Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Jul 2012

MMQB: The Return of the King

Peter shares a Paul Brown training camp speech, talks Goodell and the Saints, and, yes, does a little shilling for FOA 2012.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 23 Jul 2012

29 comments, Last at 27 Jul 2012, 1:36pm by chemical burn


by justanothersteve :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 11:04am

I didn't read the Paul Brown speech yet and look forward to it. It is one of PK's better MMQB columns (faint praise admittedly). Along with the FOA 2012 plug, I did like his comments on the coaches tape and take on the football negotiations. Less thrilled about the vacation comments (People in the same income bracket tend to use similar transportation and stay in similar hotels - not a huge coincidence. As coincidental as a driver of a beat up minivan picking up a hitchhiker in Utah and discovering they're both going to Burning Man.), though it was interesting to hear all Deutschland students must visit a concentration camp.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 1:47pm

I think you skimmed the vacation section and missed the big coincidences. How many people in Venice do you suppose were going to end up in Mount Washington, New Hampshire at the end of their trip? And not only did they meet, they were staying in the exact same hotels in both Venice and New Hampshire and their trips coincided so closely they shared transportation both in and out of Venice.

by jackiel :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 2:24pm

This is unknowable. I doubt that the stranger would have approached King and engaged him and his wife in conversation if King hadn't been a public figure. For the rest of us, a similar story would only occur with someone we knew, thereby severly reducing the probability of something like this happening.

There are millions of people who read King or watch him on TV. Normal people probably know about at most a couple of thousand people well enough.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 3:02pm

You've never struck up a conversation with fellow travelers? Particularly if you kept seeing them on your trip? And how does his being a public figure increase the odds that somebody with nearly the exact itinerary as him is going to end up in a tiny place in New Hampshire?

by jackiel :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 4:32pm

Of course I have.

The stranger approached King and his family out of the blue while everyone was stadning in line for a boat ride. This happened because he recognized him as a famous football writer. If King had been a regular person, I highly doubt that the stranger would've come up to him and started talking about the Ravens. It's not the fact that 2 parties had similar travel plans--that happens often enough. It's the fact that King knew about it, which was largely due to the fact that he's a public figure.

I guess that I should have written "odds of something like this occuring and being revealed". The odds of revelation are increased because public figures get approached by random people more often than regular folks. More approaches = more opportunities for random stories like this to occur.

by Tony D. (not verified) :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 10:18pm

Still sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime thing. The guy's usually a boob, but he could write the sun rises in the east and get arguments. Reminds me of hearing some political insider once say the danger of blindly opposing everything your opponent does is that by the time the election is over you'll be saying you hate apple pie.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 6:03am

While backpacking round the Indian subcontinent I got stuck waiting for a plane in a tiny Himalayan mountain village called Jomsom and met an american couple staying in the same hotel. When we finally got back to Pokhara I got the first plane to Kathmandu. The next morning I was having breakfast in a coffee shop and the same couple walked in, it turned out that they were saying in the same hotel as me again. After talking a while it became clear that they had also stayed in the same hotel as us in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan a few weeks earlier. It's a small world and most people visit the same places even when they're trying to get off the beaten track.

(FYI Pokhara is in the west of Nepal with Jomsom to the north in the Annpurna range, Kathmandu is in eastern Nepal and Jaisalmer is in western India in the Thar desert near the Pakistan border. The point I'm trying to make is that these places are not propinquitous. Note: there may well be spelling errors in this post.)

by dbostedo :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 9:42am

But I don't find that nearly as unusual as two people traveling to both Italy and New Hampshire and staying at the same hotels. The two places are a lot less likely to be part of the same trip than the places you mentioned.

If you had met someone in Jomsom, and then again in, say, Michigan - that would be more unusual I think.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 9:58am

This gets filtered through the recognition that even far-flung places have frequent tourist attractions (if you're visiting the Dakotas, odds are you hit Rushmore, the Badlands, and Deadwood), and that people from similar cultures tends to stay in similar sorts of establishments, which may not be numerous in sufficiently remote places.

by jackiel :: Wed, 07/25/2012 - 3:27pm

Nope - unlikely but not once in a lifetime. Like Aaron Brooks Go said, people from similiar cultures and in similar income brackets tend to do the same things and travel to the same places. It's an interesting story, no doubt. But not the most improbable thing I've ever heard - especially given the storyteller.

I bet that if you talked to 5 strangers a day your number of once-in-a-lifetime stories would substianlly.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 2:39pm

No. I read it. Just didn't find it that unusual that two people on vacation who live in the NE USA who are already staying at the same hotel in Venice and will still be on vacation afterward would also stay at the same vacation resort hotel in a popular tourist spot in the NE USA. If you go to "The Odds Must Be Crazy" website, you'll see this sort of thing happens all the time.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 3:07pm

Lots of stuff happens "all the time." That still doesn't make it commonplace. The Odds Must Be Crazy website is built around the fact that these are interesting and unusual events, not that they're common.

by SandyRiver :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 3:19pm

Maybe it's like the "birthday paradox." Walk into a room where 30 people are gathered, and the odds are in your favor that two of those people have birthdays on the same day of the year. However, the odds are still about 12-to-1 against any of them having the same birthday as yours.

by markus (not verified) :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 5:42pm

I think it's more like the "Peter King Paradox" in which a certain crowd posts here specifically to point out that absolutely everything PK says is dead wrong and occasionally get burned when he's correct.

I guessed he'd come back from Europe talking about this great new beer he'd discovered called "Heinekin" so I didn't have the bar set very high. But I'd have told people this story had it happened to me, so I certainly can't fault him for doing so. Plus King also comes across as being more approachable than I would have guessed, because I'd had him pegged as somebody who'd blow strangers off before he'd had time to pick up on something like this.

by tuluse :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 5:50pm

I'm sure he loves the attention and likes to appear magnanimous in deigning to mingle with the common people.

by Theo :: Wed, 07/25/2012 - 1:10pm

The probability of such a thing ending up in a sports column increases to 1 over time.
So there we are.

by Marko :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 2:27pm

I was surprised to learn that Heinz Field is now called "Hines Field." I hope that H.J. Heinz Company isn't still paying for the naming rights.

by PatsFan :: Mon, 07/23/2012 - 2:46pm

I see that Rivers was too modest to note that a FOA: 2012 shoutout was the first thing in "10 Things..." this week.

by Honest Abe (not verified) :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 3:38am

Welcome back, Peter King, and thanks for the terrific vacation column. I notice that the usual sharpshooters have their usual gripes, but pay no attention to them. It's just envy and spite. Keep up the great work.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 9:59am

He doesn't need your praise, Abe. He has millions of dollars to do that.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 10:30am

I sorta like that there's a Peter King sueprfan hanging around her - my only real gripe is that he doesn't have anything to say about the columns, he only complains about the comments section. Redirect your energies towards positive ends, Abe! Praise King eloquently and win us over!

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 07/26/2012 - 10:47pm

His comments might even have greater impact if he registered for the site and commented on articles that didn't have "MMQB" in them.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 07/27/2012 - 1:36pm

I like to think he is just Peter King himself. Ever since I saw Doug Benson show up in the comments section of the AV Club to flip out on some negative commentators or heard about Paul Schrader getting caught posting super-positive reviews of his own movies to Amazon, I don't put it past any author to humiliate themselves in the saddest ways possible on the internet.

by Honest Abe (not verified) :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 11:19am

OK: I've been to Venice and the White Mountains myself, both swell places on a vacation. But it never occurred to me to visit Dachau, a monument to man's inhumanity, on precious vacation days. Peter King not only did that but shared his thoughts with us, yet another sign of his generous heart. Then he goes off to Fenway Park and shares with us his joy at being behind the microphone. The man just knows how to live a full life. Bravo!

by chemical burn :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 11:36am

RE: visit to Dachau: reminds me of Fred Leuchter taking his honeymoon to Auschwitz so he could steal wall samples. Ah, just kidding - I know you're trolling us, but I do like hearing about his generous heart more than that we're assholes for hating him...

by jackiel :: Wed, 07/25/2012 - 3:15pm

Hahaha, indeed.

He's definitely taking the empty nester, gallavanting around the world, utilizing his amazing network of contacts thing to heart.

by Joseph :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 1:02pm

I think the problem with PK is this: if he stuck to telling stories/behind the scenes stuff (like the Paul Brown speech this week--I liked it), plus his other regular column features, then OK. But he tries to come off as knowing lots about football strategy, statistical probabilities, and other things when it's obvious he doesn't know lots about them (ESPECIALLY when compared to the writers and registered commenters here).
However, as SI pays him to write more to average Joe fan vs. intelligent people like us, he doesn't work at his (perceived) weaknesses, which makes him look lazy (to us). Thus, while he gives us insights as to trips to the Middle East, vacationing in WW2-era Germany, and what goes behind the scenes with some plays/players/coaches/GM's/etc., he gives us also a bunch of stuff that is either wrong (stats), or just not very interesting (his "insights" on beer, coffee, and Amtrak trains).
IMO, if he wrote a Sunday sports column for say, the NY Times, this would be less of an issue.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 07/24/2012 - 3:32pm

A good example is his idea that you could copy the Saints' off their all-22 footage. Most of the plays the Saints run will involve all sorts of sight adjustments for the linemen, backs and receivers in order for the play to work, which couldn't be derived from the coaching tape.

by allybhoy :: Wed, 07/25/2012 - 8:48am

i was in Venice for 2 weeks and didn't bump into Mr King. Was that statistically significant?