I was on vacation last week. Now, if I were professional handshake analyst Peter King, this would be the part where I spend 5,000 words telling you about it. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE THE CORN I HAD. Alas, we have business to attend to here. So no slideshow for you. Although I did see Ross Tucker take an unsolicited bite out of a child’s corndog. The child was not his. Time to delve into this week’s batch of Peter King’s brown, foamy Favretorum. But first… a conspiracy theory.
We do these MMQB breakdowns for you, the reader, every week. You don’t need to know how we do this, nor do you likely give a shit. Suffice it to say, it involves much copying and pasting. Well, when I went to paste a PK passage into Word this morning, the clipboard on my machine automatically included this sentence tagged onto the end every time…
That’s a new thing SI.com is doing, it would seem, to expressly discourage people (like us) from copying and pasting any of the material on their site. I KNOW YOUR SCHEMES, TIME WARNER. Do you really think a little clipboard sabotage will prevent us from making fun of Peter King and his desperate shoes? You’ll have to do better than that, you filthy little taintscrubbers. YOU CAN’T STOP US. WE DEFINE RELENTLESS.
Anyway, before we get to the column breakdown, some luscious PK tweets. An amuse-bouche of douche, if you will…
Three interceptions in 25 minutes for Kyle Orton here at Candlestick. The one thing McDaniels won’t have is a QB throwing picks. Trouble.
That’s what makes McDaniels such a prodigy of a coach. He’s learned, far faster than most coaches, that having a QB throw three interceptions is a bad thing. He’s not gonna accept that, the way Marvin Lewis does. Look out, Kyle Orton! You’d hate to end up in McDaniels’ doghouse and then be traded to a better team.
Would I get my SI job back if I pulled a Vick? Prob not. Question is: Would I get a job somewhere in journalism? I think I would.
No. No, you wouldn’t.
That was the text message from Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb to coach Andy Reid on July 26, soon after commissioner Roger Goodell announced reinstatement plans for Michael Vick.
“You’re killing me,” responded Reid, via text to McNabb.
“This stry’s gt legzzzz!” responded me, via text.
I write this morning to dispel a myth and to illuminate the personal reality in Reid’s life that led him to bringing the potentially combustible Vick onto this Super Bowl contender.
I write this morning… TO BRING YOU LIGHT, AS GOD ONCE BROUGHT IT TO MAN.
I believe there will be plays in which McNabb and Vick will be on the field together
Get the fuck out. McNabb AND Vick? On the field together? Simultaneously? That would be pretty WILD. I mean, Andy Reid would have to be one clever CAT to devise such an offensive scheme. I wonder what you would call such a package of trickery? I’ve got it. The Spicy Shrimp. It’s almost TOO perfect.
McNabb is scheduled to speak today at the Eagles’ training complex in South Philly. It might be hard for him to convince a skeptical public that he was behind this from the start. But if I were him, I’d just start with the text message to Reid. What more proof do you want that McNabb legitimately wanted Vick on the team?
And there’s Peter King’s journalistic method for you, distilled down to a single paragraph. Anything can be proven so long as it has been texted. Yesterday, I sent a text to the National Institutes of Health saying that I had discovered a cure for Huntington’s Disease. That happened. That’s a FACT. Lives have been saved. No gray area there.
As for how he’ll use him in games, Reid said: “I have an idea. I just need to see if Michael is in good-enough shape to do it. I think I know the situations I want to use him in.”
Say Andy, that sounds like a plan. But might it have been wise to, I don’t know, WORK VICK OUT PRIOR TO SIGNING HIM TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER OR NOT HE CAN DO THE THINGS YOU INTEND TO HAVE HIM DO? “Say gang, I wanna sign Dave Dravecky to get out right handed hitters. He’s still got his left arm attached to his body, yes?”
At some point, some fan or heckler in the street or some columnist is going to say something or write something that will make Vick fume. Vick is going to have to be Jackie Robinson when that happens. I’m not comparing the two; Robinson was a noble trailblazer who had to deal with racial epithets his entire baseball career and Vick is a convicted criminal. But the public venom could be the same.
Except that venomous treatment of Vick would be, you know, justified. Otherwise, the two men are like identical twins.
Let me be the first to say how absurd it is to answer the question I got later in the day at Detroit Metro Airport, at the gate of my flight to Indianapolis: “Hey Peter, have we got the right guy with Stafford?”
Do you? Well fear not, Retarded Lions Fan. For Peter King has an AMAZING story that will prove to you just what kind of top-notch leader you have on your team.
He’s smart enough, for sure. And what I like is he’s not afraid. I tell the story of how Stafford took and gave barbs equally with Dustin Pedroia while working out in Arizona in the offseason.
That’s right. Stafford works out with one of Peter King’s favorite baseball players, and has the gumption to playfully talk shit to him. What more do you need to know, people? By the way, that Pedroia story was texted to Peter, so you know it’s legit.
Stream of consciousness with Peyton Manning, on life without Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison, and playing with young receivers, and new coach Jim Caldwell and sunscreen:
Sunscreen? Gee, I wonder who might have steered Peyton’s consciousness stream in that particular direction.
“Everybody keeps asking, ‘Is this Caldwell’s team? What kind of coach is Caldwell?’ Well, how can we know that yet? Let’s play the games. Let’s see him call a daring onside kick. Let’s see him go for it on 4th-and-2 in a big spot. You can’t know now.”
“Hey everyone, my new coach might be fucking terrible. I have no confidence in him right now.”
Let’s get to this sunscreen business…
Me: “Jim Johnson died of melanoma. You’re pretty fair-skinned. You take precautions against skin cancer?”
That’s a weird question, isn’t it? “Hey Peyton, Derrick Thomas died in a car accident. Do you buckle your seat belt, or will you too end up a giant red pile of sinew on the side of the highway?”
Manning: “I do. My dad always worried about it.”
Archie Manning says RESPECT THE SUN. It can get in your eyes! That’s how he ended up throwing 173 interceptions in his career!
Me: “What’s the SPF of the stuff you use?”
Actually, given Manning’s complexion, fifty seems a bit low. I think Manning uses SPF 135 Banana Boat. It’s actually a cheesecloth stuffed into a tube.
This is going to be a longish year for the Rams
One might even say it will be semi-interminable.
but if I’m a Rams fan, I like what I see.
“Oooh! We’re the worst team in a terrible division AND we might move? Sign me up!”
Leonard Little finds himself in the news again, tangentially, and it’s not something he likes much.
Oh, no! Poor Leonard! People keep bringing up that whole killing a woman episode. Won’t you jackals just let the man rest in peace, like Susan Gutweiler is currently doing?
He said he hopes Vick gets a chance to rebuild his life, the way he has rebuilt his. Reaching out to Little might be a good phone call for Vick to make one day.
Yes, but wouldn’t Vick learn more from any of the large number of people out there who haven’t mowed down other people while drunk? “Know who would have a lot of good stuff to tell Michael Vick? Maurice Clarett. They both made stupid mistakes. Together, they can fail to understand why they’ve acted the way they have.”
My favorite story from breakfast with Lovie Smith is not a poignant or dramatic one
In fact, it’s not even a story. It was just him, brushing his teeth.
Smith doesn’t reveal much of himself in public, or at press conferences. But when he talks to you at a meal, in a setting like this, in the cafeteria at Olivet Nazarene University, he puts his utensils down and looks you in the eye, and tells you the way it is.
It’s like he’s texting you WITH HIS EYES.
And that evening north of Chicago, he said to Cutler: “Chicago’s been waiting for a player like you.”
I liked that he said that to Cutler
Indeed. That alone could add two wins to the Bears record this year.
Let’s get to the important stuff, the People Magazine stuff, about Urlacher supposedly calling his new quarterback, Cutler, the ‘P’ word. (I’m not about to spell it out in a family column.)
“Did you do it?” I asked Urlacher. “You call him the P word?”
And is there a text of it?
Back to business. I said to Urlacher: “If anyone ever told me you’d play a season with no sacks and no forced fumbles, like you did last year, I’d never believe it.”
“You’re so strong, and thick, and bald. I just can’t believe a hunk like you wouldn’t be more productive. Can I have your gloves?”
I sidle up to Cutler and shake his hand and he says, “Howyadoin!” I quasi-yell…
that he never returned my calls or texts back in the spring, and I just wanted to tell him I ripped the crap out of him then for the way he left Denver, and if there’s anything he wanted to say to me, here’s the chance.
YOU NEVER RETURNED MY TEXTS! YOU CAN’T TREAT PETER KING LIKE PAT BOWLEN! A LEADER LIKE BRETT FAVRE NEVER WOULD HAVE DONE THAT! AND HE WOULD HAVE USED THE WHOLE FIST!
All of a sudden, the Broncos have a crisis at quarterback.
Yes, who knew, until just now, that the quarterback position might prove troublesome for that particular team?
I really liked how Orton opened — just the way coach Josh McDaniels wanted. Move the chains, don’t take high risks, put the ball on the numbers. None of his first seven passes traveled more than 11 yards past the line of scrimmage
That’s what you want to see out of a quarterback: a complete inability to throw the ball downfield.
Gut feeling: I believe in the (Chargers’) defense
They’re a Texas Death Trap!
The NFL has 31 stadiums, and with the possible (and I mean possible) exception of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, numbers 29, 30 and 31 are the three California venues. Not that I think the state should be paying for them, particularly with the financial crisis California is in. It’s a statement of fact, though.
Not that this fact will be applied by King in any useful way. He’s just here to illuminate things, people. You never would have known that the 49ers, Raiders, and Chargers play in dilapidated shitholes otherwise. Now, let Peter tell you about the time Lovie Smith put cucumbers in his salad.
I know this is taking in a lot of ground, but I do believe the 49er and Charger crowds lead the NFL in tattoos.
Tattooed white trash? At a football game?
Now, the NFL is going to give Vick this second chance. And I’m going to wipe the slate clean, with one asterisk: Vick didn’t quit as the king of the dogfighting ring. He was arrested and had his life stripped of all material things and spent 20 months in confinement. So we really don’t know if he would have ever seen the light without being forced to.
No. We know. He wouldn’t have. That’s the whole point of catching criminals, prosecuting them, and incarcerating them. You’re supposed to force them to see that what they’re doing is fucked up. That’s why we have all these krayzee laws. So take your asterisk and stick in your sunhole.
Brady was playing a Titleist 12, Manning a Titleist 18. Get it — 12, 18? Talk about your unique-to-one-person golf balls.
12? 18? Oh, wait! I GET IT! It’s a factoid I don’t give a flying cock about!
Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week
Oh, brother. Here goes.
To boycott Westin Hotels or to not boycott Westin Hotels. That is the question.
Shockingly, this non-poignant and non-dramatic hotel story is NOT coffee-related.
I booked this training-camp trip in June, cars and flights and hotels. Most places I stayed were the Fairfield Inn types, clean hotels with free Internet, the things you need for the seven hours a night in the hotel. But for San Diego, I booked the Westin downtown because it’s a good hotel in a nice area, and it’s close to the airport.
On the way there Saturday night around 11:15, after the Seahawks-Chargers game, I called to make sure I had the right place, because there’s another Westin in the city. “We’ve got you sir,” said the man on the other end of the phone. Ten minutes later, I arrived. The front desk told me they were overbooked, and they were very sorry, but they had no beds. But if I had a reservation for the last two months, I asked, wouldn’t you have held a room for me.
“That’s how it should be, but we just ran out of rooms,” I was told.
I get it. The hotel business is now like some in the airline business. Westin intentionally overbooks rooms hoping X number of us will be stuck somewhere and not make it to the hotel. The hotels now can abuse us the way some airlines do, when they sell 70 seats for a 64-seat plane and then say, “Don’t blame us.”
AND they didn’t return his texts!
I seethed while listening to 47 apologies from two front-deskers. “I don’t want an apology,” I said. “I want a room.”
WITH NICELY SCENTED SHAMPOO, YOU FUCKS. THE WESTIN IS THE BLACKBERRY STORM KEYPAD OF HOTEL CHAINS.
No problem, sir. They would book me at the Indigo Hotel, and they would comp my room (who cares when you’re traveling on business and have six hours in the hotel before your next trip to the airport), and here are the directions.
Directions? Are there not signs on the road to this place?
Serenity now. Serenity now. Serenity now.
So I set off to find the Indigo, at Tenth and Market. I go to Tenth and Market. No Indigo. I put the flashers on and walk over to a bar with lots of TVs and say to a guy at the door, “You know where the Indigo Hotel is?” He doesn’t know. He goes inside and asks two others. They don’t know. I go back to the car and call 411.
“San Diego, California,” I say to the automated woman. “The Indigo Hotel. Market Street.” A voice came on, a real woman, who said, “Checking San Diego and all outlying areas. No listing for an Indigo Hotel. Can I check anything else for you?”
I pull up the number for the Westin and oh-so-politely (not!) tell the same dude…
at the front desk that NOT ONLY DID YOU SCREW ME OUT OF A ROOM TONIGHT, YOU GAVE ME DIRECTIONS TO A HOTEL THAT DOESN’T APPARENTLY EXIST.
“I’m so sorry, sir,” he said.
“You have to stop apologizing to me,” I said.
And you have to start bending over, pronto!
He got me different directions to the Indigo, which is new. It’s a nice hotel, just up the street from Petco. And by Sunday morning, the steam had stopped coming out of my ears.
But now I am left with the decision whether to boycott Westin, which is my favorite hotel chain. Maybe I should let you, the readers, vote. What do you think?
What do I think? What do I think? I think that I don’t give a shit that you had a shitty hotel experience (which everyone on earth has also had at point in life), and eventually ended up in a nice hotel room, which you were already comped for to begin with regardless since you were on company business. And considering everyone there expressed genuine sorrow about your predicament, maybe you shouldn’t talk shit to them like Stafford to Pedroia, you fucking barnacle.
Enjoyable/Aggravating Chicago Travel Note of the Week I
One hour and 26 minutes. That’s how long it took me to drive the 19 miles from the fringe of downtown Chicago to the Hertz car-rental return area at O’Hare Airport Thursday evening around 7.
At one point, I was stopped in the far left lane of the four-lane westbound Kennedy Expressway for about two minutes. Dead stop.
I looked out of my car just to make sure this was the case! Scenery was not whizzing by me! If this were Boston, I would not need vehicular transport!
And there was no accident, at least none that I could see as I crawled along, and no sirens or lights flashing.
That drive — the downtown area to O’Hare — is officially the worst drive in the United States. None can top it. The Cross Bronx Expressway on an August Friday night at 6 contends, but it’s just not the same. L.A. freeways are awful, consistently, but you move on them. Crawl sometimes, but you’re moving faster than you do most of the time on the Kennedy. I’ve made it in 25 minutes a couple of times, but mostly in 50 minutes or longer, at all hours of the day and night. It is sheer misery. How do the people in Chicago stand it?
Yes, who knew there was bad traffic from downtown Chicago to O’Hare airport? A SHOCKING DEVELOPMENT NO ONE COULD HAVE EVER FORESEEN. I haven’t been this stunned to learn about traffic patterns since Peter told me I-95 gets a wee bit congested now and again. THIS IS OFFICIALLY A PROBLEM IN AMERICA.
Enjoyable/Aggravating Chicago Travel Note of the Week II
And so I get to my room at the Hilton…
THE WESTIN BOYCOTT BEGINS IN EARNEST.
at O’Hare Airport Thursday evening, just in time to rush through a Michael Vick reaction story and hurry it on to SI.com, and I log onto the wireless in my room.
I complained so loudly about the Providence Westin charging me $10 to use an elliptical machine a few years ago that it got onto my Wikipedia bio. But this is worse. Online for two hours, max, for $17.50. Shame on you, Barron Hilton, or whoever it is charging people $239 for a room and robbing them further to get online.
And when I went to watch Gran Torino on Spectravision, they charged my bill $11! EXTORTION.
1. I think the Minnesota Vikings, should they struggle at quarterback, will call Brett Favre. It’s a pretty strong feeling, based on knowing the people involved and based on the desperation of the Vikings to do more than win a division this year.
Oh, go fuck yourself. No one asked you to poke this corpse again, fatty.
Baltimore-Pittsburgh’s the best rivalry game in football right now, followed by New England-Indianapolis. But Minnesota-Chicago … Check out what they’ve done over the last 10 years:
Uh, not win any Super Bowls, the way those other four teams have?
I think if you gave Vick sodium pentathol, he would say one of the things he regrets in a strictly football sense about the two-year gap in his career is that he never got to play in Bobby Petrino’s offense. He thinks he’d have been a perfect match with Petrino, and he has told friends he thought they could have won a Super Bowl together.
I think if you gave Vick truth serum, he’d articulate a football point so profoundly wrongheaded, it explains perfectly why he’d be stupid enough to drown, beat, and electrocute dogs.
Saw the first quarter of Jets-Rams, and Marc Bulger looked sharp. Good for him. Good guy
It’s like finding Waldo at this point.
and I still think he can be a top-12 quarterback if he’s protected, and if Donnie Avery comes back in time for the opener from his stress-fractured left foot.
And I think he can be a top 3 quarterback if he sprouts wings and can suddenly fly about the field of his own free will. Gut feeling there.
(Glen Coffee) looks like he runs heavier than his 209 pounds — tougher to tackle, with some lead in his pants.
Lead in his pants? Does he hang out with Plaxico Burress?
Keep repeating after me, Redskin fans: It’s only the preseason. But zero points scored and 500 yards allowed?
Shouldn’t you people be more worried about things that have no inherent meaning? Now, let me tell you about a crucial text message Donovan McNabb sent to the wait staff at Houston’s.
I think anybody who was surprised at Goodell’s banishing Donte Stallworth of the Browns for a year for his vehicular homicide conviction hasn’t been paying attention to the new police chief at 280 Park Avenue. This one wasn’t even hard. Stallworth was legally drunk, admitted smoking marijuana the night his vehicle struck and killed a man, and he was driving over the speed limit. Why would anyone be surprised that he has to take the year off?
Who’s surprised that Stallworth was suspended for a year?
I hit a deer on the highway out here in Colorado Saturday night.
NO! Not a deer! Brett Favre never had a chance to kill it himself from his stand!
Crunched up the car pretty well. Killed the poor deer. Scared the living heck out of me. Quite an experience.
Almost as nightmarish as a stay at the Westin!
Coffeenerdness: I’ve often sung the praises of Pete’s Coffee.
I love it so much, I can’t even spell it.
But the thing I’ve realized landing in San Francisco Friday and walking into the terminal was that part of the greatness of Pete’s is the aroma of the espresso. It’s like smelling the grass in baseball or the leather smell of the ball at the first football practice of the year. The aroma is part of the reason you love it.
One whiff, and it’s like you’re in Venise, Ittalee.
I’ve learned three things from my summer Tweetups. One: the football fan’s appetite for information is absolutely voracious. Will Carroll and I spent three hours talking about everything football with fans in Indianapolis last Monday, and fans would have stayed three more hours if we’d let them. Two: The football fan is smart.
These people know who Troy Williamson is! THAT’S IMPRESSIVE.
I have to get home. Today is Day 21 of my trip — I’ll see the Broncos practice this morning — and after one lost rental car, one killed deer, one ridiculous hotel snafu, and way too much fun, I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed tonight.
Yes, you must be so exhausted after leisurely touring the inside of numerous NFL training camps. ONLY THE SOOTHING LIFE OF THE BACK BAY CAN CURE SUCH FATIGUE.