Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Jan 2006

MMQB: Six Season-Ending Stories

In the first MMQB of 2006, Peter King has more on the Tony Dungy story, some thoughts on Mike Tice's future (yikes), and names Tom Brady his MVP. He's also already looking to this April's draft, mentions Brett Favre (to keep his consecutive "MMQB columns mentioning Brett Favre" streak alive), and gives us his All-Pro team. Oh yeah, apparently Au Bon Pain makes a very nice tuna salad sandwich on whole grain, too.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 02 Jan 2006

50 comments, Last at 04 Jan 2006, 7:21pm by Starshatterer

Comments

1
by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 2:40pm

Regarding King's bit about teams not playing the last 2 games --
Think of it this way, if you are a Colts fan, you would have gotten WAY more than your money's worth in the other games.

2
by Smeghead (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 3:03pm

... yeah, and if you're an Arizona Cardinals fan ... what was that he was saying to Carl Peterson? If you want to get your money's worth, tell your defense to tackle better. (and line to block better, and backs to run harder, and front office to draft better, and ...)

3
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 3:05pm

Who is going to be the first writer to admit they wet the bed with their preseason predictions?

NFC East... upside-down.
Kyle Boller will be playing in the second week of January.
Vikings, Rams and Cowboys in the playoffs? Your faith in the two Mike's is disturbing...
Bodgan is the only one to pick the Bears, and he correctly predicted the Eagles implosion.

On the flip side, your midseason projections were nearly spot on.

How is the game charting project going on? Will the speak again to us?

4
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 3:29pm

Simmons was actually spot on with the Bears this year too. His game picking might be spotty, but the man seems to have a sense of sleeper teams- Bears this year, Vikings last year, Falcons a few year back...

5
by Adam (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 3:53pm

Someone predicted that he'd name Doug Flutie a Special Teams player of the week.

To whoever you were. I say good call.

6
by Aaron Boden (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 3:55pm

Hey, I thought Disco Stu doesn't advertise?

7
by kachunk (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 4:18pm

"c. Pacman Jones. What a baby. What an immature little doofus."

Ok...if you're going to call someone immature, try not to sound like a 6th grader while doing it...

And is it just me or do his columns read like some of Adam's parodies of Joe Theisman? "so then I was giving tony dungy a backrub last week..."

8
by Joseph (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 4:26pm

What a homer!--Logan Mankins for Offensive ROY??!! What about the Cadillac? (BTW, I am a NO Saints fan--the Bucs are NOT a favorite team!)

9
by Stereochemistry (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 4:30pm

RE: 8

Oh come on, it's hard to be a starting G as a rookie in the NFL. Just ask 16 game TB starter Dan Buenning.

10
by Ruben (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 4:32pm

Good call on Pacman Jones. Sure, he's an above-average punt returner, but I think a large part of the criticism against him goes unmentioned: how about that whiff ole non-tackle against (I believe) Oakland back in the middle of the season? Where was the outrage over that?? I think it's a pretty good demonstration of his immaturity and irresponsibility as a Pro, and as a top-10 pick (isn't anyone else incredulous that nfl.com lists Adam Jones as "Packman Jones?").

Antrel Rolle is exponentially better on and off the field (though I think he had an assault charge in college), and would have been a much better pick for the Titans, and the NFL en generale.

11
by Ruben (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 4:35pm

Re: 8 and 9,

I'd say starting G as a rookie is the 2nd easiest line position as a Rook (Center being the first, and where many rookies start). Of the two, I'd say LG is probably the easiest to transition into, even though it's on the QBs blind side; you don't have to push on Off Tackle runs, and the LT is there to pick up much of the slack.

12
by Peter (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 4:43pm

Prisco also backed the Bears.

And I think Banks was the first to admit "I screwed up" on his predictions.

13
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 5:08pm

What has Pacman Jones done to show that he is a baby? Did I miss something? Did he throw a Jim Mora Jr. like tantrum?

How many more *bleeping* articles do we need to see about Brett Farve or the New England Patriots? Dick Vermeil coach of the year? Good job... you blew out a team in a meaningless game.... where was that fire against the Giants?

I haven't heard enough praise heaped on Del Rio, Gibbs, Gruden, Coughlin, Fox, Shanahan, or even Holmgreen.

I think the "surprise" teams this year... especially in the NFC... the coaches all did a great job. Shanahan also did a great job in working with Plummer as well.

Whenever writers talk about the NFL it's more like... "Wow, the teams in the NFC playoffs last year aren't the same as the ones this year... kind've quirky." I'm sure they hate it that Parcells, Vermeil, Schottenheimer aren't in the playoffs.

14
by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 6:06pm

#4,

Simmons picks against the spread, that's why his picks are a bit spottier, I think.

15
by Sam (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 6:06pm

Pacman has gotten into it with his teammates off the field (calling out veterans for things he himself has done, etc.). He also got himself either pulled from the game against the Jaguars on Sunday or Ejected for confronting an official (varying reports). That's just what I know of and I'm not really in the know about TN.

16
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 6:15pm

Re #11: Center is the easiest position to start as a rookie? I'm going to remain highly skeptical until I see some numbers to back that up. Centers make all of the blocking calls, and I'd hardly expect a rookie to be ready to step in right away and making blocking assignments against pro-style blitzes, especially when many rookies have never faced a single zone-blitz in their entire lives.

17
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 6:26pm

I doubt that King watches enough games to make well-informed all-pro choices. Of course, that can be said about roughly 90% of the people paid to write about the NFL.

Also, it'd be interesting to see the rate at which first-round running backs have their careers sent to Bustville due to injury, compared to other first-rounders. It's really a statistical quirk that two of the running backs drafted number one overall died before the age of thirty.

18
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 6:33pm

Also, the fine 15 is an absolute sham. New England and Pittsburgh #2 and 3 respectively? The #4 and #6 AFC Seeds? Ahead of two 13-3 teams? And where the heck is Kansas City? Sure, sure, SD had a brutal schedule, wah wah wah... do you know who in the AFC had a winning record against teams above .500? Indy (5-2), Denver (7-3), and Kansas City (6-4). That's it. Not Pittsburgh (4-4), not New England (3-6), and certainly not SD (5-6).

Yes, you read that right. The #2 team in the NFL has a 3-6 record against teams above .500. Way to go, Peter.

Also, fine 15 member Minnesota was 2-5 against winning teams, with one of those wins a meaningless week 17 win against the Chicago JV. Let's see... worse record, check. Cake schedule, check. Horrible performance against quality teams, check. Sounds like a top-15 ballclub to me.

19
by andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 7:19pm

#5 - That was me. Though we should have known that King wouldn't settle for just one.

20
by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 7:47pm

Not sure this is place for it, but it's active and slightly relevant. King's table of NFC playoff teams for this year and last year (and King isn't alone here) and him tying it to parity doesn't fly well with me.

FOUR of the five teams that made it in 04 and not in 05 had injuries to "skill" positions, some teams had multiple. So when McNabb, Akers, Culpepper, Green, Walker, Bulger and Bruce (not familiar with defensive injuries) miss large chunks of the season, the result is parity? Got it. Glad that is all cleared up.

From another angle, Chicago's defense was known to be good, just not this good... add in the injuries to their division foes and they get more wins. Carolina was in the Super Bowl two years ago, but since they weren't last year, that is more parity in action.

There is always some turnover in the playoffs. This year, especially in the NFC, injuries dictated who would step up.

----
On the other hand, a counter argument can be stated that New England and Belichick really aren't awesome. It's just that the entire NFL sucks and the fact that they continue to win with their injuries proves the point. But most writers that support the Patriots and toss around parity won't dare say that.

21
by MdM (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 8:30pm

Hmmm...well if Montana missed games, would Young have stepped in and did an 'awight job, or would there have been a McNabb to -Mahon dropoff?

Or if Simms got injured, would Hos have done okay, or would the Giants have gone into the tank? Or if Kelly had gotten injured would Reich have thrown 6 interceptions a game?

22
by MdM (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 8:31pm

Peter King is just a bit too preachy for my taste.

23
by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 9:05pm

MdM,
I'm not completely sure what to make of your response. I assume it is countering my stance on injuries and the direct effect on team performance.
The Eagles, Rams, Vikings and Packers each didn't suffer from just one injured player (the Vikes also had to adjust to not having Moss in the lineup). However, I will admit that I'm not familiar with the injuries of the Montana 49ers or Simm's Giants in their successful seasons.

24
by primantis (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 10:25pm

"a. Is any coach more fired than Norv Turner?

b. Other than Mike Tice and Dom Capers, of course. And Mike Martz."

Is this an attempt to be clever? A lot of King's writing is better fit for a high school newspaper than SI.com. I just don't think he cares.

25
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 10:28pm

#23 People seem to remember Moss, but fail to mention Matt Birk. Minny lost him for the year. I don't follow the team closely, but losing such a good center has to be a detriment to the offense.

#21 So your point is that there is more parity now that there is a salary cap that makes it difficult for teams to pay two good quarterbacks, as opposed to when Montana/Young etc. were on the same team. Right?

26
by Sara (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 10:30pm

#14 - I have to remind myself of that as well when he makes some of the more outrageous picks.

27
by Kuato (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 11:12pm

Re: 26

Like Robert Mathis as the DE on his all-pro vote.

How can you vote a situational pass rusher that that does nothing but collect sacks opposite one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL to the all pro team? I'm a Colts fan, but that vote is just stupid.

28
by Kuato (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 11:14pm

Sorry, thought you were talking about King making outrageous picks. However, I stand by my assesment of King's vote.

29
by FastEddy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 11:27pm

Kibbles #18: Not that I'm trying to defend King (who I don't like much) or the Pats (who I don't want to win the Supe yet again, please). But the Pats 3-6 record against winning teams seems to me to be pretty meaningless. They played hurt much of the year.

To me, what is important is how the teams are doing in the stretch. And the Pats just beat TB 28-0 recently. TB isn't the greatest team, but they do have a winning record and are even 4-3 against quality opponents, so that seems significant.

The &^!?* Pats seem to be getting their act together just at the right time. As usual. Damn.

30
by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Mon, 01/02/2006 - 11:43pm

Alexander should be MVP, not Brady. If NE was in ANY other AFC division, they wouldn't have even made the playoffs.

Why does Peter King get an MVP vote but the Indianapolis newspaper does not? The newspaper columnists from each of the 32 cities should get a vote but for some reason not every city gets a vote-- Indy included.

31
by Show (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 12:16am

I hate how everyone is touting NE as a threat to Indy now. As great as Brady is, I just don't think he can keep up with Manning and Co. in the dome. The Pats' secondary is pathetic, I expect Peyton to rip it to pieces. In reality, New England isn't a serious threat to the Colts. They don't match up well at all. But for writers like King who love to slurp Brady, you'd think NE is the team to beat.

Also, putting Pittsburgh @ # 3 is a sham. I think it will be a long time before we see a wild card team winning a Super Bowl, or even making it for that matter. Asking a team to win 3 playoff road games is just too much. Just another example of King playing favorites with teams/players that he's in love with.

32
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 12:24am

Re: #31

Well, the 1985-86 Patriots made it to SBXX by winning three road games (@NYJ, @OAK, @MIA) to get there. Of course, we all know what happened next (*sigh*).

And the 1980-81 Raiders (I believe that was the year) won the Superbowl as a wild card (though they did have at least one home playoff game).

33
by Show (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 12:31am

Re:#32

My point exactly. Hasn't happened in 20 years. It's obviously not impossible, but I wouldn't rank a team that has to attempt it # 3. I realize he has this "Witchita" theory, but Pittsburgh won't be playing on a neutral field anytime soon.

34
by Adam (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 12:40am

To be fair to the Steelers they have won 13 of their last 16 road games including an 11 game streak through all of last year and most of this year.

Granted, that wasn't in a row in the sense that they had no home games in between.....but. They can win on the road.

35
by Ruben (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 1:41am

Kibbles:

Perhaps I did speak too soon and too generally re: Centers being started by rookies. I don't have any "numbers," as I was speaking off-the-cuff. My point, though, about LGs, still stands and has not been disputed. A bit of the logic behind my statement, though:

This website has talked about the relative unimportance of Centers in the league, as it is the lowest-paid of the OL positions, and (with the exception of rather complex plays) is a position wherein the player does not have much of a role other than snapping the ball.

Furthermore, while the Center often does do the finger-pointing of the blocking assignments pre-snap, and sometimes leads the conference in the no-huddles, I would not bet this is the accurate accross-the-board.

Just some thoughts.

36
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 2:39am

Uh, the [redacted] Ravens also were the wild card when they won, they were the 4 seed with the second-best record (behind Tennessee, whose only 3 losses were to Baltimore). That was just a few years ago. And I think the [equally redacted] Broncos in 97 were a wild card as well, behind the division-winning Chiefs.

There may be others as well, although none in the three-year playoff history of 4 divisions so far. It's certainly not something to count on, but it would hardly be the most surprising thing for it to happen again.

37
by Bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 3:09am

RE: 27/28

Kuato, my Indy-fan thoughts exactly. Mathis is not even a DE starter on his own team, how can he be all-pro?

I love him to pieces, but at 235 lbs, if you put him in for 60 snaps per game he'll last about four games.... Freeney makes that D-Line, regardless of a dip in numbers. duh.

Nice to see Sanders there. The man is a cannonball, and he really does seem to change the whole approach of the D when he's in there.

Now, for some other picks: if Shawne Merriman did not have a nationally televised monster game vs the Colts, whould he have made it? I doubt it. FB seems to be leaving Mack Strong and Lorenzo Neal out in the cold. I also think Santana Moss and Jeff Saturday have legit gripes. And after a season of record consistency, Edgerrin James loses out because the team forced him to take 1.5 games off? Probably not, as Alexander had a super season and Barber carried the Giants. It's all about success rate, Mr. King!

38
by kachunk (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 3:49am

RE 37,
Merriman had several other good games. He was quite good against Pittsburgh, as I recall, and I also remember him being very good in the one other SD game I watched, so I don't think that's quite as unwarranted as it may seem.

39
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 4:08am

Re: 21/MdM
I agree 100% with your sentiment.

The Jaguars didn't seem to suffer from bringing in Garrard. Ramsey played well enough that the Redskins could finish off the Giants last week. Brad Johnson filled in admirably. Arizona receivers didn't have a problem racking up 100 catch seasons. Did anyone start calling for Schaub under center? Losman and Holcomb in Buffalo. Griese going down didn't ruin Tampa Bay's season.

Some teams were able to find a decent backup, and kudos to their front offices. The message should be "It's worth it to use a decent draft pick on a QB as insurance down the road." I'm sure there are some 3rd stringers or even NFL Europe players better than McMahon and Koy Detmer.

I liked how Bryson Spinner was throwing for the Redskins this past preseason... why don't we see more Arena League QBs as backups in the NFL?

40
by 60 Seconds (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 6:15am

I'm surprised he has Tillman over Vasher at CB

41
by 60 Seconds (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 6:17am

Oh I also wanted to mention the difference between King's and Simmon's opinions on expanding the playoffs. At first thought I hated it but Simmons makes great points, and when thought about rationally it makes sense to expand it one team.

42
by MainePatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 9:32am

RE: 31, 32, 33

I think this Pats team can advance to the Super Bowl and will meet the Bears in a redux of Super XX. Bears "D" and just enough offense make Bears NFC champs.

43
by Ben (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 7:24pm

When is Santa Fe hosting the Super Bowl?

44
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Tue, 01/03/2006 - 9:34pm

Re: Logan Mankins

I have no idea whether LG is the easiest position for a rookie to start at, but the guy does deserve some credit. After a rough start, he has settled in and has been very good, possibly a top 20 guard in the league over the past 6 weeks.

Also, the two positions around him have had injury problems, so he hasn't been carried by them. The LT has been rotating between the 2nd and 3rd stringers for a few weeks (the #2 is also a rookie, BTW) and the center went on IR to be replaced by a waiver wire guard.

Lastly, why do so many people call King a homer if he says something kind about the Pats? It seems to happen every week, but his site bio references that he was a Giants fan as a kid.

45
by Jeff J. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 2:21am

Not a single Redskins player in his All-Pro team? Not even Moss or Cooley? Maybe my burgundy-colored specs blind me, but I think they deserve some recognition, and I agree with the upthread post that Gibbs deserves some healthy mea culpas after everyone declared him senile after last season.

46
by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 11:53am

What I didn't like, week 17:

1) That Bob Kraft switched Head Coaches six days before the playoffs.

2) That New Patriots Coach Bill Cowher signed Andre Ware to play wide receiver.

3) That Bill Macatee chose to alternate between Vernand MORE-en-cy and Vernand mor-EN-cy all game long, including several times during the same play. I don't know which pronunciation Vernand prefers, but pick one and stay with it.

4) Joe Buck's intermittent turn-and-stare into the camera while bantering with Aikman. Twice as creepy when he's wearing his glasses.

47
by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 1:41pm

3 of King's AP votes went to Patriots (10-6) players:
Brady MVP, Mankins Offensive ROY, Bruschi Comeback.

No votes for any Colts (14-2)...not even for Dungy as Coach of the Year.

That's idiotic!

Did you notice that King was the only AP voter to choose Mankins. When a guy gets 1 vote out of 50, that means it was a stupid vote (see M.Vick 2004-1 MVP vote).

48
by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 3:25pm

Well Scott, Cadillac got 47 votes, with Brown, Mankins, and H Miller each getting one. That must be some extremely stupid voting.

49
by ChicagoScott (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 7:03pm

I think you misunderstood me. The 1 vote for OG Mankins by King was stupid.

His Defensive ROY vote was gutless (Merriman & Tatupu 1/2 vote each). Pick one player & go with it.

50
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Wed, 01/04/2006 - 7:21pm

I think it was a nice gesture to vote for a lineman as RoY, but Mankins probably wasn't it.

Was he even the offensive rookie of the year, among the northeast teams (+Green Bay) King prefers to cover?