarterback since September. Opposition quarterbacks in Kansas City's past five games have been second string, second string, second string, third string and fourth string. Sunday at Buffalo, the Chiefs barely bested a losing team with an undrafted rookie quarterback making his first career start. Kansas City was outplayed on both sides of the ball, prevailing only when presented two gift-wrapped touchdowns by a team with the league's longest playoff drought.

So Gregg seems to be going the whole "the Chiefs are overrated" route based on the competition they have played. Of course, Gregg will be quick to remind us he thought Alex Smith was the best offseason acquisition if the Chiefs end up with a 14-2 record and make the Super Bowl. This is the advantage of playing both sides of an issue and never definitely taking a stand on what you believe. Gregg wants to be right no matter what happens. He wants his readers to believe he thinks the Chiefs are overrated and won't go far when they face better competition, but he doesn't actually say this so he doesn't have anything to take back later.

At the trade deadline, New England sent a fifth-round draft pick to Philadelphia for nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and a sixth-round draft selection. Since in the 2014 draft, Philadelphia's sixth choice is likely to be high while New England's fifth is likely to be low, there is little difference between the selections, meaning Bill Belichick obtained Sopoaga for next to nothing.

Why the Eagles, ranked last in defense, should be trading a defensive starter for next to nothing is anyone's guess.

Because the Eagles weren't doing anything great with Sopoaga on the roster and figured they would clear some salary cap room by getting the other two years of Sopoaga's contract off their books while getting some sense of value for him. The fact the Eagles are last in defense explains why they are trading a starter on such a bad defense. Middling players starting on a bad defense aren't generally the kind of players a team wants to keep around and Sopoaga has two more years left on his contract.

Looks like neophyte Kelly got snookered by veteran Belichick. The trade may become another knock against the former Oregon coach.

Yes, if Chip Kelly fails in the NFL then he will be remembered well for trading a veteran defensive tackle to the Patriots for a fifth round draft pick. It's this trade that will be remembered along with Chip Kelly's failed offense. Sure, I believe that.

Considering the Nesharim had laid eggs in their previous two games, it was defensible for Kelly to keep the pedal down in the second half of Philadelphia's destruction of Oakland. But one wonders -- was Kelly trying to get his team to believe its season can be saved, or does he think there are style points in the NFL?

When the Eagles don't score enough points, Gregg points out how Chip Kelly's offense doesn't work in the NFL. When the Eagles score too many points, Gregg criticizes Chip Kelly for trying to get style points. I'd love to know what the correct amount of points the Eagles should score in a game would be to avoid criticism from Gregg. 25 points? 35 points? What point total could cause Gregg to get off Chip Kelly's ass about his offense not working in the NFL, but also avoid Gregg criticizing Kelly for trying to get style points?

Gregg Easterbrook is the worst.

Then Gregg criticizes the media's comments about Robert Griffin, which is justified. They love building him up so they can tear him down. But then Gregg writes this...

Yours truly has not been consistent in a few rare cases.

I think what Gregg meant to write was:
"Yours truly has rarely been consistent, except for a few cases."

There is very little consistent about Gregg's criticism of NFL head coaches and their tactics. One week Gregg will criticize a coach for blitzing and the next week he will mention because a team blitzed that team won the game. In this very TMQ, Gregg mentions how the Texans blitzed Andrew Luck a lot and knocked him down, followed by the Colts bringing in an additional offensive lineman to protect Luck in the second half from the Texans blitzes. Gregg will claim he was consistent because he never mentions that the blitzes by the Texans were working and therefore when he writes the "Stop me before I blitz again" he is only highlighting when blitzing doesn't work. So as long as he doesn't mention blitzing has worked for an NFL team, while indicating that blitzing rarely works, then he remains consistent. His consistency lies in his ability to ignore reality.

Early in the fourth quarter, Georgia, leading 23-20, went for it on fourth-and-1 from its own 39, and failed. TMQ contends it can be better to go for it on fourth-and-short and fail -- this lets players know their coach is challenging them to win -- than do the "safe" thing and punt. From the moment of the failed Georgia fourth-and-1 until the game's conclusion, Florida had negative yardage -- its possession following the failed fourth-and-1 ended on a fourth-and-26 -- while Georgia staged an eight-minute clock-killer drive that iced the contest.

Of course trying and failing on fourth-and-short is no guarantee of success. Sunday, Minnesota, New Orleans and Pittsburgh failed on fourth-and-short, then were defeated. 

It's almost like hard-and-fast rules can't be created when it comes to game management by a head coach. I like how Gregg even is hedging on his hard-and-fast rules now. He says TMQ contends "it can be better" to go for it on fourth-and-short and fail. Anything can be contended. I can contend it is better to not go for it on fourth-and-short and fail, while cherry-picking every single time a team didn't go for it on fourth-and-short and still won the game, but that doesn't mean my contention is right. It just means the strategy I chose worked in that instance. As you can see from when the Vikings, Saints, and Steelers went for it on fourth-and-short and lost, rules on what a team should do in a situation will never always work or always fail and there is no right answer.

Sometimes a team wins a game after going for it on fourth-and-short and other times a team loses after going for it on fourth-and-short. This is much of the reason why it is stupid for Gregg to criticize a team for not going for it on fourth down, because he acts like his hard-and-fast rules will always work if followed, and this couldn't be further from the truth.

Unsuccessful fourth-down tries that pin the opponent against his goal line are especially attractive, though.

Because any time a team can be on the opposing team's 1 or 2-yard line and come away with no points it's a good thing for that team.

All football teams perform better when they protect the ball, but the Jets seem particularly sensitive to the turnover stat line.

Who would have thought turnover margin would be important to a team starting a rookie quarterback?

Not fun fact: The teams combined to kick on three consecutive fourth-and-1 situations. When Miami punted from the Cincinnati 40 on fourth-and-2 in overtime, the home crowd booed mercilessly, and it seemed the wrong call to your columnist, too. But the downed punt on the 8 was the first step to setting up the winning safety.

So this punt led to a safety which led the Dolphins to eventually winning the game. Using the rules for fourth-down that Gregg provided earlier in this column, if he were Joe Philbin he would have gone for it in this situation. Who knows what would have happened if the Dolphins had not punted? Of course Gregg isn't willing to say, "perhaps those hard-and-fast rules I listed earlier in this column should be more situation-specific rules and not rules I would expect every team to follow in every case," but he doesn't even acknowledge a violation of his fourth down punting rules led to the team that punted winning the game.

It was impressive to watch three New England receivers gain more than 100 yards receiving, and Tom Brady advancing to 91-16 at home. But why was Brady still on the field once the lead was insurmountable in the fourth quarter? In 2007, Bill Belichick kept Brady in late during blowouts, trying to run up the score. This generated bad karma that came back to haunt Belichick in that season's Super Bowl loss. What's the point of generating more bad karma now?

This is just stupid. Losing a Super Bowl isn't due to bad karma.

TMQ continues to believe that on a replay, the referee should get to watch the play twice, and that's it -- monitor turned off. Either the call on the field was clearly wrong, or should stand.

As usual, Gregg displays his lack of football knowledge when providing "fixes" to the game of football. A referee isn't only determining whether the call on the field was clearly wrong or should stand when viewing a replay challenge, but he is also determining where the ball should be spotted. So Gregg's brilliant two replay idea would give the referee one look at the replay and one look to see where the ball is spotted, essentially ruining the purpose of instant replay, which is to provide accurate calls and make up for any officiating mistakes. There are also multiple angles that the official would need to look at on a given play, especially since the call on the field could potentially be seen as clearly right or wrong depending on the angle the referee sees the play from. Giving the officiating crew only two chances to view the replay is a bad idea.

Leading 10-3 in the third quarter, Buffalo faced third-and-goal on the Kansas City 1 with a fourth-string quarterback but a blazing-hot rushing attack. The crazy pass call not only resulted in an interception; the pick was returned 100 yards for a touchdown, a 14-point swing in a game decided by 10 points. The Bills would finish the contest with 241 yards rushing. Had Buffalo run on this down and run again if needed on fourth-and-goal, the Bills likely would have upset the league's last undefeated club.

How is it "likely" the Bills would have won the game in this situation? Does Gregg realize how stupid he sounds to say that the Bills would have beaten the Chiefs by running the ball in the third quarter instead of throwing the ball? Sure, this was a big swing in points, but how is it "likely" the Bills would have won the game? The Chiefs scored 13 more points after this interception and the Bills scored 3 more points after this interception. I understand the pass should not have been thrown, but the difference in the game was 10 points, not 7 points. I hate it when Gregg uses the term "likely" to describe whether a team would have won a game or not. Despite his attempts to get us to believe he is, Gregg is not omnipotent, so he doesn't know what would have happened in this game if the Bills had run the ball instead of throwing it in this situation.

Next Week: The biggest non-Saturday ever for CFB -- Thursday doubleheader of Oklahoma at Baylor followed by Stanford at Oregon. On a school night!

By the way, on Twitter Gregg Easterbrook said TMQ is his alter ego. I don't get it. He writes the column, it's his name on the byline and he refers to himself in the first person when promoting his book, yet he claims the column is an alter ego? I think it's a load of crap. Gregg Easterbrook tries to write TMQ as an alter ego, but his repeated references to "your author" and his promoting of his book shows us that Gregg Easterbrook is writing this column as himself.