Peter King on M&M: ‘I think they owe it to Tom Brady to get a lot better at the receiver position’
|01.31.14 at 1:12 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King checked in with Mut & Merloni from Super Bowl Radio Row to preview Sunday’s game and discuss Patriots offseason news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I picked the Broncos, but look, if [the Seahawks] pick [Peyton] Manning off two or three times, they’re going to win,” King said. “I think one of the things you’ll see on Sunday — and I talked to Peyton a little bit about this yesterday, I had a few minutes with him after practice — I think Peyton Manning right now when he looks at this game what he sees is five-wide receiver formations, or five-receiver formations, maybe with Jacob Tamme or Andre Caldwell in the game. Spread, spread, spread. And just challenge Seattle to cover every guy so that he can’t find a window with any of the five guys. In my opinion, I think that’s the way they’re going to play it, and I think that’s smart.
“And then on Seattle’s side, I think Seattle is going to try to get Marshawn Lynch, and they’re going to try to run well and run the clock so that Manning only gets eight possessions. I think Seattle feels like, ‘We cannot give Manning the ball 11 times. If we do, we’re not going to win.’ ”
Touching on the Patriots, King said the primary need is obvious, but he said a trade for a big-name wide receiver appears unlikely.
“I see that it’s much more likely, at least in my mind, for them to draft and develop a receiver,” King said. “But I will say this: There are going to be a bunch of receivers who you can get. I think my feeling is they need to get younger and better at wide receiver, and I’m not sure the way to do that is by spending $12 million a year on a guy.”
King agreed that the team needs to surround Tom Brady with better talent.
“Especially after he did them — and no matter what anybody says, Brady did them a favor last year [by renegotiating]. And Brady will eventually, over the life of this contract, I believe, make less money than he could have — certainly than he could have. And he did that for a very simple reason: He wanted the team around him to be better. And look, some of this is circumstantial. Because there’s absolutely nothing that they could have done about this. Absolutely nothing.”
“And I think when you look at what has happened in the NFL now, you’re talking about a window. You look at what, to me, what the Denver Broncos did for Peyton Manning. He had a great situation going. And they said, ‘Oh, my God, two years [$]12 million for [Wes] Welker?’ ”
Added King: “I’m not saying that the Patriots have to go out and do something splashy like that. All I’m saying is that I think they owe it to Tom Brady to get a lot better at the receiver position.”
King, who lives in New York, remains opposed to the Super Bowl being in a cold-weather city, although he has no complaints with how the Big Apple has performed as host.
“I was never a fan of the Super Bowl being here at all,” King said. “In fact, I’m a vocal detractor. ‘¦ I look at it this way: I knew that this city would do a phenomenal job hosting the Super Bowl, and it will. And that was never the point. I always knew that people would love coming to New York for a week, no matter what time of year it is. If it’s the dead of winter, you’re still going to the great restaurants, you’re going to see Broadway plays, you’re going to NFL parties, whatever it is.
“But I think that the biggest problem I had with everything is that — I know that the ‘snow globe’ game in Foxboro is one of the great memories of anybody in NFL history. And it was fantastic. And I know that everybody loves to have a Super Bowl in their neighborhood. But I just think two things. I want the championship game of my sport contested, if possible, in conditions where you don’t say, ‘Yeah, Richard Sherman was covering Demaryius Thomas and he slipped because the field was icy,’ or something like that, and Demaryius Thomas scored. I don’t like that aspect of it.
“And I especially don’t like [60,000] to 70,000 people — I think the Meadowlands will have 85,000 people, but I’m talking about the people who are going to sit outside — [60,000] to 70,000 people. This isn’t a normal game where you get out of your car at 10 minutes to 1 and walk in the entrance at Gillette and you’re out of the game at 4:15. this is an all-day sucker. This is, you get to the game at 3:30, because you’ve got security. And after you get to the game and you go through security, you could be outside for seven hours — it’s a four-hour game.”
Added King: “I think this is a one-off. This is a once — maybe not a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but they’re not going to start awarding Super Bowls, I don’t think, to northern cities. I just don’t see it. There are going to be owners pushing for it, but I think Roger Goodell, at least as of now, is going to push back.”
Looking at the state of the game, King looked at ways the commissioner will attempt to increase revenue.
“I think he’s going to continue to try to politic for an 18-game season. I don’t see it happening,” King said, noting that he would be interested in a proposal that extends the season to 18 games but limits individuals players to 16 games. “My whole thing about this is, I don’t think they should go to 18 games unless there is some sort of deal where all players don’t have to play 18.”
King also noted how popular the games in London have been and continue to be.
“There’s three games in London next year. And everybody said, ‘God, three games,’ ” King said. “Well, the tickets have been on sale for about two weeks, and if they’re not sold out, they’re within 3 percent of being a sellout — 253,000 tickets to three football games sold at London Wembley Stadium. There will be an increasing push, and I believe what you’re going to see is not necessarily a franchise in London, but I think you’re going to see regularly something like a five-, six- or eight-game package of NFL games every year. Not with one team, but with all teams basically switching off. And they’d sell it as a season ticket package.”
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