When we last left map-eschewing porkquistador Peter King, he was decrying the price of Yankee Stadium’s hot chocolate (it’s 30% cacao!), praising the Saints for their edgy attitude, and deeply regretting ordering the Kung Pao cheeseburger spring rolls at Panda Express in the JFK airport.

What about this week? Will he ever find the Providence airport? Will it be another ho hum week for Wes Welker, ONLY THE FINEST WIDE RECEIVER EVER TO GRACE A FOOTBALL FIELD? And how did the Caldwellmen do? Join me, a day late, as we dive into the nether regions of one man’s very thin soul…

1. That, readers, was a Steelers Sunday right there.

You could feel the looseness in the air.

I think we’ve all gotten spoiled by the defense of the Steelers.

Indeed. I wish they’d stop sending me flowers and iPhones. And carpeting my driveway with rose petals whenever I drove home from work. STOP IT, LAMARR WOODLEY! I’M BLUSHING!

The Steelers have had 40, 50, who knows how many, of these games over the years.

And Big Ben has passed for, I dunno, 370 yards in the last 15 seconds of each and every one, or something. Let me not look it up, because that would ruin the magic of that particular psychostat. ALL OF THESE GAMES WERE PLAYED IN THE SNOW!

Tight in the fourth quarter, and the defense just does something. Or more than one something.

That something it does? CHEMISTRY.

This is one dangerous two-loss team if the Steelers can keep it up.

This just in: The Steelers, who won the Super Bowl last year and have won more Super Bowls than any team in history, might be an opponent you want to keep your eye out for. That Big Ben… so quiet! You’ll never hear him until you’ve run into his motorcycle with your Odyssey!

Now, the Cowboys might be completely back and they might not

Are they back? I don’t know. Could they be back? I don’t know. Could a Kraken rise from the ocean and snap entire skyscrapers in half with its mighty beak? I don’t know. Can I put a Twizzler in my nostril and pull it out of my mouth, thus delighting the four QB’s I’ve invited over for light beers? I don’t know.

— but what I like is that Romo is playing like you have to play sports.

Me too. He is playing as if someone has forced him to go out onto the field and play quarterback. THAT is how you play winning football.

One other thing about the Cowboys: Is it just me, or do they look like they’re having more fun on offense?

/runs to nfl.com
/checks team offense stats
/sorts by Smiles Taken and Fun Ratio

It’s not just you, Peter! The stats bear it out. This offense enjoys itself more than any other not piloted by Brett Favre.

Maybe that comes from winning.

/opens three poster boards taped together

HYPOTHESIS: Teams are happier when winning
DATA: Cowboys win two games in a row, now lead league in smiles
CONCLUSION: Is there a correlation? I don’t know.

/finishes last in 7th grade science fair

But the enthusiasm of Austin is contagious.

Here an odd sight: I saw a fun shot kiosk RIGHT in Valley Ranch headquarters.

It’s amazing how much can get done when no one cares who gets the credit.

Like the time I raised $5,000,000,000 for Dr. Z. And the time I offered to give some of my salary back to SI employees but was thankfully rebuffed!

3. I’m tired of taking San Diego’s temperature.

The only let me tuck the thermometer in their armpit. What fun is that?

What an interesting day the Bears’ castoff had against his old team Sunday in Cincinnati. Eight carries for 70 yards in the first quarter, 12 for 28 in the second, 8 for 54 in the third, 9 for 47 in the fourth.

Fascinating. It’s almost as if he got consistent carries and yards throughout the game. And he had 37 total carries. That’s nearly 40. MY GOD, CEDRIC BENSON IS ADAM DUNN.

(Heath)Shuler, 37, the third overall pick in the 1994 draft by Washington, is a Democratic congressman from North Carolina. He’ll quarterback a team from Congress against the Capitol Hill police Tuesday night at 8 at the D.C. Armory, in a game benefiting the Capitol police.

/bets mortgage on Capitol Hill police

The other day, from the floor of the House, he talked to me about life today between votes. “Hold on!” he said at one point. “Gotta vote on this investment for more solar energy research.” Shuler went away for 45 seconds, voted yea, and returned.

I KNOW POWERFUL PEOPLE. HAVE YOU MET TONY, AS IN DUNGY? I KNOW HIM AS WELL.

Of course, Tuesday’s flag-football game won’t be the same for Shuler. His foot hurts every time he puts too much pressure on it or tries to sprint, the result of two surgeries late in his career after he broke the sesamoid bone in his toe. Still he’ll hear the same thing he hears a lot around town these days, with the Redskins in such a funk. “People say to me, ‘We need you back with the ‘Skins!’ ”

Who the fuck says that? No one says that. Heath Shuler is the fucking lyingest liar that has ever lied. I wouldn’t vote for this prick to empty my fucking ice cube tray.

7. Get ready for Brett Favre Hype Week.

I’m the Grand Marshall! HGTV is doing a special Land Marathon in its honor!

New Orleans (6-0). Thirty-six points in the second half on the road.

Huh. What? I wasn’t listening.

Did you get that?

No.

Thirty-six.

WHOA, HEY! Now it’s finally sunk in! That’s a pussyload of points!

That’s almost as many Viagra/Cialis commercials you see in an average Sunday.

Ooh, a Viagra ad joke! Those are fresh. NOT!

When FOX scanned the Miami bench with 40 seconds left, the players looked like 36 trucks had just run them over.

With each truck representing a point, because that is how many points the Saints scored in the second half. Did you get that?

Denver (6-0). Take one young coach and one old safety. Add water, two eggs, three cups of flour, and you have yourself a championship cake.

For my championship cakes, I also like to throw in juuust a smidgeon of dynastic womb, and a cup of concrete cyanide. VOILA. Paula Deen would feed this to all her big fat retarded children.

Philadelphia (3-2). You know, maybe Michael Vick is just a lousy option quarterback. Maybe.

Maybe the Cowboys are happy because they’re winning. Maybe. Maybe Michael Vick blows at running the Wildcat. Maybe. Maybe there are underground caverns on Mars filled with batpeople. Maybe.

But I still think the Eagles have to find a way to make Vick more of a factor, perhaps starting tonight against Washington. It’s on Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg.

Hey, Michael Vick probably blows. YOU GUYS SHOULD DEFINITELY TRY AND AWKWARDLY SHOEHORN HIM INTO THE GAME MORE.

Houston (4-3). Past three weeks: Matt Schaub’s completed 68 percent of his throws, with eight touchdowns and two picks. Pretty soon we’ll have to put him in the top-10-quarterbacks discussion.

But for now, let’s leave him out of it. Five weeks from now, be on the lookout for me telling he is, at long last, a player to watch out for! He could be a Steeler, he’s so sneaky good!

“This is going to be one of the diciest picks a team has ever had to make,” one club official of a team that may have interest in (Sam) Bradford told me Sunday evening. Another team executive told me this is a hairier decision than teams had to make with Michael Crabtree coming off the stress fracture in his foot last winter, when Crabtree was unable to work out. The investment in a quarterback is different, quite simply because when you’ve used a top pick on a passer, you forget it as a draft priority for the next three or four years; when you take a receiver high, there’s no reason to not pick one high in the next draft because of the widespread use of multiple-receiver sets.

In fact, why not just take a receiver high in EVERY draft! There’s no precedent for that strategy failing!

The Award Section

I’d like to thank two people — Len Pasquarelli of ESPN and Mark Godich of Sports Illustrated — for talking some sense into me over the past couple of years.

“Peter, if you keep eating like that, you’ll get gallstones. It’s all but inevitable.”

Pasquarelli told me to stop naming so many players and coaches and goats of the week, and I said, OK, I’ll think about it. Then, after last week, when I had six players sharing offensive and defensive honors, Godich, a former editor of mine at the magazine, e-mailed to tell me I was a foolish ninny, or words to that effect. They’re right, of course. I’m going with a max of two in each category the rest of the way, and I’m going to try to keep it to one per category each week. Because I know how meaningful these ritzy awards are to the players and coaches involved.

PLAYER OF THE MILLENIUM: JAMARCUS RUSSELL. Look at how relatively disciplined he was this week.

Factoid That May Interest Only Me

I guess I don’t mind foreign football, though I have doubts it will work.

Maybe if London had any decent coffee. MAYBE then, it would work. Until then, I remain skeptical.

But if I were a fan in Miami, New Orleans or Tampa in the past three years, I’d have a big problem with it.

The New England-Tampa Bay game Sunday in London was a home game for the Bucs. The Bucs haven’t hosted the Patriots in a regular-season game in Tampa Bay since 1997, and under the current scheduling format, which calls for NFL teams to play at out-of-conference foe at home once every eight years, the Patriots won’t be in Tampa ’til 2017. Tom Brady will be 40 then. Who knows? He may still be playing, but I’d bet Brady will never play a regular season game in Tampa, ever.

OH NOES! NO BRADY IN TAMPA! SACRE BLEU! Tampa has a Brady-based economy! They rely on his octennial visits. It’s their Olympics!

Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week

If you traverse this great land…

The barren salt flats of Rhode Island… the pedestrian walkways of the Back Bay… the majestic Cliffs of Laguna….

…you know the difference between gum-chewers and gum-poppers. Chewers are barely audible. Poppers somehow make a snapping sound with each chew. Know what I’m talking about?

/buys thirty packs of Trident

It’s madness, I tell you.

On Saturday, about 30 minutes into the Boston-to-New York Acela trip, I found myself sitting in front of a gum-popper. Across the aisle in the quarter-full car were two silent Kindle readers. Behind me, with his Bose headphones silencing all the noise in the car (including his gum-chewing), was the nearly rhythmic snap-pause-snap-pause-snap of the clueless gum-popper.

ASSHOLE! YOU’RE RUINING EASTERN CONNECTICUT FOR ME!

I had three choices: ignore it and go on with my typing…

Hey, because typing makes no noise of any kind.

…tell the guy to please stop popping, or move to the opposite end of the car.

Ooh! Chew his gum ass out, Pete! Give it to him like he’s the Blackberry Storm guy!

I moved. Gum-popping, I think, is one of the truly annoying things that we just have to put up with. Like the 35 erectile-dysfunction drug commercials per Sunday.

Or old Viagra jokes. THEN THE GUY ASKED ME TO DONATE TO BREAST CANCER RESEARCH. BASTARD.

Tweet of the Week

“My father played for the coach from ‘rememeber the titans.’ Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefley. Our coach. Nuthn.”

– @ToonIcon, Kansas City RB Larry Johnson, on Sunday evening, in what is possibly one of the least intelligent Tweets in athletic history. I’m talking about the content, not the spelling.

Before this, I thought Johnson was a smart guy.

You did? What tipped you off to that? Was it the fact that he likes spitting on chicks? Or the fact that he likes breaking into his neighbor’s house? All early indicators were that Larry Johnson was a fucking Rhodes Scholar before this.

Percy Harvin. What a force. And how valuable he’s become. Did you see Favre run 35 yards downfield to check on Harvin when he was shaken up in the second half of Vikes-Steelers?

No way! He ran a short distance to check on an injured teammate? Brett Favre defines heart. He’s the key ingredient of any championship torte.

One good sign (and there aren’t many) for Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis: Danny Amendola can play. He’s a good returner and Welker-esque receiver.

Semi-Edelmanish!!

I like the assuredness and self-confidence Alex Smith showed subbing for the struggling Shaun Hill with the 49ers. I bet Smith starts again next week.

What a bold prediction. Hey kids, I have an inkling you might be hearing more from this Schaub fellow!

Rashard Mendenhall’s the man in Pittsburgh now. Face it.

No. NO. I will not accept that reality. I demand Willie Parker be thrown back on the field to suck.

Houston’s better than we think.

MAYBE!

The Jets had two runners over 120 on the road, which is great … until you realize it came against the Raiders.

BUT SHONN GREENE IS STILL MY PLAYER OF THE WEEK.

How the Raiders can follow an inspired 13-9 win over Philly, a team just as good as the Jets, with a 38-point loss to the Jets is beyond me.

Really? You’re surprised the Raiders are inconsistent? Maybe if you underlined that fact in your head.

Sidney Rice is flowering with Favre throwing him the ball.

At last, he is becoming a real woman.

It pains me to say it, obviously, but congrats to the Yankees. They’re the best team in baseball, and they deserve to be facing off against the defending champs in the 2009 Arctic World Series.

I LOVE YOU, DEREK!

Baseball has to do something about its postseason schedule. Come on, Bob Costas. Rattle a cage or two.

Use your magic wings and Tinkerbell wand!

Call me 112 Across.

Is that your diameter?

I’m at a book signing last Wednesday for Monday Morning Quarterback: A fully caffeinated guide to everything you need to know about the NFL, in Boston, and this fellow I don’t know, Brendan Emmitt Quigley, comes up to me in line and introduces himself. Says he’s a “crossword constructor,” hands me a card with said title on it, asks if I remember my wish to one day be in the New York Times crossword, and tells me to make sure I read the Sunday crossword. Intimates I’ll be in it, and for more than one clue.

Reader Ricky writes in:

So, Peter King’s dream of being in a NYT crossword puzzle comes true. He writes about it in MMQ thanking the guy who was dumb enough to write the puzzle. KING MISSPELLS THE GUY’S NAME IN HIS COLUMN. King spells it “Brendan Emmitt Quigley.” I cut and paste the guy’s name from the column to see if i could figure who this idiot is. His real name is Brendan Emmett Quigley. However, I do suppose anyone who guys by Brendan Emmett Quigley deserves to have his name misspelled. But still.

Whoa. Now, a month ago, I wrote in this column that my goal in life was to be in the crossword, which was a bit tongue-in-cheekish but nonetheless something I thought would be extremely cool. My wife and I are crossword people, but we can’t get past the Thursday puzzle generally. Anyway, come to find out that I’m actually the theme in the puzzle, for wishing I would one day be in it.

Well, isn’t your life just all sunshine and rainbows. Ironic such an honor would be so readily bestowed upon the clueless. Now you can steal even more foul balls with impunity, you cocksmacker.

That raised the ire of one Keith Olbermann, a much more famous man than I am, because he’s been trying to get in the puzzle, even appealing to editor Will Shortz.

“Tonight, a special 90-minute Special Comment for Mr. Will Shortz. Mr. Shortz, at long last, have you no decency? It was YOU, good sir, who promised me a slot in that puzzle. It was YOU, good sir, who knew full well that I deserved that clue over Peter King. Are we no longer a democracy? Do promises mean nothing to your administration?”

And so Keith gave me a few raspberries Sunday on the Football Night in America show.

“Talk to me through my lawyer, Peter.”

Anyway, the King-themed puzzle clogged up a blog run by crossword aficionado Rex Parker in New York, eliciting comments like: “This puzzle is about the weirdest thing I’ve seen in the NYT. It’s like a love letter to one guy…

Rex, join me every Monday. You have no clue how deep the self-love letters run…

Why anyone else should care, I don’t know. If you wanna put the guy in a puzzle, just put him in a puzzle. No need to beatify him like this.”

And from ‘Meg’: “I did not have a negative reaction to this puzzle. Actually, I feel kind of sorry for the guy. I mean, if your goal in life is to be mentioned in a puzzle … So I felt like BEQ was doing this poor sot a favor more than showing adulation.”

Did this chick really just use the word “sot”? Does this woman live inside a Wizard of Id strip?

And this: “For Peter King’s egomania to be rewarded so laboriously is icky.” And this: “Build it around a Winston Churchill quote, or even someone alive and not nearly as famous. But a blowhard sportswriter — with a Brett Favre infatuation — who has his share of critics?”

I love you, anonymous Times puzzle fiend.

And, finally, this: “It doesn’t matter how well known Peter King or the quote is or how much Peter King likes Brett Favre, who I’ve despised from the beginning of his career for a lot of reasons, one of which is that he’s supposedly a ‘blue collar’ player on a ‘blue collar’ team. That drives me nuts! Do people think the players on these ‘blue collar’ teams all go to offseason jobs at the brewery or the steel mill? The Canton Bulldogs haven’t played in years. Now that was a blue-collar team…

Semi-Romoesque! Says it was a blue collar work day to me!

…The Packers and the Steelers get their players from the same places all the other teams do. Also, that stupid fiction everybody subscribes to that somehow the northern teams play better in the cold. Most of their players grew up in Houston! Auugh! I can’t stand Brett Favre! Don Meredith, now there was a quarterback.”

Oh, wait. Sorry. That letter was apparently written by a Blue Star commenter.

Aaah, the crossword crowd. Anyway, thanks for the highlight, Brendan.

Or whatever your name is!

Coffeenerdness: I’ll tell you what we need in midtown Manhattan — a Starbucks open until midnight on Sundays.

And a Texas State Book Depository Museum. I’d go seven times a day if I could. Did you know Oswald really DID act alone?

As my MacBook Air expired Sunday…

MACBOOKAIRMACBOOKAIRMACBOOKAIR

I had 4,500 forlorn words for MMQB written, but they were locked in the snowy vault of the white screen. Uh-oh. Screwed. So I went about recalling everything and rewriting everything, miserably, with only green tea and deli coffee as strong as a dying housecat. I needed something to kick in around 5 this morning. What’s the closest Starbucks to Rockefeller Center with late Sunday hours?

I don’t know. Why don’t you look it up, fuckface?