Skip to main content

Mailbag: Answering questions on Goodell/Roethlisberger clarification


DALLAS -- In the wake of the snippet in "Monday Morning Quarterback'' about commissioner Roger Goodell's comments regarding the lack of player support for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, I issued a clarification on last night. I mistakenly inserted a parenthetical "Steelers'' in the middle of a Goodell quote, figuring he was talking about the Steelers in the quote. I erred, and apologize for it.

The clarification is here.

Now for three questions many of you have posed to me via e-mail and on Twitter, and my answers, in the wake of the story:

• Why did I publish Goodell's comments now, in the week of the Super Bowl?

For the past 14 years, since I started writing Monday Morning Quarterback, I've used the column, in part, as a repository for the information I felt was worthwhile that I couldn't get in the magazine that week. And this was the week the magazine chose to use my story on Goodell. So I used stuff in my Monday column -- from Paul Tagliabue about the 2006 negotiations that led to these labor issues, from two owners worried Goodell is working too hard, to what Goodell wants his tombstone to say, to the nugget about Roethlisberger -- to bring what I considered good information to the public.

• Why did Goodell talk about this now?

The interview when Goodell mentioned Roethlisberger was done in New York on Jan. 7. A lot of people have asked why Goodell would talk about this at all. I spent a lot of time with Goodell since I began reporting the story in early November, and we talked about many issues, from his grade-school days to today.

• Why did I assume Goodell was talking about the Steelers when I inserted "Steelers'' incorrectly in the quote?

Great journalism lesson here, and it illustrates what a mistake I made. My question on the transcribed interview before Goodell's answer referred to the "many people I know in Pittsburgh'' who wanted Roethlisberger "on the Steelers.'' In Goodell's answer, I assumed he was referring to the Steelers when he referred to the players he spoke with before sanctioning Roethlisberger. You know what they say about assumptions. I should have asked him if he meant the Steelers.

I've spoken to Roethlisberger's agent, Ryan Tollner, relaying my regrets. And Tuesday afternoon, I spoke with Steelers co-owner Art Rooney II, head coach Mike Tomlin and Roethlisberger to clarify my remarks.

I take errors seriously. This story is a good cautionary tale about making assumptions, and I'll redouble my efforts to not do so in the future.


Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

Tweetup information: I'll be at The Common Table, 2917 Fairmount, in Uptown Dallas on Thursday night from 7:30-9 central time. Stay tuned to @SI_PeterKing for more information. I hope to bring along at least one NFL player and a couple of scribes, but follow me on Twitter in the next day or so, and I'll let you know who will be there with me.


Now for your e-mail:

• IT'S A COINCIDENCE. "Do you think it's a coincidence that two teams that employ a 3-4 defense are in the Super Bowl, or do you think that it speaks to the superiority of the 3-4 as a defensive scheme? And do you see more teams switching to the 3-4 next year after seeing two 3-4 teams make it to the Big Game?''-- Scott, Ontario, Canada

I think the 3-4 is gaining momentum leaguewide, and it's fair to look at the reasons. I like that Green Bay's Dom Capers uses three players who could play the nose in a 3-4 on the field at the same time (B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Howard Green); that helped gain an advantage over the Chicago running game in the NFC Championship, and I expect Capers to use that at times to try to shut down Rashard Mendenhall in the Super Bowl. As far as more teams adopting it, you saw Mike Shanahan do it in Washington before last season, and you could see more of it this year. But the fact that there could be limited offseason classroom and practice time due to a possible work stoppage may prevent most teams from making major schematic changes in 2011.

TIM LAYDEN: Inside the zone blitz that Green Bay, Pittsburgh feature

• I LIKE THE COMBINE. BUT HOUR AFTER HOUR OF WATCHING GUYS RUN 40s? "What's with the beef about the scouting combine? Do you not like it because it hypes stats that aren't necessarily applicable and don't determine whether a player will be good at the next level?''--Richard, Tallahassee

I don't hate the combine. I enjoy my three days there every year. I was referring to people -- like a good friend from New Jersey -- who watch NFL Network for hours of combine coverage all weekend. Stuns me. How many times can you watch some 327-pound guard run between orange cones? Maybe that's why the NFL's so big -- because so many people want to study that stuff.

• BAN TWITTER? HERESY! "Given all of the twitter controversy over Jay Cutler's knee, and the twitter spat between Aaron Rodgers and Nick Barnett, why don't teams ban players from having twitter accounts? No good can come of it. Not for the team and not for the player. Players are not marketing/pr guys and the only time these tweets seem to gain attention is when they say something inflammatory. I think, despite first amendment issues, the teams would be in their purview to ban tweets as being detrimental to the team."-- Reggie Newton, Chicago

Interesting point. I don't think teams will ban Twitter use, but I do think team PR folks, when players gather for the first time this year (whenever that is) at a full squad meeting, will have Twitter use on the agenda. NFL teams want their players to be more accessible to fans, and many teams love the personal touch of Twitter. But it's obviously dangerous too, because knee-jerk reactions can often be tinged with regret.

• HE QUESTIONS THE RAVENS. "Peter, love the column, read it every week. In regards to the firing of Jim Zorn in Baltimore, wouldn't their wide receivers coach have been the better person to let go, after the receivers cost the Ravens the game in Pittsburgh? Why Zorn, when Flacco took a very good step in the right direction, and when Anquan Boldin all but disappeared after the midseason point?''--Shaun, Rotterdam, N.Y.

The reason Zorn got let go, reading the tea leaves, is because his teaching methods didn't mesh with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's, and the Ravens feared Joe Flacco getting different messages from the coaching staff. Firing another coach wouldn't have addressed that problem.

• WAHHHHHHHHH. "Seriously, Peter -- stop crying about the weather in Dallas and in a Super Bowl three years from now that YOU ARE BEING PAID TO ATTEND!! It's beyond annoying. Most of us are thousands of miles away doing real work and not writing about pampered millionaires playing a game. I think you'll survive. Sorry this is not a perfect vacation for you.''-- Joe, Philadelphia

And the Super Bowl has always been such a great vacation, too. I will put away the Kleenex, Joe.