This is a sponsored post. Peter King hasn't always looked favorably on the Cincinnati Bengals. And perhaps there's merit to that, considering the Bengals have been so bad for so long. Regardless, most Bengals fans started tiring of the over-coverage of bigger NFL teams and the more elite players while either ignoring the Bengals, or taking pop shots at them whenever they played poorly. When things went well, King, at most, would serve a one-liner somewhere praising something they did.
King, who wrote for the Cincinnati Enquirer covering pro football from 1980 until 1985, has a new book out called Monday Morning Quarterback -- the popular title for his weekly Sports Illustrated Column. Asked to review the book, I considered whether or not it was best for my health to do that here. After all, what would the readers of Cincy Jungle think of me if I were to actually like it. As I put on my kevlar vest Darth Vader helmet to tell you, I actually liked it, even though it didn't have too many Bengals references in it.
Like all things during the Internet Revolution, King went from NFL Insider on CNN's NFL Pregame show to writing a column for the Sports Illustrated website back when it was CNNSI.com. The company wanted to expand NFL's coverage riding the exponential growth of the internet, asking King to write 24 columns a year. King's popular MMQB grew to roughly 8,000 words a week for 48 editions a year.
A majority of the book is a collection of King's favorite Monday Morning Quarterback stories. And while the Bengals themselves are hardly referenced, the stories themselves are entertaining, such as the evolution of the Giants and Chargers trade in 2004 following Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi during draft weekend. I really enjoyed the story with King following Chris Canty's agent, Brad Blank, hours after the start of free agency which brought a behind the scenes perspective of sorts. Peyton Manning's story in 2008 in which he nearly didn't play because of a reoccurring knee problem wasn't healing until well after the season started. Remember? Manning and the Colts started the season 3-4 before going on a 9-0 run, when Manning was finally healthy.
Several of King's favorite columns sidestep football completely. The story about King's friend Mike McGuire, who is an Army Sergeant tasked with leading a group of young men to disarm Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq, is humbling. As is his trip to Afghanistan in a USO/NFL joint effort with players like Luis Castillo, Tommie Harris and Mike Rucker.
Like his column, he features several Ten Things I Think I Think, with topics like Top Coaching Hires (Paul Brown is #1 with the Browns), Best Draft Picks, Hall of Fame Snubs, Sports Illustrated Covers (Boomer Esiason is one), Cliches he hates, NFL's Best and Worst. He also lists his top players of today (Carson Palmer is the only Bengals player listed at #41) and Top Players of All Time (Anthony Munoz is the only Bengals player listed at #19).
If you only like books that are Bengals-centric, this isn't for you. If you enjoy King's columns on a more general football related front, which includes plenty of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Brett Favre references, I think you'll enjoy this as much as I did.