When last we left premium goat material, Peter King, he was telling us that we should no longer use the word “rookie”, save all those times he used it after making that argument. PK also said the 2012 NFL season is WEIRD because things aren’t quite exactly the same as the previous year. Peter also tried his sausage hands at being an ethicist and said that taking shampoo from a hotel is wrong, even if swiping a foul ball from a child is a-okay.

What about this week? I say without exaggeration that this is the worst Peter King column of the year and possibly one of his worst ever. Strap in, people. And READ ON.

If the Saints make something of this wreckage of a season — with Sean Payton watching on TV from his place in Dallas, with the fate of their reputation in so many courtrooms and lawyers’ offices in Washington and New York, with one interim/interim coach giving way to an interim coach this morning, with the new judge and jury in the case the savior of football in New Orleans.

Holy fuck, we’re starting things off with that abortion of a sentence? PK brought his hackiest game this week. You thought I was kidding? It gets much, much worse.

They’ll look at a trait that warms the heart of every fan, a trait so many of us think is missing all too often from the games we invest so much of ourselves in.

Hustle.

No fucking way. If this weren’t someone as consistently obtuse as Peter King, I might suspect that we’re getting trolled.

/imagines episode of Family Feud

“We surveyed 100 people about the hoariest athlete attributes beloved by sportswriters. Top five answers on the board.”

[Family discusses]

Dad: Hustle?

Host: SHOW ME ‘HUSTLE’!

“I knew I had a long way to go,” Saints cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said from Tampa after a scintillating 35-28 win over the Bucs. “I knew I just had to go.”

Lofty quote nuggets or the beginning of the greatest NFL player poop story to date?

“What was going through your mind?” I asked. “What were you thinking?”

Bravo, sir. What a perfectly inane question. I can’t even make fun of Peter King as well as he parodies himself.

“You just won the Super Bowl. Are you going through something emotional?”

“Not much thinking,” he said. “Just, ‘Go as fast as you can.’ ”

LOFTY SPEEDY NUGGET

The Saints’ problems aren’t over. They’re still adjusting to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s new scheme, which de-emphasizes the endless blitzing former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams commandeered. It’s not a great day for the defense when it gives us 28 points and 513 yards. But they won because they didn’t give up the 514th yard.

I see we stumbled upon the next ineffective Sean Payton motivational slogan. “DO YOUR JOB! DON’T GIVE UP THAT 514TH YARD!”

(And because, even though the rule needs to be studied because it can be abused, the Bucs’ Mike Williams was pushed out of the end zone on a Freeman scramble on the last play of the game, meaning Williams wasn’t eligible to return to the field as an eligible receiver.)

Yeah, it’s a stupid rule, but PK only cares because it cost PK’s abusive asshole boyfriend Greg Schiano a shot at overtime.

So the Saints have 10 games left. Maybe the Wild Card teams ahead of them beat each other up — and defeat each other.

Maybe they switch to the AFC, where they might have a shot. MAYBE.

Now for the rest of what’s happening in a busy Week 7.

The chorus will be loud in Baltimore today. We had 59 offensive plays, and Ray Rice touched the ball on only 14 of them? Crazy!

Too nuanced for Baltimore. “FUCK CAM CAME-RON!” is what you’ll get.

That’s missing the point.

No, it isn’t.

If Joe Flacco isn’t better than he was Sunday (21 of 43 for a pathetic 45.4 rating), and if he isn’t better than he’s been recently (53 percent passer over his last three games), the Ravens will have a very short postseason run — if they have one at all.

Well said. A team’s offensive strategy shouldn’t hinge on giving their best player the ball. It should depend on a player who everyone knows to be slightly better than average playing somehow consistently beyond his abilities. POP THE CHAMPAGNE, RAVENS!

Smart game-planning by defensive coordinator Wade Phillips — and by the way, the Texans cannot allow Phillips to get away

Get away to what? No team is gonna hire him to be a head coach again. Well, possibly the Chargers could.

/Oh please oh please oh please oh please

Robert Griffin III leaves his mark in New Jersey. I always judge the mark of an incredible play in an NFL game by the reaction it gets in the NBC viewing room on the fifth floor of our Rockefeller Center building in Manhattan.

Oh, of course you do, you starfucking shitheel.

“Chaosville in the NBC Viewing Room! The Titans complete a triple reverse flea flicker for a touchdown, but The Dunge doesn’t even blink. NOT LOFTY! Architect Andrew Luck sees the coverage is airtight and smartly takes a sack on third down. The viewing room erupts in applause. Loftiness: confirmed.”

And when Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III had a fourth-and-10 with 2:07 left at the Meadowlands, his team down 20-16 to the Giants, this is the sound I recall hearing from the likes of Rodney Harrison, Tony Dungy, Dan Patrick, Mike Florio and a score of other football wackos in the room as Griffin took the snap, looked for a receiver, found them covered, then rolled left, Giants chasing him — “Getridofit! … Noooooo! …. Whoaa!!! … Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!”

What fucking scintillating commentary from a bunch of dipshits collective making millions of dollars a year to grunt at a TV screen.

Sounded louder than Born To Run at a Springsteen concert.

“‘CAUSE TRAMPS LIKE US, BABY WE BORN TO AAAAAAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHH WHHOOOOOAAAAAAAA GETRIDOFITTTTTTTT!”

Unlike the last Springstee concert PK attended, there weren’t stupid kids there to ruin it with their crippling cell phine addiction. RAMPANT CELLAHOLISM EPIDEMIC!

Watching this game, I kept thinking how glad I was that Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen paid whatever it is they paid to deal for Griffin. And whatever it is, it’ll be worth it. He’s one of the great, special players to come into the league in the 29 seasons I’ve covered it. No play’s ever over.

Except when it is.

And yet, there’s Eli to win another game late. Eli Manning is decidedly the anti-RG III, a pocket guy who can escape trouble but not make a living at it.

Also, he has no personality.

So get used to this. Manning’s had a good rivalry with Tony Romo, and an OK rivalry with Michael Vick. But Manning-RG III could really be special.

Quasi-heated-esque!

Dot-dot-dot on Week 7.

I know the Steelers had safety help consistently for A.J. Green last night, but there’s no good that, with Troy Polamalu out of the lineup, Green catches one ball for eight yards against the Steelers

There’s no way that this thing that happened actually happened! The cake is a lie!

/tries to ignore glaring PK typo
//cannot

The union has been noticeably quiet about commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to recuse himself and name Tagliabue, which Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, an attorney

GET THE FUCK OUT! FLORIO IS A LAWYER!? HOW HAS NO ONE EVER MENTIONED THIS 12 BILLION TIMES!?

rightfully views as the players association retaining the right to protest the appointment if Tagliabue makes some early decisions in the case the union doesn’t like.

Followed by 45 PFT commenters saying they wouldn’t trust De Smith to watch their car.

And though Tagliabue’s firm in Washington, Covington and Burling, is representing Goodell in Vilma’s defamation suit against the commissioner, the league pointed out Sunday that the commissioner’s office has often appointed those with ties to the league to hear cases.

Next week, the NFL cuts a cute commercial with Tom Brady explaining to a suburban mom why conflict of interest makes the game safer.

Book Club.

Criticize me for selfishness here

Oh, can I? In that case, please overlook the hundreds of other times that I did that.

because this is a book I contributed to in the offseason, but I’ve got to plug the Sports Illustrated Football’s Greatest book. It just came out last week — a coffee table book that, sadly, does not turn into a coffee table

And is not two-thirds filled with old Seinfeld references. And does not brew coffee. Really, Peter doesn’t know where he went wrong with this one.

The book’s a keeper, and I’d say that even if I worked for Women’s Wear Daily.

“I spoke with an executive at Lane Bryant about this fall’s line and she said plus sizes would be an emphasis. WEIRD!”

Paul Zimmerman, the writer so many of us in this business aspire to be, turns 80 on Tuesday. And speaking of the Sports Illustrated Football’s Greatest book, check out this passage from him, from the Feb. 3, 1986, SI, following the Bears’ 46-10 drubbing of the Patriots in Super Bowl XX:

“It will be many years before we see anything approaching the vision of hell that Chicago inflicted on the poor Patriots in Super Bowl XX. It was near perfect, an exquisite mesh of talent and system, defensive football carried to its highest degree. It was a great roaring wave that swept through the playoffs, gathering force and momentum. Until it finally crashed home in New Orleans’ Superdome. The game wasn’t exciting. So what? Go down to Bourbon Street if you want excitement. The verdict on Chicago’s 46-10 was in after two Patriot series. Don’t feel cheated. Louis-Schmeling II wasn’t very competitive either. Nor was the British cavalry charge at Balaklava, but Tennyson wrote a poem about it.”

Miss that guy.

I instantly miss reading anyone who isn’t Peter King.

Fine Fifteen

3. New York Giants (5-2). Eighty-seven seconds. An eternity for the good Eli, a couple minutes after the bad Eli almost handed the Redskins the game with an interception.

Looking forward to Stephen Hawking’s next book, “A Brief History of Good Eli Time.”

8. New England (4-3). I don’t like putting them two spots ahead of Seattle and one spot ahead of Baltimore — two teams that have beaten the Patriots in the last month. And I didn’t love what I saw in the win over the Jets. But it goes back to feeling the Patriots would beat either team today on a neutral field in Wichita.

The Wichita Factor! PK is hitting all of his shitty notes this week. This is like a Loftiest Hits collection. But hang with me, it gets much, much worse.

9. Baltimore (5-2). Stunningly bad performance by a good team. I understand the injuries, of course, but I don’t get it, honestly.

A team with injuries and poor game planning getting blown out on the road by a good team motivated by a recent loss? FOOTBALL IS HARD, YOU GUYS.

10. Seattle (4-3). Have to give props to left tackle Russell Okung for doing something I never thought I would see in an NFL game (or a biker street fight, for that matter): Okung pancaked Justin Smith in the Thursday night game. Stunning. You do not pancake Justin Smith. You just don’t.

Unless you do.

11. Washington (3-4). Odd to have a losing team number 11, but Robert Griffin III makes all things possible.

He made Russell Okung pancake Justin Smith. He made the Steelers hold A.J. Green to one catch. All things are now explained and/or possible. Even the impossible things.

The rookie made a couple of plays in the fourth quarterback at the Meadowlands, under pressure, that caused the Giants to gush about him endlessly. “Best quarterback we’ve faced all season,” Osi Umenyiora said.

BETTER THAN DOOPY PANTZ!?

12. New Orleans (2-4). Odd to have a losing team number 12, but who out there is going to stop Drew Brees and that passing game?

Two-thirds of the teams they play, apparently.

15. Pittsburgh (3-3). So the Steelers, six games in, are 1.5 games behind Baltimore with both games left against the Ravens (two weeks apart, Nov. 18 and Dec. 2), and are back in the AFC North race. But the NFL’s Bono comes to town Sunday — Robert Griffin III at Steelers, at 1 p.m. ET — followed by a trip to play the Giants. So the Steelers won’t have an easy road to the playoffs.

Yup, no need to go back and have your eyes bleed a second time. Peter King just called Robert Griffin III “the NFL’s Bono.” That just happened. This is the world we live in now.




Never have we needed James Harrison helmet rape like do now.

Defensive Players of the Week

Malcolm Jenkins, S, New Orleans. If the Saints end up making something of this mega-troubled season, they’ll point to the play Jenkins made in Tampa Bay on Oct. 21.

MEGA TROUBLE! The only cure is uber hustle!

Goat of the Week

Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore. You can be a goat and not blow the game at the end. And that’s what Flacco was in Houston, with his abysmal play helping pave the wave for a 26-3 Houston halftime lead. Numbers at the half: seven of 20, 50 yards, two interceptions … for a passer rating of 4.2. Goat material.

Joe Flacco is made of fur and guts. From now on, whenever Flacco overthrows a receiver, I’m saying he put too much hoof into that one.

Quote of the Week I

“Obviously we cannot play as a team. We appear to not be able to handle adversity or finish games. Individual and team confidence appears to be going south.”

— San Diego GM A.J. Smith, to Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego, on the state of the increasingly dysfunctional Chargers.

Gotta love Smith when he gets going. He also told Acee: “In the next 10 games, we will either rally and see a slow, steady rise from the ashes to a division championship, or the beginning of a new era in Chargers football.”

Uh, someone had better tell Norv Turner.

Please don’t. It’s so much better when clueless coaches don’t see it coming.

Quote of the Week II

“He’s really willing to do anything, absolutely anything. No matter what it is. And … and I kind of like that. I like somebody that doesn’t look at us in the morning when we’re holding a Speedo and saying, ‘We need you to put this on right now,’ and he goes, ‘Okay.’ ”

— Kelly Ripa, the co-host of Live With Kelly and Michael, on her new co-host, Michael Strahan, in an HBO Real Sports story on Strahan to air Tuesday at 10 p.m. on, of course, HBO.

Strahan is now Kelly Ripa’s eunuch. Good to know.

Quote of the Week III

“He wants to be a fan. He wants to tailgate. He wants to be a dad. Do I think we’ve seen Ray’s last game? I think so.”

— Bob Angelo of NFL Films, who filmed and produced the documentary Ray Lewis: A Football Life, for which he miked and followed Lewis for the entire 2011 season, on my Sports Illustrated NFL podcast last week.

Please be right. Please be right. Please be right. Dear God, let this man be right.

By the way, if you missed said documentary, it features Ray-Ray playing Monopoly with his kids. EXCITING!

“Daddy needs to hold on to these Get Out Of Jail Free cards. Your brother asks, you didn’t see nothing.”

“See what, Daddy?”

“Now that’s my girl.”

Quote of the Week IV

“These results sadly confirmed what we had expected all along.”

— Statement from the Andy Reid family, after an autopsy confirmed that son Garrett died in August of a heroin overdose.

“Ditto.”

— Statement from the rest of the universe

Stat of the Week

Very big game — very explosive game, potentially — Sunday night: New Orleans at Denver.

Teams call pass plays of 20 yards or more “explosive plays.” The two teams with the most 20-yard-plus plays, per game, in the passing game through seven weeks (entering tonight’s Detroit-Chicago game) are the Drew Brees-led Saints, and the Peyton Manning-piloted Broncos … the supposedly spaghetti-armed Manning coming back from four neck procedures in the previous two years.

But Gruden said Peyton is the sheriff. Sheriffs don’t fly planes. Establish some consistency in your Manning fapping fantasies.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me I

Las Vegas Locos coach Jim Fassel, not pleased with the lack of marketing budget for the 2012 United Football League season, paid $30,000 out of his pocket to place ads for the current season.

So he got a few prostitutes to shave the team’s logo in their pubic hair. Good on him.

That season was cut short Saturday, when the cash-strapped, four-team UFL announced it was suspending operations for the season and would return in 2013. That seems a dubious vow now, but we shall see.

“It’s really disappointing,” Fassel told me from Vegas Saturday. “I’ve poured so much of myself into this league. I put four years of my life into it. It’s not about the quality of play on the field; I’ve had NFL people who’ve watched our games tell me the quality is good, and there are players in this league who definitely can play in the NFL. It’s the business model. It’s the funding. If they weren’t sure we had the funding, why’d we start the season? Now we’ve got airplanes paid for, hotels paid for. I wanted to be part of building something great, so this hurts.”

The Locos were 4-0. “I’ve got a lot of guys,” said Fassel, “who I know could have played for me with the Giants.”

“And quite a few who did!”

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

I moved from Boston to Manhattan last fall. Last Wednesday, I had a noon appointment with my dermatologist, Dr. Suzanne Grevelink, in Boston. (Why, you ask, would I live in New York and have a Boston dermatologist? Because I’ve had melanomas carved out of both forearms in the last four years, and when you find a keeper of a dermatologist, who examines you with a ridiculously fine-toothed comb to make sure you don’t die of this insidious disease, you can take the inconvenience of traveling 195 miles to be examined three times a year.)

I got on a subway in Manhattan for Penn Station at 7:25 a.m. Departed New York on the Acela at 8:03 a.m. Arrived Boston Back Bay Station at 11:40 a.m. Got into cab. Arrived at derm office at 11:55 a.m. Taken into exam room at 12:07 p.m. Examined and had slight procedure done. Finished at 12:55 p.m. Got into cab. Arrived Boston South Station at 1:10 p.m. Got on 1:15 p.m. back to New York. Arrived at 4:55 p.m. Got on subway at Penn Station. Arrived home at 5:25 p.m.

In Boston: 95 minutes. With doctor: 48 minutes. Interviews by cell while in transit: four. Peace of mind: the next four months, sort of.

Semi-tranquility? Priceless!

Tweet of the Week III

“Elmo still need a job. Hear Yankees need an ss. Elmo more clutch than arod.”

— @FireMeElmo, a parody site (let’s hope) started in the wake of the PBS funding debate and started by someone who appears to be disenchanted with the play of Alex Rodriguez.

PK is the shitty Twitter parody account of sportswriters.

Ten Things I Think I Think

g. Two touchdown runs, Andrew Luck? Who are you trying to be, RGIII?

WELL, YOU CAN’T! THERE IS ONLY ONE NFL BONO! YOU MUST SETTLE FOR BEING NFL’S THE EDGE!

i. Catch of the day, and I don’t mean fish: Houston tight end Garrett Graham’s tap to himself on the Texans’ second-quarter touchdown drive. A 240-pound man shouldn’t be that lithe.

Fuck you of the day, and I don’t mean intercourse.

e. Uh, Bucs? Worst uniforms in NFL history, those creamsicles.

That is madness, sir.

h. And Carson Palmer, if you’re going to make a dumb left-handed throw, study Brett Favre first, please.

Sorry if this Fun With PK is a touch late this morning, as my five minutes of staring dead-eyed at this sentence, trying to parse its meaning, ate into my worktime. I still don’t know what it means, but I want it dead.

i. Redskins defenders jaw too much for my liking.

If you’re gonna run your mouth endlessly, study the Ravens defense first, please.

l. Baron Batch, Baron Batch. You get playing time by making plays. You sit when you drop wide-open touchdowns.

You also get playing time when the top two running backs on the depth chart are hurt.

n. Stephen Hill’s big late drop in New England. Can’t build trust with your quarterback playing like that.

If he’s not careful, Sanchez won’t overthrow him on the next critical third down.

3. I think this says something, and it’s not good, about Cam Newton: Carolina’s 0-12 in games he throws an interception. And the one he threw deep in the red zone Sunday was a horrible decision.

It also says that Cam has an insanely low margin of error with his horrible team.

8. I think if I were defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, I would be renting, not buying, in Buffalo.

True. No reason you need to own the gun you kill yourself with.

a. I may be the last person on earth still to have an AOL email address, I guess I’m just too lazy to change. Now I have a good reason to change. On AOL’s front page the other day, the page with news and social and sports commentary, there was a picture of Kim Kardashian, with the news that she was caught going “commando,” which, and you don’t need to use Urban Dictionary for this, means she was photographed with no underwear. Of course you could click the link and go find out more about this important story. So I’m a prude. Do I need to see a headline about some celebrity’s underwear displayed prominently on the front page of a supposedly respectable internet company? Aren’t there idiot websites for that? Shame on you, AOL.

/taps out

//continues tapping

///prays for sweet release of death

Please someone kill me so I no longer have to plod through this weekly crime against humanity. I’ll sign whatever you need me to sign. It’d be a mercy killing, like the gang tried to do on “Always Sunny” last week. What’s that? you don’t watch that show because you’re stuck in 1996 and still have an AOL account and still care what pointless bullshit they put on their front page. Well then.

////runs into traffic

b. I weep for America.

i. Coffeenerdness: Long live Starbucks Italian Roast. Along with Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend, it’s peerless among dark roasts.

Long live, King Nutmeg. May his reign be long and nutmeggy.

j. Beernerdness: Found the best pumpkin beer of the season (with due respect to my buddy Alex Marvez, who votes for Dogfish Head Punkin, which I liked but not as much as this one): Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale, from Elmsford, N.Y., with, according to the label, “pumpkin pie spices added to the end of the boil.” Very noticeable. And very good. Great nose.

Like any pumpkin pie, Peter made sure to spray whipped cream on top. And consume 30 of them.

k. Sox trade shortstop Mike Aviles to Toronto for manager John Farrell. Odd, unless

You don’t give a shit, which is where I’m at.

m. There’s no perfect team, which is why the World Series, Detroit at Cards/Giants, starting Wednesday, should be fun and unpredictable.

Since, as he says, there is no perfect team, every World Series is therefore fun and unpredictable. AND WEIRD!

o. I still see Geno Smith as I saw him a month ago — as a top-10 pick next April. With flaws, like the rest of the prospects.

There is no perfect prospect, so this World Series should be fun and unpredictable.

p. RIP, George McGovern. He grew up during the Depression, fought for everything he ever got in life, and earned his right to be the biggest anti-Vietnam critic in America 40 years ago because he flew 35 bomber missions over Europe in World War II. South Dakota mourns the 1972 Democratic candidate for president today, and American joins in.

Lost huge in a national election. Joe Flacco says that’s goat material.

As for Chicago 27, Detroit 20 tonight at Soldier Field: The state of the Bears right now reminds me of the state of the Bears around game nine last year, when they routed the Lions 37-13 at Soldier Field. (After starting 7-3, Chicago faded when Jay Cutler was hurt in game 10 against San Diego.) Only this time, the Bears have better weapons at receivers, and they’re competent at cornerback. I think the Lions are getting better, particularly in the passing game, which is why I think this will be a competitive game into the fourth quarter.

So the Lions are getting better in an area that isn’t even one of the team’s primary weaknesses? Yeah, sounds like it’ll be much closer.

The Adieu Haiku

Love football? Me too.
Learned one thing in Week 7:
RGIII’s something.

With or Without You
Lofty song by RGIII?
Eat shit and die, King