Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss Sunday night's Patriots-49ers showdown and talk about other news from around the NFL.
The Patriots are coming off a rout of the AFC-leading Texans that moved them into position to take over the No. 1 seed, but King said there'e too much emphasis on home-field advantage.
"Home field has become vastly overrated in January in the NFL," he said. "You look at the Giants in '07, winning three games on the road and then going to win the Super Bowl against New England. They did it again with two wins on the road last year. The year before was the Packers, who were on the road the whole time. It is all about who is playing well at this time of year and who has the quarterback that is playing the best. And there is no team playing as well and there's no quarterback playing better than Tom Brady and the Patriots right now. Everybody can see it."
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh replaced Alex Smith with second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick midway through the season. King said people can debate the merits of the two QBs, but Harbaugh has put the team in better position to succeed with this move.
"What [Harbaugh] basically was saying is, I like Alex Smith but I don't love Alex Smith, and I like the potential of Colin Kaepernick down the stretch to be able to play better and to be able to do more things well than Alex Smith does," King explained. "But if Colin Kaepernick gets planted into the ground by Vince Wilfork on Sunday and can't play anymore, if I were the 49ers I really wouldn't be all that concerned. Because the Part B of what Harbaugh did is he made it possible to have two quarterbacks who can play well and who can win playoff games deep into January."
Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue ruled this week that the Saints players who had been suspended for their roles in the team's bounty scandal should not be punished any more.
"My one fault with Tagliabue's ruling is that he didn't take into account the fact that Roger Goodell had been constantly lied to for a long period of time by the Saints," King said. "To then basically say that we're cutting the suspensions and the discipline in effect in half, I thought it was a bold thing. But honestly, what Paul Taglabue wanted to do, very simply, is he wants this to go away. He looks at the harm that this had done to the NFL and he says, 'Let's end it, and end it now.' And I think with the exception of the Jonathan Vilma lawsuit, the defamation lawsuit, I think that it's just about going to be over."
The NFL reportedly is considering expanding the playoffs. King said any such move has to be tied to a reduction in preseason games.
"I'm dead set against any expansion of the playoffs, with one very slight asterisk," King said. "If the NFL were to say we're going to eliminate two preseason games -- and not only eliminate the two preseason games but not make fans pay for the one home preseason game per year -- if they're going to do that, then I still wouldn't like the increase in playoff teams to 14. I'd never, ever support the increase to 16. That's awful. And right now I wouldn't support the increase to 14 unless there were some major concessions on the preseason, which I'm told there's a chance that those could be coming, and not just in a cosmetic way, not just in a small way. It's possible that they could really do some major surgery this coming offseason on the preseason, which is long, long overdue."
We check in for our weekly update from Bill Belichick and get his take on the Pats win over the Texans on the road, the benching of Stevan Ridley, and Antonio Smith's thinly veiled Spygate comments after the Texans lost.
Patriots’ defensive end, Rob Ninkovich, joins Mut and Merloni on a Patriots Monday after the team’s victory in Houston. Rob addresses the postgame comments of Texans’ defensive lineman Antonio Smith and the defense struggling against the run.
Tom Brady joined the show fresh off the teams 9th win of the season in Houston. He dismissed Antonio Smith's spying allegations and told the guys he has already moved on.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back witht he Hot Stove Show. They talk about Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox signings of AJ Pierzynski and Edward Mujica, and wrap it up with Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, who talks about the World Series run, losing a teammate like Ellsbury and looking towards 2014.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.
Peter King joins Mut and Merloni to go across the NFL and address the latest news. He discusses Kubiak's firing, Tomlin's fine, and Dennard's possible suspension.
Brick makes his weekly appearance on Mut and Merloni and discusses the Bruins loss to Montreal and the hit on Johnny Boychuck.
Michael Fabiano, fantasy expert and Yankees fan, gives his opinion on the Cano signing, discusses Julian Edelman's rising fantasy value, and actually suggests starting Ryan Fitzpatrick
We check in with Herm Edwards on the Pats, Stevan Ridley, and a great many things around the NFL.
We stir up a pot of crap when we debate the world cup and the popularity of soccer... pro callers, con-callers, plus Jack Edwards!
We tackle four topics at 4PM.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
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Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.More from this show