Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think, for those of you speculating that Vick could end up with his former NFL coach, Jim Mora, in Seattle, partly because there's no quarterback of the future behind Matt Hasselbeck, I can assure you that Vick and Jim Mora will never be on the same team again. Let's just say it didn't end too well the last time they were together. Not just the ending, but the middle part, too. The entire Atlanta organization wasn't crazy about Vick's work ethic in the offseason. It's illogical to think Mora would stake any portion of his future on Vick.
2. I think, though, when the Seattle quarterback depth chart is looking as if it will be Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace and the immortal Mike Teel, it's pretty logical to wonder why you wouldn't consider bringing Vick in-house.
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 Albert Haynesworth -- Jason Cole of Yahoo! reported the investigation Saturday -- because I believe much of the investigation will center on the very public displays of affection Washington owner Dan Snyder had with Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, in Indianapolis at the scouting combine. Snyder and Speck had dinner in full view of half the coaches and scouts in the city. You'd be naďve to think they weren't discussing Haynesworth; that's one of the reasons the league's owners are considering a new rule that will make it legal for teams to speak with agents and looming free-agents in the week before the free market opens.
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, Roger Goodell could be commissioner for a long, long time and never have the kind of week he just had.
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 Jeremy Shockey anymore to stay healthy for 16 weeks. The Saints have to hope that Sunday's shenanigans in Nevada are not a precursor of things to come.
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 Jon Heyman thinks A-Rod not only had his hip fixed out in Colorado, but also his heart.
d. I'm not blind. I see David Ortiz being beyond awful. He is owed more than seven bad weeks, people, before being buried.
e. Wake up, Ryan Howard. You are wreaking havoc with my rotisserie team.
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 Paul Zimmerman had three strokes and we tried to raise money for him, I'm guessing we'd have gotten $35,000, maybe $40,000, from a dinner and auction. We'd have gotten the word out locally, and maybe through some talk shows, to buy tickets, and we'd have brought some autographed jerseys and maybe a couple of game experiences to the site and we'd auction them off with the people on hand for the fundraiser. But with the reach of this column, and the reach of online auction site CMarket.com, we were able to connect with tens of thousands of people.
A fellow from Kuwait bought the Joe Namath-signed jersey. We had as many as 39 bids via the auction site for entries. And we found a donor from Colorado who was so taken with the auction that he bid up several big-ticket items, won them, and then donated them back to the cause; he'll write a check for what he bid, then he'll let the second-place finishers have the items for their bids. An incredibly classy move -- and possible only because he learned about it from the web.
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 read about one writer's experience with Zim Monday night, check out this from the New York Times' pro football blog, penned by respected film analyst and writer K.C. Joyner.
h. Even a non-basketball fan such as myself has to admire the greatness of LeBron James. What an indomitable force.
i. I admire the Red Wings a lot. I'm rooting for the Blackhawks. You remember the story of Dale Tallon's father's wake, when the team spent a day off trekking way up into Ontario to pay their respects because it was the right thing to do? That's why.
j. Hey, all you who got so ticked off because I revealed Pam's pregnancy four days after The Office season finale ... I mean, come on. Are you telling me you hadn't the time in four entire days to watch the TiVoed version of the last show of the season in a great series?
k. I see a former presidential intern for JFK is writing a book about her story, 47 years after sleeping with him. Now there's something the planet can't live without.
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.
NFL Truth & Rumors