Chicago Takes Charge

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann will lead the U.S. men's national team into the World Cup, which begins this week in Brazil. (Noah Berger/Getty Images)
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann will lead the U.S. men’s national team into the World Cup, which begins this week in Brazil. (Noah Berger/Getty Images)

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think I’d love to hear what an NFL locker room, or a big-league locker room in baseball or basketball or hockey, would say to a coach who said this publicly: “We cannot win our league this year, because we are not at that level yet.” U.S. soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann said to Sam Borden of the New York Times: “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet.” In the last few days, since I derided Klinsmann for saying we cannot win an athletic competition that we, as one of 32 World Cup teams, begin to compete for starting next Monday, I’ve heard all of the theories about why he said it. They are, in no particular order:

• It’s reverse psychology, done to make his players mad at him for giving up, thus creating an us-against-the-world-including-our-coach ethos on the team.

• It adds to the Impossible Dream nature of what the U.S. team is facing.

• It’s a common European way of motivating players. By saying it’s impossible to win, the players will somehow feel they have nothing to lose and be able to play with relaxed minds.

• It takes the pressure off the players by having all the focus and criticism on the coach who says the team has no chance before the biggest soccer tournament in the world.

My point is simple: It’s absurd for a group of players, who have been practicing and drilling and (I’m sure) watching all kinds of video on first-round foes Ghana, Portugal and Germany, to hear from the man leading them into the World Cup that they have no chance to win. I’d love to hear what Herb Brooks would have thought of that form of “motivation.” The U.S. opens World Cup play a week from today against Ghana. I’ll be watching, even though we don’t have a chance.

2. I think Bruce Arians has no prejudice against playing rookies, and he certainly wants to improve his deep receiver speed from 2013, and he has been more impressed with third-round wideout John Brown of Pittsburg (Kans.) State with his 4.34-in-the-40 speed and his quick pickup of the Arizona offense … all of which leads me to believe if you’re drafting your fantasy football team in June, taking a late-round risk on Brown would be a smart idea on a deep roster. The Cardinals, so far, love him.

3. I think Dan Marino, embarrassing non-lawsuit and all, still likely will be hired by the Dolphins for what will begin at least as some sort of ceremonial/advisory role in the front office. Look for Marino to write a letter to commissioner Roger Goodell, and to the Dolphins, explaining his side of how he never intended to sue the league over the head-trauma issue. With all the goodwill Marino has built up over the years with the NFL office and the Dolphins, I’d be surprised if his misstep of last week will cost him a job.

4. I think one of the things that would discourage the NFL from putting the 2015 draft in Arlington, Texas—at the Cowboys’ stadium—is how empty the place would seem for the rounds after the first. I believe the Cowboys could put on a great show for round one. Maybe 50,000 fans, and some good electricity. But the problem with any venue is what happens when the picks are guys the fans have never heard of. Whoever holds the draft next year will have to be sure it can account for the significantly smaller crowds on days two and three (and day four if there is one) by sectioning off the draft room with curtains or whatever. That’s why, as one league operative told me recently, a venue like McCormick Place south of Soldier Field is so attractive. It’s the kind of convention center location that can contract and expand depending on the number of people on hand. Even if Jerryworld puts up barriers, it’s likely still going to look cavernous.

Best Running Quarterback?

Andrew Luck? Robert Griffin III? Cam Newton? Colin Kaepernick? Russell Wilson? Andy Benoit looked at the film, and his answer might surprise you. FULL STORY

5. I think the biggest reason to like Colin Kaepernick’s contract—if you’re a fan, if you’re the team, and if you’re a competitive player who thinks nothing should be handed to him—is that he’ll get very rich if he’s a good-to-great NFL quarterback over the next six years. If he’s just okay, or he slumps over the next two or three years, the Niners can get out from under an onerous deal and start over at the position without being weighed down by Kaepernick guarantees.

6. I think Rahim Moore of the Denver Broncos deserves some praise this morning. Moore suffered from a potentially catastrophic incidence of compartment syndrome, which Joan Niesen wrote so eloquently about for The MMQB. Then Moore talked about it to the Denver press, and a local runner in Denver was admitted to a hospital and diagnosed with compartment syndrome last week. The runner is remaining anonymous for now, but a relative, who also wished to remain anonymous, reached out to me to explain how Moore, once he found out about the patient, wanted to visit him immediately in the hospital. Moore did, last Thursday night. “Rahim prayed with him and inspired him,’’ the relative said. “He dropped what he was doing at 10 o’clock at night and came to the hospital and delivered a message of hope. We are just normal people. We had no expectations that he would come when we notified the Broncos about the situation. But he did. We are overwhelmed. People should know this—they should know what a good person Rahim Moore is.” And so now you hear the testimony about Moore.  

7. I think the funniest headline of last week was one about Andrew Luck not being concerned about Colin Kaepernick’s new contract. People: Andrew Luck is not concerned about much of anything that is outside his Colts universe, and he certainly isn’t concerned with what anyone else’s contract is. He knows when it’s time to sign a contract, he’ll get what the market rate is for a player playing his position at whatever level he’s playing at the time. For him to worry about something like that would be incredibly anti-Luck.

8. I think Monica Seles would be one heck of a first lady of Buffalo football.

9. I think when word leaks out of spring practices that a player is not in top shape, the translation is: The guy’s been dogging it this off-season, and this is his warning. That’s what I thought when the Bucs sent word that Da’Quan Bowers, a second-round pick three years ago, wasn’t in good shape at team activities last week. Bowers has played just 1,009 snaps in a disappointing three-year career so far. This has to be his do-or-die season in Tampa.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. That Belmont was really, really fun to watch.

b. I understand the owner of California Chrome being upset that a fresh horse running his first Triple Crown race beat his horse, running for the third time in a little over a month. But saying it’s a “coward’s way out’’ is beyond bush league. Playing by the rules is cowardly? As SI.com’s Tim Layden reported, Belmont winner Tonalist was sick and didn’t qualify for the Kentucky Derby, so obviously he didn’t sit out to conserve energy for the long Belmont.

c. That Maria Sharapova win over Simona Halep at the French Open was a great sports event. I was sure Halep was too powerful for Sharapova early in the third set, but Sharapova proved to be a great champion.

d. The A’s are really fun to watch.

e. Great job, John Romano, on your Don Zimmer column in Tampa Bay. You’ve got to read the ending, folks. You’ll say, “How do you not love Don Zimmer?”

f. Of course, I’m the same guy who watched Zim’s most ignominious moment (not including the 1978 playoff game at Fenway) with Don Banks at a bar in Indianapolis and howled with stunned laughter when Pedro Martinez threw him to the ground by his head—one of the craziest sights I’ve ever seen in sports.

g. Bet you didn’t know (unless you read my Tweet the other day) that Zim homered off Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal and Robin Roberts (four times) in his major-league career.

h. Coffeenerdness: I give up. I can’t drink any drip coffee but Italian Roast. I am officially the snobbiest coffee snob of all time.

i. Beernerdness: Always happens this way—it’s hot out, it’s near summertime, and I move from heavier to lighter in beer selection.

j. Great opening—would you expect anything less?—from Doc Emrick at the start of Stanley Cup game two Saturday, with a shot of downtown L.A. and Staples Center: “THIS is the city … Los Angeles, California.” If you’re a viewer of a certain age, that was Emrick channeling his inner Jack Webb, and “Dragnet.”

k. Two comments on “All The Way,” the Broadway play that’s heavy on the history of Lyndon Johnson’s early presidency and the election of 1964: Though there were tedious parts and a three-hour play could have easily been two hours and 15 minutes, there were spellbinding segments that made the play enjoyable and worthwhile. And Bryan Cranston, the “Breaking Bad” guy, is so good as LBJ. What an exhausting role. How does he play that role twice in one day when there are matinees? I can’t imagine the yelling and screaming and energy a man expends playing that part for six hours in one day. No wonder he won the Tony Award on Sunday night for best actor. (“All the Way” won for best play.)

l. Think of this: Cranston plays LBJ at 8 p.m. Friday, at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday. That’s four times in the span of 45 hours. Just watch Cranston’s exertion level and tell me that’s not an incredible task—particularly for his vocal cords.

The Adieu Haiku

Kaepernick got paid.
Sort of—but it’s a good pact.
Play well, get rich. Good.

mmqb-end-slug-square

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216 comments
ShaneMac
ShaneMac

Peter:


Way to go with your self-congratulations.  At least you did it "humbly".

DerekSugimura
DerekSugimura

Christine Michael has Pro Bowl talent . . . if he can stay healthy, motivated, and focused.  He's never managed all three things at the same time.  He's had trouble managing two.  I hope he puts it together with Seattle, because if he does, he can be as good as anyone in the league.

Michael22
Michael22

Jurgen Klinsmann said to Sam Borden of the New York Times: “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet."

Betting Odds for USA to win World Cup 250/1, or 0.4% chance. People willing to wager actual money agree with Klinsmann, not Peter King.


The Diamondbacks, 10 games under .500 and 15 games back in the division, are still a better bet at 200/1 to win the 2014 World Series. In the NFL, Jacksonville and Oakland are the longest shots at 100/1 each to win the next Super Bowl. Let the Jags know they are ready to win it all this year, since they are much better odds than the US team. 

dksherlock
dksherlock

So Bears will have a warm and fuzzy locker room.  Let's see Cutler get to the playoffs and we'll see how much it matters. 

opaque13
opaque13

Plenty of people have used motivational devices like Klimsmann has, but why quote him out of context?  In the interview I read, he ALSO said (to the effect) the U.S.A. would have to play "seven perfect games to win the World Cup." 


That's the kind of coach-speak you'd hear from an NFL coach in Klinsmann's position.  He'd codify his statement to let people know what they were already thinking: that his team has no realistic chance.  Or he'd make something up that made no sense whatsoever.

Klinsmann may speak English better than most NFL coaches, but he's still a German who spent his first 40 years in Europe.  Let's not go overboard dissecting cultural nuance.



kalmchaos1
kalmchaos1

Hi Peter, I know that you covered the games in South Africa four years ago and got a feel for the game but Klinsmann is right to say that the US cannot win this World Cup. I'm not sure if it's motivational but it is realistic. While it may not seem American to say that we have no chance to win, it will help keep us fans grounded and in support of the plan so that we can compete at a higher level in the future. I think of this stage of our development as the "breaking eggs" segment of the omelette making process. The comparison to Herb Brooks is simply ridiculous. The 80 US Hockey Team was a very good team maybe not as good as the Russian team but that team was expected to compete for a medal. That team won one very important game and eventually the championship against teams that we very close in talent. Klinsmann has a much larger challenge. The World Cup has several teams that are of equal stature as that Russian team from the 80 Olympics. For the US to win the final, they would need to have 4 monumental upsets in a row. The US squad has a statistical chance just as any other qualifier but more importantly, this World Cup must serve as preparation for 2018 and maybe even 2022.

JeffPozy
JeffPozy

Great comments about Sharapova! Also, looking forward to MMQB CFL coverage! Mr. King has still got it!

Marchoir
Marchoir

Can almost hear Trestman now. "OK guys, bring it in. Everybody bring it in closer. Everybody join hands, on three. Kum-ba-yah my lord, kum-ba-yah..... Yeah, baby that's it. Feel the power. This is how we do it in Canada. That's what I'm talking about. Hug it out now. Hug it out."

leoderosia1
leoderosia1

I am sure pete the lib will be preaching about what is acceptable and unacceptable in locker rooms. Pete is a huge mike sam fanboy...sam will be a career scrub

comments
comments

        Yes its June and I only read the 20% of the column that was football related but, as a longtime Chicago Bears fan, imagine my surprise when I clicked on SI tonight and saw that Peter had written something about my favorite team! Team I'm stuck following because my oldest friends back in Chicago do and its nice to be able to text with them as an at least moderately well informed individual is more accurate, but then I was born in '78 and fell in love at the tender age of seven with the cast of characters that was the '85 Bears. Its a love-hate thing. 


         Here's to the new regime, (Trestman/Emery) which seems to have a pretty good handle on how to build and keep up a roster in theory anyway, and here's to Jay finally growing up? Keeping my fingers crossed on that one, but he's thirty now and a father and he wouldn't be the first whiny, self important dude to grow up a little late. If he plays more than twelve games the results should be entertaining texts sent my way at the very least ( actually those are often better when they flat out stink). The NFC is awfully tough all of a sudden, but jump balls are difficult to defend without penalties, and we just might have a very dangerous third wideout ready to do some damage this year alongside Marshall and Jeffrey. Obviously the defense is a work in progress.


           I hope the forthcoming Trestman column indicates additional coverage of the team in much the same way that Peter's connections with the Rams have lent us some inside looks at that organization. I understand that Chicago pretty much has it's own media centers, and that it probably doesn't pay as much for national media to spend a lot of time covering the Bears, but that really should not translate to a site like this. 



Enjoy the vacation Peter.

Thanks for the entertainment and MMQB cast and crew.  

Jazzaloha
Jazzaloha

"I think teams are figuring out there’s a new way to win, and that includes caring for the player as a person, a father and a husband. Creating a locker room full of people who can be themselves can help you win.”


I'm sure this will annoy some, but this sounds like something Pete Carroll has gone far to establish in Seattle

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

Paul Zimmerman had something against Ken Stabler not sure if he was a Raider Hater like his mini me Peter King but when he could talk he never said anything good about Ken Stabler. 

Scramble
Scramble

How are the A's fun to watch Pete. They beat the O's because the umpires don't know what a balk is.

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

5 hard killers, roadside bomb makers, 911 planners back on the street for a deserter and PK don't have a think to say, scary times. 

KristinDiggins
KristinDiggins

I think every PK article should contain at least one reference to Mr. $am and every sporting event should be held in Jerry World.

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

Peter King "Your" president traded 5 cold blooded killer's which turned them lose to go back to the battle field. This morning your non football liberal comments are about some actor playing LBJ, wow the silence says it all hear no evil see no evil. The guy deserted its the biggest trade of my life time you have nothing to say? Well a guess you approve you moon bat.

liquidmuse3
liquidmuse3

You ask if following the rules is cowardly? I would argue following BAD rules is the *definition* of cowardly. Mr. Rolle brings up a good point about Will Hill, that the players KNOW when they're going to be tested for weed, so clear out that time to not smoke. But for how long? Is there an accepted consensus when players should stop smoking weed? Or is it more logical (& yes, ethical) to wonder why we're abolishing a natural, pain-killing plant.

Imagine, Peter, if we start outlawing gluttonous food (don't be surprised)---what do YOU do, sir? What if you had a huge plate of lasagna around the time period you knew your employer (or the government) would test for such things. Boom, you get popped for gluttony, & bam, now you're suspended from writing. Would it make you wonder why the hell you're not allowed to do what you will, since imbibing what you wish hurts no one? It could be argued the sort of food you eat *hinders* your work, since it will retard the amount of time you potentially have in a lifetime to write. What if they started testing for exercise to insure a healthier employee? On that note, it's pretty clear smoking (or vapourizing) something natural is healthier than taking addictive synthetics...& it's healthier than the personal methods you seem to practice, Peter.

The REAL story in this column however is the theme of "no bullying"---yet we're treated to another "haha, look how much the rookies have to pay at dinner" bon mot. Gross, Peter. Search your soul, you know these things to be true. Unless of course a rule tells you it's not true, then you'd just obey that.

luvfoozball
luvfoozball

@dksherlock Yes, a locker room should be like a cesspit where people are often out to get each other and hate everyone else. 


That will make not getting to the playoffs so much enjoyable, amiright?!!1!!111!!!111

Mike26
Mike26

@Raiderforlife That's so far outside the realm of current or relevant I don't know what to say.

SkeeterSkier
SkeeterSkier

@Raiderforlife...I'm guessing English is a second language for you, so keep it up! I admire someone for their bravery in attempting to communicate when their skills are so elemental.

As for your ignorant, single-faceted political views, I'd like for you to address the fact that President Bush (the dumb one) released over 500 detainees during his term (presumably due to the fact that legal recourse was running thin.)

By the way...the 5 detainees traded for the American POW were rumored (by multiple high-ranking military adjudicators) to be next in line for release in pretty short-order, and President Obama was highly advised to make the deal by his military advisers. The GOP was clamoring - at the time - to bring home POWS; now, some are calling the move treasonous. REALLY?

Another question for you...is a moon bat related to a imbecile? If so, you two share bloodlines!

My advise to you - stick to watching sports, and leave higher order thinking skills to the adults.

Mike26
Mike26

LEAVE NOW TROLL!

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Raiderforlife You're seriously angry because a football columnist's political views don't reflect yours?  There are plenty of places you can read somebody who says what you're already thinking.  A little conflicting opinion is a good thing.

Mike26
Mike26

@liquidmuse3 You are WAY too serious about these issues, liquidmuse3 - IF that's even your real name!

Wombat
Wombat

@liquidmuse3 Dude you have reeeaaallly over-thought this. Light up and chill!

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

@TerrapinStation87 @Raiderforlife Its no my strong point but you might  get what i am trying to say or maybe not. Are you happy what your President has done to return cold Taliban killers loose that sits ok with you. Please correct my sentences give me some help make your self useful

Raiderforlife
Raiderforlife

@Go_Niners! @Raiderforlife The moon bats are killing the country I want to inform the many dumb people that read his bull and try to turn this country around. I am not angry i don't know where you get that. I think we need to have an investigation into why colleage is so expensive but produces non thinking idiots. Do you think its a good thing that your President returned the coldest of killers back to the battlefield where we have men stationed your ok with that?

liquidmuse3
liquidmuse3

@Wombat @liquidmuse3 ? Personal freedom, bud. And I don't even smoke, but I'm irked at sanctimonious, haughty gents like Peter wagging their finger about other people's personal behaviour, when their behaviour doesn't affect anyone except teammates in this case---& it's asinine that that system is in place to punish players like that. People like Peter just keep the status quo, & there is really no good reason to do so sometimes, other than non-thinking cowardice (a thought Peter brought up himself).


Imagine if cannabis could treat stroke victims, or if it even *prevented* strokes. Would Peter be into that because of his friend Dr. Z? But we don't know, because we're really not allowed to do research on it. If just find Peter's moralizing off-putting, especially when it's something he's willfully ignorant about. 

Mike26
Mike26

@Raiderforlife  You realize the Raiders would be embarrassed to know you're a fan of the organization, don't you?

blynder
blynder

@liquidmuse3 @Wombat

P.King doesn't work for the Government, he works for SI & NBC.  The players in the NFL don't work for the government, they work for the NFL and the teams they are being paid by. Companies have been regulating their employee's behavior for a very long time.  Go read up on some the crazy ish that Kellog used to do. "Personal Freedom" doesn't mean you get to do whatever you want whenever you want.

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