When we last left compound-wording Tebow juicer, Peter King, he was giving flimsy scoopage in the category of “remember where you heard this one”. PK was also so touched by Jim McMahon’s post-career struggles with head trauma that he dedicated two whole paragraphs to lecturing others for not covering it enough. Then he went back to talking about Peyton Manning for 4,000 words.
So what about this week? Has Peter King finally had enough with the losers flying in coach gripping about being cold? Will the media ever stop encouraging women to dunk in college basketball games? Most importantly: what was the best $2.05 that PK spent last week? The suspense may kill you. READ ON.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Frankly, I don’t think [Sean Payton] appealing would do any good.
There’s no way to unhammer your ban, Sean.
I spoke with league counsel Jeff Pash here Sunday. Goodell makes the final call on all sanctions, and Pash is his trusted adviser. People I talk to in the league are split on the discipline. Most like it.
“League sources are totally split over the ruling, with 65 percent strongly agreeing and 35 percent kinda strongly agreeing, I think. MAYBE.”
They like Goodell drawing a line in the sand and point to decisive, iron-fisted action like that as the reason why the NFL will stay on top of the sports world.
Sideshow Goodell: “Your guilty conscience may move you to ask for a penal to evaluate punishable issues, but deep down you long for a cold-hearted commissioner to scapegoat teams, arbitrarily soften the game and rule you like a king.”
But some feel Goodell’s year sanction of Payton was over the top.
Some radical fringe element, no doubt. Probably one of those Maynard G. Muskycraggs.
I share that feeling
I thought eight games would have been fair. I understand why Goodell did it. He wanted to lay down the law so that, unequivocally, no coach or player would ever be tempted to put a bounty out on a foe again, ever. My feeling is it could have happened with an eight-game ban for the head coach.
Well, that’s the most obsequious objection ever. “I totally understand and sympathize with The Rog for his overreach of power. But did he have to overreach quite so far? I’d only have given him double the four-game suspension he was suspecting, provided he agreed to return all my voicemails.”
“I would respond to that this way,” Pash said. “The commissioner has been clear from day one that he wants to change the culture of the game. He wants to eliminate the gratuitous hits, and eliminate any excessive violence that has no place in the game. If accomplishing that includes harsh penalties that some people feel are excessive, then so be it. We are comfortable with the sanctions.”
Which is why he Goodell had the position for four years before he started doing anything about all that stuff.
Pash also said the NFL has no current evidence to show other teams have violated the bounty or pay-for-performance rules on the books. “If we found evidence of the same clarity that we found in the New Orleans case, we would take action,” he said. “We have looked into some allegations. But as you know, allegations and accusations are not proof.”
HORSESHIT. All the NFL wants/needs is dirt on one team, so they can make an example of that team. Then the league can move on to cracking down on the next horrible violent thing that’s been going on forever with fresh outrage. Finding other teams guilty now just makes things messy for the league office. Maybe the NFL has a bit more detail on the program that the Saints ran as opposed any number of others, but they’re gonna make the standard of evidence ridiculously high now so the NFL doesn’t have to go to the problematic lengths of punishing every team in the NFL.
Pash refused to compare this scandal to the Spygate affair in 2007. I believe that by any measure this bounty scandal is more serious and worse for football than Spygate, which involved surreptitious taping of opponents’ defensive signals, and using those tapings to gain an unfair edge in figuring out what plays the opponents would call. The bounty business involves violations of the salary cap and tax code by paying players a cash bonus off the book, and, more seriously according to the NFL’s case against the Saints, involves players being incentivized to knock foes out of the game. That can’t be tolerated in any form. I think we’d all agree with that.
Except the Patriots probably had both, so that negates that argument right there.
Finally: I don’t believe for a second this is a case of Roger Goodell protecting his pal Bob Kraft (you do a friend a favor by taking a first-round draft pick from him?) and coming down hard on Tom Benson. It’s a case of laying down the gauntlet to the Saints, and to any other team foolish enough to keep any such system in place, that Goodell is going to have no tolerance.
Indeed. You do a friend no favors for docking a first-rounder. You do it by destroying all the evidence after docking that first-rounder. Notice how nice and open the NFL has been about its findings on the bounty case.
Looks like Gregg Williams has a road map back to football a year from now.
Next stop: Contritionville!
In his letter to Williams informing him of the sanctions, Goodell has given Williams a clear path how to get reinstated in 2013. The commissioner wrote thusly to Williams on Wednesday: “I will review your status at the conclusion of the 2012 season and consider whether, and if so, on what terms, you may be reinstated and again eligible to be employed in the NFL. In making this decision, I will give considerable weight to the extent to which you cooperate with my office in any further proceedings, as well as developing and implementing programs designed to teach players and coaches — particularly at other levels of the game — how to play football in a way that is safe, fair, and that respects the game and those who participate in it … I appreciate that this decision will be difficult for you. I hope you will use the opportunity to reflect on how you can return to the NFL in a way that honors the game and improves it for those who participate in it.”
Sounds like if Williams makes some come-clean speeches to high school and college football teams around the country at the NFL’s behest, he’ll be back in the game in 2013 — assuming the Rams will still employ him. That’s likely, but not certain.
“Listen up, kids: if your coach asks you to rip off the other QB’s head and piss down his neck, you do that shit, no questions asked, no quarter given. I mean that literally, coach – no more quarters for killshots. The superintendent will hear about it and then you’re as good as fucked. So here’s what you’re gonna do: at the beginning of the season, you’re gonna need to set up an exercise to find out if you’re got any snitches on your team…”
Ten Free Agency moves I liked, excluding Peyton Manning to Denver
Why would you exclude that? Just because it’s assumed anyone would love the logic behind that move? That’s the problem with PK: you see fluffing and bad ulterior motives even when he’s probably just being hopelessly awkward.
1. CB Tracy Porter from New Orleans to Denver. The other day in Denver, I spoke to John Fox about the supporting cast for Peyton Manning, and one of the things I gently reminded him was his defense allowed 40 points or more in five of 18 games last season. “I know,” he said. “We plan to do something about that.”
“Thanks for the personnel advice, dickhead. By the same token, would you mind if I give you a few pointers on how to pick dried Favre ejaculate out of your eyelids?”
This is a very solid first move, bringing in a better corner than two (Eric Wright, Aaron Ross) who got richer first-week contracts. The only X factor with any former Saint, however, concerns the bounty investigation, and whether any players will be suspended. We don’t know whether Porter was involved, and whether he’ll face any discipline.
Pretty sure he’s safe. Tracy Porter would have to be able to hit someone before he could accept a bounty.
5. TE Jacob Tamme from Indianapolis to Denver. A Peyton Manning security blanket, obviously. Check out Tamme’s catches in the last 10 games of the Colts’ season in 2010: 6, 11, 7, 7, 7, 4, 4, 7, 7, 7. Think Manning’s happy to have Tamme in the fold?
Uh, sure? Is that enough to consider a second-rate receiving tight end who only apparently has 10 percent of his catches go for more than 10 yards as the fifth best move in all of free agency? MAYBE! SORT OF!
6. LB Erin Henderson staying in Minnesota. The Vikings’ salary cap is very happy with the one-year, $2 million deal Henderson signed, because he outplayed that number in his first full-time starting season last year. Henderson’s not that happy, though. Hope the one-year deal doesn’t backfire on the Vikes.
If you listen to PK, free agency has been a fucking disaster. “Good job by the Vikes getting Henderson for cheap because he’s worth at least three times that. And boy does he know it. Seriously, he’s pissed. Gonna leave for sure next year. Still good enough for sixth best move of the year.”
9. DT Brodrick Bunkley from Denver to New Orleans. The deal is pricey — five years, $25 million — but the Saints badly wanted a run-stuffer who can move, and the best one left on the market was Bunkley.
“Did they overpay? Sure. But they wouldn’t have wanted to overpay for anybody else.”
Four points on Tim Tebow’s arrival in New York:
1. The wait at JFK is much worse than what he’d be used to flying out of Baton Rogue. He’ll regret not going to the Saints.
2. There’s this thing called St. Patrick’s Day here. Not a good time for dog-walkies.
3. MANHATTAN HAS A BAR WITH ALLAGASH WHITE ON TAP!
4. Keep out of the subway, Tim. Weirdos aplenty!
1. In a strict football sense, Tebow as a Jet makes sense. He allows a risk-taking coach, Rex Ryan, and his Wildcat-loving offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, to experiment with different ways to use Tebow. Wildcat quarterback. Spreading the field on the two-point conversion. Maybe even the personal protector on the punt team where imaginative special teams coach Mike Westhoff can throw some changeups at the defense. But it’s not always about football with Tebow.
Of course not. There’s bullshit. Scads and scads of bullshit.
On Saturday, he went to a Broadway play.
WICKED! THE WITCH IS GREEN! HIS TIE HAS GREEN! HE’S EMBRACED THE BI-COASTAL GAY AGENDA!
The New York Daily News put Tebow’s attendance at the play on the front page of the Sunday paper. As of Sunday, he’d been on the front or back page of at least one of the two tabloids every day since the trade. This is a backup quarterback we’re talking about — at least now it is. I think Tebow’s potentially a good asset to a struggling offense. I just don’t know if the accompanying headaches will make it a plus overall for the Jets, never mind what it does to the psyche of the starter. I don’t care what Mark Sanchez says publicly. This ticks him off.
Who gives a shit if Nacho is upset? And if the team isn’t used to being headline/tabloid fodder by now, there never was much hope for them
2. Tebow and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, absolutely had a choice on where the Broncos would trade Tebow, despite Tebow’s statement that only Denver controlled that.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HE COMMITS THE SIN OF FIBBING!
The Jags had a better fourth-round pick on the table than the Jets were offering — by seven draft slots. The Jags were offering $500,000 more than the Jets in compensation for the advances paid on his contract. But Denver was willing to deal Tebow to either team. And it was a very difficult choice for the young quarterback, because he is from Jacksonville. But the decision made sense. The Jets wanted him more, and would use him more, ostensibly. It’s simple.
He’s a godless glory boy out for bold-face names and headlines. If the world were more like the WWE, this would be the first makings of a glorious Tebow heel turn. Of course, in wrestling, Heelbow would come out in all-black with his face painted like Sting.
3. One Jag quarterback point: the leash will be short on Blaine Gabbert this year, and Chad Henne will be the quarterback at some point if Gabbert is as bad as he was last fall. Why would Tebow want to be a third-string quarterback, with coaches who aren’t big fans of the gimmicky stuff the way the Jets are? It would have made no sense, regionalism notwithstanding, for Tebow to go to Jacksonville.
Oh yeah, it’d be real tough to get past Gabbert and Chad fucking Henne on the depth chart. Kiss of death, there.
4. I will be shocked if, one day before the end of his career, Tebow is not a member of the Jaguars — assuming the Jags remain in Jacksonville long-term. When? I don’t know.
I too would be shocked if Tebow doesn’t one day end up on the team he just consciously chose not to play for in favor of another one with the same offensive issues. It’s just a matter of when. AND MAYBE.
But unless he establishes a solid starting beachhead in New Jersey or elsewhere soon, he’ll be a Jag one of these days. Just makes too much sense for a franchise that needs the juice of Tebow.
For now, New York gets to suckle on the Tebow juice, which will one day ooze forth on Jacksonville, unless New York sucks the Tebow Juice dry, which it might, especially if Tebow pays for it.
Message from Manning.
I completed a story for Sports Illustrated on Peyton Manning’s weird two-week free-agency journey earlier this morning. One thing worth noting that didn’t fit:
Holy shit. The “one thing” that PK didn’t fit was five paragraphs and 350 words of Pey-Pey name-checking every assistant coach in the league who he supposedly respects. I’m thankful it didn’t make the piece because it shows that SI actually assigns an editor to King every once in a while. This outtake in question is basically an exercise in Petey letting everyone know that Peyton is a kindly student of the game who remembers names and looks you in the eye when you talks to you. It’s also Peyton PR bullshit that suggests that Peyton made his decision on which coaching staff he liked best and not because Denver forked over $96 million over five years.
RIP, Ron Erhardt.
The other day, after Erhardt died, I asked Parcells about “Shorten the game.” How big of a reason was it in the outcome of Super Bowl XXV?
“Great gameplan. No Jap plays. I told him if he ran a single fucking Jap play, I’d sheer off his nutsack and feed it to Belichick. All that year, Bill had a taste for Erhardt. Never got it. Really bothered him. I thought it was hilarious.”
“It wasn’t a reason,” Parcells said the other day. “It was the reason. Ron had a terrific plan that day. He was a great football coach.”
“A fucking asshole, but a great coach. I hate everyone. Fuck you. If you track me down again, I’m gonna sic the dogs on you. I don’t even own dogs. I’ll find ‘em.”
What it feels like to have your world turned upside down.
I asked new Kansas City tackle Eric Winston, who was unexpectedly cut by Houston and signed a four-year deal with the Chiefs, to write a short piece about what happens when a veteran player gets whacked and has to find a new home. His thoughts:
I’ll gloss over this part because, as you might expect with any segment not written by PK, there’s a troubling amount of clear language and insight. Including it is almost meaner to Peter than just ripping apart his own writing.
Quote of the Week I
“He liked my performance. I hope I like his performance.”
— P.J. Sullivan, who plays Oz in the Broadway musical Wicked, to the New York Daily News Saturday night, after Tebow finished his first official day as a member of the Jets by attending his first Broadway show. .
You hear that, Tebow? No backstage community theater handy is gonna cut it on Broadway. Get on thine knees.
Quote of the Week II
“Okay, so Peyton Manning was a tremendous MVP quarterback, but he’s been injured. If that injury comes back, Denver will find itself without a quarterback. And in my opinion, it would serve them right.”
— Evangelist Pat Robertson of the 700 Club, talking about Denver’s decision to sign Peyton Manning and trade Tebow.
Even though our reasoning for doing so is slightly different, Pat Robertson and I are both rooting for Peyton to get injured this season. And I’m okay with that.
/blames the gays for his lack of compunction
Quote of the Week III
“[Ross] said they had been shopping him for a couple weeks. Nobody would return their phone calls about getting him. If Chicago didn’t take him, they would have ended up cutting him very shortly after that.”
— Miami Dolphins season ticket holder Jason Lawrence, to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Him” is wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Lawrence talked about a phone call he got from owner Stephen Ross, who, according to Lawrence, said the team was lucky to get two third-round picks for troubled wideout Brandon Marshall.
So the Dolphins were only spared by blind luck from being even bigger idiots? Miami is just the greatest.
Quote of the Week IV
“Did you hear Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos? When Tim Tebow heard the news, he dropped to one knee and prayed, ‘Don’t trade me to Cleveland!’ ”
— Jay Leno, in his “Tonight Show” monologue last Tuesday.
FUCK YOU FOR MAKING ME READ LENO, PETER. Jesus, even a Stangel joke kills that and that fucking pains me to say.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I wish I had a better travel note than this, because I traveled to Denver and Florida in the last seven days, but I cannot top ESPN reporter Josina Anderson’s, as she returned on American Airlines from a trip to New Orleans reporting the Saints bounty story.
As she sat eating Corn Flakes on the plane Saturday morning, the man sitting next to her took his shoes off and, barefooted, put his feet on the wall in the bulkhead seat in front of them.
That is worth combat pay, ESPN. Reward the woman.
“Well, we already paid for her entire flight.” – ESPN
“Pretty funky visual during breakfast,” Anderson observed.
I can think of a couple of words stronger than funky, Josina. I know travel is increasingly sardine-cannish
Guuhhh. What kind of adjective is that? Just say conditions are cramped or tight. Why does everything have to be the most awkwardly contorted visual device possible. “I was in the cabin and, boy, jowls and cheeks were neck-and-neckish.”
but I draw the line at four things:
1. Non-melty Kit-Kats. How hard is it to put ‘em in the microwave for 10 seconds?
2. iPads that aren’t mine. Just wait until I get the stewardess to take it.
3. Non-Elite Flyers. Which of course leads to…
4. Being an idiot to flight attendants. As in the woman on my United flight to Denver early Tuesday morning, who twice rang her flight-attendant call button to ask for a blanket, which, in coach, often either doesn’t exist anymore or only does if there are extras from first class. The second time, she said, “It must be 55 degrees in here. Can you please do something!” It wasn’t. And happily, the flight attendant did nothing, and the woman shivered in normal temperatures most of the way across the country.
SUCK IT UP, STEERAGE CLASS! YOU WILL GET A BLANKET ONLY IF AND ONLY IF FIRST CLASS DEEMS ONE UNNECESSARY. AND RIGHT NOW, ALL THE BLANKETS ARE BEING USED AS EXTRA WINDOW COVERS BECAUSE THE SUN IS BEING EXTRA GARISH TODAY AND ONE KNOWS YOU MUST ALWAYS RESPECT THE SUN.
Tweet of the Week I
“Jets scrambling furiously to set up Tebow presser. Pews for beat writers only”
— @NYPost_Serby, columnist Steve Serby of the New York Post, 21 hours before the scheduled noon press conference Monday in New Jersey for Tebow.
Oh ho ho, SERBY STRIKES AGAIN! Don’t like it? You can KISS HIS APSE!
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think there are three bylaws that need to be passed at these meetings. The trade deadline needs to be moved from Week 6 to Week 8 (actually, it should be Week 13, but any movement is progress). Each team should be able to use one exception to the injured-reserve list, and bring one player per year back from IR after eight weeks. And overtime rules should be uniform all season — in the regular season and in the playoffs. Those are three fixes that will help the game.
Those are all at least fairly reasonable requests. I’m more disappointed because it’s a clear occasion where PK could have easily used bullet points effectively for once and neglected to do so. It’s the sort of thing you spot when you’re forced to pore over page after page of his dreadful, dreadful writing.
2. I think the league, in the future, should mandate the rules if there’s ever an uncapped year. Having an unwritten rule that says teams can’t dump contract accelerations into the uncapped year of 2010 is now costing the Redskins $36 million and Dallas $10 million, and whether or not the two teams win their appeals of the sanction, the NFL has to be clearer, with written rules, about what’s allowed and what isn’t when they write provisions in future CBAs — if there’s ever a provision for an uncapped year or years.
“But what about when we want to collude?” – 30 owners
3. I think if I’m a Bengals fan, and I’m trying to analyze what they’re doing in free agency, the conclusion I would come to is this: They are plumbing the depths of the lower-middle-class and seeing what, if anything, sticks.
That is, I believe, what is referred to as The Bengal Way.
6. I think, judging by the well-worn NFL draft choice value chart
STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!
YOU DON’T JUDGE BASED ON THINGS THAT ARE FUCKING WORTHLESS, BECAUSE THEN YOU GET WORTHLESS JUDGMENTS! And the draft value chart, for the umpteen millionth time, IS FUCKING WORTHLESS. WHY MUST YOU TORMENT ME!?
I like what Philadelphia got more than Houston in the deal for linebacker DeMeco Ryans, the former centerpiece of the Texans defense. Houston got a fourth-round pick and moved up 12 spots in the third round. That, according to the trade chart
Lemme me stop you right there. The Eagles got a solid player and barely had to surrender anything in significant picks. That’s all. Spare me what little bit of sanity I have left.
7. I think I never thought the Saints should have their Super Bowl title vacated because of the bounty scandal. No way, no how. Many of you apparently do. But there’s no evidence at any level that the bounties won or lost a game for them.
But remember, it’s still a hundred times worse than Spygate because… something, something… accounting rules and Tom Benson isn’t Goodell’s best bud.
8. I think I’d love to see Sean Payton work the studio for FOX, or work games, as Judy Battista reported was possible Sunday in the New York Times. There’s no head coach who can explain offensive football better than Payton right now, and he’s at the fore of so many offensive innovations in the game. He’d be a great one-season hire. I understand the downside — FOX would be criticized for giving Payton a forum when he’s been banned from the NFL for a year. My opinion: What Payton could add in football intelligence would outweigh what he’d subtract in image.
Only worth it if Payton pays Strahan to murder Bradshaw by Week 6.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. North Carolina 73, Ohio U. 65, overtime. Imagine your best player (D.J. Cooper) shoots 3 of 20, you get outrebounded by 30, you lose, and the best player on the other team, Tyler Zeller, says after the game, “Ohio played the better game.”
//imagines it’s still funny because PK is sad
c. This week’s sign that journalistic priorities are out of whack or I am a ridiculously old fart: The Denver Post ran an eight-paragraph story on Baylor’s win over Florida in the NCAA’s women’s tournament last week, and six of the paragraphs concerned star Brittany Griner’s dunk in the game, which was neither the first of her career or the first in a big NCAA game. I can understand a mention. But six graphs?
No, it wasn’t the first. It was the second. As in, the second time ever a woman dunked in an NCAA tournament game.
d. Wait. I am an old fart. It is official. In a Sunday morning SportsCenter show, ESPN showed 15 replays of the five-day-old dunk. Fifteen. Hey, why not 35? Then ESPN showed six replays of a two-handed dunk Griner did on Saturday.
Official fartage, PK has it. YOU USURPED VALUABLE HIGHLIGHT TIME FROM THE RED SAWX SPRING TRAINING GAMES, YOU HORRIBLE DUNKING BITCHES!
g. Are you serious, Pirates? Erik Bedard the opening day starter? Whoa.
Dude, it’s the fucking Pirates.
i. My rotisserie team, after last Thursday’s draft for our 12-team league in New Jersey, which none of you care about:
Sure as fuck don’t. Thanks for the heads-up.
j. Thanks for the drafting help, Matthew Berry, in between watching the Syracuse game the other night. Interesting preaching by the roto expert: I kept telling him about the run on closers. “Sixteen closers are gone,” I told him. “I’ve got to take one.” He said, Don’t worry. You’ll find closers you can use. You always will. He was right. Closers in fantasy baseball are made and broken every May. This year I’m counting on Addison Reed of the White Sox to be my midseason ace-in-the-closer-hole.
Matthew Berry then proceeded to make PK smell his fingers and guess what he just put up this girl’s (total 10, brah, I swear) closer hole.
/it’s funny because Matthew Berry is a creep
k. Coffeenerdness: Best $2.05 I spent last week: the medium French Roast at the Caribou Coffee in Terminal B at the Denver Airport. Best French Roast I’ve had.
Not good enough to make him ignore the shrill cries of the freezing harpies who have to fly coach.
l. Beernerdness: Thanks, Colorado Avalanche, for having New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire on draft at your games. Albert Breer of NFL Network and I were very grateful for your beer-stocking choice last Tuesday at Avs-Flames.
Again with the bizarre hyphenating. I take issue with your word-mangling choice.
New Belgium is also based in Colorado, so it’s not like the Avalanche really had to go out of their way to make that happen. Either way, I’m sure the team is happy to oblige drunken sportswriters.
n. RIP, Bert Randolph Sugar, one of the great raconteurs in sports history, and certainly the pre-eminent boxing historian. He died Sunday at 75 of cancer. Too many good people dying. It’s depressing. Sugar was a friend to all in the boxing game and the media, and he loved football. A fixture at the NFL Draft every year, he was no one-trick sports pony. He knew every game, and his stories will live on.
Too many good people dying. RIP Burt Sugar, one of the great characters and smart men in the boxing business. Died of cancer in NY.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) March 25, 2012
My apologies for misspeling Bert, as is Bert Sugar.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) March 25, 2012
I want more like this!
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