Tuesday, July 24, 2007

MMQB: All Vick all the time



1. The first two pages of Peter King's column this week concern the Michael Vick dogfighting investigation. King spells out what he knows about the case and what he expects will happen, which is that the Falcons will suspend Vick for four weeks (the maximum allowed under the CBA) for conduct-detrimental, and possibly put him on paid leave after that to keep him away from the team (like the Bucs did with Keyshawn in 2003 and the Eagles did with T.O. in 2005). What's really maddening about King's take is that it's well-thought-out, well-reasoned and clearly the product of insider knowledge of the league. All of which leaves me asking: Why does it take a federal investigation to get this level of work in Monday Morning Quarterback? Possible answer: Because this week King isn't holding back his best stuff for the magazine? Beyond these metaquestions, though, there isn't a lot to criticize about the Vick material -- beyond King writing that Falcons G.M. Rich McKay is a "confidante" of owner Arthur Blank, which is the kind of thing only language experts find funny. But here's one other thing: King's "Quote of the Week II" has Emmitt Smith offering a somewhat conspiracy-minded ain't-nothing-wrong-with-a-little-dogfighting defense of Vick, the upshot of which is that prosecutors are just using Vick (the guy with the $130 million contract and the owner of the property where the fights allegedly went down) to get to the real criminals. King rightly calls bullshit on the statements by Smith, the NFL's career rushing leader and a newly hired ESPN commentator. Then he adds:
"I have a bad feeling about Smith's tenure at ESPN, and it hasn't even started. His comments on Vick are so idiotic and inappropriate that a few people at the Worldwide Leader have to be thinking, 'Uh-oh. What if we've gone and hired someone who's very famous but not very smart?' "
I really, really don't think ESPN worries too much about this. This is the network that has, or has had, in its stable Michael Irvin, Sterling Sharpe, Joe Theismann, Bill Walton, John Kruk, Joe Theismann, Paul McGuire, Joe Theismann, Joe Theismann, Joe Theismann, and Michael Irvin. Mouth-breathing stupidity doesn't get you fired at ESPN; it gets you a parking space closer to the door.

2. Introducing an item about the online sports book Bodog.com laying odds on the length of Vick's suspension and on which sponsor will dump him first, King remarks with disgust: "What a country." That country? Antigua, I guess. Hey, Pete: Yakov Smirnoff called. He says he wants his unfunny material back. And that he's a scumbag.

3. King says that one of his big questions as he begins his annual tour of training camps is about how Vick's backup, Joey Harrington, "wears the highly unexpected mantel of possible starting quarterback." Pretty much by definition, backup QBs have the mantel of "possible starting quarterback." Any QB that doesn't is himself the starting quarterback. What would have been unexpected was that Harrington will be the starter even though Vick's not hurt. And considering Vick's behavior of late, was it really all that unexpected?

4. Another question, King says, concerns the Patriots: "Can the front seven do a better job of stopping the run than they did in Indy last January"? Sigh. King must have skipped Down and Distance last week, when he wrote exactly the same thing, so I'll reprint this: "Last year's Patriots had the No. 5 rush defense in the NFL and the No. 2 scoring defense, so maybe they shouldn't be judged solely on their performance in one half of one game against the eventual Super Bowl champions." (Speaking of recycled material, this is also the second straight week that King writes glowingly about how new coach Mike Tomlin is going to whip those cake-eating pussies the Pittsburgh Steelers into shape. Ditto for his assertions that Rex Grossman sucks and that Tom Coughlin is a fucking goner.)

5. King believes he's found a cure for what ails the Jaguars. They need another injured quarterback!
"I think I'd like to ask the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have plenty of cap room, exactly why they're waiting to pursue, and sign, free-agent quarterback Daunte Culpepper. I can't think of any reason why Culpepper should not land there."
Because they don't think he's any good?

Sniggleworthy dropped name of the week: John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Total number of quotes of the week: 5. Total number of quotes of the week from U.S. senators pissing on Vick: 2 (John Kerry, Robert Byrd). Total number of quotes of the week from former Klansmen pissing on Vick and saying "the hottest places in hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people" who hurt "God's creatures," meaning animals, as opposed to the souls of sick and brutal people who wear sheets and kill God's creatures, meaning black people: 1 (Byrd).

Total number of things King thinks he thinks: 31. Total number about Vick that come after he says everyone's sick of hearing about Vick: 3.

Passage that's so unbelievably ripe for inappropriate humor that it's best just to back away slowly, lest you wind up on some sort of registry:
"Next time you see me, ask me about my extraordinarily fun time in a 10-and-under girls softball game in Saddle Brook, N.J., on Friday night. Space limitations, and legal reasons, prevent me from spilling here. But human beings under pressure can sure react in some strange ways."
Eeuw. I don't want to know where he "spilled."

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