Happy Holidays

Stats I think mean something.

1. In the most storied passing season by a quarterback ever, Peyton Manning could lose out in passer rating to a guy who was a second-stringer the first month of the season. Nick Foles has a 5.7-point lead (118.7-113.0) over Manning entering Week 17.

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2. Denver, the presumptive top seed in the AFC, has four players with at least 60 catches and at least 10 touchdown catches. Seattle, the presumptive top seed in the NFC, does not have a receiver with 60 catches, and does not have a receiver with 10 touchdown receptions.

3. I agree the buck stops with the head coach, and Jim Schwartz is very likely to take the fall for the Lions’ going 1-5 down the stretch and falling out of the NFC North race they once owned. But Matthew Stafford has been awful down the stretch—undisciplined, not focused, clearly not as attentive to Calvin Johnson (four targets in five quarters against the Giants on Sunday) as he should be. Stafford’s being paid like a franchise quarterback, and he’s performing like a quarterback who should be benched for David Carr. In the five recent losses Stafford has completed 50.7 percent of his throws, with three of those games in the perfect conditions of Ford Field, and thrown 12 interceptions. The worst thing you can say about a quarterback is that he’s careless in the big moments. That’s exactly what Stafford has been.

4. Manning broke the touchdown-pass record Sunday against Houston, with Wade Phillips in charge of the Texans defense. Manning previously broke the touchdown-pass record held by Dan Marino in 2004 with his 49th against San Diego, with Wade Phillips in charge of the Chargers defense.

5. How times are changing (thanks to Elliott Kalb for reminding me of these): Seven years ago Manning led the NFL with 31 touchdown passes. Andy Dalton has 31 this year, with four quarters to play.

* * *

Bruce Arians is one heck of a football coach

Praising Arizona

Before their upset over the Seahawks, Andy Benoit said Bruce Arians should be named Coach of the Year. Read why. FULL STORY

Coach of the Year is a mystery to me this morning. Bill Belichick is doing one of his best coaching jobs going back to being a $25-a-week gopher for Ted Marchibroda in Baltimore; 41-7 over the Ravens, Gronkless, in Baltimore? Amazing. And you know the other candidates, all good ones—Ron “Relevant” Rivera, Andy Reid, Pete Carroll, Chip Kelly, Joe Philbin. But Bruce Arians has to be on any list. The Cardinals, 58-0 losers at Seattle last year, broke the Seahawks’ 14-game home winning streak. Perhaps more important for the rest of the NFC, Arizona burst the bubble of Seattle’s Pacific Northwest invincibility. We all thought the Seahawks would breeze to the Super Bowl in New Jersey with two easy home wins. Now they’re not even guaranteed the top seed in the conference; two San Francisco wins and a Seattle loss at home to the Rams Sunday would make the Niners the top seed and Seattle No. 5.

Not likely, of course. But possible, because of the Arizona Cardinals.

“What I told the team this week was I didn’t care about the record, I didn’t care about winning the division,” said Arians from Seattle after the 17-10 upset of the Seahawks. “I cared about winning both lines of scrimmage in this game. And we did. The Seahawks and 49ers are both big, strong, physical teams on their fronts. They’re bullies. That’s football. And that’s what we have to learn to be. I think we showed today we can be big and strong and physical. We can beat the No. 1 seed in the league. We can beat the best team in our division. And we did.’’

“Once I learned we could get to 11-5 and we might still not make it, I said, ‘Screw it. Let’s just get to 11-5 and let the chips fall where they may.’ Whatever happens, we’re letting everyone in our division know we’re a team to be reckoned with.”

I asked Arians about the odds his team faces to make the playoffs, and whether that has impacted the last two or three weeks. For Arizona to make the playoffs now, even at 10-5 this morning, the Cards must beat San Francisco at home Sunday and have one of two other things happen: The Niners must lose to 4-10 Atlanta tonight, or the Saints must lose to 4-11 Tampa Bay at home next Sunday. Not … likely.

“I stopped worrying about that crap about three weeks ago,” said Arians. “Once I learned we could get to 11-5 and we might still not make it, I said, ‘Screw it. Let’s just get to 11-5 and let the chips fall where they may.’ Whatever happens, we’re letting everyone in our division know we’re a team to be reckoned with.”

Arians is a funny play-caller. If Carson Palmer throws four interceptions, as he did in Seattle, Arians is going to tell him to keep firing. Down 10-9 at the Seattle 31 with just under six minutes left, the Cards wanted to isolate one of their receivers on cornerback Byron Maxwell, who just became a starter earlier this month. Arians called 81 Go, with three receivers running for the end zone, hoping to get one of them singled. On this play it would be Michael Floyd, on Maxwell. The Cards kept seven in to protect against the Seattle rush, Palmer had time, and, in Arians’ words, “If it was a fielder’s choice, I wanted Carson to take Floyd.” And Palmer did, throwing a beautifully placed ball into Floyd’s arms on the left side of the end zone. Touchdown.

“What’d you say to the team after the game?” I said.

“Not much,” said Arians. “ ‘Merry Christmas. Great team win.’ ”

* * *

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* * *

Variable ticket pricing could come to the NFL in 2014.

At the NFL meeting in Dallas earlier this month, a cadre of teams met to discuss something other sports have taken the lead on: pricing tickets to a team’s 10 games differently, depending on the quality of opposition and whether it’s a preseason or regular-season game. In the past week I’ve spoken to executives of three teams about it, and one told me: “I’d say as many as half the teams in the league are thinking about instituting it for 2014.”

I do not, however, see this solving the problem of the NFL charging full prices for preseason games. It is possible that a team charging, say, $750 for a full-season ticket (eight regular-season games, two preseason games) would still charge $750 next season. But the team could put a face value of $50 on the two preseason games, $100 on the most attractive two home games and $75 on the six remaining regular-season games.

None of this is set in stone. Team are still discussing it, and the NFL will not make a hard-and-fast policy about what any team does with tickets. But the way this was explained to me by a source with knowledge of several teams’ plans is that it would address the value of tickets on secondary markets like StubHub and Ticketmaster. A preseason game, rightfully, would have a lower base price than a decent game in November. And the best games would start from a price point much higher than preseason games.

Here’s the way it could work—and we’ll use Kansas City for an example. Let’s say a good Chiefs’ season-ticket costs $1,000 for 10 games in 2014. The Chiefs have an attractive home slate next year. They could take visits by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and the cross-state Rams, call them Tier 1 games and put a face value of $150 on those tickets. They could make the next four most attractive games Tier 2 at $100, and then call the final regular-season game and two preseason games Tier 3 at $50. (Those are my approximations, no one else’s.) This would really help teams with a lot of single-game tickets to sell. A team like Buffalo, for instance, could put a premium price on the Patriots game and a much lower price on a game involving a less desirable team.

“I think you’ll see teams experiment with different price points the next couple of years,” said one executive of a team that will likely change pricing next season. “Then I think you’ll see the real final product in two or three years, when teams find out from their fans what they want the most.”

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401 comments
racy0057
racy0057

I just finished reading MMQB, because it is my favorite football9actually sports)article and I have been a fan of Peter King for a long time.  I don't always agree with him, but I don't think he would much care if I did or not.  King states his opinions in his weekly writings and has earned the respect of athletes, etc., to be granted interviews and to take some of thier valuable time.  


So, after reading the article, I read a few comments, which is also my routine and came to the conclusion, very belatedly, I might add, that there are too many people, mainly in our country, who need to get on with real life. Sports, namely the NFL, as it is what Mr. King covers the most, is designed to provide entertainment to us.  I am a big football fan and have been for about 40 years.  


I tend to marvel at the athletic ability of so many of the players and their ability to dedicate themselves to their profession and craft. I think that is what seperates the good players from the great, in most instances.  I don't minimize achievements, because players don't wear the jersey of my favorite teams, or curse at Peter King for making his own observations and potentially not mentioning my own favorite teams, or players.  First, it would be virtually impossible for this man to cover every team or player, at the level that would make every fan happy.  I guess that maybe there are so many more important issues, in everyday life, to expend that much energy on not liking someone, due to not agreeing with everything he writes, or states.  


So, when some of you dedicate so much of your time doing just that, maybe you need some self-reflection on why our country faces some of the issues it does and just how spoiled we can be, to make a sports article cause such deep seeded emotions, generally anger and often to the point of hatred.


Alright, I am being hypocritical by spending too much time on the issue myself.  I need to go help my elderly mother with some maintenance at her home, as my father passed away on December 28th, of last year.  I will, however, likely forget all about this article and think about Peter King next week sometime.

Jerry Jones
Jerry Jones

Wow...talk about overblown. Ever since his 24 tackle game writers have reacted as if it was unheard of to have that many tackles. Via MMQB “Luke Kuechly, with 24 tackles,” said Newton. “That’s unheard of.”


Unheard of...? Kiko Alonso had 22 vs. Cincy earlier in the year. http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/gamelog/_/id/15819/kiko-alonso so let's all settle down with the MVP talk.


Matter of fact I'm not even going to bore you with stat after stat. Kiko is almost identical to Luke in every category. http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14938/luke-kuechly


Another quote from MMQB What’s better than a 24-tackle game? Kuechly said he’d never had 24 tackles before. I wonder: Who has? 


Let's try some research before writing articles.

KidHorn
KidHorn

What do Jim Brown, OJ Simpson, Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, Tony Dorset, Walter Payton, Adrian Peterson, Emmitt Smith, and pretty much every running back in the HOF have in common?

They were drafted in the 1st round.

Fred24
Fred24

Meantime, Perloff the trash collector is trying to get attention with his 'Always Drama in Dallas' garbage, as if an injury is drama. What a garbage collector.

MortimerSnerd
MortimerSnerd

Dan Morgan had 25 tackles in the Panthers-Saints Super Bowl ten years ago, 18 solo.

junior9
junior9

Peter, you suck

How about calling this MondayMorning Manning

Peter Parker1
Peter Parker1

Too bad Justin Tucker missed one to end his streak.  That 42 is the next big field goal record that needs to fall (though Vanderjagt's record gets the big asterisk after he got a re-take following that bogus call in Tampa in the MNF broadcast).


Awesome run, Justin.  Also, big props to Mike Scifres and Jon Ryan for simply concentrating on being good team punters and not just Lechler-ing up the field.  Both these guys need end of season recognition (especially Scifres: he's been a great punter for so many years).

Mike26
Mike26

2.  Peter, you're right about one thing - you aren't a college sports fan and hence, shouldn't make too many statement about issues of which you know about 1% of the story.  Best to let Texas decide what's best for Texas....

Mike26
Mike26

1.  The New England win yesterday will NEVER be more impressive than the playoff victories Baltimore has scored over NE in the playoffs.

Tony M
Tony M

Peyton Manning who loves attention, acts all "its not important" in the after press conference. We know better Peyton.

BuzzFrankacott
BuzzFrankacott

Peter why no mention of Jerry Jones threatening to sack his entire coaching staff if they don't make the playoffs but saying nothing about his own performance as GM?

don7
don7

“Long Tall Sally” is better song than anything any of the Beatles ever wrote.  

ErikWassell
ErikWassell

If it's so much easier to throw TD's now than it was in 1984, why aren't there 3-4 other QB's with 40-45 TD's?  Brees is in 2nd place with 35 TD passes, 16 behind Peyton.  Also, Marino was 23 when he had his amazing season, and had one of the greatest coaches in history calling plays.  Manning is 37, underwent multiple neck and back surgeries, and has John Fox (a good, but certainly not HOF) coaching the team.  All things considered, I'll take Manning 2013 over Marino 1984 as the greatest passing performance of all time.

gary7
gary7

"Kuechly said he’d never had 24 tackles before. I wonder: Who has?"..... Sam Huff often said on the radio if he did not get 20-25 he had a bad game, I'm sure Butkus, Curtis, Singletary,  Nitschke, jeez just add a few more from back in the day, your thinking out loud is always deafening in the way how clueless you are to NFL history

yobogo
yobogo

Cardinal Defense is good, but that loss yesterday was all on the Seahawks. Their offense played horrible. Regardless of the bad calls at the end, they didn't deserve to win. My wife turned to me during the 3Q and said, it looks like someone told Russell Wilson to lose this game, but don't make it obvious your losing the game on purpose, and he just didn't quite know how to do it without looking ridiculous. His throws were all over the place, he purposely didn't run at time when he could have easily picked up first downs, he would hold on to the ball just waiting to get sacked. And then when it seemed like he was playing too badly, he marched down the field like it was a piece of cake and threw an easy touchdown. Go figure.

Norton20
Norton20

Gee thanks Peter for all the kind words about the Bills. They lead the league in sacks, have 3 guys with 10, held Dolphins (winner of 4 of prior 5 including over New England) to 103 total yards, 50 of which came on 1 play. The only Bills mention is criticizing their 2nd string QB for not executing the draw them offsides play (which works about 5 times a year maybe). I know the Bills are irrelevant but they are still in the NFL.

AndrewMccall
AndrewMccall

Peter - Last Beatles concert was on January 30th, 1969 on the Rooftop of Apple Records in London and the last song was "Get Back"..... just saying, love your work, DIEHARD Alligash White fan, and Merry Christmas.... 

mrjohnwao
mrjohnwao

The NFL has spent the last ten years changing the rules to favor Peyton Manning and transform it into the AFL and everyone gets excited when he throws a 100 TDs in a season. So funny.

George
George

Sea-hens exPOSED! ... at HOME!! ...  laid an egg and lost the GAME!!!  Schooled @ home by the cards??!? 


How r they going to win the BIG one at a neutral site, 

when they can't even win a little one at HOME?!!?

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

HOLY CRAP!  Romo's out for Sunday night's game.  Back injury.  

chino78019
chino78019

Brady in 2007 was more storied than Manning in 2013. 

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@KidHorn You're comparing apples to oranges. Other than AD, all those guys played in a different era. The NFL rules are now slanted towards passing attacks. 

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

when you asked what do they have in common... something else came to mind first

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7In the Pantheon of all time ridiculous statements, this is battling fiercely for the top spot.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@ErikWassellmanning is loaded with talent all around him, and always has been.  Show me another ring, Peyton, before anyone puts this season as one of the greatest

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@yobogo the Seahawks offense played horrible because the Cards defense played so well.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@mrjohnwao If Manning was the only QB that could take advantage of revised rules then you might have a point.  However, the other 31 QB's in the league play under the same rules as Manning.

AdamPond
AdamPond

@George  I don't think I've ever seen a more fitting avatar - You do know that AZ has one of the top defenses in the NFL, right? 

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@PhillyPenn

The league takes 2 Sunday night games away from the Packers this year, then hands the final one to the Cowboys-Eagles because it's a winner-take-all game.  Rodgers will play Sunday in the Packers-Bears winner-take-all game, while Romo sits on the sidelines with a back injury.

Hey, Mr. Goodell - nice job picking the right game for next Sunday.  Foles vs. Orton is always better than Rodgers vs. Cutler.  It's also better than the longest rivalry in the NFL.  Iconic Soldier Field with the NFC North on the line for the 2 most storied franchises in history just can't compare, can it?

/sarcasm

The league is a joke.  If you aren't in Dallas or New England, you may as well not exist.  Thanks for proving that once again, Mr. Goodell.

Devilsreject97
Devilsreject97

@chino78019I'd suggest you lay the crack pipe down. Half of Brady's touchdown's went to Moss. Meanwhile, Manning spread his out. He has 4 WR/TE with 10 or more TDs. He has a RB with 12 TDs. He has thrown for his highest yardage output in his career. His team will score more points this season than Brady's 18-1 team did in 2007. And that's not even counting the fact that Manning did it better in 2004...when he sat out almost 2 full games worth of playing time so as to not rack up the score.

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

@chino78019 Brady had a better TD-to-INT ratio, better completion percentage, better TD%, better INT%, and passer rating. All manning has is more yards and TDs.

don7
don7

@Bklr588 @don7 Yeah, like John Lennon was better than Little Richard. Get serious. 

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7In the Pantheon of stupid comments, that one is vying for the top

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@AaronDunckel @ErikWassell Wake up dude. Some QB wins a SB ring EVERY YEAR. Whether it's a legend or a Trent Dilfer. But every guy who consistently threatens the season TD mark is a first ballot Hall of Famer.


And team championships don't invalidate great individual seasons, just as winning a SB ring doesn't validate Dilfer's career. Enjoy it for what it is.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

@AdamPond @George Sea-hens George? Really? How about the She-hawks next time? That's always good for a laugh. Right?

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

@Devilsreject97 @chino78019 plus also remember when manning got the 49th, it pulled them within two, he still had to get his team ready for the 2 point conversion and had no time to celebrate.  plus you look at one of tight ends, denver didn't know useful he was because he had 2 knee injuries and had 3 total catches i believe, but when tamme got hurt pre-season thomas showed how good a player he was.  again the loss of miller is huge though and the broncos could be one and done again

George
George

@Reedster2185 @chino78019 Actually it's lil' Abner Favre that is skunkie's main man-crush.


Wait until that goober is up for the HOF - no-neck will be swilling down gallons of lattes while simultaneously banging out accolades on his laptop.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@Bklr588@don7

Ok, anybody who thinks that the Beatles aren't the best thing to happen to rock music ever - with the sole exception of Elvis - is just an idiot.  The Beatles are just the best there is.


Don't get me wrong - I don't like everything they did.  Some of that "Ravi Shankar doped out LSD tripping" stuff is just wrong.  But for what they meant to music in their time, as well as what they've meant to music overall - both as a group and as individuals (and McCartney on his own as a group and an individual) - cannot be topped.  Again, except by maybe Elvis.

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7@Bklr588Nothing wrong with Little Richard, the Beatles and others covered him in the early days, and he influenced them heavily. Your comment was just pointless.

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7 Yeah, like Little Richard was better than the Beatles. The comment in MMQB referred to the Beatles as an entity. Not John Lennon or any of the other individual members of the group. So you are talking apples and oranges, and your comment is a non-sequitur. 

So...You get serious. 

Devilsreject97
Devilsreject97

@EasyGoer@PhillyPenn@mrjohnwaoReally? The Patriots seemed to take advantage of those rules on their way to 18-1 just fine..... Drew Brees and the Saints did the same in 09.... quit trying to act like the NFL is doing it for Peyton...the rules have been ON THE BOOKS since before Marino came into the league..

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