Peter King has retired.
It’s weird to type those words. The man who has been at the center of the NFL universe for decades is stepping aside.
Peter announced his decision and detailed it in his Monday Football Morning in America column.
I’ll defer to his explanation. And I’ll add this: He has been a great friend and mentor. Watching him, listening to him, and reading him made me better at what I do. (And, yes, think about how bad I’d be without his guidance.)
He has a deep and inquisitive mind, which manifests itself in a natural curiosity that always results in a question that draws out something interesting. He has a thirst to know more about whatever he was talking about or thinking about. That quality is the key to a high degree of success in any field.
And that’s why I’m not sad about Peter retiring. He will do something else, and he’ll do it well. He’ll redirect his curiosity, and he’ll find a way to harness that trait into something that others will be interested in reading about or hearing about.
It’s actually exciting. Peter’s brilliance will manifest itself in another way, perhaps in an entirely different subject matter. And it will happen on his terms, within the confines of a re-prioritized life he has earned the right to live.
Peter’s retirement happened on his terms. He did it as long as he wanted to do it, and he moved on when he was done. And although he covered the ultimate next-man-up sport, there will be no one to replace Peter King — at least not in the short term.
Who else has the relationships and the access and the work ethic to do what he does? He devoted a full month every summer to hopscotching around training camps, renewing and building relationships that would pay off with robust weekly columns, an annual stream of car rides to work with Super Bowl coaches, and post-confetti meetings with Andy Reid during which the play of the game was explained in ways that the average fan could understand.
With all due respect to everyone else who covers the NFL, there’s no one who can do what Peter has been doing. Some will aspire to get there. Someone will eventually make it. It won’t happen any time soon.
Peter’s retirement will leave a void in the NFL coverage landscape. It will be filled, partially, by a de facto committee but not by any one person.
That makes Peter’s career an overwhelming success. As he makes his exit, he does so as one of one. With no one poised to attempt to fill his shoes.
Congratulations to Peter. And here’s to a bright future. Even if he doesn’t know specifically what he’ll do next, I’ve got a feeling he’ll find something which will inform, entertain, and benefit many.