Long Way To Go For Patriots

Going into yesterday, most people expected the Patriots to beat up on the Oakland Raiders, who were making their second East coast trip in three weeks, and heading out to London for next week’s game.

The Raiders put up a fight, and the Patriots continued their struggle to put the ball in the end zone yesterday, and wound up with a 16-9 New England victory. They held off a last-second Raiders drive when Vince Wilfork grabbed a deflected ball to come up with the game-sealing interception.

It wasn’t a satisfying win, but it was a win, and we’ll take it. Get all the coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.

Ray Lewis is not a good TV analyst – Chad Finn nails it here, especially in light of Lewis’ mind-boggling quote from yesterday – “There’s some things you can cover up. And there’s some things you can’t.“

A salute to the great sportswriter Joe Murphy – The legendary Eagle-Tribune columnist passed away on Saturday at the age of 89. Michael Muldoon had written this column back in May remembering Murphy, who in many ways was a prototype of the cynical, opinionated sports columnist of today.

ESPN’s Cris Carter’s on-air growth showing in NFL coverage – Richard Deitsch looks back at a crazy week of NFL media.

On Friday, ESPN’s Outside the Lines released their devastating report on how the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL handled the Ray Rice case.

Rice case: purposeful misdirection by team, scant investigation by NFL

Done by Don Van Natta Jr. and Kevin Van Valkenburg, the report had the Ravens scrambling and promising a detailed reply this week.

While there is a ton to digest in the report, from a media perspective, and keeping a theme going that I’ve had on this site over the last few weeks, here’s another damning bit of evidence against Peter King and his role as Roger Goodell’s mouthpiece.

From the ESPN report:

By early July, NFL beat reporters kept hearing Rice would get a six-game suspension. But privately, Ravens officials said they felt confident Rice would get only two games. One source who spoke to Cass said he had heard at least two weeks before Goodell announced the penalty that Rice would receive only a two-game suspension. Rice’s friends say he didn’t hear his suspension was two games until July 23, the day before Goodell announced it.

This is from King’s MMQB in MAY:

Rice likely faces a short (maybe two-game) suspension from the commissioner for being a first-time offender under the personal-conduct policy. He’s got a strong résumé and is greatly admired for his work in the community. He shouldn’t be thrown out with the trash. But he’s got to realize that the performance the other day was tone-deaf.

So King knew that the suspension would be “maybe” two games before the Ravens or Rice did? How exactly did he know this, way back then? The reasons given are also what Goodell cited. He’s awful. The worst.

<insert picture of smoking gun here>

I also love the audacity of King to suggest someone else is tone-deaf. King has mastered the art of tone-deafness. Finn touched on it in his Sunday Mailbag yesterday.

Let’s look at today’s MMQB for some more tone-deal, ugly-American examples:

Walking back from Central Park around noon Saturday, I spied a crazy-long line outside the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. The line weaved in a maze of crowd-control stanchions, hundreds of people in the maze, and at the end of the maze, the line went east down 59th Street, a full city block to Madison Avenue.

It wasn’t too tough to guess what it was for—the rollout of the iPhone 6. I asked one of the security dudes: “How long a wait if I went to the end of the line right now?”

“Six hours,” he said.

So I went to the end of the line and asked a couple of young guys, 20 or 23, waiting with their heads in their iPhone 5s, “Did you know you’ve got about a six-hour wait in front of you? That’s what the security guy told me.”

“They told us it was about five,” one of the guys said.

Well, that certainly makes all the difference.

The guy who Tweeted delightedly about being able to inform a restaurant host about Robin Williams’ suicide now eagerly runs to the back of the line in Manhattan – where he lives – to inform the people there that they have to wait six hours. That last line is vintage Peter King.

6. I think if you’re waiting for me to call for Roger Goodell to be fired, you’ll have to wait a while. I’m not into mob rule either.

So people who are saying that Goodell needs to be gone are part of a “mob.” This is like when Peter referred to the “shrill cries” for his own job. And of course he isn’t going to call for Goodell to be fired. He’s got too much at stake himself.

Peter is also not into mob rule, but he is the one leading the crusade to change the name of the Washington football team.

a. My best to the family of Dave Rahn, former 49ers PR man, who died of melanoma Thursday. Dave was a good, good man with a terrific work ethic, and he was as professional a person as I’ve dealt with in this business. Rest in peace, Dave.

Well, that’s a nice sentiment, Peter.

b. I’ve had two significant melanoma surgeries, and it’s nothing to fool around with. Sunscreen and regular checkups are the only way to beat it—or to compete with it.

Of course. It’s always about Peter. He can’t even pay tribute to a man who died of cancer without making it about himself.

Tone-deaf doesn’t begin to cover it.

Peter King Needs To Turn The Finger-Wag On Himself For Once

The rise of Peter King in the sports media world is a curious one. The 57-year-old King really vaulted into prominence when he began writing the weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column back in the 1990’s. The Internet was still new, and getting this fast overview of the weekend’s football action was a popular idea that took off.

peterkingPrior to this, King had been a fairly ordinary sportswriter, with stints at The Cincinnati Enquirer and Newsday prior to joining Sports Illustrated in 1989, he wrote several books during the 1990’s, but it was Monday Morning Quarterback which really lifted him above his peers in terms of popularity and stature.

He had been a solid reporter, and in addition to the football reporting, people seemed to enjoy his “10 things I think I think” and non-football thoughts of the week, tales of travel woe, as well as updates on his favorite coffee stops, and later, his choice in (inevitably citrusy) beer. The MMQB success made him a sought-after guest on sports radio programs – here in Boston his guest spots on the midday show with Dale Arnold and whomever his current partner was at the time were very popular segments – and also TV shows, such as Inside The NFL, then still on HBO.  When the NFL came to NBC, he was a big part of that, providing in studio reports on Football Night in America.

Then, last year SI, following in the footsteps of Bill Simmons at ESPN, gave King his own website, and team of writers at themmqb.com. He was (and is) at the pinnacle of his career and power.

Yes, power. One of the more annoying things that King has developed over the years is his penchant for the finger-wag at those he feels are deserving of his scorn. He somehow has come to believe that he is a moral arbiter of society, taking people to task for failures in their own lives and professions. In addition to lecturing people inside the league, he’s weighed in on people’s lives outside of football, he’s scolded Red Sox players, and generally acted the part of the ugly American in dealings with any sort of service industry employee. He went to visit troops overseas and gave away details of the location of the camp. These things are all annoying, but mostly harmless.

He has also, like many in the media, gotten close to the subjects he covers and spends a lot of time pumping them up. He was a regular at Brett Favre’s house. Who can forget him eating popcorn in Jerry Jones’s office? Or spending  a week “embedded” with official Gene Steratore and his crew? Or the numerous exclusive sitdowns  (6000 words!) and gushing profiles of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

For some, those columns on Goodell serve to solidify the notion that King is nothing more than a publicity agent in service of the Commissioner. Events of this summer are further disturbing in exposing King’s reporting as being shoddy, incomplete and dishonest.

When the original two-game suspension was handed out, King wrote a column explaining what Goodell’s thinking was in suspending Rice for really only four days – the Ravens played Sunday and play again on Thursday night. The article, complete with bullet-points, was written at the time in which the public had only seen the tape of Rice pulling his fiance of the elevator, seems to be a direct missive from the Commissioner. In fact, King doesn’t say “I think this is what Goodell’s thinking was here.” he says This is why Goodell was softer on Rice than a four-game suspension.

The bullet points, which included he’s never done it before and he does a lot in the community rang hollow to many people who responded back to King in anger. He attempted to defend himself by citing “evidence” that he hadn’t mentioned in the first column.

Note the wording here.

There is one other thing I did not write or refer to, and that is the other videotape the NFL and some Ravens officials have seen, from the security camera inside the elevator at the time of the physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée. I have heard reports of what is on the video, but because I could not confirm them and because of the sensitivity of the case, I never speculated on the video in my writing, because I don’t think it is fair in an incendiary case like this one to use something I cannot confirm with more than one person. I cannot say any more, because I did not see the tape. I saw only the damning tape of Rice pulling his unconscious fiancée out of the elevator.

(Emphasis mine)

So much here. King never explains why he didn’t think it was “fair” to mention the tape on Thursday, but it was OK to mention it four days later. He also definitively states that the video had been viewed by both the NFL and the Ravens. (Later, we learn that he actually did not know this for sure.) He then goes back and forth with a bunch of contrasting phrases I have heard reports/I could not confirm and I never speculated/I cannot confirm.

I’m trying to make sense of this. He states the tape was viewed. He heard reports on its contents, could not confirm so he’s not going to speculate. It’s especially unfair to use information that can’t be confirmed with more than one person – essentially giving us unwashed masses a lesson in the ethic of journalism here.

EXCEPT – he lied. He uses the information in an effort to defend himself, but it was information that he in fact did NOT confirm with more than one person.

You may know this as the John Tomase rule.

King however, wasn’t that humbled by the blowback. He concluded that section by writing:

In retrospect, I would have added a paragraph or two to the story at the end about what I thought, because that is clearly what so many of you expect from me.

Two things – I look at that sentence as just dripping with condescension. Isn’t he admitting right here that the talking points in the original Goodell defense were not his own, but were actually Goodell’s? The original article was written in such as way as to make you think that King is merely observing the whole situation from on high, detached from the situation and saying “This is what Goodell is thinking.” In reality, they were Goodell’s thoughts. and now Peter is distancing himself from them and saying he should’ve offered HIS thoughts too, as they would be very different from Goodell’s. The impatient “clearly what so many of you expect me from me” bit makes me ill.

How do we know he lied? He copped to it yesterday in this curiously titled addendum to the Ray Rice coverage.

He writes:

Earlier this summer a source I trusted told me he assumed the NFL had seen the damaging video that was released by TMZ on Monday morning of Rice slugging his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City elevator. The source said league officials had to have seen it. This source has been impeccable, and I believed the information. So I wrote that the league had seen the tape. I should have called the NFL for a comment, a lapse in reporting on my part. The league says it has not seen the tape, and I cannot refute that with certainty. No one from the league has ever knocked down my report to me, and so I was surprised to see the claim today that league officials have not seen the tape.

I hope when this story is fully vetted, we all get the truth and nothing but the truth.

For King to write within the same paragraph that something had happened and then say “I don’t think it is fair in an incendiary case like this one to use something I cannot confirm with more than one person.” is completely mind-blowing.

His defense is “no one ever told me I was wrong“? (Aside: How tone-deaf does someone have to be to use the phrase “knocked down” in referencing to his own reporting on a case which involved a woman getting knocked unconscious and dragged across a lobby?) This is the guy lecturing on ethics and the importance of multiple sources?

Then the last sentence. Isn’t that YOUR job, Peter? To advance and vet the story?

He continued on the topic with his mailbag today. Many readers were still upset, and King attempted to placate them and apologize – but not really.

I’ve been a reporter for 34 years and I’ve made my share of mistakes. This certainly was one of them. And I realize that a lot of people will not trust what I say on this issue, but I can assure you that it was simply an honest mistake. As far as resigning, if my bosses inside Sports Illustrated and Time Inc. don’t want me to report anymore, they’ll tell me. But I won’t be voluntarily quitting. I’m not sure what good that would do, other than to satisfy some fairly shrill cries for my head.

After looking at the above, can we really call this “an honest mistake?” Not at all. It was deliberate. There was no “honest mistake” involved in the least.

How about that last line? Again, the tone-deafness of Peter King is just insane. Does the term “fairly shrill cries” fill you with warmth at the thought of a humbled man looking to make good on his errors? Or does it leave you with the picture of a testy, impatient man scolding “leave me alone you screeching vultures?”

Way to go, Pete. Get your house in order.

Ron Borges Caught In Another Lie, Mazz Making Stuff Up, and Peter King’s Laughable Rationalization

Just another day in the world of the Boston sports media.

In the morning, we had Pete Sheppard taking on Ron Borges on the Dennis and Callahan Morning Show. Borges, as usual sounded like a raving madman, screaming, yelling and cursing on the air- getting bleeped out, shouting down any accusations or points made against him. As far as defenses go, its a reliable one, if you’re on the offensive and changing the talking points every two seconds, it’s going to be hard to build that stable case against you in the short time you have on the air.

Of course, the case against Borges was made a long time ago, and it has only been added to since.

One accusation that Sheppard made was that Borges had had dinner at Drew Bledsoe’s house, and how this closeness was part of the reason Borges turned on Bill Belichick so venomously when Belichick named Brady the starter even when Bledsoe was ready to return in 2001.

Borges went ballistic on Sheppard, screaming, asking what evidence he had of this supposed dinner, and when pressed on it yelled “NO I DIDN’T” and demanded again to have Sheppard reveal evidence.

Here’s your evidence, Ron: From Drew Bledsoe himself:

So there you go. Yet another documented case of Ron Borges lying.

Gerry Callahan was his usual loathsome self during the show,  at one point dropping into his whiny, feminine voice to say that Sheppard would now be wearing a fireman’s helmet to the games and leading the cheers of P-A-T-S, PATS!

When the topic of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning throwing the ball on the Packers with five minutes to go came up, the goalposts were shifted again, instead of it being only the evil Patriots and Bill Belichick that do this, it became “we’re only concerned with Tom Brady and him getting hurt.

In the afternoon, Tony Massarotti spent the afternoon yelling that Jermaine Cunningham was clearly much bigger than he was in previous seasons and that the suspension was definitely not for Adderall.  He presented absolutely zero evidence of this, and really,  how could he? How much is he around the team? I’m not convinced that he even watches the games.

Meanwhile, if you want to know about Adderall, and why NFL players might want to take it, and why it is banned, Tom E Curran has it all.

A GIS search of Cunningham shows no obvious changes in his body since joining the Patriots. Some modest increase in strength, but no Barry Bonds-like transformation. Yet Massarotti was screaming that if you didn’t see, it, you’re an idiot, a moron and just plain stupid.

I continue to be baffled as to way anyone who actually enjoys sports and their teams would listen to this type of programming willingly. I’m clearly old-school, maybe not this old school, but definitely from before the time when sports radio only existed to dump on the local teams 24/7.

The running-up-the-score hypocrisy will not die. Peter King in his MMQB, Tuesday Edition answered an email from a New England NFL fan:

BELICHICK DOES IT ALL THE TIME. COUGHLIN, NOT SO MUCH. “How about a team that is up by four touchdowns (38-10) with five minutes left and keeping the starting quarterback in and is STILL throwing the ball? Man, that Belichick is one evil…. oh wait… that was Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning against Green Bay Sunday night. When it’s not Belichick, the moral outrage goes away, right?”
– Tom, Portsmouth, N.H.

It’s a little different. Belichick’s done this often over the years. You need more than one hand to count the times Tom Brady’s been in a total blowout in the middle of the fourth quarter. But Coughlin had a reason, I believe. His offense had been struggling for four weeks, and he has every right to use the game to do what he can to make sure his team is back on track for the stretch run. People wouldn’t be killing Belichick if it were a one-time occurrence. Obviously, it’s not.

My mind is still spinning at this.

It’s OK for Coughlin to use a real, live game to work on things to make his team better and make sure they’re in top form for the postseason. Bill Belichick does it, and it’s just out of spite and poor sportsmanship. Got it.

I mean, it’s not like Saint Tony Dungy ever did this sort of thing with Peyton Manning. Oh, wait.

I think this might be the more accurate explanation for why only Belichick gets flayed for this.

The other thing to wonder is how often are other teams even in this position? It’s all well and good to say that Coughlin, or any other coach doesn’t leave their QB in with a 35-point lead, or isn’t passing under five minutes with a 35-point lead. How many teams routinely have 35-point leads?

Still on the Patriots, with the Gil Santos era winding down, the subject of his replacement is gaining momentum.

John Rooke, The Obvious Choice To Take Over For Gil Santos – Derek Havens looks at why Rooke and his 20 years of working for the Patriots make him the best choice for the job. I’m on-board with this, certainly if it keeps Gary Tanguay or Jon Meterparel away from the gig.

Meanwhile, Red Sox reporters are waiting for something to happen.

Abraham of course, wrote a Lester column himself, but that was sort of his point. Right now, the Red Sox media is jumping on any scrap of information and writing about it.

I thought Abraham and Chad Finn had a nice 1-2 punch on the Jon Lester for Wil Myers rumor(?) Is it even a rumor? Speculation?

Lester for a prospect? Here’s why it’s crazy – Abraham

Jon Lester for Wil Myers? Why not? – Finn

The Super Bowl Weekend Megalinks

Let’s do some linkage on this Super Bowl Weekend.

The Weekend Viewing Picks have my sports and entertainment suggestions.

Time for your links. As you can imagine, many of the stories will deal with Sunday’s Super Bowl.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks with NBC’s Bob Costas about his past experiences in hosing a Super Bowl pregame show.

The Nielsen Wire Blog has a look at the 10 Most Liked Super Bowl ads in the last five years.

Daisy Whitney at MediaPost says a large portion of viewers go online to look up information about a Super Bowl ad.

Wayne Friedman of MediaPost writes that the Super Bowl is reaching almost half of all female viewers.

Peter Pachal of Mashable says NBC will hold a Google+ hangout to after the Super Bowl to discuss the ads.

Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter talks with NBC Sports Group Fearless Leader Mark Lazarus about the Super Bowl, winning the Olympics and losing Wimbledon to ESPN.

John Eggerton in Broadcasting & Cable writes that a fan lobbying group hopes the FCC will call for the elimination of the NFL’s antiquated TV blackout rules.

John says a Michigan man has been charged with illegally streaming NFL games online.

Thomas Umstead from Multichannel News says Saturday’s UFC pay per view event will be available in 3-D for the first time.

Todd Spangler of Multichannel looks at Verizon’s streaming of Sunday’s Super Bowl on select mobile devices.

Adweek talks with Sports Illustrated/NBC’s Peter King.

Tim Nudd from Adweek notes the return of the E*Trade baby to the Super Bowl.

The International Olympic Committee has awarded the Japanese rights for the 2014/16 Games at a much lower rate than the US rights paid by NBC.

Robert Livingston at Games Bid says the 2014 Olympics in Sochi will be the first to be produced in 3-D TV.

André Lowe of the Jamaica (yes the country) Gleaner says ESPN has gathered some former NFL players in a cruise ship for the Super Bowl at Sea. I’m not making this up.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch talks with The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre about his recent profile of ESPN Radio Hack Colin Cowherd.

Allison Stoneberg at ESPN’s Front Row discusses how the network’s producers book guests for the studio and radio shows during Super Bowl Week.

Jack Dickey at Deadspin explains how the New York Times really messed up the story of former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt.

Dylan Stableford at Yahoo’s The Cutline explains why the Puppy Bowl has become so popular on Super Bowl Sunday.

Sports Media Watch delves into the expanded NFL Network Thursday Night Football schedule.

SMW has a few ratings news and notes including one on the Winter X Games.

Ken Kerschbaumer of Sports Video Group goes behind the scenes with NBC’s Super Bowl production crew.

Jason Dachman of SVG goes into NBC’s first-ever online streaming of the Super Bowl.

And Dan Daily from SVG writes about this year’s Super Bowl World Feed.

Steve Lepore at Puck The Media says Wednesday night NHL games are doing well for NBC Sports Network.

Northeast & Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe speaks with NBC’s Rodney Harrison on the unspoken revenge factor for the Patriots in this year’s Super Bowl.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has NBC’s Cris Collinsworth talking about the Super Bowl.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says one of the Mets’ TV partners may help to bail out the team from its financial troubles.

Judy Battista of the Times reports on the expanded Thursday Night Football schedule.

Stuart Elliot of the Times says the Shazam mobile app will play a prominent role during many Super Bowl ads.

A rare appearance by Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News in the links. He has his Top 5 Super Bowl announcing teams of all-time.

Phil Mushnick from the New York Post has some Super Bowl storylines the media has missed.

Ken Schott at the Schenectady Gazette looks at the NFL Network announcement of five more games added to Thursday Night Football.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has NFL Commish Roger Goodell shooting down rumors of more Monday Night Football doubleheaders.

Pete says Commissioner Goodell is firing a warning shot at Time Warner Cable.

Pete reviews the 11 men who have called a Super Bowl on network television.

The Crossing Broad blog says the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer may be on a slow death march to oblivion.

Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call discusses NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVI.

South

David Barron from the Houston Chronicle notes that NBC’s Rodney Harrison may be an ex-New England Patriots, but he says he can remain fair.

David says NFL Network gets a beefed up schedule next season.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says NBC’s Cris Collinsworth gets to call his second Super Bowl on TV.

Mel notes that College GameDay will be covering the Big 12 on Saturday.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that one local radio show will be on radio row in Indianapolis today.

Scott Olson of the Indianapolis Business Journal says ESPN is very happy about choosing Pan Am Plaza as its Super Bowl headquarters this week.

The Indianapolis Star has what journalists are saying about the city as a Super Bowl host.

Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says two participants in last year’s Big Game will be on NBC’s Super Bowl pregame show.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Cardinals TV voice Dan McLaughlin will return to call games this season.

Steve Walentik of the Columbia (MO) Tribune calls ESPN’s Jay Bilas, “College Hoops’ Deepest Thinker.” Ok.

West

John Maffei of the North County Times says Al Michaels still loves calling Super Bowls.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says Michaels is hoping for overtime.

Jim has NBC’s Rodney Harrison keeping the David Tyree catch from Super Bowl XLVII in proper perspective.

Richard Varrier of the Los Angeles Times looks at the Fed crackdown on websites that were illegally streaming NFL games.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News talks with former Lakers voice Paul Sunderland and lists the 20 best play-by-play men in Southern California.

Tom has more about Paul in his blog and adds a couple of media notes.

Canada

Susan Krashinsky of the Toronto Globe and Mail explains why Canada can’t see the U.S. Super Bowl ads in real time.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog has NBC’s Super Bowl production by the numbers.

And that’s going to do it for the links. Enjoy the Big Game.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

I am.

We have to give (Boston’s own) Peter King credit for scoring the first extensive interview with Tom Brady since the Patriots’ All-World quarterback was lost for the season on opening day last September.

In the story, (Tom Brady is Back ) posted on SI.com, we see clearly that #12 has lost none of the fire and zeal for the game which made him so adored in these parts, and which also put him at the very top of the NFL.

We get a glimpse of Brady’s offseason workouts with Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis, and learn what caused the infamous staph infection which initially cause his recovery to be set back a bit.

Plus, you just have to love this quote:

With his voice rising as he leaned forward in his chair, Brady said that playing 10 more seasons “is a big goal of mine, a very big goal. I want to play until I’m 41. And if I get to that point and still feel good, I’ll keep playing. I mean, what the hell else am I going to do? I don’t like anything else.

As pointed out by the BSMW message board posters however, critics will still manage to find things to twist take out of context. Here is a prediction of how ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio will summarize the article:

  • Brady says he’ll play ten more years – but made no commitment to New England beyond 2010
  • Struggling to regain timing with Moss
  • Calls self “real gladiator” while mocking the nation’s space program and armed forces
  • Considers self bigger than game, team; was surprised that game carried on without him
  • Turned owner, head coach against team’s medical staff
  • Sees son only once a month
  • Currently running illegal practices
  • Has “family friend” do his surgery

Watching Peter King

Disclaimer: The point of this post is by no means to discredit what the Philadelphia Eagles did on draft weekend. They clearly made some nice moves. The motivation is to shine the light on Peter King for being something of a hypocrite for his gushing praise at the Eagles for doing the very same thing that he mocked the Patriots for doing just the week before.

If you hadn’t heard, Peter King recently moved to Boston. If you read King at all, I’m not sure how you could’ve missed this point, as he’s told us several times, and has already told Boston Magazine all about the great coffee and food he is getting here in the city.

Since he lives in Boston, I guess he’s now on my beat.

In his column following the draft, King wasn’t impressed with all the moving around that the Patriots did. I’ve put in bold the statements that stuck out to me:

New England. I was told last night the Patriots loved Eric Wood, the Louisville center who projected to center or guard in the NFL, but if that’s the case, they could have had him at 26 instead of trading out of the round for yet more picks. So I remain mystified about the continued trading rather than picking… Brandon Tate’s a poor man’s Percy Harvin, with the same off-field question marks, picked almost exactly two rounds later than Harvin … I go into the Patriots in more depth later, but I thought it was a strange draft, almost drunk with the power of moving back. The one reason you can never kill this team about drafting is it’s taken a lot of no-name guys high over the years and many have become cornerstones.

“Drunk with the power of moving back.” What does that even mean? Then, in yesterday’s column, King lauds the Eagles for putting on a “draft clinic.” It’s way too long to quote in its entirety here, but I’ll offer a few snippets:

What would you think if I told you the Philadelphia Eagles got third-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round draft choices, plus half a starting cornerback for nothing in this year’s draft?

That’s right. For free. There is no smoke, mirrors or cheating involved. Only thought and effort.

For moving down six spots in the third round — eventually taking a player they were considering for that 85th pick anyway — the Eagles got filthy rich. I am shocked more teams don’t run their draft the way the Eagles do. It’s almost irresponsible that teams don’t do it the Philadelphia way.

The Patriots do, (some feel they originated the concept) but they’re “drunk with the power of moving back,” and cause King to be “mystified” with all their trades for additional picks.

Then the Eagles GM is quoted, which might give you a clue as to why their moves are being so strongly praised:

“Actually, I’m happy more teams don’t,” said Tom Heckert, the Eagles general manager. “If more teams did, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

This may come out the wrong way, so bear with me. But if I were a football fan looking for a team to root for, I’d pick the Eagles, and what they did on draft weekend is a big reason. The Eagles think. They don’t do things the way they’ve always been done because that’s the way they’ve always been done.

In contrast, in last weeks column, King later called the Patriots draft was “uninspired” and “odd” and “greeted with shoulder shrugs around the league.” 

King then goes into details about all the moves that the Eagles made. In the end, the Eagles netted “third-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round draft choices, plus half a starting cornerback.”

King will tell us that the Eagles netting Peters, Maclin, McCoy plus the six-pick trade-down is what makes Philly’s draft preeminent. That’s not the point. We’re strictly focusing on the practice of trading up and down and turning picks into multiple picks. As I said at the start of this post, I’m not discrediting the Eagles. The point is that the Eagles and Patriots did the same type of thing, and the unfriendly Patriots get hammered while the Eagles and their quotable GM get praised. King doesn’t get it.

But, let’s look at the trades that the Patriots made during draft weekend:

  • Started with the 23rd pick, traded it to Baltimore for #26 and a fifth round pick #162
  • Traded the #26 pick and the #162 pick to Green Bay for a second round pick (#41 Darius Butler) and two third round picks (#73 & #83 Brandon Tate)
  • Traded a second round pick (#47), a fourth round pick (#124) and a sixth round pick (#199) to Oakland to move up in the second round to #40 (Ron Brace)
  • Traded a third round pick (#73) to Jacksonville for a 2010 2nd round pick and a 2009 seventh round pick (#232 Julian Edelman)
  • Traded a third round pick (#89) to Tennessee for a 2010 second round pick.
  • Traded Ellis Hobbs to the Eagles for two fifth round picks (#137 and # 141)
  • Traded those two fifth round picks for a fourth round pick (#123 Rich Ohrnberger) and a sixth round pick (#198 Jake Ingram)

If you follow that list, and track that first pick that the Patriots started out with at #23, you’ll find that they ultimately turned that one pick into the following, without trading a single other asset that they started the day with already in hand:

  • Pick #41 Darius Butler (who King’s colleague Don Banks had the Patriots taking at #23)
  • Pick #83 Brandon Tate (King himself praised his skills)
  • 2010 Second Round Pick (From Jacksonville)
  • Pick #232 Julian Edelman (who Mike Reiss seems high on)

That’s not really “uninspired” to me. They took a late first round pick, and turned it into two seconds, a third and a seventh. Not a bad haul. In his own mock draft prior to the draft, King said of the #23 pick “One smart guy swears they’re taking UConn CB Darius Butler.” Well, they did, but they got an extra second, third and seventh round pick to do it. For free!

Coming into the draft, the Patriots had two second round picks. They ended up with four in this draft, plus an extra two next year. They got those two next year for a pair of third round selections this year. They clearly moved around with a purpose, they weren’t just “drunk with the power of moving back.”

Back to the whole point of the post. Why did King dismiss the Patriots moves while praising the Eagles? I tried to clarify with him, and we’ve been having the following Twitter exchange:

@SI_PeterKing – Why are you praising the Eagles for doing the same thing you knocked the “drunk with power” Patriots for doing last week?

SI_PeterKing Hi Bruce: Hope you don’t mind, but I am going to answer your question in my Tuesday column. Thanks for writing in.

@SI_PeterKing : I look forward to it, because 4 draft choices between the 3rd & 7th rounds = wow!, Two second round picks = mystifying?

SI_PeterKing: Hi bruce. Peter here. Peters, Maclin, McCoy PLUS the six-pick trade-down makes Philly’s draft preeminent.

@SI_PeterKing Thanks for the reply. My point isn’t really who did better, its that you knocked the Patriots for doing what the Eagles did.

I give the guy credit for responding and I do think King is one of the good guys in the media. Too often though, he allows himself to be used as a mouthpiece by his subjects. In this case, I think he’s just missing the point. It’s not that the Eagles did better or the Patriots did better, it’s that they did the same things, and the Patriots get hammered or mockingly dismissed, while the Eagles “put on a draft clinic” and are innovative and thinking outside the box, and not doing things the way they’ve always been done. He just doesn’t get it.

Why the contrast? Is it really simply because the Philly GM explained what they were doing, whereas the Patriots just went out and did it?

Update:

Here’s King’s answer in his column today.

TWITTER QUESTION OF THE WEEK: From Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch: “Why are you praising the Eagles for doing the same thing you knocked the ‘drunk with power’ Patriots for doing last week?”
Though in principle you might be right, Bruce, it wasn’t the same thing. The Patriots didn’t have the same result in trading down as the Eagles did, though they did acquire two second-round picks in 2010 in their wheeling-and-dealing. Philadelphia traded down six spots late in the third round and got one of the top guys they would have taken at 85 (Cornelius Ingram), half the value of a starting corner (Ellis Hobbs), a seventh-round pick this year and third-, fifth- and sixth-round picks next year … and still exited the draft with three potential impact players in 2009 — Jason Peters, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy.

It remains to be seen if the Patriots got the same sort of impact out of their 2009 draft and beyond, but it didn’t look like it to me. It surprised me they twice traded down out of the first round for three additional picks instead of taking a tackle of the future like Michael Oher or some higher-rated player at 23 or 26. It could be that Darius Butler, for instance, could have had a mid-first-round grade and by getting him in the low 40s it constituted great value on their board.

As I wrote last week about New England, “The one reason you can never kill this team about drafting is the Patriots have taken a lot of no-name guys high over the years and many have become cornerstones.” So let’s see how it plays out.

I guess that’s all we can do right now.