• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
  • -
    days
  • -
    hours
  • -
    minutes
  • -
    seconds

Peter King Opens Up at the End of His NFL Writing Career

  • The writer reflects on the state of media and challenges facing the league.
  • He makes an impassioned defense of the NFL’s growing international presence.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL journalist Peter King announced his retirement earlier this week, bringing to a close an iconic career lasting more than four decades. In addition to becoming a preeminent voice in the NFL, particularly over the last two decades as the league grew into a cultural and business colossus, King has been deeply influential in reshaping how fans and media organizations think about digital-age storytelling. 

King’s columns—first “The MMQB” at Sports Illustrated and more recently NBC Sports’ “Football Morning in America”—helped set the model for insider views, mixing deeply reported news and in-depth analysis with personal narratives and perspectives on numerous other topics including the traveling life of an NFL writer, coffee, and craft beer. 

King spoke with Front Office Sports to discuss the changing states of the media business and the NFL. Below are excerpts from the conversation, some of which have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity. The full conversation with King can be heard on Wednesday’s episode of Front Office Sports Today

You’ve been a trailblazer in online insider content, both in form and function. You’ve never made it about you, but we’ll put you on the spot and ask you what you see as the lasting legacy of “The MMQB” and “Football Morning in America”? 

Well, I hope it’s that young people, when presented with an option of what to do with their lives, choose a diverse menu of things to do, a diverse menu of ways to tell stories. In the environment we’re in now, we have no idea five or 10 years from now how stories will be told, how information will be gotten. And there is still a really important part of that, that is in sort of gumshoe reporting.

But my point is don’t limit yourself. Basically put yourself out there in today’s parlance, learn the podcast, learn how to diversify yourself, learn how to do TV, do radio, do everything. And so I would hope that that plus the fact that look, what I’m best known for, I’m sure, is this column that became this 11,000-word-a-week behemoth. And look, that’s just me. I’ve always been a writing nerd. And I thought that I really wanted to be the next Peter Gammons when I read him in high school in Connecticut. And so it’s always good to have sort of heroes and people to aim for. And maybe there’s a kid out there somewhere who’s aiming for me, and that would be an honor if it were true.

You came up in newspapers, and that’s now just one part of a massive media disruption we’re all living through. What do you see as the end point there?

I think we probably will segue a little bit to NFL stuff now. In my opinion, I think chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp has really been smart in how he has basically sort of … let the market dictate what we’re going to do. l think it’s all going to start with streaming. If everyone is cutting the cord, if there are half the number of people who have cable as their main form of television access right now, if that has been cut in half, in the last seven or eight years, what do you keep doing? Keep plowing into over-the-air and cable TV? Of course not. You make deals with streamers.

You have had a front-row seat to a massive increase in the economic scale and power of the NFL. Where do you see that going in the future?

I think there are two bogeymen in the immediate future for the NFL. One is the continued trouble over head trauma. A lot of things that the NFL is doing now, the NFL wasn’t doing 15 or 20 years ago. I’m not saying it’s a game-changer. It’s a game-improver. That’s number one.

But the other thing I believe right now is that the NFL is going to regret some of its decisions on gambling and sports betting. I believe that 10 years from now, we’re going to have a huge number of people in this country who are hopelessly addicted to sports gambling. And part of the reason is that they’re being told every five minutes on every NFL telecast, bet, bet, bet, bet, and then bet some more.

I just don’t think it’s healthy. And I just simply don’t think that just because gambling is allowed and gambling is illegal, you ought to embrace it to the point that the NFL is. I think they’ve gone way overboard on it.

There’s also been a big rise in the internationalization of the NFL. Are you pro or con on that?

Oh, absolutely unequivocally pro. Moving four or five games a year, how does that harm the product? Really? How does it? It helps. I have been to two games in Germany and I will just say this: Germany loves the NFL almost as much as Green Bay loves the NFL.

🎧 Listen and subscribe to Front Office Sports Today on Apple, Google, and Spotify.

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Chapter Officially Opens as No. 1 Overall Pick

Clark’s professional career is starting as a member of the Indiana Fever.

Star-Studded NBA Play-In a Potential Ratings Boon for ESPN and TNT

The initial portion of the NBA postseason features three former MVPs.

NBA’s Two Tourneys Drive Record Attendance

Total attendance for the 2023–24 season, which ended Sunday, was 22,538,518.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy Make Media Moves

0:00
0:00

Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Nike
Multiple - USA Careers
NBA
Multiple - USA Careers
Dunham's Sports
Multiple - USA Careers

Calling the Masters Can Make You—or Break You

Legends are made at Augusta—as long as they do things Augusta’s way.
April 10, 2024

The Masters’ Broadcasters Take What They Can Get

During the first two rounds, ESPN’s coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET.
April 12, 2024

Lawsuit Alleges ‘Fraudulent Coup’ at Former ‘Sports Illustrated’ Publisher

A messy situation just keeps getting messier.
Sponsored

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 8, 2024

Sports Media Game-Changer? Skydance Eyes CBS Parent in $5B Deal

The two sides have agreed to a month of exclusive talks.
April 8, 2024

South Carolina’s Title Win Smashes Ratings Records in Caitlin Clark’s Finale

The NCAA title game became the most-watched women’s college basketball game.
April 8, 2024

WNBA Commish Wants New Media-Rights Deal to Double Old One

The media-rights deal expires in 2025 to coincide with the Caitlin Clark effect.
April 6, 2024

Iowa-UConn Draws 14.2 Million Viewers, Racks Up Records

The Final Four matchup was the most-watched women’s college basketball game in history. And we’re not done yet.