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FMIA: Eagles Over Bills in Super Bowl LVIII, Jaguars Are AFC’s Top Seed and More 2023 NFL Season Predictions

Biggest challenges for Eagles' Super Bowl hopes
Mike Florio and Peter King review the biggest challenges facing Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC ahead of the 2023 season, the team’s backup QB situation and more.

Of all the odd things in my predictions for 2023—Atlanta winning the NFC South, Lions-Falcons the 3-4 seeds in the NFC, the Packers making the playoffs, the Dolphins and Chargers out—the oddest is the AFC top seed.


America stops reading column of idiot writer who clearly has gone around the bend.

Don’t mean to back into the lede here: I’ve got a Philadelphia-Buffalo Super Bowl. But that’s not so outlandish. The Jags atop the absolutely loaded AFC, now that’s outlandish.

Blame Pete Prisco. The CBS Sports guy got me thinking about it when I saw him in training camp in Green Bay. His point: Look at the schedule. So I looked at the Jacksonville schedule and compared it to Kansas City’s. Two things here. Strength and weakness of schedules can look much different in November than September. And Kansas City is certainly, absolutely a better team. But let’s schedule-gaze.

Three things about the Jags’ slate:

1. Ten of 17 games come against the worst two divisions in football, the AFC South (six) and NFC South (four).

2. Arguably, their five toughest games are either at home (KC, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Baltimore) or neutral-site (Buffalo in London).

3. Unless Mike Vrabel works his magic, the Jags’ home stretch is pretty comfy: at Bucs, Panthers at home, at Titans.

Three things about the KC slate:

1. The last eight weeks include Eagles, Bills, Bengals (all home) and post-Thanksgiving road shootouts with the Raiders and Chargers.

2. The Jags host KC in northeast Florida at 1 p.m. on Sept. 17, when there’s a chance it’ll be 98 degrees real-feel, and the visitors set a team record for IVs. There couldn’t be a better week and time for Jacksonville to host the Super Bowl champs. That game could end up being significant for home-field in the AFC.

3. This is one of the costs of being good. But two of 16 Kansas City games (not counting the in-flux time of game 17) are on Sundays at noon CT. The Jags have 10 of them. Again: Not that big a deal. But it just adds to the taxing nature of being the team every network wants to feature in prime-time or doubleheader windows.

Will it all matter? We’ll see. I don’t like picking chalk because chalk rarely happens in the NFL. As Patrick Mahomes noted in June, there hasn’t been a repeat champion in the NFL since the Patriots won for a second straight time 19 years ago in 2004. It’s hard to not totally buy into Andy Reid and Mahomes. But for the second straight year, the offense enters a season down a weapon or two; it was Tyreek Hill last year, and it’s free-agent losses JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman this year. Mahomes needs Skyy Moore to step up in a very big way, and that’s the intention. Moore was a fixture at every Mahomes workout, organized and informal, in the off-season.

Moore can be an X-factor for Chiefs' 2023 offense
Mike Florio and Peter King highlight Chiefs second-year WR Skyy Moore and why he can be an important component of Kansas City’s 2023 offense.

The Lead: 2023 Picks

Now for the other nuggets of my picks:

· I’m buying Philly stock. I don’t think there’s a clear weakness on the Eagles. Corner depth, maybe. Backup quarterback. But the offensive line is top-three in the league, defensive-front-seven depth is unrivaled and the quarterback is about to take his place with Mahomes and Joe Burrow at the very top of the QB pantheon. There’s no reason why Jalen Hurts doesn’t pick up where he left off in the postseason: 34.7 points per game in three starts, eight TDs produced, one turnover, going shot-for-shot with Mahomes in the Super Bowl. I have a Philly-Dallas NFC title game, which could be epic.

· Buffalo rebounds. There are things I don’t like about the Bills—but there are things that worry me about every AFC power team. Stefon Diggs is great, but will he be all-in for 17 weeks, which is essential for this team? Will Josh Allen rein in his uncharacteristic Red Zone mistakes from last year? I think the football world looked at the 27-10 divisional playoff loss to Cincinnati as the beginning of the end for a team with looming cap issues. I looked at it as a bad day to have a bad day, and give credit to a great gameplan by defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo of the Bengals. I say Allen returns to more efficient form, Von Miller provides a late-season defensive boost and they finally get off the schneid in Kansas City in the playoffs. Allen’s too good, and too determined, to let the end of 2022 leak into 2023.

· Tough call 1: Cincinnati. Speaking of things leaking into 2023, will the Joe Burrow calf injury carry over into the regular season? With Burrow healthy, the Bengals are the best team in a very tough division. So my 11-6 pick for them is a bit of a hedge—I’ve got them winning the AFC North, but opening at nemesis Cleveland and trips to San Francisco and Kansas City make the division tighter.

· Tough call 2: San Fran nipping Philly for NFC home-field. The Niners have thrived in storms. QB storms, mostly. But when the weather clears, they’ve got a quarterback, Brock Purdy, who was 8-0 in games when he played at least three quarters last year. They’ve got a strong defense assuming Nick Bosa suits up in it. They’ve got four games against the Cards and Rams. Tough call to make here, but I’m trusting Purdy more than most do.

· Tough call 3: Keeping Miami and the Chargers on the outside. It’s a fact of life in the 2023 American Football Conference: A very good team or two won’t make the playoffs. There’s so much to like about Miami, particularly after adding Vic Fangio to run the defense. But man, the landmines. At the explosive Chargers in week one. At Buffalo, at Philly, versus Kansas City in Germany, at the Jets on a short week, at Baltimore late. (And of course Buffalo and the Jets at home, too.) There’s all that, plus the drive to keep Tua Tagovailoa healthy all season. The Chargers I think Justin Herbert will throw for 5,000 yards and they’ll be a top-five scoring team. But there’s some hump here, and they’ve got to get over it. To me, this is more about the defense staying strong, avoiding debacles that ended the 2021 (Raiders 35, Chargers 32) and 2022 (Jags 31, Chargers 30) seasons.

Moore: Herbert's preparation is 'impressive'
Peter King chats with Los Angeles Chargers HC Brandon Staley and OC Kellen Moore to analyze training camp film, discuss the team's 2023 offensive outlook, expectations for QB Justin Herbert and more.

Funny to write about the outcome of 2023 for a while and not mention Aaron Rodgers yet. Well, I like the Jets—a lot. I like them to win a tough division. But it’ll be tough for playoff neophytes, even with Rodgers, to survive a postseason gantlet that could have Mahomes, Josh Allen or Burrow in the way. Or two. Or three.

How I see the playoff races:

AFC seeds

1. Jacksonville (13-4). Jags were a respectable 12th in the league in points allowed last year. They can’t be any lower than that if they’re going to be competitive with the best of the AFC.

2. Kansas City (13-4). The Chris Jones holdout worries me a bit. Still expect it to get solved, but if he misses half the season, or some big chunk, well, there’s not a Chris Jones on the practice squad to take his place.

3. New York Jets (11-6). Impossible division to forecast. But the last six games for the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets swayed me a bit: Atlanta and Houston home, at Miami, Washington home, at Cleveland, at New England. Surviveable.

4. Cincinnati (11-6). In Burrow I trust. Toughest division to forecast 1 through 4.

5. Buffalo (11-6). Stefon Diggs’ psyche is a factor. Big key could be Von Miller being eased back in to face Burrow, Rodgers, Hurts, Mahomes, Prescott and Herbert in second half. (Lord, who invented that seven-game death march?)

6. Baltimore (10-7). The Todd Monken offense, playing faster, should fit Lamar Jackson well—as should first-round receiver Zay Flowers.

7. Pittsburgh (9-8). You know how tough it is to keep Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert out of the playoffs? Kenny Pickett’s a top-12 QB by December.

Pittsburgh wins tiebreaker with Miami (9-8) and the L.A. Chargers (9-8) to earn seventh seed.

Wild card: Kansas City over Pittsburgh, N.Y. Jets over Baltimore, Buffalo over Cincinnati.

Divisional: Kansas City over N.Y. Jets, Buffalo over Jacksonville.

AFC Championship at Kansas City: Buffalo 27, Kansas City 25.


NFC seeds

1. San Francisco (13-4). Adversity’s Team. This just in: The Niners are still very good at football. (Proviso: They have to sign Nick Bosa in the next few days.)

2. Philadelphia (12-5). Best roster in football, 1 to 53. That matters a lot in a 17-game season.

3. Detroit (10-7). I buy the hype.

4. Atlanta (9-8). Every year, there’s a last-to-first division winner. This year, Falcons edge their good friends the Saints in the NFC South.

5. Dallas (11-6). Feels like a huge year for the future of Dak Prescott, and maybe Mike McCarthy.

6. Seattle (10-7). I worry about the run defense (allowed 4.9 yard per rush last year), but not about Geno Smith. He’ll have his second straight legit year, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be a great add.

7. Green Bay (10-7). Dart-throwing. They edge the 9-8 Giants on the basis of Jordan Love playing B-minus football and an ascending D.

Wild card: Philadelphia over Green Bay, Detroit over Seattle, Dallas over Atlanta.

Divisional: Dallas over San Francisco, Philadelphia over Detroit.

NFC Championship at Philadelphia: Philadelphia 23, Dallas 16.


Super Bowl 58, at Las Vegas, Feb. 11, 2024: Philadelphia 30, Buffalo 26.

Hurts embracing being a 'triple threat' for Eagles
Peter King chats with Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts from Eagles training camp about how he is using last season's Super Bowl loss as motivation and is focused on leading his team back to the big game.

The awards

MVP: 1. Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia. 2. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City. 3. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville.

Hurts has ascended to coach-on-the-field mode, in the Mahomes realm. He’ll back up his brain with 40 passing/rushing TDs.

Offensive player: 1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco. 2. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland. 3. Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia.

This is the year McCaffrey puts it all together in an offense designed for all the great things he does.

Defensive player: 1. Micah Parsons, edge, Dallas. 2. Myles Garrett, edge, Cleveland. 3. T.J. Watt, edge, Pittsburgh.

I didn’t even use a Bosa here. It’s a golden age for edges.

Offensive rookie: Overall pick in parentheses. 1. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Detroit (12). 2. Zay Flowers, WR, Baltimore (22). 3. Bryce Young, QB, Carolina (1).

Flowers will be more spectacular. Gibbs will produce more yards.

Defensive rookie: Overall pick in parentheses. 1. Jalen Carter, DT, Philadelphia (9). 2. Tyrique Stevenson, CB, Chicago (56). 3. Will Anderson Jr., DE, Houston (3).

Voters will have to see how disruptive Carter is, because others will have better stats.

Coach: 1. Doug Pederson, Jacksonville. 2. Dan Campbell, Detroit. 3. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay.

Going all-in on the Jags. If they’re the 1 seed in the mighty AFC, how would Pederson not win coach of the year?

Comeback player: 1. Damar Hamlin, safety, Buffalo. 2. Russell Wilson, QB, Denver. 3. Jon Metchie, WR, Houston.

Once Hamlin suits up in week one and plays a snap, he wins. Contest over.


Deion Sanders walks the walk.

Colorado 45, TCU 42. Game of the weekend in any sport. Colorado, which won one football game last year, hired uber-confident Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders to coach the team after the season, agreed to play the runner-up for the college football championship just eight months ago in the season-opener (on the road, on national TV), and went into Fort Worth and won the game. Sanders’ son Shedeur Sanders threw for a school record 510 yards, and a school-record four receivers had more than 100 yards receiving. Just as amazing, one of those receivers, Travis Hunter, played both ways on a 97-degree Texas day. Hunter played 129 snaps, had 11 catches for 119 yards and added an interception, deflected pass and three tackles as a starting cornerback. What a day for the program, and what a day for Sanders, who has said for months this style of play is exactly what he would bring to Boulder.

“It cannot be overstated what Deion Sanders did today,” J.J. Watt posted after the game.

Agreed. “We’re gonna continuously be questioned,” Sanders said post-game, “because we do things that have never been done. That makes people uncomfortable. When you see a confident Black man sitting up here, talking his talk, walking his walk, coaching 75 percent African Americans in the locker room, that’s kind of threatening. Oh, they don’t like that. But we’re gonna consistently do what we do. Because I’m here and I ain’t goin’ nowhere. And I’m about to get comfortable in a minute.”

Vintage, perfect Deion.

Sanders: The head coach life 'chose me'
Deion Sanders joins Peter King at the Super Bowl to explain how he felt called to be a coach after his Hall of Fame playing career.

On my podcast last winter, Sanders talked about his path to coaching. “I didn’t choose coaching; it chose me. I adore it. It’s not a job, not a path. It’s real. It’s genuine.”

In the middle of recording the podcast at the Super Bowl in February, Adam “Pacman” Jones walked by and the two men embraced. “He will be the best coach, the best recruiter, college has ever seen,” Jones said. Sanders has coached all of one game.

Chapter One of the Football Story of the Year (and maybe not just college football) was written Saturday in Fort Worth. Before this month is out, the Deion Show travels to Eugene, and then USC comes to Boulder. Get aboard the hype train.


Gil Brandt, 1932-2023.

The death of the legendary personnel man came quietly Thursday. That’s so unlike Brandt, who for so much of his life was the center of attention. The chief architect of the great Dallas Cowboys teams from 1960-’88 loved football so much, and loved talking about football so much, that everyone in the game knew him and went to him for opinions on everything—college players, pro players, coaches, coaches to hire, the state of the game. His memory for every last tidbit of a 66-year history in the game. He had a penchant for doing some unusual things (for the time) in scouting: evaluating each player psychologically, flooding Cowboys training camps with 50 or 60 undrafted college players every year (“extra rounds of the draft for us,” he’d say), building a scouting system that was copied by several teams, hosting hospitality suites at NCAA Basketball Tournament games so he could press college coaches for prospects who might turn into football players. Really, Brandt was the first big outside-the-box thinker at a high level in the NFL.

Evaluating basketball players, for instance. I once asked him why.

Cornell Green!” he said, speaking of a 1962 prospect. “All-American basketball player at Utah State, 6-3, 210 pounds. Big guy. Maybe he could be a safety, maybe a corner. Never played college football. But a great athlete. Coach [Tom] Landry loved working with great prospects. Signed him for $1,000 as an undrafted free-agent. He figured he’d make some easy money, then maybe go play in the NBA. But he was really good covering guys once he learned the right technique. Played 13 years for us. Made five, six Pro Bowls. To us, if a guy was a great athlete and was tough, he might be able to play our game at a high level, and the investment was worth it.”

After his Dallas career, Brandt became a guru of the Scouting Combine, going to Pro Days coast to coast, learning every prospect, getting close to every head coach with his inside knowledge of the players, and becoming confidants to lots of the high picks. His Mock Draft for was appointment reading even in his mid-eighties. He went to work for Sirius-XM NFL Radio as a storyteller and nugget-giver.

Longtime NFL PR czar Joe Browne recalled going on a fishing trip to Idaho with his son a few years back, taking a break from the NFL. The guide was respectful and never brought up football till the end of the trip. One question, the guide said. “Mr. Browne, have your ever met Gil Brandt? I have satellite radio in my truck but not in my cabin, so I go outside and listen to Sirius every night just so I can hear Gil Brandt. My wife thinks I am a little strange, but I just so admire his knowledge of the sport.”

On a personal note, I’m grateful to Brandt for taking every last phone call from the day I started in the business in 1984 to a year or so ago, when he mostly withdrew from public sight after some ill-informed comments on the late Dwayne Haskins.

When I first met him, Brandt asked where I went to high school. Enfield High School in Connecticut, I said. His mind was working—he prided himself on knowing hundreds and hundreds of high school nicknames. But he didn’t know the nickname for Enfield High. Next time I saw him, he said:

“Peter King! Proud son of Enfield, Connecticut. And an Enfield Raider!”

An unforgettable character who loved football as much as anyone I’ve encountered in this business.



It’s 5 o’clock somewhere

Jimmy Buffett died Friday at 76. He’s in this column because of his rabid love for the New Orleans Saints—and for his undying support for coach and good friend Sean Payton. See the photo here? That’s from the year Payton was suspended by the league for the Saints’ Bountygate scandal, a ban that ticked off Buffett royally. Speaking of the NFL driving Buffett into orbit: A couple of months after the widely panned no-interference call late in the Rams-Saints NFC title game in the 2019 season, Buffett appeared at a concert in New Orleans dressed as an NFL official, with dark sunglasses and a blind person’s white cane, and the crowd went wild.

The Saints loved the music and loved the man.

Denver coach Sean Payton, a fixture in New Orleans from 2006 to 2021, recalled it all Saturday. “I’ve listened to Margaritaville Radio all day yesterday, all day today. My introduction to Jimmy came when I was coaching in Dallas and we went to see Alan Jackson, George Strait and Jimmy Buffett at Texas Stadium. Down the row from us was Doug Marrone; I didn’t know him at the time. But later on, when I got the Saints’ job [in 2006], I interviewed Doug for my offensive coordinator. When his wife asked him about me, he said, ‘That’s the coach who had the Parrothead hat on at the Jimmy Buffett concert.’ And she said, ‘Oh, you gotta go work for him.’

“What a fan. He loved the Saints. He checked all the boxes. From Pascagoula, Miss. Check. Loved the Saints back to Tulane Stadium. Check. Loved everything about our region. Check. He played the bars on the Florida Panhandle and all through the Gulf Shore, Destin, Pensacola, the Redneck Riviera. Just loved playing the guitar in a bar. That was his life. And the Saints. Every year, if we played eight home games, he’d be at 6, down on the field, next to our bench.

“That first year I was there, it was the Colts-Bears Super Bowl in Miami, and I went down to Miami, and Jimmy asked a few of us to go out on his boat down there. He had his chef cook us cheeseburgers. Cheeseburgers in paradise. How about that?

“When I was suspended [in 2012 for Bountygate], he played a concert in New Orleans and asked me to come. Well, I was laying low and really didn’t want to. But I went. He comes out in a FREE SEAN PAYTON T-shirt. At one point he says, ‘We need some help on the bongos!’ I come out and he’s wearing that T-shirt, and I think, ‘Great. Now I’ll be suspended a year and a half.’

“I’m going back to practice with my team Monday morning. I’ll be thinking of ‘Come Monday.’

“I lost Jimmy Buffett. We lost him. But the New Orleans Saints lost their biggest fan.”

Quotes of the Week


It sucks. It sucks for the Colts. It sucks for Jonathan Taylor. It sucks for our fans. It just does.

--Colts GM Chris Ballard, on the Jonathan Taylor cloud that hangs over his team.

What's the endgame with Taylor remaining a Colt?
Peter King and Myles Simmons react to Jonathan Taylor's remaining with the Indianapolis Colts. They question how -- or whether -- the two sides can reach a resolution, and what the timeline for one might be.


We have a good plan in place to get him ready for week one.

--Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, on Joe Burrow’s practice regimen heading into the Cincinnati opener Sunday.


Lay there and stare at the ceiling? I’m 84. I’m not sure how many days I’ve got left to live, but I know one thing: I ain’t gonna waste them sleeping.

--Tom Moore, Bucs’ offensive assistant, in a profile of his long life in football by Zak Keefer of The Athletic.


We’re not scared of the expectations. The expectations are earned through, I think, what we’ve built and what we’ve done up until this point in terms of how we finished the end of the season and through our player acquisition process. But now we’ve got to just prove them right.

--Lions GM Brad Holmes, on the intense optimism that surrounds Detroit’s 2023 season.


Show some respect I don’t even know who you are, bro.

--Via “Hard Knocks,” Aaron Rodgers, to Giants defensive lineman Jihad Ward after Ward jostled him well after a whistle in the Giants-Jets preseason game last weekend.

Numbers Game

Number of running backs waived by NFL teams last week: 57.

Number of wide receivers waived by NFL teams last week: 121.

Total quarterbacks, backs, receivers waived last week: 200.

Number of quarterbacks, backs, receivers claimed on waivers by NFL teams: one.

The Patriots claimed quarterback Matt Corral from Carolina. The Panthers cut him after rosters were cut to 53, trying to sneak him through waivers and onto their practice squad. But New England signed him to the active roster.

I asked three GMs around the league why pickings were so slim at the skill positions last week. One said quarterbacks are hard to claim this time of year, because it’s time to prepare for games, not time to try to teach a longshot quarterback your offensive system. The most interesting response from one of the GMs:

This just shows the quality of the draft last year [2022] wasn’t very good. You see a lot of teams giving up on some of their picks from that draft

Corral was the 96th overall pick in 2022. The Patriots waived four of their final five picks from 2022, for instance.

Whatever the reason, and it could be just coincidence, one waiver pickup out of 200 skill players is a stark reminder of what a long shot it is for bottom-of-the-camp-roster players to make the team—any team.


The Labor Day weekend work schedule of Giants GM Joe Schoen:

Saturday, noon: Scout Virginia-Tennessee in Nashville.

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.: Scout South Carolina-North Carolina in Charlotte.

Sunday, 7:30 p.m.: Scout LSU-Florida State in Orlando.

Today, 8 p.m.: Scout Clemson-Duke in Durham, N.C.


40-For-40: King remembers the height of Prime Time
Peter King revisits covering Deion Sanders during the height of his athletic career when he was playing both cornerback for the Atlanta Falcons and outfield for the Atlanta Braves.

In my 40th season covering the NFL, I’m doing video look-backs at some of my favorite stories. This week, it’s an odd one. (Well, many of these are, actually.) This memory, 31 years old, comes from my Sports Illustrated days, from one of my most memorable cover stories. In August 1992, the big story in sports was whether Deion Sanders would play baseball with the Atlanta Braves or football with the Atlanta Falcons—or a hybrid. I met Sanders in Pittsburgh after a Braves-Pirates game, in his hotel room, high atop downtown Pittsburgh, after Sanders went 0-for-4 against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. The Deion I met that day was not the effervescent and triumphant guy you saw after his first Power 5 win Saturday for Colorado. This was Deion with the weight of the world on his shoulders.

King of the Road

WOODINVILLE, Wash.—“Pretty amazing,” Damon Huard said to me, in a nondescript warehouse northeast of Seattle. “I think I might be better at my second job than my first.”

As a budding red-wine nerd, I’d tasted Passing Time and liked it. So I reached out to Huard to see his new wine business while in Seattle watching the Seahawks for a day, and then watching our grandson Peter for a few days.

Huard did have a nice NFL life—eight years mostly as a backup quarterback playing for Miami, New England and Kansas City, winning four of five starts in relief of the injured Dan Marino in 1999, playing for Jimmy Johnson, Bill Belichick and Dick Vermeil—but his relationship with Marino led to this new wine life. Marino’s a big wine guy. He introduced Huard to some good bottles in their three years together in south Florida. Huard, born in the burgeoning Washington state wine country of the Yakima Valley, got into it, fast. And in 2012, he and Marino, as co-owners, founded Passing Time, using the grapes grown in the fertile arid wine region of southeastern Washington. The grapes are harvested, then trucked 200 to 300 miles here to be processed into Passing Time wine in this temperature-controlled cool warehouse.

By 2022, Passing Time was getting rave reviews. One of America’s leading wine experts, Jeb Dunnuck, ranked Huard-Marino’s Passing Time Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon the 85th-best wine in the world in 2022, and the 16th-best Cab. “With a layered, expansive mouthfeel, ripe tannins, and wonderful purity, this classic, world-class Cabernet will stand toe to toe with the best out there,” Dunnuck wrote in his review of this wine.

Dunnuck told Huard he was disappointed in one thing about his wine. “That no one in New York or Chicago will be able to taste it,” Dunnuck said, per Huard. (Because only 2,500 cases of the wine are produced each year. That limits its distribution mostly to Washington and south Florida—Marino’s turf.)

I had a glass of it, and sampled a few other Passing Time vintages. I am incompetent to recommend anything; let’s get that straight. But this Cab, and Huard-Marino’s others, tasted delicious to me—full-bodied, as smooth and tasty as any wine you’ll have.

Think about this. Huard played college football, then played mostly as a backup in the NFL. So he was, what? Between the 35th and 60th best quarterback in America for a spell as a professional player? Now, at age 50, Huard has Dunnuck, this prestigious wine guy, calling one of his wines the 16th-best Cabernet Sauvignon on the planet. No wonder the day I saw him Huard was as effervescent as if he’d just won a playoff game for Jimmy Johnson or Bill Belichick.


When I walked out, I thought, How cool is it that this guy lived the dream of every kid quarterback in America—he made it to the NFL and lasted a long time and played for three Hall of Fame coaches. And now he’s happier in his second life. Nice story.

What I’ve Learned


Jared Goff, on what he has learned from being a franchise quarterback for the Rams, being a Super Bowl quarterback for the Rams, getting exiled to Detroit, having your confidence beaten up over the move, and recovering to reclaim his career at the ripe age of 28:

“I think you learn that you might be a little tougher than you might think. You can handle a lot more than you think. I learned that on a pretty grand scale it’s something happening to you that can be one of the greatest things. It can be a gift in some ways.

“It’s all about how you approach it. By no means am I a philosopher, or somebody’s who’s all-knowing. But I think approaching it whether it’s a good situation or bad situation, it doesn’t matter what you think it is. Coming into it optimistically and putting your head down every day, one day at a time, can only lead to positive results at some point. It may take 10 years. It may take two years. It is what it is.

“I’ve learned getting knocked down is one of the greatest things that can happen to you.”


Reach me at

An unhappy week in ye olde mailbag.

Not sure what I was wrong about. From Tim McHugh: “Was disappointed to read your archaic take on [Dianna] Russini’s move to The Athletic not making ‘traditional journalism sense.’ Having been in the business for almost 25 years, I remember the days when scribes like Maggie Haberman and David Brooks set the pace for coverage, but those days are long gone, and people like Russini are being rewarded for their relevance to audiences of all ages on nearly a dozen different platforms. Storytelling, timeliness, immediacy and accuracy have never been in higher demand from consumers and on so many different platforms, so let’s celebrate the hundreds of multimedia journalists like Russini for producing such a staggering volume of quality of content on an hourly/daily basis. She’s earned that praise and paycheck.”

Russini, a TV person, transitioning to a mostly words site doesn’t make traditional journalism sense. Is that really in dispute? As I point out, the business is changing, and non-traditional hires like this one do make sense to me. Haberman is tradition, Russini is Next, and good for her for maximizing her value. If you read what I wrote and found my thinking to be archaic, I think you’re reading something that’s not there.

The reaction to my take on the Trey Lance trade surprises me. From Gregg Dieguez, of Montara, Calif.: “Your critique of the Niners’ handling of Lance is overblown, though certainly valid as far as it went. The problem is, you omitted two major factors, and one lesser one:

a) The money saved in 2024, when the team is already $7m over the cap without the signing of Nick Bosa. Those are important dollars.

b) The interpersonal dynamics between Lance and the team/staff once the decision [to make him third-string] was made. He didn’t take it well. Whether he was crushed by the news, or ostracized (which I doubt), he clearly was stunned and disengaged.

c) Coaches who run a meritocracy have to run a meritocracy, or else it’s a lie and undermines team morale. Kyle Shanahan strikes me as one who does. He had to get rid of other bad draft picks he overpaid for before: Trey Sermon, Joe Williams, Dee Ford and Weston Richburg. They have missed before, but the ethos seems to be cut bait and not let things linger. Beyond the money, my bet is Kyle had more going on than you have covered.”

Good points, Gregg. I should not have omitted the salary-cap thing. But Lance’s $5-million cap hit in 2024 would be 2 percent of the Niners’ cap. Teams can find $5 million if they want to. (Not to mention the fact that cap numbers a year out are relatively unimportant—Buffalo is $25 million over the ’24 cap as of today, Miami $31 million over. Happens every year. Good teams fix their cap issues.) I think what surprises me most is that so many readers and social-media responders back the Niners on this—even though the upshot is forgiving them for spending three first-round picks on a player who started four games and lasted 2.3 years. (Trey Sermon—one third-round pick; Trey Lance—three first-round picks.) But I do think Gregg’s point about the meritocracy is a very good one, and one I buy. Shanahan thought it best to rip off the Band-aid now when he apparently felt strongly Lance wasn’t ever going to be the guy. That is one heck of a costly misjudgment, though.

A farm system for football. From Ronald Molteni, of Arlington, Va.: “Wouldn’t the NFL benefit from a system used in soccer around the world—loaning players to another team? It benefits the player who needs playing experience, the receiving team that needs talent to fill a void and the lending team to get a contracted player experience.”

Great idea, in theory. But let’s take Trey Lance as an example. Say the Niners wanted to keep him but couldn’t give him the experience he needs. Would you suggest they loan him to a Canadian Football League team, or to a team in the NFL with a quarterback need right now—Arizona, for example? How long would he stay? What if he gets beaten out? What if it’s Arizona, and the Cardinals play the Niners twice, and Lance is playing great and he beats the Niners? The best thing would be a true minor league for the NFL, but the league hasn’t wanted to shell out the money for that.

Another happy customer. From Felipe Rodriguez: “Your undercover SOM advertisement was shameful. At least disclose you are shilling. Trust you less than before.”

Thought it would be interesting to share that 40 to 50 Saints drink a sleep aid, SOM, every night before bed, and that sleep technology has become a very big deal with NFL teams the past few years. Felipe doesn’t see it that way; thinks I’m on the take. We move on.

Fantasy football takeaways from Training Camp Tour
Peter King gives some advice to fantasy football managers that he picked up along his training camp tour, including Zay Flowers' upside and rolling with the Moores.

No fantasy football, please. From Daniel Edelstein: “PLEASE re-consider your recent increased fascination with fantasy football. Today’s column with two references to fantasy in the initial 100 words? Something is amiss. We wish for facts and your deepened, smart mind that is incisive with fresh thoughts. We do not need fiction.”

Daniel, I spent 400 words in a 9,800-word column with some advice for fantasy-football players (I assume some read this column). After spending 25 days at camps, I view it as a service for those who play, and it’s estimated that 60 million the U.S. and Canada play fantasy football. It’s just one of those chunks of the column that falls into: Read if you want, skip it if you don’t.

Book corner

Periodically this fall, I’ll write a bit about football books new to the market.

This week: Once a Giant: A story of victory, tragedy and life after football, by Gary Myers (PublicAffairs Books). Publishing date: Sept. 12.

Myers is veteran New York scribe. The odd thing is that for much of the Giants’ greatness in the eighties, he covered the Cowboys for the Dallas Morning News. But he kept close tabs on the Giants, and when he returned to New York in 1989, he covered the team extensively. So Myers was well-suited to do a very deep dive into a character-filled Giants team that captured the metropolitan area in its double Super Bowl run. Instead of casting a very wide net looking back at the team of the eighties, Myers, wisely, went granular. He focused on the head coach and every player on the team that won the first Super Bowl in franchise history in 1986. What happened to them? How are they doing now?

The result is a sweeping look, not only at the price players paid to win the Super Bowl 37 years ago. But it’s also about the Father Flanagan role Bill Parcells took on, and about the outsized and conscientious role team captain Harry Carson took on (captain for life, basically), and about how times have so drastically changed in football from a physically brutal practice schedule then to taking better care of the players now.

The headlines in the book: Parcells has spent more than $4 million of his money out-of-pocket to bail ex-players out of financial and health and personal problems; one player, Myers reports, has gotten more than $2 million of that largesse. Five players have seriously considered suicide, per the book. One wide receiver was homeless, living on a Tennessee bench for a spell. The bond of the team is what comes through over and over. It’s amazing that 30 to 40 players from a team that won a Super Bowl almost four decades ago are there for each other today.

Carson’s an amazing character in the book, as this passage shows:

When backup quarterback Jeff Rutledge suffered multiple injuries in a car wreck in 2003, Carson drove seven hours from Florence, S.C., where he was visiting family, to where Rutledge was recuperating in Nashville. “I wanted to see for myself that Jeff was okay,” Carson said. Rutledge was fortunate he was alive. He took his eyes off the road to check on a missed call on his cell phone and looked up to see an 18-wheeler stopped in front of him, Rutledge was driving 65- to 70-mph and swerved to hit the tractor-trailer but hit a guardrail. He broke all the bones in his face, and his lip had to be sewn back on. Carson showed up, unannounced, to visit.

“That’s the kind of guy Harry is,” Rutledge said.

Carson and Rutledge were teammates but not close friends. Carson considered it his responsibility as captain to check on Rutledge.

“They are Parcells’ guys, but they are also my guys,” Carson said. “When they hurt, I hurt.”

It’s likely but not certain that teams 30 years from now won’t have the same sort of mental and physical health problems. No more two-a-day camp practices, not nearly the amount of contact and helmet-to-helmet hits of this bygone era. But I wonder: Will there be a coach who gives million to his players? Will there be a captain for life? Those are the things that made the Giants’ first Super Bowl team, in perspective, special. Good for Myers to bring it out.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think the best scene I saw last week, easily, was the 100 seconds in “Hard Knocks” on HBO reprising the 24-year-old open in “The Sopranos.” You can see it here, with Robert Saleh, not James Gandolfini, in the driver’s seat as he winds his way through north Jersey. If you’re not familiar with “The Sopranos,” trust me, this new look of the scene is beautifully done by NFL Films. Turns out when the Jets got assigned to “Hard Knocks,” HBO VP of sports documentaries Bentley Weiner, who oversees the series for HBO, said this year’s show should include an homage to Jets’ fan Gandolfini, with Saleh driving through “The Sopranos” old turf. So as Saleh drove to MetLife Stadium for the preseason game against the Giants nine days ago, NFL Films director of photography Hannah Epstein and senior director Shannon Furman were in the car with him shooting the drive to work. (On Friday, director Kobi Theiler and cinematographer Austin Porter spent 10 hours mapping the exact route and shooting b-roll—background footage—out of their vehicle.) As NFL Films VP Ken Rodgers told me, there was one more major detail to figure out. “We had to sort of dumb-down the shot in a cinematic way,” Rodgers said. “‘The Sopranos’ shot that 24 years ago. The technology is so much better now. We had to add some interference and a grainy element to make the shot look more like it did years ago. It was painstaking to match the exact shots and to color-correct the version we were going to run on the show.” It was worth it. That was 100 seconds that goes into “Hard Knocks” lore right up there with Rex Ryan’s “Let’s go get a Godd--- snack.”

2. I think if I’m Colts GM Chris Ballard, I give Jonathan Taylor two weeks of a cooling-off period, then quietly meet with him and assess if there’s way to make the relationship sound again. If not, get a second-round pick and a conditional pick from Miami. (I’m assuming the running back-starved Dolphins would pay that for 13 games of a top-five back after he comes off PUP in week five this season, plus a likely contract extension.) The conditional will be nothing if Taylor only plays 2023 in Miami; if he is on the opening-day roster of Miami in 2024, that pick becomes a 2025 third-rounder. Fair? I think so.

3. I think I’d like to wish Ryan Clark good luck on the gig he’s added to his ESPN duties—host of “Inside the NFL,” this year being seen on non-pay-TV after a lifetime on HBO, Showtime and Paramount+. First episode of INFL, season 47: Tuesday, 8 p.m., on the CW Network. Clark’s good and thoughtful, and he’s wanted to spread his wings in a host role. He should have some excellent discussions with Channing Crowder, Jay Cutler, Chad Johnson and Chris Long. I’ll tell you what I’d love to see on this show: Chris Long getting a chance to do some long features on players and topics around the league. He’s excellent. This crew should watch some of the features, particularly from the HBO days, and find some interesting longform stories that can breathe on an hour-long show.

4. I think good luck is in order for another former player, Kyle Rudolph, who retired this spring after 12 seasons, 482 catches and 50 touchdowns—his last in week 17 last January, from Tom Brady, playing in his one season in Tampa Bay. It will be announced this week that Rudolph will co-host a show on FOX Sports radio on Sunday nights from 8-11 p.m. ET beginning in week one next Sunday. This is in addition to his Big Ten analyst duties for Peacock each Saturday. “I played for so long and earned a veteran status,” Rudolph said from his Tampa home Saturday. “Now I’m a rookie getting as many reps as I can in the media world. This off-season is about, ‘Where do I fit in?’ The NBC job doing games on Peacock is cool. And talking about the storylines of the day in the NFL on Sunday nights will be cool, too.” Rudolph entered the off-season thinking he could play a 13th year, and his family was willing to move with him if he wanted to chase the dream for another year. But with twins in first grade and two other kids under 5, he thought it was time to see what’s next.

5. I think these transactions caught my eye in the NFL’s cutdown week:

a. The Jets keeping two undrafted rookie wide receivers for Aaron Rodgers targets. In fairness, cat-quick Xavier Gipson (5-9 out of Stephen F. Austin) may be more of a returner than receiver. But 6-2 Jason Brownlee from Southern Miss was a camp star and could be a factor, particularly if vets like Randall Cobb and Mecole Hardman get hurt.


USA Today

b. Damar Hamlin legitimately beat out Dean Marlowe, and Hamlin and Taylor Rapp will be Buffalo’s backup safeties.

c. Michael Thomas, the leader of Cincinnati’s special teams, was cut but re-signed to the practice squad. Because of the ease of bringing players up and down from the practice squad, I expect Thomas to be active in the kicking game often this year.

d. Jake Browning (zero NFL starts) over the experienced Trevor Siemian (30 starts) to back up Joe Burrow. Interesting call by the Bengals, particularly with Burrow having another injured camp.

e. The Texans must really like their young players. Houston cut experienced defenders Christian Kirksey, Desmond King and Chase Winovich.

f. Anthony Firkser, then of Tennessee, scored a touchdown to help beat New England in Foxboro in Tom Brady’s last game as a Patriot four seasons ago. But he wasn’t one of the four tight ends (two active, two practice squad) kept by the Pats.

g. Omar Khan, the Steelers’ GM, deserves kudos for a trade no one noticed. He dealt center-guard Kevin Dotson, who might not have made Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster, in a draft-pick swap to the Rams. Usually this involves—in this instance—the Rams trading one low-round pick and the Steelers trading a pick one round lower than that back to the Rams. Not so here. The Rams traded fourth- and fifth-round picks to Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh traded Dotson plus fifth- and sixth-round picks. That’s a significant swap because—based on an educated guess which picks will be involved in the deal, using where each team picked in 2023—the Steelers get a 44-pick advantage with the swap of the fifth-rounder for LA’s fourth in the 2024 draft, and a 55-pick advantage with the swap of a Steeler sixth- for a Ram fifth- in ’25. Now, that 55-pick projected swap in 2025 is a dart-throw. It’s impossible to project the draft order two years out. But as of today, the Steelers are in a better position to take advantage of these picks. Kevin Dotson is going to have to be a good player for the Rams to make this worth their while.

h. Jalen Reagor, cut by the Vikings, moves to his third team, New England (to the practice squad) in four years. Reagor, the 21st pick in the 2020 draft, will struggle to stay in football. Justin Jefferson, the 22nd pick in the 2020 draft, will become the game’s highest-paid receiver sometime soon when the Vikings reward him.

6. I think it sounds very much like free-agent-to-be Mike Evans will play somewhere other than Tampa in 2024, when he will be 31 years old.

Evans, Bucs likely heading for a split
Mike Florio and Peter King weigh in on Mike Evans' future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and identify possible outcomes for the star wide receiver.

7. I think the reason why football can be such a narcotic to young players—in spite of my “Numbers Game” note that only one of 200 waived quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers last week was picked up by another team and signed to the active roster—is illustrated by defensive end Zach Sieler, the 238th overall pick in 2018 draft, by Baltimore. The Ravens cut him in August 2019, signed him to the practice squad and later to the active roster, and cut him again (numbers, not performance, dictated the move) and Miami picked him up. He’s played well enough in Miami and last week earned a new three-year deal worth $38 million with the Dolphins.

8. I think, for those like me who remember such relatively miniscule things, it is extremely fitting and apt that Sieler got a big contract. Why? He was the final draft pick by Ozzie Newsome in the longtime Ravens GM’s illustrious career.

9. I think the most educational story you could read this week (sorry, it’s behind the paywall of The Athletic, which I encourage you to get if you can) is this one about the long-strange trip of the guy who was once the highest-rated college-prospect QB in the land, J.T. Daniels. From playing too early as a true freshman at USC, to being the golden child at Georgia, to trying to reclaim his career at West Virginia, to a last gasp this fall at Rice the whole story’s a bit depressing, traveling through three time zones and four college programs to chase the dream of being an NFL quarterback. Injuries played a big role in Daniels being so well-traveled, but I can’t help but think the way the college game is set up—you’d better be good right away at the QB position, and you better not get a debilitating injury—makes it just like the NFL: ruthless and impatient. Great job by the author of the piece, Sam Khan Jr., detailing a harsh reality of the college game.

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

a. Story of the Week: Amie Just of the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, on the amazing sight in Nebraska Wednesday night—92,003 fans in the Cornhuskers’ football stadium on hand to watch a women’s volleyball doubleheader featuring the Nebraska women’s team.

b. It’s one of the most amazing scenes in sports I’ve seen, and I wasn’t there. The video is amazing. The story is amazing. And Amie Just—the former Saints’ beat writer—does an excellent job capturing what it means to young girls throughout the Midwest, particularly to the throngs of them on hand to see that women’s volleyball can be very big in Nebraska and in their own lives.

c. Writes Just:

There’s Kansas Wicks and Peyton Clausen, 12-year-olds from Treynor, Iowa. Seated stories above the court in section 606 in East Stadium, the pair of friends were giggling with excitement as they watched Nebraska in the second set.

“This is giving me confidence to go out and try my hardest. No matter if you win or lose,” Wicks said.

There’s Nataley Freel and Rosie Sanchez from Plattsmouth, who watched both matches from Section 613 in East Stadium — hiding from the sun in a small sliver of shade.

They, too, are teenage volleyball players with aspirations of making the big stage.

“One day, that could be us,” Sanchez said.

Yes, it could.

Dream big, girls.

This was for you.

d. Cool part: Ann Stewart, who played volleyball at Nebraska 48 years ago, told Just, “The boys had the football team. But now little girls have somebody to look up to, too. I’m so excited about the little girls who have Nebraska volleyball.”

e. What a great night for so many people.

f. Football Story of the Week: John Branch of the New York Times on the death of Meiko Locksley, son of Maryland football coach Michael Locksley.

g. Meiko Locksley, 25, was shot and killed in 2017, a murder as yet unsolved. In his later years, Meiko, a former youth, high school and college football player, suffered from depression and acted erratically; after his death, Meiko was found to have advanced chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that has befallen some football players and other athletes who have had repeated concussions and/or significant hits to the head.

h. Imagine this: Locksley is paid $5.5 million to coach the Maryland football team; he’s the highest-paid employee in the state of Maryland. And now he and wife Kia know that the hits their son took playing football may well have contributed to his mental and physical health going downhill so fast. And Michael Locksley is coaching the sport at the highest level, trying to get his team into national championship contention.

i. Locksley and his wife have another son, Kai, playing professionally in the Canadian Football League.

j. Man.

k. Wrote Branch:

Locksley said that he did not know the precise role that C.T.E. played in Meiko’s decline, and he is right. Researchers cannot make direct links, either. Were Meiko’s severe symptoms and mental-health issues caused by, exacerbated by or unaffected by C.T.E.?

A direct and personal — deeply personal — link to C.T.E. would be the most inconvenient of truths.

Locksley still coaches, leading a major program in a major conference. And he has another son, Kai, playing professionally in the Canadian Football League. He justifies his continued role in football with a risk-vs.-reward calculation.

“I want to be able to teach it and present it as safe as possible while still allowing this great game to give the rewards that it’s given to so many families that I’ve seen over the 30-something years I’ve been coaching,” he said.

“My goal is to walk that thin line very truthfully,” he added.


Meiko began playing tackle football at 7. It was the late 1990s. Concerns over concussions almost didn’t exist, especially for children.

“They were 7 and weighed nothing,” Kia Locksley said. “And the hits, it almost looked like they just bounced off each other.”

She is haunted by her carefree attitude. She remembers Meiko being knocked out on the field in middle school. Moments later, he seemed OK.

l. Very good video work on the Locksley story by Kassie Bracken, Ben Laffin, Alfredo Chiaparra and Joe Ward. My admiration to Branch and the video team for a revealing story on a tough subject.

m. Radio Story of the Week: A Martinez of NPR’s Morning Edition with a cool story on a sophomore at New York University taking a quite unusual path to rising stardom in a music career.

n. Hannah Jadagu makes very nice music.

o. As she told Martinez, her career started by recording songs on her iPhone in middle school:

JADAGU: I literally just was making songs on my phone, and I guess it connected with a few people. And I wasn’t, like, seeking out a record deal. I was sort of just in my room in Texas making songs.

p. She goes on tour Wednesday starting in Philadelphia—and will have to take a short leave from NYU.

q. Wonderful Perspective of the Week: Amy Ettinger, a writer, with an op-ed in the Washington Post about facing death in middle age: “I am dying at age 49. Here’s why I have no regrets.”

r. Wrote Ettinger, dying of uterine cancer:

I wake up some mornings raging at the universe, feeling betrayed by my own body, counting the years and the milestones I expected to enjoy with my family. I am leaving behind a husband and 14-year-old daughter I adore, and a writing and teaching career I’ve worked so hard to build. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my life, and in addition to the horror, a surprising feeling has taken hold: I am dying at age 49 without any regrets about the way I’ve lived my life.

… I’ve always tried to say yes to the voice that tells me I should go out and do something now, even when that decision seems wildly impractical. A few years ago, with very little planning, my family and I got in a car and drove 600 miles to a goat farm in central Oregon, where we camped out for four days to watch a solar eclipse. I once jetted off to Germany on two days’ notice, spending a week exploring Dresden and hiking through the Black Forest.

… I am dying around people who love me and are bringing me meals when I need them. These are people who are willing to show up for me no matter what. And I know they will show up for my husband and daughter, even after I am gone.

The end of my life is coming much too soon, and my diagnosis can at times feel too difficult to bear. But I’ve learned that life is all about a series of moments, and I plan to spend as much remaining time as I can savoring each one, surrounded by the beauty of nature and my family and friends. Thankfully, this is the way I’ve always tried to live my life.

s. Best to you and your family, Amy Ettinger. What a blessing your words are.

t. Well, I fulfilled the old-sportswriter rule we all know about. I saw Bruce Springsteen on this long tour of his. Very good show Friday night at MetLife Stadium—always great to see Bruuuuuce in the swamps of Jersey, this time with my friend Mark Kistulinec and some family and friends—in a 28-song show. My faves: “Lonesome Day” kicked the show off; covering the Commodores’ “Nightshift,” which was cool; “Wrecking Ball” followed by “The Rising;” and capping the pre-encore section with “Thunder Road.”

u. Not the same four-hour classic Bruce show, but 2 hours, 55 minutes and 28 songs, performed vigorously? Not bad for a 73-year-old man. I thought the heir to the late Clarence Clemons on sax, Jake Clemons, was a big star Friday night. A perfect cool-guy replacement for the coolest guy of them all.

v. Rich Cimini, in the house!

w. I saw “Barbie.” Really liked it. Margot Robbie’s performance—absolutely outstanding and nuanced. The mom-daughter combo of America Ferrara and Ariana Greenblatt—terrific as well. A fun story. A bit long, but good entertainment.

x. Barbie and Bruce and a Gandolfini homage in in one column. One heck of a week.

Games of Week 1

NFL Kickoff game will be a ‘big day' for Lions
Mike Florio and Peter King look at the massive opportunity the Detroit Lions will have when they kick off the 2023 NFL season against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Detroit at Kansas City, Thursday, 8:20 p.m., NBC. One of the great young guns for the surprising Lions, Amon-Ra St. Brown, told me in camp about this mega-game: “I’m not saying we’re gonna go out there and win. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I’m just glad that we have an opportunity to show what we can do. Obviously I think we’re ready. But we have to prove it to everyone. The Lions haven’t done much for the last—you name it, decades. They haven’t won many games. Haven’t won many playoff games. So for us, we gotta go out there and prove it.” Strangely, a close defeat would feel like a win for the Lions in, easily, the toughest game on their 2023 schedule.

Cincinnati at Cleveland, Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS. Can Joe go? And what kind of game will Joe Burrow be able to play if, as we assume, he starts in his first game action since straining a calf muscle six weeks ago? The Bengals are 1-4 against the Browns in Burrow’s five starts, FWIW. The fate of this game might rely more on which Deshaun Watson shows up—classic Deshaun or mediocre Deshaun of the last six weeks of 2022.

Browns season depends on Watson's return to form
Mike Florio and Peter King look ahead to the Cleveland Browns 2023 season, discussing Deshaun Watson's outlook, Elijah Moore's projected role and more.

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets, Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN. Get ready for all-Rodgers-all-the-time this weekend, and particularly Monday, on the Worldwide Leader. One of the reasons this was made the first Monday night game on the 2023 schedule was because the NFL felt the nonstop promotion of Rodgers’ first game outside of Green Bay would lead to a very big ratings number. One game factoid: Last year, when the Bills and Jets split the season series, Buffalo scored just 37 points in eight quarters. So entering the game, it’s Rodgers in the headlines. Exiting, it might be the Jets’ D.

The Adieu Haiku

RIP, Gil Brandt.
From baby photographer
to Canton. Just wow.

Reflecting on Brandt's legendary NFL career
Mike Florio and Peter King reflect on former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt’s life after he passed away at 91, explaining why he is widely considered the ‘godfather of NFL scouting.’

Peter King’s Lineup