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Peter King's NFL column returns next week with a new name and a new home

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Longtime NFL author Peter King will release his new column subsequent week. (Getty)

After overlaying soccer at Sports activities Illustrated for 29 years, Peter King announced in May that he was leaving the venerated magazine to work full-time for NBC.

His final “Monday Morning Quarterback” column appeared on May 21, and because Sports Illustrated still uses the MMQB label for much of its NFL content, when King’s NBC column debuts on Monday it will carry the name “Football Morning in America.”

The column will feature some small additions and minor tweaks but will largely feel familiar to longtime readers, with King delving deep into the topics and characters that populate the nation’s most-watched sport. Still, King’s move does provide a mile-marker of sorts, further evidence of a rapidly-shifting landscape — certainly for his own distinguished career, but also for the sport of football and for sports media.

King, 61, discussed these topics and others with The Washington Post in advance of his NBC debut. This interview has been lightly edited for length.

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(Carlos M. Saavedra/SI headshot)

Q: You’ve always taken a break from the column in the summer. Did this year’s feel different? Were you itching to start writing again?

King: Every Sunday, particularly, I’d think, “Would I be writing today?” or “What would I want to write today?” I am not a big fan of most of what is written in this six- or seven-week period, post-draft, where you go into minicamps, and a lot of times you’re just literally inventing stuff. It’s one of the reasons why I felt like this was a good time for me to go.

I just sort of dreaded how to fill the hole every year. Dreaded is probably too strong a word, but I just I really didn’t look forward to it, because I am not a big fan of this 52-week-a-year, 24-7 news cycle in the NFL. It simply doesn’t exist.

I’ve been on vacation in California and Seattle with my two daughters in the last week. And I didn’t think for five minutes, “Boy, I wish I could write something in the dead week of the Fourth of July.”

Q: You started the Monday Morning QB column 21 years ago. What should readers expect now that it’s moving to NBCSports.com?

King: I think a lot of the column will be similar to what I’ve done, particularly in the last three to five years. But I am going to add some new elements. There’s one thing that I’ve always really wanted to do. In my first column, it’s going to be with Ben McAdoo, the former coach of the Giants. Basically, it’s going to be called “What I’ve Learned.” In essence, this is going to be a section of the column that is going to be basically somebody in or near to football and a lesson that they’ve learned.

There’s two or three people on every team who have got some real wisdom to share, some stories to tell about the things they’ve learned.

Q: You’ve done TV work for NBC going back to 2006. NBC, obviously, is an NFL rights-holder and has a financial relationship with the league, unlike Sports Illustrated. Are you concerned your column will be impacted at all by this relationship or perhaps viewed differently by readers?

King: No, I’m not. Never one time in my discussions with NBC — not once — did they ever say, “Hey, listen, we may want to see your column on Sunday just to make sure we’re going to be okay with whatever you might write.”

Secondarily, I would say that in my contract I have editorial control over this column. So you’re going to read the same column that you read, for better or for worse, in terms of editorializing football and non-football opinions that I’ve always written.

But you know, it’s a good point. I am really sensitive about that. At Sports Illustrated, we never had any contractual ties to the NFL, and NBC obviously pays a rights fee to the NFL to show the game. So I get the question. But I could not have signed with NBC if they had said, “Hey, listen, we’re going to want you to lay off the NFL in times of controversy.”

Q: After your departure from SI was announced, you wrote: “The 24/7-ness of the activity, even though, has worn on me, as has one of the vital foolish and invented stuff that populates the soccer media (e.g., 2019 mock drafts 360 days prior to the 2019 draft). The monster should be fed day-to-day.” I do know you’re nonetheless going to jot down and do TV and do radio — and also you’re on the point of do your annual excursion of coaching camps. However do you await slowing down slightly?

King: It’s extra the day by day stuff all over the season. I’ll almost certainly be extra of an observer than I can be a chronicler all over the season, and clearly the offseason. However you realize my column on Monday, I feel it’s going to be higher than it’s been. That’s my objective.

I feel what ended up attending to me was once the truth that it was once simply by no means sufficient. You recognize, I’ll by no means overlook I simply completed a tale couple of years in the past — I spent every week with Carson Palmer and I did every week within the lifetime of a quarterback and it was once greatly amusing and rewarding and so extremely instructional. And I feel I stopped running on it few days after that week, and I wrote about 15,00Zero phrases. I feel I stopped writing on a Wednesday night time, and I took a deep breath after which all I may just recall to mind was once, k, now I’ve were given to jot down my mailbag column and now I’ve were given to consider what I’m going to do on Sunday and I’ve this different mission I’m running on.

The grind of it and the truth that the monster needs to be fed at all times — this is truly what will be higher for me. Been there, accomplished that, don’t wish to do it anymore.

Q: If you happen to entered the trade these days as a 23-, 24-year-old author, do you suppose you’d revel in it the similar?

King: It’s so a lot more tricky these days beginning out than it was once again then. I don’t envy people who find themselves younger and overlaying the NFL these days in any respect. I think so unhealthy for a large number of those truly keen people who find themselves some of the 1,243 credentialed media on the NFL scouting mix this yr. How on this planet, in any such swarm, are you able to differentiate your self? How are you able to get to grasp the entire movers and shakers in some way the place they are going to in reality inform you issues?

If all you wish to have to do these days is be a sportswriter, neatly, excellent success. You could discover a activity someplace, but it surely received’t be very profitable, and I don’t know the way lengthy you’ll be in it. You higher have some hobby in podcasting, in being a 24-7 newshound, you higher be excellent at social, you higher have your toe in every other digital media, whether or not it’s radio, TV. You higher be keen to have slightly little bit of a character.

Q: I do know you’re nonetheless rooting for Sports activities Illustrated, clearly, however do you fear for them, too?

King: After all. I feel everyone who loves SI worries for them. I don’t know who’s going to shop for them. Whoever buys the — I don’t know what that suggests for the way forward for the mag, of the website online, of the entire digital stuff that they’re coming into now. So till I see what precisely goes to occur, in fact I’m nervous for them.

There’s any such massive want for Sports activities Illustrated. I don’t fear that it’s going away. I simply don’t. I simply fear — it’s the unknown. I simply hope that they proceed to do the good paintings that leads to such things as Jerry Richardson having to step down on account of a scandal in Carolina.

Q: How a lot do you fear concerning the results of concussions and CTE, and are you involved for the way forward for the game?

King: Completely. I feel Greg Bishop’s tale about [Washington State’s] Tyler Hilinski was once truly being concerned. Right here’s a backup quarterback in school soccer. When his post-mortem was once accomplished on the Mayo Hospital, they discovered that he had proof of CTE. There’s such a lot we don’t know but about CTE, however the only factor we do know is that clearly it’s proof of strange mind serve as. We simply don’t know needless to say whether or not that resulted in no matter roughly temper he was once coping with. However, I imply, obviously it’s no longer a excellent signal.

Do I fear about soccer? Completely. To me, I feel that we’re all irresponsible if we’re overlaying this recreation and we’re no longer writing about that facet of the sport.

There’s such a lot schooling now about soccer and the prospective dangers and risks of it. And the NFL this yr is mainly announcing that when you use your helmet in an competitive style — when you lead along with your head and use your head as a weapon — you’re going to get penalized and doubtlessly you want to be ejected from the sport. Glance, I sympathize with gamers who’ve been enjoying a technique for his or her entire lives. However the whole lot that I learn and I heard on the NFL conferences this yr, those other folks needless to say soccer is on hearth. And the fireplace division has been known as and everyone higher take into account that the sport wishes to switch.

I’m no longer certain that it wishes to switch enormously, but it surely wishes to switch considerably. I additionally suppose that during many ways, when you’re a dad or mum now and you’ve got to make this resolution, I feel I’d concentrate to Drew Brees. Drew Brees advised me remaining yr passionately that, you realize, he has sons and they aren’t going to play take on soccer till no less than highschool. So I don’t suppose take on soccer in center college makes sense. And I’m no longer even certain take on soccer in highschool is all that good. However I understand it’s no longer going away. I simply suppose that the NFL needs to be within the management place right here, and it’s were given to trickle down from them.

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