When we last left Roger Goodell’s personal arm beaver Peter King, he was at Yankee Stadium enjoying braised cauliflower and monster carrots, the ziti and salmon in a light lemon cream sauce, two California rolls and four raviolis with the short-rib filling. With a glass of Argentinian Malbec. SUMPTUOUS. You, dear reader, simply must try the spread sometime. Oh, do you not have access to the field seat buffet? Pity. Perhaps you lack a proper work ethic.
So what about this week? Will Steve Serby make more awesome puns? Move over, Tiger! This young McIlroy fella is ROARY-IN’! And will the Skins burn a supplemental draft pick on Terrelle Pryor, provided we all pray hard enough? READ ON…
Feels like the calm before the storm a bit, doesn’t it?
Feels like the windswept moonscape of Boston just before the SIDEWAYS HAIL comes blowin’ in!
With the 32 NFL owners meeting Tuesday in Chicago, we should know soon how close a labor deal really is, and whether Roger Goodell and the owners’ negotiating team will have any real problems selling a new labor agreement to the owners.
The meeting in Chicago is not going to be particularly momentous.
You know that meeting this week where we’ll probably figure out if a new CBA will get done and the NFL season will be saved? NOT MOMENTOUS. Seriously, it’s a mere piffle. Nothing to see here, America! It’s just more of that silly labor nonsense I know you don’t care about. Now, the Montclair Pedroias need a center fielder…
What it will do, as Yahoo!’s Jason Cole suggested Sunday in his excellent analysis of the labor scene, is flush out the real feelings of the owners.
The meeting is unimportant, except that it’ll reveal if the crucial progress made in the past few weeks was an illusion. Good job, guy from Yahoo who actually reports stuff! I heard on Sirius radio that you’re the BEST!
It’s probably an overstatement to suggest this is the most important meeting of Goodell’s nearly five-year tenure.
Indeed it is, since you just told us the meeting wasn’t monumental.
But in my Goodell profile from last winter for SI, Carolina owner Jerry Richardson told me, “If Roger’s in office for 25 years, this will be the toughest challenge he’ll ever face. However it turns out, it’s a resolution he’ll have to live with for the rest of his career.”
Richardson then added, “But I do know this… the man tips 5% at restaurants just like I do, so I know he’s a good feller!”
So when he and the labor committee face the 32 teams, there’s no question Goodell’s sales job will be vital.
Indeed. A vital sales job… that I must remind you is NOT momentous. At all. I doubt it will mean much in the grand scheme of things, except that it will.
By the way, I wouldn’t trust Roger Goodell to sell me a fucking hot dog.
I doubt many owners will be shocked by anything they hear Tuesday.
RALPH WILSON: I expressly asked that all player’s wives arrive at the playing grounds in pillbox hats! THIS IS A TERRIBLE SURPRISE! NO DEAL!
Tiki unplugged, and why he might be Steeler-bound.
/laughs in Ape’s face
My educated guess, and maybe a little more than that, is Pittsburgh will be Tiki Barber’s landing spot this summer when he tries to return to football after four seasons away.
That’s my educated guess, which by definition means a guess that includes pertinent information taken into account. But this educated guess might have a bit EXTRA education behind it, perhaps 40% more. So call it more than an educated guess. Call it MEGA-educated.
The Steelers have a core of veteran stars; Tiki Barber would fit right in.
MIKE TOMLIN: Hey guys, I want you to welcome Tiki Barber! He cheated on his wife and badmouthed his teammates!
MIKE TOMLIN: But he promises to hit late!
And one NFL source tells me Barber really wants a shot to play in Pittsburgh. I’m also told that wherever he goes, Barber won’t be content to be a mopup guy or insurance policy; he wants to play a lot.
Let’s just go out on a limb and make an EDUCATED GUESS (perhaps a bit more) that Peter’s source here is, you know, Tiki Barber.
TIKI: Peter, make sure they know I won’t be happy as a role player, and that I want to sabotage the team completely! CAN’T MISS ON THAT SALES PITCH!
More Tiki: Following up on Sports Illustrated’s excellent Tiki Barber profile by L. Jon Wertheim comes a revealing interview Tuesday night on HBO’s Real Sports by Armen Keteyian. “It’s a story about [Tiki’s] road to redemption, trying to make himself whole again,” Keteyian said.
Because after leaving your wife and kids to fuck an intern, it can really leave you surprisingly unfulfilled, you know?
“There was a richness, an honesty in the interview that I found riveting.”
“What I liked about Tiki was that he talked to me. Indeed, it was almost as if he didn’t want the interview to end! That must have been why he bit my leg after the cameras went off.”
The most interesting thing, according to Keteyian, was that after Barber’s colossal failed marriage, taking up with a 23-year-old NBC intern, and getting dumped by NBC: “There was almost a level of self-destruction here — he wanted to blow up this life he created and start over.”
So in some ways, I’d say leaving his wife and kids to fuck an intern was almost kind of NECESSARY. Like performance art.
When I left football for TV, Barber told Keteyian, “People were trying to dictate what I should do with my life. And who I should be. ‘You should be a football player.’ ‘I would cut off my left nut to do what you do. How dare you walk away from it?’
“I’ll tell you how I dare, because I don’t want to do it anymore,” Barber said.” I don’t have the passion to do it anymore. And so I walked away from it. And it rubbed people the wrong way.”
TIKI: Armen, let’s forget about the whole I-fucked-an-intern thing and focus on what’s really important: That all of you media fuckheads really admired me from walking away from football early, and you should really admire me for it all over again. Also, THE STEELERS WILL ADORE ME.
That jibes with what I saw in the two years Barber was in the NBC studio — I never once heard him say he missed football or would ever entertain the thought of playing again.
God, he’s so principled! It’s like he unfucked that intern WITH HIS PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY.
You mean we’re already talking Super Bowl rotation for L.A.?
In LA? Where you sometimes need a sweater at night? HOW DARE YOU, NFL?
I make the case lower in this column that the Houston Texans have to go after free-agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha when the shopping season opens. And I think the Lions should make a hard run at him too. But I don’t get the sense either team will.
Call it an educated guess that my speculation on the matter is utterly meaningless.
Imagine pairing Asomugha with very good cover man Asante Samuel. It’d be money well-spent, even at a Bradyish $18 million a year.
Baltimore. Everything says no
Everything about Asomugha to the Ravens sys no, except that he’s a perfect fit for a team desperate for help at that position. Otherwise, TOTAL MISMATCH.
Vancouver must be addressed.
Indeed. This rioting business will not find closure until a fair-weather Bruins fan has his say on the matter.
We all saw the ridiculous display in Vancouver on Wednesday night after the hometown Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. A scarier view into the future I haven’t seen in some time.
My God, it was like looking into a crystal ball! Where classless cities simply can’t accept the superiority of Boston athletics and fansmanship! THE DEAD WILL RISE. CITIES WILL BE CONSUMED. PEOPLE WILL MAKE OUT IN THE STREET.
The callousness of hundreds of people (it wasn’t 10 or 20 or 60; we’re talking hundreds of people taking the law into their hands and ransacking portions of a city) cannot be dismissed by saying, “Oh, it’s just a bunch of drunks who got carried away after a game.”
Indeed, for the city STILL burns as we speak. What’s that? Oh, the riots ended and people are cleaning it up and expressing grave remorse? DON’T TELL ME THIS WON’T BECOME A REGULAR THING IN VANCOUVER, WHICH NO DOUBT SUFFERS FROM BEING SO ISOLATED FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD.
What possesses people to BURN police cars?
Name five things more flammable than police cars. You can’t.
It’s encouraging that scores of volunteers showed up all day Thursday to clean up the mess. That’s a hopeful sign. But those Wednesday night scenes left me as scared about our future as anything I’ve seen in a long time.
Those are the kind of people who would mess around with the Amtrak PA system! DISGUSTING.
Gone, but impossible to be forgotten.
That’s the item headline Peter used for Clarence Clemons death. Awkward, but impossible to be grammatically correct.
The first time (I saw Clarence Clemons) was the most memorable … April Fools Day, 1976, in my freshman year at Ohio University.
Billie Jean King joined the E Street Band and it was ASTONISHING.
In those days, Springsteen and the E Street Band (the highlight of which was Clemons’ wailing sax) was a touring machine. In this particular month, the band played 21 dates in some real metropolises — Athens, Ohio; Boone, N.C.; Meadville, Pa.; Hamilton, N.Y.; Wallingford, Conn.; Johnson City, Tenn. — before crowds in the hundreds. Imagine the travel.
Think of it. IMAGINE it. Visualize such an audacious travel schedule. Even Bob Papa himself would be left in awe.
Clemons to Springsteen was Kramer to Seinfeld.
And there’s the final indignity to Clemons we were all hoping for.
Quote of the Week II
“I can still throw the ball as well as I ever have. No question about that. But I don’t want to put my body through that anymore. I’ve been beat up enough.”
— Brett Favre, 41, at a football camp in Hattiesburg, Miss.
OK. Don’t anyone start the rumors. Just don’t.
Not a momentous quote from Favre. OR WAS IT? Tell you more about what he texted me in a few paragraphs, gang.
Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me
My Boston urologist, Tony Luongo, is Roberto Luongo’s cousin.
That is the most Peter King factoid ever. Boston urologists are GRITTIER than your urologist.
That leads me to a few hockey factoids.
Speaking of my dick, let’s talk pucks!
The moral of the Stanley Cup story, to me, was the Canucks were vastly overrated.
AND IT TOOK A BRAVE TEAM FROM FACKIN’ BAWSTON TO PROVE IT! LIGHT: FACKIN’ BROUGHT!
Five Things I’m Not Looking Forward to on Vacation (Travel Section):
1. Why can’t the Yankees Stadium buffet come with me?
2. Better keep those Kit Kats cold, Air Tran.
3. Shit! I forgot to get movie recommendations from Dick Ebersol!
4. Any minor league park with a digital scoreboard. Manual is where it’s at, kids.
5. The Anne Frank House. Always a big disappointment. And why so cramped?
3. The $73 tank of gas.
Who knew traveling required fuel? TYPICAL HERTZ EXTORTION.
4. Seeing seriously overweight 55-year-old women (and men for that matter) in airports with those barbed-wire tattoos encircling their ankles. That has to be one of the weirdest things to see. Saw one middle-aged woman with a fresh-inked one walking through the Atlanta airport recently and thought, You’re kidding me, right?
I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE AND IT IS FAT AND DISTURBING.
5. Having pangs of conscience when the labor deal gets worked out and I’m into my fourth Harpoon summer beer (in the flashy yellow can), and saying, “Should I really go and bat out a reaction column right now?”
Awwww, poor you! You might have to WORK! You might have to get up and type up a meaningless reaction piece that provides no actual news value! Poor you on your FOUR-WEEK vacation. Such a rest is needed when you spend your working year dining out at the ballpark and not writing about football.
Five Things I’m Looking Forward to Doing:
1. People watching! You never know when Steve Schirripa will pop up!
2. More naked men in the Wrigley Field bathroom!
3. The trees. Fantastic.
4. Having Steve Young ask me for Gaotrade!
5. Seeing things in vending machines!
1. Beating back said pangs of conscience and not working when the new labor deal happens.
Yeah! You go, Pete! Don’t work on that thing you barely worked on up to this point! Sit back and enjoy that Harpoon, good sir. YOU EARNED IT.
2. Doing more of nothing, except walking and seeing a different world, in Trieste, Italy.
THE PERONI CAPITAL OF THE UNIVERSE.
3. Finishing the Thursday New York Times crossword once. On my own, I never have.
“Honey! What’s a four-letter word for ‘lofty, lazy sports columnist’?”
4. Eating the scrambled eggs with cheese and the raisin toast at a Waffle House, somewhere in the United States. Now that’s the all-American meal right there.
In other news… ZOMG TATTOOED FAT PEOPLE! HOW CAN WE LIVE WITH OURSELVES AS A COUNTRY?!
God dammit… just so fucking smug. LOOGIT ME! I’M GONNA GO RELAX FOR A MONTH! AREN’T YOU HAPPY FOR ME?!!!!!
I think I understand the contract dispute between the Giants and Osi Umenyiora is at the base of all of his dissatisfaction over the last two seasons, and the thing might be standing in the way of getting what a good player may rightly deserve. But… what place does it have in a global suit between players and owners about some of the loftiest issues in sports? I don’t see it.
NOT A LOFTY ENOUGH ISSUE.
I think, lest you think Rex Ryan is an altogether one-sided sports person…
I sure hope he is, because other sports are ASS.
I’ll take you into a little view of Ryan’s sports brain. I ran into him the other day outside of Boston, and the talk turned to how hot the Red Sox were, and Ryan, who is not a Red Sox fan, said to me, “Yeah, but they gotta get Crawford going.”
GAH NO! STOP IT! YOU’RE RUINING REX RYAN FOR EVERYONE! FUCK YOU!
I suppose someone who tangentially followed baseball would know Carl Crawford is off to a so-so start in his Boston career, but I was impressed that Ryan knew what a relatively weak link he’d been.
Holy fucking shit, really? That impresses you? This man… this man can make small talk about prominent major league teams and their expensive free agents! TALK ABOUT GOOSEBUMPS. The man’s a true expert. Did you know he plays fantasy football and knew who Arian Foster was before the season? Talk about doing your homework!
a. Yes, I did mistake Mark Wahlberg for brother Donnie at the Stanley Cup game in Boston last Monday night. Does it help to say I loved The Fighter? Or does that simply make me look like more of a doofus?
b. Thought so.
c. At least you made an educated guess.
Mark Cuban seems a lot more human than he did three months ago.
I know! He used to be so robotic and unanimated!
Re the Stanley Cup: Just like in the NBA, the better team won.
FACKIN’ BAWSTON BRUINS! EVERYONE KNOWS THEY WERE THE BETTAH TEAM WITH THE CLASSIAH FANS!
Ross Tucker asked me on our SiriusXM NFL Radio show the other day…
If it happened on Sirius, did it REALLY happen?
…what position is the most important position in sports. I said quarterback, followed by starting pitcher. He said quarterback, followed by hockey goaltender. That’s what watching Tim Thomas for two weeks will do to you.
THAT’S THE KIND OF IMPACT OW-AH TIMMY T HAS ON OUTSIDAHS!
I see saboteurs opened up fake Twitter accounts to try to lure Anthony Weiner into relationships. Another great day for America.
Soon we’ll be rioting after sporting events! Oh, how I weep for our children.
Coffeenerdness: I think about a quarter of the items on the Starbucks drink list now contain coffee. I’m guessing frozen daiquiris are next.
It used to be about the COFFEE, man!
I don’t know LeBron James. Have never met him. And I don’t cover the NBA, so I’m not positive what Gary Washburn wrote the other day in the Boston Globe is right or wrong. But it sure sounded very smart.
Here’s another column about what a loser LeBron is. Maybe it’s right. Maybe it’s wrong. But I’m morally certain it’s good, mainly because it’s from my hometown paper.
Happy next month, people. See you right back in this space on July 25 … and possibly before that somewhere in the SI empire, if the labor negotiators come to their senses and my conscience gets the best of me.
DON’T LET IT HAPPEN, PETE! You stay tethered to your beach chair! Don’t let the passing of actual NFL news get in the way of you enjoying yourself! YOU NEVER LET IT BEFORE!