The Philadelphia Eagles shocked the world of sports this past Thursday by announcing that they have signed NFL bad boy Michael Vick to a 2-year contract. My initial reaction was the same as most Eagles and football fans… shock, then disgust, then the question: “Why?”
After the knee-jerk reaction of the announcement had worn off, I’m pretty sure I know exactly why… this was a cleverly concocted scheme, devised by the NFL itself, to get one of their marquee players back on the field, and making them money.
It’s easy to vilify the Eagles in this situation, but if you ask yourself few easy questions, you’ll realize why all of this has come about and that the decision comes from a much higher power than just a single football team. So let’s start…
Picture all 32 NFL teams in your mind. Ok, now from those narrow your list down to the top 10 successful franchises over the past 5 to 10 years. From those, pick the teams with a tenured Quarterback who has had great success in the league, is a good family man, and is very well liked and respected by both football fans and players alike who would be a great mentor and could set a troubled fellow quarterback on the right path, not only in his career, but in life. And finally, from that list, eliminate all but the players of African American descent.
I don’t know about yours, but my list was just reduced down to 1. The team is the Philadelphia Eagles and the player is Donovan McNabb.
If you are thinking to yourself “Race shouldn’t matter in this situation” then I suggest you stop reading here. You most likely have been living in a vacuum for most of your life and the odds are that you won’t be able to comprehend the rest of this article.
If you are still reading, then you’ll know that if you give it some good thought, there could not be a more perfect team to get Michael Vick re-acclimated to the game of football on than the Philadelphia Eagles. There is absolutely no pressure to be the starting quarterback (or a need to contribute in any way), they are a very reputable organization with a great support structure, and Donovan McNabb is the ideal mentor.
Why do the Eagles care so much about Michael Vick’s psychological and physical rehabilitation? My theory is that they really don’t… or at least initially didn’t. It was the NFL itself that cherry picked the Eagles to be the landing spot for one of their fallen stars.
You could argue, quite easily, that at one point Michael Vick was the face of the NFL. He was in every single promotional commercial for the league, featured on many a Monday Night Football broadcast, and was one of the most electrifying players in the game. Sales of Vick’s #7 Atlanta Falcons jersey was a top seller every single season he was playing. Atlanta actually turned into a real market for the league. The NFL made a mint on Michael Vick.
They could do it again if they play their cards right.
The first step is to get him back into football shape and his image repaired. As I have described in the paragraphs above, what better way is there to do that? If all goes as planned, Vick is a one-year rental of the Eagles and then he’ll re-assume his place as an NFL starting quarterback for the start of the 2010 season. The Eagles are taking the black eye for the league right now, but I can almost guarantee some kind of kick-back or incentive is involved. This idea was not the Philadelphia Eagles’ idea. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL is paying his full salary themselves.
Football fans, especially those of the Philadelphia Eagles, are completely outraged at the moment, and rightfully so. But since I am a member of said fan base, I can guarantee that if Vick contributes in any way to a victory, his sins will quickly be forgotten. You may be shaking your head “No way” right now, but it remains to be seen.
I have a strong suspicion that, come playoff time, the commercial promos you’ll see on TV will start something like: “Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles play host to….”. With those two elusive and exciting players potentially on the field at the same time it could lead to some incredibly entertaining moments in football. The only thing that could trump that level of entertainment would be if PETA, or any other protesters, decide to set up camp outside of Lincoln Financial Field to picket the Eagles at their first home game. 70,000 rabid, and intoxicated, Philly fans mixing with PETA radicals? Hmmm, I’m thinking Pay-Per-View special.
So, can this “conspiracy” theory be proven and will we ever find out if the NFL is really the puppet master here? No, probably not. But when the season starts and the time comes when Vick is able to play and travel with the team again, let’s see who his roommate is on the road. I have a feeling it’s going to be another quarterback… one that wears the number 5.