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SI.com & Peter King Launch the new NFL-only site: The MMQB (1 Viewer)

Why not? Love him or hate him, he probably has more name recognition and hits for his articles on the main SI site than just about any pro football writer. If I owned SI, I would try to take advantage on his popularity too.

 
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Why not? Love him or hate him, he probably has more name recognition and hits for his articles on the main SI site than just about any pro football writer. If I owned SI, I would try to take advantage on his popularity too.
I don't know. Most everyone pretty much acknowledge he is a hack with no connections that tends to only write vanilla articles to not upset anyone.

 
Why not? Love him or hate him, he probably has more name recognition and hits for his articles on the main SI site than just about any pro football writer. If I owned SI, I would try to take advantage on his popularity too.
I don't know. Most everyone pretty much acknowledge he is a hack with no connections that tends to only write vanilla articles to not upset anyone.
And he is crying all the way to the bank over that.

 
Excerpts from King's inaugural column:

Today’s a new day for all of us at The MMQB.

So … where to begin. Let’s start with what The MMQB won’t be. We’re not going to cover contracts very much, or day-to-day beat coverage of teams, or things you should continue to read and watch in your local papers and websites. We’ll break some but not a lot of news; too many people do too good a job of that right now, and with a staff of three new full-time writers, I thought we could spend our time to better interpret and enlighten you about the news. We’ll do fantasy football, but not in the kind of exhaustive way that you’d say, “Hey, let’s read King so we can set our lineups this week.”

We’ll be the thinking person’s site for pro football. If you follow us this season, visit TheMMQB.com three or four times a day between now and the Super Bowl, read our stories, watch our videos and listen to our podcasts … and if after doing that you don’t think you’ve been enlightened about the sport America loves, well, then I should be fired.
I’m happy to say our three staff writers—Greg Bedard from the Boston Globe, Jenny Vrentas from the Newark Star-Ledger, Robert Klemko from USA Today—have brought the imagination and insight I’d hoped. Bedard this week will take you inside the coaching offices at Stanford, where NFL teams—surprise—have spent time this offseason studying how to stop the read-option offense. Vrentas reports from Michigan, beginning a season-long series on The Undrafted Free-Agent. Eight hundred of them go to training camps in the NFL every year, and most disappear forever on Labor Day weekend. We’ll chronicle what happens to running back Zach Line, who will fight for a special-teams and running-back job on the Vikings, all season. Vrentas, too, will be a valuable player for us because of her science background—she majored in biochemistry at Penn State, which could be the strangest career path of any football writer around. She’ll write on health and player welfare, topics key today because of the long-term health effects so many retired players have experienced. Klemko has a bold look at one of the hot offseason topics—when will a gay active player come out?—by telling the painful and unvarnished stories of two former NFL players who came out after retiring. All three writers will have lots more in the coming days and weeks—and those who got to know Bedard from his video dissection in New England will be pleased to know he’ll be doing the same kind of video work with us weekly.

I’m pleased with our correspondents. You’ll read either weekly, regularly or occasionally a wide swath of smart NFL followers, players and authorities. Andrew Brandt, the best football business columnist there is, debuts with insights on what the Patriots are going through inside the front office post-Hernandez. Andy Benoit’s our analytics guy, and check back often to see his series of 2,500-word scouting reports on all 32 teams; his Washington report is out today. Richard Deitsch, SI’s prescient media columnist, checks in with Ray Lewis’ first extended interview about his ESPN analyst gig today. How, Deitsch wonders, will Lewis react if asked to comment on TV about Aaron Hernandez’s arrest, seeing as how Lewis got arrested for a similarly serious crime in 2000? Said Lewis: “Through the things I have been through, what I learned from that is everybody has something they want to say, and 80 percent of them are illiterate.” SI’s Jim Trotter will have an oft-West Coast-focused column, and his first contains a strong warning for those who want to put Manti Te’o in Junior Seau’s league before Te’o ever plays an NFL snap. My good friend Don Banks will spice up the scene; he’ll check in with a column we’ll call “The Conscience,” in which everyone in the game (Week 1: Roger Goodell) will be subject to Judge Banks’ rulings. College football guru Andy Staples of SI will file, starting next week, a week-by-week NFL Draft Top 50 (I think we can come up with a kitschier name than that), which will run through next May’s draft.

We’ll write some long pieces, three of them this week. One of the smartest people I know, SI senior writer David Epstein, dissects the complicated and maddening debate over HGH testing in the NFL on Friday. I’ll take you on a trip back to Colin Kaepernick’s hometown on Tuesday (you’ll get a kick out of him ducking into Little Caesar’s for a large pepperoni pie) but it’s during the trip back to the Bay Area when the sudden star really opens up.

You’ll read real stuff from players here. Rising-star cornerback Richard Sherman, who will be more thoughtful than loud for us, relates the story of who made him a tough football player. Ever wonder what it’s like—I mean, really like—to be cut from an NFL team? We’ve got the best piece I’ve ever read on it coming Thursday, from ex-Jag and current Chief Austen Lane. Last month, outside the last Jacksonville defensive meeting before summer vacation, Lane heard a strange voice call his name. He writes:

It’s an unrecognizable voice. I can’t explain exactly why, but I feel a moment of panic rush over me. I turn around to see one of our scouts. I start to slowly walk as he waves me over. Before I get the chance to say hi, the scout quietly says, ‘Dave needs to see you.’

Dave. David Caldwell, the general manager. Oh my God.

That’s at the heart of what we’ll do—take you places you can’t go, but wished you could.
 
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Understanding that ESPN has significantly more resources at their disposal than CNNSI, I've often found CNNSI's coverage a bit aimless and quite frankly, stale.

I don't know if this new rebranding of their NFL coverage under the MMQB brand is going to work, but MMQB might be the most recognized NFL coverage on the web. It makes sense to spread the love a bit and bolster their coverage lineup. With that said, if they try and go more soft and fluffy with this outlet, it could backfire.

Is King as plugged in as he used to be? Maybe, maybe not...but IMO, this outlet stands to succeed if they do something similar to the ESPN model which divided their bloggers by the divisions, but also followed some familiar MMQB characteristics (Things I Think, Star/Goat if the Week, etc...).

I'm not sure if the multimedia aspect will work though for them. ESPN/NFLN can do this because they re producing actual TV programming. Do I need video of King talking though? TBD on that...

 
Peter King was on Charlie Rose last night. He is welcomed at a lot of front offices, gets a lot of access by not being cruel to many folks in the NFL. Will check in at the site, might wait to pass judgment. King is a buffoon at times, others he has his moments. I like when he shares HoF get togethers and what is being said on player votes.

King did make a big deal about gangs in the NFL, look for some tattoo experts to start prodding players about their body art. Won't be surprised if they ban certain types of tattoos in the future.

 
SI spins Peter King off to his own website Microsites featuring marquee sports personalities like Sports Illustrated’s Peter King could be the new digital model.By: Raju Mudhar

In a move similar to what ESPN did in allowing Bill Simmons to launch Grantland two years ago, Sports Illustrated is creating a digital franchise based around its longtime NFL writer Peter King starting on Monday.
It will be called TheMMQB.com and is built round King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column, which is a must read for millions of football fans. King was at the end of his contract after the NFL season and reportedly flirted with leaving the publication for TV (he also appears as an analyst on NBC’s coverage), but said that he approached his bosses with the idea.
“I asked them and said this is something that I’d really like to do. I thought about it and came up with this proposal, you know, let’s hire three people, and really cover the business of football,” he said in an interview last week. “Basically I want to make absolutely sure that we cover all the bases, and we do it in a bit of a little different way than has been done before.”

King will serve as the editor of TheMMQB.com, and his column will remain the focal point. The new hires are Greg Bedard, Julie Vrentas and Robert Klemko and he has also tapped other columnists including former NFL exec Andrew Brandt and fellow SI writers Richard Deitsch, Don Banks and Jim Trotter. Some of the sections from his columns, like the “10 Things I Think” will now be spread out during the week and be more social media driven.
Looking at the site’s plan, and asking him honestly, how will things be different, he admits he’s not sure, but mentions two ideas coming soon after launch. One is a first person piece from Kansas City linebacker Austen Lane that he describes as a blow-by-blow account of what it is like being cut. Another is a piece by Bedard on how to stop the read option.
“We’re still deciding, we’re not sure yet, how we’re going to cover games. We are still deciding how we’re going to do fantasy football. We just need to make sure we’re not going to be doing the same old thing. We’re going to be doing a lot of video. We’re going to do a lot of social media. … So I think really that the most important thing for us, is we can’t be your father’s website. … I just want to be sure we have new ideas, different ideas, and don’t cover the league the way it’s always been covered.”
There are obviously going to be Grantland comparisons, and if TheMMQB.com can get anywhere close to that site’s standard — because it is fabulous — then sports fans should rejoice. However, while Grantland deftly covers both sports and pop culture, King says his will be more strictly football focused. Plenty of King fans don’t like it when he strays from football, although the counter argument is that the personal stuff he’s written, the travel notes, the beer and coffee nerdery, were among the things that actually helped build his brand, and helped set him apart from other football writers.
“When I say we’re not going to be Grantland, look, I am still going to write about what pisses me off on the road and I’m going to write about a great beer I had in Vancouver, but I think over the years, that has grown into an urban legend. I will probably have three or four sentences in an 8,000 word column on some beer I had that week that I thought was good,” he says. “I always tell people, when my kids were in school and I was writing about field hockey or softball, look it’s a 5,500 word column, with 1,200 words on softball, so just think of it as a 4,300 word football column, so just skip the parts that you don’t like. It’s still the longest column on football on the Internet on Monday.”
What will be interesting is whether this is going to be the new order of things, and whether other sites will follow by putting their marquee presences out front in such a big manner. Simmons and King are two writers that had almost outgrown their respective entities. The other big news this past weekend was that ABC/ESPN has reportedly lured the world’s most celebrated number cruncher, Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight.com blog, away from The New York Times, and his brand easily is in the same region.
The question it makes me wonder about is if someone in Canada could do the same kind of thing based around hockey. Of the big personalities, there doesn’t seem an exact right fit, at least for this type of specialized website imprint. Most in Canada seem to own one piece of media. Like Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry and Ron MacLean definitely have the visibility, but don’t write. TSN’s Bob McKenzie definitely has the Twitter audience, and while he did start as a writer, he is now clearly TV first. Bob McCown has the radio locked down, but from what I’ve read in Sportsnet magazine, I don’t really need to read more. Of the big newspaper hockey writers, I think their profile needs to grow a little more, and most are clearly very tied to their paper’s brands. But beyond the who, the real problem is that Canadian sports sites don’t have the level of ambition, investment or desire to really do it.
It’s going to be interesting to see what King will bring, and whether more is better. I doubt it will be all that different, but the truth is that with the NFL, for most fans, simply more is better.
Speaking of, I couldn’t let King go with out asking him about the possibility of NFL expansion to Canada.
“Well, I get the feeling what the NFL would really like to happen on a semi-permanent basis is that they would like to have Buffalo and Toronto married like Green Bay and Milwaukee were for a very long time. But obviously, I get the strong sense from people in Toronto that we don’t want to be a 20 per cent franchise, eventually we’re going to want our own team.
“I think the NFL is trying to walk a fine line in Canada, because they don’t want to do anything to hurt the long term interests of the CFL and I think they believe there’s a pot of gold in London. There might be, there might not. I have no idea whether they have a prospective owner over there in their pocket, I don’t know, I haven’t heard of one, I just think the NFL is run more than ever by businessmen, and in London, they smell money.
“I think that’s why it’s probably smart to think that they’ll go to London first before they go anywhere internationally.”
 
That line about Vikings training camp!!

"Rookie walks into the dorms for training camp. Says, "I've stayed in prison cells nicer than this!"

 

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