What? What!? WHAT!!!? That is exactly how I reacted last Thursday night after I heard Mike Tirico say, “Chris Mortensen is officially reporting that the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick to a two-year contract.” I was in complete shock just like every other single Eagles fan. Just like every mom and dad across America that saw Miley Cyrus’ stripper pole dance at the Teen Choice Awards. I was speechless.
After digesting the mind-blowing news my dispositon changed from being negative to being positive. Why? Well, I was able to see that the positive outweigh the negatives. You don’t believe me? Let’s go through the exercise…
- Michael Vick is a convicted felon
- He murdered and tortured dogs
- He has been accused of knowingly spreading the gift that keeps on giving
- He runs a 4.4 – 40
- He can play QB
- He can play RB
- He can play WR
- He can return kicks
- He may have the best alias of all time…Ron Mexico
- He is not and has never been a Dallas Cowboy
- He does not use activator
- He is very, very, very, very sorry
- Two years in Levenworth have to reform you somehow
- No more #7 Jawaroski jerseys
- He is working with The Humane Society
The last time I checked, 13 is more than three.
In all seriousness, the decision to sign Michael Vick to a contract has sparked more controversy and debate on talk radio than any other sports related event that I can think of.
I’m a dog lover. Dogs are hands down better pets than cats. However, forgive me if I don’t understand how someone would give up their season tickets, or would no longer root for the team because of the decision to sign Michael Vick. I think doing anything like that is going a bit overboard.
Michael Vick spent nearly two years in a federal maximum security prison, Ft. Leavenworth. That place is not a joke. It is the place where people like “Little Ncky” Scarfo and Sammy “the Bull” Gravano have done some time. Michael Vick’s crime was absolutely heinous. Many people do not think that his punishment was enough. That he should still be in prison. That he should never be allowed to play football again. That there is no way that he is a changed man after two years.
If I ruled the world, Michael Vick would have had to survive a public execution gauntlet like the one Ah-nowld had to survive in the very critically acclaimed film “The Running Man.” Pretty simple, if he could survive five extremely difficult and life threatening tests he would be a free man. If he couldn’t? Well…
But I don’t rule the world, so I accept that two years in prison was an adequate enough punishment for Michael Vick and that he should not be in prison anymore. I think that Michael Vick should be allowed to make a living too and could care less whether he makes his living playing football or selling lemonade on a sidewalk. If someone is willing to give him an opportunity to make a living it is their prerogative to do so. So, it is Roger Goodell’s prerogative to allow an NFL team to sign Michael Vick to a contract as well as any team who would like to sign him. Do you have to like it? Well, this is America, I guess you don’t. I just think you are punishing yourself if you are going to root for another team or give away your season tickets. Why would someone want to punish themselves?
I don’t know if Michael Vick is a changed man yet. I’m not sure anybody but Michael Vick can tell if he is a changed man. I can tell you that I have a pretty good feeling that he is a changed man from watching his press conferences and the 60 Minutes interview. Only over a longer period of time will anyone be able to know if Michael Vick is a reformed criminal. Right now, all anyone can judge him on is a gut feeling.
Does this move make sense? Initially, most people will say no. Only completely inconvincible individuals will say that the move makes no sense after they consider the benefits of adding Michael Vick to the team. Vick can run a 4.4 second 40. That means he is pretty fast and has shown what he can do with that speed when he scrambles out of the pocket and carries the ball himself. Since he has played the QB position, although poorly through his career, he can also throw the ball if he has the opportunity. I’m not a big fan of gimmick offenses and that is what I think the wildcat offense is. However, the NFL is a copycat league and the new thing to copy right now is the wildcat formation. Think of it as the offensive version of the blitz where you send more people than the defense can cover. It is only a matter of time before defenses catch-up and garner the wildcat obsolete, but until a defensive scheme is devised that will neutralize the wildcat the best way to combat it is to make up your own wildcat plays. Michael Vick is the perfect athlete for that formation because of all the different skills he possesses. Finally, the cherry on top of all of this is that he is cheap. It is only going to cost $1.6 million. That is a bargain.
By adding Michael Vick a dangerous and unpredictable offense gets even more dangerous and unpredictable. The only reason someone has left to be unhappy with the addition of Michael Vick to the team has to do with moral fiber. So, I am reminded of the following line from the 2004 classic film “The Girl Next Door”….
“Moral fiber. So, what is moral fiber? It’s funny, I used to think it was always telling the truth, doing good deeds, basically being a fucking boy scout. But lately I’ve been seeing it differently. Now I think moral fiber’s about finding that one thing you really care about. That one special thing that means more to you than anything else in the world. And when you find her, you fight for her. You risk it all, you put her in front of everything, your life, all of it. And maybe the stuff you do to help her isn’t so clean. You know what? It doesn’t matter. Because in your heart you know, that the juice is worth the squeeze. That’s what moral fiber’s all about.”
I think it is easy to see how this applies to the Eagles. They have found that one thing that they really care about— the Lombardi Trophy. They found it about five years ago actually. They just got a little side-tracked. They have gotten back to fighting for it and willing to risk it all and put it in front of everything. Maybe the stuff they do to help get it isn’t so clean—signing Michael Vick—because they know in their heart that the juice is worth the squeeze baby. They saw what it was like for the Phillies and now they want theirs and they are going to do whatever it takes. I see nothing wrong with that.