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."
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Rob Bradford is joined by Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox pitcher who so many are wondering if he will be able to live up the value placed on him by the Red Sox when trading away top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza last July. Pomeranz goes into detail regarding his injury last season, the stem cell treatment he underwent in the offseason, and how he thinks things stand heading into the 2017 campaign.
Rob Bradford is joined by Tom Caron, the man responsible for guiding the ship when it comes to Red Sox pregame and postgame shows, along with various other important duties with the New England Sports Network, including offering the play-by-play for both TV and radio throughout spring training. Tom and Rob discuss a variety of topics, such as nickname conundrums, radio vs. television, criticizing the team, behind-the-scenes for the broadcasts and where the industry is going.
Rob Bradford is joined by two-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Quentin, who is attempting a comeback with the Red Sox this spring. Quentin's path back to baseball involves almost quitting the game less than a year ago, losing 40 pounds and trying to sell himself to general managers all over Major League Baseball. Quentin explains his journey, which has led him to the back fields at JetBlue Park.
Hour 4. Trenni, Kirk, and Gerry discuss the upcoming Red Sox season. Michael Irvin is being investigated for sexual assault, again. Renee Graham, from the Globe, thinks Michael Che is right about Boston being racist.
Hour 3. Trenni battles Gerry on immigration. Joe Mixon’s future is discussed. Curtis will get a second chance at music trivia on Friday.
Hour 2. Trenni, Gerry, and Kirk discuss Joe Mixon’s draft chances. A horrible hazing story from Texas is the topic in headlines. Keefe responded to Kirk (kind of).
HOUR 4 - The guys talked about Tuukka's rebound game last night against the Predators, Glenn had a squirrel moment when ESPN started talking about Joe Mixon, Tom Brady was compared to Kobe Bryant, and Holley says the Celtics can win the title.
HOUR 3 - Did Butler's camp screw up Butler's situation? Glenn exposes one of Fauria's verbal crutches. The guys try to come up with some new podcast names and ideas.
HOUR 2 - Fauria struggles to read the "Trending Now." Dave Dombrowski is getting defensive about the fact that all his free agent pitching acquisitions are getting injured. Hanley forgets which shoulder he hurt 2 years ago. Lou loses it when John Farrell makes up some new baseball lingo.
The NFL commissioner is claiming that he will attend the opener at Gilette Stadium next fall... does this put Deflategate to bed finally? Or will Roger find a way to duck out of his verbal commitment?
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe discuss the Patriots off-season and it becomes a conversation about longevity for Brady and Belichick, and which will be around longer for this team.
Dale, Michael and Rich discuss our guest Michael Irvin being implicated in a sexual assault case - important to note that details are scarce at this time and no charges have been filed to this point.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
SI's Richard Deitsch returns to the podcast to talk with Kirk about the K&C casting couch, how ESPN wimps out when they are called out for slander, what's going on with Bill Simmons, and the rise of podcasting.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis have the Tuesday & Wednesday recap from the K&C show, including Kirk's epic rant at Dale & Holley with Keefe.
Rich Keefe is joined by Dale Arnold and Ben Kichen to preview WrestleMania 33. Is it a good card? What will be the best match? Plus Ryan Davey is in for "This Week in #DORK" with a look a couple new trailers and the always great "Black Panther Reads #DORK iTunes Reviews."
Christian Fauria and Dr Gill go over the difficulties of staying healthy through the long grind of the playoffs in the NBA and in the NHL.
Hour 2. Kirk responds to Keefe’s shot at him. Alex says America is to blame for 9/11 in Headlines. Alex says the U.S. should let as many people in as possible.More from this show
Hour 4. Trenni, Kirk, and Gerry discuss the upcoming Red Sox season. Michael Irvin is being investigated for sexual assault, again. Renee Graham, from the Globe, thinks Michael Che is right about Boston being racist.More from this show
Hour 1. Roger Goodell is going to New England, Belichick wore the same clothes, and O’Reilly commented on Maxine Waters’ hair. Renee Graham, from the Boston Globe, thinks Boston is racist.More from this show
Hour 2. Trenni, Gerry, and Kirk discuss Joe Mixon’s draft chances. A horrible hazing story from Texas is the topic in headlines. Keefe responded to Kirk (kind of).More from this show
Hour 4. After Kraft’s comments at the owners meeting, the guys discuss how long Brady will play for. Gerry hates Lavar Ball. Reimer had a crazy time in Germany.More from this show