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.
Oh boy. A 43-40 Sunday night game is bound to bring out the worst in Peter King. Numbers, factoids and weirdness (did I hear someone say scorigami?) galore. He’s normally wired up enough from having a Starbucks drip inserted in his arm, but the Patriots-Chiefs madness adds an extra dimension of gibberish into the equation. Buckle up.
“Ain’t gonna be no rematch.”
—Apollo Creed, spent, after 15 rounds against Rocky Balboa, 1976.
FOXBORO, Mass. — Well, America wanted a rematch four decades ago, and, against Apollo’s better judgment, America got “Rocky II.” If we’re lucky, we’ll get a Chiefs-Patriots rematch too, but we won’t have to wait as long. Three months, actually. The AFC Championship Game is 13 weeks away.
Coming in hot with quotes from fictional characters, way to stay on topic. Though picturing Pat Mahomes screaming “Adriaaaaan!” as lough as his squeaky little voice could take him is quite amusing.
Peter then notes the thing he found most interesting was the Chiefs weren’t devastated by a week six loss.
“The 40 we got could have been in the fifties if we executed better,” tackle Mitchell Schwartz said.
Andy Reid felt the same about his post-game wings order (ribs are for victories).
Third-and-goal from the Chiefs’ 4-yard line, 5:32 left in the game, Chiefs up 33-30. After watching the replay six or eight times, this sticks out: Kansas City rushes three and drops eight into coverage. Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton did something I’ve never seen before—assuming I saw what I think I saw.
Things I assume I saw I saw has the makings of a whole new section of this column. Could feature porn Peter watched through one eye, TV shows he turns on for 30 seconds and makes a snap judgement about, and his observations from a 10-minute walk through New York in 3D glasses every Friday at midnight. Would be better that lots of this garbage.
I don’t recall ever seeing a defense double three men on one play, but Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton—who gets a ton of respect from the Patriots—doesn’t play by everyone else’s rules.
Maybe he should start playing by everyone else’s rules, as his defence is on pace to be the worst in NFL history. Bet he won’t though, that Bob Sutton is such a bad boy.
Of course, on this play in particular Tom Brady ran in for a touchdown (I may or may not have pounded a hole in my chest celebrating), so maybe doubling everyone wasn’t a good call? But what do I know.
Who does this? Who devotes six men to three of the opposition? Sutton did, and it almost worked. But Brady, who has a ton of one-yard sneaks for scores, rarely runs near the goal line from any length like this one. He dove (Gisele had to be covering her eyes) and made it.
Covering them with fair trade, organic, free range, Montessori-educated cucumbers, obviously.
Third quarter, :56 left: Tyreek Hill TD catch. Pats, 27-26.
Fourth quarter, 10:22 left: Gostkowski field goal. Pats, 30-26.
Fourth quarter, 8:38 left: Hill TD catch. Chiefs 33-30.
Fourth quarter, 5:25 left: Brady TD run. Pats, 37-33.
Fourth quarter, 3:15 left: Gostkowski field goal. Pats, 40-33.
Fourth quarter, 3:03 left: Hill TD catch. Tie, 40-40.
Fourth quarter, :00 left: Gostkowski field goal. Pats, 43-40.
Seventeen total scores. No punts in the first 56 minutes. Brady, 41, and Mahomes, 23, dueling to the end. Total offense: 946 yards.
The Chiefs have played New England three times in the last five regular seasons, and scored 41, 42 and 40 points.
We want more.
More lists of stats and drive by drive recaps everyone reading this column will have watched? Because that’s what Peter’s serving up.
That and random nuggets of course.
Tyreek Hill is not normal. The Patriots knew he was Mahomes’ big target, and they stressed internally not to let him beat them. But he scored three touchdowns in the last 16 minutes, on TD catches of 14, one and 75 yards. “He’s by far the fastest person I’ve ever come in contact with,” Harmon said.
Dude has get away from the cops speed. Which is something Patriots have struggled with recently.
Next Peter dives into the Chargers’ travel schedule over the next month or so. How can anyone be so interested in travel itineraries that don’t concern them? If he weren’t too long-winded to help anyone in a crisis I’d suggest Peter become an air traffic controller.
Across the pond now for a look at the NFL’s popularity in the land of Brexit jargons and weekly royal weddings. Quasi-weirdness means quasi-weirdness.
A couple of other notes about international football: Remember that NFL owners, and the commissioner’s office, are all about growing the pie. So the NFL is going to act in the interest of expanding, doing something different—and making a boatload of money on it. That means a franchise in London. Or two.
In London pies are filled with meat, so Jerry Jones could be in for a shock when he sticks his finger in it in search of gloryhole.
I wasn’t wrong when I said Peter was set for a big performance here. The next combination combines name-dropping (Joe Buck), travel schedules and baseball. Truly, Peter King’s Sistine Chapel. Complete with coffee rings, cum-stained Amtrak timetables and signed baseball cards stuck all over the walls.
The baseball guys enjoyed talking about the football guys. Buck told Dodgers manager Dave Roberts that when playing against Carolina NFL offensive coordinators are consumed with where Luke Kuechly will be on every play, and he wondered if Roberts felt that same about Brewers strikeout machine Josh Hader influencing middle and late innings. “No doubt,” Roberts told him.
Again, no expert here, but isn’t it pretty easy to figure out where baseball players are? Seeing as they move slower than Rob Gronkowski spells and they’re built like Jared Lorenzon.
Next more love for Drew Brees, this time from his coach Sean Payton, who should love him, as Brees has undeservedly kept him in a job for years. Kind of like idiots like me hate-reading Peter King’s writing, except Drew Brees makes 20 million a year. Onto awards.
Goat of the Week
Nathan Peterman, quarterback, Buffalo. Two interceptions in the final 90 seconds of a tie game in Houston, the first one giving the Texans a pick-six by Jonathan Joseph, and the second a desperado last gasp with 30 seconds left by Kareem Jackson. Texans 20, Bills 13, and Peterman’s first two NFL seasons continue to be an arduous exercise in personal torture.
Kind of like getting angry at an ageing football writer for using the same tired clichés and analogies constantly. A tiger can’t change its stripes, and a Peterman can’t retain possession. It’s just in his nature.
Meh quotes of the week, although be sure to check out a Bengals player being ridiculously overconfident (surprising I know). Onto Numbers game, and Peter is emptying his holster.
Haplessness of Ryan Tannehill Dept.
Ryan Tannehill has missed 20 of the last 25 Miami games with injuries.
In pro football, ability is important. Availability is paramount. And this is a bad sign—to me—for Tannehill’s long-term future. He’s struggling to play competently and beat good teams anyway. But how can you rely on a guy who plays far and away the most important position on the field when he’s absent for so many games, the latest of which came Sunday against Chicago?
That’s a depressing department to work in. Can’t imagine even casual Friday improves morale in that office place. Anyway, can’t make the club in the tub, Ryan. You hurt or injured? Remember, pain is just weakness leaving body.
Factoidness with some humdingers too this week.
This sounds crazy, but I believe it to be true: From fourth grade till the end of his North Dakota State academic career, Carson Wentz never got a grade lower than an A.
He told me so at the combine in 2016, that when he grew up in Bismarck, N.D., he started getting letter grades in fourth grade. “If I am given a task,” he told me then, “I’m going to do it with 110 percent of my ability. I was trying to be the best I can be at everything so that’s how I applied myself to academics. I came close a couple of times [to a B], got a couple of low A’s, but I pulled it out in the end and it’s still an A.”
I wrote this in February 2016, so you may recall that. I don’t mean to be recycling my stuff here; I mention that because watching how he conducts himself, how he answers questions by trying to be helpful but not ever really giving away what could be a state secret, and listening to those who have coached him with the Eagles, he’s got the worker-bee tendencies and the intelligence to handle whatever the coaches and this big league have thrown at him.
“Now you might say I’m filling space with a crafty use of my copy and paste skills, and you’d be right, but here’s an extra paragraph explaining just why I did it, thereby pumping up the word count even further,” gloats Peter. The man should teach university students. I certainly could have used some advice on how to write page after page of gibberish with minimal effort.
There is a Baker Mayfield Browns jersey in the locker of Milwaukee Brewers MVP candidate Christian Yelich. They got to be pals working out at the same southern California facility last winter.
Huh. Young American men own sports jerseys. How weird? Some of them even play sports as well as enjoy watching them? What a country.
Skipping ahead to King of the Road, Peter also manages to fit in some ill-informed social commentary. I think we just need a first-hand account of a Bruce Springsteen concert to complete my Peter King bingo card.
No catcalling postings, painted into sidewalks in their neighborhood, strike me as so progressive and important these days, and that yelling sexist and sexual crap at women is not okay. And the library … sharing books, for free, is something we should encourage at a time when we veer altogether toward the phone and away from the printed page. I realize San Francisco has so many issues now, and homelessness is an epidemic. Cities can’t get everything right. I know nothing about the politics of the place. I just know when I visit there I feel like I’m visiting an enlightened city, a beautiful city, that is trying.
Hey, it’s got some issues, but I saw a couple of things I liked so I declare this city enlightened. Like saying “Well, I know the Catholic church has had its issues, but goodness isn’t it great they have a no fucking boys sign?” Also, I’m not sure dudes who catcall women are the type to be put off by an artsy sign. But what do I know, I’m not enlightened.
Things I think I think is here, and we’ve almost made it out alive.
Blake Bortles, quarterbacking roller coaster. He’s in a pretty big dip now, to put it mildly.
The Jaguars should trade for Nick Foles, as sentences like this would be a lot easier to make jokes about for me.
Like the black-jersey, teal-pant look, Jags. Really like it. Now, as far as how you played in them, that’s a different story.
“That Blake Bortles, he’s so hot right now. He just needs to get that big dip out his system and show everyone on this runway his best Teal Steel look.”
Said it before. Still on my clipboard. Will use it again.
Julio Jones: 69 targets, zero touchdowns. That has to be the weirdest stat of 2018.
Except something similar happened last year? Also, a 69 is generally guaranteed to end up in a big fat oooooooooooooo, so we shouldn’t be surprised.
I think I cannot imagine how the first six weeks of the season could have gone worse for Jon Gruden.
Peter clearly isn’t very imaginative and can’t picture the misery Gruden is going through in an alternate universe where audio of his commentary and TV appearances is permanently piped into his ears. This guy, I call him anal sex, because if it keeps going longer than 15 minutes, you’ll probably do permanent damage.
I think I don’t want to always seem like the old man telling young people to get off my lawn, but good for the Giants, fining Odell Beckham Jr., according to Jay Glazer, for Beckham’s comments to ESPN last week about Eli Manning and the state of the offense and the team. It’s absurd that, five weeks after signing a $95-million deal and becoming the highest-paid receiver in league history he feels some need to tell America he’s not being used right and he’s not sure about Eli Manning as his quarterback. By the way, the more I see highlights of that interview with Beckham and the laconic Lil (What Am I Doing Here) Wayne, the more I wonder: How did Josina Anderson keep a straight face through that thing?
It would be kind of absurd if he was sure about Manning being his quarterback though. He can’t be, seeing as none of his passes go near Giants players.
Football Sentence of the Week: From Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, reporting that the Bengals no-commented JuJu Smith-Schuster simulating the blindside block that concussed Vontaze Burfict of the Bengals in a touchdown celebration—and also no-commented whether Burfict would seek revenge for it Sunday (which he apparently did not):
“Both questions, courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Dehner, Jr., are the biggest elephants in a room jam packed with raging large mammals in this heated rivalry unspoken with issues.”
I read you, Hobson. You can’t get away with a classic like that without me seeing it.
If a sports writer concocts an over the top sentence that should never have made it past his editor in the words and Peter King doesn’t comment, did it make a sound?
How did I miss the story about LSU defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, making an average of $2.5 million a year? That’s a pretty big wow. I bet $2.5 million a year goes a long way in the Baton Rouge economy.
This just in, big time college football coaches get paid well. Helps that the players don’t have to be paid at all of course.
Remember Jamal Khashoggi.
A touching tribute: three lines right at the bottom of your football column. It’s what he would have wanted.
The Adieu Haiku
Football in London.
A franchise will come. My guess:
Has King stayed sober?
Allagash is calling him
Give me sixty-nine