Peter King Thinks The NFL Combine Is Like Seinfeld

02.27.12 6 years ago 94 Comments

When we last left the Wikipedia of charismatic humblology, Peter King, he was prescribing pharmaceuticals to depressed NFL markets, pretending like he was deeply affected by the death of New York Times foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid and demanding apologies from the Red Sox front office like a raving dickhead.

So what about this week? Does he remember “Seinfeld”, a show about nothing? Was it like the NFL Combine or “The Office”, a show about a Nard Dog? How INTERESTING, on a scale of very to WOWIE, does Peter find the idea of Andrew Luck standing on a sideline in Indy? Will PK ever shut up about the Red Sox drinking beer? For answers, READ ON.

INDIANAPOLIS — I met with both star quarterbacks at the combine Saturday night and came away impressed, as anyone would be.

Anyone? Even Spock?



Luck is humble; you can tell he’s uneasy saying nice things about himself, or things designed to paint him as the Next Big Thing in the NFL. Griffin’s humble too, but charismatically so; he has no problem telling you anything you want to know about him.

Whites guys are humble like this; black guys are humble like this. They don’t humblebrag like Meryl Streep at the Oscars. They humbleinform.

I was asking Luck, in his agent’s hotel room, about a lot of things educational — his reading habits, his college experience, living in Germany and England in his formative years

How he would train Nick Nolte’s crows to install rebar.

the fact that his Stanford coach, David Shaw, told me that out of high school Stanford was competing with Rice and Northwestern and not the football factories for Luck.

And so Luck could tell what road I was going down: Smart kid, apple-polisher, would always have the architecture degree to fall back on if the football thing fell through. And almost like he could read my intentions, he swatted them away. Not in a derisive way, but just to make sure I understood him. “Yes, school’s important,” he said. “But football’s always been more important. The more I play, the more I love it. I’ve gotten to the point where, the more you learn about the game, the less you know. I love it. I want to learn more about it all the time. So, yes, academics were important in our household. Both of my parents were lawyers. They went to school forever. Stanford, Silicon Valley, the opportunities they presented were a big plus. But on top of that, coach [Jim] Harbaugh was so infectious. The staff was so good. If I didn’t think we could win there, I wouldn’t have gone.”

“Listen, I don’t know why you felt it necessary to bring this sheaf of blueprints into my agent’s hotel room, but I’m going to tell you for the last time, I’m not an architect. I’m not going to pursue a career in architecture unless football doesn’t work out, and even then, I’m not entirely sure. Did my lawyer parents send you? They did, didn’t they? God, it’s never good enough for them, is it? Well, you can tell Mr. and Mrs. Luck that they can forget coming to the draft.”

“Uh, I guess it is kind of eerie that RGIII and I are both 22 years old. But I don’t know if eerie is the word I’d use to describe that fact. More like not eerie. Did that come off as humble?”

I met Griffin at the Athletes Performance Institute suite at the Omni Hotel downtown before he went to do his interviews with teams Saturday night. I wondered how he’d adjust from being a big college star to being the center of the universe in his NFL city. “You’ll be a savior if you go to a place like Cleveland,” I said. Griffin smiled.

On the inside: dying. How will it feel to be a quasar at the center of a barren NFL universe city? Will your voicemails be able to reach me from that distance?

Now for some news and notes I picked up in three days at the combine:

There hasn’t been a second pick in the draft this compelling since 1998. Throw away the draft trade value chart. It’s meaningless when there’s a player creating the buzz of Griffin.

No, you throw the draft trade value chart away because it’s ALWAYS worthless. The practice was debunked in “Scorecasting”. Put down all those shitty baseball books and just read it already so we don’t have to go through this every year. You know what? YOUR OWN FUCKING MAGAZINE RAN AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK. READ IT! READ IT, YOU ASSHOLE!

Stephen Hill (who?) was The Man this weekend.

“Mid-round receiver prospects? They have those at the combine? I’m just here to interview two glory boy quarterbacks and search out consistent lattes.”

Pretty sure Wikipedia doesn’t tell the future. “Oh shit, Gil Brandt is down because he’s protesting SOPA. Now I’ll never know!”

The quarterback order: After Luck and Griffin, Ryan Tannehill is the hot guy

— though Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State, Brock Osweiler of Arizona State and Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins, who threw well at the combine, are more pro-ready right now. Tannehill could go as high as eight to Miami, to be reunited with his former college coach at Texas A&M, Mike Sherman, on Joe Philbin’s new Dolphin coaching staff. Among coaches I spoke with over the weekend, Tannehill’s got some gaps in his game and could be picked higher than he should go, the same way Christian Ponder and Jake Locker went higher than most football people expected last April.

Football people like Mayock who aren’t blindsided by any player taken out of the top 5.

Remember “Seinfeld,” a show about nothing?

PFFT! Sure don’t! Wait, is that that show that had a reunion on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”? If there’s a Larry David show without Funkhauser, I don’t wanna know about it.

I’m not the biggest combine fan; I think the effects of it are overrated, and the most important things that happen here — the medical exams and the interviews of players by individual teams — aren’t televised.

The most important things at the combine you’ll never see on TV, like lunching with my media buddy, Judy Battista! She works at the New York Times. She told me about the time she passed Anthony Shadid in the hallway. So poignant!

And so on Sunday, I went into an NFL Network television truck to watch, as Kramer and George and Jerry and Elaine did for so long so well, a show about nothing, televised by 16 cameras all over the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. And I have to say I came away impressed with how smart TV people and TV/technology experts can make something out of the combine.

Gawd, this combine stuff is so pedestrian. How can anyone make this tedium worth watching?

/Peter King books four-week trip to Florida for Red Sox spring training to watch players do equally repetitive exercises

“We need to always ask the question, ‘What does it mean?’ ” said Mark Quenzel, NFL Network’s senior vice president of programming and production. “We’re trying to constantly figure out the significance of what we’re watching, and what makes it so tough is none of the important people, none of the 32 teams, wants to talk about it. They’re all holding their cards close to the vest.”

What the fuck are you nattering on about? You’re the NFL Network. What else are you going to show the last week of February?

The visuals are often good and the commentary interesting, as on Sunday when Rich Eisen pointed out that Andrew Luck was standing on the sideline he’d likely be standing on for years with the Colts once Indy drafts him

Only Peter King would find that tidbit INTERESTING (or WEIRD)

He’s already got hometown sideline standability. You’ll never find a more pro-ready humble field general.

or when Michael Irvin talked about the way he judges receivers

“Prime and I would like to see those scissors in your teammate’s neck before the quarterback gets to his third step.”

or when Mike Mayock pointed out, when discussing 28-year-old Brandon Weeden, that it wasn’t till Kurt Warner was 27 that he got out of the grocery store to have a real chance at playing in the NFL. That’s all good stuff.

Yes, I don’t know why more teams don’t force their quarterbacks to undergo a five-year apprenticeship stocking shelves at the local supermarket. When faced with a blitz, you need a quarterback who has offhand knowledge about which aisle the condiments are in.

The combine telecast is best when smart people like Mayock and Mike Lombardi and Charlie Casserly talk over the combine like it’s wallpaper. It’s there, and it’s pleasant to look at, but if you don’t have content piece after content piece, you’re going to be changing the channel to “F Troop” after the quarterbacks throw.

I had to Google “F Troop”. Is that a dirty version of “Goof Troop”? Nope, apparently it’s an old Western TV series that lasted for two seasons in the ’60s. Holy shit, you’re old, PK.

Quote of the Week I

“I hope somebody falls in love with me besides my fiancée.”

— Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III

New RGIII downside: about to be murdered by fiancée.

Quote of the Week III

“We lost two coaches from our offensive staff and the prospect of going forward, the responsibility that I have, while I am very interested in his career, I think he will be an outstanding coach for the New York Giants going forward, but we have to put our hands around our situation first.”

— Giants coach Tom Coughlin, on the club denying permission to Kevin Gilbride Jr., an offensive assistant, to interview with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be their quarterback coach.

Why would the Giants prevent Gilbride Jr. from moving? Timing is the likely reason. Most staffs are set in stone by now. The fact that Greg Schiano got his head coaching job late in Tampa Bay and the fact that he doesn’t know a lot of the pro coaching staffs means he was going to try to hire coaches from teams that would, in turn, have to potentially raid another staff to fill a vacancy. So Coughlin is simply trying to look out for the best interests of the Giants.

But the complicating factor is that Gilbride Sr. has been with Coughlin on the Giants staff since 2004. He’s helped the Giants win two Super Bowls, and his son is a bright prospect in the coaching ranks, from what I hear. No one’s heard from the Giants’ offensive coordinator on this issue, and if Coughlin gives Gilbride Jr. the vacant Giants quarterback-coaching job, which he may do, all will be well. If he doesn’t, I would expect it could — could, I stress; not will necessarily — create some tension on the staff.

First of all, the Giants need to eliminate as many Gilbrides as they possibly can. Of course, Peter King can speak to the dangers of not promoting nepotism, having celebrated Rick Reilly getting his kid at gig at a top marketing firm, not to mention Mary Beth King magically finding herself working for the Seahawks out of college.

Also, PK went on a little Twitter rant over the weekend about teams not allowing assistants to interview with other teams, which yielded this gem:

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Don Banks made this wish-I’d-thought-of-this point Sunday afternoon in the press room at the combine: Jim Harbaugh was replaced as Indianapolis’ quarterback by Peyton Manning in 1998. Jim Harbaugh coached Andrew Luck to replace Peyton Manning as Indianapolis’ quarterback in 2012.

Looks like Donnie Brasco is penning a sequel to PK’s Shrugdog Millionaire. Everything was preordained by the lord of insignificant coincidences. Way to connect the dots, Donnie. Did you know? Jim Harbaugh was also on the Chargers the year before they drafted Drew Brees? Could Harbaugh have coached Luck to destroy Brees? MAYBE

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Strangest thing in the Delta terminal after I flew into LaGuardia late Sunday night. A woman stood outside the door leading from the terminal to baggage claim, where gypsy cabbies and limo drivers with signs always wait. I heard these three sentences: “No, I need you to come inside the terminal. I am not going down there with those guys all waiting. You’ve got to come in and help me.”

Ma’am, it’s New York. It’s a big airport. Those men don’t bite. You put your head down, ignore them and walk outside. You’ll be fine.

Big talk from a guy dumbstruck by the experience of encountering weirdos and homeless people on the New York City subway system.

Tweet of the Week I

“It’s official — RGIII is faster than my first car.”

— @SC_DougFarrar, Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports, after Robert Griffin III ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash Sunday morning.

It’s funny because bloggers can’t afford decent cars.

/unfollows Doug Farrar

Tweet of the Week II

“Penelope Cruz just made every other person on the red carpet look like they’re wearing a burlap bag.”

— @nprscottsimon. National Public Radio host Scott Simon, watching the red carpet show before the Oscars.

Because if there’s anyone I trust to tell me about fashion, it’s this guy

Tweet of the Week III

“Can’t wait to not watch The Artist when it’s on HBO or Showtime.”

— @PeteAbe, Boston Globe baseball writer Pete Abraham, following the awarding for Best Picture Sunday night at the Oscars.

Oh ho ho! Take that, Frenchies! You might win all of our Oscars but some dipshit baseball writer will refuse to watch your most accessible films when they come on TV.

Five Things Mike Mayock Thinks He Thinks

Switching it up today, post-combine. Handing off five of the Scouting Combine thoughts to Mike Mayock, who spoke with me off the NFL Network set Sunday afternoon:

PK is outsourcing his column to someone who actually knows what they’re talking about? Fucking NICE. And Mayock in text form doesn’t even have the lisp.

1. “I think Andrew Luck is more athletic than people will ever give him credit for. When you compare his numbers this year to Cam Newton’s numbers last year, they’re almost identical. We all gushed about the athlete Cam was, but we don’t with Luck, whose athleticism is underrated. Whereas Robert Griffin’s pocket awareness is underrated also. It’s an interesting juxtaposition between those two guys. We kind of want to push them into categories we’re comfortable with, but they’re both better than we think across the board.”

Ah, the fresh air. Breathe it in. There’s actual insight. Opinion without a shitton of equivocation. And not wowing over the fact that two rookies out of college both happen to be 22.

2. “I think I understand why the highly rated quarterbacks don’t want to throw here. They want to throw to their own receivers, who run the precise routes, and they don’t want to look bad throwing to guys they haven’t thrown to before. But last year Cam Newton threw, and he didn’t throw very well, but he wasn’t afraid to come out and rip it.

“Why don’t you come out here, in front of 32 teams, in front of all the decision-makers, in an apples-to-apples comparison, when you’re going to blow people away anyway. Why wouldn’t you do that? At the end of the day, you ought to tell your agent, ‘No, I’m going to compete,’ and go out there and throw the ball. Like Calvin Johnson said a few years ago when he threw on sneakers here and went out and competed.”

3. “I think the trend of the big-bodied receivers we’re seeing in the league has to do with the ability of teams to throw the back-shoulder fade. And more and more, we like the big-bodied wide receivers so they can shield the ball from the cornerbacks. Here, Michael Floyd of Notre Dame just really dotted the ‘I’ with his performance. He had a great day. And the kid out of Georgia Tech, Stephen Hill, there was a quiet buzz about him coming in here. I heard, ‘Watch out for this kid.’ He had only 28 receptions in an option offense at Georgia Tech, but averaged almost 30 yards a reception. Unofficially, we had him at 4.3 flat, and I think teams are going to leave here saying, ‘We have got to figure this kid out.’ How high can you go get this guy? He’s thrown his hat in the ring.”

Mayock doesn’t act like a jackass and pretend like no one in the history of the world has even heard of Stephen Hill. Don’t leave us, Mayock!

Five Things I Think I Think

Ah, fuck. He’s back. Gonna need some gratuitous Kate Upton to get me through the rest of this.

1. I think I have never heard — not once — on draft day any team executive or coach say they didn’t pick a player because he didn’t work out at the combine. So while I respect Mike Mayock very much and understand the frustration of football people that every player on hand won’t do every drill and football thing he’s asked to do, I can’t get remotely fired up about it.

You football people are so cute with your desire to see football. PK is so over that shit. Hey, Mayock, come profess your informed opinion in my column so I can immediately shoot it down because I’ve never heard a GM mention that they want to see a prospect work out at the combine as I’m too busy asking about whether they might end up as an architect.

4. I think whoever takes Janoris Jenkins, the former Florida cornerback who finished his career at North Alabama, is going to have some sleepless nights. He’s 23. He’s a top talent, and likely will go in the first round. He’s also been arrested three times, once for a bar fight and twice for marijuana possession. He has four children three or younger (Janoris Jr., Legend, Janorian and Paris) by three different mothers. “I’ve made a few mistakes and I’ve learned from them,” he said at the combine. Question is, who will take a shot on a very good talent at a vital position, who is such a risk?

He projects to be the next Antonio Cromartie, sooooo, yeah, PK might be right here. You don’t want that.

5. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

c. I pity Justin Morneau, still feeling the effects of post-concussion syndrome.

All those NFL players, though, fuck them. PUT ON A GLOVE, HOMOS!

d. Wondering what it must have been like for longtime Giants VP and scout Chris Mara to sit at the Oscars last night and listen to Colin Firth say of his daughter Rooney that her role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was “dazzling perfection?”

“That’s some very kind bullshit that that Englishman is saying.”

f. Finally saw Ides of March. Disturbing, if you know the outcome, but well done and politically smart.

Yeah, fuck The Artist, I’d rather my Ammurican moviegoing bucks go to a perfectly forgettable and formulaic political thriller. I’ve seen Ides of March. I should probably spoil the disturbing outcome PK is alluding to, mostly because it doesn’t make any sense from the standpoint of character motivation, so if you’re so inclined, a decent takedown can be found here.

g. Lord, who is doing the Red Sox PR?

More shooting the messenger after an offseason of ignoring the drinking-in-the-clubhouse-during-games stories from last season. The team never addressed it, except to say it wants it buried and wants everyone to look ahead, not behind. “It’s a new chapter, beginning today,” Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino said at spring training the other day. “Our idea is, let’s write this new chapter. Enough has been said about the last chapter.”

They did address it, fuckstick. Bobby Valentine banned alcohol in the team’s clubhouse and on flights that come on the end of a road trip. Those are fucking stupid rules, but they are being enforced specifically to placate morons like you, who see a historic collapse and want to blame it on a fucking beer or two. Apparently, that’s not enough for PK. He still demands his apology from the front office.

But not by you. Not saying, “It’ll never happen again, and it’s a disgrace it ever happened in the first place.” Whoever in the organization had the grand plan of eliminating the issue by ignoring it and sneering at the media when it was brought up has no idea that such an irresponsible issue doesn’t go away in the eyes of many followers — like me — if you bash people over the head for bringing it up.

Fuck you for making me sympathize with the Red Sox front office. If I ran a team and a bunch of idiot reporters, who I know for a fact get trashed on the reg on the job, harped at me non-stop about my players having some beers after games, I’d try to ignore them as best I could, too.

h. Coffeenerdness: Ordered my latte at the JW Marriott Starbucks in Indianapolis Sunday morning. Turned around to see 49ers quarterback coach Geep Chryst. “Ordering behind you at Starbucks,” Chryst said, “is like going after Michael Jordan in a dunk contest.” Why, thank you.

Geep Chryst? That’s not a real person. Though it is probably an apt comparison, as Peter King’s iced triple grande hombre half-caf white chocolate nuggetccino orders have to be the coffee world equivalent of trying to dunk over a car.

i. Beernerdness: Thanks to the folks at Sun King Brewery in downtown Indianapolis for the tour and the hospitality at Friday night’s Tweetup. Not to mention the Sunlight Cream Ale and pizza one of the owners, Steve Koers, provided a few of us writers as we talked football with the locals. Good time was had by all.

Except Red Sox players, who I banned from the premises because NO BEERS UNTIL YOU BRING ME ANOTHER WORLD SERIES.

[Bundy pic via. Archer gif via]

Around The Web