In case you haven’t heard, Peter King announced several weeks ago that he was leaving Sports Illustrated. His final Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) column posted this morning, in which he spends almost all of it thanking individuals for the unique connections and stories he’s been able to make and tell over the past 21 years that he has written the column.
Normally, I would write more of a tribute to King. Even though I clashed with him about Bernie Kosar being removed from Browns preseason telecasts many years ago, that doesn’t dismiss the fact that he has always been the columnist when it comes to the NFL, in my opinion. However, this isn’t a retirement for King. He is making the switch to NBC, where he says his weekly Monday column — presumably under a new title — will continue for 46 weeks a year.
Nonetheless, the era ending of calling it the MMQB is still a notable one. Unfortunately, anyone affiliated with Cleveland was barely referenced in his final MMQB column. You have to think — King started his column 21 years ago, so that was in 1997, a time when Cleveland was trying to get its team back. And in the years since 1999, King, along with Browns fans, haven’t had many positive stories to tell.
The one “thank you story” he did tell that was tied to Cleveland — but from the opposing team’s point of view — was from 2015, when he observed the nerves that QB Carson Palmer felt in preparing for a game (which happened to be against Cleveland):
Thank you, Carson Palmer, for illuminating a quarterback’s game week to me, starting when the game plan landed in Palmer’s email box Tuesday around dinnertime. If the ref week was one, this 2015 quarterback week before Arizona played Cleveland was two.
After an hour or so buried in the game plan diagrams, Palmer matter-of-factly said something that does not sound matter-of-fact when the words are spoken.
“I’m freaking out right now,” Palmer said, eyes buried in his notepad. “I have so much to do. But I’m weird. I’ll get it done, I always do. And I’ll get it done with plenty of time and I will feel fantastic on Friday. I’ll know what I am doing versus every possible Cleveland pressure. If we get that pressure we will gash that.
“I know this is weird, but I love the feeling of, ‘Man, I have so much s--- to do and it’s already Tuesday and I’m a day behind.’ Does that make any sense? It’s not challenging to the point where I feel it’s too much, but it’s challenging to the point where, man, I just love it.”
Arizona 34, Cleveland 20. Palmer was money. What a rewarding week that was. I remember walking out of Cleveland Browns Stadium after that game, feeling like I was flying. I was so happy, because I knew the story would be so interesting.
So long, MMQB -- but here’s to many more years of King’s Monday columns.