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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You: Peter King Says Farewell to SI’s Monday Morning QB

this is a discussion within the NFL Community Forum; This is my last Monday Morning Quarterback column for the Sports Illustrated franchise, and for the site I founded in 2013, The MMQB. I’ve been thinking about what to write and how to do it for the last couple of ...

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Old 05-22-2018, 09:01 AM   #1
 
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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You: Peter King Says Farewell to SI’s Monday Morning QB

This is my last Monday Morning Quarterback column for the Sports Illustrated franchise, and for the site I founded in 2013, The MMQB. I’ve been thinking about what to write and how to do it for the last couple of weeks. I just kept thinking, What I really want to do is thank people.

• Thank you, readers. The way I figure it: I’ve produced about 5.5 million words since 1989—my rough guess is about 4 million words in 21 years of MMQB columns, and about 1.5 million words in the magazine and for The MMQB. In the last couple of weeks, since I announced I’d be leaving this place on June 1, so many of you have reached out to say thanks. I’m humbled. I’m appreciative. There would be no me without you. Last week, a 30-ish guy on the 3 train on the west side of Manhattan said to me, “I’ve read you since I knew what football was. Thanks for everything.” SI’s reach and influence made that possible. We were good for each other.

• Thank you, Mark Mulvoy. In 1989, as managing editor of SI, Mulvoy put his trust in a 31-year-old guy who’d covered the NFL for just five years to write the Inside the NFL column for the magazine. Four months after he hired me, Mulvoy sent me to Philadelphia for the 49ers-Eagles game in September, to do some research on a future 49ers-after-Bill Walsh story. Joe Montana threw four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, and Mulvoy called me in the press box and said, “You may be writing live,” and when I got back up from the locker room, he called and said, “You’re writing.” And a couple hours later he called and said, “You better have something good—you’ve got the cover.” JOLTIN’ JOE, with Montana on the cover in a classic passer’s pose, and my prose, showed up in 3.1 million American mailboxes four days later.

• Thank you, Eddie DeBartolo, for doing what I never knew owners did—in this case, leaping into Ronnie Lott’s arms as the clock ran out that afternoon at the Vet and yelling, “I LOVE YOU RONNIE!” DeBartolo wiped away tears as he told me how he loved this team. I’d see a lot more of that in the coming years.

• Thank you to Mulvoy and successors John Papanek, Bill Colson, Terry McDonell, Paul Fichtenbaum and Chris Stone, for giving me nothing but chances for 29 years. McDonell saw the potential in the wild west world known as the internet, Fichtenbaum handed me the reins to the microsite we christened The MMQB (with a salary cap to hire the people I wanted), and Stone never said no to anything important in the final few years. In a time of increasingly strangled budgets, all were progressive leaders.

• Thank you, Michael Irvin. “We’re playing in a Sports Illustrated game!” he shouted when I showed up in Texas during the week of a big game in 1991, when the Cowboys started to get good. That Friday afternoon, Irvin said he’d sit for an interview with me, but not at Valley Ranch. We got in his car, and he took me to a strip club, where we talked for an hour. Great interview. Interesting scenery.

• Thank you, Jimmy Johnson. For a lot of things. He’s as transparent a coach as I’ve covered in my 29 SI years. The first time we talked extensively, at a seafood place in San Diego in training camp in 1990, Johnson spoke about the pain of his 1-15 rookie season, and he was so candid about how much it sucked that at the end of the evening, perhaps emboldened by four or six Heinekens, he looked me square in the eye and said, “Peter, if you f--- me with this story, I’ll squash you like a squirrel in the road.” When the Cowboys got good, he was always available. Johnson welcomed me on a pre-draft scouting trip in 1991 on Jerry Jones’s plane, opening up the real reason why the Cowboys were so good in the draft in those days. He and his minions—Butch Davis, as I recall, was a particularly good campus sleuth—found out which prospects were clean and, more importantly, which ones were not, hopscotching America in the owner’s plane. And he didn’t take himself too seriously. On that trip, a can of Paul Mitchell Freeze ’N Spray Shine hair spray went rolling down the aisle of the plane. All Johnson could do was laugh.

• Thank you, Brett Favre, for being the most compelling person I’ve covered in my 29 years here. This could take a while. In that ’95 week in Green Bay, when I met Favre, he said, “What? Nothing to write about [Drew] Bledsoe this week?” A jab on the media’s love of the New England quarterback. That week, Holmgren told the Packers that I’d be hanging around, and to give me time if I asked. When I asked Favre if I could come to his house one evening, it became three nights in one week.

So … what I found interesting was his tirelessness. I’d be there at 10, 10:30 at night, and I’d be nodding off after a long day, and he was buzzing. Turns out a few months later we knew the reason for the buzzing. He spent 72 days in a drug clinic in Kansas City to get off Vicodin. This weekend, we talked about that, and about the end in Green Bay, and I found out something I never knew: I thought he went to rehab to kick his addictions once. Triple that.
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