pkpioli

When last we left record overreactor, Peter King, he was speculating that Greg Schiano’s job was safe in Tampa. Then a couple hours passed and Schiano was fired. OOP DEE! That’s the insider knowledge that gets you the big bucks! PK went on a tirade about how Matt Flynn never got a fair shake in Oakland and Buffalo while continuing to kill Josh Freeman for being a franchise killer drama queen who sat on the bench in Minnesota. Finally, Peter made fun of another football writer’s coffee order for containing coconut. “FAGGY COFFEE ORDER, BRAH! REAL COFFEE-FLAVORED FOOTBALL GUYS DRINK THE NUTMEGGIEST LARDACCINOS!”

But what about this week? Well, if you were Andrew Luck, you would have already forgotten about it. Then someone would have to remind you, but you’d just forget again, because you’re Andrew Luck and you have super forgetting powers. Now don’t be a Debbie Downer and READ ON.

Seven teams playing scintillating playoff football (some even dabbled with defense)

Uh oh, someone forgot to scintillate.

and then Cincinnati.

That’s the one. SICK BUNGLE BURN! Clearly they need to spend the off-season stocking up on scintillators and defense dabblers.

Isn’t that what the weekend felt like? Great, great football on a 139-point Saturday, and drama galore in the last game of the weekend Sunday evening, the modern-day Ice Bowl in Green Bay (where the Packers, suddenly, have a home-field playoff disadvantage). But what an Akili Smith-sized egg the Bengals laid, and the resurgent Chargers were only too happy to take the win they overwhelmingly deserved.

Nice collection of caffeine-addled half thoughts. Peter insists there was a certain feeling to the weekend and describes it by ticking off a brief synopsis of events. Lofty writering.

Which of these things doesn’t belong:

a. 45-44, with a team winning after trailing 38-10.

b. 26-24, on a field goal at the gun by a kicker who was unemployed three weeks ago.

c. 27-10. Drama-free.

d. 23-20, in minus-14 wind chill, on a field goal at the gun by a 15-year NFL kicker who’d never won a playoff game.

e. A three-paragraph discussion about Dustin Pedroia in the middle of a football column.

And so it was that the Chargers victory over the Bengals was negated because it didn’t contain a dramatic element Peter King found to be WEIRD.

Not to break any hearts in the Queen City, and not to set an NFL record for overreaction, but a snapshot of the 2011 and 2012 drafts show how sick Bengaldom must be today.

Watch out, everyone – PK is trolling HARD today. Bringing out all the guns, including his favorite – draft hindsight. He notes that the Niners took Kaepernick the pick after the Bengals took Dalton. Did a Peter kill Cincy at the time for the selection? Sure didn’t. But he can comfortably lambaste them about it three years after the fact.

If PK wants to play dirty, he’s been suggesting throughout the season that Dalton has done things like a franchise quarterback, even if it was against teams with a bad secondary.

pkdalton

So much to talk about after one of the great playoff weekends in memory, and let’s not be all Debbie Downer about it.

Though you just led off your column by complaining that one of four games didn’t have an amazing ending.

The divisional round schedule:

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET: Indianapolis (No. 4, 12-5) at New England (No. 2, 12-4). The only game that isn’t a rematch of a regular-season game this year. They did meet last year, and the Pats put up 59 on the Colts. But T.Y. Hilton wasn’t T.Y. Hilton then. Come to think of it, Julian Edelman wasn’t Julian Edelman either.

I wasn’t me and you weren’t you. We were all cyphers waiting to be assigned identities. There was so much possibility in those days…

Every game’s a revenge game now for the Niners. They’ve played four of the seven other teams in the playoffs and lost to all four—Seattle, Indy, Carolina and New Orleans. But they’re playing better now, winners of seven straight, and Colin Kaepernick has two trustworthy things he didn’t have in midseason: his own legs

Thanks a lot, journalists. A fiendish villain made off with Colin Kaepernick’s legs and we’re only hearing about it now?

(he’s running with more confidence now)

(why didn’t you just write that in the first place, fuckstick?)

and Michael Crabtree.

WHO HAS JULIAN EDELMAN’S LEGS! MAYBE!

The Chargers can’t win a scoring contest against Peyton Manning, but they’re uniquely equipped to challenge Denver.

die

I know what Peter King is trying to say but is too incompetent to express properly. He’s suggesting that the Chargers don’t want to get into a shootout with the Broncos, which is probably true though I’d argue not an absolute. Unless PK thinks the Chargers can’t possibly beat the Broncos BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CAN’T BEAT ANOTHER TEAM IN A SCORING CONTEST, WHICH IS WHAT EVERY FUCKING FOOTBALL GAME EVER HAS BEEN! GGGGGAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

Defensive coordinator John Pagano has the chess pieces to frustrate Manning

peanutschess

The Snoopy pawns always fuck with Peyton’s head.

and no opposing coach knows the refurbished Manning like Mike McCoy—his 2012 offensive coordinator—does.

Except Tom Moore in Arizona.

Also, no way have the Broncos changed anything about the offense or playcalling since last season.

Andrew Luck is so rare, so precocious, and so able to put the past behind.

So architectural. So Stanford wordian. So… Amish.

The distant past, the recent past.

He put the Renaissance behind him! Pretty impressive to disregard complete eras of history. Chris Chandler used to say the Victorian era would really fuck with him on the field.

He did it in the middle of a 38-10 debacle Saturday that becme a 45-44 win over Kansas City. And he did it a year ago, after a four-turnover game at New England. Last year, I remember his quarterback coach, Clyde Christensen, telling me, “He’s a great forgetter.”

You think that’s good? Just wait until early onset dementia from football kicks in!

It’s highly doubtful next weekend can match the one we just had, even with the stinker in Cincinnati. But for different reasons, I love every one of these games.

Again with the Debbie Downering. but at least he isn’t complaining on Twitter. That’s where losers do it!


A little Hilton history: His given name is Eugene T.Y. Hilton, but no one calls him Eugene. His dad’s name is Tyrone, and the T.Y. is for “Little Ty.”

Shouldn’t it be L.T. then?

And it’s another game of Manning versus the One-And-Done Guy.

Peyton is facing himself? That is exciting.

When Peyton Manning was deciding on his next team in March of 2012, he had a meeting at the Broncos training facility that included the offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, and the defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio. “Tell me something,” said Manning, who wanted badly to come to a stable environment without the threat of coaching change. “Are you guys one-and-done? If we have a good year and you get an offer, are you guys out of here?”

Del Rio was new to Denver and assured Manning that it’d take a tremendous job for him to leave after his Jacksonville experience.

“I was honest with him,” McCoy said from Cincinnati Sunday afternoon. “He looked right at us and asked the question, and I understood where he was coming from. But I told I couldn’t promise him anything. If an opportunity came up, I was going to explore it.”

Even if it meant fixing Norv’s mistakes.

“What Peyton did for my career—and what everyone in Denver did, John Fox and John Elway and Pat Bowlen and the players, I owe them everything. I’m here today because of those people,” McCoy said.

riversface

“WHAT? HUH? YOU DON’T OWE THEM DIDDLY SHIT! IF WE LOSE, IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE A DOUBLE AGENT FOR THE DONKS!”

I’m not saying McCoy has the institutional knowledge of a Bill Belichick (who has 17 games against Manning as a head coach). But since Manning returned from his neck problems, he’s had two offensive coordinators and confidants: McCoy and Adam Gase, this year’s coordinator. So McCoy clearly know the routes Manning likes and the plays he wants to run.

Given that Peyton was already warned that he might explore other coaching opportunities if they arose, I’m sure pey-Pey imparted every weakness to McCoy in their one year together.

I think San Diego-Denver’s the game of the weekend.

What? You don’t think it’s Kaepernick against Cam Newton? I’m astounded.

I know exactly why Jim Harbaugh set a personal record for post-game giddiness Sunday in Green Bay.

Only a personal record, as the team record belongs to Bill Walsh, who celebrated victories with tickle fights against assistants.

When he finished his post-game press conference, he hugged one veteran beat man, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area and said, “I love you, Matt!” And he kissed another one, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, on the top of the head and said, “I love you too, Matt!”

Sociopathy can be so adorable sometimes.

This is the offense San Francisco will need to win at Carolina, with Kaepernick being a dual threat and Gore pushing the pile. Funny thing: Carolina’s convinced it has the same thing, a quarterback who can beat you running or passing, and a couple of physical backs.

“HAHA SILLY PANTHERS FOR THINKING CAM NEWTON IS GOOD, AM I RIGHT?!”

Diary of a mad fan …

I asked Packers fan Kyle Cousineau, 33, to keep an account of his day at Lambeau Field Sunday. He lives a mile from the north end zone, and has been to a ton of games over the years.

This might have been a nice idea if the person you enlisted to do this produced something other than “yup, it’s cold.”

2:45 p.m.: Greetings from Lot 1 of Lambeau Field. The weather is about what I thought it would be. It’s still ridiculously cold.

IMPORTANT SECTION. LOFTY SECTION. TRULY CAPTURES THE MOMENT. AND THE COLD!

End of the first quarter: Before the game, everyone was fired up. I mean, it’s a home playoff game after all. Then after the Packers went three-and-out and had three straight punts to open the half, the crowd became a little bit on edge and dejected. The cold is on everybody’s mind.

AWESOME DISPATCH. I COULD HAVE NEVER GLEANED THAT FROM JUST WATCHING ON TV OR KNOWING HOW PEOPLE REACT TO FRIGID CONDITIONS.\

Though this section was generally a waste, I did enjoy this:

8:45 p.m.: I’ve had some time to decompress, and I’ve warmed up, but that doesn’t make the pain go away. As far as cold goes, this was the second-worst game I’ve ever been to. The first was the NFC Championship game in ’08, Favre’s last game. That was a devastating loss. After that game, my brother and I just stood there. We didn’t say anything. Then we kind of just gave each other this look, then walked all the way home in silence. We didn’t talk the whole way. Today’s loss was a notch below that. The Packers are a way of life out here. They’re all we have. When they lose, it becomes winter. Three months of bitter cold and nothingness. Tomorrow they’re predicting minus-50 to minus-60 degree wind chill. Schools in the Green Bay area are already cancelled. Grocery stores are closed. So that’s what we have to look forward to … until the draft in May.

Ha ha, your way of life is fucked.

Fine Fifteen

2. San Francisco (13-4). Colin Kaepernick has run for 279 yards in two playoff games against the Packers. I sense a trend.

That Dom Capers sucks? Glad you finally picked up on that.

6. New Orleans (12-5). Tremendous second half by Drew Brees. Now I’m thinking the long shot in Seattle isn’t such a long shot after all, especially with the Seahawks looking pretty mortal on offense since wiping out the Saints in December.

Because everyone totally thought Brees was dogshit before the second half Saturday night.

7. Indianapolis (12-5). Andrew Luck laughs at big deficits.

lucklaugh

12. Arizona (10-6). I bet Carson Palmer, watching Sunday, truly felt sorry for Andy Dalton. He’s been there. He’s not the kind of guy to laugh at his successor falling so flat.

Why? I would. I can’t respect a quarterback who isn’t spiteful. NEED MORE GRUDGE DISCIPLINE!

13. Cincinnati (11-6). It’s one thing for fans to not trust Andy Dalton, and those from Lima to Lexington surely won’t in 2014. But Dalton’s biggest problem going forward is that his own locker room isn’t going to trust him, regardless of what the players and coaches say publicly.

Preemptively calling Bengals coaches and players liars. I’m sure they’re gonna want to talk to you now, Petey.

14. Pittsburgh (8-8). The Steelers would have given the Chargers a much better game than Cincinnati did.

They probably should have won three more games, then.

Goats of the Week

A pair of Andies:

You’re gonna get it now, Andie MacDowell

Andy Dalton, quarterback, Cincinnati.

Okay. Sure.

Andy Reid, head coach, Kansas City.

Oh, now you’re just an asshole.

After the year he’s had, after the incredible turnaround from moribund franchise to important contender, this almost seems unfair.

Because it is.

But it’s reality.

And reality is fucked up. But not in the way PK wants it to be.

Reid has to take a hit for the Chiefs’ clock management and use of timeouts in the fourth quarter at Indianapolis. There are many things the Chiefs will look back on and say, “That killed us.” This one is the biggest: KC took its first and second timeouts on successive plays on a mid-fourth-quarter drive, and the third timeout, inexplicably, immediately after the two-minute warning. A colossal, ridiculous waste of timeouts. That is just dumb football.

I’ll give you the timeouts. But that the game was even close given the stupendous array of injuries that the Chiefs suffered ON THE ROAD, that Kansas City performed as well as they did has to be a testament to his ability.

The Colts took over at their 43 to run out the clock with 1:55 left and a 45-44 lead. Kansas City had no timeouts left. Andrew Luck kneeled down three times to end it. Now, I’m not saying the Chiefs could have stopped a middle-school team by the time the Colts went to run the clock out.

So then you’re not saying anything. You’re filling space with nothing. You’d have been better off taking a shit in hand and wiping on the screen. You can’t even troll properly. You even suck at being the worst. DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE

Quotes of the Week

“Clutch. Tough. Great.”

—San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, on the play of quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the win at Green Bay.

Platitudes. Bromides. Boilerplate.

“I can’t fire someone when I don’t believe they should be fired. Firing someone is awful.”

—Fired Tennessee coach Mike Munchak, to Jim Wyatt of the the Tennesseean. Part of the reasoning behind Munchak’s firing reportedly was his reluctance to fire members of his staff.

“Fuck that shit. Hey assistant, come here. Didn’t you say your wife is expecting? Great, you’re fired. Good luck raising that little shit. And tell the missus to give me a call.” – Bill Belichick

Stats of the Week

One touchdown pass in 34 drives.

I don’t want to be too kneejerk

But?

but the Bengals are going to have to consider bringing competition to training camp for Andy Dalton. I don’t mean he should be benched, and I don’t mean Cincinnati should necessarily draft a quarterback in the first round, but the Bengals have too much defensive talent to watch the quarterback put up 33 points in 34 playoff drives.

So they should bring in competition that probably won’t actually compete for the job? Surely that will solve everything.

Denver kicker Matt Prater attempted 101 PATs and field goals this year. He made 100.

He missed a 52-yard field goal in Week 11. Putting it another way, Prater was 94 of 94 on all kicks inside the 50-yard-line this season.

Denver losing on a 45-yard kick after PK spent the half the season ranting that KICKING IS TOO EASY would be nice, but it’s still no playoff-crushing Manning pick-six.

Factoids of the Week That May Only Interest Me

In 2012, predicting games each regular-season week for SI.com, I was 169-86-1.

In 2013, predicting games each regular-season week for SI.com, Don Banks was 169-86-1.

OMG, you guys are total Pick Bros. You should fuck. It’s kismet.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Forward, friendly, 40ish guy next to me on the train from Grand Central Terminal to Stamford Friday: “Who was that on the phone?”

Me: “Dan Fouts.”

Forward guy: “THE Dan Fouts?”

Me: “I think so—the former football player.”

Forward guy: “How’d you get him on the phone?”

Me: “Texted him. He called back. Good guy.”

Forward guy: “I bet that’s cool, talking to Dan Fouts.”

Me: “Yeah, it’s good.”

Silence for the next 35 minutes. He texted, I wrote, I got off in Stamford, he got off, and that was it.

“THE GREATNESS OF MY JOB STUNNED THIS MAN MUTE. AT LAST, I HAVE THE SOLUTION FOR THE ACELA QUIET CAR. READ A LIST OF MY ACHIEVEMENTS AND WATCH AS THE CROWD IS DUMBSTRUCK WITH ENVY FOR HOURS.”

Tweets of the Week

“I just saw Andrew Luck pulling a horse and buggy with his beard.”

—@HeavyOnions, during the Colts’ loss Saturday, referring to the Indy quarterback’s thick facial hair

UPDATE: I didn’t even notice at first that PK said the Colts lost. DERP!

But his Tweet game was just getting stronger:


Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about wild-card weekend:

a. Alex Smith’s mobility. A 15-yard scramble out of trouble in the backfield and then through traffic to keep the first drive of the game alive … it’s a totally underrated part of his game.

If Mayock gets to call him sneaky athletic then dammit, PK does too.

d. T.Y. Hilton. Everything about him.

“I can see God and the order of the cosmos in the curvature of his butthole.”

g. Our Greg A. Bedard’s story on the Bears-Packers Week 17, talking about how vital the block fullback John Kuhn threw was. Bedard makes a great case that the block of Kuhn’s life won the division for Green Bay.

Bedard is the perfect shithead MMQB writer. It’s rare that I will praise Peter but he really found an all-star team of like-minded douchebags to join his site.

o. Love smart players.

That’s not code for anything.

Did you see Eric Weddle in the fourth quarter tackling the Bengals receiver near the sideline, not letting him get out of bounds so Cincinnati could stop the clock?

Did you not see his milky whiteness and the way it wasn’t black?

p. Kudos, GM Tom Telesco of the Chargers … for many things. The biggest I can think of this morning is signing Danny Woodhead for two years and $3.5 million. Woodhead is worth three times that.

So basically what you’re telling us is that Woodhead’s agent sucks.

r. Just give me Jordy Nelson, Anquan Boldin and a competent quarterback, and I’ll give you any two receivers in football, and I’ll take my chances against you.

Thanks. I’ll take Megatron and Josh Gordon. Good luck!

u. CBS, for giving Dan Dierdorf a monster game for his finale: Indianapolis at New England, Saturday night, Foxboro.

Ouf. Well, at least we can thankful it isn’t Colts-Broncos.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about wild-card weekend:

a. Jamaal Charles going down in the first five minutes of the game. Love watching him play. Amazing this game produced 89 points without him.

But fuck Andy Reid. He blows!

d. Colts: 14 turnovers in the regular season; four Saturday.

Not to worry. Andrew Luck has already forgotten. If the playbook wasn’t tattooed on his arm, he’s forget that too. We need a Memento remake starring the Hollywood movie that is the Colts and Andrew Luck.

e. Those who would say Alex Smith made a critical mistake by taking an intentional grounding call on the Chiefs’ last possession, helping knock them out of field-goal range for a kick that could have won the game. Kansas City had the ball at the Colts’ 39, 2nd-and-7 with 2:30 to play. Smith set up a screen to his left, ideally to throw to Dexter McCluster. Before the play could even remotely develop, Smith was swarmed by the unblocked Erik Walden and Cory Redding and at the last millisecond threw the ball away to his right, far from any of his receivers. What were his options here? Throw it away, which he did. Or get sacked with the ball at the 47 and have it be 3rd-and-15. I watched the play three times on NFL Game Rewind, and there was nothing else Smith could do, except eat it. If he did, it would have been 3rd-and-15 instead of 3rd-and-17. Big deal.

To recap:

Being unfair to Andy Reid = a-ok.
Being unfair to GOOD GUY Alex Smith: OVER MY DEAD BODY, MISTER!

i. Call pass-interference somewhat close in the postseason to the way you do it in the regular season, zebras.

Seemed about as scattershot as usual to me.

j. The clock management this weekend was amateurish. (See Goat of the Week, above.) The Niners spent two timeouts in the first half of the first quarter and two in the first half of the third quarter. That is just nonsensical.

It’s also the easiest thing to criticize about coaching so naturally PK is all over it.

3. I think I don’t care one bit who Aaron Rodgers—or any player, coach, fan or writer—has sex with. Nor should anyone. If a player chooses to discuss, it’s his business. If not, leave it alone, world.

Fair enough. But don’t tell me for a second that you haven’t memorized Brett Favre’s entire sexual history.

6. I think as redemptive as this season was for Riley Cooper

Fuck you.

his third-quarter drop on a wide-open crossing route on third down was the biggest negative play of the game for Philadelphia. The Eagles trailed 13-7 when it happened—Cooper could have raced for at least 20 yards on the play—and the Saints, on the change of possession, drove for a touchdown to make it 20-7. Though the Eagles came back, that was one possession, in retrospect, where Philadelphia gave away points.

Even if it’s buried 10,000 words into the column, at least PK actually addressed it. Now just wait for Peter to lead a spring column decrying reverse racism when Cooper doesn’t get a $30 million deal from Philly.

And, yes, even after the drop, sportswriters are still writing Riley Cooper redemption stories.

7. I think, as I said on NBC’s Football Night in America pregame show Saturday, there is no momentum in league circles to re-seed the playoffs the way the league should, which is to base the seeds on the regular-season record. But too many owners think winning a division title should not only be a pass into the playoffs, but should also carry with it the right to host a playoff game. There is, however, momentum to add a seventh playoff team to each conference. My guess is the added playoff team happens by 2015 or ’16. I hate it.

But?

But no one asked me.

Nor should they ever.

8. I think I’ll have a mini-MMQB on Tuesday this week, because of the voluminous news week.

And you’ll get a great big NO THANK YOU from me.

Then there’s this.

JEF

JEF2

JEF3

Millions. He makes millions.

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

Fuck me, I don’t give a shit.

a. I never met Jerry Coleman, the legendary ex-Yankee and San Diego Padres broadcaster. I wish I had. Coleman died Sunday and leaves a tremendous void in the San Diego sports scene.

I hope Andrew Luck can forget that death and put it behind him along with the rest of human history.

c. One of the cool things about working at NBC over the last eight years has been the chance to work in and around the Saturday Night Live set at Rockefeller Center.

Oh good, I was afraid you didn’t have enough people to namedrop.

The first few years our set was the old Jeopardy studio, which was fun to me because that was my favorite game show as a kid (the Art Fleming version). Once, in my dressing room prepping for a Saturday Notre Dame halftime segment, I stepped on a Taylor Swift red dress and got a big footprint on it. I don’t believe I was supposed to do that. I was aghast. Guess that’s why they have quickie dry cleaners. This year, that studio was under construction, and so we moved over to the SNL studio for a year, a crack carpentry crew transitioning the set many weekends from Justin Timberlake to Dan Patrick in a matter of hours. Wild-card Saturday was Football Night in America‘s last day on the SNL set, and—I don’t get this way too often—I had to take a few photos to commemorate the occasion. I often wrote a few chunks of this column on an applebox under a Miley Cyrus photo.

2 KEWL!!! Was she twerking? I bet she was! Lolz twerking.

Anyway, how excited were you to be in the presence of an image of a famous person? UBER EXCITED? The unwashed masses never get to see pictures of celebrities.

d. My sincere thanks to Dave Goren of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, and all the NSSA voters, who voted me sportswriter of the year for 2013. I’m humbled and so appreciative. Thank you.

apesdawn

e. Baseball writers have a tough job with this Hall of Fame voting, tougher than we have it in football. Do not envy them one bit, trying to decide if Bonds and Clemens belong.

PK saying he doesn’t envy baseball writers might be the biggest bullshit he’s ever written.

f. Coffeenerdness: No Tom Curran/coconut coffee tales for you this week, unfortunately, but I am looking for help in this regard for coffeephiles: I need a recommendation on how to clean a veteran Krups coffeemaker that hasn’t been cleaned in over a year. Baking powder and hot water, run through a normal cycle?

1. Dip the Krups in carbolic acid.
2. Dip your face in carbolic acid.
3. Fire the acid into the sun.
4. Respect the sun.

g. Beernerdness: Lucky enough to try Alaskan Brewing Company’s ESB—Extra Special Bitter—on New Year’s Eve, and it was terrific. I like a hoppy, bitter beer, and this was a perfect one. Will be on the lookout for it on future Seattle trips.

Yeah, yeah, beer later. Follow my Krups instructions first.

h. Found out how to make Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio laugh uproariously Saturday.

Knowing Floors and Rodney, shocked that isn’t a video of infants being shot in the face. But a three-year-old viral video with a 150 million views would have been my next guess.

The Adieu Haiku

Harbaugh kissed writers.
Gadzooks. I doubt Tom Coughlin
ever kissed Vito.

“PEYTON WON’T KISS MEEEEEEEEEEE
I WEAR HIS FAVORITE CHAPS
I STILL GET NOTHING”