“This is a season with no clear-cut premier NFC team…Why not the Saints, with their rising defense and an offense that has the most interchangeable parts of any team I’ve seen in my 36 years covering the NFL.” – King
“You kind of put all the pieces together like that and it gives the defense a lot to worry about. There’s a lot of ways we can beat you.” – Brees on the Saints’ offensive weapons
“I’m glad I don’t have to vote for MVP today…There’s no clear favorite right now.” – King
“Murray’s a gift to football, and to the fans in Arizona. He’s a centerpiece for a contender for a long time.” – King on Arizona QB Kyler Murray
STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 9, 2020 – Peter King speaks with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton following their 38-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday Night Football in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also hands out his weekly awards and discusses the news and notes from around the league in Week 9, including an upcoming league vote on a new minority hiring proposal.
Across NBC Sports this week, Peacock’s weekday block of NFL programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET includes PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, and PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. On Monday, Safety Blitz, featuring Rodney Harrison and Jac Collinsworth, streams at 6 p.m. ET, and Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and the Rotoworld Football Podcast and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast discuss Week 9.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
King on the Saints’ 38-3 win over Tampa Bay: “I talked to Sean Payton as he prepared to leave for the airport post-game and Drew Brees on the bus to the airport, and they knew this was the kind of game, as Payton said, that sometimes just happens in football.”
Payton to King on the win: “You hope you’re on the plus side of those a few times in your career. We respect them; they’re a good team. But man, this was a good win for us.”
King on the Saints: “This is a season with no clear-cut premier NFC team, and the top of the playoff picture is mostly cloudy. But why not the Saints, with their rising defense and an offense that has the most interchangeable parts of any team I’ve seen in my 36 years covering the NFL.”
King on the Saints’ offensive weapons: “New Orleans built a 21-0 lead in the first 20 minutes Sunday night, completing passes to 11 different receivers. In 20 minutes! Maybe odder is the fact that of those 11 players who caught passes, only one was drafted in the top 50 of an NFL draft – Michael Thomas.”
Brees to King on New Orleans’ weapons: “You kind of put all the pieces together like that and it gives the defense a lot to worry about. There’s a lot of ways we can beat you. We’re gonna spread the ball around.”
Brees on if he thinks much about this potentially being his last season: “No. I try not to. Just enjoy the moment. Stay in the present. Stay in the moment.”
King on the Buccaneers: “For Tampa Bay, the 38-3 fist to the jaw from New Orleans exposed everything that could short-circuit a dream season ending in a Super Bowl appearance on their home field. Tom Brady, playing his worst football game in more than a decade, was under fire from a rush that encircled and tormented him all night.”
King on the NFC: “This is the moment: The Saints, Packers and Seahawks are all 6-2, the best the conference has to offer. But the Rams and Cards could still rise out of the West, and I’ll be surprised if this is the end of Tampa Bay…To knock out the Saints, you’d better find a way to stop those waves of mostly anonymous weapons that Brees, at 41, continues to make beautiful music with.”
King on Tuesday’s league meeting: “On Tuesday, league owners will try to get something done on the eyesore-of-the-NFL minority coach issue that continues to plague pro football. In a virtual league meeting, owners are expected to vote on the controversial issue of compensation for teams in the hiring of minority coaches.”
King on the proposal: “The reward won’t go to the hiring team…This time, owners will vote on a plan to give a draft pick or picks to teams that develop a minority coach or GM who gets hired. Although I’m skeptical that the measure will appreciably increase the number of minority coaches and GMs, some high-placed NFL figures are confident the measure…will pass.”
King on the proposal: “A team losing an assistant coach who gets hired as a head coach, or a team losing a personnel executive to be a GM or primary football executive, will receive third-round Compensatory Picks in the following two drafts.”
King: “The intention of the rule is good, obviously. But, in 2021 parlance, rewarding the Chiefs for developing (Eric) Bieniemy wouldn’t motivate the Jets to hire Bieniemy over, say, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. So I’m not sure if it’ll have any impact on increasing minority coaches.”
WEEK 9 NEWS & NOTES
King on possible COVID issues: “With the outbreak at a record high, and the byes almost gone, it seems logical to expect real disruption to the schedule soon, either forcing a Week 18 or chipping away at team schedules so they don’t all play 16 games. I’m told adding a Week 18 is more likely.”
King on possible playoff expansion: “One of the reasons the NFL is considering adding an eighth playoff team per conference at the league’s virtual owners meeting on Tuesday is to account for issues that might arise if two or more contenders do not play a full 16-game schedule.”
An official to King on possible playoff expansion: “Say the seventh seed plays 15 games and is 9-6. Say there’s an eighth team that goes 9-7. In a seven-team field, the 9-6 team makes it by winning percentage over the 9-7 team. In essence, you’re penalizing the team that played a full schedule and won as many games. This would give some flexibility if there’s an outbreak somewhere.”
King on the Texans: “The match of head coach and quarterback that fascinates me the most entering the coach-hire season (which is less than two months away, with fact-finding happening now) is Eric Bieniemy and Deshaun Watson…I’d love to see the imaginative Bieniemy, plus the knowledge he’d bring from Kansas City, working in concert with Watson.”
King on the MVP race: “I’m glad I don’t have to vote for MVP today. Went into Sunday liking Russell Wilson narrowly. He didn’t play well Sunday in Buffalo, and Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers were great, and Ben Roethlisberger survived a bum knee to brawl out a win in Dallas, and maybe Josh Allen and Dalvin Cook will get in the race. Kyler? Brady? Brees? There’s no clear favorite right now.”
King on Carolina QB Teddy Bridgewater “Teddy Bridgewater has to be proving to the Panthers that he’s not a bridge quarterback to some future phenom.”
King on Kyler Murray: “His quick burst that leads to blinding speed out of the pocket is more explosive, I believe, than even Michael Vick. Murray’s a gift to football, and to the fans in Arizona. He’s a centerpiece for a contender for a long time.”
KING’S WEEK 9 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Josh Allen, Buffalo, Dalvin Cook, Minnesota, Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City, & Tua Tagovailoa, Miami.
King on Allen: “This was a huge game for Allen, who’d thrown only four TD passes in his last four games and hadn’t looked anything like the legit MVP candidate he was in September.”
King on Tagovailoa: “Tagovailoa is here because of his presence and playmaking in the fourth quarter of a narrow win at Arizona…You can see why Nick Saban loved Tua so much, and why the Dolphins picked him last April.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Chuck Clark, Baltimore, & A.J. Klein, Buffalo.
King on Clark: “The Ravens’ defense held Indy to 10 points and forced two turnovers. Clark’s heads-up fumble return was their most important play of the game.”
Special Teams Players of the Week: Cedric Wilson & C.J. Goodwin, Dallas.
King: “Cool play of the day – a 35-yard cross-field lateral pass by Wilson, after fielding a Pittsburgh punt at the Dallas 6-yard line midway through the second quarter, thrown to Goodwin, who sprint-weaved through traffic for 83 yards.”
Coach of the Week: Raheem Morris, Atlanta, & Chase Blackburn, Carolina (Special Teams Coordinator).
King on Morris: “This is still a flawed Atlanta team, with far too generous a defense, but Morris has his players playing better. Does he have a chance at the full-time gig with his 3-1 record, the bye coming up, then seven games left?”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- Football Night in America: Week 9 Recap with Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, and Mike Florio
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Safety Blitz streams on Monday and Chris Simms Unbuttoned stream Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and Rotoworld Football Podcast discuss Week 9 and look ahead to Week 10.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.