Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Nov 2005

MMQB: Arbitrator Could Cause Chaos

What happens if an arbitrator sides with Terrell Owens and rules that T.O. can't be deactivated for the rest of the season? Peter King envisions a future where players can become free agents in the middle of the season just for acting like jerks. I don't buy it. I think this mess in Philadelphia is a once-in-a-lifetime situation, not a harbinger. More interesting to me is whether T.O. could play for another team this year. Jerk or not, if he goes through waivers, wouldn't you want him on your team? I would.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 14 Nov 2005

79 comments, Last at 16 Nov 2005, 11:09pm by Ryan


by Art (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 12:17pm

I think it's safe to say if TO went to Denver or San Diego, they'd be the team that everyone would think would stop Peyton Manning this year from winning that elusive Super Bowl.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 12:22pm

Feeling a little wide receiver envy, MDS? Can't say I'm suprised.
Also, where are the Falcons fans to complain that Peter King has the San Deigo, Dallas and New England above Atlanta? Maybe subjective rankings arn't that great.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 12:22pm

From his post:

"Owens signed his seven-year, $48.6 million contract last year and the deal was basically two contracts -- the first for two years and $12.4 million, the second for five years and $36.2 million. The second part would have been activated by the March 2006 bonus, but that's moot now. I would argue that this situation was set to explode the day Owens signed the contract. Here's why: The Eagles should have known that Owens, a highly competitive man, would be pissed if he had a great year and found himself trapped in this contract. The deal was almost TOO good. His teammate Jevon Kearse was due to make $19.4 million in the first two years of his deal. Owens surely was going to lift this team higher than Kearse was. And look at the other receiver deals signed within a year of Owens' and how much they yield in the first two years: Marvin Harrison,$15.3 million, Laveranues Coles $14.1 million, Muhsin Muhammad, $13.6 million, Peerless Price, $12.6 million. With a dingbat like Owens, the Eagles should have known this contract would piss him off mightily."

Which is what I wrote some time ago and was roundly booed off the stage.

I would also point out that when Owens was signed King wrote a glowing comment about how cleverly the contract had been structured. I tried to find in the S.I. archives but without success. But I distinctly recall King declaring his admiration for how the Eagles could sign Owens and then if things didn't work cut him with no long-term financial pain.

I have never excused Owens behavior. All I am trying to do is UNDERSTAND the WHY.

And I also think the Eagles getting a free pass is undeserved.

I will now excuse myself and let others label me as they see fit.

by Ned Macey :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 12:42pm

Our stat of the week is one of the worst things I have ever seen. You can't count each Patriots' possible safety to inflate the numbers. They have lost 8 from Poole, 6 from Harrison, and 4 from Seymour. (Oddly, he then doesn't count Randall Gay starting over Poole at corner).

Counting Bruschi is also bogus since he was not supposed to play the entire season. The Colts, for instance, lost Josh Williams to a hernia in pre-season which led to their signing Corey Simon, the same way that losing Bruschi led to the Brown and Beisel signings.

Further, if you look at the planned starters the Pats lost: Seymour, Harrison, Poole, and Bruschi only Seymour is under 32. For the Colts, the only contributor on their defense over 30 is Nick Harper. Older players are more likely to get hurt than younger players.

That being said, the Patriots overall have been ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball. The point is only that this was a really stupid stat.

by Just Another Falcons Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 12:49pm

Where am I? Trying to figure out just how badly the Falcons played in a game I didn't get to see. (BTW, if AGS could answer that question, fine by me.)

I can't argue with ranking New England ahead of the Falcons either, just based on head to head results. San Diego probably is better than the Falcons at this point in time as well. I'll reserve judgement on Dallas, as my gut still feels that the NFC East is currently overrated.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 12:50pm

#3: Label you anyway I want? How about a martyr?

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 12:59pm

I'm not sure the Cincinnati Loyalty Clauses make the most affecting possible hypothetical for PK's scenario.

by Matt Weiner (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:00pm

You can’t count each Patriots’ possible safety to inflate the numbers

I'm not sure this doesn't make sense--if the projected starter and the projected backup both miss a game, you're down to #3 on the depth chart, which might have more of an impact than just playing the backup. (Point taken about Bruschi and Williams, though.)

by Chance (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:04pm

Denver isn't interested in Terrell Owens. Under any circumstances, whether or not he'll agree to a contract that is loaded with behavior clauses. I'm not sure why this hasn't been picked up by the national media (or maybe it has, and I just haven't seen it), but Shanahan has been quite explicit with local media that "Life is too short" (his words) to deal with the kind of crap somebody like TO is going to bring to a team.

For somebody who speaks in cliches and constantly masks his true feelings with neutral language that leaves the future open to any action, he is being uncharacteristically direct about this. I think he's serious.

by Sammy3469 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:09pm

#3...it has to do with his ego. More importantly it goes back to the Super Bowl where he thinks he put his career on the line for the Eagles and never adequately got the credit (I'm not arguing the merits of this comment, but just saying what TO thinks). More than anything, I think he's sick of the eagles minimizing his contributions (especially when hurt) while McNabb gets deified for playing hurt.

by wrmjr (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:21pm

I'm with King that T.O. is much more likely to end up at Dallas than Denver. Parcells has no problem taking on head cases. The problem is I just don't see Bledsoe as a good QB match for Owens. I can't see him at Oakland because I can't see him and Moss together. So are there any other teams you could see taking on T.O.?

by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:30pm

Unsupported Anecdotal Claim of the Week: "Josh Miller's really good. Who's better at dropping punts out of the sky to the 4-yard line?" Well, let's see: eight punters have a better percentage of punts inside the twenty, and five of those (Berger, Smith, Harris, Feagles, and Stanley) have fewer TBs/lower TB percentage.

Oh, you're just talking about yesterday? Well, Miller had two opportunities to "drop one out of the sky". One punt from the MIA 36 was downed at the MIA 3. Excellent. One punt from the MIA 45 was fair caught at the MIA 15. Not so great.

I haven't checked every punter, but by contrast, Chris Gardocki (not a top-rated punter by any measure) had two punts yesterday, one from the PGH 45 (downed at the CLE 1) and one from the CLE 39 (downed at the CLE 6), both of which were almost standing still when they were downed. So on a single-game basis, Gardocki did better than Miller at "dropping punts out of the sky".

by Stagger Lee (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:30pm

Herm Edwards would take T.O. --he has dealt with Josh Evans, John Abraham, and he is willing to take on T.O. --especially to get a receiver over 6'... but the salary cap may prohibit it.
And what better way to punish T.O. ! Make him a Jet!

by Sergio (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:43pm

Re: 12

PGH 45? What happened to PIT 45?

Did I miss something?

by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:44pm

#9: And of course Shanahan is the GM as well so if he doesn't want the hassle he doesn't have to see it.

by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:46pm

I think one of the most ridiculous things in the "fictional column" was that he had Dallas going 10-0. Led (presumably) by Drew Beldsoe. In the NFC East. Next year. I like Dallas this year, but anyone else think that's unlikely?

I watch all the Patriots games and I can say that, regardless of what happened yesterday (and he did have a decent day), he does seem to have something special. The majority of punters you watch, when the ball lands, it takes a wildly unpredictable bounce--sometimes out of boudns, sometimes upfield, sometimes into the endzone for a touchback. Miller's either seem to die completely or bounce upfield (away from the endzone) slightly, and he seems to be able to control it most of the time. I've thought it uncanny. In any case, if you watch the Patriots a lot (as I assume King does), any punter is going to look amazing after several years of Ken Falter--I mean Walter.

by Russell Levine :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:47pm

Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't PK missing the entire point of the case before the arbitrator? The Eagles have suspended TO four games, without pay, for conduct detrimental and have said they will deactivate him the rest of the season, meaning he'll still get paid for those games.

As I understand it, the case before the arbitrator has to do with whether the Eagles have the right to suspend him without pay for four games for his documented offenses. But either way, doesn't seem like anyone (other than Jesse Jackson) is questioning whether the team has the right to deactivate him (and pay him) each week. So even if the arbitrator comes back and says the punishment's too harsh for the crime, all it does for TO is earn him a couple extra game checks.

None of this has anything to do with him becoming an immediate free agent.

by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:49pm


You just gave me a better idea. You know how King is saying he's afraid the arbitrator will set a precedent of letting players get out of their contract just by behaving badly? What if they counter that by saying that any player can get out of their contracts but they have to go play for Arizona?

Actually, that's a question. If the arbitrator rules in TO's favor, is he a free agent, or does he have to clear waivers? In other words, can he seek any contract with anyone he wants, or does every team get a crack at him, in reverse order of their standings? That might be a more acceptable alternative, because then a player couldn't just act up to get out of a contract, or he would face the prospect of going to a lousy team.

by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:50pm

OK, I know this isn't football related, but neither is half of MMQB's 10(+) Things I Think I Think.

"I watched an episode of Nip/Tuck the other day. The nicest thing I can say is that, for a straight cable channel, it was disturbingly vile. My first thought: How on God's green earth can this show be on cable TV and not on, at least, a pay-cable tier? Is anyone at the FCC watching a cable show that has graphic sex scenes?"

Sorry, Peter, but the FCC only has jurisdiction on over-the-air broadcasts. The Disney Channel could show just about anything, not including kiddie pr0n or certain forms of bestiality, and the FCC couldn't do a thing about it. Granted, certain parents might get a wee bit upset by this type of material on a childrens' network. It's the free market, not the FCC, that enforces censorship on cable stations.

by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:54pm

Why the F*** did the Bears ever let Gardocki go? He's always been a stud, and underrated at that.

by Alan P (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:55pm

Russell: I believe there is a second part to the TO grievance hearing. By deactivating him after the suspension they are, according to TO, intentionally preventing him from achieving incentives that would have earned him additional money. He is claiming this is additional "punishment" and as a result wants his contract voided immediately.

I seriously doubt the arbitrator will take that step - but you never know ...

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:57pm

Can people tell me what they get from Peter King's MMQB? I need help.

Out of habit over the least X years, I've gone to CNNSI's site at the beginning of the week during football season to read King's column, but over the last three years I have not been getting much from it. For an "insider," there is a lack of insider information. Clearly, he doesn't have the chops to be an analyst. I don't think his opinions are that profound, enlightening, or articulated very well. So what's left? Brett Favre, Mary Beth, speculation, orderings, and the 96 things he thinks he thinks.

That stated, I would really like to hear what other people get out of him, because I have the feeling that I'm either missing the point or his columns, have set my standards too high, or need to admit that I'm wasting my time.

by Art (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:02pm

Re 17:

TO filed to be a free agent, so if the arbitrator is on TO's side, he could technically play for another team this season.

That's the best case scenario for him, what's likely to happen though is that the arbitrator will agree that the penalty was too harsh, but will cut the suspension without pay down to 1-2 games, so TO will still make close to what he would have made by playing, but he'll remain deactivated.

by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:03pm

Stagger Jet: you may be on to something: Herm Edwards could take on T.O..... if he's coaching KC next year.

by doktarr (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:03pm

you've got to hand to the second coach in two weeks who said: I've got a better chance to win this game with one play from 1 yard out than I do putting this game into the hands of an official's coin flip at the start of overtime.

Well put. Now, when commentators say this sort of thing after somebody gets stuffed... then I'll know we're getting somewhere.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:04pm

Re: Owens, Denver, Mortensen

I flipped to SportsCenter halfway through the "T.O. to Denver" analysis, and I was very disappointed in the piece. Thinking back on it now, I can't recall a concrete reason why T.O. wouldn't end up in any of the last 10 places on the list. For the Raiders and Cowboys, it came down to self-admitted hunches. Wasn't the Denver conclusion no more than a hunch? At that point, aren't you doing a greater disservice to the viewer by elevating the Denver possibility than groups then more probable options? If the point was to segregate one team, a better way of presenting that would have been as Inside the NFL did, in a piece that clearly was one person giving one person's opinion.

To repeat the caveat, I flipped to the piece after it had started.

by MadPenguin (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:15pm

The steelers would never take johnson. Thats crazy.

Gar.. need more team players less me players..

by doktarr (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:16pm

17, 23,

I suppose it's possible that the arbitrator will rule TO a free agent, but the chances seem vanishingly small. The most likely consequence is probably the game checks. Which won't create much motivation for future players to go nuts.


How are the Eagles getting off the hook? They're losing their best offensive player.

I don't see their actions as reprehensible, I see them as sensible. They signed a risky player to a contract that made it easy for them to cut and run if things turned sour. And now they have turned sour, so they are cutting and running. I don't feel SORRY for the Eagles, but I don't see anything malicious or illogical in their actions.

Now, that leaves the argument that this semi-lowball contract actually caused the problems. That's possible, I suppose. But it's not for sure - it doesn't explain a whole lot of these overreported incidents. And more to the point, signing TO to a fat contract does not guarantee he won't still act like a jerk. What it does do, is make it harder to get rid of him.

by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:17pm

Expected more from the Miami run game? You'd think Nick Saban might mix in a run play just once when trying to come back. But for the second straight week he forgot Brown and put the game all on Frerotten.

by Bad Doctor (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:20pm

I was just looking for some articles re: the arbitration ... the ABCNews one linked on my name is pretty informative. Before reviewing these articles, I was in agreement with PK and feared that a ruling for Owens in this hearing would effectively allow players to make themselves free agents by committing this sort of "off-field sabotage," for want of a better term. However, it seems like the NFLPA is only asking that a player be given a second chance rather than deactivated and told to get lost. Now, from the articles I reviewed, this would seem to mean that the Eagles could bring back TO, tell him he is only going to practice as a wedgebreaker on special teams and probably be inactived on gameday, and they would be giving him his "second chance." If TO then balked at his new assignment, the Eagles would have reason to suspend him again, and, one imagines, if this happened enough times, then the team could institute the permanent deactivation/paid suspension treatment that the Eagles are trying to institute right now.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:23pm

#18, Owens would be subject to the waivers process in the unlikely scenario Philly releases him, and he would be scooped up quickly in a defensive maneuver. I would expect Oakland to grab him if he lasts that long.

by Bad Doctor (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:26pm

Former MHS shortstop Kaitlin Giannetti, who has a Jeter glove and Ichiro speed, just finished a great junior year for the Johns Hopkins women's soccer team

Geez, if only her parents would have gotten a fielding coach to work with her extensively, she could've gotten a softball scholarship! :)

by Jay B. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:37pm

This may be my only hockey factoid of the year, so bear with me. The NHL deserves a mention in this column from time to time, doesn't it?


by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:48pm

Owens to Cleveland!

Crennel at least seemed interested.


Crennel was asked if Terrell Owens, Philadelphia's loud-mouthed wide receiver suspended indefinitely be the Eagles, could play for him. "I think Terrell Owens can play for a lot of people, and he has shown he can play for a lot of people. But I'm not going to answer that." Would Crennel take on a player with so much baggage? "You have to look at your team and decide the state of your team and the state of your locker room and decide what impact that player will have on your team," he said.

by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:01pm

Re #22: His biggest problem is the schtick has gotten old. It's the same thing as TMQ. They've been writing the same columns for years. When they first started (or when you first found them) they were interesting. But then when you read the exact same column for the 30th time or whatever, you realize how stale it is.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:11pm

Andrew (#34 )--

That's intriguing. Crennel might be a coach who could actually keep T.O. both motivated and out of trouble. (Of course, a lot of people thought that about Reid, too, people like me.)

But Owens wants to play for a winner, and Cleveland is not on the short list for that, even if we assume they sign him without breaking the bank. They need more pieces than just Owens.

And can you just imagine how he'd rip into a polite, hard-working, but not overly talented quarterback like Dilfer? It's not like Cleveland is going to be able to acquire Brett Favre or Peyton Manning in the off-season, either.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:15pm

Well, it's certainly getting easier to read PK these days. I just skip past the stuff I think is dumb or ridiculous ...

Gee, the Devils play a lot of games in their own time zone. It's almost like more than half of the teams in the league are on Eastern time. (Now, if he were wondering why they play almost exclusively within their conference, that might have been different.) I guess I don't know why I was expecting him to show better knowledge about hockey than he apparently has about football ...

I can't even comment on the rest.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:31pm

Re: #37

Sounds like your experience with the column is the same as mine. Today, once I read the first couple of sentences of the italicize hypotethical column, I was able to skip to the rankings. Once I skimmed the rankings and saw that there didn't seem to be anything unexpected.

When I got to the awards and saw Joey Harrington as Offensive Player of the Week, the alarms started going off. Now that I think about it, maybe Harrington could be the offensive player of the week. I just didn't have much faith in the logic that would justify the selection. So, at this point, I came here with the question I posed at #22.

Re: #35

That makes sense to me, and it seems like a good way of thinking about it. In a way, Aaron's work has stepped up and taken the place of King, giving me that Monday fix to summarize and confirm my Sunday. It's too bad King hasn't been able to progress, because it does seem, now that you mention it, as if he is the same writer with the same material as the person I found how ever many years ago.

It really makes me appreciate somebody like Peter Gammons (to go off-sport) who has continuously evolved, and as his sport has evolved has changed with it and told the tail. Not everybody can be Gammons, I suppose.

Maybe the football establishment provides unintentional confirmation to those analysts/columnists who are able to espouse the tied-and-true with a naive vigor which can make the same story repeated throughout time seem shiny and new, with the infancy of football analytics shedding light on the shortcomings of this approach, and the Peter Kings to serve as stone bowl relics.

This is all making me very sad.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:35pm

Ya gotta love PK. He promises to point out three things about the TO situation and procedes to give you points a, b, c, and d. Exceeding expectations yet again!

by Cinnamon Rolls (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:35pm

Re #26: You didn't miss anything for that Sportscenter piece where they "analyzed" why TO wouldn't go to the other 20 teams. Mortensen basically went through each team and said "nope" before he got down to the finalists. I think the main motivation for that piece was that someone from the graphics department came up with that space invaders shtick. Of course, this is the same show that features fake baseball GM news conferences.
/end sportscenter rant

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:40pm

Well, it’s certainly getting easier to read PK these days. I just skip past the stuff I think is dumb or ridiculous …

that would leave two commas and a "the"

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:44pm

Richard (22, 37): Well said.

Maybe I'm too late to the party, but I've never seen him as anything but a written chronicle -- and not all that well written -- of conventional wisdom. Sort of the analytical level of Jacked Up, larded up with a lot of junk about his kid.

Maybe he was once more than he was. That would at least explain how he continues to get work.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:46pm

Freak, I , for one, never disputed that the Eagles bore responsibility for hiring an idiot. There were some in this forum who disputed Owens' idiocy, but given that even if the arbitrator forces the Eagles to waive him (possible, but it would have the possible effect of creating a grievance procedure whenever a player with contract incentives was deactivated), there is no way Owens' leverage to obtain more guaranteed money will not be substantially lessened than if he had kept his mouth shut and endured eight more games of injury risk. If the arbitrator does not completely agree with Owens, then his leverage will be tiny.

Owens is not going to get a lot of guaranteed money next year, as anybody who is willing to take him on is going to go to substantial lengths to protect themselves. Owens is a dunce, period, and the Eagles bear responsibility for hiring a dunce.

When hiring very stupid people, it is a mistake to ever think that if you had engaged in action x, as opposed to action y, the outcome would certainly have been improved, because the reality is that a very stupid employee can foul things up in a myriad of unanticipated ways. The employee wouldn't be stupid if this were not the case. Thus, the most sound general policy is to not hire very stupid employees in the first place, or when the very stupid employee's other talents make him too hard to ignore, to structure the hire in such a manner as to make severance as manageable as possible.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:50pm

Re: #40

I was really taken back by the fake news conference thing, but I wasn't at all surprised abotu Space Invaders - Helmet Assault. A fake news conference is a much more absurd idea than a low-budg video game parody.

I wish SportsCenter would be produced more like a nightly news program. Or maybe they could format it like Jim Lehrer's show, where the first quarter of the time is a matter-of-fact rundown of the day's main stories, followed by three segments devoted to analysis or features. I think more viewers would have preferred Chris Mortensen talking to one of the anchors about the nuance of each team's situation and the possibility of T.O.

by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:56pm

Unsupported Anecdotal Claim of the Week: “Josh Miller’s really good. Who’s better at dropping punts out of the sky to the 4-yard line?

I've gotta at least partially defend PK on this one. In the first three games of the year, Miller had three punts from lob-wedge territory (around midfield or closer), and he produced a 48-yarder downed at the 4, a 49-yarder downed at the four, and a 43-yarder downed at the 6. Fortuitously for Miller's image in the national media, all three punts were on national TV with no other NFL games on at the time.

So maybe anecdotal, but not unsupported. Or at least not unsupportable.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 3:58pm

Ya' know. Dr. Z is a lot older than King, and his work is more interesting, because he is an inherently more interesting guy, and , more importantly, Z actually watches a lot more games, and understands the game better to begin with.

Wotta concept! A football writer who understands the physical requirements of the various positions, even the offensive line, and who watches a ton of games, and even charts them, in an attempt to actually understand what has he has just watched! Who'da' thunk it!

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 4:02pm

To be fair, if it weren't for MMQB, I'd know virtually nothing about the world of Essex County High School Girls' Field Hockey or Softball.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

by KRB (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 4:05pm

Don't know when that Crennel quote was taken, but if it was after last night's game, it would make sense. How many passes can Dennis Northcutt drop in one game?

On a side note, PK really mailed it in this week. Normally I roll my eyes at about half his column and find the other half decent. A lot more eye rolling this week than usual...

by pcs (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 4:15pm

King musta learned something from the FO experience. The Team-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named moved up from No. 11 to No. 10 this week despite the loss.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 4:16pm

It was generous of King to note Joey (Much Maligned) Harrington's success this weekend. I doubt it was the most impressive offensive performance of the week, but I also think nobody deserved it more.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 4:18pm

Re #1: I think it's safe to say that TO isn't going to Denver. First, when SanFran was shopping him, Denver had no interest, and I think they'd have even less now. Second, as David Terrell is demonstrating, it takes a while to see the field in Denver's offense. Third, as DVOA attests, Denver is the third best offense in the entire NFL, and projected to finish the season #1. Why on earth would a team with a top 5 offense risk ruining it by adding such an explosive element? I mean, what do you think the odds are that he winds up in Indy? Same deal- for an offense that's already really really really good, he's more trouble than he's worth. He risks making your offense worse, and doesn't have much chance of making it a lot better. And with as few passes as Plummer throws, Owens would definitely be a distraction in a hurry.

Re #22: Eh, it's a way to kill an afternoon.

Re #31: I seriously doubt Oakland gets Owens. They have a salary cap, too, and no team is going to devote 40% of it to Wide Receivers. Besides, if Moss and Owens complain when they aren't getting the ball enough, and Porter is also a very good receiver, Oakland would be FORCED to throw it 70 times a game just to satisfy its horses.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 4:30pm

Please don't judge the complexity of the Denver offense by David Terrell. He could never learn John Shoop's offense either, so he's hardly an accurate yardstick.

Whatever else TO's shortcomings are, he at least plays the game very well. He would be an interesting option for Denver, although Shanny seems to have said no pretty clearly, especially by his standards.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 4:47pm

Re: 46

Agree with the King/Z comparison, but I wonder if that perspective would be shared by folks who follow the game less closely. Z's stuff has greater depth but may be too detailed for more casual fans. King's stuff is more superficial (and as a result less interesting to hard core fans) but may appeal to the average SI magazine reader.

But I can't imagine even the most casual of fans wouldn't be a bit unnerved by King's description of Chad Johnson as 'so cute'. That's just weird.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 4:56pm

Re: 46

That's a great contrast for this thread, Dr. Z vs. PK, and not just because of their employers. I don't know how many times Dr. Z's has refrained from comment on an issue (or at least qualified his judgement) because he hadn't seen the game. I also don't know how many times I've felt PK's comments on something that happened in a game which he couldn't have seen overreaching and self-incriminating.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 5:09pm

I seriously doubt Oakland gets Owens. They have a salary cap, too, and no team is going to devote 40% of it to Wide Receivers.
I'm only suggesting that Oakland would pick TO up for the remainder of this year, to help them, and just as importantly, to keep the other three teams in the West from landing him. Certainly they have the cap room for his pro-rated salary, and it wouldn't be above Al Davis to put TO, Moss, and Porter in the same lineup. Then they would decline the option after the season, and TO would be a free agent.

by Vern (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 5:24pm

You cannot attack an article that finally calls out the ESPN "troika" for what they are. This bit was priceless:

"g. I can't bear the ESPN Sunday Night crew's nonstop glorification of every player and every team. Please, fellas, isn't ANYONE in the NFL just average?"

by Flux (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 5:56pm

Re: #26... You didn't miss them; there were no concrete reasons in the espn piece about TO. They ruled teams out arbitrarily, never mentioned salary cap issues, and at best threw in a few "TO does/doesn't get along with someone on this team" as reasoning. Not that we expect anything approaching actual "analysis" on espn at this point, but just so you know...

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 6:02pm

Please disregard the second half of post #55. I was discussing a trade scenario I was having in another forum. That ever happen to you? Weird, huh?

Anyway, I still believe the Raiders would put in a claim on TO were he to be released, if he lasted that long.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 6:04pm

Although, I think it's worth pointing out that PK complained about the ESPN "troika" for not being effusive enough with their praise after Bruschi's first snap.

I want to see Vick, Favre, Bruschi and Brady all on the field at the same time and see who they pick out to emphasize. My gut tells me Favre but ESPN's marketing machine says Vick. Although Theismann would probably say Brady deserves the attention (he's so dreamy with a goat).

by mshray (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 6:15pm

My take on the PK/Dr. Z comparison: PK thinks he's a writer, but really he's just a journalist. He's just telling us what he sees, and, since he's quite clearly a creature of habit, he sees a lot of the same stuff repeatedly. Thus we get a lot of repetition. Z actually is a writer. By this I mean he is trying to sink his teeth into the words, suck up the juices, chew on the bones and get to the marrow*. Thus even if both of them offer up weak football analysis, Z's is usually the better read.
(* in the interest of full disclosure, I stole that writing/bone marrow metaphor from someone, but I honestly can't recall to whom it should be attributed)

Specific to this week's column, Hey, it's not Peter's fault. It's the city of Charlotte's fault for not having any coffee joints open late downtown on a Sunday night.

Btw, anyone besides me think that somebody else told King about about Lofa Tatupu? Like Richard I find PK doesn't impress me with his 'inside' info. (Pasquarelli, though, is God)

Mawbrew, yes that bit about Chad Johnson being cute was a bit disturbing. What was King calling him for, a date? And how exactly is Marv Lewis going to feel about King quoting CJ as 'thinking about' a guarantee. If it winds up in this article, isn't it already too late to keep it off of the bulletin board? If Marv tells CJ to keep his trap shut, is King going to print a retraction?

Vern has a good point though. Last night's game was completely unlistenable.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 6:33pm

Re: 56

First, congratulations on being able to read that far in the article.

Second, I do take back 20% of the ill-feelings expressed towards Peter King in light of that comment. When those three started waxing poetic on Doughens, I got very annoyed.

I used to like the Patrick-Theismann team. Well, I used to think they were OK. But since MacGuire came on board, they've both been terrible. MacGuire certainly provides a certain energy to that broadcast, but that energy has brought out the worst in what used to be two decent announcers.

Here's hoping Theismann returns to a decent analyst next year when he is liberated from the Sunday Night broadcast.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 6:55pm

6. I think Dan Henning is the most underrated offensive coordinator in the game right now. Look at the Panthers and tell me you knew they were the fourth highest-scoring offense in football.

At least PK got something right. I've been a huge fan of the Panthers playcalling for the past three years. The Panthers rarely if ever throw short. They run, force the safeties up, and throw intermediate to deep. It's the most basic concept in football and its nice to see a team that lives by that philosophy even when their run game isn't going crazy.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 8:46pm

What did Peter think about Eli Manning this week. I couldn't find any comments about him.

by FastEddy (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 9:07pm

A truly silly column in many ways.

- T.O. signed the contract. He thought it was a good deal at the time. The fact that Kearse got a better one is irrelevant. That's the way it works in business. An arbitrator is unlikely to change much. The contract has a clause about conduct detrimental to the team, and the penalties. Tough luck baybee.

- Dallas to get T.O.? Ludicrous. Which guy will you demote to #3: Terry Glenn (who Bledsoe used to work with in Buffalo), or Meshawn, another head case himself? And the possibility that Parcells will put up with him is also completely insane. It is absolutely mental to even mention the possibility. Typical of these columnists to just throw crap out there to get some controversy going.

- The 2 point convert by TB was an absolute disgrace. I think that everyone agrees that on replay, no matter how slowly you replayed it, you couldn't say if Alstott actually got in. Right? So why in all that's holy did the referee signal a TD? He couldn't possibly have seen a TD in realtime. What the hell is it with referees deciding the outcome of games on pure guesswork?

- Harrington offensive MVP of the week? Like, Shaun Alexander didn't lay down the hammer on St. Louis? Or Chris Simms didn't play a ridiculous game (as did Brunell)? Or Brady finding some fricken way to beat Miami with a totally depleted offense with some brilliant passing? (I am not a Brady superfan, but credit where it's due.) So Harrington did well against Arizona. Wowee! Let the bells ring and the banners fly!

Increasingly I find PK's columns an insult to my intelligence, such as it is.

by Jay B. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 10:09pm

#64, re: the TB 2-pt conversion:

Just speculating here, but I'd assume the refs are supposed to call the game as if the replay rule, rather than calling it "safe" and relying on replay to bail them out in the event of a mistaken call. The way that fumbles/down by contact are called would seem to bear this out.

Thus, the ref must, even if he cannot clearly see the ball, make a judgement on the spot as to whether it broke the plane, just as he does when determining the spot of the ball on any other play where the ball may be obscured. I think his call is easily defensible in this respect; I certainly thought it was a TD in real-time.

As to whether it should have been overturned, I didn't watch as many replays as some here, but I didn't see any "indisputable visual evidence," although if the rule were less strict, I probably would have overturned the call

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 11:24pm

Fast Eddy, I refer you to my post in the Game Discussions thread. Its around 600 I think.

by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 11:47pm

"Which guy will you demote to #3: Terry Glenn (who Bledsoe used to work with in Buffalo"

This was technically true once a season when Bledsoe and Glenn played for New England. Peerless Price played with Bledsoe when Bledose was actually a Buffalo Bill.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 7:53am

The 2 point convert by TB was an absolute disgrace. I think that everyone agrees that on replay, no matter how slowly you replayed it, you couldn’t say if Alstott actually got in. Right? So why in all that’s holy did the referee signal a TD?

As a Seahawks fan living in D.C., my response is: Vinny Testaverde's helmet.

by Fantasy Stooge (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 8:57am

Re: # 13 and # 18:
How ironic is it that, were T.O. to have to clear waivers, that three of the teams that would have a chance at him would be Baltimore (turned down trade), and S.F. and Oakland (burned bridges).

by FastEddy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 10:40am

Jay B, #65: I disagree. I expect the refs to make mistakes when the teams are moving up and down the field, maybe missing holding calls and such. But when you're on the goal line, or in any situation where there's a score, the refs should actually SEE the score being made. So the ref should have seen the ball break the plane to signal a TD, and he couldn't have.

That's why they spend so much effort on watching TDs through the air. One guy watches to see if the receiver's feet are down, one guy watches to see if the receiver had possession, then they confer, etc.

But in this case the ref says, Yeah, I think it might have crossed the plane. 2 points! And it decides the game! Crazy.

Plays that decide games, or that involve scores, should be held to a slightly higher standard. Teams play their guts out and some cross-eyed ref decides the game? Urk.

by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 2:05pm

#60 That 'sucking the marrow' thing sounds like it might be from The Dead Poets Society, though whoever says it in the film (Williams I think) is probably quoting someone else.

I'm not sure why I am writing this. I guess I just want to be in the conversation but cant muster the strength to talk about replay and how it's kinda messed up.

Also, I don't read PK or GE or Dr Z, since you can get all the real info by reading these threads and avoid all the annoying stuff.

by Jay B. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 2:11pm

FastEddy, you're basically saying it's OK for the refs to get the call wrong as long as it favors the defense. If the ball does in fact break the plane, but the ref can't see it, that's no TD (or 2-pt conversion, in this case). Fine, if that's the rule, but I don't see how that's a "higher standard." Why not flip it around? Why not say the try is always good unless the ref can clearly see that the ball does not break the plane? One way favors the offense, the other favors the defense, but both are arbitrary.

I think the ref should use his best judgement at all times, and not rely on replay in case he gets it wrong.

by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 3:31pm

re: #72 and it's predecessors

I agree with your last sentence, and in the case that the linesman's view of the ball (itself) is obscured, I think that the "best judgement" or "most probablistic" standard is far more fair and pragmatic than a "last verifiable spot" standard.

You can think of a litany of outlying but relevant scenarios where the latter standard would be outright scary.

by FastEddy (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 12:25am

#72 & #73: Please. I don't give a hoot (stronger words available on request) whether the D or O wins any particular game. I simply want the refs to ACTUALLY SEE THE SCORE. Next week it may be my favorite team getting screwed. The week after, my fave may get the benefit. I dunno.

Just fricken get it right. How about a rule where YOU MUST NOT CALL A SCORE UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY SEE IT. Simple. If it's a tough one, confer. Just don't go screaming across the field with your arms raised until you actually see the ball cross the plane and the runner in control. They do that for WRs, why not for RBs?

Is this so tough? Again, I seriously don't give a rat's ass about WAS or TB winning, neither is a major favorite team. I just think it's to the NFL's benefit to get it right, as often as possible. And this was a wrong, and indeed stupid, call.

by Jay B. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 2:29pm

FastEddy, I feel like this is beating a dead horse, but I don't understand why you think it's worse to call a score that doesn't happen than to not call a score that does happen.

by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 4:13pm

1)Richard Bloch should not be ruling on NFL cases. Period. We've seen his bias in previous rulings.

2)1. Indianapolis (9-0). See No. 8. Some real Chad Johnson fun might be about to happen prior to next week's landmine game at Cincinnati.

Actually, it's No. 9. King needs a real editor badly.

by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 6:37pm

It's amazing, with how well Peterson has played in Jacksonville, that Indianapolis had the linebacker depth to replace him.

Not to mention Marcus Washington. Indy was never able to keep their best defensive players, because of the money spent on the offense. The only guy they won't let go is Freeney.

g. I can't bear the ESPN Sunday Night crew's nonstop glorification of every player and every team. Please, fellas, isn't ANYONE in the NFL just average?

It took you this long? Every NFL columnist needs to devote one entire column to bashing the Three Stooges, and then be done with it.

by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 10:26pm

RE: 32 & 33


by Ryan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 11:09pm

Anyone else hate having to click "Continue Story" about 5 times to read what's really about 3 pages worth of MMQB stretched thinly between 6 pages of the SAME ADVERTISEMENTS? It's simply annoying. Why can't SI copy the one good thing ESPN did, and add an option for "single page view?"