Peter King announces retirement after 44 years covering NFL: 'It's time'

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31:  NBC studio analyst and Sports Illustrated write Peter King looks on during the Super Bowl XLVI Broadcasters Press Conference at the Super Bowl XLVI Media Canter in the J.W. Marriott Indianapolis on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Legendary NFL writer Peter King is retiring after spending over 40 years in the business. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Peter King, a patriarch of a generation of football writers and reporters, announced his retirement on Monday in his weekly "Football Morning in America" column. The title? "It’s Time. Who’s Complaining? Not Me."

"I’m retiring*. I use an asterisk because I truly don’t know what the future holds for me," King wrote. "I probably will work at something, but as I write this I have no idea what it will be. Maybe it will be something in the media world, but just not Football Morning in America (nee Monday Morning Quarterback)."

King gave his reasons, mostly related to his age and his waning interest in covering "the day-to-day minutiae of the league." But his family was the biggest factor. Now 66 years old, King revealed he's already outlived his three closest male relatives (his father and two brothers had all died by 64). He recalled that his good friend, fellow football writer Don Banks, died in 2019 at just 57 in a hotel room in Canton, Ohio, the night after covering the Hall of Fame ceremonies. None of them ever experienced retirement, and he doesn't want to go down the same path.

"Don't mean to be so deep; many of you who know me understand I'm pretty shallow. But I've found myself wondering, Am I meant to do one thing from the time I walk out of college until the day they put me in the ground?" King wrote. "And who knows — I may find myself jonesing to do something in the media when I'm bored in three months. But it's like when Atlanta writer Jeff Schultz retired in December and said, 'Let me get bored. I want to know what that feels like.' That resonated. I know I'll want to do something with my time eventually. I just don't know what it is."

King has been covering football in one manner or another for 44 years. He began writing about football straight out of college and never stopped. He started as a newspaperman at the Cincinnati Enquirer in the 1980s, then moved over to a different part of the newsstand after being hired by Sports Illustrated in 1989. King began his signature column, then called "Monday Morning Quarterback," in 1997 when his football editor at SI "asked me to empty my notebook every Monday after I wrote my weekly football column."

Sports Illustrated was King's home until 2018, when he pulled up stakes at SI permanently and joined NBC full time, 12 years after he began appearing on "Football Night in America" as an analyst. His column, renamed "Football Morning in America," also came with him.

King has been highly influential among modern sportswriters — football writers especially — and many that he mentored, helped, inspired, or even simply worked with took to social media on Monday morning to pay homage to the King.