When last we left possible-man-of-sorta-conviction, Peter King, he was letting us know that he is, in fact, a nutmegging white reporter and that that is significant, he thinks. He also gave us a wealth of information about the Texas Rangers, who are the ’27 Yankees of 2011. He also toured the Texas School Book Depository, which was the Ford’s Theater of 1963.

What about this week? Does The Masters have enough hand-operated devices to soothe PK’s selectively anti-technology smug? Will Da’Quan Bowers’ knee explode on the draft dais? Will portions of it be forever lodged in Roger Goodell’s cranium and what effect with that have on the commissioner’s inevitable presidential bid? This way lies possible factualness!

Oh, and this PK breakdown was written by Christmas Ape, who is not Drew and, as such, should not be accorded any of your respect. Be sure to set your whelming phasers to “under”.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Here I was prepared to write about what a lyric little bandbox (oops — wrong sport, wrong physical plant) I found on my first trip to the Masters on Sunday

Just getting ready to make a ham-fisted and painfully unnecessary comparison of Augusta National and Fenway Park. Takes a while to loosen up the bowels to push a hefty nugget like that out.

and I come to find out that one of the most dramatic days ever here was marred by the leaders of Augusta National. Columnist Tara Sullivan of the Bergen Record in New Jersey was barred from interviewing the crestfallen Rory McIlroy in the locker room after his epic collapse on the back nine. Though the Masters later apologized to Sullivan and called it a “complete misunderstanding” at the hands of an overzealous security official, and said she should have been given access, that’s easy to say now. The woman was prevented from doing her job Sunday at one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar. A disgrace.

I’m utterly shocked that a course that doesn’t allow female members would be host to sexism. In other news, something something Ines Sainz.

A very interesting package was shipped from Brenham, Texas, to Charlotte late Friday.

Jimmy Clausen finally got the new Seether album off Amazon!

Four game tapes of 2009 Blinn (Texas) College football games, with Cam Newton quarterbacking, were packed off to the Carolina Panthers.

“They wanted to see a little more tape,” the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach of that junior college team, Ronny Feldman, told me Friday night. “Of all the teams looking at him here, Carolina’s been the big one. They called me twice this week.”

I talked to Carolina GM Marty Hurney the other day, and though he didn’t give me a clue about who the Panthers plan to pick with the first overall choice (“We’ve got time,” Hurney said, “and maybe our list changes before the first round begins”), it’s beginning to look a lot like Newton. More and more, the Panthers seem to be getting comfortable with the idea of choosing a player with only 284 major-college passes … in some part because of the year he spent righting his football and personal life at a junior college, Blinn, 45 minutes outside Houston.

“Well, we already tried the pro-ready thing. Let’s give JUCO-approved a whirl.”

One thing he wasn’t was phony, said Feldman, who’s livid about the impression that Newton’s a fake. “I heard somebody on the radio the other day talk about his fake smile and how he’s not genuine. That guy is full of s— with a capital ‘S.’ He doesn’t know Cam!

Feldman has really done his homework on PK. “I think somebody said Newton wanted desperately to be an entertainer and an icon as well as a quarterback, but I think they confused that with Shawn Michaels saying he wanted to be an icon, show-stopper and main event.”

When I covered the New York Giants for Newsday in the mid-’80s, Hurney was a dogged Redskins beat man for the Washington Times. He got close to GM Bobby Beathard doing that, and the rest is history. What the man who will make the call on the first overall pick thinks:

Me: If you take a quarterback, what does that do to Jimmy Clausen?

Hurney: “We believe Jimmy Clausen will be a good quarterback in this league. Because quarterback is such an impactful position, if you go over the candidates and there’s someone at the top who can be an impact player, you’ve got to consider him. That’s the responsibility we have — who can be the most impactful player we can take there?”

We believe Jimmy Clausen could still one day be quasi-semi-impactfulish in a limited role in a position in which we have already determined him not to be quasi-semi-impactful.

Ten things I learned about the draft in the past few days.

1. Detroit really likes Da’Quan Bowers, bad knee and all, and could take him at 13.

Most draft boards have Detroit sawing off one of Bowers’ appendages before selecting him with the 13th pick. AU CONTRAIRE, SAYS PK.

2. One of the team doctors who recommended taking Bowers off its draft board (because of the health of his surgically repaired knee) suggested that he might need microfracture surgery, which happens when a player’s cartilage is so severely compromised that artificial cartilage is injected into the knee. It’s trouble.

Will that stop Detroit from taking him. Maybe they just really like microfracture surgery. Did you get a non-committal statement of praise from their GM? Let’s see you be kinda more decisive, then, SMART GUY.

4. The Titans are torn between overpicking a quarterback at eight and being scared one of the quarterbacks they like won’t be there when they pick again, at 39.

The Titans are torn between being too dumb to trade down and too timid to trade up.

5. More and more teams seem to think TCU quarterback Andy Dalton has the “it factor” he’ll need to overcome modest size and an average arm.

The camera just loves to watch him not be able to see over his linemen.

6. It feels like Blaine Gabbert is fading. I keep thinking the Bengals might give him a parachute at number four.

Oh no, Marty McFly. You’re fading in that picture. Here’s a parachute.

Mike Brown: “Sure, this parachute is perforated and missing a ripcord, but you can’t beat the prices at Reject Army/Navy Surplus.”

8. Why so much homework on questionable character guys in this draft? According to one prominent scout, “It’s almost like someone’s sending us a message this close to the draft, with the things that have happened to Aqib Talib [a suspect in a Texas shooting], Dez Bryant [unchecked, unpaid-for addiction to jewelry] and Chris Cook [suspected of brandishing a handgun at a man]. All those guys were top prospects, and it just makes us more skittish to take the questionable guys.”

Because no top prospect ever engaged in woeful personal conduct until a few years back. Ryan Leaf is a white reporter.

9. Buffalo is a black hole of draft information. Von Miller’s the odds-on-favorite there at number three.

Peter King is a white dwarf of draft speculation. He is a densely packed celestial being of legit-ish gambling odds.

The Patriots should come out of the draft with an extra 2012 first-round pick, unless I’m getting lied to a lot.

“According to this, the Patriots frequently engage in deliberate acts of obfuscation, so as to throw off absent-minded draft analysts as well as other football executives. Huh.”

“Also, something tells me we’re just not getting not the complete truth from this Qaddafi guy.”

Last year, I thought the 33rd overall pick would generate heavy action in trade (as did the Rams, who held the first pick in the second round). The theory was that because the NFL took a 20-hour break after round one, teams would have all day Friday before round two kicked off to get desperate for a player they had rated as a first-rounder. But then the Rams really liked tackle Rodger Saffold of Indiana, and never really got much action on the pick because there wasn’t a player teams felt they had to have. This year, I think that changes.

Remember the thing that I said would happen last year, but didn’t? No way that doesn’t go down this year, or so I’m thinking of possibly proclaiming if at some point I feel certain of its chances.

New England has the 33rd pick (by way of the Panthers, who dealt it to acquire a Patriots’ third-rounder last year so they could take Armanti Edwards). The way I read the draft right now, there could be as many as eight teams among the first 17 picks in the second round that will want a quarterback, and perhaps only three QBs left worth taking high in the second round.

Buffalo – Unlikely to pick QB here, but you never know.

ONE DAY I WILL PURGE YOUR BLACK HOLE OF INSCRUTABILITY, FIVECHAN!

Cincinnati – They know Palmer’s out. Need a QB.

Which you’ve already said they’ll take in the first round. Then again, a draft entirely composed of quarterbacks is within the realm of possibility for the Bengals.

Arizona – Might be waiting for Marc Bulger. Too risky?

I’d start applying for jobs, but I’m waiting for a five-dollar bill to materialize in my couch cushions. Too risky?

Tennessee – Desperate for good-guy QB.

Tennessee is a white reporter.

Washington – Could be willing to roll dice with Grossman.

YESSSSSSSS. Please do.

San Francisco – Harbaugh dreams of Andy Dalton, I think.

Copy editor: Now Peter, you can’t actually view the contents of Jim Harbaugh’s dreams. We’re going to need to dial that language back a touch.

Peter King: Yes I can. Just last night he dreamed of being a frontier sheriff and bringing peace to a town menaced by a pack of ravenous horse-people.

Copy editor: Whatever you say, Peter. I’m making the change.

Peter King: WHY DOES NO ONE BELIEVE!?

Jacksonville – Time for some competition for Garrard.

Why now? Why not three years ago?

Whatever happens, I think there will be a quarterback market at the end of day one, and I think the Patriots are positioned perfectly to take advantage of it. Will there ever be a year New England’s won’t be in position to control a draft? It’s amazing the job Bill Belichick’s done in consistently giving the Pats an edge there.

What an amazing man. He’ll turn your wife’s vagina in a lyric little bandbox.

Why anyone who likes sports should make sure to go to the Masters.

What’s that? You can’t afford a ticket to the Masters? You misguided peasant.

Not long ago, I wrote out a bucket list of the sports events I’d like to attend before I die. One was the Masters, and I agreed that if I could make it, I’d try to take along the two big golf fans in the family who’d never been, my brother-in-law Bob and his 86-year-old golf-nut father, Jack. Lucky for us, Mark Scott, a VP of VIP Sports Marketing, which handles lots of Masters events, is a big MMQB fan (I always knew this column would come in handy for something), and he e-mailed to offer the three of us access to the final round this year. It didn’t take long for us to say yes.

Scott’s group sets up shop in a cabin across the street from the course, and we had a marvelous time Sunday. Can’t thank him enough, in fact.

Sure can’t. Nor can I mention the name of his company enough times. Here’s Ten Things VIP Sports Marketing Thinks I Should Think [Brought to you by VIP Sports Marketing]

We went as fans only. Though I spent the last hour on the Westwood One radio tower on the 18th hole because I saw my NFL radio co-host Bob Papa there and he invited me up to watch from on high, the experience was just what the thousands who make pilgrimages here go through.

Yessirree. Rubbing elbows with the hoi polloi. Doing it just like the common man, except for the hour I got to spend in the broadcast booth with my other privileged media buddies. WHEN WILL NBC GET COVERAGE?

We all thought there was a little Fenway/Wrigley to Augusta. Maybe more than a little.

A dollop of Wrigley-esque Monstrosity.

I loved how no electronic stuff is allowed on the course. It’s wonderful to not be tempted to look at your Blackberry every six minutes. Liberating.

It’s a wonder how being distracted by a world-class golf event takes your mind off the tedium of that electronic nuisance. Be gone until I am again driving on the Turnpike, buzzing pest.

And it’s great to not find yourself staring up at some big screen with instant scoring and video. The scoreboards around the course are operated manually, like the left-field scoreboard at Fenway Park

“Yaaaaaa, I like ze human touch.”

Also, let’s forget that your lyric bandbawx in Bahhhhstan has more than a few electronic screens and scoreboards and whatnot. Other than that, SAME THING!

No one in the crowd knew what was going on elsewhere on the course because they couldn’t monitor the game on radio or Blackberry. So the reaction to the news, which almost seemed withheld, was explosive. There were three kinds of roars: a Tiger roar, an enthusiastic wailing that would erupt quickly and be the loudest; a roar of sympathy, like the “OOOOOaaaaaaahhhhh” that greeted the posting of a triple bogey for crowd favorite Rory McIlroy on 10; and a roar of appreciation (“Ohhh-aaaaaaaaaaayyyyy!”) when, for example, a fourth consecutive birdie, on 15, for the rallying Geoff Ogilvy was posted on the 18th green.

Just wish Taco Bell could sponsor the Masters so the company could introduce “fourthroar”.

It’s crazy to think a hand-operated scoreboard can be riveting

But then I bet you don’t own a typewriter, do you?

My take on labor.

I just want to remind you (and I hope someone from each side reads this)

“Because I’m confident both sides have potentially tantalizing gifts and perks to offer the enterprising and woefully venal sports journalist.”

just how close the two sides were when talks broke off a month ago this afternoon. The players said they’d never support an 18-game regular season, and the owners said in the next five years, there’d never be an 18-game season without player approval. Despite lots of rhetoric since, it’d be easy for the players to put it in stone that the 18-game slate is off the table for the term of this deal.

Well then. It’s a good thing that the 18-game season was the only outstanding issue in the CBA talks. Oh wait, it’s just something that the owners couched as a seemingly inexorable development even though the players never agreed to it.

Now for the money. The league’s last offer was a four-year cap proposal of $141 million to $161 million per team, with no chance for players to make more if the league exceeds current revenue projections. The players were asking for $151 million to $161 million over the four years, with a percentage of all extra revenue over the league’s revenue projections. In year one, that’s a negotiating gap of $320 million plus a percentage of excess profits; in year four, that’s a gap of zero, plus a percentage of excess profits. Now, the league would likely see a major increase in year four, that being the first year of the next TV contract with the networks, cable outlets and satellite. In my opinion, that’s a hard negotiation. But it’s a negotiation certainly worth having.

Remember how close the two sides were a month ago? Not very close! That’s how close they were!

Quote of the Week II

“This is really a matter which should be resolved, in my view.”
— U.S. District Court Judge Susan Nelson, addressing owners and players in a Minnesota courtroom Wednesday.

You think?

Name five statements more obvious. You can’t. Maybe.

Quote of the Week III

“At a time when you’re struggling to pay your bills and meet your responsibilities, the least we can do is meet our responsibilities to produce a budget. That’s not too much to ask for. That’s what the American people expect of us. That’s what they deserve. You want everybody to act like adults, quit playing games, realize that it’s not just my way or the highway.”
President Barack Obama, after Republicans and Democrats agreed to cut $38-million from the federal budget in time to avert a shutdown of federal facilities late Friday night.

Am I crazy, or is that something Roger Goodell should be saying right about now, after some contentious meetings with De Smith?

“Am I crazy, or is Goodell looking more presidential with each passing day? I hear all these stories about how the GOP is at loose ends about finding a viable candidate for 2012. Would America collectively swoon and sweep him into office by an unprecedented margin if Goodell merely flashed a wry smile and a peek at his ample biceps? I think that is a legit-ish odds-on possibility.”

[John] Mara is an alternate juror on an international drug case in Manhattan. The case seems fascinating. It’s about Liberia claiming that a South American drug-trafficking organization was trying to bribe Liberian officials to allow a drug superhighway to run through the African country, making it easier for South American drugs to reach Africa, Europe and the United States.

Drug superhighway! It’s like weed… through your e-mail.

/Michael Vick invests his entire new contract

Of Robert Quinn’s 11 sacks in 2009, six came in two games against ACC doormats, two more against NCAA Football Championship Subdivision teams with losing records, and three against Bowl Subdivision winning teams.

If you pick Quinn — and Cleveland, at number six, may do so — he’ll be a perfect metaphor for the 2011 draft: High picks in the first round almost all come with a risk.

Way to be risky and therefore unlike every other NFL Draft ever, 2011 NFL Draft. Were you only more lyrical and staged in a bandbox… well, I think you know where I’m going with this [hand-operated wink]

Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me

You’ve got Mel. Well, at least you’ll have Mel in the mailbox this week if you ordered Mel Kiper’s draft guide, which is being mailed today. The tidbits from the 33rd book that I found interesting:

– Mel is friends with VIP Sports Marketing too! Goooooo VIP!

– Da’Quan Bowers amputated knee might catch on as an UFA with Arizona. Too risky?

– Mike Pouncey never played Odell Lake as a kid.

– The draft should be more like a charmingly antiquated baseball stadium.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Do you know what silence sounds like? The chirping of cardinals at the Masters.

What? Simon and Garfunkel lied to me through song!? Plaintively!?

I found this to be true three or four times during the final round of the Masters: When Tiger Woods lined up a putt, it got very quiet — maybe a cough or two and some whispering. When Woods got over the putt and set his feet and was five seconds out from hitting the ball, it got a little quieter, but you still might hear the crinkling of a wrapper. But in the second or two before he hits it, there is absolute silence, except for what nature provides as its soundtrack. Amazing how silent 10,000 people can fall when a big player is about to putt. I was taken aback by the human silence, and just how silent it was.

Yeah, onlookers tend to be quiet before golf shots. Except for the few dozen jackasses who yell “GET IN THE HOLE!” Revelations, your column has them.

Tweet of the Week I

“At this point Newton a big man with a power arm, and limited QB skills. Accuracy a major concern. Poor mechanics. No sense of anticipation.

“More Newton: A steep learning curve (like Gabbert) re: NFL pass game. Must be taught pocket skills. How he’s initially used critical.”
–@gregcosell, NFL Films video-dissector and “NFL Matchup” producer, after watching Auburn video of quarterback Cam Newton.

GIT ‘EM, FELDMAN!

Tweet of the Week II

“Headed back to pittsburgh…. would be shocked if i wasnt in a dallas uniform nxt year! The draft is april 28th so we will see…. ”
–@mikepouncey, Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey, Wednesday afternoon.

Dallas picks ninth. Would Dallas dare pick an interior offensive lineman ninth overall? I can hear you all now — No! The value’s not there for a guard or center at nine overall! Let me ask you this. If you knew he’d be a premier interior lineman, either at guard or center, would that change your mind?

If you knew that the 2011 NFL Draft carried as much risk-versus-reward possibility as any other draft ever, would that stop you from reading this inane drivel?

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think I couldn’t agree more with Ben Roethlisberger.

NO RAPE BEFORE MARRIAGE HARF HARF HARF

In his interview with Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger said he wished he could have thrown downfield more than the Steelers did.

Dear God, no.

/kisses framed photo of running game, tosses it in the fireplace
//realizes he has no fireplace
///asks neighbor if he can borrow fireplace

I kept looking at Pittsburgh late in the year, when rookie burner Antonio Brown got to know the offense and was the kind of outside receiver who could be bookended with Mike Wallace to seriously stretch the defense, and wondered why the Steelers didn’t do more of it. Wallace needs to be more of a weapon than he was in 2010.

You mean the 2010 season when Wallace had 1,257 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns and was second in the league in yards per reception? STEP IT UP, SLOUCH! And let’s not forget that Roethlisberger missed Wallace on a wide open deep pass in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. Instead of resulting in what would have been the Steelers’ first lead of the game, the drive flamed out and Shaun Suisham missed the ensuing field goal attempt by six kilometers.

/end homer rant

2. I think I’d be concerned about Joe Flacco’s future with the Ravens. Not worried that the organization can’t smooth things over with him, because it can be done. But Flacco is obviously the team’s quarterback of the future, and he wasn’t happy that Jim Zorn got canned as quarterback coach, and he wasn’t happy the team didn’t redo his contract into a long-term deal in February. Not saying this is real trouble. Just saying Cam Cameron might have to do some minor surgery on their relationship whenever this labor thing gets solved.

Exactly. Let’s all be concerned about how little we should be concerned about Joe Flacco.

Also, Cam Cameron would try to perform surgery with a child-proof pumpkin carver. True story.

3. I think this New York Times analysis on how the budget battle was bridged should be essential reading for players and owners today.

“Did you not read this thing that was on the front page of The New York Times? Surely you didn’t, imbecile. Most likely you already wasted the 20 clicks the Grey Lady gives you before pay wall blockage on cheap fripperies like reviews of Hop.”

4. I think this is my question to those who elect the classes of the Basketball Hall of Fame — with the clear preface that I do not know the process the way I know the process in football: How can there be 16 players from one franchise in a 25-year period (16 Celtics played at least three seasons with the team between 1960 and 1984) in the Hall?

Satch Sanders was elected as a contributor last week, meaning the Celtics, in essence, had three complete generations of starting teams put in the Hall. There are 22 starters in football, five in basketball. The Steelers, the team of the ’70s, have 10 players in Canton. Look at the Hall of Famers from the Celtics in mid-dynasty in the early ’60s: Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey, Bill Russell, Tom Sanders. I realize Sanders is in there because of his contributions to basketball, but seven guys from one era of basketball, regardless how good it was? I don’t see it.

Finally, something worse than Bill Simmons talking about football. Peter King discussing basketball.

5. I think this draft season’s must-see TV comes April 21, one week before the draft. You’ll hear Jon Gruden analyze his top quarterback guys in the draft in this column next week. But you’ll need to see this: “SportsCenter Special: Gruden’s QB Camp” on April 21 at 7 p.m., one week before draft night. Gruden sits down and film-watches and works out five of the top prospects: Jake Locker (Washington), Andy Dalton (TCU), Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), Cam Newton (Auburn), and Blaine Gabbert (Missouri).

“THIS GUY, I’m gonna call him Fig Newton, because in college he made cake. Fruited, fruited cake.”

9. I think there’s likely to be a change in the Thursday night announcer lineup for NFL Network games this fall, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mike Mayock, one of the fastest-rising stars in the analyst business, get involved in the booth. Don’t know if that means Joe Theismann or Matt Millen would be out, or moved, or have to slide over one seat. I just hear the NFLNet’s looking. And who wouldn’t look at Mayock?

I thhhhhink thhhat would be a fanthhhhastic change for boothhhhh.

In all seriousness, I’d rather listen to Mayock lisp through the entire phone book than Theismann or Millen call another play.

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

a. Will Ferrell subbing for Steve Carell on The Office, eh? Not saying it can’t work, but there’s something about Ferrell running in the buff down the middle of the street in that college town that I cannot get out of my mind. Not a pleasant view.

“Mary Beth was in college in 2003! IT’S A GOOD THING SHE DIDN’T ATTEND OLD SCHOOL!”

c. Very friendly people at Augusta National, by and large. Very happy to be there. Met a man from Minnesota who won a trip to the Masters, and he was beaming about it.

Met another man who paid his own way with his hard-earned money. What a fucking sap.

d. The grounds. Prettier than a postcard, and there aren’t many places you can say that about.

The postcard. It carries idyllic images of places meant to entice the recipient. Not always representative of the entire locale.

g. I won’t be giving any going-away kisses to Manny Ramirez, if that’s what you’re looking for here.

I honestly don’t know what I’m looking for here, anymore.

h. Coffeenerdness: Not to say the 144 miles between Atlanta and Augusta are not very well-populated, but let me just say it’s a very, very good thing we stopped at a Starbucks before dawn Sunday to get a latte on the outskirts of Atlanta, because we didn’t see another one until we got to the land of the green jacket.

“Not trying to say that the South is a barren hellscape of squalor and intellectual blight, but even New Orleans has a goddamn Starbucks, you toothless backwater hicks!”

i. Beernerdness: At the Red Sox opener Friday, I had this choice: Bud Light, Heineken, Wachusett Green Monsta Ale and Shock Top Raspberry Wheat. Having had the first three (some in Monsta-rous volume), I tried the Raspberry. I’ve become a guinea pig for fruit beers — at least trying them — and this one I’d say was above average. The raspberry flavor was slightly much, but the cloudy brew was very smooth, and for a ballpark beer, quite good.

In other words, like Abita Purple Haze, but bad!

k. Finally congratulations to good friend Doug Green and fiance Tatiana on their impending nuptials. For those who don’t know

And don’t give a shit

Doug is a former NFL PR man who, desperate for a home for his very young golden retriever Bailey a decade ago because his job working for Daniel Snyder in Washington didn’t exactly give him a lot of down time with the pup, asked me if our family would take him. Suckers that we are, we took Bailey. And almost 11 years later, we couldn’t be happier. Good luck, Doug and Tatiana.

This has been yet another Random Acts of Dan Snyder Villainy, Puppy Edition.