When last we left bleeding sore on the face of journalism, Peter King, he was imploring America to thank him for his years of noble service voting players into the Hall of Fame. It’s more taxing than you know. You have to fill out a ballot and everything. You can’t begin to know his sacrifice! But what about this week? Well there’s a very NSFW verbal Peyton boner. Now that you’ve been warned, READ ON.
“A lot of that was adrenaline.”
That’s going to be part of Super Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman’s newest column in The MMQB, which you can read (or shred) this afternoon.
All right, another preamble to a column full of promotions for other things on the site. It’s like a 30 second ad on a YouTube video in word form.
Sherman spent the evening getting raked over the social (and news) media coals, as if he were some black-hatted pro wrestler.
Peter King seems to be of the belief that pro wrestling heels all wear black hats like they’re Snidely Whiplash. No one is ever going to accuse wrasslin’ storylines of subtlety, but it’s better than that.
So it’s a Seattle-Denver Super Bowl, one full of intrigue and new storylines, seeing that almost every player in the game will be new to the Super Bowl stage.
Every player but?
THERE IT IS!
Fun fact: Wes Welker has also played in a Super Bowl, but Peter can be excused for forgetting that with all the blood in his diamond-cutter Pey-Pey boner.
Peyton Manning is back for his third Big One, and Sherman will have to work hard to get in Manning’s head. “You can’t get in Peyton’s head. If you get in his head, you’ll get lost,” Sherman said.
He’s like Professor X like that. Also, the huge head.
One more note from the NFC: Second straight season San Francisco lost driving for a touchdown on its final offensive play of the season, with Colin Kaepernick lofting one high into the right corner of the end zone for Michael Crabtree, who, both times, strained for the ball about six yards deep in the end zone near the sideline stripe. Incomplete, intercepted. Last year Baltimore in the Super Bowl, this year Seattle in the NFC Championship Game. What a cruel bummer of a coincidence.
Kaepernick: “Why do you mock me, XEROX OF CRUEL BUMMERS, whhhhhyyyy?”
/has demonic Xerox machine tattooed on abdomen
Only in a PK column can the dateline come 300 words into the piece.
“Proud of you, bro,” Cooper Manning called out to Peyton Manning in the Broncos’ locker room Sunday, and a minute or so later, the family gathered around a showered Peyton at his locker.
Contempt for PK’s lust for the Manning family aside, I can always appreciate a generic Cooper Manning quote.
Club employees kept the media from hearing family business.
If the Broncos PR department knew what was good for them, they’d release the video footage of PK trying to claw and bite his way through security to get to Peyton in his moment of triumph. I’m sure he tried to bribe them with MMQB shirts, too. “Name five things more prestigious. You can’t!”
Peyton’s back was to the room, his upper torso bare
I like that PK is developing a Tina Belcher-Jimmy Pesto Jr. relationship with Peyton.
My eyes found the scar on the back of Peyton’s neck
“My penis found the front of my khakis.”
Four neck surgeries. And he just threw for 400 yards, his third-best playoff total in 22 postseason games.
At age 37, in a conference championship game, against Bill Belichick’s team.
“Kinda makes this special,” said dad Archie, standing off to the side.
“OH PISS OFF, ARCHIE. YOU WERE NEVER THERE FOR PEYTON! NOT LIKE I COULD BE! I COULD GIVE HIM THE LOVE AND ADORATION THAT WAS MISSING HIS WHOLE LIFE! IT’S WHAT DROVE HIM TO SUCCEED! ONLY I KNOW THIS! IF ONLY THE WORLD WOULD LET HIM ADMIT IT TO HIMSELF!”
Twenty-two months ago today, Peyton Manning was signed by the Broncos. Amazing what can happen in that time.
/just realized I’ve probably read at least 80 PK columns in that span
///regrets carefully enumerated in note preserved for future “spree” of some sort
Two teams that pursued Manning and lost, Arizona and Tennessee, have whacked their head coaches since. Two other teams that pursued Manning and lost, Seattle and San Francisco, met for the NFC title Sunday with kid quarterbacks playing.
Precious little tykes who probably couldn’t even lift city blocks, much less regions. You have charm, Russell Wilson, that much is certain. But have you cool scars that Peter King can and does trace from memory?
And Manning has lifted a team, and a region, to the Super Bowl, long past his expiration date.
And thus the legend of Peyton Manning: REGION LIFTER was born. He out region-lifted Brady on Sunday!
He hoisted the entire Mountain Time Zone and hurled to toward Jersey. Millions and killed and untold damage was wrought. Merely collateral damage on a necessary title run.
I saw a family walking in Denver Saturday with the dad and two girls all in orange Manning 18 jerseys. The guy in front of me at Starbucks Sunday morning had an “OMAHA! OMAHA!” Manning T-shirt on, and I guess you know what that’s about.
WOWZERS! Fans have merch related to their favorite team’s starting quarterback. That happens nowhere else in America.
“Are you a football fan? You like the Broncos?” I asked my thickly accented cabdriver Saturday morning.
“I like Manning,” he said.
And then Peter King proceeded to write an obtuse and not at all revelatory op-ed for The New York Times about what the Arab Spring continues to mean for U.S. foreign policy because he and Thomas Friedman are and have always been the same person.
The economic impact of the man alone seems amazing.
Papa John’s pizzas have become de facto currency in Colorado. They call them Peycoins.
I’ve been in town four times since Labor Day—for the season opener, this game, and twice for SI Sportsman of the Year stuff—and don’t kid yourselves: If Manning had signed with Arizona, I’d probably have been in the Valley of the Sun four times since Labor Day. A lot of people would have.
HE WOULD HAVE LIFTED THAT REGION TOO! THERE IS NO REGION THAT IS UNLIFTABLE TO PEYTON, GODKING OF LIFTING!
And now the Super Bowl will get the added boost of Manning trying to win his second Lombardi Trophy, as if a New York/New Jersey Super Bowl needed extra luster.
Because a Super Bowl with Tom Brady would have struggled mightily for easy publicity, you see.
Just as Eli won a title in his brother’s stadium in Indianapolis two years ago, now Peyton will try to win a title in Eli’s stadium in New Jersey.
Cooper Manning: “But what about my stadium?”
/produces Sprite bottle filled with dip spit
Manning knew this was going to be a good day. He knew most of the week it would be. One thing that’s happened here is the trust he’s built with rookie offensive coordinator Adam Gase this year. “I really like Gase,” Manning said. “It’s a compliment to him. I like playing for guys that are smarter than me and work as hard as me. Gase is there before I get there in the morning.”
This week, Gase decided to put a play in the gameplan that raised eyebrows in the offensive meeting room. The fourth tight end on the team, Virgil Green, had played in 47 games for the Broncos over his three Denver seasons. He’d never run the ball once. In his 48th game, Sunday, Green had a running play in the plan. “Pretty different,” Manning said. “You know, Belichick prepares them for everything. But a run by Virgil Green was not on their hit chart anywhere. We have some formations with three receivers and two tight ends where you had an empty set and throw and Gase said We’re just going to put Virgil back there and run it. And he really made a heck of a run.” Gain of six, midway through a 93-yard touchdown drive.
ZOMG, THEY HANDED OFF TO A TIGHT END! WHAT MANNER OF OFFENSIVE SORCERY IS THIS?! No doubt Belichick was dumbstruck with wonderment the rest of the day as a result of that six-yard gain.
“He and I have a rule,” Manning said. “We can’t talk after practice on Friday. We say, ‘We’re not talking Friday once we leave, we’re going to our families.’ And so he said on Friday, ‘Call me if you get a chance. I have a good thought for a play around the 5(-yard line). But I said, ‘I’m not calling you. You email me your idea, and I’ll voice-memo you whether I like it or not.”
“Voice memo?” I said. “Like recording on the phone, then emailing it?”
“Right,” he said. “I record it and email it.”
That’s the most dad behavior I’ve ever heard.
It’s been a better marriage than Manning could have hoped for. Denver is 28-7 (an .800 winning percentage) since he walked in the door. But it’s that 29th win that Manning’s been seeking for a long, long time, and he’ll go off Broadway to get it.
You want drama with your Super Bowl?
Snow is dramatic.
I’ll give you drama:
I guess headaches can be dramatic.
Peyton Manning trying to win his second world title and change the debate about his legacy in the first, and probably only, Super Bowl ever to be played in the biggest market in America.
So what you’re saying is the Seahawks’ quest to win the franchise’s first title is inherently uninteresting? That’s nice.
Four key characters in the NFC Championship Game:
Richard Sherman. To sum up: Sherman made the clinching play in the Seahawks’ 23-17 win over the Niners. Sherman writes for The MMQB. I am the editor-in-chief of the site.
“So, by extension, the NFC Championship was won by MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.”
I am 56
I did not like what he did seconds after the game, screaming answers angrily to questions by FOX’s Erin Andrews.
Of course you didn’t.
I’m not a big fan of belittling opponents, and neither, apparently, are you, because many of you on Twitter wanted Sherman drawn and quartered.
Smugly belittling players who don’t grant him immediate and complete access, however…
Also, big shock that PK’s fans are humorless shits.
However, I’m not firing Richard Sherman. I’m not muzzling Richard Sherman.
Because he isn’t in any way dependent on you and could very easily take his writing elsewhere.
I asked him to write for us for the season, and write he shall do. I don’t have to like what a man says to the cameras to give him a forum to discuss intelligent football topics, which is what Sherman has done for the last six months for The MMQB.
How brave! How noble! Reaping the massive pageviews that come from posting the reaction from a player responsible for a massively discussed interview on a program watched by tens of millions of people. If readers weren’t already thanking you for your Hall of Fame vote, they should do it for your inspiring courage, sir.
Sherman batted the potential game-winning pass into the arms of a teammate, winning the game for Seattle. He ran after Crabtree, said something, got flagged for taunting him. Then Crabtree pushed Sherman away by the facemask, and the Seahawks ran out the final 22 seconds of the game. Emotions were still high, and Andrews got Sherman to talk. He woofed to America the way he woofs on the field. As I said, it’s not how I would react.
Because you’d be out of breath from running five yards?
It’s been well established that Peter King is spiteful and petty even when he has hours to weigh his words. If you stuck a microphone in his gaping maw minutes after one of the biggest victories of his life, the man would be a powder keg of self-congratulation.
Norv Turner joined his ninth NFL team Friday, agreeing to become Mike Zimmer’s offensive coordinator in Minnesota. He’s had quite a geographical tour of America in his 30 seasons in the NFL, since taking the receivers coach job with John Robinson’s Rams in 1985:
This incredible nugget is accompanied by a chart showing how many years Norv Turner has spent in each region of the country. Unclear whether they were being lifted by Peyton Manning at the time. Because sometimes football teams are located in different places than other teams! WEIRD!
Peter King then follows this up with a Q&A with the plaintiffs’ attorney for the retired players in the concussion settlement case. At that point, MMQB was in danger of actually being useful and informative, so he followed it up with this:
Greg Bishop, a well-respected New York Times scribe soon to join Sports Illustrated, is covering the Australian Open for the Times and watched the NFL games Monday morning in Australia. I was curious about how the game is viewed there, and asked Greg to file something about it. Here’s his report from Melbourne:
“These people don’t even realize Peyton Manning could lift the entire Outback or that Andrew Luck could appreciate the architecture of the Sydney Opera House. Zany, I tells ya!”
Monday morning here in Melbourne, joggers plodded along the Yarra River. Businessmen rode bicycles toward offices, clad in suits. It was 7 a.m. This is what all that activity suggested: What NFL playoffs?
Fun fact: large swaths of the U.S. population also do things wholly unrelated to watching football, even on gamedays! Possible trend story for The Times. No need to thank me.
Then there was the Crown Casino, where inside a sports bar, a floor above the morning gamblers who wiped sleep from their eyes and ordered the day’s first pint, a crowd had already gathered. One patron wore a Tom Brady jersey; another a Russell Wilson T-shirt.
I asked two gentlemen who shared a table why they were there. Work, naturally. One was Scott Filion, a New England Patriots fan from New Hampshire. The other was Esan Frederick, from Bermuda. Both left their wives upstairs. They would have watched the games regardless.
“It’s early,” Frederick said.
“Too early to drink,” Filion added.
There were several minor differences: commercials about soccer, coffees on every other table, references to “American football.” But it was mostly typical, proof of the NFL’s great reach, albeit with a few “good run, mate” references thrown in.
Lofty, lofty international nugget flavorings (flavourings?)
1. Seattle (15-3).
PEYTON CAN LIFT REGIONS BUT NOT HIS TEAM TO THE TOP OF THE FINE FIFTEEN.
3. San Francisco (14-5). Kaepernick giveth. Kaepernick taketh away.
4. New England (13-5). It’s obvious: The Pats were outplayed in all ways Sunday. But to take the knocks this team has taken all season, it’s a great accomplishment to have gotten to the Final Four.
Haha, nice try, but the BELICHICK BEST COACHING JOB EVER narrative went up in smoke when he got outcoached by Jack Del Rio. And every team has injuries. The Patriots don’t get fucking bonus points for theirs.
Quotes of the Week
Featuring a 400+ word quote from Jim Caldwell that includes this most Jim Caldwell of anecdotes:
I’m from the Midwest, from the heartland, a small town in southern Wisconsin, Beloit, and it’s right on the state line. I know one time my dad referred to Beloit as a poke-and-plumb town. He said, ‘If you’re driving in your car, by the time you poke your head out the window to see where you are, you’re plumb out of town.’
“Also, you poke your dick in plumbs because it’s either that or crippling alcoholism.”
“Why do they call it Happy Hour when what it is, is people drinking and bitching about their jobs? I never got that.”
—Tight ends coach Mike Pope, formerly of the Giants. He was released from his job last week, as you read in my tribute to him above.
I just liked the quote, and I couldn’t find any other place for it, so here it is.
WRY LIFE TAKE! It’s because the drinks cost less, asshole.
Stats of the Week
In Peyton Manning’s last 10 quarters played, Denver punter Britton Colquitt has had a pretty easy job. Manning, in the last game of the regular season against the Raiders, left at halftime with a 31-0 lead. And in his two playoff games, Colquitt has watched the Broncos win twice with some long drives. But he hasn’t gotten on the field much. Once, to be exact. The tale of his tape in the last three Denver games, with Manning at the controls of the offense:
Good on you, freeloading punter. I will say it’s nice that one of the dozen Colquitts finally made it to the Super Bowl, though.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week
I have three:
A graphic representation:
1. The Minneapolis airport hit a symphonic home run Thursday afternoon. As I was passing through connecting for a flight to Denver, a woman played a harp. Beautifully, I might add. “Ode to Joy,” I think.
“Perfect background noise as I laid into that incompetent airport barista. Really calmed my nerves after I ruined her day.”
2. The AFC media hotel over the weekend was the classic 122-year-old Brown Palace Hotel. Six presidents have stayed here. And The Beatles. And I thought: I have been here before. I was … 32 years ago, when the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News brought me in for a job interview when I worked in Cincinnati. Very cool place, with a big atrium lobby and a grand staircase up from the lobby to all floors. Thirty-two years. That’s the record between stays at a hotel for me.
Previously held by I Don’t Give A Fuck No One Does Make Out With A Lawnmower
3. Traffic in Denver is insane. It’s underrated nationally. It took me 90 minutes at rush hour Friday afternoon to drive 14 miles from the southern ‘burbs of Denver to downtown. Crawled along as though I was on the Garden State Parkway, headed south for the shore, on a July Friday afternoon at 5.
Since Peyton is holding the region aloft, perhaps ask him to jostle it from side to side to dislodge some of the cars.
Tweets of the Week
“It’s sad that one player can make me dislike a whole team… #richardsherman”
—@KevinBossman, former NFL tight end Kevin Boss.
Judging by my Twitter mentions, Kevin, you’re not alone.
Oh no, they lost Kevin Boss. Surely the Seahawks will be too crushed by dejection to even bother trying in two weeks. It was all for him.
“My eating habits are horrible. Favorite restaurant is Waffle House. How sad is that?”
—@StephenKing, the writer.
Get the scrambled eggs with cheese, and the raisin toast. I beg you. Might be the best breakfast of all time.
You know there’s a reply button on Twitter, right?
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think this is what I liked about championship weekend:
b. Pittsburgh interviewing Mike Munchak for its offensive-line coaching job. How perfect: Munchak’s physicality and the Steelers.
I would mock that, but the Fightin’ Munchaks did beat the Steelers in both meetings when he was Titans coach.
f. The power of Manning to make the stadium church-like quiet just before any Denver snap. Almost disquieting.
If there’s an audible peep, he’ll raise his hands and simmer the loudmouth down.
It’s fun to praise Peyton for something every single other quarterback does. Did you know sometimes he spikes the ball to stop the clock? How does he have godlike powers over time like that? Very mystifying.
i. Robert Ayers, the second draft choice of Josh McDaniels, with a sack of Josh McDaniels’ quarterback.
Incidentally, I feel like not enough derision was heaped on McDaniels’ stupid beard.
Haha, look at that asshole and patchy douche stubble.
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about championship weekend:
b. Tom Brady overthrowing Julian Edelman on what could have been a touchdown midway through the first quarter. Good play design, good route by Edelman. Just overthrown.
But Phil Simms said Brady’s greatness made him do it!
c. Tom Brady, missing too many deep throws.
JUST EXTRA GREATNESS!
e. Wes Welker’s pick on Aqib Talib, early second quarter. Officials missed it. Talib got knocked silly, had to leave the game. Big play.
“FACK YOU, WELKAH, YOU SECRET DAAHHKKKIEEE! TRAITAHHH! BENEDICT CUMBAHBATCH! YOU AHHHH REMOVED FROM MOUNT GRITMORE-AH FAHHHHEVAHH! YOU LAY WITH DAHHHKIEES, YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS! SOON BEHNAHHD POLLAHD WILL JAM HIS DAAAHHHKKIIEE DICK IN YO-AH WIFE’S QUEEF HOLE! NO ONE DENIES THIS!”
3. I think, barring a successful appeal of his $21,000 fine for unnecessary roughness for a hit to the head and neck of a defenseless receiver (Percy Harvin), Saints safety Rafael Bush played the NFC playoff game against Seattle for, well, let’s figure it out. (The NFL shouldn’t rescind or lower the fine, in my opinion; it’s the classic definition of a high hit to a defenseless receiver.) But here’s the balance sheet:
Payment for divisional game: $23,000.
—NFL fine: $21,000.
—Federal tax on $2,000 remaining: $792 (at 39.6 percent of Bush’s salary).
—FICA on $2,000: $153.
—Louisiana state tax on $2,000: $120 (at 6 percent of Bush’s salary).
Total fine, taxes: $22,065
Bush’s take-home pay for the game: $935.
Thus: Bush took home 4 percent of his paycheck for the game.
Especially shitty since the illegal hit is almost entirely the fault of the receiver. Harvin lowered his head into the contact when Bush was targeting his chest. But good thing Goodell is trying to eliminate kill shots by punishing defenders who have no control over where a receiver’s head is going to be.
9. I think the greatest statement in Inappropriate Parking Lot Behavior History was issued Friday, on the heels of news that Jets tight end Kellen Winslow was cited for public lewdness and possession of synthetic marijuana in New Jersey after a woman in a Target parking lot alleged to police that she saw Winslow with his penis out in the car. His publicist, Denise White, said: “Kellen pulled over to a parking lot to smoke what he thought at the time was a legal substance. He changed his clothes in his vehicle as not to smell like smoke when he returned home. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate that took place, and if there was police would have investigated further and charged Kellen, which they did not.” Riiiight.
No one gets by PK’s bullshit detector.
Synthetic marijuana is available at all the gas stations where I fill up.
Think you’d be surprised just how many you can get it from, big guy.
And it’s quite legal. And I change my clothes in Target parking lots all the time!
“And I practice sound journalistic ethics. You see where I’m going with this, right?”
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Saw one of the best hockey games I’ve seen in a while Thursday night in Denver. Avs 2, Devils 1 in a shootout, with incredible goaltending (Semyon Varlamov, Cory Schneider) and the continued inability of New Jersey to score in the shootout. That Varlamov is fantastic; he’s on a 17-game streak of not losing in regulation. Also: Great video board at the Pepsi Center.
In other words, PK went to his token hockey game of the season and spent the entire game gawking at the video board while ignoring the action on the ice.
b. Of course, one of the highlights during the game was noticing the back of No. 24 for the Avalanche: CLICHE. A forward. Marc-Andre Cliche, from Quebec. So, brilliant me, I’m at the game with our Robert Klemko and his girlfriend, and Cliche goes into the penalty box, and I say, “Cliché in the sin bin! How perfect is that!”
Meanwhile, Klemko’s girlfriend loses all respect for him when he fake laughs at your jokes.
c. But the dream soon died. The PA announcer, calling out the penalty, pronounced the last name “Cleesh.” Bummer.
Like being wrong has ever stopped you before.
f. John Henry must be loosening the budget of the Boston Globe. The paper had 18 staffers in Denver for the Broncos-Patriots game. For newspapers in this day and age, that’s amazing.
It’s almost as though sports is still a big revenue source for newspapers.
h. Darren Sharper’s in trouble. The former safety was suspended by NFL Network without pay after being charged with suspicion of rape in California. And Saturday, the New Orleans police said he’s suspected in a sexual assault there. From my experience with Sharper—all good—that’s something I never saw coming.
“He never tried to rape MEEEEEE. WEIRD!”
i. Coffeenerdness: My compliments on the rich espresso in your coffee bar, Brown Palace.
“Thanks” – anthropomorphized building
j. Beernerdness: A Denver pizza place, Lucky Pie Pizza and Tavern, had Pliny the Elder double-IPA on tap, and that was a treat, to see the famous and delicious beer from Santa Rosa (as smooth and hoppy as any IPA I’ve had) in the house. Very good Sangiovese there too, if you’re into a good wine with your pizza …
One other beer shoutout from my three-night Denver experience: Laughing Dog IPA, from Ponderay, Idaho, on tap. A darker IPA, strong, with a smooth taste. Liked it.
“Liked it.” Very nuanced appreciation only a true beer snob could provide.
The Adieu Haiku
Peyton v Sherman.
Big contrast: Erin Andrews
doesn’t fear Manning.
Ahh scary black guys!
Stay away from the princess!
Keep the bloodline pure!