When last we left retching word blender Peter King, he had just embarked on a month of slothful respite from the slothful travails of a person who contributes nothing. Devoid of fresh hate fuel, we shared with you a notable 2002 episode of PK tonguing the Land Baron’s balls within parentheticals. He also made it clear that there has been and will be no final score in NFL history that doesn’t stun Peter King.
This week, Petey’s aching nugget void is being filled by Colts rookie tight end Coby Fleener, who Peter King adores because Coby once wrote a story about Peter for a journalism class at Stanford. Among other things, Coby calls PK the best in the business, implies that Peter is the Wes Welker of journalism and is generally about as long-winded as the man himself, if with slightly less equivocation.
That’s no fun to take down. Instead, we check in on Peter’s vacuous nutmeggy brain drippings that followed the divisional round of the 2005 playoffs. How bad is this column? The lede is an infuriating sh*thead quote from Mike Wilbon and that’s not even in the top five most annoying things contained within. You’ve been warned. READ ON.
SEATTLE — Before the playoff game here on Saturday, Mike Wilbon of the Washington Post said to me: “It hasn’t been a great year, has it? Not a lot of great games.”
“IT’S BEEN JUNK! JUST JUNK! Don’t ask me how these plebeians are suckered week in and week out to tune into the vastly overrated non-event charade that is the NFL season. Oh wait, I know! They lack the courage of conviction I possess. They need me to tell them how horrible the things they love truly are!”
This is the perfectly realized MMQB opening, by the way. Not only does Peter King get to let the world know that he converses with well-known media figures and famous people but that those people have the same shitty, wrong, entitled attitude about things that he does.
And I thought for a minute.
He was right. This season needed adrenaline.
“This purposefully contrarian basketball-first dipshit is on to something! Adrenaline, this season needs it.”
New England is out of it. Startling.
Note: The Patriots had the worst regular season record of any team in the AFC playoffs in 2005.
I was convinced they’d make a real run at a fourth Super Bowl.
Instead, they were forced to settle for a quasi-legitish stroll terminating in the second round of the playoffs. Yes, I realize the Patriots were two-time defending Super Bowl champions at that point, but again, they weren’t a very good team in 2005. They had also already lost to the Broncos in the regular season that year. That said, the closest PK ever comes to objectivity is when I can’t tell whether a particular statement comes from one his many biases or just the fact that he is stunned by everything.
Indianapolis is out of the playoffs too. Stunning. Another Peyton Manning failure, in his best shot ever to win a Super Bowl.
People say they’re gonna miss the “LeBron can’t win a ring” narrative. I tell you, I’m still distraught from the loss of the “Peyton can’t win a ring” narrative.
The best two teams in football, out of the race in a 17-hour span.
The best? One of those teams was fucking 10-6 that year. And the other one lost its first playoff game. The Colts-Pats hype machine was fucking unbearable for, like, a good seven years. Thank God it’s over.
Denver 27, New England 13, was memorable for a stupendous team blowing a season with five turnovers and Tom Brady not playing like Tom Brady for the first time in his playoff life.
THE 2005 PATRIOTS WERE NOT A GODDAMN “STUPENDOUS” TEAM. THEY DIDN’T BLOW SHIT. THEY WERE ON THE ROAD IN DENVER BECAUSE THEY WERE THE FUCKING FOUR SEED, HAVING WON THE MOST GODAWFUL DIVISION IN FOOTBALL AND SCORING ONLY 40 MORE POINTS THAN THEY GAVE UP ALL SEASON.
Pittsburgh 21, Indy 18 — now there was a game. One of the greatest games I’ve ever seen. Ever.
“Uhhh-mayyyyyy-zing,”’ Jerome Bettis told me on Sunday night.
Here comes Mr. Insurance, Bettis, to score the icing touchdown. He slams into the line, but the ball is knocked loose by linebacker Gary Brackett (go, you mighty Rutgers alum!), and picked up by the knifed one, Nick Harper (whose wife stabbed him 24 hours earlier, causing three stitches to be taken near his knee). And here is rumblin’, stumblin’ Ben Roethlisberger, backpedaling and running, trying to get in position to stop Harper, who jukes this way and that. And then, as Big Ben is falling backward at the Indy 42, he gets his right hand on Harper’s kneecap, just enough to make him fall!
“The Immaculate Tackle! That’s how it’s going down in Steeler history,” my HBO boss, Brian Hyland, screams into the phone a few minutes later.
PK bristles, jots down “The Highly Pittsburghish Leg Sweep” in his notebook.
Bettis, moaning on the sidelines, has at least 10 people — Bill Cowher, Hines Ward, James Farrior, Joey Porter among ’em — say to him, That will not be your last carry in the NFL! We’ll pick you up, just like you pick us up all the time!’
“Don’t worry, Bus. We’re gonna make that kicker make a horrible kick even though it’s totally out of our control.”
“Idiot kicker,” Manning once called him. Bad kicking karma. The idiot Kicker will never live this one down. Never. The Idiot Kicker just continued the Lousy Streak that is Peyton Manning’s playoff career.
It doesn’t help that Peyton played like dogshit and never should have gotten that close to tying it, what with a game-killing interception wrongly reversed by the officials.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have the greatest game of the season. Of many seasons, probably. And in the car on the way home, Bettis has begun to calm down. Until I tell him: “You are one game away from playing the Super Bowl in your hometown.”
A shame the press didn’t latch onto that storyline.
The Fine Fifteen
4. New England (11-7). In the end, the Patriots just weren’t clutch. Troy Brown muffing a punt? Adam Vinatieri missing a relative chip shot? Tom Brady missing open receivers in the end zone? Absolutely, downright bizarre.
Oh, the delicious anguish and disbelief. “But, but the Pay-Patriots were supposed to be gritty postseason clutchmasters forever! This can’t be! I demand a recount!”
7. Chicago (12-6). Still think you made the right call “resting” Rex Grossman in the season finale, Lovie?
Because resting Sexy Rexy just backs him up with turnover spooge, forcing him to spray it all over the field.
11. New York Giants (11-6). In the wake of the Tiki Barber “we were outcoached” comments, I have two points to make:
1. I’ve been thinking a lot about what we expect from the athletes we watch and report about. We say we want honesty, but when we get honesty, as we did in this case, we say, “Whoa! How can you dump on your coaches like that?” What is it that we want, then — honesty or homogenized lying? Now that isn’t to say Tiki should have gone out of his way to say the Panthers outcoached his Giants, the same way I don’t think he should have said, “Boy, Eli Manning got undressed today, and he’s got a long way to go before he’s a good NFL quarterback.” But if he does say it, while I’m not crazy about it and would rather have seen him say this privately to Tom Coughlin, I don’t think it’s the fall of western civilization, either.
Oh fuck this. How many time have we seen Peter King reflexively wave off that kind of statement as the ravings of a me-first glory boy? Far too many to count. Yet here’s Tiki being cockwallet Tiki and Peter King wants to philosophical about the appropriate amount of candor to expect from a professional athlete when he shits on teammates and coaches to the media.
2. What’s so compelling about this particular case of athletic bluntness — and perhaps so significant for the Giants — is that Barber is universally seen as the player who says the exact right things at the right time. Like at the end of the Oakland game on New Year’s Eve, when, seconds after the game was over, he didn’t crow about his own incredible season. Instead, he told ESPN’s Suzy Kolber on national TV how the team was so glad it was able to make the playoffs for the families of the two late owners, Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch. So imagine his level of passion about the issue of coaching if it bubbles to the surface in front of the press. If your marquee player, who always says the right thing, utters something like this after a game, you have to think: There might be problems in Maraville that go beyond this game.
It’s almost unfair in retrospect, given just how clearly everyone in the world now knows what a disingenuous, preening, back-biting asshole Tiki Barber is, to lay waste to PK for this sycophantic bullshit paragraph. But you don’t even really need to, because Petey STILL THINKS THIS WAY ABOUT TIKI.
14. San Diego (9-7). I’ve got news for anyone who thinks it was news that Drew Brees said he was entering negotiations for a long-term contract with the Chargers: Lindsay Lohan likes to go out at night.
Never change, some things.
Quote of the Week I
“Texas quarterback Vince Young has decided to go pro, and Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick has decided to go con.”
— NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno.
And Jay Leno has decided to go fuck himself.
Quote of the Week II
“I kind of like that Pittsburgh macho stuff. I like the fact that he’s a tough guy.”
— Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson, on new coach Mike McCarthy.
Tough guy? Fat guy? All the same in Pittsburghishness.
Factoid That May Interest Only Me
For the first 48 hours I was in Seattle, each time I stepped outside it was raining. Around 10 a.m. Saturday, there was nothing. The sky was actually light. And it didn’t rain for a couple of hours. And for 17 minutes during the game, the sky lightened, and there was a faint shadow of sun on the east stands at Qwest Field. Then it started raining again. Leaving the stadium two hours after the game, it was raining hard.
On KOMO news that night, they showed the seven-day forecast: rain every day.
There’s something bad about the weather everywhere, and there will always be a part of me sad that I never lived in Seattle because it’s one of the greatest, most enjoyable cities in the world. But how are you not depressed in the winter in Seattle
Rain in Seattle? GTFO. Good that PK has learned more about this realm of remoteness in the years since.
Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week
Do you know what it’s like to sit in the middle seat, in coach, for five hours and 27 minutes of a flight that ends in 32-mph wind gusts? Travel fever! Catch it!
Here’s what it’s like: You search for the air-sickness bag, pray you can stave off the wretching
The word is “retching”.
and then, hopefully, you can rise before the claustrophobia sets in. What misery. Seriously, I have no idea why more of us haven’t followed John Madden’s lead and chosen bus travel.
“Bus travel, the wave of the future.” – Peter King, 2005
“More melted Kit Kits or I bring this plane down with my Blackberry!” – Peter King, 2012
Ten Things I Think I Think
b. Hire Eric Mangini, Jets. You’re better off getting a good coach a year before he’s ready than NOT getting him when he is ready.
c. “This is not your father’s Seattle defense,” I said after Washington’s fourth straight three-and-out.
My father had no Seattle defense.
d. To which press-box wag Jason Cole of the Miami Herald countered: “This is not your father’s Redskins offense either.” You’ve got a point there, big fella.
It’s funny because Joe Gibbs was still the ‘Skins coach and Joe Gibbs is everyone’s father.
4. I think this is what I didn’t like about the divisional playoff weekend:
c. I simply can’t believe the Jets would hire Mike Tice. I think it’s a one-man horse race: Eric Mangini or bust.
Fuck Montclair Pedroias. “One-man horse race” should be PK’s fantasy team name for all-time. It perfectly distills his ghastly, horrifying writing.
d. How about Peyton Manning gently sliding his line under the bus (as opposed to throwing them under it) by saying, “I’m looking for a safe word here. I don’t want to be a bad teammate. Let’s just say we had some problems in protection.” That’ll go over well with a line that had trouble picking up the Pittsburgh blitz.
You see? YOU SEE!? He doesn’t even get through the rest of this column without chastising a player for dumping on teammates following a loss. Also, not that Peyton fluffing should be excused, but what distorted priorities does PK have to suck off Tiki Barber but actually hold Pey-Pey’s feet to the fire? Peter King is so bad at so many levels, it’s fascinating.
e. Did Dick Enberg really describe the stabbing of Indy cornerback Nick Harper as “an accident?” Did I hear right? Yes.
Sorry to interrupt your inner monologue, but you’ve got more unreadable drivel to heap on us.
j. Redskins seemed awful blasÃ© about losing a winnable game.
They should be publicly insulting their coaches more! That’s Tikiball!
6. I think I talked to one league official, two head coaches, a quarterback, and a GM as the day progressed on Sunday, and there was one common theme: The officials are making too many mistakes for this time of year. The one that NO ONE could believe was the Asante Samuel interference on Ashley Lelie. As the GM said: “Don’t tell me that didn’t have a big part in the outcome of the game because the game ended up not being close. It was huge.” I say: Allow replay for pass interference. I know it opens up a can of worms, but it’s just too big a problem six or eight times a year, and it’s a problem that can be corrected.
YES! Instant replay for pass interference. I know it’s an unwieldy disaster of an idea that could never be enforced and would only create more problems than it would solve, but THE GREATRIOTS WAS RAWBBED AND THE WORST WILL PAY FOR THIS TRAVESTY!!
7. I think this about the situation of Kansas City offensive coordinator Al Saunders, who has choreographed and called every offensive snap for the highest-scoring team in football over the last four years, and yet seems to be a candidate for only one of the open jobs, Oakland. If Saunders were black, Jesse Jackson would be holding rallies to rail against the injustice of him not being in demand as a head coach.
In the alternate universe of Al Saunders being a black dude, people would be super pissed that he wouldn’t get the chance to be a bad head coach. And his 700-page playbook would be full of slam poetry.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
c. I must say I’m a fan of the skating, and though I missed the finals on TV, I think it’s absurd that you don’t have to compete to earn a spot on the Olympic team.
I must say, I’m a big fan of this sport I don’t watch.
If Michelle Kwan can’t skate because of injury, so be it. Let the others compete for the three spots on the Olympic team.
d. Johnny Weir. Johnny Weird.
e. Coffeenerdness: I have gotten a lesson in hot drinks from a former coffee-aholic, Phil Simms. I spent some time with him the other day — he was gracious enough to host three auction winners for a New Jersey charity I support, showing these guys how he watches football gametape to prepare for a game — and he busted out the Bigelow green tea, then lectured us on how good green tea is for you. So, of course, now I’m on a green tea kick. If it’s good enough for Joe Torre and Simms, it’s good enough for me.
Between the bus travel and the green tea, I think this was a worthwhile exercise just to see the lie changes Peter King swore he would make seven years ago, only to abandon within days, possibly hours.