This is it! The last Peter King column that follows a relevant game for the next 8 months. Unless you are looking forward to his breakdown of the Pro Bowl...in which case, please leave my internets.
Take it from here, Peter.
After a surprise deluge leaves players and staff drenched, 78-year-old owner Dan Rooney walks the sidelines with a towel for headgear, warding off the light rain that lingers. He looks, quite frankly, bizarre. "Hey, Mr. Rooney,'' calls out Hines Ward, with a mischievous smile, from 20 yards away. "You with the Taliban?''
On Thursday, safety Anthony Smith did double and triple blackflips to entertain the defensive backs during a practice lull. When British-born practice-squad receiver Marvin Allen caught and ran about 40 yards with a scout-team pass, Ward shouted, "Long live the King! Wait -- there's no King in England, is there? Well, long live somebody over there!''
Is Peter King trying to prove that Hines Ward is not very funny?
Marvin Allen immediately responded to Ward by making his eyes thin and saying "me get open! Me catch ball long time!".
Ray Lewis said this week that his free-agent future is none of our business, that it's between him and God. "What I'm thinking, nobody needs to know,'' Lewis said. Well, you're in the wrong business and making the wrong kind of ridiculous money to expect that to be a reality, Ray, but good luck keeping it private.
This is going to be coming as a screenplay here shortly, I bet. I just need the motivation.
4. Philadelphia (11-7-1). Rehab, recover, rest, Jim Johnson. Melanoma is nothing to be taken lightly, as you well know. And for all the rest of you coaches and players who spend hours and hours in the sun without protection (and for you kids going to the tanning salon for those fake prom tans), I implore you to heed this warning: The sun can seriously injure you. Respect it.
Are you fucking serious? "Hey, Jim Johnson, this is Peter King. Hey, I don't know what actual doctors have told you, Jim, but melanoma is a type of cancer and you shouldn't ignore it. See ya". What the fuck? Hey, kids who apparently have been sheltered from all types of media and also adequate parenting...the sun? Yeah. It can burn you and stuff. Don't stare at it. Hey kids...gun? You know about guns? Yeah. Don't play with them. They can shoot bullets at you. Don't fuck the homeless, kids. They are dirty.
5. Tennessee (13-4). Sign Kerry.
Hear that, Tennessee Titans GM? Peter King just broke it the fuck down for you.
9. San Diego (9-9). Just remember this, all you who are warm and fuzzy about LaDainian Tomlinson and want to see him stay a Charger 'til he's 47: With running backs, the drop is always precipitous, and it always comes sooner than you wish it did.
Wow, that is just fresh insight. So fresh. Again, if sportswriting were things you could put in your mouth, Peter King would be like, 8 rolls of Mentos. Who is not aware of this fact? If Dr. Phil taped his shows on current events and then aired them 4 years later, they would sound kind of like this.
12. Atlanta (11-6). The Sporting News got it right, naming Thomas Dimitroff executive of the year, with all due respect to Bill Parcells in Miami.
Peter, I know you are trying, but it's gonna take a lot more than that to quiet all the outrage that I've heard over the 'executive of the year' race.
13. Minnesota (10-7). Fans want Matt Cassel. Wilfs want a stadium.
Fans want Nissan Z's. Wilfs want a year supply of Tombstone pizzas.
Fans want a cure for the common cold. Wilfs just want to have fun.
Fans want more cowbell. Wilfs want more attention to be paid to Darfur.
I don't get it. Is Matt Cassel the first NFL player ever that is going to demand 'stadium money'? Will he only play for stadiums? I'm perplexed.
"I would like to thank everyone who supported me to get into the NFL Hall of Fame -- the Dallas Cowboy organization, all my teammates, and everyone who played for the Cowboys. Thanks to the committee who voted for me, and also for the ones who might not have. Tell all my teammates I love them. And just thank everyone in the whole world.''
-- Bob Hayes' sister, Lucille Hester, reading from a letter Hayes wrote shortly before his death in 2002. Hayes, the speedy Dallas receiver, was elected to the Hall on Saturday.
I've stated my position often on Tagliabue. He's the only modern major sports czar to lord over a game since 1980 and never have a strike during his tenure; Pete Rozelle had three strikes in his last 17 years, Tagliabue none in his 17. He got the first serious drug-testing and steroid-testing policies written into the CBA. He founded the Diversity Committee when the league couldn't get a black coach hired; under Dan Rooney's direction, the committee made major strides, and 13 franchise in Tagliabue's reign hired minority coaches. The game enjoyed unparalleled success in his reign.
I just don't get it. Why is not having a major strike such a fucking success? You've got the biggest sport in the country, making millions upon millions of dollars, and not fucking this up is supposed to be the number one criteria on which success is to be judged? Hey owners...go fuck yourselves, someone else will buy your team. Hey players, the same goes for you. HALL OF FAME!
The 44 Hall of Fame selectors get lots of literature to digest about the candidates each year. In the "personal'' section of the final media-guide bio about Miami guard Bob Kuechenberg (who failed to gain entry Saturday) was this line: "As a child, rode in gunnysack on father's back in rodeo clown act.''
I swear, Peter King would LOL at anything.
Something out of Curb Your Enthusiasm happened to me down here. Because of an NBC dinner, I had to jilt a couple of SI.com pals, Donnie Brasco Banks and Andrew Perloff, at dinner Monday night at Capital Grille near our hotel, the Renaissance. Swell guy that I am, and knowing there wouldn't be much I'd have to pay for all week, I decided to pick up their dinner check. So I point over to the table in the densely packed restaurant and the waiter brings me a check, and I pay it.
The next day, I'm surprised Brasco and Perloff aren't pleased about their free meal. Then Banks tell me he paid for his meal. Perplexing. So I call the restaurant. Stewart the manager investigates and finds out the waiter brought me the wrong check. This check was for the table of Merrill Hoge and Mark Schlereth of ESPN. "What?'' I say, and I'm told because Hoge and Schlereth are in TV and I'm in TV, ipso fatso (as Ralph Kramden used to say), the waiter thought that was the table I pointed to. I said no, I had no intention of buying the dinner for those fine but well-compensated fellows.
You are all well-compensated, cocktablet.
Now we were in an interesting situation. I'm out $175 for a dinner I intended to buy, but for different people. Stewart and I reached a nice compromise: With the Banks/Perloff spouses coming to town Thursday, the restaurant would pick up the first $150 of their tab. Good deal.
The dinner date takes place ... and the Capital Grille picks up the entire tab.
Now that is some great, grand gesture. All you corporate Capital Grillers on the main office in Restaurantville, USA, take note: You have a superb staff at the Tampa location.
Is Peter King just pissing all over the recession? Make it fucking rain, Peter. Hey all, if the Capital Grille completely fucks up your request, they'll try to fix it. That is, if you are rich enough to afford to even give them a request to fuck up, you peasants.
d. I was not with Mike Holmgren in the Pirate Ship last night during the game, but I bet as a few close calls went Pittsburgh's way, he said something to the effect of, "I've seen this movie before.''
Like when that hold was called on Justin Hartwig to turn a big first down into a safety. Holmgren was probably flipping out there.
4. I think the comparison is slightly faulty, because he isn't exactly a balletic football player, but Santonio Holmes is to the 2008 Steelers what Lynn Swann was to the seventies Steelers.
I think the comparison is slightly faulty, because my grandparents' whip isn't exactly an Italian supercar, but the Toyota Avalon is the Lamborghini Gallardo of midsize sedans.
Really. That's about as valid a comparison as Holmes and Swann. They are nothing alike. You might as well compare Ja Rule's lyrics to Russian steel factories.
Homer Jones has long since been forgotten, but compare his first five significant years to Hayes' first five significant ones (1965-69) and tell me how Hayes is a much better player.
The zone defense was created largely for the purpose of stopping Bob Hayes. Yancey Thigpen also probably has better stats than Bob Hayes. Should we put him in the hall?
a. Ken Whisenhunt deferring to start the game? Didn't like it at all. Not at all. The Cards won the toss and could have jumped ahead with their powerful offense -- let's face it, the Arizona passing game has been the hottest single facet of any team this postseason -- but deferred. I found it odd. And when the Steelers drove 71 yards to score on the first series ... very, very suspect call.
If Kurt Warner doesn't throw that pick to James Harrison at the end of the half, the call to defer quite possibly wins the game for the Cardinals.
c. Here's a quibble with the NFL's media policy after the game, and I know it'll fall on deaf ears. But Mike Tomlin should be able to have some time with his team after the game. "Everyone keeps asking me how I'm enjoying the moment,'' he said around 11:35 p.m., over an hour after the game ended. "How would I know? I just keep having to talk to the media.'' The league has to allow a coach and his team to have 10 minutes alone after the game. It's only fair.
Yes. The King Period. Do it, NFL.
d. Arizona has to figure out how to run the ball. No one runs against the Steelers, and the Cards ran better in the postseason than the regular-season, obviously, but that has to be an offseason priority.
I know, I know! Cut your QB, two big-money receivers, big-money tackles, big-money safety, and big-money LB and DL in Dansby and Dockett and sign a great RB and some run-blocking interior lineman. But then...we gotta pump up the passing game!
No, no, no. Change no rules but one: Give the team that loses the coin flip at least one possession, then it goes to sudden death.
I've gone over this. It's still not fair, just slightly less not fair. It's not a perfect solution by any stretch. So stop touting it like you just fixed the problem.
a. Great job, Bruce. I was lucky enough to be on the field, and though hearing was not very good down there, the energy translated. Bruce plays like Ray Lewis patrols.
Bruce Springsteen fucking rocks from sideline to sideline. Problem is, one blocker is usually enough to get him off-key.
b. Coffeenerdness: Perhaps my movements are no mystery to the football public. There were two comments to me from a swarm of Steelers fans as I left Pittsburgh's practice Thursday. One: "Peter, who do you like Sunday?'' Two: "You going to Starbucks when you leave here?''
Yeah, perhaps. Perhaps the fact that everyone mocks you for writing about coffee in a football column would convey that thought. You realize these people were making fun of you, right? If John Mark Karr was walking past a crowd and they said "hey, going to molest and kill some 7-year olds when you leave here?", I'd hope he wouldn't take it as a form of endearment.