Why Do I Continue to Read Peter King?

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I completely forgot that Peter King still writes a weekly column. He's completely fallen off the face of the Earth for me.
 

Mystic Merlin

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I hadn’t read one of his weekly columns in forever, but I dug into the latest. I wasn’t disappointed; see bold:


Tennessee at Philadelphia, Sunday 1 p.m. ET, FOX. Weird. Really weird. The game with the best combined win-loss record is one of four FOX regional games.

Miami at San Francisco, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. Weird. Almost as weird as the previous one—two playoff teams with strong national followings and major star power play one of two FOX regional games in the late window. So odd that these two games will have such small audiences, with the NFL keeping ratings magnet Indy-Dallas for SNF. And unfortunate that Colts-Cowboys and Saints-Bucs are the Sunday and Monday prime-timers instead of Titans-Eagles or Dolphins-49ers, or…’
 

Ferm Sheller

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I have to say, he does make you think sometimes, though:

n. Amazing how important, in so many ways, that lithium is. What is it? How is it found?
 

Leather

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I have to say, he does make you think sometimes, though:

n. Amazing how important, in so many ways, that lithium is. What is it? How is it found?
That's a really awkward sentence for a professional writer. "Amazing how important, in so many ways, lithium is." Or "Amazing how important lithium is in so many ways." How hard was that?

Also his reliance on "weird," seemingly unabated over the past 15 years (Jesus it's been that long we've been doing this?) is really something. It's such a useless word and reminds me of my 10-year old using "Okay" as a default descriptor, which I recently told him to stop doing. If only someone gave King some helpful criticism once in awhile.
 

luckiestman

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I try to use “weird” a lot as an homage. His usage cracks me up so I crack myself up every time I write it. Weird!
 

Ferm Sheller

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That's a really awkward sentence for a professional writer. "Amazing how important, in so many ways, lithium is." Or "Amazing how important lithium is in so many ways." How hard was that?

Also his reliance on "weird," seemingly unabated over the past 15 years (Jesus it's been that long we've been doing this?) is really something. It's such a useless word and reminds me of my 10-year old using "Okay" as a default descriptor, which I recently told him to stop doing. If only someone gave King some helpful criticism once in awhile.
It is very awkwardly written, but it's the questions "what is it" and "how is it found" that make me roll my eyes.
 

Granite Sox

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I think there is perhaps nothing scarier than AI beginning to infiltrate how we think and feel. Why do I write this in a football column? A reader, John Jerrim, sent an email to me Sunday, saying he’d asked ChatGPT to “write a haiku about Peter King.” ChatGPT came back to him with this:

Peter King, writer.
Football his pen, ink his field.
Words score touchdowns too.
 

Hoya81

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For a man who once had incredible NFL access, it's amazing how irrelevant he has become. Not only have I not read him in years, I haven't even thought about him.

He's a fossil.
I saw the NBC move partly as a recognition that SI was no longer significant in the sports media space and that he was easing into semi-retirement. You're right in the sense that he did sort of disappear these last few years. He used to pretty active on Twitter, but now he does a few tweets when his column drops and that's usually it.
 

Mystic Merlin

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He kind of occupies a legacy/emeritus niche at this point, so he attracts little attention. He has not broken a story in many years, and those access merchant types who do like Rapoport, Schefter, etc., take up a lot of the oxygen. He also isn’t a hot take artist or hardcore football analyst, and those types take up a lot of the oxygen too.

I find him perfectly inoffensive, if corny, unenlightening, and prone to some amusingly predictable crutch words or phrases (‘weird’). I maybe stumble on his work once a year at this point?
 

Shelterdog

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He kind of occupies a legacy/emeritus niche at this point, so he attracts little attention. He has not broken a story in many years, and those access merchant types who do like Rapoport, Schefter, etc., take up a lot of the oxygen. He also isn’t a hot take artist or hardcore football analyst, and those types take up a lot of the oxygen too.

I find him perfectly inoffensive, if corny, unenlightening, and prone to some amusingly predictable crutch words or phrases (‘weird’). I maybe stumble on his work once a year at this point?
He's one of these funny guys in life who have great success at a huge platform and think that the success is because of them when iin fact a zillion people could do it from the same platform: they think they're in van halen because they're like this, but are actually like this because they're in van halen. If you get the job as a lead football writer for SI in the 90s or whatever you get a lot of gossip and leaks and stories just because you're the SI football writer. (Fuck to see Breer and Rappaport breaking stories given their platforms is all you need to know).
 

Van Everyman

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For a man who once had incredible NFL access, it's amazing how irrelevant he has become. Not only have I not read him in years, I haven't even thought about him.

He's a fossil.
He kind of occupies a legacy/emeritus niche at this point, so he attracts little attention. He has not broken a story in many years, and those access merchant types who do like Rapoport, Schefter, etc., take up a lot of the oxygen. He also isn’t a hot take artist or hardcore football analyst, and those types take up a lot of the oxygen too.

I find him perfectly inoffensive, if corny, unenlightening, and prone to some amusingly predictable crutch words or phrases (‘weird’). I maybe stumble on his work once a year at this point?
Also, King's brand of "golly gee, isn't this game great" reporting feels out of step with the violence and culture of today's game. It works for a Peter Gammons because he has a deep feel for the game but also because of nature of the game itself. For the NFL, which long ago revealed itself to be a gross, Mafia-style, profit-motivated machine that uses the NCAA's equally gross development factory, it's just not as easy of a fit.
 

Dotrat

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The "golly gee" stuff bugged me as much as the fact that, even while writing about the NFL for decades, which included spending time at multiple training camps, he never managed to utter a single insight about the game. Although the personalities seemed to fascinate him, he was maddeningly incurious about the game itself. Being weaned on savvy writers like Gammons, Bob Ryan, and even miserable SoB Will McDonough made King seem like the written equivalent of Marshmallow Fluff.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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The "golly gee" stuff bugged me as much as the fact that, even while writing about the NFL for decades, which included spending time at multiple training camps, he never managed to utter a single insight about the game. Although the personalities seemed to fascinate him, he was maddeningly incurious about the game itself. Being weaned on savvy writers like Gammons, Bob Ryan, and even miserable SoB Will McDonough made King seem like the written equivalent of Marshmallow Fluff.
I don't know if this is fair, but most of the things that King reported on, it didn't seem like he did a ton of double-checking. It was all straight from whomever's mouth without commentary or context in so far as owner X might be on the Labor Committee and maybe is full of shit when he says that the NFL is on desperate times and that they're doing everything they can to protect the players' health. After awhile it wasn't that you couldn't trust Peter's reporting--the quotes were all accurate--but it was more like, who gives a shit, they're lying to you and to us and you're just going to report it?
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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To me this sums up the Peter King experience. He's far more interested in having access and being chummy to those in power than doing any actual reporting, or acting as anything other than a mouthpiece for whoever gives him the time of day.

He's useless.
 

8slim

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He's one of these funny guys in life who have great success at a huge platform and think that the success is because of them when iin fact a zillion people could do it from the same platform: they think they're in van halen because they're like this, but are actually like this because they're in van halen. If you get the job as a lead football writer for SI in the 90s or whatever you get a lot of gossip and leaks and stories just because you're the SI football writer. (Fuck to see Breer and Rappaport breaking stories given their platforms is all you need to know).
If this is a jab at Sammy Hagar then HOW DARE YOU.
 

PedroKsBambino

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View attachment 70132

To me this sums up the Peter King experience. He's far more interested in having access and being chummy to those in power than doing any actual reporting, or acting as anything other than a mouthpiece for whoever gives him the time of day.

He's useless.
Yup—he’s an early version of Schefter/Woj/Shams with a (very thin) veneer of journalism blended with proto-Simmons “personality and sharing his life”

There’s zero parts serious report in there
 

johnmd20

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He's one of these funny guys in life who have great success at a huge platform and think that the success is because of them when iin fact a zillion people could do it from the same platform: they think they're in van halen because they're like this, but are actually like this because they're in van halen. If you get the job as a lead football writer for SI in the 90s or whatever you get a lot of gossip and leaks and stories just because you're the SI football writer. (Fuck to see Breer and Rappaport breaking stories given their platforms is all you need to know).
Every great success in history has gotten lucky in some part. That's a fact. But to claim King had no skill whatsoever and only had his career because is luck is pretty obnoxious.
 

Shelterdog

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Every great success in history has gotten lucky in some part. That's a fact. But to claim King had no skill whatsoever and only had his career because is luck is pretty obnoxious.
Peter King has talent and worked hard. And a hundred guys and women could have done the same .
 

ManicCompression

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Every great success in history has gotten lucky in some part. That's a fact. But to claim King had no skill whatsoever and only had his career because is luck is pretty obnoxious.
Yeah, not to mention there is skill required to become the lead football writer at SI in the 90s. I don’t like King, but plenty of other writers had access to the same kind of platform (why didn’t Chris Mortenson become Peter King? Don Banks?) so he clearly has some skill in appealing to a broad audience. Of course SOSH members aren’t going to like him, but he’s not writing for us.

People are trying to differentiate him from Gammons, but they’re pretty analogous. Gammons is just a cooler guy and a better writer.
 

Phil Plantier

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Welp, I didn’t think I’d be doing this when i clicked on this thread, but: I’d like to defend Peter King.

When Dr. Z was alive and coherent, they made an excellent team at SI. Dr. Z the intellectual curmudgeon with a left hook, Peter King the grounded guy who would get interviews and talk to everyone. And King could write. No, he was never Deford or Montville, but you didn’t get Super Bowl cover stories by writing poorly.

Dr. Z has his stroke and magazines died, so King ended up without a counterweight, and just drifted into excess. I think it’s a sad story, but I think it happens to 98% of all sportswriters (maybe columnists in general).

coming up next: Mitch Albom was once a good writer too.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Like many other writers, when King was a hungry young journalist on the way up, he was really good. Then he became successful and became less good. He forgot who he was writing for, namely his readers. He was more interested in keeping his connections, being a confidant to various NFL big wheels (who were using him to get their message across) and towards the end of his run he thought he was a, pardon the pun, a king maker.

King isn’t the only guy this happened too (Simmons, Riley, the aforementioned Albom [on a smaller scale], Shaughnessy, Smith, Wilbon, Kornheiser, you get the idea) and it sorta sucks because you remember the mailed in columns, the dumb books, the pics of King looking over his Ray Bans like a weirdo creep more than you recall the earlier stuff.

Bob Ryan and Leigh Montville are a couple of the only writers who this never happened to. It’s sad but inevitable.
 

Shelterdog

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Welp, I didn’t think I’d be doing this when i clicked on this thread, but: I’d like to defend Peter King.

When Dr. Z was alive and coherent, they made an excellent team at SI. Dr. Z the intellectual curmudgeon with a left hook, Peter King the grounded guy who would get interviews and talk to everyone. And King could write. No, he was never Deford or Montville, but you didn’t get Super Bowl cover stories by writing poorly.

Dr. Z has his stroke and magazines died, so King ended up without a counterweight, and just drifted into excess. I think it’s a sad story, but I think it happens to 98% of all sportswriters (maybe columnists in general).

Edit: basically, sick boys theory is right

coming up next: Mitch Albom was once a good writer too.
I agree with all of this. Perhaps I didnt explain myself well but it’s not that he’s untalented, it’s that he’s not particularly talented relative to Rick Gosselin or Dan Pompei or John McClain or Mary Kay Cabot or some (intern at the Boston Herald who quit in the mid nineties because he wasn’t patient enough to wait his turn…) or fifty people we never heard of. But maybe it’s ego or maybe it’s a whole Peter principle thing in action with him (and with lots of people in the media industry) of when a big name is putting out a ton of content on a ton of platforms the quality suffers, but over time the quality just dropped, the hot takes increased, and the number of odd stories where he was the story and he takes about his personal life and travel adventures went up.
 

Marciano490

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Like many other writers, when King was a hungry young journalist on the way up, he was really good. Then he became successful and became less good. He forgot who he was writing for, namely his readers. He was more interested in keeping his connections, being a confidant to various NFL big wheels (who were using him to get their message across) and towards the end of his run he thought he was a, pardon the pun, a king maker.

King isn’t the only guy this happened too (Simmons, Riley, the aforementioned Albom [on a smaller scale], Shaughnessy, Smith, Wilbon, Kornheiser, you get the idea) and it sorta sucks because you remember the mailed in columns, the dumb books, the pics of King looking over his Ray Bans like a weirdo creep more than you recall the earlier stuff.

Bob Ryan and Leigh Montville are a couple of the only writers who this never happened to. It’s sad but inevitable.
Your last paragraph answers the question your others raised for me.
 

Van Everyman

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It hasn’t really happened to Gammons either. No he doesn’t log the volume of columns he used to but when I read him every now and again he remains really good.

The other thing about King is, there aren’t as many, if any, truly *great* football writers. There are many good or even very ones – but no real Boswells or Ryans. It’s a little weird actually.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Like many other writers, when King was a hungry young journalist on the way up, he was really good. Then he became successful and became less good. He forgot who he was writing for, namely his readers. He was more interested in keeping his connections, being a confidant to various NFL big wheels (who were using him to get their message across) and towards the end of his run he thought he was a, pardon the pun, a king maker.

King isn’t the only guy this happened too (Simmons, Riley, the aforementioned Albom [on a smaller scale], Shaughnessy, Smith, Wilbon, Kornheiser, you get the idea) and it sorta sucks because you remember the mailed in columns, the dumb books, the pics of King looking over his Ray Bans like a weirdo creep more than you recall the earlier stuff.

Bob Ryan and Leigh Montville are a couple of the only writers who this never happened to. It’s sad but inevitable.
This is the best take on this topic so far. King exists now only to maintain access. He never punches up, only down. He kisses Gooddell's ass. It's frankly disgusting.

Talent isn't a great argument here. Shank had talent once too.
 

hube

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King was a likable doofus and a useful idiot at a time when no one else was in the same lane for a long, long time. Dr. Z was the "serious" football guy, King was the fluff guy. He's held on as long as he has because of that access, in spite of having any unique writing talent, voice, or insight.
 

Kliq

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Like many other writers, when King was a hungry young journalist on the way up, he was really good. Then he became successful and became less good. He forgot who he was writing for, namely his readers. He was more interested in keeping his connections, being a confidant to various NFL big wheels (who were using him to get their message across) and towards the end of his run he thought he was a, pardon the pun, a king maker.

King isn’t the only guy this happened too (Simmons, Riley, the aforementioned Albom [on a smaller scale], Shaughnessy, Smith, Wilbon, Kornheiser, you get the idea) and it sorta sucks because you remember the mailed in columns, the dumb books, the pics of King looking over his Ray Bans like a weirdo creep more than you recall the earlier stuff.

Bob Ryan and Leigh Montville are a couple of the only writers who this never happened to. It’s sad but inevitable.
The news world has also changed dramatically from when these guys first broke in to what it has become today. A lot of older writers in journalism across the board are just trying to hang on to whatever highly-paid position they have managed to secure and to avoid being in the inevitable next line of layoffs. That leads to a lot less risks and a lot more boring, mundane commentary.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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The news world has also changed dramatically from when these guys first broke in to what it has become today. A lot of older writers in journalism across the board are just trying to hang on to whatever highly-paid position they have managed to secure and to avoid being in the inevitable next line of layoffs. That leads to a lot less risks and a lot more boring, mundane commentary.
This is all true re: the layoffs. But I also have a sneaking suspicion that a guy like Peter King spends a lot of his time worried that he's going to be "cancelled" at anytime.
 

dirtynine

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King was a likable doofus and a useful idiot at a time when no one else was in the same lane for a long, long time. Dr. Z was the "serious" football guy, King was the fluff guy.
The idea of this spectrum jogged my brain back to the days of Easterbrook. He tried to be the serious guy but was really more of a doofus. Like Frasier on Cheers.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Perhaps with good reason. I mean, just imagine if he had tweeted this today.
I remember when he wrote that Tweet, the amount of shit he got for it and him just saying, "I had absolutely no idea about the Aryan Nation" and me thinking, "Yeah, that sounds about right." Peter King became a goofy golden retriever puppy with a pen very quickly in the 00s.
 

Van Everyman

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I expect he's on like 897 absurdly offensive Gruden emails.
Totally agree. The guy who laughs at all these horrible things because he wants to preserve his access and relationships.

Again, I don't find it remotely surprising that in an age when a not-insignificant number of football fans watch the game in spite of the NFL that King's brand of feel good, schlocky, aww shucks journalism has gone by the wayside. There just isn't a market for it anymore.
 

cornwalls@6

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Totally agree. The guy who laughs at all these horrible things because he wants to preserve his access and relationships.

Again, I don't find it remotely surprising that in an age when a not-insignificant number of football fans watch the game in spite of the NFL that King's brand of feel good, schlocky, aww shucks journalism has gone by the wayside. There just isn't a market for it anymore.
I would also add that his lack of any fantasy coverage is a big driver of his increasing irrelevance. I think for a shit load of fans under 50 or so, that is their primary connection and interest in the NFL. I rarely, if ever, see him mention it in his columns. I don’t personally care about it, but it seems like anyone covering the league won’t be able to ignore it for much longer. And betting as well.