When last we left hoggish nut hugger, Peter King, he was explaining how Johnny Manziel is just like Tim Tebow, if only Tim Tebow were a vastly different player. Almost twins, in a way! Petey also brought to bear his 30 years of NFL perspective in issuing a bunch of knee-jerk observations about the 2013 season. But what about this week? Well, friends, it’s the annual late September MMQB in which Peter King surveys a still-young NFL season and determines everything to be WEIRD! W3IRDSVILLE! Who’s ready to get strange?
Oh, and the image at the top is a still of PK from a 49ers-Eagles game in 1989 that a reader alerted me to. His Midwestern housewife FUPA game was unmatched back then. Okay, READ ON.
“You never pick up where you left off from one year to the next,’’ Bill Parcells used to say.
Parcells was also wont to add, “In fact, never put stuff down. The second you do, you can bet some JAP will swoop out of nowhere and take all your belongings. Every single time. The moral of the story is I haven’t slept in 14 years.”
(Maybe he still says it, for all I know.)
EDITOR EDITOR EDITOR SOMEONE GET THIS ASSHOLE AN EDITOR PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
Don’t the NFC playoff teams from last year know it. Those six teams are 6-12 this morning.
That is the 2013 season after 47 games.
Oh hey, that 30 years of NFL perspective is back. Before last season, there was a 16 year stretch where there were at least five new playoff teams each season. And last year was different because there were ONLY four.
I’ll take Startling Stats for $800, Alex.
San Francisco’s supposed to define defense.
See, you guys? This season is so crazy, words have lost their meaning. I flipped through the dictionary yesterday and it listed San Francisco as a city in California. Then I tried looking up “quasi-pluckish-esque” and it wasn’t even there. I feel like nothing makes sense any more.
The Niners have allowed 84 points through three weeks. New Orleans (last in team defense last year) and Indianapolis (26th last year), combined, have allowed 86 points.
Possibly because San Francisco’s first three opponents were Green Bay, Seattle and Indianapolis.
Those guys making the commercials — how are they doing?
The Madison Avenue Glory Boy Watch brought to you by Allagash.
Robert Griffin III is the 20th-rated passer in football, and, scrambling in the pocket Sunday, was caught from behind by a Detroit defensive lineman. Colin Kaepernick is 25th. Right behind Bay-mate Terrelle Pryor. And 12 slots below Alex Smith.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Excuse me. According to the MMQB Style Guide, it’s GOOD GUY Alex Smith on first reference.
Also, I like that PK seems to want to draw a connection between shilling for products and poor play while not mentioning that Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson seem to doing just fine.
That first London game, Pittsburgh-Minnesota in Week 4, sure seemed like a gem when it was announced five months ago.
I see the definition of “gem” has been radically altered this week as well.
So you’re saying there won’t be a New Jersey vs. New Jersey Super Bowl in the New Jersey Super Bowl. Eli Manning and Geno Smith are 1-2 in the NFL in interceptions, with eight and six.
Oh man, total mindfuck. I had the Jets going all the way this year.
But I’m confused, Mr. Trebec.
Late night caffeine and alcohol hysteria has Peter King succumbing to game show hallucinations. I can’t wait until he’s on “Baggage” trying to choose between Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.
Jordan Cameron is seventh in the league with 20 receptions. Cameron Jordan is ninth in the league with 3.0 sacks.
Two guys with two first names that can flip easily? THEY LEAD THE LEAGUE IN CO-WEIRDNESS. But what of Camdan Joreron?
Strange days indeed.
On to the news of a particularly newsy Week 3.
The Aldon Smith Decision
Jim Harbaugh is a meteor in the coaching sky.
Propelled through space by the power of his spittle.
I’d like the say Andy Reid is a red dwarf star but he’s way too bloated for that.
A star and a meteor? Someone wanna get this dipshit an astronomy textbook?
Until Sunday, when the Niners lost their second game in a row (27-7 to Indianapolis), Harbaugh hadn’t lost two games in a row in three years. He and his team will recover from the events of the weekend; they’re just too good, too talented. But the world will be watching this Aldon Smith rehab to see if Smith, and the 49ers, are seriously going to address a career-threatening problem, because there have to be legitimate questions about it after Smith played a full game Sunday.
I won’t argue with that, though it’s slightly less hypocritical than when Tony Dungy harped on the same thing on Football Night in America, because it’s not like Dungy ever allowed Marvin Harrison to play a full season after he probably killed someone.
One other thing: The next big thing on Roger Goodell’s agenda — and on DeMaurice Smith’s as well — has to be tougher penalties on DUIs. This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s potentially a life-and-death one, for the drivers and the innocents in their way.
Peter King was unsuccessful in bleating at Congress to solve gun control issues so now he is committed to the pipe dream that Roger Goodell can stop DUIs.
Oh, any punishment from NBC to Al Michaels for his DUI, Pete?
The strange business of trading in the NFL.
Is there anything that is ordinary to Peter King?
The Browns abandoned the season—supposedly—by trading Trent Richardson after two weeks, flew to Minneapolis to play a 2012 playoff team, and won their first game of the season with a third-string quarterback starting.
They beat another terrible team, they’re super legit now because perspective.
My takeaways from this deal, and the future of the two teams:
Cleveland will be doomed to fail unless they get on a path and stick to it.
Failure seems like a consistent and proven strategy in Cleveland. What team are you watching?
Now for the Richardson part of this. Cleveland had the fourth pick in 2012. The Browns tried hard to move up to pick Andrew Luck and failed. They could have traded down a bit and picked the third quarterback in the draft, Ryan Tannehill, but he wasn’t the apple of the front office’s eye. Though there was zero chance Minnesota would use the pick to take Richardson, and a very small chance the Vikes would trade down very far, Cleveland, to move up one spot in the draft, gave Minnesota fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks.
Christ, do we really need the blow-by-blow 2012 draft day diary of front office machinations to analyze this trade?
Indianapolis is a different team in a different time.
The Colts have come unstuck in time. They are Billy Pilgrim. They are the Hollywood movie of Slaughterhouse Five.
Sunday’s game in San Francisco was a perfect illustration why GM Ryan Grigson made this deal. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton wants to be able to be a power running team. Not all the time, but when it suits his style.
They want to be a power running team, except when they aren’t. No wonder PK loves them so much.
A few highlights, and lowlights …
The Bengals and Packers played a game Steve Sabol would have loved.
A good game? HOW SABOL-ESQUE! Only he liked those.
The Steelers and Giants shouldn’t be shocked to be 0-3. They can’t block. They can’t protect their Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, the Giants especially.
BUT WHAT OF THE “DOIN’ IT THE RIGHT WAY” BRGADE!? What happens when doin’ it is done wrong? Worth noting that before the season PK picked the Giants to win the NFC East.
3. New Orleans (3-0). Saints started 0-3 last year. Allowed 40, 35 and 27 points. Saints 3-0 this year. Allowed 17, 14 and seven points. Rob Ryan for mayor.
Gonna have to agree on this one. I support Rob Ryan for any elected office. He’ll make fucking on the first date mandatory.
5. Miami (3-0). Two straight cliffhanger wins, and this is what I like most: Ryan Tannehill, though taking a beating, is completing two-thirds of his passes and spreading the wealth to four different receivers.
This is totally something Peter would lecture a black quarterback about. “OOOOHHHHH DEAR, that RGIII/Vick/Kaepernick just takes too much punishment. I can’t see him finishing the season if this keeps up.” But if it’s a white QB, he’s TUFF AS NAILS.
7. New England (3-0). First time since the 16-0 regular-season of 2007 that New England has started 3-0. I mean, just saying.
8. Kansas City (3-0). Quarterback Alex Smith has something in common with the rest of the KC offense: zero turnovers through three games. Not to rewrite history, or say the Niners made the wrong call on Alex Smith/Colin Kaepernick
but to refresh your memory about what a gutsy decision Jim Harbaugh made in benching Smith for Kaepernick last fall, Smith was 27 of 29 (.931) for 313 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 151.2 rating in his final passes as a 49er.
Oh, you porky little troll. You’re the worst.
11. San Francisco (1-2). Last two weeks—Foes 56, Niners 10. Best line of the Aldon Smith stupidity, from Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: “Aldon Smith was arrested at 7 a.m., one hour AFTER Kaepernick starts work.”
Yeah, but Alex Smith has already been mensching since the night before, so there!
15. (tie) Tennessee (2-1).
(tie) Detroit (2-1).
Quotes of the Week
“This is insanity … Embarrassing. I’ve never seen a Giants’ offensive line so bad.”
—Former Giants linebacker Carl Banks, doing color on the New York radio network Sunday, in the midst of the Giants’ offensive line allowing six sacks in the first half.
“This is comedy. It’s comedy. It’s shameful.”
—Banks, a few minutes later, when the shameful play continued.
“It’s embarrassing. If you’re going to be a steady lunch for the guy rushing you, then you’re in the wrong profession.”
—Banks, at halftime, when the Giants had one yard passing.
“I’m at a loss for words.”
—Banks, when the score got to be 31-0.
“Their will is gone. They have no will.”
—Banks, when it got to be 38-0.
Yes, yes, cute little stylistic thing you did there. Really lets me know a 38-0 loss can be infuriating. And having an exclamation mark instead of one of the letters? A real pro’s pro touch.
“I believe the safest pick in the draft—beyond Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III—is Alabama running back Trent Richardson. He’s a blue-chip player and has all the skills to quickly establish himself as a top-five player at his position. Forget the nonsense about not taking backs early—everyone would love the chance to get this guy.”
—Mike Lombardi, current Cleveland GM and former NFL.com columnist and NFL Network analyst, writing on NFL.com on April 23, 2012, three days before Richardson was picked third overall in the draft by the Browns.
I have scores — hundreds, probably — of quotes from my past that are blush-inducing, and very wrong, and which I wish I’d never written or said. But I can’t imagine one Lombardi would like to have back more from his days in the media than this one.
See, it’s not being wrong with predictions that necessarily makes you terrible, Peter. That happens to every football writer/commentator because no one has any idea how things are gonna play out. No, you’re terrible because (gonna try to make this short) you’re helplessly biased toward a handful of important NFL figures, defensive when called out on it, a terrible, criminally indulged writer and the kind of asshole who points out everyone’s mistakes while only paying the briefest of lip service to his own. Oh, and just wait for the Florio nugget ahead. It’s a doozy.
Stat of the Week
Peyton Manning will be 39 at the end of the 2015 season, assuming he plays that long. I assume he will. We all do.
Real shoeleather quality reporting by Peter King going door-to-door across America asking how we all presume the rest of Peyton Manning’s career will play out.
In the first 226 games of Manning’s pro career, he has averaged 266.7 passing yards a game. That has left him 11,583 passing yards shy of breaking Brett Favre’s all-time record of 71,838.
Beginning tonight, Manning has 46 regular-season games until the end of 2015. If, in this pass-happy era of pro football, Manning averages the same number of yards he has to this point, he’d break Favre’s record for career passing yards in Week 15 of 2015. It’d be quicker to break the career record for touchdown passes. Favre had 508 of those. Manning’s at 445, an average of 1.97 per game. That means, at this pace, he needs 33 games to pass Favre … which brings us to Week 3 of the 2015 season.
The one record of Favre’s that Manning would have loved to break he can’t. (Unless he plays every week until he’s 56.) Favre played 297 regular-season games in a row from 1992 to 2010. Manning plays his 19th straight tonight in Denver.
“THAT’S RIGHT, PEY-PEY, YOU KNOW I LOVE YA, BUT THERE’S ONLY ONE FIRST LOVE AND YOU’LL NEVER BE MY LAND BARON, NO MATTER HOW MANY PENILE IMPLANTS AND CYBORG NECKS YOU GET. THERE’S ONLY ONE BRETTY BOY!”
Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me
So call Alex Smith what you want
Mensch of the all-time annals of foreverdom
Captain Checkdown is probably the most charitable derisive moniker he hears—but understand why Andy Reid wanted him so badly when he took over as Chiefs coach. Reid is what I’d call a conservative West Coast offense coach. He wants his quarterback to move the chains, engineer long drives, and not turn it over. He might have the most perfect quarterback in football for those traits. The Smith-led offense has zero turnovers in the first three games, and the team is 3-0. Let’s go back and include Smith’s late 49er career for this gem:
In his last 17 starts, Smith has been intercepted in three games, and has lost three games.
There is only so much a quarterback can control. Sometimes turnovers just happen even if it’s not the fault of the QB. The point is, if the margin of error for Alex Smith success is that he can’t turn the ball over ever, he’s probably not that great.
Kansas City has won three games in the last 12 days.
Kansas City won twice in the previous 614 days.
Sure, two-thirds of those days consist of off-season time, but let’s be honest – Kansas City could have won in June if they just WANTED IT ENOUGH and had a member of the mensch of the month club.
Before Sunday, the last time Detroit beat the Washington franchise on the road was two years before the team moved to Washington. The franchise was in Boston then, in 1935. The site of the 17-7 Detroit road victory? Fenway Park.
Yes, this factoid only interests you… and the dozens of broadcasters who mentioned it ad nauseum during and after Sunday’s game.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Found myself in a new hotel, the Residence Inn Fenway, in room-starved Boston Tuesday night (big convention in town) after doing some business for The MMQB during the day in the western suburbs. So of course, staying in a stadium just across Brookline Avenue from Fenway Park, I wanted to attend the game. Before heading over, I had this only-in-Boston moment: On the sidewalk outside the hotel were two small groups: a family of five, with three young boys all in Red Sox gear and caps, ready to walk over to the game. And three men dressed in monks’ robes; two of the monks carried black backpacks with MIT logos. I loved the diversity of the Boston area when I lived there, with so many universities around.
Only a super rich dude who lives an isolated life in Manhattan can be impressed by the diversity of Boston.
Ten Things I Think I Think
c. Philadelphia Inquirer headline Friday morning: “Reid It And Weep.”
REID MY LIPS: NO GOOD QUIPS
d. Good reporting by Mike Reiss, too, with the story of Rob Ninkovich’s contract extension through 2016 in New England.
Way to report that a contract was signed. That never would have gotten out otherwise. Lofty journalisting. A real public service.
g. I kept hearing Johnathan Franklin was looking like a bust, and then he went out and ran for 103 yards on 13 carries against the Bengals. Had a big fumble late, but the Packers know they’ve got good depth in the backfield for the first time in a while.
So true. If you need someone to commit a killer turnover for you, there’s your guy.
h. Chuck Pagano can coach.
Lofty career choice, then.
j. Geno Smith’s intriguing. Makes too many errors, but he also makes two or three throws a game that make you say: This guy’s got a real chance to make it.
Um, sounds like someone hasn’t been listening to enough Jaws. You have to make all the throws, Peter. ALL THE THROWS.
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 3:
d. How is that Dez Bryant red-zone TD catch not offensive pass interference? He pushed the defensive back down, then turned around and caught the pass. Yes, he and Cortland Finnegan both made contact, but Bryant extended both arms and pushed Finnegan down.
WAAAAAAHHHHHH MY RAMS WERE HOSED! I’M GONNA HAVE MY AND JEFF FISHER’S AGENT GIVE THE LEAGUE OFFICE HELL FOR THIS!
f. Art Vandelay Import/Export Note of the Week:
The four teams playing in London this season—including Steelers-Vikes next Sunday—are a combined 1-11.
Getting them well conditioned to be the home of the Jaguars, I see.
/flamed by a hundred Jags fans
g. I can’t think of any reason to be optimistic about the Bucs. I’m starting to wonder if Greg Schiano can survive if the Bucs continue like this.
The end of PK’s columns are typically where they’re at their worst. Baseball nuggets aplenty. Shout outs to people no one knows. Coffee-flavored bullshit. But the one nice thing is this is where he buries his forlorn items about the poor performances of players and coaches he loves. It doesn’t make reading this shit worthwhile but it takes out a little of the sting.
h. Year too early on the Rams optimism.
I love the implication that the Rams are assured of eventually being good. Doing your representation proud, Petey.
3. I think Aldon Smith is trying to catch up to Lawrence Taylor, in all ways.
Better get Oliver Stone on the phone. We’re gonna need Any Given Sunday II: More Given-er.
5. I think I learned a few things from The MMQB’s Andrew Brandt’s interview with concussion lawsuit plaintiffs attorney Sol Weiss at a sports law conference at Villanova Thursday. They are:
b. If players chose to splinter off from the settlement and fight the league on their own, Weiss brought up an important point, and something I’d heard previously: The NFL was prepared to show that players got head trauma in games before they reached the NFL. Said Weiss: “They were going to have to prove that the injuries they have didn’t occur when they were playing football in high school or college.”
Oh, what happened to “Together We Make Football”? Oh, that’s right – it’s bullshit sloganeering by the NFL to suggest that all of us are a part of the culture of football, from the fans to youth football right up to the NFL. Except of course when liability comes into play.
8. I think I never thought I would see a Tom Coughlin team look as rag-tag and feeble as these Giants.
He did have three straight losing seasons at the end of his tenure with the Jaguars but whatevs – MMQB readers can’t be expected to remember things.
9. I think I love the nickname Mike Florio has adopted on the grounds where the Cleveland Browns play: The Factory of Sadness.
It’s probably unfair to expect Peter to be aware of every viral video about football that hits the Internet, but Factory of Sadness was a huge hit. It was referenced on network pregame shows. Obviously we know PK is search engine-challenged but the amount of cultural insulation he has to live in to think Florio came up with this is staggering.
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
d. Couldn’t be more surprised about a baseball season
Couldn’t possibly give less of a shit.
For Boston to clinch the division with nine days left in the regular season… I mean, bizarre.
Bizarre means disgusting, right? I know definitions of things are off this week.
Baseball is such a mysterious game.
Mysterious = boring
I liked this quote from Red Sox owner John Henry to Gordon Edes after the Friday night clincher, referring to former manager Terry (Tito) Francona: “Tito used to say if we had nine Dustin Pedroias, we’d be champions. This year, I felt like we had 25.”
And that, Peter would later explain, was the start of the Baseball Clone Wars. It didn’t take long for football to get consumed. The Chargers won the next 12 Super Bowls thanks to their army of Danny Woodheads. It was the dawn of a greater, grittier age. The world was scrapped together and the fall of glory boys was complete.
g. Finally saw the last episode of The Newsroom. Other than the fact that anchors and producers don’t get engaged on Election Night while in breaks between awarding states to Obama or Romney, it was a pretty good episode that buttoned up quite a few loose ends.
“Other than that unforgivably sappy, glaring error, it was all right.”
j. Coffeenerdness: I might be mainlining Italian Roast too often at 1:15 a.m. I’m sure it’s not good for me. But I’ve tried the va-voom energy drinks. They taste foul.
That’s nothing. They also make spiders lay eggs in your brain. Glad you’re open to new experiences, though.
k. Beernerdness: Flower Power IPA, from the Ithaca (N.Y.) Beer Company, was already one of my favorite beers before I found it on tap in Eastern Standard, the restaurant around the corner from Fenway where I met Greg Bedard and Pete Thamel for dinner Tuesday. But on tap it’s ever better—just the right kind of bitterness for an IPA.
I can’t tell you how much I’m waiting for the inevitable Peter King DUI. It’s all that keeps me going these days.
m. I’d be worried about the October Miguel Cabrera if I were the Tigers. Just doesn’t look the same.
He doesn’t look like a dozen Pedroias, that’s for damn sure.
The Adieu Haiku
Yo, Spencer Lanning:
What a day you had v. Vikes.
You sell popcorn too?
Dripping with popcorn butter
Only in a dream