A lot has been made about embattled superstar Michael Vick’s return to the NFL after the former Atlanta Falcon signed a two-year agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles last Thursday. The initial thoughts on last week’s deal ranged from topics challenging Donovan McNabb’s job security to the possibilities of Vick replacing McNabb in a few seasons.
Talk about a rush to judgment.
Vick’s arrival in Philadelphia will have no immediate or long term impact on McNabb’s status whatsoever. The newly signed Vick will signal the addition of a mega talent in 2001’s top overall draft pick but expecting a quarterback who’s been out of the league for over two years to exactly just come back and challenge the starter or even the second and third string signal callers is a bit or a lot of bit unrealistic should I say.
The West Coast offense employed by the Eagles and head coach Andy Reid is a notoriously difficult system to just come in off the street (literally) and grasp. And for a quarterback who often struggled as a starter before his two-year hiatus, to throw Vick anywhere near the starter’s fire would be disastrous to both a team with Super Bowl aspirations and a player who many spectators and critics are eager to see fall flat on his face.
But the former scenario is nowhere near the case in Philadelphia. The Eagles have their own bonafide superstar in McNabb and a backup in Kevin Kolbwho was drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft with the design of replacing McNabb.
With both players having significant experience in Reid’s offense, the idea of any quarterback who hasn’t started a game in two seasons knocking either out of their position roles is rather uh……. what’s the word….. ridiculous, that’s it, ridiculous!
It’s obvious Vick is the real winner here in this deal but there’s more to just rejoining the league that certifies this as a victory for the Vick side.
For all of Vick’s highlight reel scrambles and mid-air hurdling jaw droppers, his passing skills left a lot to be desired. Sure he had the XXXL arm and could fire a football out the stadium but his accuracy and pocket awareness were the two things that needed a major upgrade.
People forget, but McNabb shared a lot of Vick’s qualities when he came into the league as a heavy-armed, scrambling playmaker out of Syracuse in 1999. His pocket awareness and accuracy were the sources of many a boo days in Veterans Stadium but as McNabb aged, his quarterback traits improved.
Studying under a passing coach in Reid, McNabb’s skills were bound to develop and he now stands as one of the better pocket quarterbacks in the league as he readies himself for his 11th season in the league and his 10th as a starter.
Vick’s walking into a win-win situation in Philadelphia. The pressure is off him to be the franchise savior that he was asked to be in Atlanta.
He’ll be brought along slowly as he goes through the daily practice routine in an offense designed to maximize a quarterback’s abilities. McNabb will lecture the lefty on learning how to adjust his mental game as his physical ability leaves him. And being a part of an annual contender will undoubtedly strain the winner’s mentality into him.
The Eagles might incur some heavy pressure to unveil their new weapon but after last year’s mockery in Baltimore, Philadelphia should be more than hesitant against pulling a similar stunt. Vick will probably get some clock running the infamous Wildcat package but expect nothing else. I wouldn’t look for him to handle much of the quarterback duties and for a guy who has annually played a low-contact position, I doubt the Eagles will be lining him up at running back and receiver as several have speculated.
So while many of us may be sitting back, patiently waiting to be tantalized by the barrel of excitement we’ve come to expect in Vick, the truth is, we probably won’t be seeing the lid lifted off of that barrel anytime soon.
With McNabb firmly entrenched and the Eagles set to compete for a Super Bowl for the next two years at the least, we’re a long way from hearing broadcasters fall out of their chairs describing a Vick touchdown run.
Well…..maybe not too far, Madden and youtube are just around the corner you know.
Nowadays, being a Madden cover model is like a being a childhood star. It’s all nice and enjoyable at the time but as the years start to fade, your performance starts to falter and your life and career damn near go up in smokes.
Even if you don’t believe in curses, you have to admit it’s something more than a coincidence occurring with the number of guys who have seen their careers flipped upside down once they grace the cover of the John Madden Football videogame.
Almost like a scene out of The Ring, how after you watch the video tape, your phone rings and something extremely bad happens to you in seven days. Well….maybe not that serious, but still, something extremely bad happens to you within several months after you get your picture taken for the cover of Madden.
Brett Favre was the latest victim, seeing his Jets squad fall out the sky from a midseason high mark of 8-3 that not only had them thinking playoffs but dreaming Super Bowl. After Favre’s throwing arm collapsed, the Jets’ season was done, losing four out of their last five games to miss the playoffs and end number four’s Hall of Fame career on a sour note.
2008’s cover featured Vince Young, who is now tip-toeing along the edge of one-hit-wonder status after an inspiring rookie year. Since his ’07 debut, Young has been benched, booed, hinted at retirement and reportedly mentioned suicide all in the same season.
2007’s victim is still on milk cartons nationwide. Shaun Alexander was the first player to appear on both EA Sports football titles – Madden 2007 and NCAA Football 2001 – the result, two injury plagued seasons following his mega ’05 campaign that saw him rush for 1,880 yards and score 28 touchdowns. Now the former MVP is currently out of the league and out of sight, out of mind.
In his heyday, Donovan McNabb was one of the most dangerous scramblers in the game. His ability to jog around the field and make plays from the quarterback position was undoubtedly reminiscent of another former Philadelphia duel-threat.
All that changed for the 2006 cover man on November 19, 2006, when he tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee against the Tennessee Titans, zapping the Pro Bowler of his lethal agility and urging him to become more of a pocket passer.
That was only the second part of a two-year haze that McNabb would endure after his ’06 illustration hit the stores in 2005.
The first part featured McNabb ducking and dodging verbal bullets from his teammate at the time, Terrell Owens, who opened vocal fire on seemingly everyone associated with the Eagles organization during his tenure in Philadelphia.
After several controversial statements and publicly questioning McNabb’s performance in a disappointing Super Bowl loss earlier that year, Owens would later be suspended for the rest of the season while McNabb would have his year end early after deactivating himself with a sports hernia injury and sore thumb on his throwing hand.
It wasn’t the ’04-’05 season that tackled 2005 cover boy Ray Lewis. The Madden Curse blindsided Lewis the following year with a nagging thigh injury that would cut the campaign short for the walking Hall of Famer. Lewis still remains a potent run stuffer in the afterlife of a superhuman career, but he hasn’t posted over 100 tackles since the 2004 season, ironically, Lewis’ cover year.
There shouldn’t even be a draw up of what happened to 2004’s Madden Man. Armed with blistering speed and a XXXL arm, Michael Vick exploded onto the scene as America’s secret weapon.
Almost otherworldly, Vick was brought back down to earth when he was brought to the ground in a preseason game against the Ravens.
A fractured right fibula would keep the lefty out until late November of the ’03 season, but even that was minor compared to the fate Vick would later suffer amid federal charges for dog fighting.
Is it a coincidence that all the aforementioned players suffered some type of life-altering, season shifting, career threatening fate? Maybe, maybe not.
With two players posted on the cover for this year, should a similar fate happen to both of the cover men in the future, EA Sports may have to revert back to placing John Madden on the cover by himself.
Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald outline the prototype for their respected positions.
One’s a big-time, highlight reel playmaking safety, the other is a wish-you-could-but-you-can’t stop him wideout who’s on the cusp of greatness. Fitzgerald’s playoff performance trampled a monster regular season and made the former ball boy look like the best wide receiver ever in history.
When Polamalu wasn’t leaping over piles, he was making game-changing interceptions on the Steelers way to their sixth Super Bowl title.
Both are true superstars at their position, both are equipped with the humbleness and work ethic to continue to dominate the sport for the next few seasons.
Unless of course, the curse gets to them first.
The odds of both phenoms bowing out this season to the wrath of the Madden curse is highly unlikely, but then again, claiming the seasons of the last six cover men was a bet I would’ve gladly wagered seven years ago.
Glad I didn’t.
If you would’ve asked me two weeks ago, I would’ve said “of course not.”
If you would’ve asked me two months ago, I would’ve said “for what, what’s the point?”
If you would’ve asked me two years ago, I would’ve said “no way, what else do they want from him?”
But if you would’ve asked me two minutes ago, I would’ve said “yeah, probably, I don’t see why not.”
So i’m driving to work Tuesday morning listening to one of those morning talk shows. Although I like to substitute a little pep music into my system instead of French Roast before I step foot into the office, I do enjoy a rousing conversation every now and then.
So the biggest topic of the morning is the reinstatement or partial reinstatement or whatever it is of Michael Vick.
The biggest question of the morning is should he or shouldn’t he serve a six game suspension to start the season?
If you would’ve asked me a short while ago, I probably would’ve given you one of the first three aforementioned answers.
Many a voices have spoken out on this from the always enjoyable Terrell Owens to the guys and gals at your local barbershop and salon and the majority of people seem to agree that Vick has “served his time.”
So as I’m turning the corner on the main street of my job, a female caller chimes in to give her response and it’s a pretty good one.
Her rebuttal: if Vick was employed with any company in Corporate America, we wouldn’t be talking about a suspension and it wouldn’t even be a discussion if Vick should get reinstated, it would be a clear-cut, loud and emphatic NO!
Good point. So good it got me to thinking: if I got locked up for a federal charge for two years, could I just waltz out of a jail cell and expect to be slapping fives and cracking jokes with my old coworkers around the water cooler a couple months later?
The answer: YEAH RIGHT!
Only in the entertainment world can a multimillionaire professional go away for a big house bid and get out and start making millions again months later.
For the average taxpayer, one federal stint upstate and we’d probably be regulated to picking up trash or sprinkling salt over deep fried french fries (not that there’s anything wrong with that) once we got out.
For the average songwriter, actor or professional athlete, one federal stint upstate and America would be counting the days down waiting upon the release of their favorite icon.
Although I still believe to this day he never committed the act, Mike Tyson was tried and convicted on a rape charge and sentenced to six years, only serving three of his bid.
He was released in March of 1995 and went on to fight in August later that year, setting a record in pay-per-view sales along the way. After a three-year hiatus, we couldn’t wait to see Tyson climb back into the ring and pummel some bold innocent soul.
Let some keyboard pushing high-profile accountant get locked away for a three-year rape charge and let’s see how fast it takes for them to step foot back into some top notch corporate firm.
Then there’s the “but he already served his time” excuse.
To that I pose this scenario to anyone not too far removed from the clinched fist and waist belt treatment we used to receive as children whenever we acted up.
Let’s say you’re an adolescent going to school everyday. You’re in class talking back and forth to your friend while the teacher is trying to give their lesson. The teacher overhears you talking and asks you to be quiet. You respond by calling the teacher a name (whichever you prefer) loud enough for him/her to hear it. The teacher hands you after-school detention and then proceeds to call your parents.
After you serve your afternoon discipline, you head home towards your usual no-play, no-nonsense parents. You open the door to your house and see your raging mad guardian standing in the foyer with a clinch fist and ripped waist belt upon the sight you respond with a “haven’t I already served enough punishment?” before they abruptly raise their arm and you then proceed to blank out.
See what I’m getting at?
No matter what punishment an institution hands you for your crime, there’s always the further punishment you’re going to have to face from society or some other entity whether it be your job or your mom.
Vick being conditionally reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t a plot to teach Vick a further lesson. It’s more of a plot to keep the millions of people who don’t think Vick should even be reinstated from climbing further up the commissioner’s back.
I consider Vick lucky. Although there’s some other cases pending in the league that I think should definitely be handled by Goodell, the fact of the matter is that Vick has already been tried and found guilty of his crime, thus forcing Goodell’s hand in the matter of a suspension.
I’m nowhere near a Vick hater. I thought he was dynamite while displaying his super hero abilities at Virginia Tech and I applauded him for his one-man show efforts in Atlanta.
Even with a college degree and years of watching CNN, I had no idea you could go to prison for dog fighting up until it caught up with Vick.
I was just as stunned and disappointed as the rest of you seeing Vick walking in and out of a courtroom everyday fighting against a case that maybe millions of others should be on trial for right now.
But when it comes to Vick serving a possible six-game suspension to kick start the 2009 season, I just can’t see that as a serious problem.
Having any job in America isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. No matter if you’re chucking a spiral 80 yards downfield or chucking debris into the back of a trash truck, just receiving a tax eaten pay check is a joy nowadays.
Vick’s lucky to be in the position to reclaim his role as a professional athlete. He’s also extremely fortunate to be in the position to start providing for his family again as the primary caretaker.
Should Vick be reinstated back into the National Football League? In my opinion, yes.
Should Vick serve a six-game suspension on top of the prison sentence he just completed? Well…… try asking Vick what he thinks and i’m sure he’ll tell you he’s fortunate to even be able to serve a temporary suspension with a chance to play professional football again.