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.
Mason Crosby forgetting how to kick may have cost me a lot of fucking money this weekend, but I promise not to let it distract me my solemn vow to rip Peter King.
Football Morning in America comes, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death by a thousand factoids.
It wasn’t an incredible day of NFL football so pickings for a lead are slim, but even still, only Peter King would open with some 12-9 AFC North drudgery.
The thing that’s surprised me the most about the first month of the season—even more than the fact that Philadelphia is 2-3 and hasn’t scored 24 points in any game, more than Atlanta being 1-4, more than Ryan Fitzpatrick being 18 points higher than Tom Brady in passer rating—is the Cleveland Browns. They’re fun. They’re competitive. They’ve got a quarterback out to prove the world wrong, and playing like it. They’re 2-2-1, they easily could be 4-1, and conceivably could be 5-0.
Scoring margins in the first five Browns games: 0, 3, 4, 3, 3. In the three games they lost or tied, they had the ball in opposing territory in the last minute of the fourth quarter with a chance to win. The whole year: crazytown.
I’m guessing Crazytown is a place somewhere in Ohio populated by nine-year-old Russians who wrestle bears, climate change deniers, people who don’t eat Kit-Kats one bar at a time, and the year 2018. Also, if all the Browns’ games have been so close, couldn’t they also easily be 0-5? Meaning 2-2-1 would perhaps be an accurate reflection of their abilities as a team? Is that too quasi-reasonable to mention here, Peter?
You might remember back in April, when I covered the Browns draft in Cleveland and met a two-decade season-ticket-holder named Dan Adams. So mad at the Browns’ ineptitude was this middle-aged operations manager at a hydraulics company that when his ticket invoice came in the mail last spring he photocopied his hand with the middle finger sticking up and folded up the image and sent it to the Browns with these words: 1-31 and I’m done. This one’s for you. At the last moment, he relented and bought the tickets again, for one last time he said. He just couldn’t quit his Browns.
“I just can’t quit my Browns Peter!”
“I get it Dan. It’s just like how I can’t quit calling Brett Favre for phone sex after three Allagash Whites. Like the Browns he’s a tease, the phone rings and I hear that Mississippi drawl and it’s like I’m home again, in his arms, with his stained Wranglers slung over an armchair. But it’s his voicemail. Again.”
The Cleveland Browns, the Browns Gonna Brown Browns. Dorsey talked about awakening the sleeping giant? He’s awake all right, now, and Baker Mayfield is the alarm clock.
Going to have to disagree with you Peter, Baker Mayfield wouldn’t be my first choice for a wake-up call. For one, broseph wears a headband, so you know the dude parties and sleeps in, brah. He’s also 23-years-old, has he ever even seen an alarm clock?
Next Peter slobs all over Vikings’ receiver Adam Thielen’s jock for, gasp, recovering an onside kick, before we move to thoughts around the league, including Graham Gano’s 63-yard game-winning kick for the Panthers.
Three points about this kick: Gano’s leg-swing seems almost casual; he certainly wasn’t trying to kill the ball. “I try to swing the same for short field goal as for a long one,” he said. “When you try to hit the ball too hard, you usually kick it wide.” … Thinking is optional, so as to avoid nerves. “As soon as the ball is snapped, I try to not think at all,” he said … Gano really want to attempt the kick, and didn’t want to give Rivera any reason to doubt him. “I kind of just jogged on the field, to let them know I am confident.” Gano said. “John Kasay used to do that here. If he felt good about it, he’d just start jogging on the field. On this kick, my first thought when it left my foot was, That felt good.” I should hope so. Looked like it’d have been good from 70.
Seems thinking was optional when Peter wrote this column, because he can’t have thought adding that tired commentator cliché at the end of the paragraph was a good idea.
Then this gem from Rams head coach Sean McVay on going for it on fourth and inches.
“I think the biggest thing was this: Our offensive linemen had the confidence to be able to get those six inches. I thought Jared [Goff] did an excellent job of mixing up his cadence a little bit, and I felt like he could catch them off guard. We attack success. We don’t fear failure. We want to go for the win in that situation. Getting six inches to close it out was something that we felt the percentages were in our favor.”
I’m not sure exactly when football coaches started moonlighting as Tony Robbins impersonators, but I am here for it. In this column, we attack factoids. We don’t fear weirdness. Or the residents of Crazytown.
Drew Brees will probably set a bunch of records tonight, so Peter celebrates this by giving us a quiz that only a stalker would score higher than 20% on. But there are some gems here.
Once, when I worked for the HBO “Inside the NFL” show, I went to New Orleans to do a Brees feature. We got wired for a walk-and-talk interview in Audubon Park, and as we walked his dog, the dog took a massive dump that Brees insisted he pick up himself. I’ll give you credit if you know either the name of the dog or the breed.
Look at the celebrity picking up dog shit! Just like us! Incidentally, Peter stopped doing interviews with animals after James Harrison forced Peter to pick his dog’s shit up and eat it, even though it did go down nicely with a pumpkin latte.
Which former Saints teammate and his wife rewrote their will to cede the control and upbringing of their children if they died to Drew and Brittany Brees?
Antonio Cromartie tried to pull this one on Philip Rivers (known raiser of young ‘uns), but had some trouble naming kids number seven and 12 so gave up on it.
Next is ‘What I Learned’ and a lot of uplifting stuff from Broncos tight-end Jake Butt, who’s just torn an ACL for the fourth time, and no one is happier than Peter. Dude is squeezing every last drop of #content out of this injury to an unheard-of player, including nuggets, columns and podcasts. This is why he’s a pro, milking this guy for everything he’s worth before he become totally irrelevant again.
Time for some awards.
Offensive Players of the Week
Isaiah Crowell, running back, New York Jets. He had the best game of his life and the best rushing game in Jets history. How many backs in history can say they had three runs in excess of 35 yards in one game? Crowell had 77, 54 and 36-yard runs, the long one for a first-half touchdown. Crowell’s most famous moment this season before this game had been scoring in Detroit and faux wiping his rear end with the football as if it were toilet paper. Maybe this week he can actually be known for his play.
Well, no he won’t Peter, as one that was hilarious, and two fuddy duddies like you will bring it up every time he’s newsworthy, because football is serious business. Case in point.
Goats of the Week
Mason Crosby, kicker, Green Bay. Packers lost by eight in Detroit. Crosby left an amazing 13 points off the board with his four missed field goals and one missed PAT. When your offense is beat up and has to score in the high twenties, minimum, to have a chance to win consistently, you can’t have an errant kicker. Crosby missed from 41 yards with the Packers down 7-0; then missed from 42 with the Packers down 17-0; then missed from 38 with the Packers down 17-0; then missed the PAT with the Packers down 11; then missed from 56 with the Packers down 11. You’ve really got to wonder how this game will mentally impact Crosby in the future.
I’m more concerned with how it financially impacts me to be honest. Not a good few weeks for guys called C(r)osby, but at least Mason will get a chance to split the uprights next week, whereas Bill will be having his split wide open for years to come
Peter King’s book club features a look inside American’s most under the radar team, the Dallas Cowboys.
In the Cowboys’ new office and practice facility, The Star, there’s an over-the-top draft room, with 15 TVs with 55-inch screens and every digital convenience an NFL team would need to run a draft. It’s utilitarian and opulent at the same time. Why? “We spent millions of dollars to create that room,” Cowboys EVP Jerry Jones Jr., said. “How do you justify it? You have sponsors do promotions to have fantasy football drafts. Come August, that’s a busy place for people having fantasy football drafts.” Myers writes: “Can you imagine Bill Belichick ever allowing fans into the Patriots’ draft room?” Monetize, monetize, monetize.
Have to think Peter had a big boner while writing this and imagining holding a fantasy baseball draft in there.
Houston Texans players have two kinds of water they drink around their practice facility and stadium. After workouts and practices and games, they drink Essentia, high-alkaline water that the company claims has been tested and shown to be better for rehydration than regular water. At other times—sitting in meetings, eating meals—the players are provided Smart Water, which Texans nutritionists believe is a healthy water to drink.
Two waters, to drink at different times of a player’s life. What a country.
Peter has the same routine, 14 pumpkin based-drinks for breakfast (Starbucks Pumpkin latte) and another 47 for dinner (any number of pumpkin ales, all with names like “Willow’s Meadow Pumpkin Brewsticle”). Two pumpkins, drinking them all day. What an orange shit.
King of the Road
I suppose there’s absolutely nothing to be done when, on a New York-to-San Francisco flight, the fellow behind you in coach spends more than a third of the flight sleeping and emitting occasional thunder-snores, likely caused by the kind of sleep apnea that makes breathing jagged and occasionally cacophonous, and with the side benefit of his open mouth giving off the sort of odor that I guessed could only come from some dinner and drinks late the previous evening that turned rancid overnight and rumbled up, wafting through a few rows for all to enjoy.
I wish I could have done something, anything.
Sorry to adversely affect your morning.
Stay woke, this was a reader email someone sent Peter about himself and he’s very craftily admitted to it and apologised here. Read the last two lines again. He’s truly sorry, but those Allagash Whites were too darn tasty not to drink, and Rodger Goodell’s meat too darn tempting not to devour.
Finally, things I think I think, because it’s almost 4am and I am following Peter’s lead and mailing this one in.
DeAndre Hopkins was one of my two all-pro receivers in 2017. Judging by his incredible catch and run in overtime last night against Dallas, I like his chances to repeat.
Quintessential sports writer move. “I have the power to affect player’s earnings based on my all-pro votes, and I take that responsibility so seriously that instead of watching film and gaining a deeper understanding of the league, I’ll just vote based off one exciting play!”
Play of the Day: The 104-yard interception return by Jets safety Marcus Maye … and the most amazing part of it was Denver rookie Courtland Sutton wrangling Maye down at the half-yard line. Just weird.
Tackles are weird. Guys running out of energy is weird. I’m weird. Crazytown is weird, but it has a great Starbucks.
Looks bad for the Packers. So hurt, and so reliant on the quarterback who clearly is not whole.
Peter knows how to treat Packers quarterbacks that need some (w)hole.
I think it was downright bizarre that commissioner Roger Goodell, who has been invisible to the public since last May, came out last week and praised President Trump for the new joint U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement, which allows Canadian TV to be able to sell ads to Canadian companies to air on the Super Bowl (which will make the NFL more money than if American ads ran on the Super Bowl telecast shown in Canada). The NFL finds some way to make money on this trade deal, and Goodell back-pats Trump thusly:
“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s leadership and determination in bringing about a resolution to our intellectual property issue in Canada.”
So when the president issues 38 Tweets slamming NFL players (according to USA Today), all we get is a Just ignore him; don’t inflame the unhinged president vibe from Goodell. But Trump makes the league some money, and Goodell praises his leadership and determination. What is that?
I know this is a rhetorical question, as Peter doesn’t actually want this answered (if he did he has Goodell’s umber), but I’ll do it for him: It’s par for the course. Cash rules everything around me.
Beernerdness: It’s Sober October again. I hesitate to write, “It’s Sober October again!” because it’s not exactly a barrel of fun. I do like beer and wine. But this is your big chance. You can write this section of the column for the next four Mondays, and maybe longer. Send your name, where you live and a beer you love, with a no-more-than-50-word review. Put “Beer” in the subject line. Thanks.
Will be spending A LOT of oy October crafting the perfectly quasi weirdish factoids for this section. Wish me luck. Also, ultimate finesse move to get other people to write parts of your column. Peter already has a large section just filled with quotes and a letters section. Pretty soon things I think I think will be outsourced to a New Delhi call centre.
The Adieu Haiku
Falcons. August faves.
One and four. Half the D hurt.
Ouch. Wait till next year.
Beer. Peter King’s muse.
Forty-four. Thrown down the hatch.
Ouch. Allagash burps.