Busy week. Late May, Memorial Day, and still the NFL doesn't slow up. TV deals, a ruling in the StarCaps case, the
Headlines of the week:
The last time Brady had his hands on this team for a full season, the Patriots set an NFL record, scoring 36.8 points a game, two points a game more than any other team in history. They've had to replace 82 wide-receiver catches from that team, with
I asked Welker whether the 2009 offense can be as good as the 2007 offense.
"I feel we've gotten better,'' he said. "Back in '07, Randy and I were in our first year here, and I don't know about Randy, but I was worried about where the hell I was supposed to line up a lot of that season. Now, with so many touches over the last two years, the offense is second nature to us. This is a complicated offense, and getting to know it takes time. But now I think we both know it well, and we're on the same page with Tom every snap. Our goal is to continue to get better. I hope we can. We've got some good new weapons here, and it'll be great for us to get on the field together to see what we can do.''
Funny to think of in this way, but the key to a great offensive season for New England might actually be the fleet Galloway, who I'm told is running in the 4.4s even at 38. Imagine splitting a healthy Galloway and Moss wide to either side, with Welker in the slot and a good receiver like
• He's going to have a make a decision whether to join the Vikings very soon, probably by this weekend, because the Vikings want to know what their 2009 future is at quarterback. I'm told the organization won't wait for a decision much longer, and if he has to get a minor operation to snip the damaged right biceps tendon that has been giving him pain, he has to do it soon. Like, within a week.
I get the strong sense that if the Vikings are going to do any deal with Favre coach
• Favre needs surgery to release the biceps tendon that has been giving him discomfort throwing the ball. I'm told the tendon is hanging on by a thread. One source in the NFL medical establishment told me last week that he understands Favre's tendon is barely attached, and would take a minor arthroscopic procedure to detach it by snipping the tendon. If that happened, Favre would likely be unable to throw the ball for at least two weeks, with a month's rehab before he could throw like the old Favre.
I was also told that severing the tendon would have no impact on Favre's velocity or accuracy. Theoretically, if Dr.
• Will he or won't he? I don't know. My best guess is he'll have the minor surgery if the tendon is still nagging him by week's end, and that he'll get his arm right and do a deal with the Vikings. But it's only a guess. As I've said through this whole thing, I've been wrong about Favre staying retired twice, and so I'm out of the Favre prediction business. Let's see what this week brings. We ought to have a better idea by the weekend.
At issue is the core principle of the NFL program -- that a player is responsible for what goes in his body, and if anything is ingested that's on the NFL list of banned substances, regardless of who knew about it and when they knew about it, the positive test is the fault of the player. Pat Williams, though, believes that because league doctor
"I feel good about our chances,'' he told
I understand the asterisk here, and I'm sure the NFL and Lombardo will behave differently about tainted-supplement knowledge going forward, but I can't see the players winning this case.
"Teams are playing the spread more, and playing things like the Wildcat more, running more gimmicky plays,'' said
IF he's still the same player. Pretty big if.
My response to that response: B afrd
In 2006, Cribbs signed a seven-year contract extension with a $2 million signing bonus and salaries of less than a million a year a year for the life of the deal. In the first three years of the deal, he's made $3.4 million. In the next three years, he's slated to make $620,000, $635,000 and $650,000, with escalators each year that could push the contract closer to $1 million annually.
Let's say you've got the best special-teamer in football, which is what I consider Cribbs. By any measure, I don't think the following can be argued. He is the best two-way --punt/kickoff -- return man in the game, without question.
When you have a player as important as Cribbs is to the organization, you want to treat him right and show the rest of the team that you're paid on merit, not just based on the loftiness of where you were drafted. Normally, I don't think playing three years of a seven-year deal is enough to merit a re-do, but given Cribbs' output, it seems like the right thing to do.
Other cable outfits who make deals to put NFL Network on their digital cable tiers will probably place Red Zone on a pay tier similar to the one the league argued the NFL Network shouldn't be on. The reason is because the Red Zone Channel is added value, not something the league wanted to give Big Cable as part of the deal to make the Network more widely distributed on the regular digital tier. So if you've got Comcast and you want this premium channel, you'll likely have to pay an additional $7 or so per month to get it, which, over a four-month term, is probably a reasonable cost if you're an NFL devotee who loves immediacy and can't wait for the halftime or post-game highlights
"I think the Super Bowl will certainly stay in the United States. I wouldn't look for that to move.''
I'd say it stronger that that. Unless a
"Now I just gotta stay there 15 years.''
In the last three seasons, since the Williamses -- Viking defensive tackles Kevin and Pat -- have teamed together to systematically stop the run better than any other two men in football, Minnesota's defense has been first, first and first against the run in NFL rankings in 2006 through 2008, a rare trifecta of greatness. And the only time Pat, the stout nose man, and Kevin, the knifing three-technique tackle, didn't play together was the final three games of last season -- two in the regular season and one in the playoffs, when Pat suffered a broken right scapula and missed the rest of the year. In those three games, the Vikes allowed 24, 19 and 26 points, respectively, and without Pat Williams pushing the pocket, allowed 134, 229 and 300 passing yards. In the three games, teams rushed 85 times for exactly 300 yards.
In 2006, 2007 and 2008, the Vikings never played a game with both Kevin and Pat Williams missing. For a team supposed to be in the thick of the NFC playoff picture this season, playing without them for the first four games of the season could be a death blow.
The luckiest thing for Minnesota? The Vikes open with three weak offensive teams -- Cleveland, Detroit and San Francisco -- before hosting Green Bay in Week 4. If they have to play without them, the Vikings will be mortal, but against the likes of the Browns, Lions and Niners, that might be good enough.
To say New York Jets special-teamer
He and wife,
Might want to keep that one to yourself when out in the Village, Larry.
Well, as a quarterback, Vick was decidedly mediocre in his four full seasons starting for the Falcons. His completion percentages when he started at least 15 games -- 54.9,56.4, 55.3 and 52.6 -- were poor; he had 36 fumbles and 38 interceptions in his last 46 starts. He was electric and exciting, but Speicher's right.
Perhaps. Not sure how tasty it would be.
1. I think, for those of you speculating that Vick could end up with his former NFL coach,
2. I think, though, when the Seattle quarterback depth chart is looking as if it will be Hasselbeck,
3. I think it's ludicrous the NFL draws such a hard line against gambling in a state -- like it is in Delaware right now -- and at the same time the league is making deals with states around Delaware to put team logos on lottery tickets. I know one form of gambling is illegal (in 49 states) and the other is legal countrywide. But the rush to put your helmet on an instant-lottery game, as the Patriots did last week, quite literally on the same day the league had lawyers in Delaware arguing against sports gambling is somewhere between ridiculously ill-timed and totally disingenuous.
4. I think I don't expect the NFL to find the Redskins guilty of tampering with
I understand the Titans think Washington poisoned the water for Haynesworth and made it impossible for him to even consider coming back to Tennessee, but the flaw in that logic is that the Titans were never, ever going to pay Haynesworth the landmark contract he got from Washington.
5. I think, even including the gambling ambiguity,
• The NFL solved a mega-problem with cable giant Comcast after five years at war with the media kingpin, getting Comcast to move NFL Network from a sports tier to digital cable, meaning maybe 10 million more fans will see the channel; in addition, the deal becomes a template for other cable firms to get NFL Network on regular cable.
• The league got slight increases from CBS and Fox in extending their contracts two years, through the end of the 2013 season.
• The league won the StarCaps ruling in Minnesota, which, if upheld in the Williams cases by a lower court, would be a huge win for the league in enforcing the basic tenets of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
If Goodell's had a better week in his 33-month tenure as far as leadership, results and presenting a united front to the players heading into the start of serious negotiations next month for a new labor agreement, I don't know when it was.
6. I think I'd never have written the previous entry if the NFL had voted to expand the schedule to 17 or 18 games last week. I still hate the idea for reasons I've beaten into the ground already. But I'll add this one. Let's say the league went to an 18-game schedule with a bye week. (Some league people want two byes, so teams can try to stay healthy. But for the purposes of this exercise, I'm using only one bye.) Under that scenario, in the 2009 season, for example, there'd be a 19-week regular season, up from 17 weeks, and these would be the key dates:
Aug. 22, 29: The two preseason weekends.
Sept. 5: Bye weekend following the preseason.
Sept. 10-14: Opening week.
Jan. 17, 2010: Week 19 ends.
Jan. 23-24: Wild-card weekend.
Jan. 30-31: Second week of the playoffs
Feb. 7: Conference title games.
Feb. 21: Super Bowl XLIV, Miami.
Notice the date of that Super Bowl. It would be 20 days later than last year's Super Bowl, which was Feb. 1 in Tampa. If I'm a TV executive, what I'm thinking when I look at that schedule is: How am I going to sell four regular-season weekends of pro football AFTER Christmas?
7. I think that schedule would push the scouting combine into mid-March, followed quickly by the start of free agency. It could push the draft into May, and, in general, would do what so many of the marketers and ad men in the league office would positively love -- make the NFL even more of a year-round obsession than it is now. I cannot find a single football person who thinks it's a good idea. Go ahead. Find me a player, a coach, a scout, a GM who wants the season to last until late February. Try. You'd be opening training camp a little later, but not much, because teams would still need prep time with full squads in pads.
8. I think that one of the reasons I rated New Orleans at No. 24 in my power rankings a few weeks ago was wheeled out of a Las Vegas hotel on a stretcher yesterday. I don't trust
9. I think you can start firing up the e-mails about this right now, but I won't back down: I laugh when I hear fans of the pit bull breed say pit bulls are no more harmful than any other dog on the planet, and they only turn bad when they're trained to be bad. Yeah, right. Why do I never read about golden retrievers attacking, maiming and killing people? I do not understand why families with children use pit bulls as guard dogs or pets.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I am amazed at how many empty seats I see on TV when I watch the Yankees play at the new stadium.
b. You may not want to play the Yankees at all this season, but you definitely don't want to play them now.
c. My buddy
d. I'm not blind. I see
e. Wake up,
f. Coffeenerdness: The way the locals love Dunkin' Donuts coffee, it's almost as though you must be a Yankee fan if you step into Starbucks.
g. The final Dr. Z-related fundraiser note: I have one more debt of gratitude to try to repay. I want to thank the Internet. Fifteen years ago, if
A fellow from Kuwait bought the
Finally, we'll be over $200,000 if all our projections are correct and everyone pays as expected. I could say more, but I'll only say thank you, thank you and thank you some more. I'll keep you informed over the summer and fall about Paul's progress, but for now, if you'd like to
h. Even a non-basketball fan such as myself has to admire the greatness of
i. I admire the Red Wings a lot. I'm rooting for the Blackhawks. You remember the story of
j. Hey, all you who got so ticked off because I revealed Pam's pregnancy four days after
k. I see a former presidential intern for
l. I've set up my schedule for the summer, so you can make your plans now for my four dark weeks. I know it's the annual intolerable month of all of your lives; I just want to make sure you're prepared.
My Father's Day shopping column will be June 15, six days before Father's Day; I'll be giving you book advice so you can buy your dad something other than a tie he'll immediately deposit at the bottom of his closet. My final columns before vacation are June 22 (Monday) and 23 (Tuesday). No columns the weeks of June 29, July 6, 13 or 20. I'll resume MMQB on July 27 and write a Tuesday edition July 28.
For the month of August, I'll write Mondays only because I'll be on a camp tour and will be writing for the site with news or postcards or blog entries five or six days a week. In addition, once the camp tour starts around July 28, you can catch me daily on Twitter at SI_PeterKing.
Too much information, probably, about too much information. But I thought I'd throw it out there for those of you keeping score at home.