This Week in Nuggetry is many things. A trip around the NFL Sunday that was. A peak into the Allagash White and Frappuccino-addled brain of Peter King, long-time NFL ‘journalist’ and author of the NBC Sports column/steaming pile of shit ‘Football Morning in America’. Mostly though, it’s a tribute to Mike Tunison aka Christmas Ape, who penned a superb column mocking King each week on the now defunct blog Kissing Suzy Kolber.
Our long nightmare is over and NFL football is at last back. It’s a bittersweet feeling for the masochists among us though, as we have committed to diving into whatever crime Peter King commits against the written word each Monday morning. So hook the car batteries up to your nipples, and let’s begin.
We open with a dissection of the Packers’ dramatic win over the Bears on Sunday night, and it’s not the first time Peter has been in awe at the lower-body of a Green Bay quarterback.
At halftime in Wisconsin on Sunday night, after an entire state finished hyperventilating and began to come to grips with the notion that, My God, Aaron Rodgers might be gone again, Randall Cobb walked into the Packers’ locker room at Lambeau Field.
The notion of almost 6 million Wisconsinites hyperventilating at once is too sickening for most of us to stomach, but then Peter probably consumes a similar amount of fried cheese, sausage and beer as the average Madison resident does. Still, it’s no excuse for subjecting me to such an image on Monday morning.
The veteran receiver was looking for Rodgers. He wanted to tell him to hang in there. He wanted to tell him he loved him.
Something Rodgers’ father has been trying to do for years. Phone reception in Green Bay must suck.
So Cobb said a couple of positive things to the shaky backup, DeShone Kizer, before the Packers went back on the field to try somehow to get back into it. Chicago led 17-0, and new Bear Khalil Mack was absolutely wrecking the game.
“Hue Jackson isn’t walking through that door DeShone, you’re safe now.”
When it was over, someone asked Rodgers what he was thinking when he looked up and saw the score in the third quarter: 20-0.
“Seven times three,” Rodgers said.
Football savant territory right there.
I wonder sometimes, after covering sports for almost 40 years, what happens when a player who shouldn’t be on the field or the court or the ice begins to play. Do his teammates really elevate their games? Or at least try their damndest to do so because they know they have to or The Franchise could really be lost for the year.
I wonder sometimes, after pondering this issue for seconds, has anyone below the age of 50 ever seriously used the word ‘damndest’? Also, this is the second time Peter refers to Rodgers as ‘The Franchise’, an annoying habit he (and other long-term columnists) has of inventing proper nouns. Seniority doesn’t mean you get to do that Peter, it just means you get your pick of seats on the bus to the company retreat.
Three-and-out for the Trubiskies. Rodgers, again with good time, took three minutes to go 75 yards, Davante Adams finishing it with an effort TD at the left pylon. Chicago 20, Green Bay 17.
Trubiskies. Facepalm. See above. Let’s not even mention the ‘Lambeau Karma God’ a few paragraphs below or ‘Overreaction Monday’ even further down into the depths of misery and lazy writing, life’s too short.
Brett Favre had his moment in Oakland, the night after his dad died, when he played an impossible game with some great throws. This is Rodgers’ 14th season, and this might be his moment, the moment we’ll all remember when he’s on stage in Canton one day and the question is asked: What was Aaron Rodgers’ best game?
For the lucky, naïve souls out there unfamiliar with Peter and his fetishes, it’s something of a miracle the first mention of Brett Favre came this deep into the column. Much deeper than Favre has ever been in anything, just ask Jenn Sterger.
We then move onto Peter’s thoughts of the big headlines around the rest of the league, starting with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading Tampa Bay to a huge upset over the Saints. Perhaps the bigger upset though is Peter didn’t once mention that Fitzpatrick attended Harvard, a crime against sports writing clichés so heinous he may lose his right to complain about flight delays.
Next it’s the rain and lightning delayed Dolphins-Titans clash, and Peter cracks out old faithful to fill some space.
Now that’s weird. Delays of 1 hour, 57 minutes (after a lightning strike at the stadium, with 1:52 left in the first half) and 2 hours, 2 minutes (after another lightning strike midway through the third quarter). Thirteen points scored in the first three quarters, 34 in the fourth. Dolphins 27, Titans 20.
Numbers upon numbers upon numbers. What value does that bring to the reader? Answers on a postcard please. Also our first sighting of the word ‘weird’, another faithful trope for Peter when he’s not sure how to describe something.
In that spirit, I liked what Tannehill told me about Miami’s day off. Coaches often give players “victory Monday,” an extra day off in additional to Tuesday, when the team either is tired or had a big win. Gase gave the team Monday off. But Tannehill went to his offensive mates and said he thought they should come in to dissect the tape today, then leave for a day-and-a-half of rest. “I went around and told everyone we’ve got to get better, and we should take time in our [position] groups to watch this game,” Tannehill said. “I was glad to see everyone wanted to do it.” Especially after a seven-hour game.
I know they won, but this is going to be a long season in Miami. There is no doubt in my mind every single player who Tannehill dragged into the facility mere hours after that debacle hates his guts.
And now, to the factory of sadness.
Browns Gonna Brown
No, they’re not, actually. Half the Twittersphere chortled uproariously when, with 13 seconds left in overtime, kicker Zane Gonzalez had a 43-yard field-goal try blocked by T.J. Watt of the Steelers. That’s so Browns. But the players didn’t chortle. The played were ticked off. Wideout Jarvis Landry, the unofficial we’re-not-gonna-take-it-anymore, hold-your-feet-to-the-fire guy in this locker room, left the field cursing, angry and said he refused to get used to this. And they didn’t lose!
That final sentence is so very Cleveland. Fuck yeah, we didn’t lose! Also no shit the players didn’t laugh at the Browns failing to football yet again. Jokes suck if you repeat them over and over and over and over and over…
Next is a long section on Aaron Rodgers’ and Bart Starr’s friendship, which I’ll mostly leave alone due to the latter’s illness, but I can’t ignore it all. King gonna King.
I could write 10,000 words on what made my three-minute TV story happen on NBC’s “Football Night in America” Sunday.
Breaking news, Peter King could stretch out a simple anecdote to a piece of writing longer than many novellas. Water also wet. More as we get it.
We needed to convince Starr and his family and his family’s rep, Lee Ann Nelson. Starr had a stroke in 2014, and he suffers from aphasia, which happens sometimes to people who suffer strokes. It results in difficulty to comprehend words, and to speak cogent sentences, and to focus enough to do both.
Does Peter King suffer from a condition that results in difficulty to write cogent sentences? Or is he just too famous and too successful to care about the minutia of his craft? Just asking the question.
After a genuinely heart-warming story on Starr (read it when you’re done with this) Peter wades into Nike’s deal with Colin Kaepernick. And by wade into I mean fills the entire section with quotes from an academic and leaves his own opinion at the door. Why though? Hard to say. Maybe the years he’s spent cultivating relationships with officials inside the NFL make him reluctant to hold their feet to the fire on tough issues? Who’s to say.
Just the one gem in quotes of the week.
“Overall, I thought we could have been better at a number of positions.”
—Bills coach Sean McDermott, after Buffalo fell behind 40-0 early in the third quarter on the way to one of the most embarrassing losses in team history, 47-3 at Baltimore on Sunday.
McDermott would be very good working in public relations for the Titanic.
Dated pop culture references are another hallmark of a classic Peter King column. The only way to improve this would have been shoehorning in a baseball anecdote from the 1970s.
Peter’s weekly awards section also honours goats of the week, which is always ripe for a laugh.
Nathan Peterman, quarterback, Buffalo. Enough. Forty-to-nothing is not all his fault. But 40-0 in 35 minutes? That’s two incredibly unprofessional appearances in two starts for Peterman. We’ve seen enough of Peterman, Sean McDermott.
While there’s nothing here a person with eyes could disagree with, addressing it directly to the Bills coach Sean McDermott is the height of hilarious pomposity that we’ve come to expect from Peter. He sounds personally affronted, as if McDermott is forcing Peterman down his throat, and it doesn’t quite tickle the taste buds the way Peter knows a physical specimen like Josh Allen would.
Moving on, we have a long section filled with coach clichés from Sean McVay and another raft of numbers to make your head spin, before we get to the section ‘Factoidness’. Which could be the most disgusting ‘word’ in the English language.
Now to what I’ve been waiting for: Peter’s weekly travel notes, aka ‘King of the road’. See folks, it’s not just enough to get paid to travel across America (for free) to watch football. No, writer’s like Peter reserve the right to complain about said free travel, or in this case, to illuminate on us on how the other half live. To wit:
Last week, in town to do the Aaron Rodgers-Bart Starr story for NBC’s Football Night in America show, I had a pretty good night, for a nightly rate of $119 in Lodge Kohler. I checked into my room, saw the cool 1959 Packers bench portrait of Paul Hornung, Max McGee and Jim Taylor on the wall, used the bedside tablet (“WELCOME PETER KING”) to check the weather for the next day’s TV shoot in Lambeau Field, had a Hinterland Cherry Wheat brew while doing the writing at the brew pub next door, came back to the fifth floor of Lodge Kohler and ate a dinner of walleye with a fresh salad, and went to sleep in some sort of nirvana-type king bed. Silent night. Not a sound to be heard. In the morning, I went down for a latte in the breakfast place on the ground floor, sat outside and took in a warm and murky morning as Green Bay woke up. Then I went back to the bathroom with the apt photo of a mud-splattered Willie Wood and Herb Adderley on the wall, and thought how much they would like this bathroom after a day in the Lambeau mud. I used the shower with the Kohler fixtures and the double shower-head with the digital thermostat regulating just how hot I wanted the water (what a country) … and then walked over to Lambeau Field to interview Rodgers on the field after their midday practice.
A lot to unpack here, so let’s wade right in, but make sure your hazmat suit is securely sealed.
The item by item description of Peter’s movements is alarming, not because of what’s said, but what’s left unsaid. How was the weather the next day? How many pounds of sugar were in the latte? What was the out of state phone call charge for the phone sex I’m certain Peter has with Jon Gruden before sleep every night? These are the things that keep me up at night.
The ‘what a country’ line is another common occurrence, and often used for the most mundane things. Yes, a digital thermostat-equipped shower is cool, but would it really make you exclaim “what a country”!? How does this man get through a day in a modern city without cumming his pants constantly?
I’m going to skip ‘Intelligent Football’ as I don’t think Pro Football Focus deserves to be taken seriously by anyone, especially not a blog with almost 100 readers. We’re here for Peter’s thoughts so ‘Tweets of the Week’ and reader mail are out too.
That leaves us with ’10 Things I think I Think’, a title that proves that Peter alone pens this meaty column, as no-one else could seriously want their opinions going under such a stupid and inaccurate title.
Pats have now beaten Houston four times in Foxboro since September 2016—by 27, 18, three and seven points.
Not to take a shot at Pete’s saint of an editor, but surely this is a factoid? Or does Peter truly think he thinks that these factual events happened?
The speed of the Chiefs is downright toxic.
Peter’s hotel room TV must have been stuck on MTV during a Britney Spears circa 2003 marathon.
It’s going to be a loooong year for Ereck Flowers, the new right tackle for the Giants, and he handled his awful game against the Jags’ front with not much class; he was the only one of five offensive linemen to not be available to the press post-game.
Translation: me and my fellow scribes will make it a long year for him, because he wouldn’t answer 30 questions about why he sucked so bad for us. Athletes must be held accountable! Democracy dies in silence!
Good to see Todd Haley in midseason form, taunting Steelers corner Artie Burnsmidway through Cleveland-Pittsburgh.
Haley has been in midseason form for months, as anyone who saw him taunt a baby on the jumbotron during Hard Knocks will know.
Cool pooch punt by the Chargers, erasing Tyreek Hill for a moment with kicker Caleb Sturgis dumping a weird punt inside the 15-yard line.
Weird punting gets me hard.
I think, Bills fans, it’s time to do something you may not want to do but simply must: Flood your team’s switchboard this morning demanding your team sign Colin Kaepernick.
Bills Mafia doesn’t seem like the kind of fanbase that would embrace Kaepernick. Piledrive him through a table, yes. Embrace him, no.
I think I have tried to tell Mike Florio 68 times that an 18-game or 17-game schedule (barring a scenario in which non-punters/kickers are limited to only 16 games per season) is never happening. But he won’t listen to me. Maybe he’ll listen to influential Giants owner John Mara, who, via the indefatigable Steve Serby of the New York Post, said this about expanding the NFL slate: “We were negotiating the CBA in 2011 … Jerry Jones was in one of our meetings. We were on a break and we were about to go in and talk to the players about the schedule. He said, ‘I want to try to sell them on the 18-game regular season.’ And my response was, ‘Jerry, they’re adamantly opposed to that. You have no chance.’ He says, ‘I’ll bet I can sell ’em on it.’ I said, ‘You sell them on the 18-game season, I will walk around Times Square for the week in a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt.’ He said, ‘You’re on.’ We walked into the meeting room, and he barely got the words out of his mouth, and the players said: ‘No way. That’s a deal breaker. We’ll walk out of here right now.’ So I did not have to walk around Times Square wearing a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt.”
Inside the brain of Jerry Jones: “If I could convince that boy to clean my glasses even after they’d been in all them hooker’s and horse’s butts, I can convince these boys to play a few more ol’ football games.”
My wife and I were fortunate to see the “Springsteen on Broadway” show the other night. As Bruce Springsteen vets—we’ve seen him 20 or so times—we entered the theater in New York City not sure how this show would compare to a concert. It’s impossible to say what’s better, a Springsteen concert in his prime, or this show, with Bruce telling stories about growing up in New Jersey (before it was cool to be from New Jersey, thanks largely to Springsteen) and singing/talking some of his favorite songs. It’s like asking the question: Who’s better—Michael or Lebron? I mean, who knows? Who cares? Both are incredibly good at basketball. Same with Bruce the master concert guy and Bruce the vulnerable Broadway guy. He’s so human in it, putting himself down. He pokes a lot of fun at himself. He says he wrote about all these teen and post-teen moments of life in cars, and yet didn’t have a driver’s license. “I’ve never worked 9 to 5,” he told the audience in the 939-seat Walter Kerr Theater. “I’ve never done hard labor. Yet, it’s almost all I’ve written about.”
Combining MJ versus Lebron with a tale about your love for Bruce Springsteen might be the most middle-aged white sports writer thing to do ever.
Beernerdness: My very strong recommendation for you when you take the drive across the United States, and figure you want to see Green Bay and Lambeau Field (good choices), is to pop into Kroll’s West, across from Lambeau on the west side of the stadium, and have a cheeseburger and a ridiculously ice-cold Spotted Cow (New Glarus Brewing, New Glarus, Wis.) on draft. There might be better dinners on this planet, but I am not familiar with them.
‘Beernerdness’ is tried and tested part of any Peter King Monday column, and today doesn’t disappoint. A man of Peter King’s wealth who thinks the best dinner imaginable is a cheeseburger washed down by a beer restricted to sale in Wisconsin could only be an American sports writer.
Coffeenerdness: Thanks for putting Luna espresso in the Luna Stout, Hinterland Brewing (Green Bay, Wis.) That is some rich, delicious espresso.
This regular nugget is a let-down this week, but don’t discouraged, I have faith in Peter’s ability to tell us where the best Starbucks in the US are.
The Adieu Haiku
Might be early, but …
Can we vote for MVP?
Now? Aaron Rodgers.
This man, a writer?
He’s just emptying his ass!
Yes. What a country.