When last we left skunked kegger of failure, Peter King, he was explaining how every beer with orange peel and coriander is actually just copying Allagash. In fact, orange juice with pulp might be copying Allagash. He’s gonna have to poke around Beer Advocate and get back to you on that one. He also talked smack to a former Red Sox player because the actual purpose of MMQB is PK settling grievances with people he doesn’t know and his readers don’t care about.
But what about this week? It’s Peter’s birthday, and he uses the occasion to say a million creepy compliments about Roger Goodell, as well transcribe someone’s unremarkable conversation in an airport. READ ON.
SALISBURY, N.C. — A few NFL points after a few days on the road:
Barring a setback, there’s little doubt Robert Griffin III plays the opener.
If you remove the likelihood of an entirely possible negative thing happening, it’s nothing but smiles and working knees on the RGIII front.
The Eagles will be rooting for an unseasonably warm day next Feb. 2, as will many northern cities.
As will WE ALL. Because as Peter has repeatedly warned us, seasonably cold New York winter weather will slightly discomfort his fat-ass and therefore will spell the end of the Super Bowl and televised sporting events as we know it. Never before has so much rode on the weather conditions of one day.
First thing I thought of Sunday when the Eagles announced $125-million in improvements for a stadium that opened 20 minutes ago:
20 minutes… 10 years… It all feels the same when your diet is Starbucks chased with Allagash.
Jeffrey Lurie must be primping for a Super Bowl bid. The improvements are mainly for the in-stadium experience — 192-foot and 160-foot high-def video boards in either end zone, 1,600 more seats, and vastly improved WiFi connectivity for fans. There’s no question the Meadowlands Super Bowl next winter has emboldened owners like Lurie, Dan Snyder, Pat Bowlen, Robert Kraft, Steve Bisciotti and Paul Allen — and mayors like Rahm Emanuel of Chicago — to think about hosting Super Bowls.
That’s a byproduct of why Lurie is doing this, but not the major reason. He just knows teams have to do everything they can to compete with the couch, with the improvement in the fan experience at home.
So the Super Bowl bid is just a minor byproduct of the improvements, yet you made a big deal of telling us that it was the first thing you thought of when you heard the news? Does Peter King live in constant fear of having to attend games in the cold? If so, what can I do to facilitate harsher, more frigid conditions wherever he travels?
Inside the Linc — which turns 10 in August — in time for the 2013 season will be the capability for 45,000 individual WiFi connections.
It might inspire Eagles fans to use instead of hurl batteries! Smart thinking! Fan experience improved!
And with no new concept being off limits to the Goodell commissionership, it’s not going to shock me if northern cities with ultra-modern stadiums start getting considered for Super Bowls beyond 2017, when Houston will host Super Bowl 51.
So true. Less visionary commissioners than Goodell would give technological advancements the side eye then pronounce them to be witchcraft, but that Rog? No improvement is off limits? It’s gonna be a regular NFL stadium moon race. Just replace the moon with the ability to check fantasy football scores on your phone while sitting in a seat you paid a $10,000 PSL on.
Think there’s an SI cover jinx?
Well, jinxes are total bullshit, but sure, I’ll play along.
What about a Bears draft pick jinx?
Well now this is just crazytalk.
The news that the Bears will trade 2011 first-round tackle Gabe Carimi to Tampa Bay for a sixth-round pick is just another brick in the wall of Chicago’s recent disastrous high-draft experience on the offensive line. Not including this year’s top pick (Kyle Long), and accounting for the fact that the Jay Cutler trade took away the first-rounders in 2009 and 2010 that may have been used on linemen, here are the offensive linemen taken in the top three rounds by the Bears since 1999: Rex Tucker, Mike Gandy, Terrence Metcalf, Marc Colombo, Chris Williams and Carimi. That’s a six-pack of failure right there.
Unloftiest six-pack you’ll ever see. Might as well have just drafted orange peel and coriander. At least then you’d be copying the famed Allagash system of roster building.
Deacon Jones Factoids of the Week.
Remember the song “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”
No, I’ve never heard that song that gets played all the time on the radio, on TV shows as well as in movies and commercials.
It’s by a group named War.
What is it good for? Is that another song?
Deacon Jones sang with many of the members of the band in a group called Nightshift and actually was a voice in the “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” record. The Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer wrote that “The Fabulous Deacon Jones” sang at a Lake Tahoe resort, backed by three “Deaconettes.”
Along with Disco Tex and his Sexolettes.
Finally, a note from inside the White House. “Where are your dreads?” Barack Obama asked Torrey Smith at the White House the other day when the Ravens went to be recognized by the president. Smith, in fact, has cut his hair, and the leader of the free world is such a fan that he noticed.
Probably because THE NSA told him. #TopicalJokes #NSAHairAffair #WireTapYourDreads
What a happy birthday it is for me today (56, for those counting at home)
Ugh, well at least there’s Kate Upton and Maurice Sendak to redeem this date in nuggetology.
Though PK’s daughters are tweeting these pics:
— Laura King (@LK) June 10, 2013
— Mary Beth King (@MaryBethKing1) June 10, 2013
The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association is handing me the Sportswriter of the Year Award tonight. As you all know, I am not worthy, but in the words of the great Bob Ryan: If they’re going to give me such a nice award and say such nice things about me, who am I to turn it down? Who doesn’t like being told how great they are? You just wrote my speech for tonight, Bob. Thanks. Looking forward to being with lots of good people from around the country. And thanks to NSSA guru Dave Goren for running such a great event.
Way to inject the least allowable amount of humble into that humblebrag, Petey. “Oh ho ho ho, [insincere self-effacing comment] I guess I’ll just have to take this award for being the bestest nugget stenographer in all the land. I’d be a fool not to, and you all have clearly not recognized me to be a fool. After all, foolishness is off limits in the reign of the Goodell commissionership. He told me over beers and assorted waterplay.”
Do not get your father a tie this week. Get him a book.
Don’t get your dad that lazy gift. Get him THIS lazy gift.
Now for the Father’s Day book section. I’ve been doing this for a few years, in part because we need to find more excuses to read in our lives
Last year in this list I gave you The Art of Fielding, and before that Unbroken … two of my favorite books ever. I don’t have one I love as much this year, but I have several I like very much. I wouldn’t put one on here that I wouldn’t recommend to a good friend.
And, you dear readers, are his truest of friends. You can’t inflict that much pain on someone and not consider them a pal to whom you would recommend books you don’t really like that much.
I’ll spare you most of this section. It’s about what you’d expect, though credit to PK for only recommending one baseball book and one Grisham novel.
There are two parts that are obnoxious enough to note:
I’d missed this National Book Award finalist when it came out in mid-2012. It’s a terrific story of a platoon of Iraqi soldiers — led by the focal character of the book, 19-year-old Army soldier Billy Lynn, of Stovall, Texas — that gets captured on tape by an embedded FOX TV crew wiping out some insurgents who’d put their platoon under fire. The video makes the men heroes, and the Army flies them back to the States to send them on a two-week ain’t-this-war-grand tour of malls and monuments and cities, culminating in a garish display of Texas-sized patriotism during the Cowboys-Bears Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas.
First thing I thought: Wait — a novel on men being paraded around as heroes? Isn’t there enough of a chance to parade real soldiers around? I am an avowed amateur at the feelings and moods of 19- and 20-year-old kids thrust into life-and-death, kill-or-be-killed situations, though I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Oh, don’t think he’s being flip or insensitive with that lame-ass joke. It was a Holiday Inn Express in Afghanistan.
But I did tour Afghanistan for five days in 2008 with the USO, and met quite a few 19- and 20-year-old kids thrust into situations like these men were. And darn if these characters don’t seem exactly like some of the soldiers I met. Ben Fountain does a brilliant job capturing their hopes and dreams, many of which seem to be crushed by this patriotic tour.
“I did a USO tour! I totally know how troops think!”
Speaking of writers, I guffawed at how he described the assembled media there to interview the hero soldiers in a press opportunity at the Cowboys game:
They don’t even have to take notes, just hoover up his words with sleek little recording gadgets that look like protein bars. Merely by standing there they manage to be incredibly annoying, a middle-aged bunch of mostly big-assed white guys dressed in boring as hell business casual, such a sad-f— sampling of civilian biomatter that for a moment Billy is actually glad for the war, hell yes, so much better to be out here shooting guns and blowing s— up and shuffling around like scenery on a bad sitcom. God knows the war sucks, but he sees no great appeal in these tepid peacetime lives.
Gee, I always knew my life was important!
“KISS MY CIVILIAN BIOMATTER OF THE YEAR AWARD, SOLIDER BOY!”
The National Forgotten League: Entertaining Stories and Observations from Pro Football’s First Fifty Years, by Dan Daly (University of Nebraska Press).
We don’t appreciate pro football history.
We never have.
Because the Hall of Fame never existed, you see.
We know so much more about the old baseball players, the old boxers, and the old basketball players than we do about the footballers of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Sad, really.
There’s some truth to that, but there’s also a big distinction between the history of baseball and boxing being better maintained and appreciated during an era when each was more popular than the NFL than the culture at large apparently not caring about football history.
Did you realize that, after a quarter-century of pro football, Don Hutson retired with nearly three times the number of catches, yards and touchdowns of any who’d ever played?
You don’t say, it’s almost as though there wasn’t a huge emphasis on passing in the sport’s early days. Wait, no, I didn’t say that. I don’t care about history.
If you read this book, you’ll learn hundreds of things you never knew — such as the fact that Bill Belichick’s father, Steve, began the 1941 Detroit Lions season as equipment manager and ended it as the star fullback on the team. Daly reports Steve Belichick was so grateful to get the chance from Detroit head coach Bill Edwards that he named his son after him. Now you know.
That’s important history. UBER IMPORTANT. If not for that guy, Grumblelord might have any number of other commonplace white guy names.
Quote of the Week II
“Good timing on that contract.”
– President Barack Obama, to Joe Flacco, when the Ravens visited the White House Wednesday.
“We watched you sign it.”
Okay, enough fluffy stuff. Now it’s time for THIS MONTH IN GOODELL FAMILY HEROISM:
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Forty-five years ago last Wednesday, New York Sen. Robert Kennedy died. He was shot in the head, in the kitchen of a Los Angeles hotel, the Ambassador, by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian.
That created a vacancy in the United States Senate, which lasted for three months. New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller appointed a New York Republican congressman, Charles Goodell, to replace Kennedy.
Charles Goodell, father of Roger.
As I wrote in a Goodell profile two years ago, Charles Goodell soon became a sworn enemy of President Richard Nixon when he opposed Nixon’s policies on the war in Vietnam. (Imagine a Republican today saying, “That Barack Obama has got some great ideas.”)
Charlie Goodell told the boys it would probably be the end of his political career. The Goodell family faced an onslaught from the right. Vice President Spiro Agnew called Charles Goodell “the Christine Jorgensen of the Republican Party,” referring to a woman who’d had a sex-change operation. Nixon put Goodell on his noted Enemies List. “We were ticked off,” said Roger Goodell. “You can imagine five boys being loyal to our father. But the real lesson was my father never, never rapped the vice president, the president, or anyone else. He loved the legislative process, and that was just part of it.”
Prior to the election for Senate in 1972, security around the Goodell family got beefed up because of a threat on Charlie Goodell’s life. “JFK, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy all had been shot,” Roger said, “We were concerned our father was going to be assassinated because he was speaking out.” That didn’t happen, but Charlie Goodell was routed in the election.
Now you might know why Roger Goodell doesn’t chafe at being the patron saint of unpopular causes in the NFL sometimes.
The Patron Saint of Sometimes Bravery, THAT’S OUR ROG! PK has serious nugget chub for the commish this week. I think he’s hoping that if he butters up Rog enough (literally and figuratively) he’ll jump out of a cake at PK’s birthday award banquet shitshow tonight.
Also, fun to note that PK initially wrote in this week’s column that PAPA GOODELL didn’t oppose the Nixon White House back in the ’70s. He gets facts wrong about things he’s already covered. This man is getting a sportswriter of the year award.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Have you noticed we use our cell phones too much in this country?
Cellaholics, all of us. A nation united through jibber-jabberin’
This is one half of a conversation I heard (the first three or four comments are close but perhaps not exact quotes, because by the time I got my pen out to write it down, the man was about a minute into the conversation) at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix Wednesday afternoon, waiting for a flight to Washington:
Booooooo! And you call yourself a journalist. I demand verbatim quotes from irrelevant conversations that you eavesdropped on at the airport.
“Hi! Just waitin’ to board here. What are you doing?”
“Well, went to the Burger King. Got a burger, some fries … Yeah, pretty good, okay, you know. A burger … Now just sittin’ here, people-watchin.’ You know.
“A little warm in here, you know. Better than that oven out there!!! … Yeah, checked in. Got 7A. Window seat … Yep. Like those window seats, you know.
“No, no, not that crowded. Guess people flew early today. Hardly had any wait at security. Maybe five, 10 minutes.
“Yeah, got some M&Ms at the little shop. Bag of chips. It’s like, four hours or so. Was thinkin’ of gettin’ a sandwich, but I think that burger will hold me. Not too hungry now. I can get something when we land … Yeah, yeah … Well, yeah, don’t think so.
“Okay, what else you got goin’? … Yeah? Any good? Yeah, always liked that show … Nope. Just sittin’ here. Yeah, not much else up.
“Yeah, it’ll be past dark when we get there … I don’t know, just go to sleep I guess. Maybe watch some TV at the hotel. I’ll see what’s on …
“They’re millin’ around. Looks like we’re gonna board here … Yeah, no, no, I ain’t in any hurry. What else you got goin’?”
On it went, until the guy, about 55, had to hang up to board.
I just wanted to yell: “THEY GOT NOTHIN’ GOIN’ ON! OR THEY WOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING BY NOW!”
I don’t know. Maybe it’s nice to keep in touch when you’re apart from someone you like. But these phones. They severely reduce silence and thought. Both of those things are still legal in America, I hear.
And that’s why the Acela Quiet Car should be its own country. Give us your quiet, your hushed, your huddled masses yearning to breathe quietly.
Also, an airport isn’t exactly quiet if you take away one bored dude having an inane conversation on his phone. While it was a pointless conversation, you’re more of a dick for listening in on him and transcribing his conversation to share with a couple million people.
Tweet of the Week IV
“Dear person in front of me on plane: If you move your seat back just a little more I could probably remove that molar for you.”
– @JPosnanski, NBCSports.com national sports columnist Joe Posnanski.
Feel your pain, Joe. Feel your pain. Assuming that was USAirways.
OR REMOVE THE CELL PHONE FROM HIS EAR, AM I RIGHT!?
Tweet of the Week V
“Selig not a hugger like Goodell on draft night. Handshake and a back clap. #MLBDraft”
– @josephperson of the Charlotte Observer, Charlotte-ly observing the annual major league baseball draft Thursday night on MLB Network.
Tough break, Selig, you’re never gonna be the Patron Saint of Sometimes Hugging It Out that way. In the reign of Goodell, there is no intimate touching that is off limits.
Tweet of the Week VI
“I have the victory in the name of Jesus. Satan (@ProFootballTalk) is under my feet. I am not moved by adverse circumstances.”
– @terrellowens, unhappy with the tenor of the reporting by the website on his attempted comeback at age 39. PFT wrote recently that Owens “has a history of dividing locker rooms and pitting players against each other.”
I asked Satan for a comment. Through email, the devil responded.
“I realize Terrell is frustrated about the fact that no one is interested in giving him a roster spot,” said Mike Florio, the founder, czar and conscience of PFT. “If my willingness to point that out or to analyze the possible reasons for it or to mention some of the many ill-advised things he has done throughout his career for which he since has expressed remorse makes me the devil, then give me my pitchfork and feel free to play ring toss on either or both of my horns.”
My only question: What football player believes he’s being legitimately jobbed at age 39.5 by not having teams flock after him to sign him?
Holy shit, Florio has his own fucking site to address petty grievances like this. Why does PK’s troll compadre at NBC need another venue to make himself a news story?
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think we all have our opinions, and they’re all fine
“Opinions are like assholes… they’re alllllll fiiiiiiine.”
and I haven’t given one about the NFL players’ top 100 list because I don’t think the players take it seriously, and so I don’t value it at all. But I saw that ESPN just named Paul Brown the sixth-best coach of all time. To me, that’s like naming Bill Russell the sixth-best basketball player of all time, or Babe Ruth the sixth-best baseball player. Have some respect for history, fellas.
Pfft. I bet you guys didn’t even read that one book. Try assembling a best coaches list without knowing who Bill Belichick is named for. It’s impossible.
2. I think Josh Gordon being suspended for two weeks to start the season — he says it’s from taking cough syrup with the banned substance codeine in it — will make it very tough for the Browns to get off to a good start. They open with Miami at home and a rested Baltimore on the road (Ravens have the mini-bye after playing on Thursday at Denver to start the season), and there’s no question Gordon is the best receiver Cleveland has. A three-receiver set of Greg Little and ex-Bill David Nelson, with Davone Bess in the slot, isn’t going to throw fear into the Dolphins or Ravens.
Because those teams were really shitting their pants in anticipation of trying to defend that potent Browns air assault.
6. I think, and always have thought, that a team with a mobile or very smart quarterback and a good spread attack should just go for two after every touchdown, except when one point is needed late in a game.
That’s the basis of any good playcalling strategy: completely altering your plan just because it’s late in the game.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
c. Pete Abraham is the best. The Boston Globe Red Sox beat man is a great Twitter follow (@PeteAbe) and good nicknamer. Dustin Pedroia is “Scrappy McScraperson.”
This is standout shitty column by PK. Lofty trolling effort. Yet still the part that depressed me the most if when I immediately remembered that PK has already quoted that uninspired DURR HURR SCRAPPY Pedroia nickname from this baseball writer.
d. Great FOX graphic Saturday night: Pedroia has five more two-strike hits than any other player in baseball.
That’s actually just a stat. There’s no way to know if it was presented graphically in any kind of OH FUCK WHY AM I BOTHERING TO APPLY LOGIC TO THIS? DIIIEEEEEEE JUST DIEEEEEEEE ON YOUR BIRTHDAY DIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE
e. David Ortiz (413 homers) catches Mike Piazza on the all-time homer list with 14 more, Cal Ripken with 18, Carl Yastrzemski with 39.
39 homers away from 35th place all-time! That’s quasi-important-ish!
j. Penguins: two goals, 0 for 15 on the power play, four games of Eastern Conference Finals action. Crosby, Malkin and Iginla, zero points in 253 minutes.
k. And you wanted to be my latex salesman.
Sick Seinfeld burn, Peter. They certainly aren’t sponge worthy! NEWMAN! Other random show lines!
o. I don’t mean me, personally, because I don’t talk much about the NBA. But why don’t we as a sporting nation talk about Tony Parker more? Shouldn’t we think of him more as a great basketball player than as the former Mr. Eva Longoria?
Yeah, basketball people PK doesn’t pay attention to. Why don’t you talk about Tony Parker the basketball player instead of how PK imagines you discuss Tony Parker? WELL?
p. Coffeenerdness: I know I’m tough on Amtrak coffee, because it is swill.
STRONG SWILL TAKES
But Delta’s coffee is, if possible, worse. Tastes like the hot water passed through a filter that may have one day long ago come into contact with coffee or some coffee beans from an area code far, far away. It’d be nice, when traveling, if you could get some hot liquid that bears a slight resemblance to what Juan Valdez meant for us to drink.
Of course Peter King thinks a fictional advertising character has opinions about a product. Unless PK means the famous Mexican land grant activist, in which case, I doubt he gives a shit about how much some fat fuck gringo enjoys his coffee.
q. Beernerdness: Best thing about a three-hour flight delay at Dulles Airport outside Washington: sampling Old Dominion Ale, from Dover, Del.
Aren’t you gonna call it a clownfraud fakey fake beer for not being brewed in Virginia anymore?
Quite malty. English-type. Compared it next to a Fat Tire, and the Old Dominion won, hands down.
In the battle of the forgettable beers, it’s the least forgettable!
r. I am a week late with this, but happy Bar Mitzvah, Devon Schefter.
WHEW THANK YAHWEH HE REMEMBERED
Not sure if you thought this was as cool as the rest of the partiers did, but the video someone verrrrrry close to you put together just might be the best Bar Mitzvah advice video in the history of Judaism. Everyone from Peyton Manning to the energetic Harbaugh brothers to Adam Sandler with words of wisdom for young Devon. My favorite was Sandler’s, seated alongside his young daughter in their car: “Everyone in the family thinks you’re a man now. One thing I ask of you: Don’t touch this kid. You leave her alone. Don’t touch her when you get older or you get this.” [Clenched fist gesture]. Cool stuff.
Devon Schefter is going to be Jaden Smith’s best friend in a few years and they’ll be the most horrible people imaginable.
s. You go, Emily Kaplan! Good luck at the Globe this summer.
t. You too, Tess Quinlan! Good luck at Yahoo! in New York.
u. And you, Evan King … a published writer! Congrats to you.
Despite your achievements, you all have obviously yet to discover how to set up an e-mail address. Otherwise, WHY THE FUCK IS THIS IN HERE!?
y. I’ll be away from this space for the next four Mondays, and, as I’ve done for the last five years, I have replacements to write the column. They are: June 17, Former Saints safety Steve Gleason; June 24, Oakland punter Chris Kluwe; July 1, New Orleans cornerback Jabari Greer; and July 8, TBA. See you back here on July 15, when we’ll be one week from debuting our new football-centric site, The MMQB.
Woohoo! Hurry up and fuck off, birthday blob! I’m not entirely sure what KSK is gonna do on Mondays over that span. I might take down more Klassic King. I might run with another idea I’ve been kicking around to make fun of the Nugget Baron. At this point, I’m not ready to think about dealing with more Peter King just yet. You’ll have to see next Monday.
The Adieu Haiku
RGIII looks good.
Saw him sprinting on Thursday.
Opener? A lock.
Happy birthday Pete
I got you a special gift:
I want more like this!
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