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.
Before we dive into any nuggets, I want to take a minute to talk to you about our lord and saviour Hue Jackson, who hath been taken from us too soon. No other coach lost so spectacularly and as often without being fired (until now). He could turn wins into ties, Gatorade showers into dips in Lake Erie and Todd Haley into a sympathetic character. The man simply performed miracles on a week to week basis, just by continuing to stay employed. Praise him.
Now for some less serious businesses and this week’s nuggets.
LOS ANGELES — When you’re undefeated, you need some luck along the way. The Rams’ luck Sunday was Ty Montgomery, two yards deep in the end zone, choosing to run the ball out—instead of giving the ball to one of the best quarterbacks ever at his 25 with two minutes left, needing just a field goal to win. Montgomery fumbled. Rams recovered. Wisconsin threw a brick through its collective TV set. Game over.
I’m not an American, so there’s lots I don’t know about the country of AR15s and hamburgers. Including that states have collective TV sets. I imagine Florida’s only shows re-runs of ‘Cops’, Alabama watches the Christian Broadcasting Network and California only gets HBO.
So … were you watching Sunday? What a tremendous game in a tremendous setting, the 95-year-old Coliseum with the classic peristyles, with a quarterback certain to go down in history waiting for one more shot to win that never came. And the atmosphere. When the Packers came out of the ancient tunnel where so many of the greats in football history have entered, it sounded like Lambeau West—truly, maybe louder than if this game had been at Lambeau Field. “I didn’t really expect that in L.A., but that crowd was fantastic,” Aaron Rodgers said.
I’m convinced Rodgers delivered this line dead-pan to Peter and the poor old bastard couldn’t hear the sarcasm and shade dripping out of Rodgers’ mouth. LA, a bad sports town? You don’t say.
But that should not obscure what else we saw in the 29-27 L.A. victory. Namely this: The Rams are not going anywhere.
Maybe back to St Louis once they suck again and the good people of Los Angeles decide an extra few hours at Sunday brunch tops football. But until then, going nowhere!
The Lead: Gurley
As the NFL reaches its midpoint, the 8-0 Rams and 7-1 Chiefs are the headliners. They meet three weeks from tonight, in Mexico City. We’ll have time to blow out that story.
A blow out in Mexico City you say? And Todd Haley has just been fired you say? I smell a consulting role being filled in Kansas City or LA shortly.
Peter then spends a huge chunk of words talking about a shallow cross play anyone that’s ever picked up a Madden NFL videogame will know, but this gem is worth noting.
McVay, afterward, didn’t want to give away the store, but he did tell me, “That was by design.” Of course it was. So many things the Rams do are by design, ghost-like maneuvers you don’t see clearly but when they’re over, you wonder, “How’d that happen?”
When many Peter King columns are over I wonder how he has his job. Is he really asking coaches if the plays they run are designed? Perhaps drawn up on some kind of board? Maybe then arranged into a binder or book, full of strategies, or plays? What mysteries will Peter unlock next week? Politicians kiss babies for the photo op, not because they love the smell of talcum powder?
The Rolex Play
So we shouldn’t go crazy in praising a player for getting down in-bounds and giving up a touchdown for the good of the team, when the clock can be run out. We won’t. But it’s worth pointing out because it illustrates a lot about how symphonic this team is, and how the players and coaches listen and learn.
We won’t go crazy, but we will lead off our column with it and dedicate 500 words minimum to a guy deciding to fall down. Rest assured though, every old curmudgeon sports writer in America got a warm, gooey feeling in their pants when they saw Gurley take a dive and fantasy football nerds and gamblers the world over screamed in anguish.
Next some trade rumours, including the bad idea that won’t go away, kind of like Hue Jackson (RIP).
The Giants could deal cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who still has some value despite inconsistent play and being owed $3.5 million for the rest of this year with an $11.15-million-salary-plus-roster-bonus deal next year, per Over The Cap. They’d like to keep their young offensive core together. Eli Manning? It makes too much sense to deal him to Jacksonville for a pittance in the wake of another poor performance by Blake Bortles on Sunday in London, but there’s no indication Manning would waive his no-trade clause.
Makes far too much sense to trade for a man who looks like a World War 2 veteran having a flashback to D Day every time he drops back to pass. You can’t spell ‘past it’ without PTSD. Sort of.
The End for Jameis?
This could be the end for Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay. I’m not saying it is, or it will be for sure.
Way to drop your nuts on the table, Peter.
Skipping over a few sections (including reams of talk from a kicker, after Peter said last week he rarely writes about them, clearly he meant he gets them to write for him), we arrive at awards, including one for Jameis Winston for GOAT of the week.
Jameis Winston, quarterback, Tampa Bay. In the game that well could be his Waterloo as the Bucs’ long-term quarterback, Winston had his fifth straight multiple-interception game, throwing four in the 37-34 loss to Cincinnati. It’ll be a surprise if Ryan Fitzpatrick does not re-take the starting job this week when the Bucs face Carolina in Charlotte.
Mamma Mia, here Jameis goes again. In the pocket he’s not exactly a Dancing Queen and when he throws the ball defenders scream Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! In the NFL, The Winner Takes It All, that’s The Name Of The Game, so it’s Fitzmagic time once again.
Quotes of the Week
“They call me Big Balls Dickson.”
—Seahawks punter Michael Dickson, after running a fake punt—that started in his end zone—for nine yards and a first down late in the 28-14 win over Detroit.
They would call you cut if you hadn’t made it. Stay in your lane, punters.
Average time of the last five Super Bowls (usually the longest game of the year): 3 hours, 39 minutes. Double that, and it’s 7 hours, 18 minutes.
Time of World Series Game 3: 7 hours, 20 minutes.
This weekend featured a seven-hour baseball game and somehow that 37-word nugget was more boring. Bravo.
Tom Brady wore a T-shirt to his weekly press conference the other day with one word on the front:
Tyreek Hill plans to dress as a sumo wrestler for Halloween.
Would pay good money to see Tom Brady preach about resistance bands, avocados and abstaining from carbs to a stable of Japanese sumo wrestlers. I would also pay good money to see one of said wrestlers sit on Tyreek Hill.
King of the Road
So I had an interesting Friday night.
I doubt it, but go on.
I had tickets to Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night, the day before Rams-Packers, and with a Nor’easter due in New York late Friday night, I switched my flight from Saturday morning (when it could have been delayed or canceled) to a Friday connection, taking off at 6 p.m. from LaGuardia through Atlanta to Los Angeles. I theorized I’d be able to see Game 3 on the planes and during the layover.
Should have trusted my gut that told me that this would be some baseball-travel gibberish that only someone who makes a living complaining about travel would find interesting.
After paragraph after paragraph detailing all of Peters movements (mercifully not bowel ones) and some more waffle, we move on to things I think I think.
I’m sorry to have not seen much at all of the Saints’ revenge trip to Minnesota on Sunday night. But what really struck me was what a different game the Saints had to play to win, with just 120 yards passing.
Because why watch the NFL when there’s baseball going down? It’s not like you’re paid to cover one of the two games or anything.
The Browns and Steelers are incapable of playing an aesthetically pleasing game.
Nuggets like these are exactly whey the NFL employs cheerleaders, and TV directors no longer cutting to them and giving sports writers their fill of skin each Sunday is making them crankier and crankier. If we’re not careful, they may start looking at the NFL’s actions critically before long due to sheer boredom.
Another good rookie corner? Green Bay first-rounder Jaire Alexander. He looked really good against a really good Rams receiving corps.
Really good command of the English language.
No, major league baseball should not abandon extra innings, or modify baseball overtime. Game 3 of the World Series will be discussed for decades. It’ll be Game 6 of the ’86 Series for a new generation—even though I doubt much of that new generation saw it.
Many of the things wrong with baseball in two sentences. Young people might not be watching, but god forbid we do anything to try and shorten the ludicrously long games and get them interested!
Facebook Post of the Week: From a grieving bookstore owner in Maine, on his friend and benefactor Paul Allen.
Smart move by Peter, burying the debut of this section deep into the column. Before long the entire thing will be comprised of other people’s social media postings. Outsourcing, it’s not just for telecoms firms.
Coffeenerdness: The NFL Network studio sent along some coffee as part of a promotion for its hosts, with Rich Eisen and Co., all having their own blends. I ground some beans and tried two of them—the Eisen blend and the Michael Irvin blend. Irvin will not be pleased to know his coffee is some weak stuff. But the Eisen roast is pretty good—semi-dark and rich. Thanks, Rich.
This is close to the nastiest rich guy burn I’ve ever seen, just behind slating someone’s craft beer or their left to right putting. Brutal.
For those interested in Peter King history,
They say write for an audience of one, and Peter still writes for his grandmother. Adorable and simultaneously creepy.
The Adieu Haiku
Good Pack day, in all.
But there are no moral wins.
Lord! Take a knee, Ty!
Goodbye, sweet, sweet Hue
Lose or tie, we were with you
And your shiny head