When last we left Command-V savant, Peter King, he issued forth his usual quasi-wordish nugget glyphs about the walkability of New York, the drinkability of Allagash and gushability of Tom Brady’s healthier-than-ever throbbing arm cock.
But what about this week? Good news: PK was too busy eavesdropping on baseball fans in a San Francisco Starbucks to write anything of his own this week, so instead MMQB is a bunch of sausage finger picked insights from other people of note. READ ON.
I’m going to write about Brian Urlacher today, but before I do, a note about the day. It’s Memorial Day, and that’s not just the first day of the beach season.
Unless it’s Normandy beach season!
/realizes D Day is June 6
It’s a day we remember all those who have served in the military, and those who continue to serve today. It’s also my annual survey of some of the best commencement speeches to the Class of 2013. In researching those, I found a good one, at the University of New Hampshire, from an Army lieutenant general, Mary Legere. A few of Lt. Gen. Legere’s words to the graduating Wildcats:
I must say, this is actually a pretty canny cover-your-ass move by PK. He submits a column with more than half its content lifted from speeches made by other people, but he makes it timely by shoehorning in a submission from someone who served in the military. I’m not even angry. That’s impressive laziness.
“While you are on your road to defining who you are, I hope you will remember these ordinary citizens, some of whom were your fellow students, who ran toward danger to assist people they’d never met, saving lives, and in the process restoring our hope. I hope you will remember Victoria Soto, the beautiful 27-year-old first-grade teacher from Plaistow, N.H., who on that fateful morning of 14 December at Sandy Hook Elementary did what she was born to do, protect her 6-year-old students from a gunman, hiding seven of them so that they could live and return to their parents. In a moment of instinct, in a moment of courage, she made the difference.
“I hope you will think of Specialist Ross McGinnis, a 19-year-old from Knox, Pa., a young soldier like so many of our young soldiers, in his first assignment and deployment, who was riding in the turret position of a Humvee, when a grenade was thrown into the vehicle. Shouting a warning to his four fellow soldiers, and realizing they could not escape, he dropped down in that instant and threw himself on the grenade, sacrificing himself to save his comrades: men who today are fathers, brothers, sons, husbands. In a moment of instinct, in a moment of courage, he made the difference.
I didn’t remember the McGinnis story, though certainly I should have. We all should have.
After all, if Peter King were not aware of this stirring act of heroism, clearly no one was. He reads The New York Times, you guys.
I didn’t want news of Urlacher’s retirement to pass without remembering the kind of player he was.
The kind whose legacy will only be celebrated by people who search for excuses to gush over white players.
Ray Lewis, justifiably, will go down in history as a better linebacker in this new era of sideline-to-sideline middle linebackers, and Lewis was feted well upon leaving the game. I felt Urlacher deserved his due, and he hasn’t gotten enough of it.
All he needed was to be a huge liability on one last Super Bowl team.
There was a subplot to the Bears-Cards game on the night of Oct. 16, 2006. Arizona coach Dennis Green provided it. The Bears, 5-0, were already being compared to the ’85 Bears around Chicagoland, and Green, in his pre-game production meeting with the ESPN Monday night crew, was incredulous. “Denny couldn’t believe it,” play-by-play man Mike Tirico told me Friday. “The Cards were 1-4, and they’d played Chicago tough in the third preseason game that year. Denny was coaching at Northwestern at the time of the ’85 Bears, and he didn’t think this current team compared to the ’85 team. At our meeting, he said, ‘People are trying to crown their ass.’ He couldn’t believe it.”
Yeah, the Cardinals played the Bears very close in that game, but it’s such a Denny Green thing to think that his team matched with an opponent well because they played them tough in a preseason game.
Then the Cards, who started neophyte quarterback Matt Leinart and whose defense abused Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman, bolted to a 20-0 halftime lead. When I think of that Chicago team, I think how amazing it is that it made the Super Bowl that season with such a poor offense.
Fun fact: The 2006 Bears finished tied (with the champion Colts) for second in the league in scoring.
“When we got into the locker room at halftime,” said Rivera, “it was pretty chaotic. [Defensive tackles] Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson were bickering with each other about something, and there were a lot of pissed-off guys in that room. I just said, ‘What we’re doing is not f—ing good enough. If we’re going to win this game, it’s pretty obvious we’re gonna have to win on the defensive side of the ball.’
“I went to Brian and told him, ‘Brian, you’ve got to take this game over. We’ve got no choice. Just go do it.’
And that’s why Ron Rivera is one of the NFL’s foremost experts in begging star players to cover for his ineptitude.
Tim Layden reports from the front line of the tornado.
I asked SI senior writer Tim Layden for his thoughts on being in Oklahoma after the tornado last week. He’ll have a longer story in the magazine this week, plus some writing online at SI.com.
Oh hey, more shit Peter King didn’t write in PK’s column. Neat!
Now for those commencement addresses.
I’ve picked a few that I thought had some good messages. Hope you enjoy them.
A “few” being 12, including the one from the vet including in the opening section. He’s even bloated with other the work of others.
John Green, author, Butler University
“You are probably going to be a nobody for a while. You are going to make that journey from strength to weakness, and while it won’t be an easy trip, it is a heroic one. For in learning how to be a nobody, you will learn how not to be a jerk.
PK: “See, peasants, there is a bright side to not being one of the people who hangs out with The Dunge!”
And for the rest of your life, if you are able to remember your hero’s journey from college grad to underling, you will be less of a jerk. You will tip well. You will empathize. You will be a mentor, and a generous one.
Long may you tutor others in how to live underwhelming lives, unlike me, the bestselling author.
Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve System chairman, Bard College
“Innovation, almost by definition, involves ideas that no one has yet had, which means that forecasts of future technological change can be, and often are, wildly wrong. A safe prediction, I think, is that human innovation and creativity will continue; it is part of our very nature. Another prediction, just as safe, is that people will nevertheless continue to forecast the end of innovation.
Who the fuck has forecast the end of innovation? I’m well resigned to the fact that all the technology I own will be horribly outdated in a year and a half?
Cal Ripken, baseball player, University of Maryland
Oh, boo. Cunt-punting Maryland sorority girl got robbed. She’d make a much better commencement speaker than a swollen old former baseball player.
Michelle Obama, First Lady, Bowie State (Md.) University
“When it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can’t be bothered. Today, instead of walking miles every day to school, they’re sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching TV.
What, oh what, will it take for our youth to get better at Play60ing?
Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper.
Jeebus. This is a pound cake reference away from being a Bill Cosby speech.
Julie Andrews, actor/author, Colorado University
“I’ve been thinking about today, and what I could say to you. It suddenly occurred to me that one of the last speeches you will hear in college will be this one. That scared me half to death.”
“I was terrified that the huge check from the university might not clear!”
Jon Lovett, former presidential speech writer, Pitzer (Calif.) College
“The problem I am going to describe involves a bad word. Not the worst word, but a bad word, though I’ve made sure that I only have to say it now and then one more time at the end. So if you want to distract any little kids for a second, please do so. One of the greatest threats we face is, simply put, bulls–t. We are drowning in it. We are drowning in partisan rhetoric that is just true enough not to be a lie; in industry-sponsored research; in social media’s imitation of human connection; in legalese and corporate double-speak.
Lofty irony for a presidential speechwriter to call for an end to bullshit. Lovett is also the co-creator of unwatchable NBC show “1600 Penn” so doubly fuck him.
So I’m going to give you three honest, practical lessons about cutting the BS.
“Number one: Don’t cover for your inexperience.”
“Don’t get hired because you are upfront about how unqualified you are.”
You are smart, talented, educated, conscientious, untainted by the mistakes and conventional wisdom of the past. But you are also very annoying. Because there is a lot that you don’t know that you don’t know. Your parents are nodding. You’ve been annoying them for years. Why do you think they paid for college? So that you might finally, at long last, annoy someone else.
Playing to the parents. That’s always death.
Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball, St. Norbert (Wisc.) College
“The Braves moved to Atlanta after the 1965 season, leaving many heartbroken fans in Milwaukee behind. I shared the sadness that swept our community. But I have never been one to sit back and wallow instead of searching for a solution, and the disappointment I once felt gave way to a sense of determination. While I was only 30 years old and the odds were tremendously stacked against us, I decided to do what I could to bring a big league club back to my hometown. My dream was to make Milwaukee and Wisconsin feel Major League once again. Trying and failing was one thing; quitting, however, was unacceptable. There were many disappointments along the way, but there was never defeat. All of our efforts became worthwhile on the night of March 31, 1970, when the American League’s Milwaukee Brewers were born. One of my most prized mementos that crystallized this long effort came from a man who made his name right here, the great Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. He sent the first telegram I received on the morning of April 1st, 1970, that to this day is framed and hanging in my office, which said, ‘Congratulations on finally obtaining the team after so many years. I wish you great success.’ With this example in mind, I urge each of you to chase your dreams. … You have the ability to be a force for change.”
“Here is a story of my own personal triumph with a minimum of actual advice. Whoever is valedictorian earns homefield advantage in the World Series!”
Brian Williams, anchor/managing editor, NBC Nightly News, Elon University
Break the cycle of entitlement and expectations.
Says the dad whose celebrity helped get his daughter land a prominent role on an HBO series.
Quote of the Week IV
“It’s going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL. I’m going to say no. I just don’t see NFL passing concepts in this offense. It’s a movement offense by the quarterback, off the run-action, off the read-action. A lot of short, quick passes, dart routes, bubble screens. Very few plays down the field with NFL passing concepts.”
– Ron Jaworski, on coach Chip Kelly’s new offense with the Eagles, to radio station 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.
I call bullshit. National Football League isn’t spelled out. Had to have been a poorly executed Jaws impersonation.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me I
In the wake of the Achilles tear to wide receiver Michael Crabtree (he had surgery last week; rehab is expected to put him back on the field in six to eight months, meaning he could play the last six or seven weeks of the regular season — emphasis on could), I ask this question: Is it now possible that Anquan Boldin could contribute more to the 49ers’ offense in 2013 than Percy Harvin will contribute to Seattle’s?
But still exists in a remote realm of possibility, rendering it something PK refuses to take a decisive stance on.
With the compensation paid for both in 2013 offseason trades, it’ll be amazing if Boldin’s production is competitive with Harvin’s.
Because, as everyone knows, on-field output is always dictated by how much a team invests – financially or otherwise – in a player.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II
I wrote on SI.com last Tuesday about my feeling that the league was making a mistake in moving the draft back three weeks, into mid-May, next year. More chance for the hype machine to pump out more coverage of what is already the most over-covered event on the football calendar, the draft, I contend, and less time for the scouts, coaches and football people to live normal offseason lives.
Once again, PK masking projecting his own irritation onto coaches and scouts, most of whom are obsessive types who wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they didn’t have to watch 22 hours of tape every day.
I wrote: “How much hype is enough? How big does the league need the golden goose to get? Silly question. We see it answered every day by an insatiable league.”
Beneath that was a link to SI.com’s Chris Burke’s 2014 mock draft.
Very telling nuggetoid. Good thing PK doesn’t pump out a pointless mock draft of his own.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
In northern California for a few days. Family vaca of sorts.
“Vaca”? What a hip kewl-dad slang baron Peter King is.
In a Starbucks an hour north of San Francisco Sunday, I was amazed at Giants fever. Woman with a Brian Wilson jersey walked in. Guy with a Giants hoodie looked up and said: “How ’bout that game! What a finish!” Talking about the walkoff, inside-the-park home run by Angel Pagan that won the game Saturday.
Another woman, not in Giants gear, walked out of the store a few minutes later and said to a guy with a Giants World Series t-shirt reading the San Francisco Chronicle at a table near the door: “Think Cain can win it today?” Matt Cain, she meant.
NOT DEAN CAIN!?!
Driving through the Giants-garbed city Saturday and listening to the chatter an hour away on Sunday, I thought: Hard to imagine a region in the country right now more excited about its baseball team.
The hometown of the defending champs has fond feelings for its baseball team? WEIRD!
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think I like the NFL continuing to press the issue of no HGH testing. As NFL.com reported, the league sent a new proposal to the union April 24 to adopt a testing plan. As any dimwit can see, it’s patently absurd that professional football does not test for human growth hormone. It’s obviously an unfair advantage to use it. Even baseball and basketball, with testing programs part of their protocols, see the importance of it. There’s no excuse, none whatsoever, for the 2013 season to be played without players being tested for HGH.
Continuing the overarching theme of this MMQB, here Peter King cuts and pastes an e-mail from Roger Goodell.
2. I think I would ask the Jets this question after reading ESPN New York’s excellent summary of the incredibly troubled adult (that may be using the adjective loosely) life and times of free agent running back Mike Goodson, who, according to a police affidavit, was found on May 17 “incoherent, slobbering and vomited all over himself” in a car stopped in the middle lane of a New Jersey interstate with a bag of marijuana in his pocket and a handgun with hollow-point bullets found in the glove compartment: Did you know all of what ESPN uncovered? And if so, how can you defend hiring Goodson at all, never mind handing him a $1 million signing bonus?
Well. Answer the man. Did you preemptive learn facts that Peter King could have bothered to discover if he actually reported on things? And if so, can you also retroactively pass judgment from the past?
7. I think my biggest problem with the NFL moving the 2014 draft back three weeks was verbalized by one owner in a phone call to me Friday: “I just think it shows a lack of respect for the football people. They make good money. Nobody’s feeling sorry for them. But tell their families there’s going to be three more weeks of draft prep, which is absolutely not needed, cutting into an already busy offseason and see what they say. It’s just wrong.”
If you have so much fucking concern for the family life of your personnel, give them extra time off, unnamed dickhead NFL owner.
8. I think the best news for Brandon Weeden’s future — he views himself as maximizing his ability only when he can throw regularly downfield — is what Josh Gordon told the Akron Beacon Journal: “Defenses will be shocked to say the least with how much we’re running downfield. I’ve never ran this much as a wide receiver ever in my life.”
Related: You’ll have to tackle more as a wide receiver than you ever had to in your life.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
c. Talk about time healing all wounds: Cleveland is having a bobblehead night Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Albert Belle bobbleheads will be given away. Didn’t it end a little bit, uh — or more than a little bit — ugly for Belle in Cleveland? And now he’s bobble-ized?
I believe it was Emerson who said, “We must exercise great care with who we bobble-ize as a nation. For it is a pointless thing only Peter King cares about, and no man wishes to hear from him.”
f. Good Dogs of the Week:
And now I’ll stop complaining about Peter King not writing his own column.
What? Prejudice against German shepherds? I love German shepherds! Who doesn’t love German shepherds! The New York Times reported one Manhattan apartment building allows many breeds of dogs, but not seven breeds, including possible descendents of Rin Tin Tin. Too threatening, apparently. The paper also reported one co-op mandates doggie interviews. Said Steven Wagner, a real estate lawyer on the board of the building that requires said interviews: “It’s a funny rule. I’m never sure what to ask. I just say: ‘Nice doggy,’ and I pet the dog. And then I say, ‘I have no more questions.’ No dog has bitten me yet. I think that would be a problem.”
My dog isn’t a German shepherd, but she bit one of my girlfriend’s tits a few weeks ago. We’re just not walkable New York material.
g. Coffeenerdness: I urge you, Peet’s — move east.
/begins Photoshopping Peter King as Horace Greeley, exhorting coffee chains in 19th century America to “GO EAST, YOUNG MEN.”
//hits new low
h. Beernerdness: Best label design in beerdom: Alaskan White, with the noble polar bear on the bottle.
This is the label he’s talking about. It couldn’t be any more ordinary.
Second-best white beer I’ve had (next to Allagash). No phony name either.
Unlike the losers at Clownfraud Brewing. They don’t even employ any clownfrauds!
Brewed in Juneau, with water from the Juneau Ice Fields, whatever that is.
Frozen water, how does it work?
i. I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is better in Veep than she was in Seinfeld.
Bold claim. I mean, she’s kind of playing the same brassy character, only this time she happens to be the vice president. Also, who the fuck cares? Seinfeld wasn’t a hit because of character performances so much as the superb writing. Same deal with Veep. Might explain why every TV project she did between the two was a flaming wreckage.
k. If you’d have told me on April Fools’ Day that the Red Sox would have been 30-20 after 50 games, with more wins than all but three teams in baseball, well, I’d have signed for that right there.
The Adieu Haiku
No Crabtree ’til Nov.?
Huge injury, we all think.
Jim Harbaugh shruggeth.
Hit copy and paste
MMQB is filed
Save farts for next week
I want more like this!
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