Vince Young Wins Despite Critics

Dwight PalmerContributor IDecember 2, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 29:  Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during their game at LP Field on November 29, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Why is it so difficult for sports writers to give Vince Young the credit that he's due. Yes, he has had to learn the game and mature, but so has every other quarterback that has played the game. Eli Manning, Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, and even Johnny Unitas all had learning curves. And none of them ever had the same level of success that Vince has achieved in their first two years.

The case against Vince is prejudice and nothing else. It is the same prejudice that Fran Tarkenton faced when he began playing. His style is not the expected norm for an NFL quarterback. This has led people in the media as well as some general managers, (Houston Texans), to draw conclusions and then proceed to “make” the facts fit.

Does anyone else remember the derogatory comments coming from the broadcasters when Tarkenton would embark on one of his tours of the gridiron before completing a pass? The announcers had to search for words to express their disgust.

On one broadcast he was spoken of as “rambling around the backfield.” Then another announcer said he wasn’t running and in his search for a term that might express his disrespect he came up with “scrambling.” At the time, this was used only for Fran Tarkenton and it was understood that it was a demeaning term. Today the word is used without rancor for a quarterback than can extend a play or occasionally gain a first down.

Some of the criticism is racist, but that is a small minority. Yes, even today there are people who do not want to give a man credit who does not look like them.

Remember, Doug Williams had the second best quarterback rating in the USFL behind Jim Kelly. However, that did not lead to an NFL contract. When the USFL folded, the NFL teams took Doug Flutie, Jim Kelley, and Steve Young, (Dallas did exercise their option on Reggie Collier). It took the Redskins to find Doug when they got desperate for a quarterback.

Williams was the quarterback that took a previously inept Tampa Bay to the NFC title game in his second year in the league. He also was behind center when they won their first NFL game in his rookie year. Williams did for Tampa what Steve Young and Vinny Testaverde could not, he won.

Steve McNair was booed when he took the field in his first game. James Harris of the Rams and Joe Gilliam of the Steelers were benched due to pressure from the fans.  This may not be the case for VY, but there is some unknown reason that so many experts are ignoring reality.

Now we have Vince Young with a record of 24-11 as a starter and he still cannot get credit for his play. During the same period from 2006-2009, Kerry Collins has a record of 13-12 with the same supporting casts. Collins is generally accepted as a better or more mature quarterback. There is something seriously wrong with the sporting analysis in this country.

Vince has something that can’t be coached and can’t be analyzed through empirical data. Prospective teachers are taught that a person lives up or down to the expectations of those in authority. Sometimes the expectations of authority are in direct conflict with a person’s personal expectations of himself. When this happens, it causes stress in the student or player. My belief is that last season’s so called “meltdown” was a direct result of this stress in VY.

This man has won a high school championship and a college championship. His personal expectations are of success. What occurred last season was external pressure from fans booing, receivers dropping passes, and a coach who had no empathy for a young man still learning. Vince has not learned how to fail at football.

As a player, it is energizing when the quarterback salvages a play. It creates a confidence in the minds of offensive linemen. They play with a different enthusiasm. For the defenders, a quarterback who can run like a running back is at best a mental distraction and at worst a nightmare. It is demoralizing to defenders and helps to create doubt in their minds.

Some writers and football analyst have been writing and speaking of Vince’s lack of productivity in passing. I am anxious to see what their next argument will be now that he has passed for 378 yards against Arizona.

I am sure that someone out there does not like the way he holds his tongue when he passes or the way ties his shoes. Is there anyway that we can just enjoy an unusual talent that succeeds no matter what we think?