When last we left NFL Result Weirdness Department head, Peter King, he was spending 1,600 words mourning his dearly departed dog while not even giving lip service to the veterans… on VETERANS DAY! Speaking of lip service, he gave a fine slobbering to Luke Kuechly, the first of many, no doubt. But what about this week? Will you be as dumbfounded as I was to learn that Ruby Tuesday doesn’t have a gastropub worthy beer selection? What second team will hire Greg Schiano to coach them? He’s doing so well, he shouldn’t be limited to one team. To find out, READ ON.
We have great and controversial events to discuss, and we shall.
But first, a 3,600-word prologue about Mike Napoli’s favorite Boston hangouts. The results may surprise you!
But there are great and controversial events every week in pro football, and I’ll get to the rise of a battered Denver offensive line, the 113-minute weather/tornado-threat delay, and to a foul that, in today’s football, simply must be called. But first …
Christ, you waste our time with a buildup to wasting our time.
Friday is the 50-year anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.
Wow. To put it in PK-esque perspective, that was when RGIII was negative 27 years old!
At first, I thought this was a forced example of patriotism after he snubbed the veterans last week, but actually it’s an excuse to later in the column shamelessly plug Bob Costas’ special about the assassination on NBC Sports Network. So even worse!
Five guys rose to the occasion in Denver.
“It was a tense night on Sunday. It was closing in on 11 p.m. and I’d only had three dinners. Done, something would have to be. But what? The stuff around my hotel was pure garbage-ish food options. Just I was about to abandon all hope and consume my emergency Kit-Kat rations, salvation greeted me in the form of a Virginia-based burger chain!”
The final score Sunday night: Denver 27, Kansas City 17, Peyton Manning sacks 0, Peyton Manning knockdowns 0.
That’s okay, despite the shutout, Peyton Manning knockdowns still hold the sixth seed in the AFC.
When you wear the kind of brace on your right ankle that Manning did against Kansas City, and when you’re facing the league-leader in sacks (36 in nine games coming in), and when your line is as leaky as Denver’s has been, you expect Manning to take some punishment. He took none.
The English language took a lot of punishment with that sentence.
The NFL needs more games like this one.
Thing I thought I’d never see on an NFL game summary, which I saw for the Ravens-Bears game in Chicago Sunday:
Just a few minutes shy of your half marathon personal record!
My first thought, for much of the first four-and-a-half hours of the game, which had a 113-minute delay in the middle of first quarter because of severe weather (an estimated 70 tornadoes touched down in the Midwest Sunday), was this event was Exhibit A for postponing a game for a day.
And now comes PK’s argument that this year’s Super Bowl should be postponed until June to prevent him from being cold.
The delay got so long they stopped selling beer in the stadium, the concourses jammed with fans taking cover. I thought: Send these poor people home. This is no day for football, with tornadoes leveling neighborhoods in central Illinois and players and officials waiting around for two hours.
Lofty decision. These poor saps shouldn’t have to wait around crowded concourses. They should sent out into the many swiling tornadoes in the area. Peter King: emergency planning guru.
But with about nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, I went down to the field to watch the rest of the game from a tunnel. The wind was howling, with gusts up to 40 miles an hour.
Wow, that’s like a moderately strong thunderstorm. How did you live?
Players ran carefully, so as not to slip and fall. The field was a cow pasture
Similar to PK’s field of neutral dreams in Wichita.
and players, officials and (during TV timeouts) the ground crew tried to tamp down the turf after the torrential rain ruined it. And I thought: How great it is to see a game in the elements like this.
Uh oh, abrupt twist. It was a terrible idea to have this game until PK saw how INTERESTING it was that the conditions were potentially hazardous to players and officials.
You hate to make the fans wait out a two-hour delay, but would it have been more inconvenient, say, to reschedule the game for Monday at noon?
I love that PK’s only other option is the worst scheduling idea ever. “WOULDN’T IT BE WORSE TO SCHEDULE IT AT 3 A.M., CHRISTMAS MORNING!?”
Of all the games I’ve covered, only a Giants preseason game at foggy, rainy Cleveland in the ’80s, at the old Cleveland Stadium, was like this one. I was looking for the ghost of Jim Brown that day
Jim Brown: not dead then and still not dead now!
and Sunday, I wondered how many of these Luckman, Sayers and Butkus played in.
Tornadoes? At least once a month. If you didn’t play in at least four natural disasters, you were just fucking soft in those days.
Our Robert Klemko wandered into the Bears’ locker room and found another oddity: Some players slept during the break.
Sometimes people pass time by sleeping! WEIRD!
I asked him for the scene in there, and this is what he wrote: When lightning struck and winds in excess of 40 mph whipped through Soldier Field, players were relegated to their locker rooms, tasked with staying loose and focused for an undetermined amount of time. The Ravens lunched. The Bears passed around granola and Gatorade. They plugged in headphones or called their wives or told jokes to liven the mood.
The more the NFL can harken back to a simpler day, a muddier day, the better.
Says the asshole who has spent years bitching that the Super Bowl is being played outdoors in a cold weather climate and will only continue to do so as the game approaches.
And now, the rest of the story.
PK doesn’t trust his readers to know who Tonya Harding is, but Paul Harvey references are just tossed around willy nilly.
Tony Corrente got the call right in New Orleans. With 3:18 left and San Francisco up by three in a crucial game between the Niners and Saints, linebacker Ahmad Brooks sacked Drew Brees and forced a fumble, which the Niners recovered. The problem was the sack, and the mechanics of it. Brooks clotheslined Brees on a hit that started above the sternum and finished with him forcibly sending Brees to the ground by contacting the neck with his forearm. Corrente called a personal foul on Brooks, gave the ball back to New Orleans, and the Saints went on to win with two Garrett Hartley field goals in the final three minutes. Emotional call, obviously, one that hurt the Niners grievously. But if you’ve seen nothing else in this league over the past three years, you’ve seen that officials are charged with protecting the quarterback above all others. And Corrente was protecting the quarterback. He did it wisely. Brees was tossed to the ground because of a forearm that finished on his neck. I thought the call was obvious.
Yeah, no. I won’t say the call was definitely wrong but it fell in that very large grey area that the NFL has created for hits on the quarterback. My beef here is PK saying the refs have a responsibility to protect the quarterback above all else. No, their job is to enforce the rules. This was a borderline hit according to those rules. That it was deemed a penalty is an interpretation of the rulebook – and I’m fine with that – not some noble mission that Tony Corrente has to protect quarterbacks. If you want to do that, have the Competition Committee make changes to the rules to reflect that QBs aren’t allowed to get hurt. Don’t just put it on the refs.
I highly recommend the superbly reported Michael McKnight story on our site detailing the long, winding and drug-addled road that led Sam Hurd to a 15-year prison sentence last week.
Three questions with McKnight about his story, and his impression of the pot culture in the league:
Me: Are there more Sam Hurds in the NFL, and if so how many?
McKnight: I think there are more Sam Hurds in the NFL. I don’t think there are more athletes who are dipping their toes in the world of cocaine trafficking, but in terms of guys who somehow procure large amounts of weed and give it to teammates … I would estimate there are between five and 10 other players like that. Meaning five to 10 other NFL locker rooms have a guy in the room who … if marijuana is your deal, you find out within the first month or so that That guy in that locker over there, that’s the guy you want to go to.
Oh! Oh! I bet Danny Woodhead is one of the weed connects. I’ve bought weed from at least six guys that like look him in my life.
1. Denver (9-1). Well, I guess Peyton’s guys can block.
Good job, Denver Peyton Guys.
2. Seattle (10-1). Percy Harvin must love his new gig. Got his feet wet Sunday (one target, one catch, 17 yards) and now the Seahawks have a week off with the bye. What a country!
I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean. Think PK might have re-upped with Danny Woodhead last night.
3. Kansas City (9-1). To those who would have the Chiefs plummet because of the loss last night, I ask you this: KC was a decided underdog, playing at Denver. If you rated the Chiefs low before the game, fine. If you rated them high and would drop them a few spots this morning, I am confused.
Pay attention, fellow writers of pointless arbitrary power rankings. If you dropped the Chiefs down the list, it better not be by more than one spot, like PK did, or else you’re not bullshiting the way you should.
5. New Orleans (8-2). Drew Brees harped on turnovers, and not committing them. The Saints committed three—and still beat the Niners.
In your face, Breesus. Turnovers win championships. That’s why Eli is getting his third this year.
14. New York Giants (4-6). NFL Result Weirdness Dept.:
Four weeks ago this morning, the Giants were 0-6 and Dallas was 4-3. Next Sunday, Dallas and the Giants meet in New Jersey. If the Giants win, they’ll both be 5-6.
WOWZERS. It’s almost like a month of good play is enough to get back into the race for a shitty division.
Coach of the Week
Greg Schiano, head coach, Tampa Bay.
Had to know that was coming.
Three weeks ago, fans left Raymond James Stadium with bags over their heads after a dispiriting 31-13 loss to Carolina. Since then, with every fan leaving this season, and this head coach, for dead, the Bucs flew to Seattle and bolted to a 21-0 lead over the two-TD-favorite Seahawks before losing in overtime; beat Miami on a Thursday night; then, on Sunday, routed the woebegone Falcons 41-28. The Bucs are still paying for the sins of starting 0-8, for sure. But 2-8, and playing hard, feels hugely different than 0-8.
Nope. It’s still terrible.
But yeah, wins over a scandal-plagued Miami team and dogshit Atlanta totally make the Schiano Men a force to be reckoned with. 2-8 is the new 19-0.
Goat of the Week
Antonio Cromartie, cornerback, New York Jets. With the Jets creeping back into a disaster of a game at Buffalo, Cromartie let wideout Marquise Goodwin behind him for an easy touchdown pass from E.J. Manuel. Not why they’re paying you the big bucks, Antonio.
Geno Smith, quarterback, New York Jets.
Co-goat-esque Jets! Surprised he didn’t give it to Dave & Buster’s. Drinks AND video games? THE ULTIMATE DISTRACTION!
The Falcons. You have to ask why?
Damn straight. You lose to shitweasel Schiano, that’s where you belong.
Quotes of the Week
“It’s terrible. It’s not fun. As great as it is to win, it’s lousy when you lose any game. Sunday Night Football is a big game and a big environment. To come here and come up short hurts and stings. But how many teams have ever gone undefeated given the history of football?’’
—Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith, after his team suffered its first loss of the season at Denver Sunday night. The loss meant there are no undefeateds left in football this year.
A string of platitudes from GOOD GUY Alex Smith on how much it sucks to lose? QUOTE OF THE WEEK!
“Please move away from the windows and the front row of the press box. Severe weather is approaching.”
—A warning in the press box at Soldier Field Sunday, as a series of black clouds approached the stadium.
In other words, Those windows in front of you might get blown out. We’d like to keep you scribes around for the second half.
No one actually cares about your safety. They just want to make sure they’re not liable if you get hurt.
—Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, asked Friday if the club had buyer’s remorse over trading its top draft choice in 2014 for Trent Richardson in September.
The trade was two months ago today. While I am not ready to say it’s a debacle of a deal, Richardson has not done well in either making people miss or powering out of the grasp of tacklers at the line of scrimmage. Richardson has played eight games for the Colts now (96 carries, 272 yards, 2.8 yards per rush), and on Thursday in Nashville the Colts seemed to be transitioning to the hotter hand, incumbent back Donald Brown.
Eight games is too early to call the Richardson trade a terrible one. But it’s not too early to start thinking it.
Well see, you didn’t just think it, you wrote it out into your nationally followed football column, which is inexplicably read by millions of people. So despite your ham-fisted attempts at equivocation so you’d stay in good graces with the Colts, you just called the trade a massive shit sandwich. Which it was. It is evident to everyone and you’d catch zero flak for saying so, so why not just be upfront about it?
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Number of Green Bay starting quarterbacks over last three games: 3 (Aaron Rodgers, Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien).
Number of Green Bay starting quarterbacks over previous 371 games: 3 (Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn).
Number of toothy blowjobs doled out by PK to Scott Tolzien: 3 (hey, you’ll never know when you might need a quote)
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I have five:
1. Sat next to noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on a plane from Grand Rapids to LaGuardia Thursday morning.
(Yes, you can actually fly Grand Rapids to New York nonstop.)
What a country?
I thought, “What can I say to one of the smartest men in America?’’
“Did you know Starbucks offers to-go pitchers of lardaccinos? You just have to befriend the barista for a few weeks then they’ll hook you up. True story!”
We were on our way to some small talk — he commented on the unkempt state of my backpack — when, about five minutes after takeoff, he fell asleep and was out for the entire flight.
The man ain’t brilliant for nothing.
Doubtless had we spoken he’d have left me with one of his gems, like: “I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday, and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
“After the plane landed, I Googled some quotes of his then imagined him saying them to MEEEEEEE while I stoked myself.”
2. Thought I’d have a chance to try one of the autumnal Michigan brews during a meal stop at Ruby Tuesday’s in Grand Rapids. Bell’s Brewery, maybe, from nearby Kalamazoo; the Winter White or the Octoberfest, maybe. Nope. Largely chain beer, except for one Brooklyn selection. There’s a thriving Michigan beer culture, and none of it here. Why, Ruby Tuesday’s? Why?
BECAUSE IT’S A FUCKING RUBY TUESDAY, YOU ANAL PUMP
3. Killed two flies in my room and relocated a ladybug from the room desk in the Chicago O’Hare Marriott over the weekend. What’s that all about?
The insect hoard is coming to destroy us all. I see someone didn’t watch Starship Troopers.
4. Wasting too much plastic with all those tiny water bottles, Delta.
That’s why there’s this thing called recycling.
5. Passed a nut shop in the O’Hare terminal Saturday advertising toffee-covered nuts, calling them “luxurious.” Synonyms for “luxurious’’ in my online dictionary: opulent, extravagant, palatial. Never really thought of a toffee-covered nut as opulent or palatial, but maybe that’s just me.
Maybe not toffee-covered nuts, but PK has often described the palace-like environs of Brett Favre’s sack.
A four-dollar delivery fee for room service? You've got some nerve, BIG HOTEL.
— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) November 17, 2013
Oops. How’d that one get in there?
Tweets of the Week
—@NatePlay60, after Washington, and its celebrated quarterback, fell to 3-7.
The top tweet for the week is the laziest possible joke made by an idiotic parody account. That might be the most PK thing I’ve seen this year.
Oh, and if you really wanna make yourself depressed, check out how many followers that account has.
“Marcus Mariota in 2013: 25TD, 0 INT.
“Nick Foles in 2013: 16TD, 0 INT.
“Think Chip Kelly’s offense works?’’
—@nfldraftscout, Matt Miller, NFL writer for Bleacher Report, on Saturday night.
Worth repeating that PK pronounced Chip Kelly to be a complete bust at the end of September:
Chip’s balloon has burst.
What a difference a month makes.
DeSean: Play DeD.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think this is what I liked about Week 11:
d. Calvin Johnson can make every catch, he can toe-tap, and he can lay out. But you knew all that. Andre Johnson’s close. Brandon Marshall’s a physical force like they are. A.J. Green, who drops too many, is excellent too. But Calvin Johnson’s the gold standard of NFL receivers.
What’s that? Megatron is really good? You don’t say. Lofty nugget. That’s why you make the big bucks.
k. Congrats to the extra guys for a huge play at Cincinnati. Undrafted linebacker Jayson DiManche blocked a Cleveland punt, and rookie Tony Dye, just promoted from the practice squad Saturday, ran it in for a touchdown. Cool stuff.
The Extra Guys: a notch of obscurity above The Tryout Guys.
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 11:
a. The Steelers’ throwup uniforms. I mean, their throwback uniforms.
I mean their throoo-OH HO HO WHAT A ZINGER uniforms.
b. If Dan and Art Rooney look at those prison uniforms and do anything but wretch, I’d be stunned.
Sounds like they have an eating disorder, given that the Steelers wore those throwbacks more than once last year then brought them back for this season. Stop forcing yourselves to vomit through uniform selection. Just jam fingers down your gullet like regular people.
c. Please don’t humor the Steelers by giving your Steeler fan friend one of those things for the holidays.
a. Why are there separate items
b. on the same subject
3. it’s almost as though
d. you’re a fucking waste of
e. life and the miracle of creation
k. The 49ers complaining about the Tony Corrente call. Watch it again. It’s a call that has to be made in today’s game.
/watches it again
Yup, still a very borderline call.
3. I think this is the moral of the story in the Ed Reed-being-cut-by-Houston-after-making-$5.4-million-for-275-mostly-invisible-snaps debacle: It’s okay to pay for a name and leadership in a veteran player who is far over the hill … but base the pay on performance. For Reed, the Texans were a gold watch before retirement. But instead of Swiss Army, he was a Rolex, and after his recent dip in performance with the Ravens, Houston just paid him too much. In a tight-cap era, with too many stars on defense to pay already, Reed, at his age, was too luxurious.
But was he palatial or opulent?
4. I think the American sports media fired Greg Schiano too early.
7. I think just when you think you can get Drew Stanton warming up in the bullpen, Carson Palmer responds with impressive football.
Just when you think a football team installed a bullpen in its stadium, you’re passed out in a Ruby Tuesday bathroom from downing too many Sam Adams.
8. I think the defection of the Braves to an Atlanta suburb 12 miles north of town said the Falcons made the first deal downtown, and the city wasn’t going to make two of them. I was in the first event ever at Turner Field (not called that on the night of the Opening Ceremonies of the ’96 Olympics), and it’s amazing to me that it’s already aged out.
Except it hasn’t. That’s half the reason people are pissed off about it – it’s still a perfectly good stadium. Oh, why do I bother – PK just wants to boast about the time he went to the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
If the Atlanta Braves stadium situation was a football thought, it’ll be interesting to see how far afield he goes with these.
c. Duke is 8-2. The football team.
But what about the non-football teams?
e. I’ll ask you nicely, college football: Stop with the timeout after first downs. Some of these games … interminable.
Said the man who attended a five-hour NFL games yesterday.
g. Coffeenerdness: Bring the maple oat nut scone back, Starbucks. Don’t make me beg.
Actually, you should stop him. Because PK is dense enough that he’ll go harangue some poor barista who has absolutely no decision power even at their own location.
h. Beernerdness: I had no new ones this week. I simply must try harder.
It’s only his drunkenness that Peter King strives to improve. This is really all you need to know about Peter King.
Who I Like Tonight
Patriots 20, Panthers 16. There’s a lot to like about the Panthers’ defense, which is allowing a league-low 12.8 points a game and is coming off a stifling of the 49ers. But that San Francisco contest was the first “welcome to relevancy” game the Panthers have played in a while, with a nation’s eyes on them, and now they have to do it again against a team and quarterback that are experts at these high-profile affairs.
Look, the Panthers aren’t some fucking D-III college team. If you’re in the NFL, you’ve more than likely played in a few high-profile, nationally televised games in your life. I love that PK thinks Cam Newton is gonna take one look at Tom Brady and be like “AHHHH THE RELEVANCY, I SEE SO MANY MAGAZINE COVERS FLYING AT ME AT ONCE! IT’S TOO MUCH – BETTER GO FUMBLE EIGHT TIMES!”
The Adieu Haiku
And then there were none.
Buoniconti pops champagne.
Perfection is safe.
But who else is safe?
Greg Schiano – that’s who!
He might win five games!