This Is Your Mall, Peter King

12.13.10 7 years ago 92 Comments

When last we left brazen overtitler Peter King, he was issuing prescient warnings about New York City’s grievous drunken Santa Claus and rat problem.

What life lessons does PK learn this week? Can anyone explain the scoring intricacies of H.O.R.S.E.? Why is the Thursday New York Times crossword puzzle so disconcerting? Did PK traumatize Taylor Swift or merely embarrass her? Was Tom Wolfe right when he said no man can ever truly go to his old mall again?

A final note to Drew’s groupies (Drewpies?): this is my last week of subbing before your glorious champion returns to the throne. Hopefully that reminder will cut down on the three dozen comments inquiring about his whereabouts. Just kidding. Me bringing it up ensured there will be four times more.

Funny how quickly things change in the NFL. On Saturday afternoon, I thought this would be a big week for coaching news and Brett Favre will-he-or-won’t-he, and maybe the Favre/Sterger story. On Sunday afternoon, it was all weather and dome collapse, all the time. By this morning, I’m marveling over Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson. Those are two guys I’d pay to see.

There’s the about-face on Vick. All it took was beating a middling Cowboys team. PK is so impressed, he’d even contemplate lowing himself to the level of the hoi polloi, who must fork over their meager earnings to attend a game and not even to sit in a luxury box with the commissioner.

And who would have thought a slate of games and the roof of a dome collapsing could alter what receives attention from the media. THAT’S KRA-ZEE!

My 10 nuggets, some big and some small, for Week 14:

Nuggets, in varying shapes and sizes. This one is too big for your dipping sauce container. And this one is so small, there might not even be any meat in there. That could just be concentrated cooking oil. That’s barely quasi-nuggetesque.

“I was maybe 60 percent by that time in the game,” Jackson said. “I hurt my ankle in the third quarter. Actually my foot. I didn’t feel great. They asked me on the sideline, ‘You want to go in and get it X-rayed?’ I said, ‘Nah. I can’t leave my teammates out here like that.’

“I gotta do dis…FOR MADDEN!”

/will never get tired of that

And the ball came to me. Michael threw me a perfect pass, and I just tried to run away from people. It’s instinct.”

Yet he somehow fought off the instinct to deposit the ball on the one-yard line.

What a performance by Jackson. He caught four balls for 210 yards, a 52.5-yard average per catch. For the year, he’s blowing away the competition in the NFL with a 23.1-yard average per catch. Not that Jackson was a dud with Donovan McNabb — he certainly was a major impact player last year — but with Vick being a dual threat and the defense having to respect his ability to break the pocket, that’s more potential open space for Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to make hay.

Would that they could be aligned with a quartered back like J.T. of the Fightin’ O’Sullivans, whose haymaking technique is at once the finest and topmost in metrics suggestive of efficacious execution. Alas and alack, such fantasies shall forever reside in the wistful reveries of duffers and dreamers.

2. What a great slate of games next week.

Best slate of big playoff-factor gems for early games this season: Eagles-Giants, Chiefs-Rams, Saints-Ravens (not for the timid)

You will have to shout at your television to play it.

Jags-Colts (the AFC South Championship Game, most likely), 1 p.m. ET.

Wow, that’s like the ACC Championship Game of the NFL.

Moment-of-truth CBS doubleheader late game: Jets-Steelers, 4:15 p.m.

Eh, it’s not really that important of a game. The Jets aren’t catching the Patriots. Neither will the Steelers for the top seed in the conference. And the Steelers now have a two-game lead on the Chiefs for the other bye.

/dick joke

Night game vital to Cheesehead Nation: Packers-Patriots, 8:20 p.m.

Important to dipshit Packers fans? Well I guess there’s something to be gained from the Patriots winning by 31, then.

3. Favre tonight? Maybe. Doubtful, but maybe.

Brett Favre told Ed Werder his consecutive-game streak would have ended if the game against the Giants were yesterday; that’s how much his sprained shoulder joint hurt. Could 31 hours make a difference? I talked to Vikings coach Leslie Frazier just before the team left for Detroit late Sunday afternoon, and he called Favre “questionable” — the NFL’s 50-50 version of injury-reporting. Frazier said he’d talk to Favre at breakfast today at their Detroit hotel and see whether Favre thought he might be able to get enough movement in the shoulder to play tonight at Ford Field. So the story America hates lives for another day.


4. All of a sudden, in a competitive sense, Spygate doesn’t seem so important.

And here’s the biggest reason why you should fear the Patriots winning the Super Bowl this season. Beyond that standard Masshole chestbeating about Lunchpail Nation willing the whitest football team since Reconstruction on to a title, there will be endless diatribes from longtime Patriots fluffers like Peter King saying that this championship means Spygate was overblown and maybe shouldn’t have been made an issue at all. Which will only further feed into Bahstan fans seeing this as a victory against AWL THE FACKIN HATAHS WHO TAHHHGETED US! YO-AHH TRIED TO STAWP THE GREATRIOTS JUGGAHNAWT WITH YA FACKIN DO-GOODAH RULES BUT ONCE AGAIN THE PATS WERE-AH TOO FACKIN SMART AND HAD TOO MUCH HAAAAHHHHTT. LONG LIFE THE HAHHHTTT SMAHHHTT GREATRIOTS!

/begins stockpiling alcohol for when the Patriots win the Super Bowl

Since the commissioner whacked the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick in September 2007 for the longterm practice of taping the opposition’s sidelines, New England has played almost half the number of games (64) as it played coached by Belichick before the sanctions came down (126). So the sample size is good to determine what sort of edge Belichick and his team got from knowing what the opposing signals might have meant. And the answer I found is: not much, apparently.

It’s not that easy to compare the offense now to the one during the Spygate. Yeah, Brady is the constant, but he was a younger player during those years and would be more likely to benefit from that information that he would now. But whatever. Maybe it didn’t help them that much. Why bother persistently cheating, then?

Before I go on, understand I’m not attempting to minimize what the Patriots did wrong. Roger Goodell was right to take away a first-round pick and whack the Pats $750,000 for the misdeed.

“He was right to penalize them. I just want it to be known that the Patriots were cheating just for the fuck of it and it really never helped them in the slightest. And Nixon didn’t need to spy on the DNC because he was going to win that election anyway.”

5. Peyton Manning is on pace to throw 700 passes. Exactly.

Hey, that’s a round number! Neat!

That would be a league record. Drew Bledsoe (1994, New England) holds it now, with 693. The most Manning’s thrown in a year is 591, and he could pass that in the first half Sunday; at 569, he’s only 22 shy of that. Not exactly the kind of record Manning prefers to have, but until the Colts run better and he gets on the same page with the receivers, he’ll be a threat to break it.

Which also means setting new benchmarks for Manningface in a season.

6. Matt Cassel for MVP.

In the strict sense of “value,” it’s arguable.

In the strict sense of “most,” less so.

Kansas City had a two-game division lead two days ago. Now, the Chargers host San Francisco Thursday night, and if San Diego wins, the Chiefs will be playing to keep sole possession of first place in the AFC West next Sunday at St. Louis. Without Cassel, they’re probably sunk. One team medic told me the other day that he’d sit an appendicitis victim for two weeks. We’ll see how Cassel heals this week.

And how Todd Haley forces his ass onto the field next week regardless.

8. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Anatomy of a story lots of big men will tell their kids about some day:

Shaun O’Hara: Gather ’round, children. I’ve never told you this story before because I wanted to wait until you were old enough to hear it.

Kid [Jumping around stupidly playing Kinect]: Yeah, what? Hold on. I can’t pause this.

O’Hara: Well, it goes like this: one time, when we supposed to play a football game in Minnesota, but we got stranded in Kansas City because of a snow storm. Then the snow ruined the gay inflatable roof of the dome in Minnesota, so the game got delayed by one day and moved to another city. It was the most memorable minor inconvenience I ever suffered.

Kid: Okay, okay, I just paused it. What happened? It snowed somewhere?

O’Hara: Also I picked your mother up off the street.

The Giants flew from Newark headed to Minneapolis early Saturday afternoon, trying to beat the coming snowstorm, and when they were about a half-hour out, one of the flight attendants said they’d be one of the last planes in before the airport closed. Ooops. Ten minutes later, they veered south, out of the storm’s immediate path, and landed 471 miles away, in Kansas City. They sat on the plane. They waited.

They disembarked to a secure gate area, waiting for word on where they’d go next. They played cards, Family Feud and Scrabble on their iPads. They watched the Chiefs, just two gates away, get loaded up for their charter to San Diego. Sunny San Diego. Warm San Diego. The Chiefs left. The Giants stayed, eventually learned they weren’t going anywhere that night, and bunked in at the Kansas City Airport Marriott.

And then the hotel was taken over by terrorists, right? Please tell me they suffer legitimate hardship at some juncture in this story.

Conference calls. Itineraries torn up.


“We had five different itineraries, I think, over the weekend,” Tom Coughlin told me. Meetings at the hotel. Plans to fly out in the morning. Hand-wringing. Coughlin, I’m told, wasn’t that upset by it. “Why get upset?’ he said. “You have to realize these things are out of your hands.”

I’m actually not that surprised that Tom Coughlin wasn’t being a red-faced spittle sprinkler in this scenario. See, this is the thing you need to know about head cases like Coughlin: they always have that rare moment when you expect them to erupt and they don’t. And it’s something where it’s even kind of an understandable situation. You brace for it, then it doesn’t come. This somehow ends up being more nerve-wracking than if they actually went apeshit.

“A lot of times,” left tackle David Diehl said, “he’ll say to us, ‘Midstream adjust, midstream adjust,’ when you’ve got to change what you’re doing because something comes up or something changes. So we’re like, ‘Hey coach, midstream adjust! Midstream adjust!’ I actually think it was good for us. Usually, when you leave for a road game, guys go off on their own and do whatever. Here, we were all together. Bonding time. I didn’t hear guys being mad about it.”


Tonight, 7:20 p.m. central time, before a strange crowd of people watching the New York Giants play for the NFC East lead. Free of charge. Rooting for … who knows?

Ryan Gosling to get the girl? Jewelry commercials to be outlawed? The Red Wings? The sweet embrace of death?

The first person in line for the free tickets to tonight’s game got there at 2 a.m. today. Should be an interesting night, whatever happens. It’s on Fox in New York, Albany, Minneapolis and Mankato, Minn., and on DirecTV Sunday Ticket if you have it. Play ball. Finally.

Finally? Oh noes, ONE WHOLE DAY LOST! Thank heavens lofty regional coverage is there to pick up the slack.

When linebacker Bart Scott was leaving work Sunday after the 10-6 loss to Miami, he was asked by New York Times reporter Greg Bishop about the fans chanting, “Same Old Jets,” and whether they had reason to be worried. “They’ve got good reason to panic,” Scott told Bishop. “We haven’t been playing good football, and we’ve got good teams coming up.”

You’re not being paid to give reasonable, measured responses, Bart Scott.

With a bully, and I don’t mean Rex Ryan. Their head strength and conditioning coach, Sal Alosi, tripped Miami special-teamer Nolan Carroll while he was running down the sideline covering a punt, causing Carroll to limp off the field. I’ve seen some bush-league things in 26 years covering the NFL, but that’s got to be in the top 10. Though Alosi apologized, I think a one-game suspension for affecting the competitive balance of a game is in order.

Sure, but you know Alosi has a nice bounty bonus coming from Rex.

10. Gene Smith: The NFL executive we don’t know. Yet.

Until Peter King ushers him out of obscurity. Another priceless discovery. He might even be able to get a job now!

The Jaguars have a one-game lead on Indianapolis with three to play, including the potential AFC South championship game next Sunday in Indiana. Their general manager, Gene Smith, has done a masterful job of retooling the roster since taking the job 23 months ago. In fact, all 15 of his draft picks are still with the organization — either active, on the practice squad or on injured-reserve. Six of them started Sunday against Oakland, and five others played.

And most importantly, he didn’t draft Tim Tebow, as PK counseled.

The starters are led by four meat-and-potatoes linemen: defensive tackles Tyson Alualu (round one, 2010) and Terrance Knighton (round three, 2009), and offensive tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, the first two pick of the 2009 draft for the Jags.

As opposed to pasta primavera linemen.

A seventh-rounder last year, running back Rashad Jennings, burned the Raiders for 109 rushing yards in Jacksonville’s 38-31 win; he’s become a good complement for Maurice Jones-Drew.


/doesn’t own MJD in any fantasy leagues, but feels entitled to bitch anyway

Smith got famous — or infamous — last April for picking Alualu 10th overall when most teams had him rated between 30 and 50. I remember talking to him and getting the sense that he truly didn’t care what the public or media or his scouting peers thought. Either he was whistling past the graveyard and being a macho guy about it, or he was sticking to his principles of drafting good players with good character who could turn an inconsistent team into a solid, consistent playoff contender.

Only revisionist history can say for sure!

Executive-of-the-Year is turning into a good horse race now between Kansas City’s Scott Pioli and Smith, with Atlanta’s Thomas Dimitroff, Giants GM Jerry Reese, Mike Tannenbaum of the Jets (though some of his pickups are fading in New York’s recent downturn) and Billy Devaney of the Rams contenders too. All have good cases, and it’s a very subjective award.

“First guy to return my text wins!”

The Fine Fifteen

1. New England (11-2). In the past 29 days, the Pats have won at Pittsburgh, Chicago and Detroit, and beaten Indianapolis and the Jets at home. I’d say that’s satisfactory to name them the best team in football. That plus the fact they’ve beaten two nine-win teams in the past week by a combined 81 points. Whoa.

5. Philadelphia (9-4). Well, maybe they catch a break with the Giants not landing in Newark ’til 3ish Tuesday morning. I doubt that will be a factor Sunday in the Meadowlands.

Do the Eagles catch a break because the Giants have to travel an extra day? I don’t know.
Do you think WikiLeaks has a record of all the coffee orders I’ve made in my life? I don’t know.
Is the person who invented the snow globe proud of his accomplishment? If it was never invented, you think I could have done it? I don’t know.

6. Baltimore (8-4). Ravens get back to their complex around 4:45 tomorrow morning from the Monday-nighter in Houston, and Greg Mattison and staff will continue preparations for the Saints. [When teams play on Monday night, coaches spend some time over the weekend and during the day Monday gameplanning for the following week, though they wouldn’t want you to know that lest you think their “focus” is diluted.]


Oh wait, maybe PK was trying to say something with those super sly sarcastiquotes bracketing the word focus. Oh, I know, it was:


7. New York Giants (8-4). Biggest break for the Giants? This won’t be a home game for the Vikings tonight. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz told me he’d probably show up to watch tonight, in part to scout for the Week 17 rematch with Minnesota, and in part — I hope — to have a cold beer to celebrate the 7-3 win over the Pack on the same field Sunday.

And now that he knows Peter King is publicly begging to hang out with him, there’s no way Schwartz shows up to that game.

10. Chicago (9-4). I don’t know how a team could look worse in four quarters in its own weather.

Because the Patriots never play in snow.

12. New York Jets (9-4). I say New York should have — as Rex Ryan admitted he was thinking of doing — benched Mark Sanchez in the third quarter of the 10-6 loss to Miami. Sanchez has thrown interceptions in eight straight games. He’s in a Broadway-sized funk.

13. Tampa Bay (8-5). Josh Freeman won this game, not just by his final scoring drive, but by his muscle-bound bulling for the two-point conversion. The final: Tampa 17, Washington 16.

The Redskins being complete fuck-ups factored in a little, as well.

14. Kansas City (8-5). Heal, Matt Cassel. Fast.

Burst, appendix. Don’t.

15. Indianapolis (7-6). I guess I’m on a sideboard of the Colts’ bandwagon.

That’s where they keep the nacho bar!

I’m teetering on getting back on. But they still are 2-4 in the past six weeks. I need to see more, and I don’t know if more is in the offing.

Yes, please keep us apprised as to the status of your Colts erection.

MVP Watch

3. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay. Saw his value pretty well when he was concussed and the Pack had to try to limp through a bad day with Matt Flynn. And couldn’t.

Rodgers went down with three minutes left in the first half. Amount of points the Packers had at the time: zero.

Historical Quote of the Week

“The signs this morning should scream ‘danger.’ ”
— Les Carpenter of the Washington Post, writing on the February 2009 morning the Redskins signed Albert Haynesworth.

There have been some historically bad signings in the 17-year history of free agency, but I challenge you to think of a guy who’s been more of a waste of good money than Haynesworth.

About a dozen other big-name free agents the Redskins have signed in that span.

Quote of the Week I

“I thought about it and I was like, ‘Nah, it’s not the kid’s fault.’ ”
— Jets coach Rex Ryan, on the fact that he thought of benching second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez in the third quarter of a 10-6 loss to Miami.


Quote of the Week II

“Disconcerting signals. Indianapolis number 99 trying to draw a false start by calling the count. That 15-yard penalty has been accepted on the ensuing kickoff.”
— Referee John Parry, on Colts defensive tackle Al Johnson simulating the snap count by Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins Thursday night.

Why is that here? The words “disconcerting signals.” Have you ever heard a ref say that New York Times Thursday crossword word over a microphone?

Because unlike the rest of the week, Will Shortz fills the Thursday puzzle with awkward and stilted phrases that have no cultural referent. Makes for a difficult time, but for those up to the challenge, it’s a rewarding endeavor.

7. “Lofty” writer who has never actually finished a NYT crossword

Quote of the Week III

“If we have to pay eight coaches, too bad for us.”
— Denver chief operating officer Joe Ellis, on the specter of paying two coaches no longer with the team, Mike Shanahan and Josh McDaniels, as well as a new shiny head coach and staff in 2011.

“We’ll just make up for it by firing some stadium employees or docking their pay if we’re feeling charitable.”

Special Teams Player of the Week

Brandon Fields, P, Miami.

In a classic field-position game (well, thanks to how bad Mark Sanchez was, and to a horrendous end-zone drop by Santonio Holmes), Fields had the kind of game punters dream of. Ten punts, 56.4-yard average. His punts: 53, 61, 38, 62, 49, 62, 69, 56, 56 and 58 yards. I wonder if there’s ever been a game in NFL history with seven punts of 56 yards or more. A virtuoso performance by a punter even ardent football fans have never heard of.

I love it when Peter King projects his ignorance onto his readership. “Hey, I don’t who this guy is. Uh… that’s because nobody does. Not even Dolphins fans who have watched him play for the team for FOUR FUCKING SEASONS!”

Coach of the Week

Mike Singletary, head coach, San Francisco.

Most people (including me) think Singletary’s coaching out the string with the 49ers. But he’s still coaching to win every game he can, and making decisions for the short term, because this team, incredibly, still has a chance to win the worst division in recent NFL history. He switched quarterbacks from Troy to Alex Smith (even though he’d grown fed up with Alex Smith by midseason), and Alex came through with the best game a quarterback has played for the Niners this year. And San Francisco routed the Seahawks 40-21.

Singletary went back to Alex Smith because Troy Smith proved to somehow be an even shittier option and the coach was rewarded with a fluky flash of competency from the guy he already gave up on once. JUST THE WAY HE DREW IT UP!

Goats of the Week

Sal Alosi, head strength and conditioning coach, New York Jets.

Nolan Carroll of the Dolphins was running just out of bounds, chasing a punt at the Meadowlands, when Alosi, standing there in a green windbreaker, deftly tripped Carroll by sticking out his left knee.

Deftly? Is Peter King complimenting his tripping form? That’s kind of awesome, actually.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

One of my best friends in the business, longtime Lions beat guy Mike O’Hara, sent me a great note last night regarding Brett Favre’s consecutive-game streak perhaps ending tonight in Detroit. Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 consecutive games played ended in the same city 71 years ago. “He left old Briggs Stadium, had a cup of coffee at a diner, and walked to the team hotel,” O’Hara messaged.

Coffee AND walking? Peter King has pronounced Gehrig America’s greatest hero.

I looked it up, and O’Hara was spot on. Gehrig’s streak ended on May 3, 1939, when a weakened Iron Horse bowed out of the lineup for the first time in 14 years. Incredibly, the man he replaced 14 years earlier, Wally Pipp, was in the small crowd of 11,000 that day at Briggs Stadium, looking on as Gehrig brought the lineup card to home plate. Gehrig then sat in the dugout for the rest of the game. Gehrig would never play another game. Six weeks later, he was diagnosed with ALS, the disease that now bears his name.

And so it was that, in another striking parallel, Brett Favre’s Disease was coined. The condition is caused by exposing one’s genitals to cell phone radiation. No cure has yet been found.

If Favre doesn’t play tonight, his streak of 297 straight starts (321 including postseason games) will end at Ford Field, 1.3 miles from where Gehrig sat in the dugout at Briggs (later Tiger) Stadium.

What a hauntingly banal coincidence.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

One of the strangest men I’ve seen sat across the aisle from me on the Boston-to-New York train Saturday. The guy, about 30, took out his Blackberry power cord when we got on, plugged the phone in, had nothing else out on his little table, and when to work texting and looking at email (I suppose) and Tweets or whatever. He did not get up to use the rest room. He did not get up to get anything to eat, not to ask for anything. He sat for 3 hours and 47 minutes. When the announcement came on that we were pulling into Manhattan, he unplugged the phone, put the power cord back in his bag, and, walking off the train, kept his eyes glued to the device.

Blackberry rehab, dude.

We meet every Thursday and do the crazy difficult NYT crossword. BUT ON PAPER. It’s a liberating experience, brutha.

Tweet of the Week

“Does anyone know where I can buy some Patience at?’
–@shawnemerriman, idled Buffalo linebacker Shawne Merriman, who can’t seem to stay on the field in Pacific or Eastern time.

Damn, PK. You don’t notice anything, do you? There’s a reason he capitalized patience and it’s not just because Merriman is a retard who doesn’t know how to write (unlike Hunter S. Thompson, who just capitalizes Random Nouns because it’s Artful and Deep). Patience is the new hot designer steroid. Do I have to do all your work for you?

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 14:

a. Chan Gailey’s quote to me about Ivy quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick: “His demeanor in meetings and practice is Harvard. His play on Sunday is Ohio State.”

That metaphor is very University of Phoenix.

e. ESPN (and I have no idea if the WWL did this voluntarily or under some duress), for allowing its Monday night Ravens-Texans audience to be creamed tonight. Not only does Giants-Vikings severely dilute the New York market because FOX will air the Giants game, but also the game’s going to be on DirecTV Sunday Ticket, meaning anyone with that service will have a choice of games tonight — as will tons of sports bars.

I sat through that entire worthless 49ers-Cardinals game. ESPN made absolutely no effort to try to sell that on its audience. Even the announcers were dumping on it at the beginning. Unless it’s a marquee matchup like Jets-Pats, tWWL could give a fuck.

g. HBO, for the Vince Lombardi documentary. I have to say I’m only halfway through it, but the depth and intelligence of it so far are stunning. I love seeing his kids talk about what it was really like to be Lombardis, particularly when his daughter tells the story of not being able to find Green Bay on a map before their moves, and dad telling her when he’s done there, everyone will know where Green Bay is. Sounds too corny to be true, but it’s fact.

Now she just wishes she never knew where it is.

j. Jay Feely, the Arizona kicker and mad Tweeter, for his monster game against Denver. In a 35-minute span, Feely kicked five field goals, including a 55-yarder, and ran for a five-yard touchdown. Cool for a kicker.

Going through something emotional?

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 14:

d. Donovan McNabb. If the Buc defenders could catch, the Redskins would likely have gotten routed Sunday, and he could be on the first Acela out of Washington this morning. Exaggerating there a bit

Because everyone knows McNabb is not lofty enough for Acela.

h. The Jets’ offense. A disgrace. No offensive touchdowns for nine quarters now. In the span of one week, the New York playoff path has gotten impossible. To reach the Super Bowl — even if the Jets make the playoffs — they’d now almost certainly have to win three road games.

You mean like they almost did last year?

j. I think last week was the low point to be a Redskins fan. Now? After seeing the McNabb/Gano show again? Not so sure.

Someone got their hands on the Redskins beat writer template.

5. I think I don’t know how you could have an ounce of faith in Carson Palmer this morning, not after handing the Steelers two touchdowns on interception returns, and not after continually misfiring again. It might be time to deal him to San Francisco for a second-round pick in April, Mike Brown. Or a third-.

Even better – swap him for McNabb to the Redskins. “IT’S OKEE NOW, COOCH. WE KNOW YOU LEARNED FROM YER MISTAKES THIS TIME!” Plus that reunites McNabb with T.O.

/no way the Bengals re-sign Owens when his asking price goes up after this season

6. I think it looks so depressing to be a Panthers fan. The empty seats. The hopelessness. That’s about as down as a franchise can be. I understand Jerry Richardson wanting to pay a new head coach a reasonable salary ($2.5-million, for example, per year), but that franchise might be so far under water that he may have to rethink that future plan and pay Bill Cowher what he’s worth. I can’t imagine 60 percent of his season-ticket-holders re-upping for what they’d consider more of the same. The Panthers need a facelift. Even though recent history says low-profile coaches (Mike Smith, John Harbaugh, Mike Tomlin) are good risks, Carolina needs a headliner more than Atlanta or Baltimore or Pittsburgh did when they made those hires.

Bank on fans being stupidly excited by a name they recognize. Shall I bring up the Redskins again?

7. I think that was a little creepy, Tashard Choice, running up to Michael Vick after a loss, Sharpie in hard, and having him autograph your glove.

“The fervor with which you pushed me out of the way bordered on lunacy!”

9. I think this is one of the amazing numbers of the day: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have been together for 108 regular-season wins. Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw teamed for 107.

Wow, it’s almost as though a coach and a quarterback who have combined for three championships over a decade together might roll off a few victories.

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

a. RIP, Elizabeth Edwards, noble and smart and betrayed.

And awkwardly memorialized.

b. Fun night Saturday out in New Jersey at the home of Sam Flood and wife Jane (Sam’s our Football Night in America executive producer) for the crew. Headline of the night: Rodney Harrison and Dan Patrick outside at the basketball hoop in the Flood driveway, playing H-O-R-S-E, and in mid-game, matching each other on eight straight shots from downtown. The silky smooth Patrick was too much for Harrison, though. Patrick won HORSE to HO. Is that how you keep score in that game? It’s been so long.

The mental image of Dan Patrick beating Rodney Harrison in HORSE is already pretty great (Rodney Harrison can’t win any contest that doesn’t involve cheap shots). But having Peter King galumphing around the driveway trying to figure out what’s going on is just the perfect touch. “WHAT’S GOING ON? HE JUST SCORED WHAT? AN “S”? I CAN’T KEEP UP WITH ALL THESE COCKAMAMIE RULES!”

c. I miss New Jersey a lot. You know you miss the Jerz when you get a little emotional driving past the Garden State Plaza. Sniff sniff. That’s my mall!

And there you have it, folks. The contest for Quintessential Obtuse White Guy Comment of the Year is over for 2010. We will no longer be accepting submissions.

d. I see Taylor Swift turns 21 today.

Way to join Tashard Choice in the creepy club.

I bet she won’t remember me leaving my size-14 hoofprint on her red dress at Saturday Night Live last year. Either that or it’s scarred her for life.

Not that Peter King has been dwelling on this or anything.

/PK sings “You Belong With Me” dolefully into a mirror without changing the lyrics about wearing short skirts

f. Albert Breer of NFL Network tweeted yesterday about the noted Chicago meteorologist Amy Freeze (yes, her real name). I bet he didn’t know Amy was a cheerleader at BYU and married the Brigham Young mascot, Cosmo the Cougar. What a Cougar.


g. No, I didn’t just make that up.

Mind. Blizzzowned.

h. Coffeenerdness: Just to be fair, I did try the Amtrak coffee once more the other day. I was desperate for coffee. Nope. Still weak as a kitten.

Peter King is not one to grant second chances, Amtrak. And now you have squandered yours. That’s more than some luxury transport options get in a lifetime.

i. Beernerdness: What do you think? I’m on the verge of making this a semi-regular category. Give me your input.

I can wait for your take on 7-11’s signature “Game Day” brew.

Who I Like Tonight, and I Mean Ron Jaworski

Baltimore 23, Houston 20.

New York Giants 23, Minnesota 20.

It’ll be eerie inside Ford Field tonight, and I expect you’ll have more fans for the Giants than for the division-rival Vikes. Giants players have been in airplanes and hotels all weekend, and who knows how all that will factor into what happens tonight.

They’ll have pillow fatigue!

But I say Eli Manning takes advantage of his rehabbed receiving weapons and makes more plays than whoever quarterbacks the Vikings.

Even if it’s Lou Gehrig?

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