Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Feb 2007

MMQB: The Greatest Sacrifice

Peter King took a vacation to France, but he didn't take a vacation from Monday Morning Quarterback.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 19 Feb 2007

40 comments, Last at 20 Feb 2007, 10:40am by Paul (London,UK)


by John (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:25am

Claude Monet was the Ripken of his time? Yikes, you don't always need an analogy to football.....

by joel in providence (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:36am

monet? pffft. let's see him turn a double play!

by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:37am

France isn't anymore a smoker-friendly place...
We have a new law which started Feb 1st, all public places are smoking-free, including the restaurants. Bars, pubs and restaurents have to Sept 1st to adjust...
And parisiens are not so friendly... Indeed, I bet he didn't try to take the metro or the RER during rush hour.
Despite the fact we'ra animals in, our transports (metro, bus and train) are in good shape, even if we always complain. I was in NY not so far and I wished the transport system there was even like ours twenty years ago...
And I know, it's a shame Starbucks open in France. But where is my tabac des sports ? And my café du commerce ?

by Lenny (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:53am

From his 10 things (that become 24 when you total them up).

"7. I think I'd like to ask Vegas this one question: You [sic] guys out there still have the Chargers 6-1 to win the Super Bowl? Might want to rethink that one."

Understanding that Peter thinks that the Chargers are in lesser shape now than before with Schott's firing, couldn't a little context have helped here? Like too high, or too low.

Besides, it's probably in Vegas's best interests to hold them at 6-1. They would make the change afterwards to longer shots if they don't think someone can come in and pull a Gruden. At this point, however, changing the odds is premature without considering a new hire.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:05pm

3. The restaurants and bars actually have until 1-janv-2008. In any event, I think it still won't apply to Bar-Tabac - so that fix will still be available.

But I agree, it is a shame that Starbucks has exploded like it has. There were 6 in the Paris area when I moved here 2 years ago, and now, there are at least 35. I work in La Défense, and one opened up less than 50 meters from my building. Ca c'est triste. I didn't move here to get away from the Green Wave, but I always thought of it as a bonus...

About our wonderful system of public transportation in Paris (RATP, RER, TER, Transilien) - compared to anything in the US, it is truly astonishing. It is efficient, dense, rapid, cheap and very reliable. Of course, being parisiens (in the open sense, as I'm certainly not from there originally, though I sport a code postale of 75017 now), we love to complain about it any chance we get. For King"s analysis, it is also very clear that he never rode line 13, at rush hour or not.


by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:06pm

So the three best teams on Indy's schedule are NO, Denver and NE? Well, he's one for three -- which makes him the Ripken of columnists, maybe.

Too bad, San Diego and Baltimore aren't on the Colts' schedule..... oh, wait? They are? OOooops.

The last time a SB champ did not open at home in primetime? Sept. 10, 2001, when Baltimore got bumped by the Giants at Denver's new stadium.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:14pm

Yes, like Peter, when I consider the counterfactual implications of an Allied defeat in Normandy in early June 1944, whether there would be a Super Bowl is a question that springs to mind immediately.

by MDZ (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:23pm


The Colts are scheduled to play at Baltimore and San Diego next year, not that King bothered to mention this. I've linked to every team's opponents next year. Home and visitor is already determined, just not the week each team will play. That said, I don't know if the NFL shies away from opening week divisional games, but an opening game of Titans at Colts would be a great way to start a season.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:24pm

I read it last night before I went to sleep.
Waste of a column. Not much football in it. And I seriously don't need to read about how someone loves France.

by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:24pm

Wow! Someone from France who tries English.
In my lifetime!!

by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:30pm


Will I'm the same. I feel sure the Guys at SHAEF had
professional sports at the front of their minds as well.

FWIW, an Allied failure in N
Normandy in '44 almost certainly wouldn't have lead to a German victory in WWII. Instead, the Iron Curtain would have been the Atlantic coast.

Apropros of nothing, PK in Normandy reminds me of one of my favourite (alleged) historical quotes

During the 1960's De Gaulle demanded the withdrawl of all US troops from France, to which LBJ replied

"even the dead ones?"

I like it.

by Derek (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:34pm

This column is easy to pick apart but, in an effort to keep the conversation somewhat related to football, here is the quote I found most interesting:

"I think, by the way, the one rant that gets so old every year is the one from players about their hatred of the franchise tag. 'They've got to get rid of it,' soon-to-be-franchised defensive end Dwight Freeney of the Colts told me a couple of days after the Super Bowl. 'How can you be a free agent when the team doesn't allow you to ever get to the market?'"

Does anyone think the union will ever actually fight to change this? Since it impacts such a small percentage of players and anyone who gets franchised will be guaranteed a huge one year salary, I doubt it will ever be a priority. Can anybody think of a player that was franchised and never made serious money after that season?

by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:42pm

Re: 7, to be fair, King was probably trying to link his historical musings to the primary purpose of his column. I'm sure the superbowl is not the most important institution in American civilization for Pete.....that would be House.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:52pm

Pretty funny, Led, pretty funny.

Last time I walked the battlefield at Gettysburg, and came to the spot where the First Minnesota made their charge, it occurred to me that had they arrived at the top of the ridge only 10 minutes later, the Vikings likely would have never lost Super Bowl IV in New Orleans.

by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:01pm

I confirm, every public places are concerned, even les PMU.

Sorry Theo.

75011 et je bosse à Nanterre, moi c'est le A que je visais. Les gens sont bien moins civilisés dans le RER que dans le metro, exceptées la 4 et la 13.

by Peter (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:04pm

#3 : Indeed, Parisiens aren't the nicest people in the world. Compared to anywhere else in the country ...

The RER E is fine, as long as there aren't any strikes. :)

#10 : When in Rome .... in France as long as you make an attempt to speak French without just reading out of a phrase book they'll make an attempt to understand you and, if necessary, will try to speak some English. It's all about making an effort.

by Moe (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:13pm

J’évite les bars-tabac en France comme la peste à cause de la fumée. 2008 ne peut pas arriver trop tôt pour moi. Est-ce que vous avez regarde le Super Bowl sur France 2 ? J’avais l’impression que le commentateur a appris le football par Playstation – chaque fois qqn a fait un spin il était très excité – je l’imaginais en train de penser au bouton circule sur la manette.

by Snoop (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:20pm

No mention of Brady's seed fumble.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 1:42pm

#14: Wow, it all makes sense now! Now I know the reason Maine has no team is because of insidious southern machinations and a long grudge!

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:02pm

15 - I can't wait. My wife is currently 8 months pregnant, and she just can't stand practically any resto - bars are out of the question.

For me, I walk from Batignolles and take the RER C, change to ligne 1 at Porte Maillot and get off at Esplanade de La Défense. Quand c'est blindé - c'est dûr. En été, je ne peux presque pas supporter le chaleur. C'est nul. Je cherche toujours les bonnes heures de transit - parfois avant 8h, parfois après 9h45. J'évite ligne 13 en tout cas.

16 - I couldn't agree more - I speak French with everyone, but before I could, I never had the slightest problem, because I remembered the 6 key words. To all Americans (I am one) and everyone else out there, please don't judge Parisiens by the waiters. You have to understand, unlike the US, they make exactly the same amount of money (give or take
perhaps 4 euros a day) whether they grumble, mime, ignore or offer great service. The service in a low to low-mid quality French establishment is astonishingly bad for an American. But, it is NOT because you don't speak French or because you are American. They treat EVERYONE this way. My wife (who is French) and I sat outside waiting 45 minutes just yesterday, waiting just to place an order. Hour-long waits for the check are common. And that's when they LIKE you.

17 - Oui, je l'ai regardé. J'aime bien les commentateurs français de football américain - ils approchent le match comme des enfants, et ils ont ce tel niveau de comprehension des règles. Trop rigolant..

Like Peter King, we, too, can talk about Paris rather than football.


by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:03pm

Yes, Fnor, if there had been less malice directed towards our fellow countrymen, and more charity instead, perhaps Tony Dungy would have lifted the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain trophy a couple of weeks ago!

by pbmax (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:10pm

Re: 12 and PeterKI have bored others to tears with this recollection, so why not play it again: The Union did not strike successfully to obtain Free Agency, their last strike ended prematurely without a significant victory.Upshaw was excoriated for that failure as well as his Plan B for FA(nudge), to decertify the Union and sue to force free agency under anti-trust laws.Despite the criticism, Upshaw prevailed after lengthy court battles.Rarely is this recalled correctly, and Upshaw gets precious little credit for the victory. I am not his biggest supporter and he has overlooked the pension and insurance issues for too long, but the man ought to at least qualify for King to recall the events accurately.

by BigManChili (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:20pm

Re#12: Charles Woodson, with Oakland, is the only one to come to mind.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:42pm

Re: 14 - "...the Vikings likely would have never lost Super Bowl IV in New Orleans."

Okay, I'll bite, where would the Vikings have lost Super Bowl IV?

by cd6 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 2:43pm

"Two, the league is already pissing off Bill Belichick by putting the China game (New England vs. Seattle in Beijing, Aug. 8) halfway around the world in the middle of training camp. The Pats likely won't be fed to the lions (or Colts) in this made-for-Indy game."

I don't understand why a coach would be against the opening night Colts matchup.

1) The Colts, with the strange Offense/Defense combination, are one of the more complicated teams to gameplan for, and if they're your first match then you basically have all of the preseason to get ready for them

2) A Thursday night game gives you 2 extra days to prepare for your week 2 matchup, whoever that is.

3) The Colts, more than anybody, depend on timing and precision: two factors likely to be off the first game of the season. You'd rather face them when they're out of practice than in midseason form.

4) You have to play at the RCA dome at some point eventually, so why not get it over with week 1, when you're likely to be the most healthy.

5) By the same token, Bill Belichick is always pissed off anyway, so who cares what he thinks about the scheduling.

by joel in providence (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:00pm

btw, he also calls Musee D'Orsay a "triple-A museum." Is he kidding? D'Orsay is probably among the top 5 or 10 art museums in the world! it's only small compared to the louvre. but then, every museum is tiny compared to the louvre.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:01pm

7 year's 52 million is not a lot for Woodson who had not played a full season in 2 seasons before that and has taking a step down (mostly due to the injuries)?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:26pm


I think that leaves us statisticians with one big question:

Is recovering a seed fumble a skill, or luck?

by PackerNation (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:42pm

I could never get tired of reading about Normandy, or Iwo Jima, or any of the places that unbelievable sacrifice and bravery took place.

It puts the football thing into perspective.

I visited that same cemetery in 1979 while stationed in Europe. If you can stand there and look at all those crosses, and think about why they're there, and not be moved by it......then there's just something wrong with you.

I understand where Peter King is coming from here.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:48pm

RE: 27

That was a puffed-up contract like the one Arrington got from the Giants. Not a lot of guaranteed money and a lot of money that he'll likely never see.

by Sergio (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:17pm

re: Colts v. who?

Do the Colts face the Chargers and the Ravens in Indy? IIRC, the season opener has been a home game for the defending champ since 2002...

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 4:41pm

#29, I agree wholeheartedly that it is an incredibly moving place. It just never occurred to me to think of the viability of the Super Bowl, absent the victory which was obtained with such sacrifice. It takes a Peter King to come up with that rather, er, unique, shall we say, perspective.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:06pm

RE: 31

no. they're road games for indy.

by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:02pm

"in France as long as you make an attempt to speak French without just reading out of a phrase book they’ll make an attempt to understand you and, if necessary, will try to speak some English. It’s all about making an effort."

The whole reason that we English tried to conquer every single country in the world just by sticking a flag in the ground there and saying "nope, its ours now, bring us some tea" was so that we'd never have to speak foreign languages! :p

by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 8:45pm

Is recovering a seed fumble a skill, or luck?

Regular season or post-season?

by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 10:20pm

Causing a seed fumble is undoubtedly the result of skill and good coaching and deserves to be well-compensated. Recovering a seed fumble is mostly a matter of luck, usually bad.

by Elvis Pea-Cock (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:53am

Hey, at least Brady's not blaming it on breakdowns in his protection, unlike some other QBs we know...

by Moe (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 4:01am

Sean -

If you have access to broadband internet and have a friend / relative in the US that has access to broadband and cable in the you must get yourself a Slingbox. Google it and check it out. A godsend for American sports fans based overseas.

by Mike Carlson (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 10:38am

Just think, if George Washington hadn't surprised the Hessians at Trenton, there would be no Mouth of Monmouth (mon mouth, it's almost French!) writing in Sports Illustrated.

Moi, I've always loved the Paris Metro and liked the RER until last summer...

C'est pas le tele Americain!
That's what the French cop told me as I volunteered to look at mug shots after being pickpocketed in the RER at Gare du Nord last summer: beware the trains to CDG airport and the crowded ones into town after you get off Eurostar, esp when you're carrying all the bags while the wife looks after the baby. And all I had was a small card case in my front pocket, not a big fat wallet in my back.

I searched the guy who pushed me, then when a woman told me the lift had been done by a black guy I chased down the car grabbing black guys pointing and yelling Lui? c'etait lui? But she kept saying no, not him. It was just like Ray Nitschke shedding blockers, see, anyone can get a football reference in!

just think, if the Paris Commune had lasted beyond 1848 there never would have been Les Miserables and I wouldntve been pickpocketed...not necessarily cause and effect....

by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 10:40am

"Good luck, Tiki Barber. The new world will be a more fun one than your old one. In this one, you get paid for telling the truth. As you know, in modern sports, you often get ripped for telling the truth, even when it's as plain as the nose on your face."

Ah yes, Television where truth is sacrosanct and non negotiable.