VICK-TORY

Posted: August 30, 2011 in NFL

First off I must apologize to the faithful POS readers for the decreased frequency of my posts. I know that I started off like a bat out of hell with these blogs, however I try to write when something sparks my interest or opinions and there just hasn’t been that much controversy that I can write about.

However this morning I learned that Michael Vick is now at a 9/10 for his comeback story. The Philadelphia Eagles permanently tied their future to Vick yesterday by signing the dynamic double-threat quarterback to a 6-year, $100 million contract. The contract will pay $40 million in guarantees, with a $14.4 million salary cap hit (ESPN.com).

This struck me as interesting, because there are so many angles to look at this from, so let’s begin.

The first thing we can take from this is that Philadelphia is serious about making themselves a contender for the near future every year. They are not messing around and want to get their first title under Andy Reid and they want it now.

With their additions this summer, most notably Rodgers-Cromartie, Asomugha and Jenkins, they have made strides in the right direction on both sides of the ball. Not to mention adding Ronnie Brown for minimal money who is still on the good side of 30.

However the main cog in their resurgence last year, and perhaps one less interception from going to the divisional playoffs and maybe beyond, was Michael Vick.

Many reporters and analysts attribute Vick’s success to the simple fact that he had two years to prepare for this comeback. His body had two years outside of the game without training camps, regular seasons or optional team workouts to recover. During his time spent in prison he worked out, trimmed up and studied the game.

When he came back he was in shape and ready to play, not to mention Vick had special athletic gifts already that many do not have. When he sits in the pocket he looks poised and ready to throw, but if you blink he’s already past the line of scrimmage and darting around like the most elusive running back.

His ability to scramble and sprint is what makes his so dangerous. Couple that with his renewed throwing abilities and accuracy and you’ve got an unstoppable football machine.

The only knock on his game however is his recklessness for himself. When Vick is in the zone it is magical to watch him play. He has a cannon for an arm and can zip the ball between opposing defenders into the arms of his receiver on any given play, or launch a deep ball half the length of the field to a receiver in-stride.

It is when Vick removes himself from the pocket, and turns himself into a vulnerable running back in the open field, that makes fans and team officials hold their collective breaths.

Vick is trim, fit, and built like many wide receivers in the league but is still not that large. When you have 6’3 250lb linebackers running at you thinking about how big their hit is going to be, even a 6’0ft 215lb quarterback seems small.

Last year we saw that he is not invincible, when he suffered an injury to his rib cartilage while diving for towards the end zone against the Washington Redskins. Vick made his move and was sandwiched between two Washington defenders. Although he walked away from the hit on his own strength, the mentality that he will do anything for the score is both thrilling and nerve wracking.

A player like Michael Vick is so rare in football that with a capable defense and a few playmakers on offense you can say that he will take you to the promised land and deliver a championship. Clearly the Eagles front office feels this way, otherwise they would not invest their near future in him.

But on some level you have to question this move a little bit, is it too soon?

The Eagles will of course say they have done their due diligence and feel that Vick is changed for the good going forward and has learned his lesson. I for one hope that this is true, as enough animals have suffered at his hands, literally.

Now I will not turn this into a rant, as a dog lover I think it’s heinous what he did but I also believe in rehabilitation. I do not accept his excuses, however at what point do we stop hating on his past and start celebrating his present and future?

I read on an old ESPN article that Vick has attended and spoken at 23 humane society events or animal treatment events at the least. That is a strong commitment from anyone. The minimum would have been about 5, yet he continues his work with the humane society for the treatment of animals and speaks about the wrongs he has committed.

He embraced his evil doings, never hides from it and speaks up against it. It is easy to maintain the villain image in your head about Vick and continue to hate, but the most painful punishment is having to tell his young children why they can never own a dog of their own.

So let’s celebrate this slightly, mostly for the fact that Vick is almost completed one of the most spectacular comebacks in sports. He was brought down from the mountain top and tossed into the gutter. Then he was resurrected when people thought he had nothing left and now will get to pay off much of his debt and owed salary to the Falcons, and will still have a small lottery winnings worth to put away in the bank.

If Philadelphia wins the Super Bowl in the next 6 years with Vick under centre, it would truly be one of the great sports stories of all time and I will celebrate it. However no victory is complete without its losses, Vick has suffered enough of those for a few people, now we wait and see if he can get the one victory he has yet to win.

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