When last we left former SKS reader, Peter King, he bombarded us with 9,000 words to introduce his new football microsite, with far too many details about every single editorial decision he made in the course of the last three months. Oh, and he might have mentioned football somewhere in there, but not likely. Oh, Peter also did a Reddit AMA in which he was predictably oblivious to trolling.
But what about this week? What extensively covered NFL story will Peter King claim has been roundly ignored in order to make himself look more interesting? How is Wes Welker better than Jerry Rice in a really narrow way that no one cares about? Finally, what can and should be done about the moochers? READ ON.
What I love about NFL training camps was on display Sunday, around 4:30 in the afternoon, as the sun beat down on the fields where the Super Bowl favorites (in the eyes of many) went through their fourth practice of the summer.
What I love about a bloated, plodding opening sentence was on display Monday, around 8 in the morning, as the pixels of my laptop beamed the rambling prose of Sports Illustrated award-winning (as bestowed by fellow careerists and sycophants) columnist into my poor brain.
From the right slot, Anquan Boldin, the uber-valuable Ravens wideout
While we still mock Petey on his clumsy over-usage of the word “lofty”, he’s actually quietly moved away from dispensing it much in the past year, possibly as a result of said mockery. Instead, PK is now an UBER man.
who broke so many Niners-loving hearts with a 100-yard receiving game in the Super Bowl less than six months ago, cut across the middle of the first-team 49ers defense. Nnamdi Asomugha trailed, but just barely, in tight coverage on him. The quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, went elsewhere with the throw. But just seeing Boldin in Niners red, wearing his familiar No. 81, was notable for a couple of reasons:
Holy shit, that’s a tremendously awkward anecdote meant to introduce a section about how Boldin will be of UBER importance this season. “As I watched Boldin not factor in a play because he was covered, it reminded me of how will might be a factor in other plays this season. MAYBE.”
One, the best receiver in the 2012 postseason moving from brother (John Harbaugh) to brother (Jim) in a lightning-fast trade has gotten far too little attention in the NFL world.
Got too little attention? How? Because you said so? In what way has this been a neglected story? All aspects of the trade – Boldin’s contract dispute with the Ravens, his impact upon arriving in San Francisco, how WEIRD it was for the Harbaugh brothers to be swapping players – were covered thoroughly in the weeks preceding and following. Moreover, what trade involving a star player that occurs in the off-season, when NFL writers are fucking desperate for content, can possibly be undercovered?
Via a cursory Google search, here are a dozen links to stories discussing either the immediate impact of the Boldin trade or how it became more significant after Crabtree’s injury:
Peter King traveled to 49ers camp. Rather than bother to come up with a fresh angle to preview the team for the upcoming season, he picked out a conspicuous and obvious roster change from the prior year and pronounced said change to be undercovered by the rest of NFL media to puff up his own canned analysis. Fuck you, PK, you lazy, lying hack.
Two, with the Achilles injury to top San Francisco wideout Michael Crabtree knocking him out until at least midseason, Boldin, traded for a pittance (the 199th pick in the April draft) could be the most important receiver on two different Super Bowl contenders, just months apart.
Sometimes a player leaves one contending team and joins another. Weird? UBER WEIRD?
And nobody’s talking about it.
Not a single person anywhere. Niners fans are just learning about the trade RIGHT NOW because no one has bothered to report this story over the course of FIVE FUCKING MONTHS.
It’s the NFL story hiding in plain sight.
It’s hiding in plain sight, in the stories that other writers have filed on this very subject. Then again, the best way to hide something from Peter King is to put it in writing about football. THIS BOLDIN TRADE SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN BUSTER OLNEY’S MLB TRADE RECAPS.
News of the Weekend.
On Dennis Pitta. In the Ravens’ 4-0 playoff run last year, Boldin and Pitta averaged nine catches and 136 receiving yards per game. Now Joe Flacco will have to win without either of them this year. That’s one of the reasons why Flacco, I’m told, was walking around the Ravens’ complex looking disconsolate after Pitta was lost for the season with a dislocated hip on Saturday. I’d argue Pitta was Baltimore’s second-most valuable offensive player.
Peter doesn’t bother to list who he considers the most valuable offensive player for the Ravens, but I’ll give him more credit than he deserves and assume it’s Ray Rice. That means best-case scenario (and if PK feels like demeaning Flacco) that Boldin was the third-best offensive weapon on the Ravens. So, in one paragraph he’s putting down NFL media for not lavishing the Boldin move with enough attention. Then, in the next section, he’s basically telling us that Boldin was only the third- or fourth-most important offensive weapon on his former team.
On Von Miller. I’ll be very interested to hear Miller’s defense in challenging a four-game league suspension. The process is ongoing, and should be decided by opening day—in time for Miller to miss games against Flacco and Eli Manning to kick off the season. Miller’s argument could be that he didn’t test positive but simply missed a test. The NFL’s procedure is that a missed test can count as a positive test. Or, as one source with knowledge of the case told me, Miller at least has a chance to beat the rap — partially or in whole — if he can prove he was simply late for the test or has a valid excuse for missing it.
“Sorry, I was driving one of our drunk team execs home. Protect the shield and whatever. Okay, now can my suspension be reduced.”
On Jeremy Maclin. What’s most hurtful about Maclin’s being lost for the season with a torn ACL after collapsing at practice Saturday is that Eagles coach Chip Kelly needs the quickness and playmaking Maclin surely would have provided the offense. Now Kelly will have to find it in a far less experienced player like Riley Cooper.
/laughs at Eagles fans
//awaits Cooper’s post for White History Month
This increases the pressure on DeSean Jackson to be a home-run hitter. I remember talking to one NFL GM last fall about Kelly’s strengths. The GM said one of the reasons Kelly would be in such high demand in the NFL is because at Oregon he consistently took players other colleges didn’t want and turned them into high-functioning contributors in a fast-paced offense. I wouldn’t count out the Eagles.
Ah, but there’s the problem. Once you start collecting skilled players that other teams don’t want, sooner or later you’re going to have some character issue players on your roster. Eventually one of them is going to do something stupid, at which point Peter King gets to brag that there was a reason that Aaron Hernandez went in the 4th round because of obvious murdery traits.
Big surprise here.
So on Friday of draft weekend last April, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and his family rented a room in a Madison hotel to celebrate his being drafted. It happened in round two, when the Broncos chose Ball.
“My phone started blowing up,” Ball said the other day. “You know, friends and family all texting and calling to congratulate me. I couldn’t read ‘em all, there were so many. Then this real long one came in, from a number I didn’t know. Like, Congratulations, so proud of you, you worked so hard to get to this point, you made your mark at Wisconsin, and now this is what we expect of you. Stuff like that. I scrolled all the way down, and at the bottom, it said, ‘P. Manning.’ Whoa! Peyton Manning texted me. I said, ‘Hey! I got Peyton Manning’s phone number!’”
I am not surprised.
Actually kind of amazed to read the first thing Peter King isn’t astonished by.
Manning did the same thing after the Colts drafted Donald Brown in 2009
and I’m sure if I asked every offensive guy drafted by his team in recent years, they’d say Manning reached out to them and began laying the plan for the guy to get to know the offense.
Manning, 37, and I spoke for The MMQB when I was in Denver on Thursday, and I asked him if he was starting to get to the point where football was becoming wearisome—in any way. The prep, the sameness … anything.
“The reason I’m lucky,” he said, “is because I still love working at it. I’ve heard older players say, ‘The game’s the easy part. I dread the meetings, the practice, the preparation.’ That’s not me. [Brother] Eli and I had a little minicamp with some of our receivers down at Duke in the spring. Which, obviously, we didn’t have to do. But I loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Loved working with the receivers during the day, loved having dinner at night and talking football. I think if it doesn’t eat you up and you’re not consumed by it, it’s time to go. It’s not time for me yet.”
Christ. Way to set the laziest trap for Peyton Manning. “HEY PEYTON, TELL ME YOU’RE STARTING TO GET TIRED OF THE SPORT SO I CAN MAKE A BIG DEAL OF IT OR MAYBE EVEN MAKE IT THE ENTIRE NARRATIVE OF THIS COMING SEASON. IF NOT, THAT’S OKAY, I’LL CONTINUE TO CALL YOU THE ULTIMATE COMPETITOR.”
Seattle and Denver fans are drunk on Super Bowl Express punch.
Why drink when your state allows for Super Bowl Express bud?
The fervor in those places is noticeable at practice and in the city. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, it’s a pretty business-as-usual atmosphere. “No hoopla here,” new corner Nnamdi Asomugha said. “Just football. I like it.”
Actually, I think the most underrated story of the off-season was Nnamdi marrying Kerry Washington. Screw you, you lucky bastard.
Most beloved player on the trip: Oakland safety Charles Woodson. Raiders fans are smitten with their guys anyway. Woodson, who spent his first eight seasons in Oakland before leaving for Green Bay in 2006, is being feted as though Howie Long or Lester Hayes returned.
Possibly Woodson is a reminder of a distant time when the Raiders weren’t a total joke.
If this doesn’t make you feel old, nothing will.
Seeing this line on the camp roster of the New York Giants:
Eli Manning, a 10-year veteran. Same for Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, of course.
Oh, that does make me feel old. Especially because I’m only six months younger than Roethlisberger and, despite the fact that he’s a total shithead, he’s won two Super Bowls, appeared in a third, made tens of millions of dollars and all I have to show for my life is a miserable weekly obligation to read Peter King.
Nope, I don’t feel old. I feel depressed as shit.
Just another reminder of how time marches on for everyone in this game
What? Chip Kelly hasn’t found a way to reverse time yet? Thought we were dealing with an innovator here.
“It’s gone by quickly,” said Manning, upon checking in for his 10th camp. “It really has. Each year I’m very grateful to be here and have another opportunity to play for the New York Giants and compete for championships for the Giants and the organization. They put a great team together, a great coaching staff, and Coach Coughlin and everybody is going to be on the same page and determined to go out there and win a championship, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
That quote is another reason why Manning is so invaluable to the Giants. In an era when anything that smells remotely controversial ends up in a screaming headline on the back pages in New York, Manning, in the tradition of his family, can always be counted on to say and do the right thing—win or lose.
Wasn’t it last year that Peter was chastising Colin Kaepernick for giving boring quotes to the press? With Eli, the dispensing of platitudes and unremarkable answers is a strength and emblematic of leadership! He’s dutifully following the family tradition of accepting ball washings from Peter King.
Quotes of the Week
II – “We have the potential to be the best offense ever.”
—Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon.
In related news, I have the potential to be the slimmest sportswriter ever.
Just a reminder that Peter King once tried to lose weight by switching from stout beers to Peroni.
V – “Twitter.”
—San Francisco cornerback Tarell Brown, asked how he heard he lost $2 million in 2013 earnings because he failed to earn a workout bonus, which he would have received had he trained this offseason at the team facility. He worked out near his home in Texas instead. On Thursday, Brown announced that he’d fired his agent, Brian Overstreet, claiming Overstreet didn’t tell him he had to work out in Santa Clara to get the bonus.
Paragraph-long explanations of a one-word quote of the week.
Stat of the Week
In Praise of Wes Welker Dept.:
Hoo boy. I guess we know how Peter King is celebrating White History Month.
Receptions by Wes Welker over the past six seasons: 672.
Receptions by Jerry Rice over the most productive six-year period of his career: 604 (from 1991 to ’96).
That’s right: Welker’s last six years, in total, produced 68 more catches than the best six-year run of Rice’s great career
Jerry Rice yards from ’91-’96: 8,511
Wes Welker yards from ’07-’12: 7,459
Jerry Rice touchdowns from ’91-’96: 75
Wes Welker touchdowns from ’07-12: 37
“Wow,” Welker said in Denver the other day when he heard the stat. “That’s unbelievable. I mean, holy crap.”
“I sure sat underneath the coverage a buttload of times!”
Then Welker said: “I just hope I can be as productive as Jerry was at the end of his career.”
“Except hopefully I won’t have to play for the Raiders.”
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
To underscore the historic impact Tony Gonzalez is having on the tight end position:
Gonzalez has 427 more receptions than any other tight end in NFL history. Mike Ditka had 427 catches in his Hall of Fame career.
Let’s not forget the 13,452 more references to being a former basketball player.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
LaGuardia Airport, New York, Wednesday afternoon, gate B1, Frontier Airlines, pre-flight announcements and reaction for a flight to Denver:
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Frontier Airlines and our flight to Denver. We will be boarding by zones today. Any families with small children who need some extra time to board, please approach the gate.
Four or five families approach the gate. Twenty or so other people, adults traveling without children, clog the gate area. Welcome to air travel in the U.S.
C’MON, CONGRESS, DOOOOOOOOO SOMETHING
The families wedge their way through the idiots who shouldn’t have gotten up but did, and who are blocking the way.
Now if we have any Ascent members, you are free to board. Ladies and gentlemen, please step aside to allow our families and Ascent members room to board.
No one steps aside. The moochers have to be walked through.
It’s what we long feared. THE RISE OF THE MOOCHERS. FOLLOWED CLOSELY THEREAFTER BY THE SWARM OF THE CRUMB BUMS.
Now there are more of them. Thirty, maybe.
THE MOOCHERS ARE MULTIPLYING. Where’s forced sterilization when you need it?
Two minutes pass. The frequent Frontier flyers excuse themselves repeatedly to move through the louts who don’t belong there.
FREQUENT FRONTIER FLYERS ACT LIKE THEY’VE BEEN THERE BEFORE, THAT’S WHY THEY’RE UBER FLYERS.
Now ladies and gentlemen, if your boarding card is marked with Zone 1, you may board.
The non-Zone-1 people are eight-deep. I have a Zone 1 boarding pass.
And here’s the part where you were left off the flight and stranded in the airport for hours, right? Otherwise, why do I give a shit that you had to push through a small crowd and a few people boarded a flight before you?
I excuse myself through the mass of people, over and over. The man in front of me has a midsized rolling suitcase, a bulging hanging bag fastened and slung over his shoulder, and a fat black backpack. “Sir,’’ the gate attendant says, “you’re in Zone 3. You have to wait. Please stand to the side.” He starts saying there won’t be overhead space when he boards, and asks if he could please board now. The attendant says, “No.” Sanity prevails.
WE CALL THAT MOOCHER JUSTICE.
Over the years, the airlines have slowly lost control of the boarding process. And this crap is what happens. It’s aerial line-cutting.
No, it’s regular line-cutting. You haven’t left the ground yet. Unless someone gave the moochers jetpacks.
Would you try to cut a line at, say, a movie theater?
I have, yes. I’m not necessarily proud of it, but it doesn’t crack the top 500 regrets I have about my life either.
Then why do so many people do it at airports?
Because waiting at the airport sucks and people prioritize their own comfort over fairness to others.
If you’ve got too much luggage and are afraid you won’t be able to store your bag, check it.
And pay an extra $60.
And airlines, get control of the process with better pens to separate us cattle. Southwest, you’re off to a good start. That is all.
I think this section is very instructive as to why Peter King enjoys the type of access with the NFL that he does. He refers to himself as cattle. Beyond the obvious fat jokes, this reveals a mindset that the NFL is very much thrilled to cultivate with its fans and players.
One more reason to fly Alaska Airlines: Alaskan Summer Ale is sold on board.
Not that that matters or anything.
I repeat: SOMEONE EDITS THIS DRIVEL AND THIS WAS ALLOWED TO STAY.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my early training camp thoughts:
d. Sedrick Ellis retires. There’s one of the most nonimpactful seventh overall picks ever.
Troy Williamson would like a word.
e. Tim Tebow caught three passes in the first practice of Patriots training camp. I see him being in the mold of a utility player if he makes the team, active some weeks and inactive others, not playing one set position.
So, the same shit he did with the Jets?
f. He won’t get the Mariano Rivera retirement treatment on his last swing around the league in 2013, but long-time Broncos PR czar Jim Saccamano, one of the great PR professionals I’ve ever encountered, deserves it as he works his last full-time season.
I agree. This PR guy should get the kind of farewell tour that the NFL typically gives to retiring baseball legends.
i. Eight Washington players suspended for drug violations over the past three years, according to the Washington Post. Not good. Sounds like it’s time for GM Bruce Allen to chat with his scouts about character.
Awesome generic advice. THIS IS THE THINKING MAN’S FOOTBALL-CENTRIC NUGGET EMPORIUM.
3. I think it’s amazing to me Matthew Stafford’s just 25.
He has the facial puffiness of a man 10 years older!
Born the same year as Russell Wilson (1988), Stafford will finish his fifth season in the NFL before turning 26 next February.
4. I think the star turn of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman may be just beginning. Not just because of his appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week (if you haven’t, read the first of a series of guest columns he’s writing for The MMQB). But walking through the terminal at Denver International Airport late Thursday, I saw a young boy with a “YOU MAD BRO?” t-shirt.
There are some “YOU MADE BRO” shirts that are specifically marketed to Richard Sherman fans, but I assume PK is clueless enough that he thinks anyone referencing what is now a pretty old Internet meme is talking about Sherman.
7. I think we’re going to enjoy Marc Trestman’s use of the English language. Every team has a conditioning test at the start of training camp, to see if the players have reported in the kind of shape the job demands. The Bears, under Trestman, now call the conditioning test “an accountability exercise.”
Marc Trestman leads the league in jargon! He’ll gobbledygook his way to glory.
8. I think I’m going to start calling the drinking of water “hydration ingestion.”
As if you consume anything that isn’t Starbucks and Allagash.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. It’d be hard to get used to having medium-to-loud music of all sorts playing at every camp and in-season practice, the way Seattle coach Pete Carroll does. His theory: It’s going to be noisy every week in the NFL, at every stadium, during every game. So let’s get used to dealing with noise at all times. Carroll’s an eclectic music guy. I thought a polka might break out at some point Friday.
Silly you. You interrupt Klezmer Fridays at Seahawks camp at your peril.
b. It’s so much fun, and so energizing, to be part of The MMQB, with so many good people.
Bully for you.
c. Story of the week from the outside world: This vivid and slightly disturbing piece by Ed Caesar of the New York Times magazine on the dangerous “sport” of base jumping.
Of course Peter King just now discovered what base jumping is and only did so by reading about it in the New York Times Magazine.
d. No one in baseball deserves big money more than Dustin Pedroia. That comes from someone who watches him 40 times a year and who is never disappointed.
“I reach orgasm every time he fields a grounder. No other player can match that consistency.”
g. Joe and Maddie Mauer had twin girls Wednesday. Good luck to all. And may I say…
h. Well played, Mauer.
Nicely inseminated, Joe.
i. Coffeenerdness: Two tries at a vital 6:10 a.m. Macchiato at two different Starbucks at the Seattle airport. Two fails. That’s my biggest Starbucks problem: the inconsistency of the espresso shots. Sometimes rich and perfect, sometimes bitter or watery.
The return of coffee-flavored water! A more vile scourge on the airports even than the gate moochers.
Also, I wonder how much each of those macchiatos set him back. Probably at least $10. And yet he was bitching about the cost of water at the airport last week.
j. Beernerdness: I’d been familiar with only one New Belgium Brewery beer — Fat Tire — before seeing the Rockies at Coors Field the other night. Now I have two I like. Ranger IPA is among the best IPAs I’ve had, flavorful and with the slight bitterness that characterizes all good IPAs.
I’d had that. It’s all right. Anyway, he’s not talking about Allagash, so I’m going to consider this week a win and move on.
k. I don’t say this because we had the pleasure of Olivia Munn on The MMQB Wednesday. I say it because it’s true: Last week’s episode of The Newsroom was the best in the short history of the show.
That would normally be damning with faint praise, but Peter King actually likes The Newsroom, which I kind of appreciate because it makes me feel even more justified in hating him.
The Adieu Haiku
Pitta, Maclin. Shame.
Brutal July injuries.
War of attrition.
The Boldin story
Underrated and ignored
So says clueless doof