When last we left predictable court-storming scold, Peter King, it was Spilly who sacrificed his sanity to read PK’s attempt at describing Jameis Winston as the most scrutinized player history (at least since the last draft). Peter also pretended like it was a real possibility that Sam Bradford gets traded to the Browns, even after listing several compelling reasons why it will never happen.
But what about this week? Remember all those necessary changes the Competitive Committee was going to make after last season? Well they’re not going to happen. Sorry! Now, READ ON.
I’m like everybody else with this Los Angeles thing.
You’re wearied by the NFL’s naked attempts to strongarm city and state governments into ponying up hundreds of millions for massive boondoggles that only get used about 10 times a year and never generate as much revenue as they promise?
I’m on page 24 of a 300-page book, and it’s not all that interesting so far. But I hear the end is compelling, so I’d rather speed past the next 230 pages and go straight to the climax. Tell me what the end game is.
Evidently, no. Peter is just fine with the fleecing. He just wants all the sordid business to hurry up and happen. “Can’t I just read the CliffNotes on the Rams relocation? How about I scan the Wikipedia entry from my phone during a minor league baseball game two years from now?”
“What’s your gut feeling about the number of NFL teams playing football in Los Angeles in 2020 — zero, one or two?” I asked Eric Grubman, an NFL senior vice president and the league’s point man on the L.A. market, on Friday.
“I don’t know the number,” he said near the end of a 35-minute interview. “But the least probable of those numbers is zero. I would say we’ve gone above the 50 percent probability that we’ll have at least one team there.”
SHOCK OF SHOCKS: an NFL executive sees a team moving to Los Angeles as a certainty. Because municipalities aren’t about to commit huge public funds to a franchise if there’s a shred of doubt from the league about how dire the situation is.
The rendering atop this column — and the gallery below this paragraph — is a start. This is the first time anyone outside the league or the committee charged with keeping the Rams in St. Louis has seen the renderings of what a new $1 billion, 64,000-seat open-air riverfront football stadium on the banks of the Mississippi River would look like.
MMQB EXCLUSIVE, YOU GUYS. Nowhere else will you see the computer renderings of a stadium that might not ever exist. Never mind that there have already been drawn versions of it. These other pictures of a hypothetical stadium were made with a computer. That makes them a legit percentage more real!
“It’s definitely a legitimate option,” said Grubman. “I see no fatal defect to it.”
“Yes, I can confirm that is an acceptable picture of a stadium.”
So St. Louis has an owner with one foot out the door but with a solid plan to keep the team in a beautiful stadium. The preferred goal of San Diego and Oakland is to stay in San Diego and Oakland. Or, as Grubman said: “St. Louis is being aggressive and specific. San Diego recently has shown potential to be aggressive, but has not yet been specific. Oakland has been neither aggressive nor specific.”
That’s some solid Oakland right there. I would love to see video of an NFL representative confronting the mayor at her office.
“So where can we expect a new football stadium in your fair city?”
[Mayor doesn’t even look up, waves her hand lazily in indeterminate direction while taking bites of an empanada]
But is it enough? And if Kroenke leaves, will it be enough to attract another team? I’ve thought about this a lot, and several people connected to the story say I’m not the first one to suggest this is the end game:
“Someone else has wildly speculated in a way similar to MEEEEEEE!”
Rams move to Inglewood. Chargers can’t get a deal done in San Diego and join them in Inglewood. Raiders, left without a stadium option, take the St. Louis deal. And by 2019, Derek Carr will be the quarterback of your St. Louis Raiders.
Everything about that last sentence is just so sad. I need the Raiders to a scumbag team with mutant fans. That won’t happen in St. Louis. They’ll just be boring and bad and no one will care, as opposed to the very entertaining form of bad they are now.
The reason it’s impossible now to predict how each domino will fall is this: Each team has an owner, a city, local officials, a state government and some emotion involved. Los Angeles has four possible venues with desperado leaders — all of which and all of whom are wild cards.
YEEEEEE-HAWWWWWW Loogit this bunch of wild card desperados six-shooting their way through a formalized set of NFL bylaws and anti-trust law. That’s real cowboy stuff, feller.
I screened NFL Films’ annual Super Bowl champion video the other day (“Super Bowl XLIX Champions: New England Patriots,” by Cinedigm, on sale Tuesday nationwide). Highlights from the hour-plus video that caught my eye:
Bill Belichick to prodigal son LeGarrette Blount, when Blount came to the sideline after scoring his second touchdown in his first game back in New England, against Detroit: “Good to have you back, buddy.” Blount: “Yes sir. I’m enjoying it.”
Just very good, compelling stuff. “Nice touchdown.” “I agree.” “I would like you to do it again.” “Understood.”
The stuff from the divisional playoff win over Baltimore is priceless. On Baltimore’s last drive, with the Ravens trailing by four, Julian Edelman was caught on mike saying, “Hey Flacco, throw us one.” And Joe Flacco did.
Ouf. You think Joe Flacco is elite and then he falls for one of Edelman’s Grit-I Mind Tricks in such a critical moment. Live and learn, I guess.
Before the last Seattle drive of the Super Bowl, with the Seahawks trailing, a miked Brady says: “D’s gotta make a play. Gotta intercept one.”
SUCH LOFTY LEADERSHIP AND I’D HAVE NEVER HAVE KNOWN TOM BRADY WAS SECRETLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT INTERCEPTION IF PK HADN’T WATCHED THAT BLU-RAY THAT I WILL NEVER BUY.
Peter King isn’t done selling us stuff, by the way. Essentially, there was an entire page of ads in his column this week. He’s hawking the NFL Films video, then he gives the floor to Brian Urlacher so he can push the YA book about his formative years that some author wrote for him.
Me: And your message to kids?
Urlacher: Most people probably think my life was like most athletes — which is wrong anyway. Everything came easy. I was spoon-fed. We’re all spoon-fed. That’s just wrong. I worked my tail off to get where I got in the NFL. After my seventh-grade year, I had a job all summer. I had to work. I worked every summer. And I also want kids to know I had issues. It’s normal to have issues. I have a 14-year-old daughter now, and I see it with her. It’s no different for her than for anyone else that age. The one thing I never had to put up much was bullying, though. We didn’t have much of that when I was growing up. Now it’s bullying, drugs, cell phones…
Urlacher just wants the next generation to know he worked real hard and he doesn’t understand how pussies these days get bullied, but maybe they’ll get inspiration not to get bullied by his stories of hard work.
Me: Ever tempted by drugs around that age?
Urlacher: Nope. I never tried weed. Never wanted to. Later, people would say to me, “You ought to try weed.” And I’d say: “Why break my streak now?”
That’s a pretty dumb reason not to try weed, but whatever – that’s his choice. Besides, I don’t think anyone is ready to see what high Brian Urlacher would be like.
Quotes of the Week
“You can’t have a Hall of Fame without me being in it. It’s just not legitimate.”
— Simeon Rice, to SB Nation. Nice career: 122 sacks in 174 career games. Not a career crying out for induction, in my opinion.
Obviously Simeon just needs a half dozen more rape charges for Peter to take him seriously.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Why would American Airlines, making the gate announcement for the JFK-to-Boston flight at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, announce, “This flight is completely full,” in an attempt to get excess bags checked? I chose my seat online Friday night — 29D, in an otherwise open row—and there were plenty of seats all over the plane. So we boarded, and it was barren, maybe one-third full. The last six rows contained 36 seats (six rows, six seats per row, three on either side of the aisle) and had a total of five people in them. I mean, why lie?
Probably because that’s the only way passengers will listen? Who gives a shit? You got on the flight and had plenty of room. But who can feel comfortable in the air knowing they’ve been HOODWINKED by weasel gate staff. WHAT ELSE ARE THEY HIDING!?
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these transactions caught my eye in the past week:
“I think I saw things!”
d. Green Bay cut linebacker A.J. Hawk, who is a pro’s pro.
It’s fine if you have PFT Commenter guest write your column, but you have to at least tell us.
Could the Bengals try to get one last year out of him? Great influence.
Demonstrably horrendous linebacker who can perhaps wipe some of his grit off on others. WHO SAYS NO, BENGALS!?
e. Philadelphia cut guard Todd Herremans, and he’ll have good value for someone. Great locker-room guy too.
If anyone wants a locker room full of untalented white try-hards, 2015 is your year.
3. I think I’m glad there wasn’t the kind of overreaction I’d expected to Michael Sam signing to appear on “Dancing With The Stars.” I don’t think there should be any negative reaction, period.
[People don’t react horribly to news item]
“I, for one, am glad that people didn’t act horribly. People should not act horribly, PERIOD.”
One: A man has to make some sort of living. If no team is going to sign Sam to play football, and he wants to continue to work out and chase his dream of being an NFL player, he’s got to find some way to support himself financially so the dream can continue to be chased. He’s living in Dallas, and paying to work out at a facility. Two: Training to dance on a TV show for three or four weeks doesn’t adversely affect a person’s ability to play football. Three: I expect if Sam doesn’t sign with an NFL team, he’ll strongly consider the Canadian Football League. “I’ll give up the game when my legs are both broken,” he wrote in a column for The MMQB two weeks ago. Dancing is not a detour. It’s a very part-time job.
That “wrote in a column for The MMQB” is the giveaway here. Peter made some hay last year around this time letting anyone who was willing to trash Michael Sam as a distraction do so in his column. But now that Sam is giving Peter exclusive content, whatever Sam wants to do is just fine.
5. I think, as the competition committee convenes in Florida this week for its annual week of fact-finding and investigating rules adjustments, I forecast an uphill fight for the two issues of most public interest: defining what is a catch, and making every play replay-reviewable. As committee co-chair Jeff Fisher told me at the combine, the definition of a catch “will be difficult” to change because of the bang-bang nature of a player holding the ball with two feet on the ground—and the fact that it would have the potential to lead to more concussions. Defenses know the definition of a catch would lead to more urgency to separate receivers from the ball, and could eliminate the “defenseless receiver” argument. As to making every play reviewable, remember Fisher’s words to me: “So if someone throws a touchdown pass against us to win the game, I’m going to throw the challenge flag. Somebody held out there. Somebody did something. You start there and then go … I mean, I don’t know. Replay was designed to overturn obvious errors. It was never designed to include penalties.” Doesn’t sound like the committee is inclined to consider that very seriously.
Lovely. Remember how sure everyone was that the Calvin Johnson rule would finally get eliminated after it screwed the Cowboys out of a playoff win? That penalties would be reviewable after the Lions got dicked over the week before? Not even two months later and Jeff Fisher is acting like people are idiots for even wanting change. Leave it to the NFL to let everything blow over.
6. I think many of you wanted to know in the wake of my mock(able) draft last week what the chances really are that the Eagles will trade up from the 20th pick to get in position to draft Marcus Mariota. The answer: I have no idea.
8. I think Josh McCown is certainly not the long-term answer at quarterback in Cleveland
Whoa, whoa, whoa, not too far out on the limb, Peter.
but I think he provides a bridge that’s different than Brian Hoyer. If Hoyer had been re-signed, he’d have expected to play every game, and the Browns weren’t convinced that he’s an NFL starter. With McCown, he can fill almost any role. He can start for a while. He can back up Johnny Manziel. He can start while tutoring Manziel. He can back up while tutoring Manziel. He can be a third quarterback if the Browns draft their quarterback of the future. Basically, McCown allows the Browns to keep their options open on draft day, and he buys them time if they don’t draft a quarterback to see if Manziel is a legitimate option to start this year.
He’s a different quarterback than Brian Hoyer in that he’s worse and older. But I agree that he’s a perfectly serviceable guy to throw in there if Manziel sucks without the fan base rooting for him to be the permanent starter.
9. I think Brett Favre’s jersey-retirement ceremony should be held in Lambeau Field, not jammed into the Lambeau atrium.
“NO ONE STUFFS MY BRETTY BOY IN AN ATRIUM! YOU GET MY GUNSLINGING SLICE OF HEAVEN OUT THERE ON THE 50-YARD-LINE AND THERE HAD BETTER BE FIREWORKS AND HONORARY DEER STANDS SET UP AROUND THE FIELD!”
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Sunday was March 1. I don’t recall a March 1 when spring felt farther away.
(S)March weather is always lousy. Year and year out, people (myself included) convince themselves that just because the start of spring technically falls in March, that the month is supposed to be nice. It is not. March is the same frozen hellscape that February is. We’ve been through this.
c. Spring training is a week old, and I’m already A-Rodded out—for the season.
A-Rod is a dickhole and likely a sociopath, though I do enjoy how much he riles up baseball fans. I wouldn’t mind if he came back and won MVP just to relish the universal disgust of baseball media.
i. Three questions.
Oh no, Peter King finally went ahead and became a bridge troll.
j. Why is court-storming allowed?
More to the point, why is any fun thing allowed? BAN FUN THINGS. KILL ALL JOY. MURDER HAPPINESS IN ITS SLEEP. Okay, on to the next question, even though putting them under separate points just once again shows Peter doesn’t know how to make a list.
k. Is Ronda Rousey paid by the second?
If that were the case, wouldn’t she try to make her fights longer? Please arm bar Peter, Ronda. You’re the best!
l. Why is this the first year since its inception that I cannot name one player in the Big East?
Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll still act like he saw it coming when Butler inexplicably makes the Elite 8.
q. Julianne Moore wins the Oscar on Sunday night. Julianne Moore acts in Manhattan on Tuesday. There’s someone who likes her job.
Wowzers, she worked two days after being at an awards show. That’s A.J. Hawk-level tireless work ethic.
u. The hearts of so many in the journalism community (and in the feeling world at large) go out to the Ivan Maisel family, as a desperate search for college son Max, missing since last Sunday near Rochester, N.Y., continues. Certainly nothing anyone can say or do can be of much solace at this point. But Ivan (a former SI writer now covering college football for ESPN), you should know how many people deeply feel for you and wish you and your family all the best in this awful time.
ICYMI, Peter tried to empathize with Maisel over Twitter on Friday night. As is often the case with PK, though his heart may have been in the right place, his downfall remains being bad at words.
Twitter jerks made fun of Peter, as Twitter jerks are wont to do, for comparing losing a child for three minutes with an actual missing person (while also copying the dad in the tweet!). This led to PK mockery blowback from people who work with Peter King and tend not to criticize him in general.
Ultimately, everyone wishes for the best with Max and rejects PK’s efforts to make everything about himself, even when he has the best intentions for doing so.
The Adieu Haiku
Suh’s franchise-tag cost:
One year, $27 mill.
Don’t dare moan if tagged.
Want a long-term deal?
A little stability?
FUCK YOU JUST TAKE IT!