When last we left anonymous Titans linebacker, Peter King, he was fighting the good fight against football cliches, which are just having fun out there. He also made the bold prediction that if the 49ers and the Chargers make it to the Super Bowl, their rosters will be a touch different than the 1994 teams. Peter was also awestruck by the power of his stupid podcast to reach the ears of some foreigner and his dog.
But what about this week? What would Steve Jobs think of the scab refs if he were alive today? How does Matt Schaub’s version of “Starry Night” stack up to the original? Is it possible we’re all just way too pussy to handle the Schiano Factor? READ ON.
I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: The legitimacy of NFL games is at stake with officials who simply aren’t suited to work games of the intensity and importance of Atlanta-Denver last Monday or New England-Baltimore Sunday night.
Too true. The scabs refs can be free to botch shit games like Cincinnati-Washington and Kansas City-New Orleans, but Peyton Manning and Tom Brady demand a higher quality of quasi-legitishness.
If the lockout isn’t solved by Wednesday or early Thursday, 25 percent of the season will have been officiated by the fifth-stringers from the NAIA and other such football hinterlands.
The quasi-quarter of least legiticity!
Football hinterlands is also code for remote locations like Seattle. Hey, that’s where the game is tonight. The scabs should feel right at home.
But the crazy thing Sunday was the infection spread into the replay booth. Little-known officiating fact: The NFL has officiating supervisors from the league office at every NFL game to review crew mechanics and scout the crews.
Little known, except to the millions of people who heard announcers reference it repeatedly during the games on Sunday.
Many of you wonder why the league can’t solve this puzzle after getting the jillion-dollar CBA and TV deals done last year. A couple of reasons.
Many of you think for 120 part-time officials to get an average of $38,250 per year in pension contributions is excessive. But the regular officials are simply trying to keep a benefit they’ve had for the last several years. The league contributed $5.3 million to officials’ pensions last year and propose to contribute $2 million this year; the cut, the league says, is in keeping with pension plans around the country going to a 401k pension plan, subject to the whims of the stock market, rather than guaranteeing retirees a fixed return on their investments. What’s $3 million to the NFL? That’s only partially the point. The league has made many full-time employees take the lesser pension, so how can they give part-timers a better deal?
This is the NFL! We’re a socialist experiment! Everyone gets screwed equally!
It’s only a matter of time before some gaffe like a 27-yard penalty or two extra challenges costs some team a game it should have won.
I think it’s fair to say outcomes have already been altered. Just because an officiating gaffe doesn’t take place during the final drive of a close game doesn’t mean it doesn’t dramatically swung the score and momentum in such a way that the scab refs have dictated who wins. PK wants to point to stuff like the 49ers and Seahawks getting extra timeouts and still losing, as if the league dodged bullets. There are plenty of cases where teams built huge leads that they shouldn’t have on the strength of bad calls that happen early in the game.
Now for some football:
Matt Van Gogh is one tough quarterback. “I feel fine,” Houston quarterback Matt Schaub said after the 31-25 win in Denver. “I just lost a piece of my ear.” He said matter-of-factly.
The brilliance of Matt Schaub won’t be appreciated until long after he is dead.
Trends? I don’t want no stinkin’ trends.
But hoary cliches and tired movie references? Those are awesome.
Home teams were 14-2 last week, which fit rather neatly in the replacement-officials-get-intimidated-by-home-stadia story angle. One problem: In Weeks 1 and 3, home teams are 16-15 entering tonight’s Green Bay-Seattle game.
The scab refs are too busy being intimidated by the players and coaches to worry about a bunch of screaming fans.
Why the Giants win … at least one big reason.
Patience wins in the NFL. Impetuousness rarely does, and when it does, it doesn’t last. The 2009 NFL draft illustrates that well. That spring, the Giants picked Connecticut tackle Will Beatty 60th overall, Cal Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden 85th overall and North Carolina State running back Andre Brown 129th. Until Thursday night, Beatty had been an oft-injured disappointment, Barden got passed — and lapped several times — in wideout impact by Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and Brown had been cut by half the free world. On Thursday, they were three of the 10 most important Giants in a 36-7 rout of Carolina on the road.
WHAT VISION! WHAT MASTERY OF THE DRAFTING PROCESS! The Giants clearly knew these three high- to mid-round picks would fly under the radar, being useless, juuuuussssttttt long enough to lull the Carolina Panthers into complacency prior to their Week 3 battle in 2012. Just like the Giants training camp, they led the league in anonymousness, until they didn’t.
That’s the strength of Jerry Reese as a general manager. He’s not a knee-jerk guy. Last April, I wrote a story on Reese (and, in particular, how well he works with Tom Coughlin), and I sat in his office for a while talking about roster-building. The subject of the abuse he took from the talk-show set and fans came up for letting Steve Smith and Kevin Boss go in the 2011 offseason. He got a smile on his face and played me a couple of, shall we say, interesting, voice mails from critical fans after those players went to Philadelphia and Kansas City, respectively. He asked me not to report what was said in the voicemails, but let’s just say you need to have some blisters on your hide to be a general manager for a New York sports team.
Awesome reportage! You shared an intimate nugget with Jerry Reese but didn’t share with your readers because you caved to his absolutely pointless plea not to share particulars which would not have hurt him in the least.
Charting players who have been good Reese picks in his first six drafts with the Giants:
PK lists all of six players over the course of six drafts. What a draftnik.
2012: CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (Round 3, 94 overall)
Oh, fuck this.
I thought the best way to tell the story of Sabol’s impact on football would be to find 10 people whose lives were impacted by Sabol and who can tell what he meant to them, and to the sport long-term.
Did you know he was once asked to be commissioner? That he had Bill Belichick eating out of his modest hands? That he and his dad made Vince Lombardi cry? That he’s the reason Mike Mayock’s on TV? That he’s the inspiration for a 23-year-old photography student in a small town in Ireland?
But what about that Irish guy’s dog? Clearly Steve Sabol’s influence is no match for the PK podcast.
David Maraniss, author
“Steve believed Lombardi’s voice was something that separated him from others in history, and gave him his character. With NFL Films, the voice was central to the myth-making. They used John Facenda, and he was called the voice of God. But there was a practice in Green Bay once, and a dog got on the field and was interfering with practice. They couldn’t get the dog to leave. All the players were laughing it up with this dog on the field, and Vince saw it, and he just yelled over, ‘What the hell’s going on here? Get that dog off the field!’ The dog scampered away. That really did happen. Sabol witnessed it, and he thought it said something about Lombardi — that his voice was so powerful, so controlling.”
And that’s why Vince Lombardi has won a record 18 Puppy Bowls.
Brett Favre, former quarterback
Occasional peen photographer, full-time Land Baron
One of the most wired players in history, Favre recalls laying in bed the morning of his first Super Bowl appearance, Super Bowl XXXI in early 1997 in New Orleans, and hoping his dream would come true that day. The dream included Sabol.
“Just laying there that morning, watching Super Bowl after Super Bowl on TV — I’m more of a history buff probably than most players
It’s true. Who else watches the Super Bowl? You’ll never find a student of the game like Brett Favre.
And by that, I mean a dripping turbocunt.
and I was thinking about my dreams when I was a kid. I wanted to be a football player. My dreams came true, obviously, and that’s an understatement.
“Not only did my dreams come true, but your dreams came true through me. But I’m probably more of a dream buff than most people.”
I loved NFL Films. I used to watch all those blooper reels, and I loved the way NFL Films made the game look. And here I am listening to Steve Sabol talk about all these Super Bowls.
“Hurr, hurr, they made a funny noise when bleeping out that cuss word. I’ll remember that when farting on my center’s face in the locker room.”
Bruce Allen, general manage, Washington Redskins
“In the early 1970s, Steve and the crew from NFL Films came to do a feature on my father, who was the head coach of the Redskins at the time. They interviewed him for three hours in his office at Redskins Park prior to the season starting. A few weeks later, Steve called my father and said: ‘Coach, we need to come back and re-shoot your interview.’ Dad, who famously didn’t like his routine during the season to ever be disrupted, said: ‘How did you goof up?’ Steve responded: ‘While we were editing the film, we noticed that on the credenza behind you that you had copies of the Cowboys, Eagles and 49ers playbooks and we don’t want you to get in trouble.’ After thinking about that for a few seconds of silence, my father responded: ‘Heck with it. They know that I know. You can use it.’ I don’t know if they ever used that video clip or not, I do know that type of integrity is invaluable to the sport.
“Steve Sabol was like my father, if my father had any integrity.”
Keith Cossrow, NFL Films senior producer
Cossrow and another NFL Films veteran, Ken Rodgers, ran herd on the “Hard Knocks” series, which was Sabol’s pride and joy.
“I don’t think people realize how important ‘Hard Knocks’ was to Steve. He viewed it as the culmination of his entire career as a filmmaker and story-teller. ‘Hard Knocks’ was our Super Bowl to Steve. He was always determined that it have a cinematic quality, and each episode would be like a short motion picture. You’re producing this cinematic narrative in real time. Imagine how difficult that is, when, at the start of each week you’re shooting, you have no idea how the movie is going to end. Steve described it as building an airplane in mid-flight, and he loved every second of it.
“Hard Knocks” is indeed a tour de force of the documentary arts. It alone is enough to build a legacy on. Though Peter King says if a team wants to be on it, they welcome distractions and are resistant to winning. Other than that, a fine, fine program.
“So many of these stories on ‘Hard Knocks’ end up having Steve’s signature. Two years ago, when we had the Jets on the show, Ken Rodgers walked into my office one night and said, ‘I’ve got to show you something.’ He plays Rex Ryan speaking sternly to the team, and he finishes with, ‘Let’s go eat a goddamn snack!’ And I just sat there, laughing for five minutes. I couldn’t believe it. When Steve saw it, he loved it too — no one understood the value of humor better than Steve. But he wondered if there was a way to subtly point out the team actually had a team snack scheduled, and that’s where they were headed after the speech. He didn’t want people to think we included the scene just to take a shot at Rex’s weight. He said, ‘Put in a shot of the whiteboard outside the room where it shows they have a team snack.’ That was Steve — he got the story, and he had a big heart about it.
If only they were around to catch Rex’s reaction to Revis being out for the year.
1. Houston (3-0). The AFC South race could be over before the American League East race is.
Sorry. Baseball season ended the day of the Cowboys-Giants game on September 5.
2. Atlanta (3-0). Mike Smith is going to get hired by those multinational companies that deal with employees getting travel burnout. The Falcons are 6-0 on the West Coast since Smith took the coaching job in 2008. And this one — 27-3 in San Diego — was a tour de force game from the opening kick.
Mike Smith might be otherwise busy with this head coaching thing for the time being. But PK knows all about travel burnout and travel bitching. Why not hire him? [HINT: Because Peter King isn't qualified to do anything, which is why he's paid probably in the millions to tell us to put lemon in our beer.]
7. Baltimore (2-1). Never heard a manure chant that loud in my life, Al Michael said Sunday night. Imagine what those fans would have done if the Ravens had lost.
Probably would have used the N-word a bunch of times, like Jimmy from Dundalk here.
11. Seattle (1-1). Barometer game for this franchise tonight. Congrats, by the way, to Trent Dilfer. He’ll be the representative of the fans, the 12th man, in raising the flag in the south end zone before the Monday night game against Green Bay. Glad to see the franchise embracing him like that.
Why the fuck is that good? Dilfer started 18 games for the Seahawks over the course of four seasons, accomplishing absolutely nothing of note. That said, still probably the third best QB in franchise history behind Matt Hasselbeck and
Dave Krieg, so whatevs.
12. Cincinnati (2-1). I get it. The defense (34 points per game surrendered) can’t hold up. Maybe — probably — it can’t.
Not even a solid maybe. Quasi-maybe-esque.
15. Denver (1-2). For those who’d like to throw Peyton Manning out with the trash, here’s a stat for your consideration:
Cyborg necks are made from 85 percent recycled materials. PITCH IN!
Yards per attempt in his last healthy season, 2010: 6.9. Yards per attempt this season: 7.2. Time, people. Time.
Nice! That totally makes up for a decrease in his completion percentage, touchdown percentage, quarterback rating and yards per game, coupled with an increase in interception percentage. Oh, and Peyton has already been sacked half as many times through three games as he was in all 16 games of 2010.
The Award Section
Offensive Players of the Week
Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore. Playing 19 hours after learning of his younger brother’s death in a motorcycle accident in Virginia, Smith caught six passes for 127 passes in the victory over New England Sunday night, including touchdown catches of 25 and five yards.
Pretty good for someone going through something emotional.
Quote of the Week I
“You know what we’re here for! Revenge! It’s a meal best served cold!”
– Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, captured by the NBC cameras before the Patriots-Ravens game Sunday, referring, presumably, to revenge for losing the AFC Championship Game to the Patriots last winter.
Looks like PK is just fine with cliches again, so long as they’re misquoted and coming from pious murderers.
Quote of the Week II
“Insecurity drives me. I don’t want to go back to Needham. I don’t want to be the man in the frozen-foods section of the grocery store, the guy who, 10 seconds after I pass by with my peas, people whisper, ‘That guy used to be the GM of the New York Jets.’ ”
– Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, raised in Needham, Mass., in a story by Nicholas Dawidoff in this week’s New Yorker.
Maybe you’ll luck out and pass Arian Foter, who will mention nothing of the Jets while telling you that peas lead the league in okayness.
Quote of the Week III
“Who wants to support something that puts on a performance of embarrassment? If I was a fan of the Carolina Panthers, I would be holding my head down in shame of the product that was out there today.”
– Cam Newton, after his Panthers lost to the Giants 36-7 Thursday night.
Get a hold of yourself, fella. A bomb didn’t fall on Charlotte.
Oh, for fuck’s sake. This is just an example of PK wanting something critical to say of Cam Newton. If Cam sounds anything short of suicidal and PK would say he’s a me-first gloreeeee boy who’s unconcerned about the team. IT’S A TRAP!
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me I
At Colorado College, Steve Sabol nicknamed himself “Sudden Death Sabol,” because of his love of drama and love of football.
Sabol’s email address included the phrase “SuddenDeath” before the internet service provider.
But really, his was actually quite a prolonged, painful death.
/going to hell
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Not a travel note per se. More a lifestyle, world-we-live-in-today note.
Oh, these are always the best. DID YOU KNOW KIDS THESE DAYS DON’T EVEN READ THE EVENING EDITION OF NEWSPAPERS?!
Drove over to see Bruce Springsteen at the Meadowlands Wednesday night. Tailgated with our friends Jack and Karin, and a few others joined the parking lot party, including two women from near Sydney, Australia, celebrating their 50th birthdays this year by touring New York and New England and seeing Springsteen for the first time.
So the show starts. We’re in an upper tier, last row. The fourth song is “Hungry Heart,” which has the crowd going. The fifth song, “We Take Care of Our Own,” is one of my new faves, from his latest album. I notice the four guys next me, maybe in their late 20s, all have their iPhones out, texting or reading email during the song. Next song: “Wrecking Ball.” Now a few others, including the three people in the row in front of us closest to us, have their phones out. They’re texting or reading. “Death to My Hometown” is next, and I look around, and it seems half the section is fooling around with phones.
We’re such cellaholics. I get that. But outdoor concert events like this one, these are the nights where the experience should be enough to make you put away the phone (or at least stash it until you get in the bathroom), unless you’re just writing down the setlist or something like that. If Steve Jobs were still here, I wonder whether he’d feel triumphant that the masses can’t live without his invention for three hours, or despondent that the masses can’t live without his invention for three hours.
First off, Steve Jobs didn’t invent the cellphone, you pathetic Apple fanboy.
Secondly, yes, people bury their faces in their phones sometimes. Because smart phones are now tiny computers and the Internet is awesome. Why do you give a shit if people aren’t giving Springsteen’s shitty new songs their undivided attention? Did that detract from PK enjoyment of the show? In fact, if anything, it probably heightened it, because the cellaholics and their cellahol gave PK something to haughtily bitch and feel superior about. Peter will take that over The Boss any day.
Tweet of the Week IV
“Players who lost $$ investing w/Rosenhaus/Rubin remember lesson#1-never get financial advise from guy who buys u a lap dance 2 sign u”
– @SageRosenfels18, former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels, on agent Drew Rosenhaus’ relationship with financial adviser Jeff Rubin. The NFL Players Association is investigating Rosenhaus for allegedly steering clients to invest with Rubin, who lost millions in players’ money.
/cowardly avoids easy joke about Jewish player lecturing about money management
Ten Things I Think I Think
c. Maurice Jones-Drew always says he’d be his own first fantasy draft choice. Maurice Jones-Drew the GM would have been a good scout Sunday. MJD: 28 for 177.
Maurice Jones-Drew the GM would have been a good scout and chief assistant of player development and salary cap analyst, and somehow every other position in a team’s front office at once on Sunday.
g. Jason Witten, for passing Ozzie Newsome on the all-time yardage list for tight ends. Newsome played until he was 34. Witten is 29. Quite an achievement, even with the air being filled with footballs.
Yes, but does he have as many home runs as Jeter? I THINK NOT!
i. Look at you running, Jay Cutler.
n. Akeem Ayers, the anonymous Titans linebacker, with 16 tackles and a sack.
Akeem Ayers, the clearly identified person who is named Akeem Ayers because you just addressed him by name, is not anonymous. Unless he was at Giants camp, of course.
o. Nice commentary on Cutler, John Lynch of FOX.
Which was what? Should all the MMQB readers give you a minute to be alone with your gritty safety buddy?
u. Tashard (20 for 91) Choice of Buffalo: best third-string back in football.
Best damner of faint praise: Peter King of Nuggetville.
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 3
a. Tebow shirtless again. Come on, Tim. You’re on the verge of becoming the girl who wants to be respected for her brain dressing in next to nothing.
And we all know what happens to common brainy harlots in Tebowville! Fetch me the foot bindings while I grab the clitoral shears.
d. How do the officials miss the helmet-to-helmets on Tony Romo and Darius Heyward-Bey? Seriously. How?
Because they’re awful?
f. Not a big fan of the BS chant. Don’t think I’ve ever heard it louder than it was in Baltimore.
Baltimore leads the league in BULLSHIT.
g. Seven straight home losses for Washington. Seriously?
Wow. It’s like they’re a traditionally shitty team or something.
h. Hands to yourself, Bill Belichick.
STOP CALLING MY WIFE! I MEAN IT THIS TIME!
m. Train for Hail Marys much, Titans? There’s a rule even rube sportswriters know: Knock it down! Knock the ball down!
Modest proposal: allow all the non-rubish sportswriters play the games and see how well those fat fucks do at deflecting jump balls from Megatron and company.
5. I think the more the Saints lose, the worse it’s going to be for Roger Goodell in Super Bowl week. I mean, the man will not be able to leave his hotel.
This is less a ominous forecast than wishful thinking from Peter. In fact, he may be egging Saints fans on for his own ends.
“Look at that, Rog. Madness in the streets! No, don’t go out there. Stay in here with me, and the mini fridge full of citrus beer. Oh, you’ve worked hard this season, haven’t you? Well, you sit right on down and take a load off. On my face, if you want.”
7. I think, in case you didn’t catch my drift about Cam Newton, I objected to three things he did Thursday night, aside from playing his worst all-around game as an NFL player. One: Scoring in the third quarter to make it 23-7, and then pulling the Superman act in the end zone; bush league. Two: Setting himself apart on the bench late in the game when things were going bad, causing Steve Smith to read him the riot act for being a baby. Three: Talking postgame about the loss like his dog just died.
Because, as PK can tell you, the death of the family dog is far more important to fans than piddling shit like the Tuck Rule game.
8. I think Torrey Smith should teach Life Lessons 101 to Cam Newton.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. The Triple Crown is a pretty big deal. The last time it was won, 1967, I was
d. Why I really like Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe: He wrote this weekend that the Red Sox had trailed in each of their previous 32 games, and that Jacoby Ellsbury, as of Saturday, had played in 246 of the last 476 Red Sox games. Play 246, sit 230. That’ll give you pause about paying him $15 million a year starting in 2014.
I hope the Red Sox pay him thrice that and increase their ticket prices by 500 percent.
f. Coffeenerdness: Order of the week, at the Starbucks at 50th and 2nd in Manhattan: “Could I have a triple doppio in a grande cup, with eight Splendas?” Cashier looks up. “You mean six shots of espresso with eight Splendas?” That’s right.
I like my espresso, but I’d have to be strapped down with a dental device holding my mouth open to get that down my throat.
Save the dental dam for your Super Bowl weekend hotel getaway with Goodell.
g. Beernerdness: There’s something about Pyramid Hefeweizen in the parking lot of a huge stadium on a warm September late afternoon that’s, well, pretty good.
Experienced that at Springsteen Wednesday night at the Meadowlands. I would imagine a few of you out in Seattle tonight will experience the same thing in the lots outside CenturyLink Field.
Hold on, downloading the Chug-a-lug app on my iPhone.
Who I Like Tonight, and I Mean Mike Silver
Story of the week that has the NFL buzzing: Yahoo!’s Mike Silver on how NFL scouts hated Greg Schiano at Rutgers because of the restrictions he placed on them. There is no question Silver’s piece, which I believe to be on the mark, will cause the Bucs and Bucs fans to circle the wagons around their coach. And I like the fact that Schiano’s not just some nice guy who’s come in to do a nice job for a nice family of owners and nice GM. Schiano is smart enough to know that when you make rules or run plays that tick people off, you’re going to be a target. And if I’m someone who loves the Bucs, I like the fact that my coach has the guts to do things to tick people off.
Holy shit, PK is still defending horrible, insufferable fuckstick Greg Schiano! That’s commitment to fluffcellence. “GREG SCHIANO HAS THE COURAGE AND CONVICTION TO BE THE ASSHOLE THAT TAMPA BAY NEEDS! FUCK YOU IF YOU CAN’T DEAL! SO WHAT IF HE KEEPS LOSING! HE WON’T LOSE THE PASTA WARS!”
Green Bay 21, Seattle 20. To a lesser quarterback than Aaron Rodgers, I would make Seattle’s cacophonous 12th man crowd a big factor tonight. And it still very well could be
The Adieu Haiku
So long, Steve Sabol.
Do those slo-mo spirals look
as good from up there?
Steve Sabol is dead
For God’s sake, leave the man be
You ruined his dream
I want more like this!
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