Peter King’s Adventures in Competitive Hand-Shaking

08.11.09 8 years ago 57 Comments

Yes, yes, yes: we know.  Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback appeared on yesterday, and there was no immediate dissection from Big Daddy Drew.  You had to wait nearly a full revolution rotation of the Earth to get this column (that’s like a week in Internet time!), and it’s from one of those non-Drew, non-Ape KSK writers you barely tolerate.  Well, sorry.  Drew’s having some elective surgery and won’t be around this week.  Welcome to life; get used to disappointment.

But on to more pressing matters: Peter King is touring NFL training camps!  What invaluable insights does he deliver this week?  Are the NFL mess halls up to snuff?  Did he find time to visit Toone P. Wiggins?  Will there be time for him to talk about the Red Sox?  Is he surprised by August weather being so hot?  Won’t someone think of the Kit Kats!

We are ready for some football. Great to see it back Sunday night, with Vince Young beginning what he hopes is his resurrection (now, if he’d only quit talking about it) in the Hall of Fame game against Buffalo.

Great lede.  Way to mail it in before the game — no one who saw VY’s pop fly of an interception would begin a column with that statement.

Offseason text message from Mario Manningham to Eli Manning: “When can we get together? Want to work on the ins and outs of this offense.”

Looking for one reason Manningham just might be the guy the Giants have been looking for at wide receiver? It’s the change in this kid.

That’s right: Manningham went gay.  Hence the thinly veiled double entendre to Eli.

And though Manning says he expects the Giants to be receiver-by-committee this year, I say Manningham is going to get every chance to be the bookend to Steve Smith at some point. That’s how good Manningham’s offseason was.

Really?  Manningham has a chance to play opposite the same Steve Smith who accrued 574 receiving yards and a single touchdown in 16 games last year?  WOW!  Bold statements, Mr. King.

9:45 a.m., Wednesday (Chiefs camp, River Falls, Wisc.): You’re not going to believe this.


11:45 a.m., Thursday (Minnesota Vikings camp, Mankato, Minn.): I came here expecting to see the fastest man in the NFL, Percy Harvin, ripping up Vikings camp. And I did see an incredibly gifted player, Harvin, getting coached very hard because the Vikings want him ready to play a big role on opening day 2009, not opening day 2010. But after seeing Adrian Peterson sprint around left end on an early-practice reverse like he’d just taken the baton in the Olympic 400-meter relay, I didn’t know who was faster. Especially on the fast track of the Metrodome, I have no idea how teams are going to defend the Vikings when Peterson and Harvin are on the field together.

By tackling the shitty quarterback?

I expect Harvin to have the opportunity to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. He’s too talented, and he has Peterson to take the pressure off him. And vice versa.

Harvin ALREADY has the opportunity to be the Offensive ROY.  He’s a rookie and he plays offense.   It’s this sort of mayonnaise-flavored non-analytical non-prediction that ruins the actual reporting that King occasionally does.  Sack up and make a prediction, you silver-forelocked fart locker.

The troubled Harvin, obviously, got investigated thoroughly before he was drafted out of the University of Florida in April. When Brad Childress went to Gainesville the week before the draft to meet Harvin and spend a day with him, he said he wanted Harvin to pick him up and drive him around. “I wanted to be in his car, and I wanted to smell the car,” Childress said. You know, for the pot smell.

And any lingering scent of undergraduate pussy.

1:45 p.m. Friday (Hall of Fame preliminaries, Canton, Ohio): I’m in town for one of the greatest honors of my life. Heck, the greatest professional honor — the McCann Award, which is presented annually by the Hall of Fame to a writer for long and distinguished

Like my johnson.

reporting on the game. So the tireless Pete Fierle of the Hall’s staff has set up a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hall for us with one of the Hall’s archivists, Jason Aikens.

Of the Akron Aikens?!?!?

It’s Nirvana. I held Johnny Unitas’ 1956 contract in my hands (he made $7,000 for the Colts before he was somebody, and his handwriting was exquisite).

That Unitas had a signature you could set your watch to!  And John Elway?  His block letters define clutch.

Hanging from one of the shelves is Pat Tillman’s garment bag (Samsonite, I believe).

It was the bravest piece of luggage King’s ever seen.

Aikens opens up one drawer and pulls out a game program from 1946, from Paul Brown’s first professional game — the Cleveland Browns against the Miami Seahawks, an All-America Football Conference game. Leather helmets.

Leather helmets?!? In the Professional Football Hall of Fame? GET OUT!!!!

6:45 p.m., Friday (Canton): The commissioner of the NFL should be on injured-reserve. He’s not sure how it happened, but while climbing Mount Rainier to raise money for the United Way a month ago, Roger Goodell dislocated a rib. It might have happened just from the intense breathing because of the scarcity of oxygen that high above sea level.

Similar to the breathing PK experiences when he climbs the 67 stairs to his apartment, or when he gets a voicemail from Favre.

8:30 p.m., Friday (Canton): Did you know that when you look out at a crowd of 4,000 people you really can’t see much of anything? Something about the lights in your eyes. Anyway, the folks at the Hall told me three minutes for my speech at first, then asked if I could do it in two. Of course, I took more than six.

Of course. “I’m a long-winded selfish fuck who can’t pick up on social cues that people don’t want to hear me blather on and on.  Ha ha ha!  Isn’t life grand?”

The best thing I hear all night: Berman saying Ralph Wilson never voted for one single franchise transfer in his 40 years as an NFL owner. Beautiful. Reminds me of a conversation I had with Wilson last year. “I will not move this team,” he said. “I cannot move this team. What would the people of Buffalo do without the Bills?”

Oh, I don’t know — travel to Toronto for Bills home games?  Thankfully, that will never happen while Ralph Wilson lives.

I’ve often said this is a trip real football fans have to make at least once, even if you don’t get the thrill of nosing around the archives.

“Even if you plebes don’t get the majestic splendor of preferential treatment that is warranted by someone of my professional stature, you can still attain a semblance of pleasure here.”

4:05 p.m. Sunday (Browns Family Day, Cleveland, Ohio): If autograph-signing won quarterback jobs, Brady Quinn would be a Hall of Famer. Now. For 65 minutes, he signed for the crowd of 14,000 attending the Brown-White Scrimmage at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

BUT DID HE HAVE UNITAS’S PENMANSHIP?!?!? Don’t leave out details, King!

The Browns, however, were the first team I’ve been around this summer that I just didn’t get a good vibe from. The players are still feeling out Eric Mangini, and more than a few think he’s working them too hard. Well, the Browns were 4-12 last year, fired the coach and GM, and need a new sheriff. That’s what Mangini is trying to be.

What?  A professional football coach from the Belichick tree being tough on his players?  This is unheard of!

Quote of the Week II
“You’ll find out during the season.”
–San Francisco defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, on his defensive philosophy.

It was a slow week.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II

I learned exclusively Sunday that Eric Mangini had the stomach flu on the day he interviewed with Cleveland owner Randy Lerner for the Browns’ coaching job last November. He felt queasy on the drive to Lerner’s Long Island home, and had to have his driver and brother-in-law pull over a couple of blocks from the house so he could throw up, twice. During a break in the meeting, Mangini used the bathroom and threw up a third time. And during the second half of the meeting, he asked Lerner to hold that thought … while he threw up a fourth time.

That’s what I call playing hurt.

That’s what I call interviewing sick.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me III

Have you ever shaken hands with Adrian Peterson?


I don’t recommend it.

Here’s what Peterson does: He is the aggressor when a hand is offered, digging his palm deep into yours and squeezing hard. I’d shaken his hand four times before last Thursday,

“How many times have you shaken his hand again?  Zero?  Only four more times and you’ll start catching up with me.”

and now I was going to have a plan for it. Before he got the chance to dig his palm deep into mine, I was going to dig mine into his, because I figured if he didn’t know what was coming, I’d have the edge.

This wouldn’t be easy, as Peter is a natural bottom.

He walked toward me after Vikings’ practice Thursday morning and I got ready. But he was like Gary Cooper in High Noon. He drew first and shot. Even though I tried to get my hand far down into his palm, he was quicker. And when I squeezed, he destroyed me.

“It hurt, but I liked it.”

We talked for 10 or 15 minutes, and when we parted, I wanted one more shot.

That’s what she said.

I tried the amiable route — hey, have a good year, stay healthy, yada yada yada, and stuck my hand out almost as an afterthought, to try for the element of surprise. He stuck his hand out. At the last second, I plowed ahead, hard, and got my hand deep into his.

Deep into his hand.  Not his rectum.  Just to be clear.

No use. Even when he didn’t expect to shake, he figured out in a split-second what I was trying to do, and he death-gripped me, and I almost felt like, ‘Now I know how he can change lanes so quickly and make people miss.’ He gripped so hard I thought I heard a bone crack. I know when I’m beaten.

So, to recap: even after Adrian Peterson crushed Peter King’s hand five consecutive times, King — a lumpy sportswriter in his fifties — thought he could deliver a stronger handshake than one of the best players in the NFL.

c. I think the commissioner, Jerry Jones, Dick Ebersol, John Mara, Adam Schefter and others were way too kind in this piece my editors asked Schefter to write in recognition of me receiving the McCann Award.

Uh oh. King linked to something written about him. Is it any more obnoxious and out of touch than things written by King?  Let’s take a look:

“The thing I have always admired most about Peter King is his love for his work and his genuine enjoyment of being around people who compete [in] the drama of the games,” said Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

“He has been a serious contributor to the NFL for more than 20 years, because he has reached out to our fans and helped make our game the most popular sport in America. […] Passion is an overused term in athletics today, but Peter has it. He brings it to work with him every day.”

You know what?  The Double-J is exactly right.  That’s everything that’s good about King: he really loves just talking to players and celebrating the NFL. He’s self-absorbed, self-important, oblivious to criticism, and more naive than a teenage Mormon bride, but he’s a nice guy who loves his job.

“I always look forward to Monday mornings to read the ultimate quarterback of NFL journalism,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “Nobody does it better than Peter.”

FALSE.  Many people do it better than Peter.   Unless “it” is relaxing one’s sphincter to bring a lonely quarterback to orgasm.

And then there’s one of Peter’s bosses, the chairman of NBC Sports, Dick Ebersol. “Peter has a natural curiosity and boyish enthusiasm about many things in his life, especially this game that we all love,” Ebersol said. “He may be in his early fifties, but he has all of the enthusiasm of that young boy from Connecticut who, from an early age, simply adored sports.”

“This fully grown man has the analytical skills of a child.”

Over time — which, ironically, is a subject that Peter rails against in print —

Wait, he rails against the passage of time?  “Time, you are the Continental Airlines of dimensions!”

he became a towering figure in his profession, an example for others, a man that remained humble when many would not have been.

Unless, of course, your hotel doesn’t provide free coffee in its lobby before 6:00 a.m. DON’T THINK PETER KING HAS FORGOTTEN YOU, MARRIOTT LAGUNA CLIFFS!

“I have known Peter for some 25 years and he hasn’t changed,” said ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. “From day one, I’ve eyewitnessed his passion for his job, the excellence of his world and his love of sport. All of it is only surpassed by the fact that he is one of the best persons in the world and a great family man.”

Mortensen then retracted his statement after Jay Glazer reported that King is not, in fact, one of the best “persons” in the world.

Peter doesn’t big time anyone, no matter how big time he is.

Unless you’re a child hoping to get a foul ball from a spring training baseball game.

Anyway, back to King’s column:

g. If you go to the Hall weekend, don’t think you’ll catch up on sleep by missing the parade. Big, big mistake. Big-time high school bands, baton-twirlers, floats, Rod Woodson and Dan Fouts riding in convertibles and waving, crazy things like dancing garbage-can haulers. Total Americana.

So wait a sec, all those things kept Peter King from sleeping? The baton-twirlers were making too much noise? “Hey, someone turn those floats down!”

i. Thanks to the Army Medivac team from Sarasota, Fla., for the lift in the Blackhawk helicopter Saturday night, the one that buzzed Fawcett Stadium. Glad to see the country’s in good hands, men. The thing I’ve emphasized to people about our military that the public might not know is how smart these soldiers and pilots are. Impressive.

Some of them are even bright enough to hate reading your column. And it’s medevac, not medivac, you simple-minded soft-serve bowl of Neanderpolitan.

h. Jay Cutler, in front of 27,000 at Soldier Field Saturday, went 22 of 27. There’s no stopping the hype now, and it’s (mostly) justified.

Cutler on his performance: “Whatever.”

i. In the Foxboro area today? Go to Patriots practice and get screened for skin cancer. The Patriots will be doing it, free, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and from 3-7 p.m. in the W3 lobby, the area where fans arrive for camp. Excellent and timely idea, considering that a million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year, and that Jim Johnson just died from it.

Boston fans, RESPECT THE SUN.

l. Wish I could see all 32 [preseason camps]. But it’s a death march to try. John Clayton did it once, and he survived. I’d fear for my health, my marriage and my sanity.

Especially his marriage. The temptations on the road are great and numerous. So many quarterbacks with exquisite handwriting!

e. Why haven’t we become technologically advanced enough to be able to go online on airplanes? Is any airline doing this yet? I’d love to hear if one is. Let me know.


You know, for someone who writes an Internet column and uses Twitter, you’d think Peter King could use a search engine. I Googled “airlines with Internet,” and here are some stories on the first page of results:

American Airlines Launches Internet Service on Longer, Nonstop Flights
Southwest Airlines joins the “superskyway” with inflight Internet trials
American Airlines launches Internet service on SFO flights
United Airlines offers Internet Access

Pretty fucking exhausting work, typing three words into the most popular webpage on the Internet and pressing “enter.”  But then, maybe that sort of thing isn’t obvious to someone with the mind of a child.

Around The Web