You heard me. I'm calling out Peter King, and you can blame ESPN for it.
Now that your minds are completely blown, let me explain. I know King, Sports Illustrated's football guru, and ESPN have nothing in common other than a shared spot in the mainstream media, but there's reason for my rage. King is a fine writer in small doses, he's respected in the football community and my Monday Morning Chrysler New Yorker column (which will return at the start of the regular season) plays off the title of his Monday Morning Quarterback column. But I have to get pissed off for something that he wrote like two weeks ago, a blatant falsity that was reinforced by ESPN today.
I like to criticize the MSM here at PSaMP, but I'm a perfectly respectful person in everyday life. I'm no Smizik fan, and I've said so in as many words, but our conversation/interview was as cordial as possible. Now, back to King. In a recent column at SI, King had the following to say about Quarterbacks and the AFC North:
[I'm] not sure if the team with the best quarterback in the division is automatically favored. Carson Palmer's the best in the AFC North, and the Bengals are the third- or fourth-best team in that division.
Ah the old "Carson Palmer is an elite quarterback argument." I wrote to King, knowing full well that he gets more email than I could ever imagine, but my question was legit. Here it is in it's entirety:
I have a question, if I may. It doesn't have to be included in any mailbag or anything, but a response would be greatly appreciated. In your most recent mailbag, you reference Carson Palmer as the top QB in the AFC North. Can I please ask what information you use to grade quarterbacks? As a Steelers fan and blogger, I...and I think I speak for a majority of Steelers fans...find myself scratching my head when Palmer is constantly alluded to as a better quarterback than Ben Roethlisberger. I could ask how many rings Palmer has won, or how many wins both QBs had in their respective rookie seasons, but those are somewhat topical and overused. Last season alone, however, Ben had 6 more touchdowns and 9 fewer interceptions than Palmer, all while posting the second best QB rating in the league behind Tom Brady. I'm sure I don't need to remind you, but Ben's rating was 104.1. Carson struggled to get to 86.7. Sure, Carson threw for more total yards, but yards do not equal wins, as seen in both teams' respective records. Ben managed to get his team into the playoffs via winning the division despite being sacked 30 more times than Palmer. There's no real reason to believe that Ben, his offensive weapons and O-Line won't all improve on last season, so why the love for Palmer? You aren't the first and certainly won't be the last writer to praise Palmer over his Steelers counterpart, but it's troubling to see the same trends over and over in today's sports media landscape. Palmer has done little more than prove to be a vertical passer who can easily rack up the yards, but his resume is dwarfed by that of Roethlisberger. I hope to hear from you soon, as this is something that never seems to have a legitimate answer, and Steelers fans deserve a break from this baffling misconception.
Yours in Big Ben,
Editor and Sole Writer at Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies
Am I incorrect in any way? I laid out nothing but solid, known facts about the two QBs, and most everything seems to go against the winless-in-the-postseason Palmer.
So, I didn't get an email back, something I was completely prepared for. I was ready to forget all about it and let Ben prove himself...AGAIN...this season as Palmer's superior. But ESPN had to go and bring it up again. tWWL has team-by-team previews up today on their website. Here's the one for the Steelers. James Walker, a .com writer I've never heard of, brought up the same Palmer-lauding. Take a look at this bs:
Best offensive player: QB Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger had 3,154 yards passing and 32 touchdowns in '07. He is close to joining the NFL's elite quarterbacks and could solidify his spot next to Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer with an even bigger year in 2008.
Please, someone tell me how Carson Palmer is compared to Peyton and Tom? I'm no fan of Manning or Brady, but I respect what they've done in their careers. Hell, they both have rings. So does Big Ben. So does Trent Dilfer. And Brad Johnson. Palmer's hand is naked (a visual that made me throw up slightly). So Palmer can throw for a great number of yards when healthy...big deal. He can also throw an assload of interceptions. I guess I'm just happy fellow postseason-loser Tony Romo wasn't referenced by Walker.
So I'm calling you out, Peter King. Go ahead, Google your name and find this post. Or better yet, someone email this post to King on any of his contact sheets in his columns at SI. Steelers Nation deserves an answer.