When last we left MMQB brand manager, Peter King, he introduced us brain dead slobs to the many Stanford words that Andrew Luck uses on the reg. Words that contain multiple syllables and correct spelling. The things they teach you at UBER LEGIT institutions of learning. But what about this week? Did you remember to Bing everything this week? PK doesn’t get that sweet Microsoft money if you didn’t. Also make sure to credit The MMQB for all MMQB things. Only artful baristas need apply. Remember, PK’s brainfarts in bold. Ours in regular font. READ ON.
Two months down, two to go. Time flies when you’re having fun. The Lions had some fun Sunday, and the resurgent Staffords will lead the column … but some headlines first:
Stafford’s triumph will lead the column, except for this stuff that’s leading the column.
Alex Smith: The gift that keeps on giving.
Because he ejaculates money, you see.
Just like Clark Griswold’s Jelly of the Month Club present, the Kansas City quarterback brought more joy to two fan bases Sunday.
It appears National Lampoon fans being one of them.
The eighth win also meant the 49ers, who traded Smith to Kansas City so he could run Andy Reid’s West Coast offense this season, would receive an improved draft choice as the second part of the trade. The original trade was Smith for a second-round pick in 2013 and a third-rounder in 2014 … but the third- in ’14 would become a second- if the Chiefs won eight games or more this season.
Allows Trent Baalke to draft a disappointing receiver a round earlier!
This just in: Calvin Johnson’s good.
He had a nice month in three hours Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit’s 31-30 shocker of Dallas: 14 catches, 329 yards (seven away from the all-time single-game record), one touchdown. That also gives him the all-time two-game record of 484 receiving yards. Eight days, 484 yards. Eight games, 470 yards for Larry Fitzgerald.
Why you gotta shit on Fitty like that? 470 yards through eight games ain’t great. It’s also not terrible when cheesedick Carson Palmer is your quarterback behind a turnstile line.
Be ready for anything with London.
There’s nothing of permanence happening with London right now, and I’m told every option is on the table. That includes a team moving there, an expansion team, more than three games (the 2014 schedule) and perhaps even a slate of eight games, played by different teams every year. There’s some thought that because there is no “home” team in England, and selling a bad Jacksonville team (the Jags will play a game there in 2014, ’15 and ’16 at least) will be problematic right now, a good option is every team alternating. Of course, that won’t be a good option the minute you tell a Packers, Steelers, Broncos or Seahawks fan he or she has to lose a home game for the sake of expansionism.
Or any fan, really. You’ll find there isn’t a fan base that is thrilled with the prospect of their team losing a home game. Not just the Pittsburghish ones.
I sense frustration from some around the league that the NFL spends huge money to put on a great show in England one to three times a year, and the media there ignores it. But as one league operative told me recently: “If you guys [NBC, where I also work] can get 850,000 viewers for a Manchester United game on NBC Sports Network, why can’t we build a block of fans like that for football over there?”
Because NBC Sports Network didn’t “build” soccer fandom in the US. It already existed here. The network merely caters to an already existing demand.
Greg Jennings in the Revenge Game: One catch, nine yards, left the locker room before the media arrived following Green Bay’s 44-31 win at Minnesota last night. That’s 264 yards fewer than teammate Cordarrelle Patterson put on the board.
Totally fair to use return yardage against a player who isn’t assigned to return duty.
Manning 6,000. I wrote last year about the possibility of a quarterback, in the not-too-distant future, throwing for 6,000 yards in a season. Aaron Rodgers, I theorized, would have the best shot. I’m not saying Peyton Manning’s going to do it this year, but let’s acknowledge the greatness of the first-half MVP here.
Finally, someone has the guts to praise Peyton for an achievement he’s unlikely to make!
In Denver’s 7-1 start, Manning has averaged 365 passing yards per game. Other-worldly, obviously.
But let’s say he adds one medium-range skinny post per game in the final eight games. Say, an extra gain of 20 per game. If Manning averages 385 yards per game in his final eight, he’ll hit 6,000. As it is, he’s on pace for 5,838 passing yards with 58 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Yards will get tougher in December, of course.
Especially because there’s still a decent chance he’ll be on the bench in Week 17 and late in blowouts in December.
Now for the Detroit story. It’s a good one.
“1,000 words and one pointless Pey-Pey fluffing later, here’s your column lede.”
Matthew Stafford’s coming-of-age moment.
“SPIKE! SPIKE! SPIKE!”
We’ll get to that.
Holy shit, how much filler do we have to wade through? Afraid you’re overmarinating this nugget, Petey.
First, some background.
/swan dives off balcony
Since being the first overall pick in the 2009 draft, Matthew Stafford’s always been young for his peer group. He’s 25, and he’s midway through his fifth season; he won’t turn 26 until five days after the Super Bowl. But he had some Drew Brees, some Peyton Manning, in him down the stretch Sunday, taking Detroit 80 yards in 44 seconds to a victory they had no right to expect. Certainly, this was not Stafford’s first big comeback.
REMEMBER THAT TIME HE OUT-DUELED BRADY QUINN!?
Now :21, :20 … Stafford motioning to the offense to hustle up the field. “I was looking back, yelling for [left tackle] Riley Reiff to hurry up,’’ Stafford said … :19, :18 … Now motioning madly for Reiff to get in place, while also yelling “SPIKE” and giving the universal “spike’’ signal, the hand gesturing hard to the ground, over and over … Reiff in place, at :16.
“So I’m on the line, and everyone in the stadium thinks I’m spiking it, and that was the plan,’’ Stafford said. “The other 10 guys [on offense] thought I was too. I thought I was—but then I saw a couple of their guys, almost standing up, and I just had this thought: Maybe I could make it by sneaking, or just putting the ball over the line. Maybe that was our best chance.’’
There. After 1,500 words, the first and perhaps only interesting takeaway from this column. Stafford didn’t consult with his teammates before going for it. The only 10 necessary words in this entire piece.
So why? Why do it? Why not the fade to Johnson, who could win a jump ball against most of the Dallas defenders—shoot, against all of them? If it’s incomplete, another fade, or a rollout pass.
“You just feel it,’’ he said. “Hard to explain. You just go to the line and you feel it sometimes, and I just felt: Our best chance is me taking the ball and diving it over. I mean, all we were was three inches from the end zone.”
Can totally see Stafford doing this one day:
Now it’s your time to speak on the issue of head trauma and football.
In the past week, we at The MMQB have tried to take the head-trauma debate deeper, with 19 stories exploring the realities of playing a violent game, ideas about making it safer and the complicated issues facing youth and high-school football today.
Also a chance for PK to pat himself on the back for following concussions only after the prevailing political winds started to blow that way.
RT @bkharnish: Grateful for your reporting on concussions. Puts life in perspective and gives parents such important info … Thanks a lot.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) October 28, 2013
My takeaways from the series: It surprises me that parents—and 23 of those we interviewed who spoke this way, nearly a quarter—cede the decision to play or not play high school football to their sons. That has changed in the time since I was a (quite marginal) high-school athlete in Enfield, Conn. If my father and mother thought the sport I was playing was excessively dangerous, they’d have interceded and recommended and/or demanded I not play.
“These permissive parents of today! In my day, Pappy King beat the shit out of me if I didn’t finish my venti coffee and told everyone on the block my thoughts about the Red Sox game. Made me the man I am today.”
And this: I don’t think football will die. I think it needs some care; and it needs to be certain that correct form tackling be taught at the grassroots level across the country, and that there be a uniform way to deal with head-to-head hits and aftermath care of concussions.
Again, routine collisions that lineman experience every single play might cause CTE. Certainly, better care of concussed players can prevent issues from being exacerbated, but it doesn’t solve everything.
From the online comments sections
Oh, God. Even PK has spent enough time on the Internet to know this is a horrible idea. Albeit a chance to show morons with dissenting opinions as a means to make PK look smarter.
From “decredico,” to me: “You sat on this story for years and under reported it and you are part of the package that kept this off the radar for many years. You are a disingenuous hypocrite that should be excoriated and excommunicated and banished to writing for the local garden section of a small town newspaper.’’
You’re welcome at KSK anytime, decredico.
From “hlmencken56:” “We’re just a country full of cowards now. Everyone is a victim, and nobody should ever get hurt, or the risks always must be lowered.”
I’ll spare you the 1,000+ words of email from his readers. Okay, just one, because it’s so dumb I don’t believe PK didn’t write it himself:
“I have been a fan of you and your MMQB column for seven or eight years now and never miss one. I was really looking forward to your new MMQB page and for the most part I have really enjoyed it. However lately I have not nearly enjoyed MMQB as much. I feel like I have been given a concussion by being beaten over the head with your concussion reports. Please go back to the reporting of fun football. You don’t have to ignore concussions completely, but man I feel like you guys are trying to ruin something that I enjoy so very much. It’s like if every time I eat something bad for me, my wife is standing behind me telling me that it’s going to kill me.”
I assume Brock drinks paint thinner, so his wife is on to something.
1. Kansas City (8-0). I debated putting the Chiefs here, after they struggled to beat Houston and Cleveland at home in the last eight days while others up top—the Niners in particular—have been strafing the league mercilessly. There are no style points in football, though, and the Chiefs are undefeated halfway through the season.
If by the strafing the league, you mean the beating up on the Rams, Cardinals, Jaguars and freefalling Titans and Texans.
5. Seattle (6-1). Russell Wilson was playing minor-league baseball 28 months ago. I wonder if he was tempted to pull a hat over his forehead Sunday night and walk from his hotel in St. Louis over to World Series Game 4.
“Wonder” = “masturbated to the thought of”
9. New England (6-2). So flawed. So hard to read. So hard to think this is an impact team in January
but the defense, even without Wilfork/Mayo/Talib, is a competitive group with players like Logan Ryan who don’t know they’re not supposed to be making game-deciding plays.
So true. The rest of the league adheres perfectly to media narrative and expectation, but not this pack of lionhearted nobodies! NO ONE DENIES THIS!
Offensive Players of the Week
Andre Ellington, running back, Arizona. I never thought the 187th pick in the 2013 draft would put the final nail in the Atlanta Falcons’ season
Because that would be a bizarrely specific thing to imagine?
Coach of the Week
Mike Zimmer, defensive coordinator, Cincinnati. The Jets had the ball 13 times Sunday. On nine drives, they were held to 15 yards or less. Any owner out there listening? It’s long overdue that Zimmer get a legitimate interview for a head-coaching job. With another stifling defensive performance in Cincinnati’s 49-9 win over New York, maybe he’ll get his shot after the season in one of those places with a coach having a bad year.
Another way PK ruins football for me: I actually agree Mike Zimmer is worthy of a head coaching opportunity yet never want to actually see it because Peter never shuts up the GREAT INJUSTICE TO THIS WHITE COACH.
Quotes of the Week
“I know there’s always a lot of speculation when I’m injured. So, I’m going to go on the injured report starting now under ‘body’ and keep me there all season.”
—Peyton Manning, after hurting his ankle last week in Indianapolis and looking hobbled at times in the Denver rout of Washington Sunday.
Questionable: Peyton Manning (android parts)
“I walked around our house singing, ‘Hail to the Redskins’ as a kid. So it’s something I always looked at as a very positive thing. But I understand the other side of that.”
—Commissioner Roger Goodell, asked about the Washington Redskins name Saturday in London.
I looked at the “Me Chinese, Me Play Joke” gags as a positive thing when I was a kid. Because kids are stupid and we shouldn’t base decisions on things you enjoyed when you were young and a dumbshit.
“There’s a lot of people that could really care less about myself right now, including myself.”
—Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, last week before the 31-13 victory over Tampa Bay.
I think he’s talking about shrugging off individual accolades, but I’m not sure. I just thought the quote came out of The Onion until I saw him say it, and I liked it.
“GLOREE BOY AVOIDS GLOREE” – headline from The Nugget, Peter King’s future football parody site, written entirely by Eric Stangel and Steve Serby
Stat of the Week
When kickers are making 19 of 20 field-goal tries, on average, from inside the 40-yard line (stunning but true) and two-thirds of their attempts beyond 50 yards (and they are: 45 of 68, or 66.2%), you know this isn’t what the game is supposed to be. Kicking field goals has just become too easy.
Never mind that a game yesterday was decided by a kicker missing two field goals from inside 40 yards.
I know some will say, “Wait until the weather turns. Then you’ll see the percentages go down.” And they will.
Rendering your argument all the more useless.
But by how much?
“Better be by a LEGIT percent or I win this one!”
Do we want the game to be so boring, to lack any suspense, when a kicker steps up to make a field goal? I can tell you the founding fathers of this game never dreamed that kickers would be so great they would be good on 87 percent of their field goals through nearly half a season.
The founding fathers of the sport didn’t give a hummingbird’s shit about concussions either, so perhaps be a little careful about invoking them, k?
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is playing well beyond his years. He is 19. He turns 20 Wednesday. The redshirt sophomore hasn’t said whether he is coming out of college and entering the 2014 draft; he’d be a candidate to be the first overall pick if he chooses. But it is worth noting that on the first day of the draft next May, Mariota will be 20 years, 6 months and 9 days old. Imagine Mariota coming out, getting picked by Jacksonville, and beating Tennessee next September. He won’t be able to celebrate with a cold beer—at least not legally.
Future PFT post: “How much should we be worried about the hypothetical future drinking of Marcus Mariota?”
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
The MMQB’s Robert Klemko had to fly from Chicago to Detroit Sunday morning to cover Lions-Cowboys, and he reported this to me when he landed:
“I get on this plane from Chicago to Detroit, and these Japanese people, five of them, boarded the plane all carrying different stuffed animals. A teddy bear in an Army uniform, another teddy bear in a pilot uniform. I’d say they were in their late 20s, early 30s. One of them was a guy, and his bear was dressed in an American desert camo uniform.
“They were clutching these animals as if they were children. So I am sitting amidst them. The flight is taking off, and they’re not panicked or anything—but they’re whispering things in Japanese to the bears as if they were children. Then they just held them for the rest of the flight.
“I mean, they were holding them like they were breathing, like they were babies. Maybe they want kids and they are practicing for it. I don’t know. But there is something strange going on there.”
Them kerrrr-azay foreigners. Did you know that the Japanese once elected a plush cat prime minister? It’s true. It ended the three-term reign of a teenage girl’s panties. Bill Parcells called it the most Jap play he’s ever seen.
Tweets of the Week
“Jimmy Graham > plantar fasciitis”
—@themantz, The MMQB senior producer and resident Saintsphile Tom Mantzouranis, after Graham, battling a painful heel injury, scored his second touchdown in a five-minute span of the Bills-Saints game Sunday.
A trite homer tweet from a coworker featured as though it’s remarkable. Anal prolapse > Peter King
“I miss holding a baby – all my little guys are old.”
Yes, that Barry Sanders.
WOWZERS. Super crazy that a 45-year-old no longer has infants.
“The Immaculate Obstruction #allcopyrights #redsox #stlcards”
—@JoelSherman1, New York Post baseball columnist.
Way to use someone else’s tweet as a roundabout way to bitch about calls that go against your favorite baseball team, jackass. PK later in the column admits the obstruction call was the right one, so he uses a tweet from another person to whine about it to deflect criticism from himself.
Ten Things I Think I Think
b. Brandon Myers, doing his part to make the Giants forget about the tight end who got away, Martellus Bennett.
Marty B: 356 yards and four TDs through seven games
Brandon Myers: 265 yards and one score through eight games.
f. Thad Lewis, who is very tough.
/waits for the announcement that Thad Lewis suffered a concussion on Sunday
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 8:
a. Tom Brady, throwing behind Rob Gronkowski and getting picked by cornerback Dimitri Patterson (a very good Jeff Ireland offseason pickup), leading to Miami’s first touchdown.
Fulfilling this season’s Brady criticism quota. See you next time in 2014.
b. Almost on cue, a few seconds later, Mike Vick handing the Giants an early pick with a lollygagged pass.
“Get’cher gold-brickin’ passes out of my lovely football community.”
d. Garrett Hartley, doinking a makeable field goal on the Saints’ first drive.
BUT FIELD GOALS ARE WAY TOO E-ZEE
j. Why, oh why, Chip Kelly, when you’re one score behind with four minutes to go and your defense playing well, do you onside kick?
Because expecting Matt Barkley to drive the length of the field is madness?
7. I think there are so many teams that could use Cleveland wideout Josh Gordon, so many receiver-needy contenders, and with the trade deadline coming Tuesday, he’s the most obvious candidate to be moved. Gordon, who is signed through 2014, will cost an acquiring team only $437,000 for the rest of the season (as opposed to, say, looming free-agent defensive end Jared Allen, who would cost $7.57 million to a team for the last nine weeks of the year). I realize Gordon could be a positive substance test away from a lengthy suspension, but if I’m the Patriots, and I still have my full load of 2014 picks, I’d offer Cleveland a fourth-round pick that could conditionally upgrade to a third- depending on performance and try to get Gordon.
Except the Browns have indicated they won’t part with Gordon for anything less than a second-rounder. But if it’s the Patriots calling, I’m sure they’d be so cowed by their greatness, they’d part with a vital commodity for whatever was being offered.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. No more walks on the wild side for Lou Reed, who died Sunday at 71. Loved his music.
Loved it so much that all you can do as a tribute is quote the chorus from his most famous song. Big, big fan, I’m sure.
b. Memo to Darren Rovell (said with slight annoyance): The Riddell helmet/NFL divorce you wrote about, a story that was written by Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB on TheMMQB.com last Tuesday, was not written on SI.com, as you reported. It’s The MMQB.
Lofty correction. If anyone should know the importance of soulless, cynical branding, it’s Rovell. So if I were an indulged media personality who was given his own corporately backed boutique website solely because not getting said site meant I would depart to another publication, I would be upset for not having that project credited whenever possible. Lucky for me, however, I’m not a piece of shit like that.
Also worth nothing that PK is so insistent on plugging his fucking site, he wore an MMQB shirt to a baseball game.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) October 25, 2013
c. Nothing against SI.com; I love SI.com. This column runs on SI.com at well as The MMQB. But the story was not written on SI.com.
No, it was written by a pointless vanity project that is OWNED and OPERATED by SI. Important distinction if you’re a media whore who needs his ego stroked.
e. And Macklemore … I actually have listened to a few of his songs, and he’s pretty incredible. Is there anyone who can talk faster and make some sense?
f. So … Game 3 of the World Series ends on the first walkoff obstruction call in Series history. Game 4 of the World Series ends on the first walkoff pickoff in Series history. That’s weird.
Considering that Peter King observes any phenomenon and pronounces it weird, yes, that too counts as weird.
j. Quote of the Series, from Jonny Gomes to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, concerning the fact that he was only in the lineup Sunday night because Shane Victorino’s back tightened up and forced him to the bench, giving Gomes the chance to hit the game-winning three-run home run: “I had to ‘Tonya Harding’ Victorino.”
k. Google or Bing “Tonya Harding” if that one slips past you.
Gonna gloss over the open disdain for his readers that shows in assuming they don’t know Tonya Harding. Instead, pointing out another shoehorned BING reference. That’s like three in a month. Certainly that has nothing to do with The MMQB’s partnership with Microsoft.
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) October 23, 2013
m. Coffeenerdness: Had a good latte with strong espresso from an artful barista at Flat Black Coffee Company in Boston’s Financial District Friday. Recommended.
An ARTFUL barista, were they? I take it to mean the barista left a stupid foam shamrock on the top of his drink, because PK would be impressed by that bullshit.
n. Beernerdness: Also had the good fortune to be at Game 2 of the Series on Thursday, and was nearly as lucky to be back in my favorite old neighborhood restaurant Picco, in Boston’s South End. Very good beer menu. Tried the Star Island Single, a Belgian ale from Smuttynose in New Hampshire, and it was almost like a light ale. Okay, and eminently drinkable, but not memorable.
So drinkable you black out and forget you had it. At least Allagash leaves a nutmeggy aftertaste that lingers for days, infecting everything you it. That’s why it’s the loftiest.
Who I Like Tonight
Seattle 33, St. Louis 10. Bet you thought I’d say, “Boston 4, St. Louis 3,” didn’t you?
The Adieu Haiku
I have always thought
the home for illegal bats
was in the belfry.
You wacky punster
I admit it made me laugh
The thought of your death
I want more like this!
Follow Kissing Suzy Kolber on Facebook and get the latest NFL news & humor before everyone else.