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SBJ/September 12 - 18, 2005/Media
SI’s ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ grows into an unlikely must-read
Published September 12, 2005
On paper, there’s little that makes sense about the rampant popularity of Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback,” something that King himself admits.
King says his online column is proof of fans’ desire for anything related to football.
One regular section is dedicated simply to an enduring search for a decent cup of coffee.
But rather than drive people away with such minutia, fans regularly overwhelm King’s inbox with e-mails filled with passion, invective and a thirst for more details from his stories. The exclusive sponsorship deal struck by General Motors and si.com for the column is another jolt of exposure.
“I’m still surprised at the bigness of all of this,” said King, 48. “It’s just sort of a lot of top-of-the-head stuff, something that just started as an idea to inject a little more opinion and a little more of my life and travels as an NFL writer on the road. The Internet was really just getting started when I first got going on this [in 1997].
“But to me, this is just more proof of the insatiable desire people have for anything related to football.”
King has created his share of enemies during his eight years penning “Monday Morning Quarterback,” particularly among those teams he pans or those who believe they don’t receive sufficient attention. King recalls getting grief regularly from Warren Sapp about a perceived lack of respect for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the days before the team’s rise to Super Bowl supremacy. There are few league insiders who will admit to not reading King.
“It’s simply a must-read,” said Lee Stacey, New York Jets vice president of sales and marketing. “I don’t always agree with what he writes, particularly now, since he’s got us [predicted for] third in our division this year. But Peter King is about as American as mom and apple pie, and that fits in perfectly with the NFL and the place it holds in this country.”
The bulk of “MMQB” is written late Sunday night after the day’s long orgy of games, leading to the regular occurrences of stream-of-consciousness prose. But about a third of the column is written in bits and pieces during the week as King talks with teams, visits practice facilities and goes about his daily schedule.
“Myron Cope, the legendary Steelers broadcaster, had something called shirt-pocket notes,” King said. “He’d see something during the day he’d want to remember, he’d write it down and stuff it in his shirt pocket. That’s sort of how I work the column during the week, and even during the early games on Sunday.
“So when I sit down Sunday night to really get moving on this, if I already have a thousand words or 1,500 words out of a 4,000-word column, I’m doing well.”
King considers “MMQB” a significant part of his life and an extension of himself.
“I really don’t know what I’d do without it now,” he said. “It’s been such a joy to do, and allowed me to talk about so many different things. If I’m going to spend more time writing above and beyond my regular job, it would have to be a fun outlet for me. This has obviously been that, and a whole lot more.”