Peter King Is Happy For the Normans

02.08.10 8 years ago 85 Comments

Note: Drew is unavailable today, so I’ll be tackling PK duties this week.

When we last left wistful reader Peter King, he was extolling the virtues of Brookline Booksmith, despite his fondness for the Kindle. So what about this week? Will Peter be satisfied with his stay at the Doral Resort and Spa? Will he be disappointed by South Florida’s lackluster support of their hometown hockey team? Read on.

It’s right, it’s fair, it’s just, it’s good, it’s shocking. You were not dreaming…

It’s the special release of Uzuri African Blend from Peet’s!

As the fifth team bus — the one with mostly family and friends of the team — sped from the stadium to the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami for the most raucous of postgame parties, this merry band of Saints partisans sang and chanted and Who-Datted to their heart’s content.

These fans lead the league in Who-Dattedness

“Oh when the Saints … come marching in …”

Uh…those aren’t the lyrics.

It got quiet for a minute, and Carville piped up loudly: “I still can’t believe we won the Super Bowl!”

He’s normally so reserved!

In the middle of the rolling party, someone else piped up: “Can you believe we called that onside kick?”

No, it caught everyone totally off-guard.

Oh, I can.

Because you’re a liar.

It had Sean Payton written all over it.

Just like Peter’s composition book.

“Ambush,” Payton said cavalierly, almost diffidently…

It’s funny because those words are basically antonyms.

In this case, Ambush was so mind-blowing because:

a. Morstead never attempted an onside kick in a game before Sunday night in his life.


b. Morstead never practiced onside-kicking until 12 days ago.

Isn’t that what training camp is for?

c. Morstead can be a bundle of nerves.

But none of this stopped Peter from seeing it coming.

Payton knows how lethal Peyton Manning is, and he knew he ran the risk of giving the Colts 30 extra yards if the onside kick failed, but he knew it wouldn’t fail.

Because Peter told him so.

He put his trust in the hands of a kicker, Morstead, kicking the first onside kick of his life, and in a special-teamer, third-year safety Chris Reis, perhaps the most anonymous of the 45 Saints who dressed Sunday. Morstead because he was the kicker, Reis because he was the feistiest of his kick-chasers

He has the guts of a catburglar.

and would scratch and claw for the ball if he had to.

And the mentality of an actual cat.

The ball at first lay underneath Reis’ legs as bodies flew in trying to get it. “I was able to get the ball into my hands and just cradle it here,” Reis demonstrated for me later in the locker room, with his hands cradled around his stomach, slightly bent over.


“White ball!” Reis heard one official yell in the mayhem. The Saints were wearing white. Good.

Saints. White. Good. Okay, I think I get it.

“Blue ball! Blue ball!” he heard another official yell. The Colts were blue. Bad.

If you say so. This is all very confusing.

“The Colts were punching at it and grabbing for it, trying to get it out. But I didn’t care if they broke all my fingers.”

Peter felt the same way when he snagged the last Kit Kat bar in the press box.

“I can’t believe it,” said Morstead, a rookie from SMU. He’s a tall kid, wiry and athletic and thoughtful.

He’s all sinew and brain.

What happened, fella, is you and Chris Reis just made a play that was the biggest one in preventing Peyton Manning from winning his second Super Bowl…

Because it’s always about Peyton.

…and sent your city into orbit.

Oh yeah, that too.

I thought Indianapolis lost this game as much as the Saints won it.

Who dat say dey gonna let the Saints win?

GM Bill Polian told me outside the stadium after the game you can’t blame Garcon because he got “jacked” at the line of scrimmage.

And you told him that’s some bullshit, right?


No. No maybe, that’s bullshit.

…but I watched the replay a couple of times early this morning, and he was well away from the jacking when the Manning pass clanked off his hands.

Thank you. And thank you for typing “the jacking.”

I hated the decision by the Colts, on third-and-one in the final minute of the first half with two timeouts left by the Saints, to run into the middle of the line.

It’s not like they were running into the teeth of the ’85 Bears.

Manning’s got 10 conversion throws that he can get one yard with in his saddlebag, and the call is Mike Hart burrowing between a couple of sub-300-pound blockers — Jeff Saturday and Ryan Lilja. Hart got stoned for nothing.

Nobody gets stoned for nothing. Oh, you mean he got stopped. Yeah, that happened. You know, they probably should have thrown the ball there! Sorry, I too got stoned. And it wasn’t for nothing. It was to make this column tolerable.

I don’t like how they would have left themselves 89 yards to go in 45 seconds with one timeout to get a touchdown.

As opposed to calling one of Peyton’s “10 conversion throws that he can get one yard with,” that would have left them with 89 yards to go in 45 seconds.

I know the logic is, Make sure you don’t give the other team a possession before the end of the half. Run the clock. Well, they didn’t convert. And the Saints got a possession. And the Saints scored.

Your logic is no match for my hindsight.

Third: the onside kick. Not to beat a dead Colt, but you simply can’t make that mistake in a game of this magnitude.

The mistake was letting Hank Baskett on the field.

Drew Brees was brilliant. He had a true MVP performance.

But the Colts lost the MVP just as much as Brees won it.

This game puts him in a league with Manning and Tom Brady at the top of the league’s quarterback pecking order. It’s a trifecta now, not a daily double.

A trifecta is when you correctly pick the first three finishers of a race, in order. A daily double is when you pick the winning horse in two different races. I believe the term your looking for is a “three-horse race.” But let’s not let that get in the way of you saying what everyone else has been saying all year.

Now for the Hall of Fame section.

I decided to vote for a player I had previously denied because another voter whom I know and respect said, ‘C’mon.’ Good enough for me.

Sharpe’s a mystery to me too…

Is he eligible for the trifecta?

A mystery, except that so many of these guys are good. I fear it’s so difficult to compute these crazy numbers that wideouts and tight ends are putting up.

Sharpe had 813 career receptions. 813! We need the guy from NUMB3RS to tell us what that means. And none of that scientific mumbo-jumbo, give us an everyday analogy that anyone watching CBS on a Friday night can understand.

I did not support the Denver running back because I felt his numbers and impact were shy…

And he never returns my texts.

I called Little Saturday night…

Good phone call. Lofty phone call. But a Hall of Fame phone call? Sorry, not for me.

Quote of the Week II

“Not bad for number 24.”
— Sean Payton to me, before taking the podium to do his postgame press conference.

In the offseason, I ranked the 32 teams from top to bottom, and I ranked the Saints 24th on my list.

Wait a minute. Coaches actually read this crap?

“I think Russ is the greatest guard to ever play pro football,” Starke said after Grimm went in to the Hall of Fame. I disagree, but as I said earlier in this column, Grimm’s the guy I’m happiest for after this year’s balloting.

You never said that.

1. New Orleans (16-3). At 10:05 p.m., soon after the Saints won the Super Bowl (can’t believe I just wrote that), my friend Josh Norman, who lives in New Orleans, texted me thusly: “Utter delirium in New Orleans right now.” At 10:28 came this: “I’ve been all over the world and I’ve never seen a celebration as epic as this. This is beyond words. The earth is vibrating.”

It’s an earthquake. SOMEBODY SAVE THE NORMANS!

2. Indianapolis (16-3). I know everyone’s concentrating on the Colts not being able to convert third-and-one late in the first half, gifting the Saints with three points before halftime, and for allowing New Orleans to recover an onside kick. But for my money, the Pierre Garcon drop midway during the second quarter was just as big.

Also big: The second half.

3. Minnesota (13-5). So if Brett Favre does retire, who’s next? McNabb? Vick? Pennington? The one name I never hear for the starting 2010 QB job in the Twice Cities is an interesting one: Tarvaris Jackson.

That’s because it’s not interesting.

4. New York Jets (11-8). I’ll bet you a lot of money Rex Ryan gave his middle-finger apology through gritted teeth and hated every word of his statement.

And I’ll bet you a lot of money that Rex Ryan thinks Peter King is a twat.

9. Baltimore (10-8). If I’m the Ravens, I pounce on Donte’ Stallworth with a totally incentive-laden contract. It’s just what they need…

Another player who settled out of court with a dead guy’s family.

10. Philadelphia (11-6). Breakout Eagle of 2010: LeSean McCoy.

Breakout movie of 2010: Avatar.

14. Cincinnati (10-7). Terrell Owens in stripes will happen the day I run an ultra-marathon.

He said run, not walk.

But more than that, he’s a great football player, with no weaknesses. Scouts now have to look twice at 6-foot quarterbacks who are very smart. I know I’d have my eyes open.

Somebody get Eric Crouch on the phone, we might have been wrong about him all along!

Really though, Brees was the first pick of the second round. It’s not like he was written off as a shrimp who could never compete in the NFL.

Late in the third quarter, Hartley was an MVP candidate, with 46-, 44- and 47-yard field goals, the first time in Super Bowl history a kicker has had three field goals outside the 40-yard line. Not bad for a second-year guy who played college ball at Oklahoma.

He says that like Oklahoma is some obscure Division II outpost.

There are many things in the world I do not understand…

What’s with everyone driving everywhere? Surely they’ve discovered the unbridled joy of walking.

Why is there a hockey team adjacent to a shopping mall in the middle of Luxuryville, Fla.? Rick Gosselin and I went to the Panthers-Flames Friday night…

Surely they could have built it closer to Shantytown.

(yes, we are hockey loons)

I was told there would be icing.

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