Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King spoke with Mut & Merloni Friday about the legacies of Tom Brady  and Bill Belichick , the “idiocy” of a potential Darrelle Revis  trade, and Terry Francona ‘s book.
King, a lifelong Red Sox  fan, said he’d gone to a New York bookstore where Francona was signing copies of the book with the intention of meeting the manager and thanking him for everything he’d done for the team. When he found there would be a 75-minute wait, though, he decided against it.
“I just started to think to myself, this is behind enemy lines and you’ve got an hour-and-15- minute wait in the dead of winter to get Terry Francona’s signature on his book,” King said. “I thought that spoke volumes about Red Sox fans and about their feelings about Terry Francona.”
King also sided with Francona on the issue of Red Sox management trying to bring in players who would draw ratings, regardless of how they fit with the team.
“I’ve been a sportswriter since 1980, and if people’s ratings are down, people always start talking about, let’s get [Tim] Tebow, let’s get that guy, let’s market to the women, let’s do this,” King said. “The bottom line in all of this is the only thing that gets people to watch your games and gets people to sit in the stands is winning. If you want to have great ratings in April, go get Mr. America. but as soon as you go 6-12 and it’s May 1, people say, ‘I have other things to do tonight, I’m not going to watch a game.’ The only way to appeal to a fan base is to win, and then they won’t care if you’ve got 11 schnauzers out there.”
“Even though they play a lot of no-huddle now in Baltimore, Joe Flacco is not running around very much,” King said. “He’s not the mobile guy. And Colin Kaepernick, he can do anything. He can sit there in the pocket and study you and beat you with a great arm. ‘¦ Everybody’s talking about his running. Can you see this guy throw, what an incredible arm he has? So I think if you underestimate his arm he’ll kill you throwing it, and everybody’s seen that he can beat you running it, too.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio page .
On whether Brady and Belichick’s legacies are affected by losing at home as favorites this year: “A legacy, a story about your history in the game is written when you retire. This is a chapter in the book, and it’s not everything. For those who say that Tom Brady is tarnishing his legacy with some of the games he’s played, with the long pass he threw last year in the Super Bowl that was intercepted by Chase Blackburn when [Rob] Gronkowski was open right behind him, you know — Brady played a C game. It was there for all to see.
“But I’ve been curious to see everybody trashing Belichick and trashing the Patriots. In retrospect, when the name of a guy like John Elway  is brought up everybody says, ‘One of the three, four best quarterbacks of all time.’ Before John Elway’s last two years in the NFL, when he lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars , when the Denver Broncos  were a double-digit favorite at home in the playoffs — after that game, Mike Shanahan , everywhere he went in Denver, people were telling him, ‘Come on, get rid of Elway.’
“Then he won two Super Bowls at the end of his career, and it’s the classic case of obliterating the last 14 or 15 years by just remembering the last two years. And in a reverse of that, I really hope that people don’t look at Tom Brady and say, yeah, he won a Super Bowl in three of his first four years as a starting player, but after the age of 27 he never won anything of consequence. I think that’s a pile of crap.
“[Belichick and Brady] are walking Hall of Famers who are going to get another chance. Will they win another one? I don’t know, but they’ve both been among the greatest to ever coach and to play, so I’m not willing after one game and one season to say, yeah, they lost their fastball.”
On Darrelle Revis trade rumors and whether the Jets need to move him: “It’s one of the most foolish things I’ve ever heard. ‘¦ In my opinion, if you talk about the great Jets of all time, I’d start with Joe Namath, I’d probably go to Joe Klecko, and then right along with Curtis Martin I would say Darrelle Revis is right there. If he plays another three or four years at a high level, he will be just as good in football history — not in terms of lore, but in terms of greatness — if he plays great at cornerback for four more years for the Jets, in my opinion he’ll be there with Namath. Maybe not in terms of football history, but in terms of playing great for a long time.
“I think when you have a great player in today’s football, at such an important position, that you should just say to yourself, OK, it’s not Darrelle Revis’ fault that our salary cap is screwed up. If we see next year in the first half of the season that he is playing at an absolutely top level, we need to sign him for four years to be the highest-paid cornerback ever to play. I think it would just be following in the footsteps of more Jets idiocy if they trade Darrelle Revis. I think it’d be a huge mistake.”
On naming Belichick as his Goat of the Week for punting at the Baltimore 34 with the Patriots up 13-7: “I’ll be honest with you. The Goat of the Week is the last thing I put in the column this week. This was 6:30 in the morning, I was wracking my brains, who was stupid this week. That was the only play i could pick out that to me was obviously just a bad call. I just thought it was just tremendously overcautious for a guy who has never been afraid of pulling the trigger when he had to. I just didn’t think it was a smart call. Now, would that have changed the outcome of the game? I doubt it. But at the time, I thought it said a lot about how he was approaching this game, and I think he approached the game too carefully.”