When last we left… Peter King, he was telling us about all the glory-boy cultural developments that would have made Neil Armstrong want to launch asteroids at the Earth from the moon. Someone Who Knows – yes, that is how a source was attributed – said Russell Wilson defines markedly better, unless another person does. PK also wanted us to know about this killer zinger his boyfriend Florio said about the new Browns owner that you would totally laugh at if you too were drunk, laying on Florio couch’s in pajamas and trying to keep the vibe playful.

But what about this week? Who leads the nation in weirdness? Is it a 300 million-way tie? Is it your civic duty to save your best quotes for The New York Times? Are we ready for Footballville? Can anyone ever be? READ ON.

I start this Opening Day Week with some possible blessed relief for fans

It’s finally happening! After semi-careful-ish contemplation, Peter King has finally been crushed under the collective shame of brazenly whoring for EvoShield, accepting Troy Aikman’s Padres tickets, going to the Masters on the dime of the VP of a sports marketing firm, as well as those four love children he sired with Brett Favre. What a day this will be.

which starts with my earlier than usual stat of the week.

Oh.

Yes, by all means, proceed in telling us how Coby Fleener leads the league in nugget sense.

Some 639 active and eligible NFL players did not play in the 16 games on the final preseason week. That includes 17 of 32 starting quarterbacks. In fact, 10 teams thought so little of the final dress rehearsal for the season that they didn’t play their first- or second-string quarterback a single snap.

SOUND THE ALARMS. ALERT ALL SHIPS AT SEA. Peter King has discovered that no one cares about the final preseason game and that teams consider it, at best, a nuisance. Next week: People make sweeping decisions based on the outcome of Week 1 games!

I mention all of this because I sense the league is finally getting fed up with it. I don’t know when it’s coming, but I can sense it — the 32 teams changing their practice of charging regular season prices for some of the intrasquad-scrimmage-quality games we see every August, particularly during the final preseason week.

Because Peter King’s hunches are generally wrong all the time about everything, you can just go ahead and disregard this happening. Of course, PK isn’t even so bold as to predict that it will even happen within the next five years. Just that it’s happening someday. MAYBE.

I can’t tell you if it’ll be season-ticket holders being asked to buy only nine games instead of the 10 (eight regular season, two preseason) they now purchase, or if the price of the 10th game on every ticket package will be radically reduced.

So that’s why this is the most overwritten feature on the Internet. The point of MMQB isn’t to pass on useful information and analysis; it’s for Peter King to list off all the things he doesn’t know. And stories about him spraying spittle on airport baristas, naturally.

My proposal: Charge eight games at full price. Charge a ninth game, one of the two currently scheduled home preseason games, at half price. And the other home preseason game won’t exist anymore; it’d be a scrimmage, on one of the first two weekends of the preseason, at a regional venue, for $10 per ticket. Each team brings 50 of the 90 players fighting for roster spots.

Except under that scenario, each team has three regular preseason games, meaning some will get two home games for owners to soak their fans, while other owners will get just one per year. So no way that gets a majority vote from the ownership.

Here are some examples using the first weekend of the recently completed preseason: Pittsburgh-Philadelphia at Penn State. Washington-Buffalo at Syracuse. Cleveland-Detroit at Toledo. Tampa Bay-Miami at Orlando. Minnesota-San Francisco at Jim Harbaugh’s old place, Stanford. St. Louis-Indy at Notre Dame.

Fuck that. A game at Notre Dame would be torture just for the announcers pretending the school is super awesome and still relevant to anything. Also, I like how PK mentions actual campuses for most of those contests, except for Tampa-Miami, which just gets Orlando. Ah, prestigious Orlando College, which has been closed for about 20 years. I suppose he means UCF, unless Peter envisioned those two playing in the middle of downtown streets, which would both be enjoyable and would allow Orlando to remind the nation it actually has a downtown buried within its endless sprawl.

How about Tennessee versus Seattle at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., with Russell Wilson fighting for playing time for the Seahawks?

Yes, let’s organize the location of preseason games based solely on one team’s ongoing position battle. The awkwardness of a crowd largely devoid of the two participating fan bases will be redeemed by the 10 minutes that Wisconsin alums get to go apeshit for their former quarterback.

Now for the news of the week …

Another story showcasing these fine, upstanding men in the striped pajamas, aka the replacement officials:

Thanks for the clarification. There are so many upstanding men in striped pajamas these days, I can’t keep up.

I cannot say which game this story happened in, but I can tell you it did happen. Final preseason game for two teams. Official calls defensive pass-interference in front of the penalized team’s bench. Head coach lambastes the official. Official picks up the flag, tells the coach he’s not going to make the call. Coach is stunned.

Imagine what will happen when something’s actually at stake.

The screaming coach would be pleased?

According to a memo sent to all the teams on Sunday and obtained by SI.com, Commissioner Roger Goodell called one of the officials’ negotiators, ref Jeff Triplette, and Triplette came to New York to speak with the league’s negotiators directly. The league’s memo attests that, “In the course of discussions on Friday morning, Mr. Triplette quantified the economic gap between the parties as approximately $4 million per year for compensation and retirement benefits combined. The Commissioner advised Mr. Triplette that in order to obtain an agreement this weekend, so that the regular officials could begin to work next week, we would close the deal by agreeing to provide an additional $1 million per year, which could be used to improve either base compensation or our proposal regarding retirement benefits …

Wait, Jeff Triplette is one of the referee union negotiators? That fuckwit? Okay, I’ve changed my mind. Give those assholes nothing.

The pension part of the negotiations, I’m told, is a non-starter for the league. The large majority of full-time NFL employees have 401k-based pensions, not the defined-benefit pensions the officials have now, and the league wants to change over to the 401k model. The NFL doesn’t want part-time employees, many of whom have pensions at their other jobs, to have a better pension system than full-time NFL employees.

“We would like to deprive everyone of benefits equally.”

There’s one more hurdle. The NFL wants to hire a farm system of about 20 officials to train new officials and also to provide a “bench” so the league could replace underperforming officials if their performance warranted. But it doesn’t sound from either side like that’s a deal-breaker, because the league dismisses underperforming officials after every season anyway.

Yet Jeff Triplette is still around and OH MY FUCKING GOD I HATE ALL OF YOU

Two days until football. Real football.

Lofty football.

The Giants and Cowboys play Wednesday night, opening the NFL’s 93rd season. One of the best conversations I had on my camp tour this summer was with Dallas coach Jason Garrett about Eli Manning.

“That most jejune of the Manning fils is easily flustered, a trait of poor breeding. The Princeton man prosecutes the field with enviable equanimity. And the finest of eating.”

Garrett, being a former quarterback himself and tutoring a pretty good one in Tony Romo in Dallas, has strong opinions about what makes a quarterback good. Garrett thinks surviving adversity and being able to bring your team back late are two of the biggest signposts to quarterback greatness. For instance, he thinks one of the great games Romo’s ever played is a five-interception job at Buffalo on a Monday night five seasons ago. “Because he struggled for a long time in that game, he hung in, he came back twice in the fourth quarter from deficits, and he found a way to get it done,” Garrett said.

Considering a five-interception outing from Romo his best performance is actually a smart way of setting expectations.

Could this be the year Baltimore’s offense actually is better than the D?

I can see it. The Ravens don’t have a strong pass rush without Terrell Suggs. I’m through writing off Ray {Freak of Nature] Lewis, but he’s 37, and Ed Reed turns 34 next week. At some point, if Joe Flacco’s going to convince the world he’s a big-timer, he has to play big with an offense that doesn’t lead the league in weaponry.

Yes, that offense only has Ray Rice, who leads the league in being a non-weaponized elite running back who is awesome at catching passes. Meanwhile, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are decommissioned Navy subs.

That sometime might be this year.

MAYBE

And Flacco might just be his best this season because he should be playing no-huddle, and playing fast, for much of the season. Flacco ran the no-huddle most often in college at Delaware, but hasn’t done that much of it as a pro. He told me last week he’s “looking at our offense as total no-huddle … as 100 percent no-huddle.”

“See this piece chart that is a complete circle that says NO-HUDDLE in the middle? That’s our offense. Wait, first let dunk this graph in shit. Okay, now that’s our offense.”

With a system Flacco prefers to run, I wouldn’t be surprised if he raises his mediocre completion percentage (57.6 last year) and looks like a different player. When you like doing something, you throw more of yourself into it.

What PK seems to be implying here is that Flacco has only struggled up to this point because he didn’t care enough. Which is horseshit. If anything, Joe Flacco cares way too much, precisely why he throws bitchfits everytime he’s not attributed as being the reason the Ravens win.

Last Thursday, an hour up the Hudson River from NFL offices in New York, the Army and the NFL signed an agreement to share medical research about concussions and head trauma.

When Goodell and Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff, met at West Point Thursday, they had much in common.

“Each could knock out a set of 300 spiderman push-ups inside of a minute then scale a climb wall using only their tongue. They defined gravitas-ness.”

The Army is spending liberally now to do some research that interests the NFL very much. One of the areas: trying to discover if biomarkers can determine through small blood samples from pin-pricks whether a person has been concussed or is undergoing head trauma.

Woohoo! Just what I was hoping for, more taxpayer dollars to benefit the NFL.

I wanted to let you know about my weekly schedule, and when you can expect to read, see and hear me, and how you can help me make this column better in 2012.

First, Monday Morning Quarterback enters its 16th season on the web, making it — I believe — the longest-running Internet column on the NFL. I’ll have a couple of new things this year. One: In cooperation with ProFootballFocus.com, I’m going to have a piece of the column each week focusing on one of the key matchups of the weekend. Maybe it’s a receiver-cornerback matchup, or how a defense tries to pen in a mobile quarterback, or how an offense tries to use no-huddle to dictate to the defense. Each week, I’ll find a subplot you’ll all be talking about, and ProFootballFocus.com will do the studying and provide you an inside look at one of the compelling angles of the NFL weekend.

“This year, I’ve brought someone on to actually write about football. In other news, Red Sox Red Sox Allagash New York Times The Bowers Walkableville Concrete Cyanide.”

Two: This is where you come in. I am going to allow readers of this column — via email or on Twitter @SI_PeterKing — to suggest a segment of the column you’d like to see. Maybe it’s Good Guy of the Week, Overrated Bum of the Week, Invisible Offensive Lineman of the Week, Coaching Decision You’d Never Have Made, etc. You suggest it to me, and next week, in the first regular season week of the column, I’ll pick one and implement it, and we’ll see how it goes. (The examples I just gave … just throwing things out there. Come up with any idea you’d like.) Send me your ideas by Thursday of this week and I’ll pick one. Thanks for that.

Oh yes. Let’s get on this:

Evoshield Great Stock Tip Of The Week

This Week In Josh Bickford Advice

Best Concentration Camp Dirt Of The Week

Thing Defined By This Week

Wichita Neutrality Award

The Show I Wish Were Veep Of The Week

Pseudo-Factoid-Esque Semi-Fact Of The Week-ish Period

Name Five Column Segments Markedly Better, You Can’t

The kid went and did it.

Well, in the span of seven months, Ohio’s beaten Michigan in basketball and Penn State in football. That’s a little heady for my alma mater. Actually, it’s a lot heady.

Not medium heady. LEGIT headiness. More heady than Peyton Manning, who is uber heady.

I introduced you to the kid in the middle of the football headiness, quarterback Tyler Tettleton, last week, and I figured you’d want to hear his reaction after Ohio 24, Penn State 14, with Ohio churning out 499 yards of total offense and Tettleton a 31-of-41 afternoon.

“Yeah, we won, but my dad still has fewer home runs than Derek Jeter, so… ” [Commits seppuku]

Tettleton sounded like an NFL quarterback, the more he talked. “Penn State’s over,” he said. “Now it’s time to focus on New Mexico State.”

So precocious! He already leads the NFL in rote platitudes.

Cause of the Week.

I’ll be running my second half-marathon on Sept. 29, the Hamptons Half-Marathon on eastern Long Island … assuming I don’t break something (like my spirit) in training beforehand. I’m running to benefit retired NFL special-teamer Steve Gleason’s efforts to build an ALS House in the city of New Orleans — an inpatient residence to serve patients with neuro-muscular diseases and allow them to live as independently as possible.

I’m pledging a minimum of $1,000 to the cause — that’s if I finish the run in 2 hours 20 minutes or less. I’ll give an additional $1,000 if I either don’t finish or run slower than 2:20. I’ve already thrown in the first $1,000. As Gleason has said to me: “Hope you’re really slow that day.” Here’s how you can contribute.

Sure, I’ll include this not-shitty thing Peter King is doing for the sake of balance. As seemingly kind as it for him to raise his donation for being slow and out of shape, now there’s no incentive for him to even pretend to try in this run. Since he won’t set a time that he has to finish by, the race organizers will have to deploy the volunteers with fire pokers to keep him going.

Quote of the Week II

“My knee just isn’t the same anymore. It’s never going to be the same.”

– Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher, to FOX Chicago, about the status of his balky left knee, which he injured late last season, re-aggravated early in camp, and had surgery on Aug. 12. He swore that he’d play in the season opener against Indianapolis.

The AIDS that Paris Hilton gave him rendered his body frail and useless.

Quote of the Week IV

“The first pass I threw in Denver was to Helton. I did not want people seeing me. It becomes a private, sensitive deal. It was not good. He actually thought I was joking when I threw it to him. The ball nose-dived. He was like, ‘That’s funny.’ I was like, ‘You don’t understand.’ ”

– Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, in New York Times NFL writer Judy Battista’s strong Sunday story about the return of Manning. Manning was referring to the summer of the lockout, when his shoulder and neck hurt, and he couldn’t throw the ball well, and he had no one to confide in about the weakness of his arm, and so he went to Denver to visit good friend and former Tennessee football teammate Todd Helton, the first baseman on the Rockies. They threw privately, and you can understand why Manning was throwing privately: He didn’t want anyone to see what a disaster his right arm had become.

One other thing: I like that Manning told Battista, a respected national writer for a top newspaper, a very good nugget like that. He realizes that when the New York Times comes to town to write about you, you shouldn’t just rehash the same stuff you’ve been saying for six weeks. That’s a good thing.

Holy shit, that’s quite a journalism boner for the Gray Lady you’ve got there, PK. So if you happen to be a person of interest to the news media, be sure to give every other outlet in the country the same regurgitated response. But when the NEW YORK TIMES comes a-knockin’, you better come with your best nuggets. This is when it counts. Every other interview is like fourth preseason game played on Orlando College Field.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

More a slice of New York life than a true travel note, mostly because I didn’t travel over the long holiday weekend:

I was walking in Manhattan on Friday afternoon, approaching the corner of Park Avenue and East 54th. A young family, apparently, with a 35ish couple and a boy and a girl (I’m guessing the girl was 9 and the boy 5 or 6, and it was their mom and dad with them) climbed into their Range Rover after loading a few bags in the trunk. Going somewhere for the weekend, I guessed. Before the left rear passenger door was closed, and just as I passed within a few feet of the vehicle, the boy climbed into his backless car booster seat and said to his mom: “Can I have my phone?”

I did a near-double-take. A phone for a 5- or 6-year-old? And the mom pulled out what appeared to be an iPhone or an Android phone, with a rectangular screen, and handed it to the boy.

Not to show that I’m in the prime of my hey-kid-get-off-my-lawn life, but do 6-year-old kids have iPhones in America? It can’t be.

You mean to tell me that rich kids raised in Manhattan are privileged little shits with access to high-end consumer electronics well before the age that an average kid might receive them? I refuse to believe it.

Also, Mary Beth probably got her first Macbook at nine.

Tweet of the Week III

“Something that just struck me: If the Saints go 16-0 this season, who wins coach of the year? Joe Vitt? Aaron Kromer? Both?”

– @JeffDuncanTP, New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan. Vexing question, one I’m sure the franchise would love to have answered.

Pretty sure it goes to the Sean Payton DO YOUR JOB poster.

Ten Things I Think I Think

a. Picked the Packers to beat the Broncos (with three road playoff wins to get there) in the Super Bowl, 33-30.

b. I know, I know. Peyton Manning has his arm attached by a single tendon and he’s one hit from never throwing anything but a crust of bread to a robin again. But go back and see how he threw it against San Francisco eight days ago and tell me his arm stinks.

Sure, Peyton is likely to be obliterated on any given snap, but look how well he threw against a vanilla defense in a game I told you not to draw any conclusions from. SUPER BOWL BOUND, BABY!

f. As for the Cowboys over the Giants and Eagles in the NFC East, two reasons: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne.

An injured rookie corner and a vastly overvalued veteran. CALL ME CONVINCED!

i. Toughest five days in football, 2012: Seattle, with the Patriots at home Oct. 14, and at the Niners the following Thursday.

No worries, though. Russell Wilson leads all rookies in charisma and defines markedly better, which should totally mean something, unless it doesn’t, I think. Anyway, back-to-back losses. MAYBE.

j. I did manage to please Cosmo Kramer in the preview issue. “O.K.,” I wrote in the Super Bowl prediction story, “I’ve been seduced by the Peyton Manning kevorka.” Joe Philbin’s got Costanza, I’ve got Kramer.

Good to know Peter King is pleasing someone with his columns, even if they’re just characters from a TV series that’s been over for almost 15 years.

k. I overlooked Chandler Jones and Quinton Coples and Whitney Mercilus and Morris Claiborne and Andre Branch to pick Bruce Irvin of Seattle as my Defensive Rookie of the Year. I hate being Mr. Obvious, but after watching Andrew Luck be more precocious in his rookie preseason than Peyton Manning was in his, it was hard to give the Offensive Rookie of the Year to anyone else.

Yes, it’s just so readily apparent that Mr. Precocious will be offensive rookie of the year based on preseason stuff we weren’t supposed to take seriously. Peter King will bestow the award to him at a predictable event in Obviousville at a universally expected time.

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

a. I don’t know Bill O’Brien, but I have very high regard for him. I feel for him. However, he’s going to end up with an ulcer, or worse, if he takes what will be a long string of losses as hard as he took his first.

Which makes him just as miserable as any football coach, ever.

b. Not saying Oregon’s helmets lead the nation in weirdness or anything, but there aren’t any mirrors left in Eugene.

It’s true. Mirrors shatter when things that are WEIRD gaze upon them. Because Peter King considers just about everything to qualify as such, there are no mirrors left. RIP Mirrors.

c. First six games of West Coast Trip For What Used To Be The Red Sox: Opponents six wins, Sox none. Opponents 54 runs, Sox 15.

d. I don’t blame Bobby Valentine (much), and I don’t know who could have managed this menagerie. But after the Alfredo Aceves nonsense Saturday night in Oakland, how does Bobby V hang on?

I hope he coaches the Red Sox to 100-loss seasons until the end of creation.

e. The Padres and Red Sox have the same (62-73) record.

f. The A’s and Yankees have the same (76-57) record.

Thanks for the update on a random assemblage of team standings in baseball.

l. Overall, I liked The Newsroom

Yeah, you did.

but among its flaws was the maddening and constant shoving “relationships” down our throats. I mean, tell me one news network at which one of the lowest-level producer types — during a break in the newscast on election night — would hustle over to the anchor and tell the most important person at the network that he shouldn’t be bringing all his girlfriends into the newsroom to show off to his former girlfriend. It’s like some 25-year-old kid one level up from the intern at NBC telling Brian Williams on election night, between reports from the Romney and Obama camps, about how he should handle his love life. The absurdity is absurd times 12.

Meanwhile, PK will enjoin Brian Williams to tell Americans on election night that something must be done about gun violence in America, because I DON’T KNOW just hasn’t been cutting it.

m. Coffeenerdness: Great coffee order at Starbucks in midtown Manhattan the other day. “Six shots of espresso in a grande cup, with a couple of pumps of hazelnut.” That’s one tired sugar-monger.

I know! Where’s the love, random Starbucks customer? Coffee isn’t just a vector for getting caffeine and sugar into your system. There must also be nutmeg and the equivalent of six sundaes full of cream.

n. Beernerdness: Have to hand it to the Yankees, having Goose Island IPA at the downstairs bar behind home plate. Very, very nice.

Yeah, that leads the league remarkability, except Goose Island was purchased by Anheuser-Busch last year, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the once independent craft beer starts showing up in grocery stores and ballparks. Of course, PK being generally unaware of the underlying issues affecting the the citrus-y brew he firehoses down his gullet, he’s just plain dumbfounded by the presence of a new beer, just like how he’s dumbfounded by everything.