When we last left Starwood Preferred traveler Peter King, he was being brilliantly satirized by that rapscallion Drew Magary. Well Drew’s on vacation now, so I’m all you’ve got. This week King actually talks about relevant football stuff, or more specifically, how a new rule will inhibit Peyton Manning. Oh, and there’s some stuff about Favre’s bone juice, but it’s not as sexy as you’d imagine.

Peyton Manning thinks back to the Patriots-Colts game last November — the Belichick No-Punt Game — and is sure that game would have ended differently if the new ump rule was in place.

’They’re stacking the deck against me, Peter! Please write all about this injustice. And if you have time, be sure to say something negative about my offensive line.’

“The way the new mechanic of the umpire positioning is, I don’t have a resolution to that,” said [vice president of officiating Carl] Johnson. “It’s going to take a couple extra seconds to spot the ball. There’s no way around that. But this is a work in progress. We’re aggressively seeking ways to improve the mechanics.”

We’re going to need more robot insurance.

Do the math.

I was told there would be no math.

An umpire traditionally is a stocky guy, to withstand the physicality of the position. Imagine if a team goes into the no-huddle and runs, say, seven straight plays of hurry-up, and the ump has to run in, spot the ball and then run back 12 to 15 yards. First of all, these big guys are going to be absolutely gassed. Secondly, they’re going to slow the game down.

That’s the kind of math I like, the kind without any “math.”

“I worry about the umpires’ conditioning,” said Indy GM Bill Polian…

If one of them dies in the middle of a two-minute drill Peyton’s gonna be PISSED.

The NFL has created one way of ump-positioning for 56 minutes and one way for the final two minutes of each half. In a way, the league is saying, We’re concerned about umpire safety, but we’re still going to allow 10 or 12 plays a game, on average, to be snapped with the umps in harm’s way.

It’s almost as if they’re trying to limit the ref’s exposure. Madness!

“It’s like you saying to your kids, ‘Don’t touch that!’ ” said Manning. “Then you say, ‘Well, you can touch it a couple of times.’ ”

Then he reenacted Al Pacino’s speech from the climactic scene of Devil’s Advocate, flawlessly.

On Sept. 10, two days before the first Sunday of the regular season, the league’s 17 umpires and 17 referees will meet in Dallas with Johnson to discuss the new system and whether there might be some little tweaks the rank-and-file can suggest to make it a cleaner adjustment.

I’m glad they’re going try to sort this out the day after the season starts.

Brett Favre: He’s already taking injections in his wounded ankle.

We’re running out of time for the competition committee to outlaw ankle tackles.

After his so-so eight series Saturday night on the hard floor of Mall of America Field (I prefer to call it the Metrodome, because that’s what we know it to be), Favre went into the trainers’ room in the Vikes’ locker room and got an injection of lubricant in the left ankle that has three times been operated on to remove loose bodies. “Like a grease fitting,” he said.

I prefer to call it a performance enhancing procedure, because that’s what we know it to be.

“They took out a cup full of stuff — bone and all these other loose bodies,” Brett Favre said Saturday night.

If you’re done with those bones Peter would love to grind them into his bread.

The Vikings will attempt to manage the pain the spur brings on, but Favre said he didn’t think he’d take any painkillers stronger than Motrin.

This is where Peter forgets to mention that Favre is a recovering drug addict. It must have slipped his mind.

“Now we’ll see if I can make it. My mind’s telling me one thing, but my body’s telling me something else.”

Does this mean Brett Favre pisses on girls. POSSIBLY.

Katrina at Age 5: Maybe Mickey Loomis should be executive of the decade.

Peter didn’t watch If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, but he’s pretty sure he got the gist of it.

I’m exaggerating a bit there.

Good, because it comes off as pretty callous when you imply that the most important thing you took from the aftermath of Katrina was an appreciation for Mickey Loomis’s acumen as an NFL executive.

The Saints certainly weren’t the dominant force of Indianapolis or New England in the past 10 years. Not even close.

You had me worried for a second!

But if the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Yankees in the World Series next year, wouldn’t you give them three times the credit of any other team for winning such a series?

I’m going to set aside any jokes here and just say that that is the dumbest fucking comparison I’ve ever heard. The NFL is a league built on parity. Some team goes from worst to first almost every year. Stop invoking baseball to make your asinine points.

A lot of people have contributed to the recovery of the city, and the Saints have been vital. I am in no way attempting to ascribe too much importance to sports.

But if Mickey Loomis hadn’t signed Drew Brees the city would be under water right now.

Antonio Bryant: What a stupid signing.

Fair enough.

One NFL medical person — don’t want to be too specific — told me Sunday that the injury that is apparently plaguing fired Cincinnati wideout Antonio Bryant could be Chondral Defect of the knee. “If you’re not looking for it, you won’t find it,” this official said.

Sounds mysterious!

I’m stunned the Bengals passed Bryant on his physical, then handed him $7.85 million in guarantees. Stunned.

He is stunned that the Bengals could miss a rare injury that is almost impossible to find that he may not even have. Stunned.

Adalius Thomas: “I’m definitely not done. I definitely want to play.”

Since I’d lost my phone in May, there went Thomas’ number somewhere at the bottom of the Potomac (or somewhere in D.C.), and it wasn’t ’til Saturday afternoon that I heard from him.

/strokes Peter King’s phone
//listens to saved voicemails from Brett Favre

Stafon Johnson: “God don’t put nothin’ on my plate I can’t eat.”

Peter has that inscribed on his favorite throw pillow. Also, Stafon Johnson has never been served a plate of questionable tripe. That shit does not go down easy.

“But I looked down and my knee was facing coach Fish, and my foot toward the pylon.”

And now nobody can eat what God put on their plate.

“It’s Ho-OH-ma-NOW-uh-noo-ee.”

— St. Louis rookie tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, explaining to me the correct pronunciation of his last name in the locker room Thursday night.

Isn’t that the guy from The Dirty?

“Stylez is my Allen Iverson … We’re going to tolerate him ’til we can replace him.”
— Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris, on his tough-to-coach defensive end with the manufactured name, Stylez G. White.

Way to play things close to the vest, Raheem.

“Let him open up his friggin’ pizza shop in the Bronx and leave me alone.”
— Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff, on the HBO show Wednesday night, on oft-injured special-teamer Brashton Satele.

In other words: I can’t trust this guy to stay healthy or to play competently, so please, Mike Tannenbaum, get him out of my sight.

In other words: I’m pretty sure that guy makes a mean ham and pineapple pie.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

[briefly passes out while reading stories about odd trades of the 1950’s]

Mr. Starwood Preferred Travel Note of the Week
On a Delta flight from Boston to Minneapolis on Saturday morning, I was sitting on the aisle in coach, my legs snug against the seatback, with an empty seat next to me as the plane filled up.

Coach? But you’re a Starwood Perferred traveler. Somebody upgrade this man!

A young man, maybe 25, walked down the aisle, looked at his ticket, looked at the empty seat next to me and…

…rolled his eyes as if to say, “Just my fucking luck.”

wordlessly, began lifting his leg over my two thighs.

‘Free lap dances in coach? Well played, Delta.’

2. I think the best note from a practice session I’ve seen this summer came from Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (don’t mean to put him in every MMQB, but the guy’s good), monitoring the combined Cards-Titans practice on Wednesday in Nashville. Before a snap when the Cards’ offense stepped to the line of scrimmage, Somers heard a Titans defender say to a teammate: “I got a buffalo nickel that says he checks down.” In footballese, that translates to: Matt Leinart will always take the easy way out instead of trying to make a play.

To be fair, most things in “footballese” translate to “Matt Leinart is fucking pussy.”

3. I think the Leinart yanking shows Ken Whisenhunt didn’t trust Leinart in 2007, and he doesn’t trust him now.

Usually a “Leinart yanking” shows that Matt came home from the bar alone.

Suh, Schwartz said, “makes some plays in the interior line that Albert Haynesworth would make in his fifth year.”

Soon he’ll be refusing to practice with the best of ’em!

d. Coffeenerdness: I’ve got to hand it to Caribou Coffee in the Minneapolis airport on Sunday morning at 5:45. You guys make one heck an oatmeal at that hour. Good little latte too. Got me started pretty well on a jammed-up day.

Nobody boils water and combines it with foodstuffs like those intrepid souls.

e. The question is no longer whether John Lackey’s worth $16 million a year. It’s whether he’s worth $1.6.

FACE!

i. Sorry for the delay in getting the half-marathon fundraising information to you this week. We had some internal issues at SI that I will take care of this week, and I expect to have a webpage up next Monday with all the information you’ll need to participate.

“Internal issues” is footballese for “intestinal blockage.”

j. Good luck at Oberlin, Emma Goldstein. You too at Marquette, Tess Quinlan. And Tess, how long did it take you to know 64 other frosh? Fifteen minutes?

And so concludes another one of Peter’s columns about sociable college freshmen, and the occasional bit of football minutia.

Drew will be back next week.