Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Jun 2012

MMQB: Goodell Off The Grid

In this week's MMQB, Peter King travels to Arthur Blank's resort in Montana and talks to Roger Goodell about fun topics like the NFL's role in helping players adjusting to life after their playing days and head trauma. PK also talks to one of the former players in the consolidated concussion litigation, Rich Miano, and gives his annual Father's Day book recommendations.

Posted by: Tom Gower on 11 Jun 2012

107 comments, Last at 19 Jun 2012, 8:15pm by LionInAZ


by akn :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:51am

ESPN 1000 (Chicago) announced last Friday that Cutler was getting a weekly radio show this season.

Cutler is NOT a likable guy, and he comes of terribly during interviews. This show is going to be a disaster. For him, that is. Local Chicago sportswriters will love this--they will always have good material, and Cutler gave them a little sneak preview already.

I don't disagree with what Cutler said, but it's pretty much an unwritten rule to never say anything of substance about a teammate's contract negotiation. Nothing good ever comes of it.

by Insancipitory :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 6:36am

It might be tactless, and an unwritten rule, but I doubt it influences Forte's leverage (which is considerable given the proportion of the Bears offense that goes through him). If the Bears don't have a psychologist or psychiatrist advising them in major negotiations like this, I'd be a little surprised, and presume that it points to a lack of leadership and professionalism in their organization/ownership.

But then they haven't really demonstrated the same level of commitment to Forte that he's demonstrated to them, so maybe Forte being a dedicated, consumate professional, who loves what he does is a surprise to the organization. And if the Bears are run by bumbling clowns, it's already evident they're not the kind of clowns who'd overpay, so the harm that Cutler might have inflicted is limited.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 9:33am

"I doubt it influences Forte's leverage (which is considerable given the proportion of the Bears offense that goes through him)."

The only leverage Forte has comes from his willingness to sit out. If he's not willing to sit out, he has zero leverage, regardless of how much the offense goes through him.

by Insancipitory :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 4:57pm

To my mind, the production is the leverage, the sitting out is using it. But that's a pretty fine splitting of hairs on my part.

by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 9:00am

I think Cutler is a likeable guy because he comes off terribly in interviews. He just seems to say what he actually thinks, rather than the boring nonsense that most players come out with. And then you can usually hear at the end of a sentence him thinking "I shouldn't really have said that should I?"

by rageon :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 10:02am

Exactly. There are very few players who actually say what they think, and he's one of them.

(As Will noted below, I also assumed "playoffs" was an auto-correct gone wrong for "plaintiffs.")

by FrontRunningPhinsFan :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:04pm

Count me as another who thinks he's awesome for this as well.

Fire Jeff Ireland.

by akn :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 3:22pm

Is Ozzie Guillen a likable guy?

by Theo :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 5:02pm

I like him better than some politically correct people who pretend we live in disney world.

by Independent George :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 4:52pm

Given his long record of Anti-Chavez sentiments, I actually believe him when he says he misspoke regarding Castro.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 06/19/2012 - 7:49pm

To me, "I shouldn't really have said that" translates to either "I'm clueless", or "I don't really give a damn about what my teammates think".

by tuluse :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 12:35pm

The main problem with Cutler's interviews that I can see is that he dislikes reporters and actively antagonizes them.

I find it odd that he even agreed to do a radio show, he's never given the impression that he cared much for how he was perceived outside of the locker room.

by Marko :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 2:12pm

The criticism of Cutler for his comments about Forte is overblown. He is just stating the obvious.

Moreover, other Bears players have said basically the same thing about Forte. For example, see this story from about two months ago: http://www.csnchicago.com/04/10/12/Urlacher-Forte-will-be-there-when-he-.... Brian Urlacher said, "'Matt takes care of himself, knows the offense, is a smart guy, he’s always in shape. He’ll be at training camp when he needs to be. Either way – whether he’s under contract or he’s franchised – he’ll be there. I’m glad we’ve got him back.'"

I agree that it's not a good idea to say anything of substance about another player's contract negotiation, but it's not as if Cutler (or Urlacher) said something like, "A fair deal would be a contract for X years and $Y million, with $Z million guaranteed."

by Will Allen :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 8:38am

Should "former playoffs" be "former plaintiffs", perhaps?

by Tom Gower :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 12:47pm

Typos fixed.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 8:43am

We really need a caption-bubble contest for the picture of Ol' Kingey and the horse.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 12:35pm

"I thought I was supposed to sit on my ass, not the other way around."

by Will Allen :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:14pm

King: "HA! I screwed a 10 year old out of this horsey ride! My life is GREAT!!"

Horse: "Give me a keyboard, and two fingers instead of 4 hooves, and I'd prove the saddle should be on the fat bastard above me!"

by MCS :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 11:14am

Someone commented once that Cutler may have a minor form of some sort of Autism. That is what affects his ability to communicate.

Does anyone remember that?

by akn :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 3:23pm

Don't remember such a comment, but of course it's perfectly valid to diagnose mental disability based on media interview transcripts.

by rfh1001 :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 11:47am

Cricket. Game of Thrones.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 3:56pm

To be fair, Peter King brought up cricket and Hodor brought up Game of Thrones.

by Dean :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 5:45pm

ANd here we go on another boring game of thrones tangent. Where's Chemical Burn? Maybe we can talk politics. That's gotta be more interesting.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 6:58pm

It's fairly painless to scroll past the stuff that you don't like.

by Dean :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 9:01am

True. And I did exactly that the first time the thread got hijacked. And the second. On the third week in a row, I made a comment. I mean, if the books were actually good, I'd understand. After all, this is the internet - that means that what I want to talk about is important and what everyone else wants is irrelevent!

by Jimmy :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 11:32am

I have no idea why 'hodor' appeared in last week's MMQB thread. Cricket was mentioned by PK. The only reason people are taking about it in this thread (beyond two very short comments) is because you moaned about it. This isn't the most appropriate place for these discussions and most people sense that, patience Mr Dean.

by Independent George :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 11:44am

Plus, I'm 99% sure that #9 was an ironic meta-commentary on the aforementioned threadjacking.

by Independent George :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 4:54pm

I rely on GOT to carry me through the NFL offseason, and the NFL to carry me through the GOT offseason. We're unfortunately in one of those overlaps.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 5:32am

It's the ASOIAF offseason I'm finding difficult.

by Independent George :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 9:39am

I dunno, it seems appropriate to me. After all, seasons last years, right?

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 12:32pm

It's the way that the summers are so much shorter than the winters that bugs me.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 12:23pm

London Fletcher has a great point about making player mental health counseling mandatory. Goodell even says "We have a lot of individuals that have tremendous pride and they're not always going to raise their hand and say, 'I may need help.'" Yet Goodell believes it should still be voluntary.

by FrontRunningPhinsFan :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:04pm

I don't think there's any way you could make it anything but voluntary. How would you make it mandatory? These guys are retired they don't have to do anything the league says. If they don't want it, there's nothing the league could force onto them.

Fire Jeff Ireland.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:52pm

Steve, your former employer is demanding you show up for mandatory psychiatric examinations. If you don't like it, tough.

See how that might not go over so well?

by Lance :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 3:16pm

Let's be honest, though: a psychiatric exam for someone who spent 10 years selling cars (for example) doesn't make much sense. But it's hard to deny that football can lead to real problems due to concussions, and being able to monitor that seems like a good idea.

Perhaps tying it to extra retirement/health care benefits would make people more willing to do it?

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 3:44pm

I work for the DoD. Both times I've deployed to the Middle East, I've had to have a psych eval both before and after my deployment. I also undergo a polygraph and a security investigation every five years as does pretty much everyone else in my agency. They can even check up on me after I retire. It goes over just fine.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 5:06pm

You're equating working national security interests to playing football? And I believe pro football players commit suicide less often than the population as a whole. Why exactly would they need to be forced into mandatory screenings?

by dbostedo :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 5:42pm

I think he's just saying that it's the job he signed up for, and the rules he agreed to, and there are repercussions if he doesn't follow the rules, even after retirement.

For instance, if the NFL was able to stipulate that there were monetary ramifications to not going through the screening, then they could make it mandatory. For instance, perhaps pension benefits could be contingent on following the "retirement protocol" for NFL players.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 6:21pm

The US Government can enforce a contract after your "retirement" because they are the sovereign power of the nation, and can criminally penalize you if you refuse. This power comes from the millions of trained men willing to shoot you if you refuse.

It's generally held that American labor relations do not grant these powers to incorporated employers, no matter how nefarious.

by dbostedo :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 8:45pm

I don't necessarily know the legal side of things, but I believe that the government is granted the right to enforce things like security clearance requirements because of the documents you sign (and they are extensive) when you get a clearance.

Just because the US government is "...the sovereign power of the nation..." does not mean they can legally enforce anything on anyone. The things they require of those that have signed up for a clearance are because they've signed up.

It would be perfectly OK for the NFLPA agreement with the NFL, which dictates things like retirement benefits, could contain a clause requiring psychological screening or counseling in order to receive benefits.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 11:26pm

It'd be a PR nightmare the first time a guy got denied benefits and went to the press saying, "These guys hid risks from me and jerked me around while I played, now they're telling me no pension unless they can poke and prod me."

by tuluse :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 1:28am

The problem here is that the NFL is a monopoly. As such, what they can do is severely limited. The NFLPA as a whole would have to agree.

by dbostedo :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 3:18pm

I completely agree. I'm not saying they can do it unilaterally. I think it would probably be a good thing to have in the next collective bargaining agreement. I have no idea if the NFLPA would go in for it.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 06/19/2012 - 7:58pm

I think the 'national security' issue pointed out here is the key to understanding why the military can require post-deployment mental exams. Whereas the government doesn't require such things for, say, a forest ranger who leaves.

by SFC B (not verified) :: Mon, 06/18/2012 - 10:50am

I have little doubt that, if the NFL instituted a program like the Army's Post Deployment Health Assessments they'd get a not-insignificant amount of buy-in from former players. If the program is effective (ie, it identifies former players who need help, and connects those players with the help they need) former players will seek it out. Even if they players themselves don't want it due to ego, pride, perceived lack-of-need, the players have spouses and children who know that something isn't right. This would be a resource they could be directed towards whose results should be private, and which will be run and used by their peers.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 12:43pm

Why horseback riding? How else do you ride a horse?

by tuluse :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 12:45pm

I guess it differentiates it from chariots, buggies, wagons, and that sort of thing.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:02pm

OK sure. What's wrong with horse riding? Says everything you need to know. Whould anyone being conveyed in a buggy describe themselves as horse riding?

by tuluse :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:23pm

I have no idea really, but I've always heard it called horseback riding.

Edit: looks like it's an American thing, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equestrianism

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:47pm
by Jimmy :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 3:57pm

From the http tag that is from Australia, they do a lot of things upside down.

by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 5:45am

Well, there's that whole Catherine the Great thing.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 1:28pm

Can do horse neck riding if small or young. Like parent could go on back part and kid or midget could be between parent andhead of horse. That area would be the neck part

by rageon :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 3:21pm

Right here. This is the one time that it's unfortunate imbedding images are not allowed. I demand a diagram, preferrably in an old-timey patent style.

by countertorque :: Fri, 06/15/2012 - 3:26pm

You forgot to misspell some words in your post.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/15/2012 - 4:59pm

Joe frequently posts comments without errors. The error-to-errorless comment ratio is probably 500 to 1, but perfectly coherent ones pop up now and then...

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 06/15/2012 - 7:05pm

Sorry to disappoint
Phone has autocrorect

by Guest789 :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 3:35pm

Did anyone else notice the nonsensical rambling about the water in Yellowstone? The Earth's been recycling the same water for millions of years, so it's a little more than "600 years old". Yeesh.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 3:48pm

PK was quoting someone else. I just accept the fact that PK is really into incoherent rambling, since much of his own writing does the same.

by Theo :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 5:31pm

All your molecules have been part of the stars once.

by Ewout (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 6:53am

Atoms, yes; molecules, not likely.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 3:18pm

I seriously doubt "all" of them have been in stars, either. Most of your body is water: two-thirds of the atoms in that are hydrogen. Big Bang nucleosynthesis generated mostly hydrogen and helium.

Most likely our own solar system started off as a gas cloud that had mixed with material that had been in stars (heavy metals are predominantly from supernovae), but a good portion of that material is still just primordial. The Universe isn't that old that everything is just reprocessed stars.

by Independent George :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 9:40am

Most likely our own solar system started off as a gas cloud that had mixed with material that had been in stars (heavy metals are predominantly from supernovae), but a good portion of that material is still just primordial. The Universe isn't that old that everything is just reprocessed stars.

I love the way you're able to make that sound mundane.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 10:00am

Hey, I'm just thankful every day that some of those atoms got organized into grapes and hops. Oh, and barley, wheat, rye, and corn, too. Otherwise, the water would be quite mundane, albeit still necessary.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 06/19/2012 - 8:02pm

Those are very good ways of organizing them. I also like they way they got organized into ribeyes and baby back ribs.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 11:27am

Oxygen, carbon and nitrogen would be the second, third and fourth most abundant elements in humans and would all have needed to be made inside a star (during later stages of burning). Similarly for sulphur, phoshporus, iron, magnesium etc. Ergo we all are made of stardust, even if the hydrogen isn't.

by dbostedo :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 5:43pm

Despite already knowing that water is recycled over time, and that everything came from stars, I still find it interesting that it takes 600 years for rain water to find its way into the ground and back out of the geyser. I'd have guessed much, much less time than that.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Mon, 06/11/2012 - 11:34pm

All we've got is PK's recollection of what a park ranger told him. Either could be wildly incorrect. I agree that is an amazing stat if it is true. But I'm really curious how anybody could be sure of that figure.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 3:30pm

Probably isotopic analysis. Water in the biosphere gets continually reprocessed (though the grandparent saying 'recycling for millions of years' is a pretty crazy definition of recycling, considering plenty of water gets processed into organic material, then broken back down to water and other materials - but it's not the same 'water' as it was originally) so its trace contents stay roughly uniform. Take it out of circulation for a while, and that stops. Compare its trace minerals and isotope ratios, and you can figure out how long it's been out of circulation.

Basically the same way carbon dating works. The biosphere keeps things remarkably constant, so once you sequester anything (by, y'know, dying, or getting shoved into the ground for a few hundred years) it's not that hard to date them.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 06/19/2012 - 8:04pm

We're talking about water percolating through stone. It can take a long time for it to seep through the cracks to come out somewhere else.

by Honest Abe (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 9:02am

I'm a somewhat new visitor to this site (just my second year) and I'm confused by the vitriol heaped every week on Peter King professionally and personally. To me, he's a hardworking reporter who's not afraid to show that he's also a caring and observant human being. For that, he gets pounded. Even when he gets complimented for an insight like the one about Yellowstone's waters, he also gets pounded in the same sentence. What gives?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 9:36am

"To me, he's a hardworking reporter who's not afraid to show that he's also a caring and observant human being."

Well there's your problem. From observation, he's neither hardworking, caring, nor observant. Frankly, he's not even much of a reporter.

by jimbohead :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 11:09am

PK has strengths and weaknesses. He has one of the best networks in the league, and has great access to all sorts of people. Relatedly, he's incredibly soft on "his people", which is the price you pay for great access.

His problem is that he's not a great writer, is not particularly analytical, and has a very narrow and self-centered point of view. For example, his beer-nerdness spot has been laughable since it started; he comments only on the most broadly available beers (once spoke in high praise of blue moon for pete's sake), in apparent ignorance of the explosion of great microbrews in the US. He once told a story of how he got a security guard to help him get a foul ball from a 10-yr-old at a baseball game, and was proud of doing so! I think the other week he posted something like, "I understand that breast-feeding is natural, just don't do it in public places" without prompting or justification for a viewpoint that marginalizes and punishes women with small children.

Most critically of all, he just doesn't really seem to understand football very well. His analysis often comes down to, "they should have passed more/less, and should have been more/less aggressive on defense", which is fine from a guy on the next barstool blowing 0.18, but I tend to expect more from a national reporter.

by jackiel :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 2:40pm

+1. I stopped taking him seriously after his question about why many train stations on the East Coast are known as Penn Station. He's only been taking Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor for 20 years and never figured that out? And he's supposed to be curious and insightful? Also, his pieces on the Pro Bowl reveal him to be a league mouthpiece. He's bought the league's line about the game not being competitive enough to be a TV event without mentioning that almost all live NFL game programming does ratings that are higher than typical primetime shows. Simply, the Pro Bowl will continue to exist as long as it garners high enough ratings. And if the league's programming partners don't want to air it, the league could make them air it. Exhibit A: The WNBA.

At the end of the day, the fact that he's reputed to be the best football writer in the country is a reflection of our society. People like to be plugged in at the expense of being creative, interesting, or particularly risk taking. Self-centeredness is also pretty prevalent in America...if you don't believe me, try dating. Also, the vast majority of sports fans know very little about the finer points of the sports they follow, nor do they care to know. Therefore, it is not surprising that King is very popular.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 2:54pm

I threw in the towel on him a couple years ago, when he tried to compliment a speechmaker at a public address he attended, by saying the speaker treated the audience to a large quantity of "truisms", apparently completely unaware that the traditional understanding of that word is anything but complimentary to the person who is described as uttering them. I haven't read him much since, until a few weeks ago, being starved for NFL news, and in short order I'm treated to stuff like the blurb about Revis' contract last week, in which King reveals that the lead NFL writer for Time/Warner has zero idea of why NFL contracts are structured in the way they are.

The guy can't write, can't think, and frequently reveals himself to be a jerk. What's not to love?

by jimbohead :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 4:14pm

My general feeling is that PK is basically Two and a Half Men. Mainstream culture aims for the middle, hits a little lower, and becomes inexplicably popular to the detriment of society at large. We're spoiled because we live in the internet age where niche interests like good writing and interesting ideas are available for those who care. Just like the best show on television for the last 3 years, Community!

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 7:23am

Six seasons and a movie!

by Will Allen :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 2:42pm

No, his writing over the years has frequently revealed him to be a self centered ass, with an enormous sense of entitlement. His command of the language is quite frankly at no more than a high school level, which is really inexcusable for the lead writer for one of the world's largest media companies, covering the most popular spectator sport in the world's largest economy. He doesn't understand the sport he has covered on a daily basis for about a quarter century. He occasionally does a good job of reporting facts (his magazine story pertaining to the Saints mess being a decent recent example) but far more frequently he trades platitudes about the people he covers, in return for access.

Other than that, he's great.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 3:34pm

Of course it's excusable. He's writing to sports fans, most of whom don't have a command of the language past a high-school level anyway (and... really, is that that much of an insult? I mean, middle-school level, that I can see, but high-school isn't that bad...). Or at least that's what people think, so... that's what you get.

I mean, seriously, listen to most political speechwriters, and their level of writing isn't that far off. Whenever people write to sound like "ordinary people," if you actually pay attention to the writing, it's god-awful.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 3:53pm

I would simply ask that the writing on this site, say, I dunno, Tanier's, be contrasted with King's. If Aaron Schaatz and then the NYT can find someone who can write, I'd hope that Time/Warner could do the same, while still retaining the ability to trade soft treatment for access.

by Jerry :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 6:43pm

Think a reference to The Screwtape Letters, let alone a parody, would fly on SI.com? While I'm sure Aaron would like to increase FO's readership, he's aiming higher than SI does. And, FWIW, what I've seen of King's magazine pieces are written just fine. Of course, they're much more seriously edited than his internet work,

by tuluse :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 7:01pm

Tanier has a little more freedom here than he would for a higher profile organization, but you don't think his superior writing would translate because he can't make semi-obscure allusions?

by Jerry :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 5:13am

We're both among the many Tanier fans here. I suspect, though, that if SI were to hire him and plop him into Peter King's role, which relies much more on reporting than craftsmanship, Mike's work would exhibit much less style than it does now. I'm pretty sure King would be the first to tell you that he's not the wordsmith someone like Frank Deford is, but he's usually able to get across what he wants to say. And when he doesn't, many readers are happy to take to the Net to point it out.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 5:57am

In this very article, King describes the following as one of the best sentences he's ever read:

"Anyone might think a woman whose husband was possibly losing his mind (or at least part of it), and who was preparing to rob a bank, who'd led his family almost to ruin, who considered it a novel idea to involve his only son in the robbery, who was threatening jail and disaster and the dissolution of everything the two of them understood about life (and a woman who was already thinking of leaving the same man, anyway), you'd think this woman would be desperate for an opportunity to get away, or to involve the authorities to save herself and her children, or would find an iron resolve, would hold her ground, and would let nothing go forward and thereby preserve her family by the force of her will (my mother, as small and disaffected as she was, seemed to have a strong will, even if that turned out not to be true)."

Now, it's not the worst sentence I've ever read, because I've read The Archer's Playlist and several pages of The Da Vinci Code, but I submit that a writer who sees the above as something to aspire to is unlikely to be a very good writer.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 8:57am

I'm a limited government type, mostly, but I'd be willing to consider a federal statute, prohibiting a sentence with three parenthetical remarks of 5,14, and then 24 words.

Good grief. Book recommendations from Peter King is like a pass protection seminar from Mike Martz.

by Independent George :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 9:43am

To be fair, my single favorite sentence in literature is actually a fragment: "The tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate, to tap, at the teeth: Lo. Li. ta."

by Will Allen :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 9:51am

Give me a fragment any day, compared to a sentence that reads like it was constructed by 500 lawyers in the depths of an ether binge.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 9:51am

Not to mention three main clauses separated only by commas and brackets. Horrendous.

At least when Burden gives us such gems as "My head spun like a dog chasing a man-sized sausage down a path lined with curious biscuits," or Dacre Stoker tells us that Bathory's husband "struck her with the full weight of his girth" it's fun.

by Independent George :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 11:01am

"The light in her eyes went out like water poured from a tall building onto a burning dog." - Steve Martin

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 2:11pm

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Sun, 06/17/2012 - 9:52pm

The kid was deliberately and maliciously watching television at him.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Sun, 06/17/2012 - 9:51pm

Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to hearken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation.

by Dean :: Tue, 06/12/2012 - 4:35pm

King has the best rolodex in the league. When he takes a topic and goes into great depth, he’s at his best. He can take his time, interview anyone and everyone (taking full advantage of his unparalleled access), and give you a story that nobody else can match. The example that sticks in my head was the piece he did on Roger Goodell last year. It was fantastic. Nobody else is going to get Goodell to open up like that. You could argue that the piece was a shill for the league and that it was carefully crafted to paint the commissioner in a positive light during the labor negotiations. I would counter that those points are irrelevant to this discussion. It demonstrated King at his best.

This sort of story is how King got to where he is in the first place.

Sadly, the demise of Peter King coincided with The Great Dr. Z’s stroke. When Paul Zimmerman was around, he handled the strategy pieces. He handled the X’s and O’s. He was the lead dog at SI and there was nobody better in the business. With Zimmerman capably handling those things, King could focus on what he did well.

Sadly, when SI lost Dr Z, they lost two writers. The magazine had been living on its reputation for a generation already. Without Dr. Z, there suddenly was no Leigh Montville, no Frank DeFord, etc. to pick up the slack. King was all they had, so they gave him the chance to be THE guy on the NFL. The task has proven too big for him. It forces him out of his comfort zone and forces him to write about the side of the game he simply doesn’t understand. As readers, we’re all worse off for it. Once or twice a year, we still get one of the in-depth pieces that reminds us how King got the job in the first place. But week in, week out, he’s an abject failure and evidence of the Peter Principal (aptly named) at its worst.

The terrible editing is more a function of SI not caring about the internet yet, but it doesn’t do King any favors either. He’s got the stroke to do something about it if he chose, but doesn’t seem to care any more than the rest of that publication.

The sad thing is, FO still links MMQB largely so that we can deconstruct it.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 11:41am

Very well said. Excellent post.

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 06/15/2012 - 1:06pm

I haven't read PK in ages. But I do read the comments about his column here. It's pretty fun.

We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

by qsi :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 7:36am

Heh, that's nothing. You should see the vitriol that used to be heaped on TMQB in the Olden Days of FO and who thankfully is no longer linked (much). Which in itself is somewhat ironic since it was a TMQB column that led me to discover FO in the first place. Generally the writing on FO is far superior to either weekday QB's, but then again, this site does cater to a different audience. I typically learn more about football reading the comments in response to MMQB columns than from the columns themselves.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 10:14am

The Final Circle of Hell is the middle seat on a 737, between Peter King and Gregg Easterbrook, on a four hour flight to a Super Bowl host city, as they have a debate about what has been learned about football during the preceding NFL season, with digressions into coffee, beer, theology, ethics, and hot cheerleader babes.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 11:55am

Easterbrook's column was one of my favorites at one time. It was funny and irreverent and I even liked most of the non-football stuff like his sci fi references, etc. The idea just got stale with time and he basically sold out when his employers decided they didn't want NFL owners being called Skeletor and Lord Voldermort.

Much like PK, Easterbrook got more self-important with time and as the column became less irreverent, it became harder to tell what was intended as a joke and what was serious. For example, when I started reading him I was convinced the "Stop me before I blitz again" stuff was at least partially tongue-in-cheek. But by the time I stopped reading him, I'd come to believe he was being totally serious. And that made all the difference in how I viewed the column.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 12:37pm

He lost me when he started to delve into Christian theology in a self-centered tone, and occasionally pronouncing judgement on the souls of NFL coaches, among other types, while being completely oblivious to the irony of such a juxtaposition. If you got King and Easterbrook within 10 feet of each other, a critical void of self-awareness might be achieved, resulting in all the air in the room rushing to a single point, killing all the unfortunate innocent people within said room. Peter, of course, would react with irritation that his latte had not arrived yet, and Gregg would note that the barista was a failed human being.

by Independent George :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 1:25pm

It's weird - by being one of the few writers that regularly talked about blocking at a time everything I knew about sports came from ESPN, he helped inspire me to become a better fan. But the more I learned, the more I realized he was talking completely out of his ass - but with the complete certainty of his convictions.

Giving his MVP award to the guy who had just spent 60 minutes getting pancaked by Justin Smith was really the inevitible absurdist conclusion to his column last season.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 1:35pm

Oh, fer' the love of Anthony Munoz, I'd forgotten all about that! Comedy gold!

by Theo :: Thu, 06/14/2012 - 3:35am

He lost me when he was sarcastic and jokingly refering to the football gods yet was dead serious when it came to his own god.
People who don't understand their own irony and become a charicature of themselves - the comedy line where you wonder if someone is stupid or is joking, but you find out he's serious. That's sad.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 06/19/2012 - 8:15pm

The problem with Gregg Easterbrook was that he left Slate.com and went to write for actual football sites. He was fresh and interesting 10 years ago when he actually wrote about games.
He stopped writing about actual games and became a gimmick writer, which is the kiss of death.

I give him a lot of credit, though, for some things. He was way ahead of the curve on the "stop punting in opponent territory" wagon, and "big blitzes are a disaster".

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 06/19/2012 - 8:06pm

Didn't we see a similar comment from "Honest Abe (unverified)" last week? Come on Peter, own up to it!

by morganja :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 10:41pm

"...which is fine from a guy on the next barstool blowing 018, but I tend to expect more from a national reporter."

"Now, it's not the worst sentence I've ever read, because I've read The Archer's Playlist and several pages of The Da Vinci Code,.... "

I don't even read MMQB. I read the FO comments on it because of gems like the above quotes. Peter King should steal the 'best of' quotes in the commentaries for his next article each week. That would be worth reading.

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 06/15/2012 - 1:08pm

Ha! I just posted the same thing above. I only read the FO comments, too.

We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

by JonFrum :: Thu, 06/14/2012 - 5:23pm

Peter King is Norm from cheers - without the writers. His 'access' to sources comes out of his willingness to carry water for them, which is the old sportswriter game. If Tuna was caught in Florida eating the face off a homeless man, PK would wag his finger for a paragraph, and then remind us of all the great things Parcells has done in the NFL over the years.