This Week In Nuggetry: Week Seven

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.

Writing this blog every week has given me a great ability to withstand rambling bullshit, which is becoming somewhat useful in my personal life. Perhaps I’m, gasp, building up a tolerance to Peter King’s garbage? Will I soon be chortling along with his inane travel anecdotes, as I sip a pumpkin spice latte while taking my morning shit? God, I hope not.

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https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/10/22/ravens-justin-tucker-nfl-fmia-week-7-peter-king/

We kick off with a kicker missing a kick, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Sunday’s edition featured Justin Tucker shaking what would have been a game-tying extra point, condemning the Ravens to a 24-23 defeat to the Saints.

After the game, in the quiet Ravens’ locker room, Tucker approached VP of public relations Chad Steele and asked quietly: “Hey, can I do the podium?” Usually, coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco appeared at the post-game podium in front of a room of reporters. In a case like this, reporters would see Tucker at his locker. But he knew the size of this moment, and he knew there’d be a demand.

“I want to face it,” Tucker told Steele.

If Peter had any say, his Medal of Honour would be in the mail. Bravely standing up on a podium to take your savaging from a gaggle of sports writers, each hungry for their pound of kicker flesh? Eat your heart out Pat Tillman.

In 2007, as a 17-year-old high school senior in Texas, Justin Tucker was 40-for-40 on his extra-point tries. From 2008 through 2011, at the University of Texas, Tucker was 71-for-71. And as the sun was setting in Baltimore on Sunday, Tucker, as an NFL kicker from 2012 to 2018, was 245-for-245 in professional regular-season and playoff games.

So, basically since Tucker began shaving, he had jogged onto the field 356 times and never missed a PAT.

Is the ability to grow facial hair a performance enhancer? Sure does look like it. Would certainly explain why Tony Romo never won anything.

He said from the podium: “If I was ever going to teach my son or any young person about accountability, I felt it was important that I stand up and answer any question you might have.”

As soon as he said this, every sports writer in the room enjoyed their strongest erection since they encountered the buffet at the first game they ever covered with accreditation. Nothing gets those folks harder than being told how important they are. Apart from free bagels.

I don’t often write about kickers at the top of my column. I might be able to count on one finger when I have.

Look, I’m not going to go back and prove him wrong. But he is. Trust me. Peter is damn reactionary that there’s no way he hasn’t led with a kicker a bunch of times. They literally perform the last noteworthy action of a huge amount of games, so of course he’s going to write about them! Dude has the memory of a goldfish, for real.

Stories of Week 7

Imagine the surprise of those people in Baton Rouge

The starting quarterback of the Houston Texans, Deshaun Watson, walked into Fleming’s in Baton Rouge for a late dinner Friday night, four hours into his 13.5-hour trip from Houston to Jacksonville on Interstate 10. The team didn’t want to risk aggravating painful lung/rib injuries. So he bused with two drivers, a Texans trainer, a team security official, and director of sports performance Luke Richesson, watching some tape, some TV, getting stretched, and sleeping. They arrived at their Jacksonville hotel at 9 a.m. Saturday. “I felt good today, so I guess it was the right call,” he said. (He also bused home Sunday night and Monday morning.)

The Texans have a short week before facing Miami on Thursday night. Assuming Watson does not re-aggravate the chest area, he should be back on the Texans charter for the 1,000-mile trip to Denver in 12 days

I just know Peter is DIEING to write an entire 6,000-word piece about the nuances of a starting quarterback travelling by bus. It has much of what the man loves, the minutiae of travel, football and weirdness.

Jags should make a hard run at Eli Manning

He may seem mild-mannered, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Blake Bortles throttles Peter to death, as I think these might be the most insulting nine words in the English language.

Los Angeles stadium drama

The Chargers are going to sell incredibly reasonable tickets for the L.A. market, but that’s not making everyone happy. The way this new stadium works: The Rams sell tickets separately from the Chargers. Rams owner Stan Kroenke foots the bill to build the place (about $3.1 billion), and owner Dean Spanos of the Chargers forks over all personal seat license fees to Kroenke. Spanos announced last week that the upper deck in the new Rams/Chargers stadium, opening in 2020, will have $100 personal-seat licenses per seat, plus tickets ranging from $50 to $90 per game. In today’s economy, that is stunningly reasonable. But Kroenke, I am told, never thought the PSL fees the Chargers would announce would be so low. The Rams were thinking the Chargers’ contribution to the stadium through PSL fees would be near $400 million. Now the Rams think they’ll be lucky to see $150 million out of Charger PSLs. That could mean another big chunk for Kroenke to pay. “The math in the stadium is starting to erode,” said one official with knowledge of both team’s financial dealings.

Look at it this way. Say you want to buy one season ticket with a PSL in a prime section in the upper deck for each team. For the Rams, that could cost $5,000 for the PSL and $120 per ticket per game for the 10-game season. Initial investment for year one for a Rams seat: $6,200. Initial investment for a Chargers seat, including the PSL and the ticket cost at $90 per seat: $1,000. Let’s say you’re not a Rams fan, but you’re an NFL fan. You say, “I can get a pair or tickets to the new stadium, including PSLs, in a good spot of the upper deck for $2,000 for the season?” The Chargers, in this scenario, could actually take business away from the Rams because their upper-deck tickets will be in some cases one-sixth the cost. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this plays out—and to see if the Chargers, even with these advantages, can come close to selling out their games in 2020.

People in Los Angeles are renowned for their lack of disposable income, do there’s no way a sizeable amount of people will pay more for Rams tickets. Oh, and ”interesting” is not a word I would use to describe how the Rams-Chargers ticketing conundrum plays out over the next two years.

We’ve got some love for Andy Reid here, which is also going to make it into my breakdown, you sly fox Peter.

Reid has been the guiding force and teacher, first for Alex Smith and now for Mahomes, who breaks a new touchdown record almost every week.

Andy Reid is definitely the kind of teacher who takes a cigarette break every 20 minutes, but instead of coming back smelling like tobacco it’s barbeque sauce and riblets he reeks of.

Now for some good old fashioned pearl-clutching about Vontaze Burfict and ‘dirty’ hits. Personally, I think the only real dirty hits we need to worry about are the hits Peter’s Sunday night shit puts on the toilet bowl in whatever hotel he’s staying in, but that’s just me.

When Burfict does this, he needs to be taken off the field, for multiple games. I don’t care if there’s going to be a knock-down fight with the union over it. This is about principle. To spend millions and to mandate for the first time ever that players must wear models of helmets approved by stringent NFL/NFLPA codes, and then allow Burfict to stay on the field after what he did and (apparently) said? What about the next time? Does any thinking person believe Burfict will never do this again? In a time of great concern about head injuries, the NFL is playing with fire here, allowing the dirtiest player in football to get away with a sanction of half a game check.

It’s almost like the NFL doesn’t really care about head injuries and is just covering all the bases to avoid further lawsuits. But that can’t be it, as surely such a respected journalist as Peter would have uncovered or at least explored such a heinous conspiracy.

Sunday in SoCal

On the sporting calendar Sunday in southern California, you’ll find these six major-league games in six hours, provided there is not a World Series sweep:

12:30 p.m., Los Angeles. Hockey: Rangers at Kings.
1:25 p.m., Los Angeles. Football: Packers at Rams.
1:30 p.m., Carson. Soccer: Dynamo at Galaxy.
5 p.m., Anaheim. Hockey: Sharks at Ducks.
5:09 p.m., Los Angeles. Baseball: Red Sox at Dodgers (Game 5, if necessary).
6:30 p.m., Los Angeles. Basketball: Wizards at Clippers.

Weird. In a country obsessed with sport, many sporting events take place on the same day in one area. Really makes you think. I think.

Defensive Players of the Week

Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Los Angeles Rams. Looked like Donald was playing against a juco team Sunday at Levi’s Stadium, but it was a real NFL unit. (Though the Niners are battered a bit.) Donald had a stat line he might have three or four times in a career: nine tackles, 4 sacks (for 29 yards), two other tackles for loss, one more quarterback hit, a forced fumble, a fumble recovered. If there was ever any doubt about the size of Donald’s contract, doubt it no more. He’s worth it. All of it.

Peter spends a lot of time thinking about the size of NFL players’ “contracts”. Rumour has it Brett Favre leaked his to Peter in 2008 by sending him a floppy disk through the mail. Peter was disappointed, he had hoped for a hard drive, capable of going deep into the end zone, as it were.

Melvin Ingram, defensive end, Los Angeles Chargers. The somnambulant Titans offense can usually be relied on for one thing—not throwing a pick in the red zone.

Peter can certainly be relied on to make me feel somnambulant. Look it up. Don’t worry, I had to as well, because it’s a terrible choice of word.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Chandler Catanzaro, kicker, Tampa Bay. Seriously: I just block-saved the “Chandler Catanzaro goat entry” and inserted it here and wrote a new top!

I feel like he’s openly mocking me now by freely admitting he’s just pasting old work in here.

Quotes of the Week

“He sold us out.”

—Carolina safety and staunch Kaepernick supporter Eric Reid, on Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the two heads of the NFL’s Players Coalition, after their contentious meeting on the field in Philadelphia on Sunday. To simplify: Reid thinks Jenkins got into bed with the NFL by taking more than $80 million from the league to help players with social-justice issues.

Shock horror that Peter is taking the side of the guy who got into bed with the NFL. However, he’s probably mildly worried there won’t be enough room for all three of them in there.

“I really don’t like water. You get that stomach feeling. It’s all slushy.”

Odell Beckham Jr., who has been prone to dehydration as a pro.

That stomach feeling, all slushy. Is that the feeling you get when you drink any liquid? Or is that just water?

Peter is actually asking here as all he drinks are pale ales and thick coffees. Answers on a postcard, please.

Numbers Game

I’m no fantasy football expert, and if you’ve followed me over the years, you know I stink at the game. But I’d guess if your league drafted sometime around the middle of August, Le’Veon Bell would have been a top-three pick, even with him holding out, and Leonard Fournette a top-10 pick.

Undrafted Minnesota fullback C.J. Ham of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., would not have been drafted. At all. Anywhere.

Through seven weeks, Bell (still a holdout) and Fournette (bugged by a bad hamstring since opening day) have totaled 9.0 fantasy points.

Ham, in Week 3, totaled 9.7 points against Buffalo. 

Certainly no expert if he thinks it’s noteworthy that a guy who plays scores more points than two who don’t.

King of the Road

One last tale from my trip to San Francisco last week for the birth of my granddaughter Hazel: One morning when the baby was still in the nursery, the hospital aide in charge of birth certificates came into the room. She’d been doing the birth certificates for most births at the hospital for 13 years.

“What are the most interesting names you’ve put on birth certificates?” I asked.

I think she’d been waiting for this question for about 12.5 years.

One woman, giving birth to her ninth child—and final one, she stressed—wanted to name the baby Da’Last. She got talked out of it.

Two stories with Asian couples who did not speak English but wanted to bestow American names on their children. One wanted to name the son Hymen; that got changed to Edward when they learned their original name might cause the young boy some consternation later in life. The other couple wanted to name the son Movies, because, as they explained, they loved watching movies together. That couple got talked into Jack, because they both liked Jack Nicholson.

Here’s a good one: A police officer and his wife picked an interesting middle name for their newborn daughter.

Crimefighter.

That one stuck.

I wish this was Da’Last Peter King column I have to read. These days to read them I have to get hella HighMan and all that makes me want to do is watch Movies where way down in somewhere like Jack-son Mississippi a Crimefighter tries to solve a case.

Also, no surprise Peter figured this lady had been waiting for his incredibly insightful question for more than a decade.

The next section features a sizeable chunk of words on sleeping patterns. I don’t have the heart to repeat it here, for tis too painfully on brand and cliched for Peter to force you to have to endure it also.

Brace yourself, we’ve arrived at things I think I think.

There is no question the first possession of Saints-Ravens was the strangest drive of this season: 20 plays, 71 yards, in 10:03, with no points scored … But do you know why it had more than a little significance for the Saints, aside from the no points? This was a quarter when the Ravens had the wind with them—and the Saints basically obliterated the time of possession in it. That’s an edge.

Weather, clock management, special teams. All things sports writers do a great job of pretending are just as important as points.

I guess the agent for DeVante Parker is royally ticked off by the wideout’s treatment there, and I guess Parker now will squarely be on the block prior to the trading deadline. “Something smells in Miami,” said agent Jimmy Gould, who represents the benched Parker.

And it’s not just the deaf fish and hookers! Hiyoooooo! I’ll get my coat.

Remember that rule that took effect a few months ago (seems like a few years ago) that mandated a penalty when one player lowered his helmet and hit a foe with the helmet? It’s gone now. Never called. Watch the hit inside of two minutes Sunday in Philadelphia, with linebacker Nigel Bradham hitting Cam Newton, helmet-to-helmet. Sure looked like it violated that ancient rule that has disappeared.

Damn Peter, you salty! Probably wrote thousands of word on said rule change, and is pissed it was a giant waste of time. But damn Peter, I like it when you sound like Regina George.

I think if I were Indianapolis GM Chris Ballard, I’d be tempted to go hard after Le’Veon Bell, but making a trade happen is going to be next to impossible. Even if the Colts could make a decent offer for Bell and pry him away from Pittsburgh, Indy can’t sign him this season because the rules say a traded franchise-tag player has to play on that tag for the season. Without being able to sign him long-term this year, the Colts would have no leverage to sign him before the start of free-agency next March. Why would Bell do a deal without having the chance to see what the market is for his services? And the Colts, in that case, would likely franchise or transition-tag Bell, putting them right where the Steelers were this year.

Now, maybe Bell would take a deal with Indy before testing the market again next March. Maybe. But without any guarantee they could keep Bell beyond this year—at least without any guarantee they could keep him and he’d be happy in 2019 when possibly he’d be franchised again—it’s not a risk Ballard should take. Particularly when the Colts are almost certainly not making a playoff run this year.

Classic space filler here, positing the idea a team should make a trade, then spending 100 words on why there’s no realistic way it would work for either team of the player.

I think I’ve gotten into podcasts in the past couple of years

Unlike Troy Aikman.

I think my favorite [Paul] Allen story is … well, there are two. One: I never met him. He owned the Seahawks for the last 21 years, and he rarely came to league meetings, but I saw him a few times there, and at the party where Jerry Jones was feted for making the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Houston a couple of years ago, and in the locker room in New Jersey after the Seahawks won their Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium … but he was just a private guy who rarely engaged those on this side of the pen.

Never met the guy, but still your favourite story about him revolves around you? Well, I guess when you drink three gallons of sugary coffee a day lots of things revolve around you. Like planets.

The Adieu Haiku

On the Vrabel call …
I am fine with the guts. Not
so much with the call.

Deceit unpunished?

No. Long runs the fox. Lamping.

It’s easy with tools

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