What Will Peter King Do Without ‘Veep’?

06.11.12 6 years ago 77 Comments

When we last left the Double-A Trenton Thundercunt, Peter King, he was yammering on forever about Johan Santana’s no-hitter, which was super historical because the Mets never had one. That’s important because the Mets are a team that serves two different kind of lager in their ballpark. Also, the fourth QB that the Raiders are probably gonna cut went to school at Brown. GOOOOOOOO BROWN!

So what about this week? Do no-hitters make sounds? Do best-of-seven playoff series have feelings? Are you not fidgeting while reading this column? READ ON.

EMIGRANT, Mont. — Now there’s a dateline I never thought I’d use: Emigrant, Mont.

Now there’s a lede I never wanted to read.

I came here Thursday at the invitation of Atlanta owner Arthur Blank to moderate a couple of football discussions for Falcons clients and suite-holders at Blank’s Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.

Great idea, Arthur Blank. Get a bunch of prized clients at a retreat to listen to Peter King drone on about Johan Santana’s no-hitter during “football discussions”. They’ll sign off on anything just to GTFO.

Now I know why the Spielberg family comes here for a week a year. No TV. No computers. I forded a creek on a horse Friday. (“Forded.” Always loved that word. Never thought I’d actually do it.)

And he survived without the service of a wagon pulled by oxen? Oregon Trail lied to me.

One of those discussions was with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. And on Friday morning just after 6, we sat on the porch of the main house to discuss the news of the day.

Ah, the ol’ 6 a.m. porch chat with the commish. Just men bein’ men and Peter King in his Red Sox onesie with a bucket of coffee.

Me: What’s been your focus in the wake of Junior Seau’s death about what to do with NFL programs for players post-career?

Goodell: That’s an excellent question, Peter, and I’m glad you asked it. If I may, I’d like to phrase my response in the form of wrestling a bear, followed by hefting its lifeless carcass over my head in four sets of 20 repetitions. Or so that’s what you’ll be telling your readers, yes?

Goodell: Troy Vincent has been creating programs helping them transition out of the game. It’s much more difficult for these individuals than we might think. Talking to the players and talking to professionals, that transition needs some focus in how we provide them the resources. It’s not just their physical health, like cardiovascular screening and joint replacements, it’s expanding of the mental health resources. How do we help identify somebody that may need help, get that help to them and what are the resources that he has?

There’s also the pressing matter of “How do we get them to sign this form waiving their right to sue us?”

“There’s still that stigma that mental health is a weakness. It’s not.”

Unless you’re Brandon Marshall or T.O.

Me: What’s the most disturbing thing, to you, about Seau’s death?

Goodell: “The most disturbing thing is the tragedy itself.

Youse a slick motherfucker, Rog. “The most tragic thing about the tragedy is its inherent traginicity.” Being a senator’s kid worked out great for you.

“Then the structure. As you know, these players are given a very specific structure. ‘This is the schedule for tomorrow. This is the schedule for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.’ That’s gone all of a sudden. I had a couple of players tell me, ‘It’s Monday morning and next thing I know it’s Friday. Nobody was structuring my life.'”

“We give them a calendar, basically. Really helps out with the sequencing of days.”

Goodell spoke of a relatively new peer-to-peer counseling program, the Ambassador Program, which pairs former players with current ones, discussing preparing for retirement and being available for players after they retire. He said the number of Ambassadors is up to about 50 now.

Ray Lewis is so gonna be one of those guys. He loves pep talking. GET PISSED OFF FOR DRAMATIC LIFE TRANSITIONS!

Me: Your thoughts on the master complaint from more than 2,100 players claiming the league did too little about head trauma and concussions … Do you think this endangers the NFL as we know it?

Goodell: Hold on. Let me finish uprooting these trees with my hands before you start asking me the big boy questions.

Goodell: “Our lawyers are going to focus on that. We obviously feel very strongly that the complaint is not accurate. We have long made player safety a priority.

“Two years is a long time, right?”

Our sideline assessment tools. We have made changes to that. There are some new technologies that make this very soon in the future where on a tablet, you can actually take a test on the sideline to determine (the concussion).”

Me: A tablet? An iPad? This year?

Goodell: “It’s possible.”

Peter’s so excited for the NFL to be using Apple products on the field. CAN THEY USE THE MACBOOK AIR LIKE THE ONE I HAVE!? Also, this new concussion app will be a sensor that gauges whether or not a player is just bleeding openly from the head. Nope? CLEARED TO RETURN FOR PLAY.

Me: Would the Colt McCoy story have been different with this set-up?

Goodell: “He was examined, but they were focusing on his hand, because that’s what he was complaining about.

“Now the iPad is smart enough to know the head is not the hands. Isn’t technology grand?”

What we’re going to do now is to say regardless of whether you see them being evaluated, you are to speak to them and you are to tell them that there is head-to-head contact and here’s the play and look at it.

You would have seen the Colt McCoy hit and would have said, ‘Forget his thumb now. Let’s focus on if he had any type of injury to his head.’

And we’ll hit a big red button labeled CALL THE LAWYERS.

We ended discussing the in-stadium experience. I said I’d learned a lot about the appreciation of the game from watching cricket in England with absolutely no bells and whistles and 105-decibel music — simply the game. And he talked about how he’d love to find a way to replicate the natural excitement and fan involvement of world soccer, where, among other things, fans break out in song and chants through the game.

That would be nice, except Goodell would never let us have Giant Troll Face.

The NFL’s a cauldron of news. I could have asked him about 25 other things. Hope you got a few things out of his words.

“I could have delved deep into the newsy nugget cauldron if only I hadn’t spend 35 minutes lecturing him about how much I enjoy the quiet mystique of the cricket match. Oh well. Next time.”

Here’s an angle of the players’ head-trauma litigation you haven’t thought of.

A source with knowledge of the roster of the more than 2,500 players who have joined the various lawsuits against the NFL for ignoring and/or minimizing the results of head trauma in the pro game says some of the players in the suit will have zero or very little evidence of long-term damage.

That source: Goodell

Things to think about with Darrelle Revis …

Last week, I said Revis, due to make an average of $6.75 million in the last two years of his contract, would be justified in thinking he should be rewarded for being the best cornerback in football over the last two years of that contract. It’s indisputable that he is the best corner in the game. But I doubt the Jets will entertain re-doing his deal for a few reasons.

Last week, Peter also prefaced talking about the Revis story by saying he wasn’t going to talk about the Revis story. Now he’s back at it this week. So, this is pretty much gonna be a weekly thing until a resolution is had.

It’d be surprising, I think, if Revis opened training camp with the Jets in late July. It’d also be surprising if the Jets didn’t draw a pretty hard line in 2012.

Any outcome, really, would shock and astound me, kind of. MAYBE.

The Father’s Day Book Section

Some of you like this section, which has begun to take over one of my 48 Monday columns each year, and some of you don’t. For those who don’t, skip the next 4,000 words or so.

For those who come to MMQB expecting anything other than unsolicited book recommendations, transcripts of shitty college commencement addresses, five pages of text about some stupid fucking no-hitter, demands of apologies from the Red Sox front office and Jim Irsay tweets, TOO BAD. Like it or lump it, JERKZ.

For those who do, I appreciate all the support you’ve given this idea over the years, and I hope you find a book here — or anywhere, quite frankly — to give the Dad who really wants a book. I can tell you one of the gifts of the last four or five weeks has been the gift of unplugging so I could read the books I’ve listed here.

The King household sounds fun. “Daddy is gonna need you guys to leave him the fuck alone for a month. He’s got important pleasure reading to do.”

The other day, in Montana, I toured a one-room schoolhouse (more about that later) and picked up a little tome called English Reading for Schools. The book was published in 1926. Inside were these words: “The virtue of books is the perfecting of reason, which is indeed the happiness of man.”

Well, I always thought the happiness of man was the Red Sox winning the World Series. But reading’s pretty good.

That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story, by Chris Spielman, with Bruce Hooley (Zondervan). Non-fiction.

Once, when I was in Detroit in the early ’90s, sent by Sports Illustrated to write about linebacker Chris Spielman, I gave him a pitch for a story I wanted to do: I’d go home with him after practice one day and watch how Mr. Intenso went about his preparation for film study for the next game. Spielman listened to me as I sold the inside look into his world harder and harder — “I want America to see who you are,” is approximately something I said — and after a few minutes he gave me a bit of a patronizing stare and said he’d think about it. The next day Spielman told me no. “My life’s not the friggin’ NFL Today!” he said.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I cracked this book and read some of the most intimate details, conversations and eruptions a family of six can have as the noble wife and mother careens toward death.


Chris Spielman, one of the most balls-out football players I have ever covered, but also one of the most private, delves into things like:

• How to tell ninth- and seventh-graders their mother is dying. The oldest child, Madison, wrote the foreward to the book. What a strong, eloquent girl she is.

But not precocious? Subtle PK kid burn.

Here’s Spielman describing one of his old offseason habits as a player: “After getting in my running at Rochester (Mich.) High School, I’d put on a plastic suit, get in my truck, roll the windows up, and turn the heater on full blast. I’d drive around with my mouth full of chewing tobacco and see how long I could last without spitting. I’d just swallow the tobacco juice and fight the urge to puke. It tested me mentally to see how long I could go without throwing up. It helped me simulate playing through distractions and taught me to focus. I think I lasted an hour and 29 minutes one time.”

Kind of like how I prepare to read this column every week.

Canada, by Richard Ford. (Ecco). Fiction.

I’m sure I’m not the first to say that, among Ford’s novels, I liked The Sportswriter and Independence Day better than Canada. But that’s akin to saying I like Drew Brees and Tom Brady better than Matthew Stafford.

I hope that makes a blurb on the book jacket. “Truly, the Matt Stafford of his oeuvre. Quasi-pretty good-ish.”

Canada, Ford’s newest book, is a slog in two or three spots. The story’s narrator, a 15-year-old twin boy whose life is turned incredibly upside down in the span of a few months in 1960, first in Montana, then in Saskatchewan, is an appealing, sympathetic and literate character defined perfectly by Ford. My only beef is I found myself saying, when the sameness of the kid’s life dragged in two or three spots, “Get on with it!”


A Ford book, to me, is like a U2 CD.


Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter, by Frank Deford (Atlantic Monthly Press). Non-fiction.

For many of us in the business, Frank Deford is the Holy Grail. He’s simply one of the greatest sportswriters of all time. If he’s the New York Yankees, I’m honored to be the Double-A Trenton Thunder. Just to play the same sport as Deford is something wonderful.

You two aren’t baseball teams and you don’t play a sport. That’s why you’re shithead sportswriters.

His memoir has a little bit of everything — great stories about interviewing everyone from Richard Nixon (why, Nixon wondered, didn’t Sports Illustrated cover bowling more, seeing that millions in the country bowled?)


to Jerry Jones. (Now there was a story. During the Deford-Jones chat, in a bar late at night, the waitress wondered if Jones would autograph her breast. He did, then suggested Deford autograph the other, which he did. “Sportswriters, as a general rule, are not often given that opportunity,” Deford wrote.)


I love Deford’s description of the modern media, told from his aging-sportswriter perspective:

“About all you share anymore with most of the players is their sport itself — or listening to them talk about themselves. Soon, the coaches and managers are the ones of your vintage. As you grow older, in fact, you gravitate more toward doing stories about coaches — not just because they’re your new contemporaries, but because they’ve lived longer, more complicated lives. They’re simply better stories. After all, most of them failed, in that they couldn’t cut it as players. That’s why they become coaches.

“Coaches are movies. Players are snapshots.

So true. Coaches are movies. For example, Jon Gruden is a Super 8 western shot in someone’s backyard for $20, in which the microphone is visible in every shot and four different people play the same role. There are also stuffed animals with voiceover dialogue.

“Therefore, more and more we tend to celebrate the loudmouths — the highest percentage, it seems, being wide receivers in football — who first make themselves accessible, then voluble, and thereupon qualify as ‘characters,’ but who are, really, just so many obnoxious jerks.”

Deford’s the best.


The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach (Little, Brown & Company). Fiction.

It revolves around a phenom baseball player from South Dakota named Henry Skrimshander after he enrolls at the fictitious Westish College in Wisconsin.


What happens to a precocious baseball player

Precocious! The best thing a person can be in the PK universe.

But the amazing thing is, as much of a baseball fan as I am, I thought the book got better when it veered away from the baseball scenes. The story about Henry’s gay roommate, the Westish college president, his daughter escaping a bad marriage, the baseball team captain … it all makes for a compelling read.

I love that PK had to overcome his disappointment that it wasn’t just the novelization of a baseball game.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner). Non-fiction.

Cancer, obviously, is one of the great mysteries of life.

Cancer leads the league in inscrutability.

The answer, Mukherjee writes, is because cancer is not one disease. It is many. He delves into the history and the technical side of the various forms of the disease — and I won’t lie, I skipped some of the chemical and scientific parts of the book, though he writes in prose understandable to Neanderthals like me. But the human stories make the book important, and the social stories.

Whoa whoa whoa, what’s this approachable science shit? I don’t see any 40-page digressions about baseball. Fuck this shit [Hurls book into fireplace]

The Essential Smart Football, by Chris B. Brown (CreateSpace). Non-fiction.

Seeing as how last week I said you should disregard all of PK’s book recommendations and pick this up, I guess I have to hand it to Petey for pushing Smart Football’s book. PK is hereby absolved of the crime of one of his 12 million needless SAWX mentions.

So often, terms like one-gapping and two-gapping are thrown around in line play the way four-seamer and cutter are used in baseball. Fans hear them, but do they know them?

We throw out all these super complex football terms, but do fans really get them? Or do they pathetically try to feign comprehension between swigs of 7-11 Gameday Beer?

Imperfect: An Improbable Life, by Jim Abbott and Tim Brown (Ballantine Books). Non-fiction.

The best stuff isn’t baseball. It’s life.

Putting money on PK having that line cross-stitched onto a throw pillow.

Abbott writes of the pain of being bullied for his disability, and, much later, of being a beacon for so many families of children with disabilities. In many ways, the stories of touching so many families reminds me of what we’ve seen over the last couple of years with Tim Tebow. Good, decent human beings convinced that part of their calling in life is the humanness as well as the sports.

Way to overcome the disability of being woefully inaccurate, Tim Tebow. You’re an inspiration to us all.

Drop-Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, by A.J. Jacobs (Simon & Schuster). Non-fiction.

Esquire writer A.J. Jacobs tells us before his quest for bodily perfection begins that his wife looked forward to going to the gym the same way he looked forward to reading on the couch while she’s at the gym. At 41, he decides to go on a two-year mission to be the healthiest person alive. The book is about more than losing weight or being muscular.

But is it more than baseball?

There’s even some unusual, but always welcome, advice about going to the bathroom.

So basically it’s one of Drew’s mailbags at Deadspin?

I’ll leave you with a list of his exercise advice at the end of the book:

1. Literally run your errands.

2. Have meetings like you’re a character in “The West Wing,” walking and talking, moving quickly.


7. Fidget. It’s bad to sit still.

That’s horrible advice. THE SCHIZO DIET!

Quote of the Week I

“A lot of things are legal in Las Vegas that are not legal anywhere else. Last night robbery was among them.”

— Columnist Ron Borges of the Boston Herald, reporting from Vegas, where Timothy Bradley “upset” Manny Pacquiao in a junior welterweight bout in a split decision.

What about plagiarism? Borges could make a killing there.

Quote of the Week II

“Offense, defense and special teams doing their job, each group have different objective and motives, but playing in harmony for each other, for the good of everyone. Wouldn’t it be nice if Congress operated the same way?”

— Giants coach Tom Coughlin, during his team’s visit to the White House Friday as the president honored the Giants for winning the Super Bowl four months ago.


Stat of the Week I

Last season, the most startling statistic for the Falcons, quite possibly, was the number of screen passes nifty receiver-out-the-backfield Jacquizz Rodgers caught in his rookie season: one … out of 256 snaps he played on Atlanta pass plays.

Name five statistical facts about the Falcons that are more startling. You can’t. MAYBE.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Ate dinner Friday evening in a group that included a veteran Yellowstone National Park ranger, Jim Evanoff, who told us one of the most amazing things I’d heard in a while.

Bears DO shit in the woods.

When Old Faithful erupts at Yellowstone, the water gushing out of the ground is more than 600 years old, scientists have told Evanoff. That’s how long it takes the mountain snow to melt, run down through rivers and streams into the ground, and then percolate below the earth and explode into the sky every 93 minutes (give or take 10 minutes) at very high temperatures.

“That means,” Evanoff told our group, some of whom would be visiting Yellowstone the next day and witnessing Old Faithful, “that the geysers you’ll see tomorrow are formed from water that entered the earth before Christopher Columbus discovered America.”

Now there’s something to think about.

If you told PK how old the light from distant stars is, you would melt his face off.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

One of the great things about traveling to a place like Montana is it gives you an appreciation for people and places you’d otherwise know nothing about.

So remote! Quasi Seattle-level remoteness.

One of the wranglers who helped me survive a two-hour walk/trot on a horse Friday, Kylie King, is a summer employee of Blank’s ranch, earning money for college. She’s a bright, smiley girl from the Montana ranching town of Winnett, and I asked her a lot about her life growing up.

She comes from a town of 200, and a county of about 370. There were 30 students in her high school, eight in her graduating class. Her high school partnered with another one a half-hour away for high school sports; that school had 20 students. She ran cross-country and played basketball at school, and helped herd cattle and birth calves with her family. They played six-man football at her high school, and once, when her school had two injuries among the seven players on the roster, they could field but five players. So their opponent that week, in a gesture of sportsmanship, played only five too.

NFL Blitz rules in effect.

On Friday, I visited a one-room schoolhouse that served the community of Emigrant from 1928 to 1948. Blank helped restore it when he bought the property. It’s one of the most amazing little buildings — about 12 feet by 20 feet — I’ve ever seen. The building, which housed the first- through eighth-grade in Emigrant for 21 years, looks like a tiny white chapel. Inside there are eight seats and attached desks, the original desks from the school, with carved-in initials; one kid generations ago had carved the words “CHAMPS” on a desk.


The books were the most interesting things. One on the teacher’s desk was a 1928 English text titled Teachers Manual For Happy Times.

Was it written by a Japanese guy?

Our guide, a local named Mark Rose, told us an elderly woman who once taught in the school dropped off a load of old texts at an antique shop in the area a few years ago, and these books were placed back in the school to lend an authentic air to it, seeing that, of course, some of them actually were used in the schoolhouse three-quarters of a century ago.

I picked up one book of a four-volume green set with barely legible letters on the cover. It was the collected works of Mark Twain. I looked at the title page. Published in 1871. I was holding a 151-year-old book.

Then spilled coffee on it.

I was in Montana for only a couple of days, but I’ll remember it a long time. And I’ll be back.

Because the Falcons have already booked him again for next year.

Tweet of the Week II

“As a kid I vowed I’d never drink coffee. Now I can’t start the morning without it.”

— @GeoffSchwartz76, the Minnesota offensive lineman, who thinks a lot like I think.

Other people have developed a caffeine dependency too? SO WEIRD.

Tweet of the Week III

“Pedroia is just a little ready. He’s in the dugout in uniform at 2:48 p.m.”

— @PeteAbe, Boston Globe baseball writer Pete Abraham, on Dustin Pedroia being prepared last Tuesday to play his first game back from a thumb injury.

Being in the dugout in uniform at 2:48 means Pedroia was ready to go 4 hours and 22 minutes before the first pitch. The guy likes what he does.

He doesn’t just sit there. HE FIDGETS. Because he can’t contain his guttiness and because he is HAHHHTTTT-SMAHHHTTT.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think the NFL lost one of its quiet statesmen Thursday, when Jacksonville cut defensive end Aaron Kampman, who just hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough through two major knee injuries to stay on the field for the Jags. He’s as classy and as good a teammate and effort player as the league has employed.

Quiet statesman? The fuck? Kampman was like the Dick Gephardt of the NFL?

4. I think I love Martellus Bennett saying he’s fine to play at 291. You’re a player who figures in the Giants’ passing game, Martellus, not Brandon Manumaleuna.

OHHHHHHH FAT TIGHT END BURNS. Manumaleuna has 115 career catches for 1,008 yards and 13 TDs. That would be one really, really awesome Gronk-like season. Except he’s played 10.

7. I think Chad Ochocinco was always a square peg in a round hole with the Patriots, leading to him being cut by the team last week. I go back to his first practice with the team. He had no swagger, no juice, and just wasn’t comfortable — and, observers to the Patriots say that never changed to the point where the Patriots trusted him in big spots. On that first practice day, Ocho dropped a 50-yard post throw from Tom Brady when he had two steps on the corner, and then had stone hands on a 15-yard cross from Brady. The capper came in a drill with no defense on the field, when Brady hit him wide open in the end zone, and Ochocinco dropped it.

The confidence a receiver has to have … Chad just never had it in New England.

Stupid loudmouth receivers not being loudmouthy enough. DEFORD NAILED IT!

Remember last year when 98 percent of you — other than those in Mike Brown’s home — thought I was crazy for considering the Bengals owner and de facto GM the executive of the year, after getting first- and second-round picks for Carson Palmer? Well, he got fifth- and sixth-rounders from the great Bill Belichick (wideout Marvin Jones from Cal was the fifth- last April; the sixth- will come in the 2013 draft) for Ochocinco. That’s four draft choices for players who were part of the past, not the future.

Bet you guys are singing a different tune now that Mike Brown has swindled the GREAT GREAT GREAT GRUMBLELORD out of two late-round picks. Yes, Brown has been shockingly competent of late, but PK has been dogging him right along with the rest of us for years. Stow that smug shit.

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

a. How terrific that the Stony Brook Seawolves are going to the College World Series. Just amazing that their 7-2 win in the decisive game of the best-of-three series Sunday at LSU shocked the college baseball world and earned this research university on the north shore of Long Island an incredibly unlikely trip to Omaha and the World Series.

Worthy of a novel where the best stuff is not baseball!

c. I was about to write about how the Los Angeles Kings’ playoff run brought back memories of the Edmonton Oilers. Not so fast. What a great playoff sport hockey is. And how great this one has been without fighting.

How wonderful this sport is for part of the year when something central to its appeal isn’t happening.

d. Al Michaels is getting very worried about his Kings.

They stayed at a hotel that wasn’t the Four Seasons. Don’t they see the folly?

And the Devils are back in it, of course. But I still think it’s going to be a huge challenge for New Jersey to take the next two. At some point, L.A.’s power play is going to get a huge goal. It’s so much better than New Jersey’s.

/rooting for Kings so hard in Game 6

f. Good for you, LeBron James.

/rooting for Thunder so hard all series

g. The great thing about sports: America can sit out here and say some guys can’t play in the clutch, and those guys have the opportunity to shut America up, as James did with 76 points in the two games after the Heat went down 3-2.

The great thing about sports is that it lets terrible people strike back against America.

i. What if a no-hitter fell in the forest and no one was there to hear it? Would it make a sound?


j. I mean, was that six-pitcher no-hitter in Seattle Friday night, with most of the country in bed, the most invisible no-hitter ever?

That’s the double-edged sword of Northwest remoteness. It’s great, until you need a bunch of shithead baseball people to make a huge deal about a fucking no-hitter. WHO IS THEIR HOWIE ROSE!?

m. Morose evening in TV land last night: Last episode of the first season of Veep.


n. Coffeenerdness: You’d think the coffee in Montana would be strong and dark. I had it in three places and, well, no. It’s mostly nondescript and unnecessary, like the coffee on the Acela.

Gutter train coffee, Montana has it. How can it be so bad when you share remoteness with Seattle?!

o. Beernerdness: Enjoyed Bent Nail IPA, from Red Lodge, Mont., on the Mountain Sky Property. Very hoppy and dark, with a big IPA taste.

Yes, but there’s no citrus in that big IPA taste. Clearly PK didn’t enjoy this as much as he’s letting on.

p. Bailey and Anne Hathaway’s dog are friends. They chat in the neighborhood. Via sniffing.


r. I turned 55 yesterday. Sure am going to miss adolescence, whenever that day comes.

Because there’s nothing teenagers like more than bitching about excess noise at sporting events.

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