One person's thoughts may change the world
Philadelphia is a tough city to play professional sports in. They want to win. They expect to win. They have every sports team available, and they let their athletes know it, good and bad. The Philadelphia Flyers, although not part of the original 6, play like they should have been. They have the second best all time point percentage. First expansion club to win the Stanley Cup. They are also tied with St. Louis with the most playoff appearances of any of the expansion clubs. The Philadelphia Phillies have even a richer history, being the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. But it took them 77 years to win their first World Series. Because of these lows and highs between winning and loosing, the Philadelphia fans are passionate yet can be a surrey bunch about baseball. The Philadelphia 76ers? Once again one of the oldest franchises in the NBA. They have won three NBA titles, the last being let by the great Julius Erving and Moses Malone in 1983. They went to the finals in 2001 with Allen Iverson but lost 4 games to 1. They’ve had great individual players, but, as a team, have been up and down at the expense of the passionate Philly fan. They love their sport, expect to win, and have little to show for it in recent history.
But in my opinion, Philadelphia is a football town. They love football there, and love the Eagles with as much passion as they hate them. They have one of the loyal fan base in the country. When you get booed at the draft as Donovan McNabb did, you know you are in a special place in the hearts and minds of their sports town. Which lead me to Mike and Andy. You know, good ‘ole Mike, and great ‘ole Andy. Similar Laurel and Hardy. Fred and Barney. Abbot and Costello. Dean and Jerry. Fred and Lamont. Edith and Archie. The Mike I’m referring to is Michael Vick current quarterback for the Eagles, and Andy Reid, their head football coach. Andy has been head coach since 1999, and was considered a great offensive mind considering he came from the GreenBay Packers, and coached Brett Favre. Once the Eagles drafted McNabb, it was the Andy and Donovan show, but that show was coming to an end. In 2009, Philadelphia signed Michael Vick. At first the signing seemed like a token signing. Mike was going to be a redemption project, to show the NFL cares. Mike did his time, and he found an accommodating team, a quarterback savvy coach, and a good mentor in Donovan, and a great counselor in Tony Dungy.
All that quickly changed. Donovan’s days were numbered due to injuries and were taking their toll. Kevin Kolb was named the starter. Then when Kevin suffered a concussion, Michael Vick got his chance to shine and he did. Mike looked like the Mike of old that played in Atlanta. Soon, both Donovan and Kevin were traded, Mike was the number one quarterback. They drafted and went to free agency to make sure all the chess pieces were in place for Mike to succeed. He even got a big fat new contract, enough to pay off all his debtors and even have some for himself. But all is not right in Philly, as usual. The Eagles are going into the bye week with a 3-4 record and the natives at Lincoln Financial Field are restless.And regardless how the players play, it always falls back on the coach.
Coach Reid is in an elite class. He has over 100 wins including best winning total(120), winning percentage, and number of playoff victories in team history. Every coach who has over 100 wins have won a Super Bowl. But no Lombardi trophy for Philly, and only one trip to the Super Bowl for Andy. Tough run for a coach who has had a lot of success of running a football team. But he’s not the blame. Blame it on Michael Vick, and here is the reason why. Michael Vick is stubborn. Many people say he’s competitive, but really, he’s just stubborn. He’s unwilling to change, and incapable in changing his own mind,(except for giving up dog fighting) even when the writing is on the wall, and, millions of dollars are counting on it. Mike is running around as if he’s a 22-year-old in a candy store, except, he’s not. Those are 32-year-old legs Mike is depending on, as well as the rest of his body. No one, minus superman can take the hits delivered on a continual basis from defenses in the NFL. That’s why running backs are such a low priority in the draft. They are not worth the high draft choice considering the short shelf life they have. Players are bigger, stronger, and faster. Mike is having a hard time reading his check downs, and as the great Chris Carter put it, “I’m not sure if they can get anything more out of Mike as far as his football intelligence”.
Wow… humbling words, but prophetic. Mike has lost a step, throws into double coverage too often, has thrown 1823 yards with a 9 touchdown 8 interceptions and 9 fumbles, with a QB rating of 78.6. Tom Brady who is three years older know his value to his team. He runs only when he has to and falls to the ground. He checks down appropriately and throws the ball away if nothing is there. He rarely throws the long ball, most of his passes are short, allowing his receivers, tight-end and running backs do most of the work. Brady’s QB rating is 100.6. So there you have it. A comparison of two different types of quarterbacks but with both having the same goal, winning. That all that this is about. Winning. Mike can manage the offense a whole lot better if he’d play to win, instead of playing like an eagle with too few feathers in his tail fin. So, it’s Mike’s fault, but Andy has to shoulder the blame. I believe Andy is too nice of a guy to pull him in a room Mike Ditka style or Bill Parcells style and collar him against the wall and yell, “Just do your freakin’ job!”.
Andy’s issue is very simple when it comes to quarterbacks, it’s called the BBD, you know, the Bigger Better Deal. You have to treat them like Brad Pitt treated Jennifer Aniston or Michael Douglass treated Diandra. When your woman of your dreams comes along, that one in a million, you got to have her. You crave her day and night. You can’t live without her, you think. For Brad it was Angelina Jolie. For Michael it was Catherine Zeta-Jones. But Andy has a bigger problem. This is the NFL and not the hot or not celebrity scene in Hollywood. If he chooses a new bride, it will be a rookie by the name of Nick Foles, and that would be cashing in his season, and probably his job. The Eagles will stay with Mike, and release him the day after the Super Bowl. Sorry Mike, your days are numbered. So much for the late great Michael Vick….