In the annals of football lore there is a story about a player who came from nothing, achieved everything, then threw it all away.
Well there's a number actually (perhaps more than I care to admit) but I've got a particular one on my mind tonight. One that keeps on irritating the spot right between the shoulders, the spot that can't be easily reconciled and causes me to squirm.
It's the Michael Vick spot, and as hard as I try to reach it, my lack of flexibility keeps me from finally succeeding.
I guess it's time to limber up.
So I twist and I turn and I waffle back and forth like an epileptic hula dancer and the diatribe runs something like this:
The Eagles should absolutely not have signed Michael Vick. The last thing you need to interject into a team on the rise is a guy who allowed himself to bankroll an operation that killed dogs.
The last thing you need to interject into a solid roster is a guy who is bound to cause a media circus. The Eagles are familiar with their system, they're breaking in some promising rookies, and riding a good off-season. Why on God's green earth would you sign a walking side-show into the mix?
The last thing you need to interject into a roster trying to reestablish itself is a baggage laden quarterback when you've already got that spot more or less locked down. You've got the marathon man, Donovan McNabb, who looks to be healthy and dangerous, you've got an heir-apparent in Kevin Kolb, and a capable veteran in A.J. Feeley who can help manage things if/when McNabb goes down. How would adding Michael Vick do anything but add controversy into an already accounted-for quarterback situation?
And it's not like Michael Vick was some sort of angel before all this dogfighting stuff went down. Has this fiasco somehow fundamentally changed him or does he remain a risk to embarrass the team?
This line of arguement is all rooted in emotion. There is little football involved, as it deals mostly with how Vick and the subsequent media typhoon, will upset the delicate balance that is team football in the NFL.
Egos are egos afterall, and they seem to be ever more inflated the higher up the professional sports ladder you climb. This is a fear argument based on the chance that the addition of Vick could somehow disturb what is already good.
As such it leaves me unsatisfied and a long way aways from scratching that itch. So with my other hand I try a different technique:
What better team to really scoop up Vick. There is absolutely NO quarterback controversy here, so we know that however Vick is used, it will be for his remarkable athletic skills rather than his abilities as a quarterback.
The Eagles can now add the most feared version of the Wildcat in the league, which may not be implemented a lot during a game, but can come up with key plays at key times in tight games. Hell throw Vick back on kick returns from time to time, spread him out as a wideout, even just hand him the ball on occasion.
Such are Vick's skills that any time you can get him the ball in open space, he can make things happen for you.
What better team to handle the media circus that will follow him? Donovan Mcnabb has lived a lifetime in front of the microphone, dealing with the continual doubting of the Philidelphia fans, to the infantile outbursts of T.O. If there's one thing that guy can handle, it's a little controversy.
Coach Andy Reid is an old wiley vet at this point, has no trouble laying down the law, and has no trouble pushing on the media when they push at his team. A veteran core with a veteran coach, is the perfect place for Michael Vick.
What better time to have Vick on your team? You can bet he will be giving 110% to prove himself, he's still under house arrest so he can't go out partying, he just saw three years of hell that I'm sure he'd rather not repeat.
Vick is playing for his NFL life here, meaning he's going to be giving his all, and staying out of trouble. The media hubbub will die down quickly if there's nothing to talk about. It will rise up again quickly if he starts making some plays, but that's the type of attention that the Eagles will gladly take.
What better idea than to sign him for two years rather than just one? This was a great move because it gives Vick some trade value if he flashes some promise this year. Vick isn't just going to be riding the sidelines in Philly and you can bet that he'll be getting plenty of reps in various situations: Late in games at QB, on reverses, on pitch and passes, on all sorts of trick plays.
If he succeeds, he suddenly becomes a hot commodity which means that the Eagles will either be able to keep him on the cheap for another season, or demand good value for him on the trade market.
Either way they are essentially adding players while preserving their cap space. And teams that weren't willing to sign Vick today, will be more than willing after someone else had the cajones to do it first.
What a great move!
Ahhhhhhh, that's the spot.
The itch is gone.
It makes so much sense now.
I'll come out right now and say that every other team that didn't try to sign Mike Vick did it out of cowardice. They bought the fear argument and neglected the football argument. They shrank like sniveling wimps away from the media and failed to embrace the glorious upside that is Michael Vick.
The guy killed dogs.
But he also more than paid the price for that crime.
And really it's the Eagles who should be pictured on America's most wanted tonight, because they just committed grand larceny.
They stole the show.
And I have no doubts that this bit of thievery is going to pay very large dividends.