Before I unleash my diatribe, I’d like to relay my opinion on Michael Vick being allowed to play again. I have zero problem with it. To overuse an overused cliché, he served his time. As Andy Reid repeatedly said during his press conference, this is America — America is all about second chances. I agree.
I just find it odd that of all teams, the Eagles were the ones to roll the dice. It has been a preseason filled with controversial and negative headlines. Adding what will arguably be the biggest sports headline this year just made things a lot more hectic in the City of Brotherly Love. Yeah, I’m aware that last sentence was a humongous understatement, but I’m out of words to describe how much this move caught me by surprise.
This is how it all unfolded for me, as I was sitting in front of my laptop:
- 7:28 pm: I’m watching WTKR out of Norfolk. Waiting for Redskins-Ravens preseason game. The local sports guy is just about to toss to the action when he says this: “Breaking news just in to the newsroom… Michael Vick has signed with the Eagles.” Jaw. Hits. Floor.
- 7:29 pm: I tweet (@ITIScott) the following: The Eagles have just signed Vick. I’m not kidding.
- 7:30 pm: I scour all the major sports info outlets looking for confirmation. Nothing on ESPN, FOX, CBS, PFW, NFL.com or PFT.com. Nobody has anything.
- 7:31 pm: I tweet the following: According to Redskins pregame.Vick to the Eagles. ????? Naturally, I am bombarded with various replies demanding proof.
- 7:32 pm: I feel like an ass, because I have no proof, except what I saw. I’m reminded of the Twitter caper reporting Jeff Goldblum’s death. I’ll be shredded for my indiscretion.
- 7:43 pm: I have searched for over ten minutes and found zip. Meanwhile, I’m listening to the Merrill Reese and Mike Quick broadcast of Eagles-Pats game. They aren’t saying anything, either.
- 7:47 pm: I attempt to call the WTKR newsroom for confirmation. Can’t get through to a person. Are they being swamped with calls?
- 7:54 pm: I tweet @Mtrible who apparently saw the same report I did. I need someone to prove I’m not some Twitter lunatic.
- 7:57 pm: Mtrible responds: yea man, I’m searching for any kind of confirmation. wtkr channel 3 reported it and skins pregame also did.
- 7:58 pm: Reassured I’m not alone in my findings, I resume my search for confirmation of the deal. Tick. Tick. Tick.
- 8:02 pm: Shady McCoy looks awesome, but Birds are losing 7-0.
- 8:05 pm: Offense stalls in the red zone. 7-3, Patriots.
- 8:12 pm: Jason Peters looks terrible. Two sacks allowed. Bills fans are saying, “I told you so.”
- 8:15 pm: Special teams just allowed a score. 14-3, Pats. Still nothing on Vick.
- 8:23 pm: Brent Celek looks hurt. Great. A call to Chad Lewis is being made.
- 8:33 pm: Chris Mortensen reports on ESPN that the Eagles have signed Vick. My feelings are mixed. I was right about what I saw on WTKR, but Michael Vick is an Eagle.
- 8:36 pm: After turning to ESPN, I tweet the following: ESPN confirms it. Vick is an Eagle. I still can’t believe it. I look at my dogs lying on the floor. If only they could talk.
- 8:39 pm: I publish a post about the signing. Twitter is ablaze. I cross my fingers my wireless connection doesn’t take a dump.
- 8:45 pm: I tweet the following: I guess WTKR in Virginia was right.
- 9:10 pm: A few fine folks credit me for “Twitter breaking” the story. Hey, I just tweeted what I saw on the news.
- 9:15 pm: I begin writing a post on what I think about this mess. What a crazy way to start the season.
- 9:31pm:@Mtrible sends me this: dude I’m not sure but I think we just owned twitter with sports news lol. great sleuthing. I guess we kinda did.
- 9:50 pm: I post my thoughts on Vick. Don’t like the move. Don’t need another circus. Media circuses and Philly don’t mix well.
What ensued was two of the most intriguing press conferences I’ve ever witnessed. Both Reid and McNabb spoke openly and honestly about the signing. Reid compared the situation to what he went through with his sons. He admitted he didn’t work Vick out, but thinks he’ll be ready to go. He also said it was a “move for the team, not Andy.” Vick has the team’s support. He will be at practice on Saturday.
McNabb’s words were even more puzzling. Despite what this report claimed, Donovan “lobbied” for Vick. He called Mike a quarterback, not a “utility player.” He called the addition no threat to his job. He has been speaking with Vick for months, and has been close with him since high school.
If Don has to move to wide receiver 5 to 7 plays a game, no problem; he’ll do it for a chance to get Vick’s talents on the field. He accepted Vick’s crimes and feels everyone else should too. He and the team don’t care what the media thinks and will not focus on what they report. He compared the signing to T.O. being brought to Philly. T.O. came with “baggage” too. The “potential” for the offense is exciting.
What an effin’ surreal night! I’ve been a fan since the late ’70s and I can’t recall a more curious or polarizing time for this franchise. T.O.’s 2005 escapades pale in comparison. For all his annoying and petulant behavior, T.O. has never committed a crime. T.O. has never been imprisoned. T.O. is nothing more than a insecure fool.
Michael Vick is an ex-con who has been shunned by some of society. Right or wrong, he carries with him a stigma that will be difficult to erase. He brings tons more baggage than Terrell Owens ever did. For this reason, and this reason only, I dislike the move.
I despised the wall-to-wall Brett Favre coverage the last 17 months. Well, guess what? The ESPN led caravan is about to descend on the NovaCare complex. Cameras will be snapping and microphones prodding come Saturday morning. The Eagles preseason will no longer be about injuries, rookies and chemistry. It will be about Vick. Nothin’ but Vick. Will it draw attention away from the depleted offensive line, a platoon at middle linebacker, a rookie defensive coordinator and the lack of depth at tight end? You bet your ass it will. To me, that’s not a good thing.
Why? Because all of the Birds’ woes matter. Michael Vick doesn’t. He likely won’t see the field until October. What he brings to the table as a playmaker won’t do much good if the offensive line can’t block or pass protect. He can’t fix a defense that couldn’t cover a tight end versus the Patriots. Not to mention that fact that he wasn’t a very good quarterback when he was in his prime. Great athlete, yes. Great leader and signal caller, no.
Luckily, he won’t be asked to lead. Reid and McNabb and Westbrook and Mikell will take care of that. Only problem is they will also have to add babysitting to their duties. I don’t take umbrage with them defending Vick from attacks, but won’t that add to the mounting pressure these guys already feel? A month or more of constant questioning about when Vick will play and how he will be used is in their future. Combine that with the normal stress of gameday preparations and you’ve got a mountain of distractions. The barrage will eventually take its toll.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope this transition goes smoothly. But I can’t help but feel that an already slipping away season has fallen further out of reach. Again… I hope I’m wrong.
Subscribe to ITI.