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.
The fatigue of mid-season is hitting hard here at Sneaky Funny HQ so we’ll be keeping things short this week. Hopefully Peter King will do us all a favour and do the same, except somehow I doubt a man who is proud of writing 4,000 words on ONE play is capable of even quasi-brevity.
FOXBORO, Mass. — The top of this column is going to have Rupert Murdoch and Mick Jagger and John Lennon and Alex Cora and Vince Lombardi in it, and the anti-Patriot faction is just going to hate it.
Holy irrelevant name-dropping Batman! It’s almost like a 60-something year old white man learned about SEO for the first time and figured these were the names bound to produce more traffic.
That’s what I call a tease!
For the love of all that’s holy, do yourself a favour and don’t imagine Peter King teasing in a sexual manner like I just did. I think the though of him wearing anything other than old man whitewash Wrangler jeans just made me infertile.
Last December, when the franchise was being Wickershamed with the end-is-near storyline of a dying dynasty, it seemed hard to imagine the team would make an eighth Super Bowl this century and spend the next year seriously contending for a ninth. But here we are, with new stars we never saw coming, for a franchise on which new stars are an annual way of life.
Huh. It’s almost as if writing explosive “investigative” reports about the Patriots and publishing them on the eve of the playoffs is bound to generate clicks and attention, regardless of their accuracy. Who’d a thunk they’d survive being “Wickershamed”, which sounds like something they do in rural Pennsylvania to Amish boys that eat the last cheese curd.
“What’s different about this year?” I asked owner Robert Kraft in his office two hours before the game. “What’s new?”
Kraft, 77, struggled to answer, because he couldn’t think of anything exactly new or different. But he answered in a bit of a different way.
“There are two people I know accomplishing far more than people their age would normally accomplish. [News Corp. CEO] Rupert Murdoch—he’s a guy going on 88, and he’s still making brilliant business deals. I know guys 10 years younger than me who are just hanging on till retirement. And there’s Tommy, who’s still playing great football at 41, and he’s going to keep going. Forty-one, and three Super Bowls in the last four years, and he’s still going.
“What these two men have accomplished, it’s just sick. They defy the normal rules of business, the normal rules of life.”
Garbage like this really hurts my argument as a Patriots fan that the team is not the embodiment of evil. Hey Mr Kraft, next time could you find some way to compare my quarterback to Gandhi, Steve Jobs or hell even Lucipher himself, as all of them would be preferable to the man responsible for both The Sun and Fox.
Almost sheepishly, Cora showed me the front of his ballcap during the first quarter Sunday night. A University of Miami cap. “I’m a Ray Lewis and Ed Reed guy,” Cora said. Cora went to the U, and he was a third-round pick of the Dodgers six weeks after Lewis was a first-round pick of the Ravens in 1996.
But Cora has watched his counterpart on the Patriot sidelines, and though he doesn’t know Belichick well, he admires one thing in particular.
“The way you see him in silence,” Cora said,
If Hue Jackson had taken the same lesson from Belichick he might have lasted until mid-November before being fired.
The Steel Curse
The last six Browns coaches to be fired have this in common: They were fired within 24 hours of losing by double-digits to Pittsburgh.
That sounds preposterous, which it is. Impossible, which it almost is.
But I’ll prove it to you.
You might call it informative that he then proceeds to list all six defeats and feature a quote from the coach, and it is to a degree. It’s also a great space filler that some research assistant dweeb cooked up for him. Genius levels of laziness.
Next we have a touching tribute to one of Peter’s mentors in the business, the late Paul Zimmerman. While speaking ill of the dead is frowned upon in this establishment, lambasting the men the poor dead bastards had to spend their time on this Earth with is allowed and even encouraged.
Two years later, I was covering the Giants for Newsday. They were in the Super Bowl against Denver, and Zim was on the prowl the week before the game. He heard I had coffee one day before dawn with Bill Parcells, in the lobby of the Westin South Coast Plaza in Orange County. “How did you do that?” he asked. I said I just guessed Parcells, a notorious early riser and coffee-aholic, would find the coffee in the team hotel, and I went down there Tuesday around 5:30, and there he was, in a corner chair, pre-Starbucks days, Styrofoam cup in hand. The next day, there Zim was too, carrying his ever-present gym bag full of notebooks and pens, a stopwatch and a white towel (no idea why), pretending he just happened to be in a hotel lobby in southern California at 5:15 in the morning.
Few people turn anecdotes ostensibly about others into stories about themselves as well as Peter. Look how much smarter he is than Dr Z! The man was following Ol’ Petey’s lead from almost the jump. Good thing he didn’t follow his diet or else there’s no chance he would have made it to 2018.
But when I wrote my post-Super Bowl column, eight days after the Eagles’ win over New England, I thought of Paul. A lot. I spent 4,320 words describing one play, 383 X follow Y slant, the winning touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Zach Ertz, and so much of the science of it was inspired by Zim. Philadelphia used a play New England had never seen because it hadn’t been run before, with a type of motion the Eagles had used only 12 times all season, and it was a play they invented the week of the game, on an educated whim, and it worked brilliantly. Anyway, the imagination and the science and the intrigue—it’s something I really wish Zim would have seen, because he would have loved it. That column, in so many ways, was the best way I could pay tribute to him.
Strangely, that particular column has itself caused two known fatalities to date. Both victims died of sudden heart failure brought on by extreme levels of boredom, tedium and a fatal nugget overdose. So yeah, great tribute.
We served on the Hall of Fame voting committee for about 15 years together. Paul had passion about the Hall of Fame debates, and when we were on the committee, I appreciated so much his no-BS approach. If he thought a guy belonged, he’d be his biggest salesman. If he thought a guy was borderline, he’d listen to the debate and voted his conscience. If he thought a guy absolutely didn’t belong, he’d be blunt in his critique. (That is a nice way to put it.) We are not allowed to discuss specifics of the debates, but I can say one time I was strongly in favor of a candidate, and he ripped the candidate up one side and down the other. Zim demolished the guy, and then jumped on him some more. He made it personal. We walked out of the meeting and I got in his face and said, “What the bleep is wrong with you?!” And some more was said. We didn’t talk for a while after that. The guy might not have belonged in the Hall. But Paul’s harangue was out of control, and I told him.
Hereditary royalty levels of pomposity from Peter here. Who falls out with someone over the selection process for a sports hall of fame? What makes it so important? Did Zim really just eat the last bagel in the committee meeting room that day? Hard to say; harder to care.
The Award Section
Offensive Players of the Week
Nick Mullens, quarterback, San Francisco. Not a bad NFL debut (16 of 22, 73-percent accuracy, three touchdowns, no picks, 151.9 rating) for a kid from Brett Favre U (Southern Miss).
Courses offered at Brett Favre U include Drawin’ it up in the Dirt 101, Gunslingers and the American West (Coast Offence) and the world-renowned Dick Pics for Hicks.
King of the Road
Amtrak regional train Sunday morning. New York to Providence. Sitting alone. Behind me: A woman, about 40, and her son, about 11 or 12.
Left the station at 9 a.m. sharp. Woman, speaking in German, began reading to the boy. Pleasant voice. About 45 minutes into it, the boy nodded off. The reading stopped. Maybe an hour later, he woke up, and the reading continued. I know nothing about the subject or the situation or the relationship, but it seemed like sweet parenting to me.
Thank God this didn’t occur in the quiet car though, or Peter would have seen this incident differently the story would take on a whole new tone. German becomes loud New Jersey accent, pleasant voice becomes loud and spray-tanned, and sweet parenting becomes child abuse in the form of reading Tweets about the caravan.
10 Things I Think I Think
First touchdown of 2018 for Julio Jones came on Nov. 4 at 3:53 p.m.—late in the fourth quarter of Week 9. Now that’s something I wouldn’t have predicted on Labor Day Weekend.
Except didn’t he go a through a similar drought last season? Though I suppose it’s unfair for Peter to know that. He’s only a professional NFL writer.
I don’t want to make too much of this. Maybe Joe Flacco simply didn’t see the most wide-open receiver all day for an easy touchdown, with Lamar Jackson waving his right hand calling for the ball, all alone a few yards from the end zone, and instead throwing the ball high over heavy coverage in the middle of the end zone. But man, why Flacco didn’t see Jackson, with no Steeler within 10 yards, makes me wonder if Flacco didn’t want to see Jackson.
Not saying it’s true. Just saying it makes me wonder.
Hall of fame talk is #SeriousStuff and can’t be brought out of the room, but Peter’s happy to lob grenades like this? Colour me predictably confused.
I think I need to know more about this odd Reshad Jones situation in Miami, where the veteran safety apparently pulled himself out of Sunday’s game against the Jets. Jones left the game in the first quarter and never returned; the Dolphins said his absence wasn’t injury-related. “I’ve got to look at that and find out what everything entails. It sounds like he pulled himself out,” coach Adam Gase said. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Jones was slated to play less Sunday because the team wanted to get more snaps for rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick. Did that irritate Jones? Expect to hear more about this story in the coming days.
His teammates aren’t pissed he quit on them; they just wish they had thought of this first. Jones has learnt from Vontae Davis too, as by not retiring he’s still cashing his cheque. Get that money.
I think it’s cruel and unusual punishment, what’s happening to the Bills’ just-keep-the-seat-warm quarterback, Nathan Peterman. Buffalo shouldn’t be playing him right now, and he probably shouldn’t be in the league, but the Bills mistakenly traded A.J. McCarron just before the start of the season, and prize rookie Josh Allen is hurt, and off-the-street quarterback Derek Anderson is hurt, so Peterman was back.
He had another Peterman of a game Sunday as the punchless Bills lost horribly to Chicago at home, 41-9. But there’s this good news: The zero-TD, three-interception game raised Peterman’s passer rating … from 31.4 entering the game to 32.5 exiting it.
Yikes. Just yikes.
We watched “The Post,” for the second time the other night. What a valuable, important movie to see, particularly in the times we’re in. Meryl Streep, you’re the best.
Somehow, I don’t believe Meryl Streep reads FMIA. I mean, she should, of course.
The devil wears Prada, cheers for the Colts and drinks gallons of Allagash White every Sunday. Coming to a cinema near you.
The Adieu Haiku
Quite strange for a Rodgers team.
But not for Hundley.
Nate Peterman sucks
Peter King is employed too
Life is cruel: Trump