When we last left inconsistent latte-opposed anthem enthusiast Peter King, he was dreaming about the Friday night poker games that Eli Manning would play in his alternate universe career as an architect and was bitching because people attending the Super Bowl had the unmitigated gall to be partying in the wee hours within earshot of his hotel room. THE SUPER BOWL SHOULD BE HOSTED IN THE ACELA QUIET CAR! He was also pissed because the Orlando Magic squandered 30 whole minutes of travel time by taking a less than optimal route from Cincinnati to Indianapolis. THE FOOLS!
So what about this week? Well, Petey actually checks in with a rare football-intensive installment of MMQB that includes nary a mention of the Red Sox or Mike Mayock’s travel itinerary at all. WHAT GIVES?! WHY DOES DREW GET ALL THE NUGGETS!? It boggled my mind until I reminded myself that it’s the second week of the off-season and therefore high time for PK to get serious about the NFL. READ ON.
We’ll start in the stands at a football game in the small city of Oxford, Miss., a little more than nine years ago.
Peter proceeds to spend a 1,000 words laying out a handful of pivotal episodes in Eli Manning’s career that, by virtue of obvious xerox of fate hindsight, informed the final drive of this year’s Super Bowl. We’ll call it “Shrugdog Millionaire”.
Scene 1: Nov. 2, 2002, Oxford, Miss. The general manager of the New York Giants, Ernie Accorsi, is sitting outside, in the row of seats in front of the Mississippi press box, scouting the quarterback of Ole Miss, Eli Manning, against heavily favored Auburn. It’s bitterly cold.
Quasi-Dallas-esque! No place to host a Super Bowl.
A couple of days later, Accorsi types his report in all capital letters
And you didn’t think Drew had what it takes to be a GM.
to be submitted as part of the team’s scouting report on Manning. In a section of the report covering the second half, he writes: “NEVER GETS RATTLED. RALLIED HIS TEAM FROM A 14-3 HALFTIME DEFICIT BASICALLY ALL BY HIMSELF.”
HE BROUGHT LOW THE CYCLOPS THEN SUBMITTED A WINNING DESIGN FOR THE CYCLOPS MEMORIAL ON THE NATIONAL MALL. NEVER GETS HUFFY EXCEPT WHEN HE DOES. DIDN’T BLINK FOR THE FIRST TIME UNTIL HE TURNED 17.
Scene 2: Dec. 12, 2004, Baltimore. The one thing Eli Manning always has had is poise.
And a T-square, because he is a secret architect. I will say that attributing Eli’s career evolution to poise is a mean way of trying to trying to convince Jets fans that Mark Sanchez is still going to work out.
That’s what makes this horror show at the Ravens so weird, and so troubling.
In the fourth start of his Giants’ career, Manning was the definition of pathetic, four of 18 for 27 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions … for a 0.0 passer rating. In the press box, one veteran Giants scribe took to calling Eli “Billy Ripken” over and over again. As in, “The brother of a great player who’ll just never make it.”
As in, “Fuckface“.
Scene 3: Feb. 5, 2012, Indianapolis
Carousing revelers making noise late into the night, disturbing the sleep of possibly dozens of tight-assed privileged sportswriters at the JW Marriott. That is, until Eli Manning arrives with a rag-tag group of the most dowdy librarians you’ve even seen. Fines for noise violations: issued.
The other day I asked Gilbride to pick the plays on that drive he thought were the crucial ones. He picked two. “The one to Manningham, of course,” he said, “and a quick slant to Nicks. We were not settling for the field goal. No way. Not unless we had to. We were attacking.”
Two vital passes against Auburn, a streak down the left side and, on a Manning audible, a quick slant: Gain of 52.
Two vital passes against the Patriots, a streak down the left side and, on a Manning audible, a quick slant: Gain of 52.
Accorsi, who lives in Manhattan, watched the game in the solitude of his home in his hometown of Hershey, Pa. “On that last drive,” Accorsi said, “I said, ‘He’s gonna do it.’ I’ve seen it before.”
IT WAS WRITTEN! Shrugdog Millionaire for all the Oscars.
Eli Manning needed to sleep. After three days of revelry, parades, ring-sizing and backslapping, he’d had enough. “We’ve got to get out of here,” he told his wife, Abby, and so they left their Hoboken, N.J., nest Thursday and went somewhere. Where, I don’t know.
A land beyond poise.
But he was good enough to call me Friday and explain two things
1. Hotels do indeed charge usage rates. So it wasn’t a Jew conspiracy like Easterbrook predicted.
2. The best way to get through the line at Splash Mountain is to pretend you lost your mommy.
The throw traveled 42 yards in the air. As it dropped into Manningham’s hands at the Giant 47, Moore’s right forearm clubbed Manningham’s right shoulder, trying to dislodge the ball; Chung arrived a split-second later and mugged Manningham over the boundary into the Patriots’ bench area. Every Patriot but Bill Belichick signaled the play was no good because Manningham surely was out of bounds.
Yeah, Belichick totally knew he was in, which is why he challenged the play. The old chess match feint of throwing your rooks off the table.
Eli Manning might play 10 more years and never make a throw better than that one. Sheer perfection … and thrown to a receiver determined to make a big play in the biggest game of his life.
And that there is why it’s so difficult to be a quarterback in the NFL. You must not only parse a field with moving objects playing out at lightning speed and pinpoint the tiniest of windows to hit a covered receiver. If only it were that simple. Before you throw it – does that receiver have big-play, big-game determindedness in his heart? Do you not see the aura of determindeddom? Fuck him, then. Take the sack.
Two takeaways: The fact that Gilbride and Manning have been together for eight years is a huge factor in Gilbride knowing what Manning will execute well in a certain situation. “He completes my sentences,” Gilbride said.
Michael: It’s like we finish each other’s-
Michael: Sentences. Why would I say-
Michael: That time I was going to say sandwiches.
Manning looks like he’d rather play in the fourth quarter, with 116 million people watching.
That’s a very specific preference. Maybe that’s why he’s looked like he’s really wanted to play squash (OR BE AN ARCHITECT, OBVIOUSLY) for all of his career. He was waiting for two 15-minute segments of his life to arrive.
One last thing from that Accorsi scouting report. Something about guts.
Architect Eli designed the Aggro Crag
Manning may not look the part, but someone who plays the way he does late in games has something that Accorsi saw that day in Mississippi, something he’d also seen in his Colts days with Johnny Unitas, something Colts teammate Bobby Boyd saw too. Wrote Accorsi: “BOYD TOLD ME ONCE ABOUT UNITAS, ‘TWO THINGS SET HIM APART: HIS LEFT TESTICLE AND HIS RIGHT TESTICLE.’ ”
Freakishly deformed genitals, Johnny Unitas had them. Scary balls you could set your watch to.
Lots of lessons here
1. Testicle symmetry is the greatest indicator of quarterback success.
2. Joe Montana had a testicle span of four feet. Made him very unpleasant to sit next to on a plane.
3. Ron Jaworski lacked testicle discipline and is thus afraid to point it out in others.
The greatest anthem ever sung. Well, in my opinion
it was Whitney Houston’s before Super Bowl XXV — and I say that even though what we heard was recorded a couple of weeks before the game in a Los Angeles sound studio.
Dave Grohl complained that the anthem lacked the human element of live performance, but thanks for all you’ve done, Whitney!
Jim Steeg, then the NFL’s senior vice president of special events, said he’d booked Houston to do the anthem three years earlier (the Redskins-Broncos Super Bowl in San Diego), but she fired her manager in December and took off on a tour of Australia. “So we got Herb Alpert,” said Steeg.
Funny. I don’t remember Herb Alpert’s rendition in San Diego, but I’ll never forget Houston’s in Tampa.
“We were prepared for a possible chemical attack,” said Steeg. “We’d bought up all the antidotes for a chemical attack that we could find, and they were stored under the stadium. After the game, we sold it off to the NBA.”
David Stern will be even more difficult to bring down than we previously imagined.
Said Steeg: “Lip-syncing is the wrong phrase. She sang it. I heard it. And the emotion on the field when she was finished was noticeable. I saw it on the faces of the Giants. No one knew what the moment would be like, but it was emotion, and fabulous. I’ll never forget Lawrence Taylor saying to Banks — you think these guys are so intent on the game right then — but he said, ‘Oh my God! Is she good-looking!’ ”
“I bet she likes the same drugs I do!”
Steve Tasker of the Bills was on the opposite sideline. “She hit it out of the park,” he said. “I’m an anthem enthusiast. I like to listen to them and judge them, and there’s never been one like that.”
Anthem enthusiast sounds like half the people who attended CPAC, along with the jingo aficionado crowd and the Sousa-philes.
Tweet of the Week I
“I did not retire, I graduated.”
“With a degree in Millionaire.”
— @RickyWilliams, who walked away from football last week.
With a minor in Flakeology 101 and a honorary certificate in practicums of wearing dresses on magazine covers while stoned.
Tweet of the Week II
“We should have kept @jlin7. Did not know he was this good. Anyone who says they knew is misleading U.”
— @dmorey, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who waived Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin in December.
No one saw the Linsanity pandemic coming. Don’t blame the CDC because they couldn’t contain it before it infected Peter King.
More potent than Tebowmania? Oh, this is serious.
Nonsense. Tebow isn’t a novella, a tome, a Petrarchan sonnet or anything people who have book-learnin’ read. Tebow is a Chick tract. Get it right.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my Super Bowl leftovers:
b. Regarding Matt Light and Rob Gronkowski dancing the night away after the Super Bowl loss: I don’t care. I don’t know why anyone should care. Big loss. Long season. Blowing off steam legally. Big hairy deal. Spare me the reasoning that the Patriots lost and they should stay in their rooms and drown their sorrows there. What do you think past Super Bowl losers have done? Order room service and curse at the TV? The only reason the public found out about Light and Gronkowski is because everyone in America has a camera phone today, and nothing is truly private.
That’s a well-reasoned opinion. I’m sure PK will never mention it to NBC ROCK CENTER MEDIA PALLY Rodney Harrison.
g. Last four Giants-Pats games: New York 97, New England 89.
h. Last five Giants-Pats game: New England 106, New York 103.
i74-a. Last six Giants-Pats games: New England DOESN’T MATTER, New York WHO GIVES A SHIT
i74-b. Last time aggregate score meant anything: The pre-Soccerzoic Era
2. I think these are my Hall of Fame thoughts, as one of 44 voters who has been taking kill shots on various parts of my body in the last eight days:
Earlobe kill shot!
Unitas-esque left testicle kill shot!
Fourth chin kill shot!
Vestigial tailbone kill shot!
a. This was my 20th year as a voter. If the Hall wants to institute term limits for the voters, to try to break some of the logjams that seem to be happening, it’s fine with me. I won’t argue. We didn’t sign contracts-til-death when the Hall asked us to be on the Selection Committee. Anytime they want me to leave, all they have to do is show me the door.
/shows PK every door in existence
b. Now, if you want term limits, you have to understand what you’ll be getting. You’ll be throwing out veteran NFL media folk and importing some less-experienced ones, in many cases. I understand the sentiment to throw the bums out, as in Congress. But I would ask this question: Do you want a new panel of bums if most of the replacements haven’t covered the NFL long enough to have worked a game that Andre Reed played in?
What if they never saw Tom Brady play in St. Louis!? They’ll never get important details like how much nebulous poise he had in his heart or if he only threw to receivers determined to make big plays in big games. They’ll only judge candidates on demonstrable things they did in their career, and we can’t have that!
c. I work with and like Mike Florio. But as I told him the other day, it’s personally insulting to read him say the 44 committee members are in this, in part, as some sort of power trip to hold some sway over the people we cover. I can speak for one person on the committee — me. And I don’t do this for the power.
“I do it for the favors! And the voicemails that I treasure forever!”
/prays for NBC Sports show slapfight between Florio and PK
d. I want all Hall votes to be public. I have told Hall officials that several times. I think it’s important for the public to know who we do and don’t support. If you want to write to someone to try to effect change — either in the transparency issue or in the issue of putting players and club officials on the election panel — write to Steve Perry, president, Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2121 George Halas Drive NW, Canton, Ohio 44708.
i. As for the rumor-mongering about Carter or whoever being “one vote short” or some number of votes shy of election: Absolutely absurd. Deloitte, the accounting firm, is the only entity that knows the vote totals. All votes in the room are secret. We don’t know who votes for anyone. We can guess, certainly, based on what is said in the room. But to know with certainty? Impossible.
See? All you have to do to get Peter King to have a resolute opinion on something is to badger him about it for years on end.
4. I think the Rams were smart to hire a hardworking scout like Les Snead as general manager. All he wants to do is find players. I know Snead, and I know his work ethic, and he’s going to mesh with new coach Jeff Fisher just fine.
Because we have the same agent and he told me so. Lofty meshology, Jeff Fisher has it.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Started my first offseason book: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. It’s not Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but I’m attacking it and enjoying it. Great stories about the early days of cancer detection.
“I don’t know about this one. Stieg would have had cancer get raped in the first hundred pages.”
b. My gym in New York always has those Housewives of … shows on. I have peeked. Is this what we have come to as a society?
c. That’s how old I am.
1. Old people also care about cavalier misuse of grammar.
f. Does this gym offer grammar classes?
h. I haven’t shaved since Super Bowl Sunday. How do I look?
i. Coffeenerdness: You’re too inconsistent with the lattes, Manhattan Starbucks. I haven’t owned an espresso machine for a few years, but I’ll be getting one this week.
BOOM! HOME ROASTED! Looks like Seattle didn’t set you straight, Manhattan Starbucks, so now Peter is instituting a not-hungry hunger strike. Starbucks would like to change, but if they do, you may get a latte made by someone who never saw Andre Reed play. WHAT THEN?
j. Beernerdness: Back to Peroni for a while. The heavier beers are fun, and I’ll be back, but I’ve got to drop a few pounds. More than a few, actually. Looking a little like the Michelin Man.
Summer citrus beer season is right around the corner. Gotta be svelte for those minor league doubleheaders with Bob Papa.
k. Good luck in your new home, Donnie Brasco!
May it be walkable and within reach of consistent lattes.