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.
Sunday took a lot of what we thought we knew about the NFL and threw it straight out the window. So lots of us lost money gambling. And judging by how mailed in this week’s column was, I think Peter King may be tightening his belt this week too and only having four shots of caramel in his Monday morning bathroom Frappuccino.
Peter King loves writing about quasi-weird the NFL, and this week is no different. But just like blind squirrels get nuts, hack sportswriter’s occasionally fall into an accurate take.
This is the kind of weekend it was in the NFL: You enter thinking you’ve got a decent handle on the league after a couple of weeks. Lost Lions, rising Vikes, dead-and-buried Bills, class-of-the-AFC Jags, hapless Cards, unstoppable Chiefs and Rams, feeble Giants and ‘Hawks, re-throned Wentz … Browns still stink but there’s a dash of hope, Pats getting well, who knows what to make of the Dolphins, etc.
By midnight Sunday, you’re spitting out pieces of your broken luck.
I mean none of this is wrong, it was a wild Sunday of upsets, from the Bills shit-pumping the Vikings to a one-handed Marcus Mariota beating the Jaguars. But the fact he’s literally spitting out bad luck tells you Peter sure as shit lost some money on one of these teams. Of course, he’ll never admit it, as even under-the-table NFL employees aren’t allowed to gamble. I’m guessing a lot of money for it to lead FMIA over a totally irrelevant baseball or travel anecdote.
A bit of a different column today, a stream-of-consciousness, three-dot column, to dive into everything that needs some interpretation.
You can tell his brain is broken from losing enough money to open his own Bruce Springsteen-themed Starbucks, as he’s forgotten this is what he does every week and calls writing.
We kick off the horror this week with the Bills upsetting the Vikings in Minnesota (or was it Wisconsin? Don’t ask the Bills’ social media team.)
I watched a lot of the Bills-Vikings game, and nothing about Buffalo’s 27-6 win was fluky. The Bills were 16.5-point ‘dogs, and this was the biggest NFL upset since 1995, and it happened because the Vikings thought they could overcome a terrible offensive line by putting the ball in Kirk Cousins’ hands 55 times. And the Bills used defensive marauders you barely know like Matt Milano and Trumaine Edmunds and Trent Murphy to terrorize Cousins into hurried throws, three fumbles and a pick.
This is the sort of insight that earns Peter the big bucks. A 21-point win on the road wasn’t fluky. Gee, would never have been able to figure that out on my own. Also kind of ironic (shout out Alanis Morisette, who owns copyright for the word, I think) the Bills used marauders to defeat the Vikings. But “defensive marauders”? I’m no expert, but isn’t that an oxymoron? Which is shorthand for Ryan Leaf.
Moving on, Peter has a quick chat with future Hall of Famer and all-round good guy Adrian Peterson after his Redskins defeated the Packers.
What I like about 12 years of dealing with Adrian Peterson: He does not like the formulaic answers. Ask him a football question, get a pretty legit answer.
Me: How tough was it in the offseason, wanting to play, and no one bringing you into camp?
Peterson: “Rough. I think I was able to put things in perspective. In my last year in Minnesota, I didn’t play a lot. In New Orleans, I had a short visit. In Arizona, I got a leg injury. This is a league of what have you done for me lately. You know that. When someone else has the platform to write the story, that sucks. When I have the platform, which I have now, I can control the story.”
Couple ways to look at this. One is the uncharitable view that talking to Peter King is tantamount to writing the story yourself, as he won’t write anything too critical, lest you block his phone number. An even less charitable way is to say yeah, no shit man, I bet you prefer having hacks write about how good you are at slashing through the A gap instead of how good you are at slashing up your son’s legs.
“Put it in my hands and I’ll make something happen,” Peterson said.
A switch or the ball? He’s right either way I guess.
After a section on Drew Brees that was as interesting as his spin move was fast and Jimmy Garoppolo’s obituary, we are presented with some quick-hit, slow-brain thoughts on a few other games.
Titans 9, red-hot Jaguars 6. Tennessee’s got Jacksonville’s number, winning five of the last six in the series. In the last three games, while the Jags were rising offensively, Tennessee held Jacksonville and quarterback Blake Bortles to 32 points and just two touchdowns. “The game plan was to keep Bortles in the pocket,” said Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard. “Don’t let him extend drives. In a series like this, you’ve got to play sound, and that’s the way we play defense.”
Just a quick note to say the uniform combination in this game was absolutely disgusting, in keeping with these two teams’ long, proud history of playing terrible wardrobe games. Teal and light blue on the same field make as much sense as Tom Coughlin doing the Kiki challenge.
Ryan Tannehill is 9-1 in his last 10 starts. The win over Oakland was his 80th start. He’s 40-40. But he’s more efficient than a .500 quarterback should be, at least lately. The faith Miami showed in Tannehill after he missed the team’s previous 19 games heading into this year is paying off.
You could put it down to faith. Or the fact Tannehill signed a huge contract extension a few years ago that would make getting rid of him pretty unpalatable. Peter is essentially giving Hillary credit for sticking with Bill despite that whole Lewinsky thing. Hey bud, I think there may have a few more factors at play in that one other than love and a desire for a strong nuclear family.
The media parrying with Bill Belichick after the Patriots lost to Detroit 26-10 Sunday night:
Q: “Was Josh Gordon inactive tonight because of an injury?”
Belichick: “I don’t know. He wasn’t active today.”
Q: “How would you describe your conversation with Matt Patricia after the game?”
Q: “Your reaction to being 1-2?”
Belichick: “I don’t think anyone can clinch a playoff spot today. I don’t think anyone is eliminated today.”
One of only a couple of mentions of the Patriots’ ugly loss to the Lions, so I’m guessing this is the game Peter lost money on. I’m guessing this because I did, and I too felt like I was spitting out pieces of broken luck all day. That was until I read these Belichick quotes and started to smile again at the thought of the coach plotting the murder of the schmuck who asked that final asinine question. People wonder why New England kept a volatile character like Aaron Hernandez around for years, but sometimes the truth/Glock is staring you in the face.
Peter then spends what feels like aeons going into the minutiae of the god-awful roughing the passer penalties that have plagued the opening three weeks of this season. He even spends more than 100 words describing a hit you’ll almost certainly have seen by now, AS IT HAPPENED LAST WEEK! I’ll save you the trouble of reading the 3,000th take on these penalties: they suck but aren’t going away.
Next we have ‘What I Learned’ from retired referee Ed ‘Holy Steroids Batman’ Hochuli. Mostly banal stuff, but some funny nuggets (oh shit, I think Peter King-talk is starting to seep into my brain).
“Now there’s another guy named Hochuli, and he’s better than his old man already. [Shawn Hochuli, Ed’s son, was named one of four new NFL referees for the 2018 season.] On the first day of this season, I was in Baltimore. I had to go to his first regular-season game [as a referee]. On the very first play of his career, he had one of the most challenging calls a referee can have, a double foul after a change of possession. It happened during the opening kick return. That’s rare—I bet it didn’t happen to me three times in 28 years. But he got the crew together, they discussed it, and the interpretation of the enforcement changed three days before the season. And he got it right. Perfect. Then he made a beautiful announcement. Just right. Beautiful.”
Bless your soul referees, but no one else on this Earth watches a football game and notes how beautiful an announcement was. We’re only looking at your guns, Ed. Your eyes aren’t up there.
Now awards, and it’s an old Peter King move that we love to hate him for: vote splitting.
Offensive Players of the Week
Hate to do this, and I’ll keep them brief, but five men deserve a hand.
I’m calling Peter out here, this kind of thing can’t be allowed to continue. Before you tell me I’m overreacting to a meaningless week three award in a column far too long for more than 30 people to have read, just remember Peter will be emboldened to split his Hall of Fame votes again in the future. It’s a dangerous precedent to set, and before we know it people will be splitting their votes on Twitter polls, and then how will we know how a group of broadly similar people feel about a particular issue?
Defensive Players of the Week
Earl Thomas, safety, Seattle. With so much fodder swirling around Thomas—he is unhappy the Seahawks won’t re-do his contract, he mysteriously didn’t practice Friday, Chris Mortensen reported the club is considering fining him for undisclosed reasons—was huge in the Seahawks’ 24-13 win over Dallas. He had two interceptions—one in a scoreless game stopping the Cowboys near midfield, and the second to snuff out Dallas’ final hopes with less than four minutes to play and the Cowboys driving. Thomas made a rookie mistake then, bowing dramatically toward the Dallas sideline, sticking it to the Cowboys for not trading for him when he wanted to go there this offseason.
Welcome to sports writing, where we can complain for years that the NFL outlawed fun, creative celebrations, and then slam anyone who does anything with the tiniest bit of passion after making a big play. I heard Peter did a similar thing when the Athletic wouldn’t sign him, due to the clause in his contract that stipulates he be allowed three nights a week off for phone sex with Brett Favre.
Skipping over ‘Quotes of the Week’ and ‘Numbers Game’, the weirdness amps up in ‘Factoidness’.
In his first game back after 2017 knee surgery, Carson Wentz, who grew up in North Dakota playing football and basketball and went on to star in football at North Dakota State, threw his first and only touchdown pass to rookie tight end Dallas Goedert, who grew up in South Dakota playing football and basketball and went on to star in football at South Dakota State.
Gee, would you look at that. Sometimes, guys play with other guys who grew up near them. They also had similar upbringings which is uber weird as normally, elite level athletes have very little in common. Makes you think things I think. Quasi.
You’ll probably remember Carl Peterson, the 20-year GM and president of the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s 75 now, and he and wife Lori have a residence different than any other NFL retiree. He and wife Lori live for half the year on The World, a gigantic yacht with 165 residences that spends the year sailing the world. When they’re not on the ship, they stay either in New York or the Kansas City area, where Lori has family.
The boat’s residents, from 19 countries, vote on their destinations every year. In the coming months, the floating city will be in the Indian Ocean to see the island of Madagascar; later, it will traverse the length of northern Canada and Alaska, south of the Arctic Circle.
Six restaurants, yoga classes, a full-size tennis court, an outdoor fitness place, lectures from authors and diplomats and historians who pop aboard during the year.
Life’s been good to Carl Peterson.
Fingers crossed he invited Todd Haley and his wife aboard for a few weeks one summer. Though if he had, we’d probably have heard about a horrific night of debauchery where they smashed every chandelier in the place after a night of sucking tequila and fucking cowboys.
King of the Road
Yankee Stadium, Tuesday night, men’s room.
Standing at a bank of urinals. Hat pulled down low on my forehead. Fairly incognito.
“Eli done?” Urinal Guy to my right says.
“Hard to play if you got no time to throw,” I manage, “but he’s not helping himself. Too inaccurate.”
“Like the Saquon pick?” Urinal Guy says.
“Like him a lot. But not when your quarterback’s 37 and declining, though.”
“Have a good night.”
I hope Urinal Guy sees this somewhere in greater New York today. You’re famous, buddy!
Could this be a less interesting conversation? Will Urinal Guy read it and jump for joy at his fame? Will he even remember talking to Peter? Or will he immediately be brought back to the horrific experience of pissing next to a man wearing underwear with a ‘Property of Rodger Goodell’ tattoo on his inner thigh?
Skipping the PFF garbage (I think they’ve declared Tom Brady done every time their traffic slows down), Tweets and letters is starting to become a tradition I can get down with.
My second edition looks a bit like my first.
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City. (Last week: 1.) Thirteen touchdown passes in the first three weeks of the season is an NFL record. The Chiefs will have to run it a little better down the road, but they can sustain the wins if Mahomes keeps up this pace.
Yeah, if he can keep throwing almost five touchdowns a game I’d say they have a pretty good chance of picking up a few more wins. What kind of velocity did his father get on his fastballs though?
Things I think I think incoming, but as Peter has had the life sucked out of him by a long day of mounting debt to his bookie (who am I kidding, no way that dweeb has a bookie, probably got his action legally) it’s mercifully shortish.
Very good challenge, Matt Patricia, on the Lions’ fumble-turned-touchdown, making it Detroit 10, New England 0 early in the second quarter.
Love the nuance with this nugget, Peter. Directly addressing someone who will undoubtedly read this, while also giving him praise for something entirely unpraiseworthy (it was an obvious touchdown). Love watching the master at work.
Maybe the Seattle offensive line isn’t hopeless.
Maybe the Giants’ offensive line isn’t hopeless.
“Maybe this column isn’t long enough without repeating myself,” mumbled Peter, four Frappes deep.
The Saints may be #winners, but that’s all they have in common with Donald Trump it seems, as that man sure as shit wouldn’t ignore a birth certificate. Or a blonde with fake tits.
I think if Le’Veon Bell is truly on the training block, as Adam Schefter reported Sunday, the two teams that should be interested are Indianapolis and San Francisco. Each has more than $40 million in cap room this year.
NFL teams are kind of stupid so I wouldn’t rule out Peter being right, but why in the world two teams that have zero shot at a title this year probably next would trade for a running back who wants a huge payday is anyone’s guess.
I think I would love to know what possesses a man—Isaiah Crowell of the New York Jets—to faux rub the football on the crack of his posterior in celebration after scoring a touchdown in Cleveland the other night. Does he, perhaps, lay awake in his hotel the night before the game and think, I know what I’ll do if I score in this game. I’ll take the football and rub myself with it like it’s toilet paper! It’s okay—I know we’re not that good and the 15-yard unsportsmanlike flag could hurt us, but how great will it be to do that on national TV! It must be fun to be a head coach in the NFL. You have to think to advise your players to not wipe themselves with the football if they score a touchdown.
I wonder what about the Cleveland BROWNS makes a man think of shit. What could it be? Also, have to love the image of coaches around the league telling their players NOT to wipe their ass with the ball. It truly is a copycat league.
More than 300 words on baseball to end. This column was filed at 3am ET. Why does Peter do this to himself and his editor?
The Adieu Haiku
Paul Simon. The end.
Home, where my love lies waiting,
silently for me.
Pats were favoured big
Can I taste shit in my mouth?
Pass me the football