Trying to Enjoy Vick One Game at a Time.

 

Vick's Real Hurdles are Still to Come.

 

It’s a been a tough year for Michael Vick’s predecessor.  Donovan McNabb, who I still think would be considered the best Eagle quarterback ever, has had a nightmare of a year in Washington.  His declining skills and Washington’s messy state as a franchise has landed McNabb on the bench behind Rex Grossman, an unthinkable position at the start of the season.  Added to that are the secondhand shots McNabb takes with every success Michael Vick has at quarterback. One of the themes in the local sports media of late has been revisionist history.  To listen to some fans tell it now, Vick is better than McNabb ever was, McNabb never led a comeback, and Donovan has generally morphed into Trent Dilfer in people’s memories.

It is hard to blame the fans for jumping so enthusiastically onto the Vick bandwagon.  He is by all accounts having an MVP type year.  But what is it about Vick that causes such a powerful reaction that not only lauds him, but diminishes the feats of McNabb?

1.  First, Vick is simply not Donovan.  McNabb, the further removed he gets, continues to fall out of favor because more and more fans realize they were sick of his routine.  His welcome was completely worn out.  He was like an old pair of tennis shoes.  You didn’t realize how uncomfortable they had gotten until you put on the new pair.  In addition to that, Vick’s drastically different personality and demeanor on the field is a constant reminder that McNabb is gone.  Vick is confident.  He’s tough.  He looks intense.  McNabb’s competitiveness was always buried under a goofy smile.  Michael Vick would never run out-of-bounds and then pick up a phone on the sideline in the heat of the game.

2.  Secondly, Vick is benefiting from lowered expectations.  When the Eagles traded McNabb there was the belief that 2010 would be a type of rebuilding season for the Eagles.  Optimistic projections had them winning 9 games.  And, looking at the defense, it appears most people were correct in their assessment that the team had weaknesses.  What couldn’t have been predicted is Vick’s ability to cover up the flaws on this team.  It is easy to forget now, but Vick not only didn’t do much of note in 2009, he looked mediocre at best in the pre-season.  No one knew what to expect when Vick came in the very first game of the season, and so by getting the Birds to 10-4, he’s completed a minor miracle.  The difference of course, is that during the McNabb years going 10-4 would hardly create much buzz at all.  It had become old hat.

3.  The last thing Vick brings to the table is something almost intangible.  I don’t know if I’d call it hope, or belief, but whatever it is the guy makes Eagles fans a lot more confident.  Donovan’s McNabb’s accumulated failures, despite some good results, left everyone feeling lukewarm at best when he was called upon to lead a game winning drive.  With Vick, at least for now, it seems he’ll do whatever he needs to do get the job done.  He also hasn’t had that first taste of real failure that haunted Don and left a bad taste in the fans’ mouths.  The comeback Sunday was amazing and historic, but I’m sure all the fans weren’t surprised that Vick was capable of pulling it off.

The point of all this is to bring attention to how much fun Eagles fans are having this season.  A long string of winning seasons sounds great, but the yearly playoff disappoints slowly wear people down.  It gets to the point where the only game that mattered all year was the NFC Championship game.  Did they win that?  If not, it felt like Groundhog day at best and at worst just a giant waste of time.  Vick has returned the Eagles to true appointment viewing, no matter who they play.

For everyone’s sake I hope it stays that way, because the truth is, Vick really hasn’t done anything yet that Donovan didn’t do while he was here in Philly.  Like I said, a 10-4 start wasn’t a reason to celebrate in the McNabb years, but now it is.  I wonder how long this honeymoon will last.  Could it survive a 1st or 2nd round playoff loss, or would  that just be more of the same for Philadelphia fans?  I hope it can.  First, because Eagles fans don’t know for sure they’ll have Vick in 2011 and also it feels good to have a clean slate.  The longer the excess baggage, the type McNabb piled up over the years, stays away…the better.

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10 thoughts on “Trying to Enjoy Vick One Game at a Time.

  1. will 3-Putt be addressing the 89 streak? my god, ESPN is all over it. have to say, in diggity jones language: hot tub hot.
    Q

    PS – AND ABOUT THIS POST, I MEAN – AS AN OUTSIDER, LIVING IN BOSTON, REID KIND OF IRRITATED ME. MAYBE I SCAPE-GOATED HIM. BUT, GIVEN HOW I NOTICE HIM NOW STEPPING UP TO DEFEND HIS PLAYERS (THOUGH EASILY DONE WHEN THEY PLAY WELL, YET HE SEEMS TO DO THIS IN TOUGH TIMES)…UM, WHAT ABOUT THE REID FACTOR IN THE WHOLE PLAYER PERFORMANCE THING FOR MCNABB?

  2. good morning caps lock….

    um, i don’t think reid has any history of putting the blame on the players. he’s always saying everything is his problem in his mundane and annoying way, “i’ve got to do a better job…blah, blah, blah”

    i think reid and mcnabb were a good combo. by any measure other than super bowls wins they were better than good. i think they probably share the blame for what went wrong when donovan was here.

    mcnabb tanking in washington gets reid off the hook a little bit, but people have to remember that at this point in his career we aren’t really seeing the McNabb who had success here. his skills look pretty significantly diminished and he’s on a terrible team, which doesn’t help.

  3. I feel the same way about Don as I did about AI in that I wanted to see AI succeed outside of philly. But, there is one difference. Don always seemed to tow the company line and never said anything contrary to a position taken by Eagles management. That always bothered me about him. That coupled with his goofy smile just made him seem like he didn’t really care. It all gave him a “I got mine so I’ll just go through the motions” type feel.

    I completely agree that Don wore out his welcome. I think fans, like me, viewing him as just an extension of Eagles management made it hard in the end to connect with him. I realize it is completely delusional for fans to want to connect with players, but they do. Which is why after Cliff’s comments the other day about the city and the fans, people in philly will love him forever. At no point in time did the fans ever have a significant connection with Don, and whatever connection they did have faded over time.

    With Vick, I think the connection is there. People see that he plays hurt and leaves it all out on the field. They don’t see a goofy smile on his face, all they see is determination and desire to do whatever it takes to succeed. Vick has something to prove and fans can connect with that. His redemption story I think is a big key to the fans connection. Lots of fans in philly have gotten knocked on their butts over the past few years (loss of jobs, loss of home etc) and they need to know that they can rise from the ashes. Vick gives them that and a whole lot more.

  4. I hear what you’re saying, but I think people are going nuts about a 104 season because of how it happened.

    McNabb always had a good defense, but now Vick is winning despite the defense trying to screw it up.

    And I can’t help but think of McNabb stadning at midfield against the Cardinals with about 2 minutes to go in the NFC Championship. He threw four consecutive incomplete passes and lost.

    Vick was on his own 12 with about 3 minutes. He threw two incomplete passes and then made plays with his legs, which is something Don refused or couldn’t do anymore. In the end he scored the game tying touchdown.

    McNabb does deserve a little more credit than what he is getting, but I can understand why people are bashing him right now. I think it’s a lot of pent up frustration over him choking in the clutch.

  5. New blood is always exciting, its human nature. That said, this has a it of Ewing Theory playing out for the Eagles. I hope i’m wrong, but it’s similar to G-men in 2007.

  6. I definitely agree with the redemption part. I know that is a factor, though I can honestly say that isn’t playing that big a part of it for me.

    And, Dub, I agree with what you are saying. I think we are saying the same thing for the most part. There is no way Donovan at 33 or 34 or however old he is was still the right QB for this team.

    I don’t want to turn this into defending McNabb, because I don’t care to do that. I just think it’s another result of Vick’s success, the diminishing of what McNabb was.

  7. In the caption you mention his next hurdle is yet to come. I actually think he has one right in front of him. I want to see how he handles success this time around. Will it go to his head? Will he demand money? Will he go back to his old ways?

    Its going to be interesting to see what unfolds for the rest of the regular season and hopefully playoffs (It would take an epic failure not to make the playoffs, but with a snowstorm scheduled for Sunday and Dallas the following week, who knows?)

  8. Yeah, I saw your article at BR. At first I thought we had unknowingly written the same thing. But, you are talking about handling the success, which I hadn’t thought of.

    I think for this year, he should be ok. He knows he has to close this out strong to maximize the dollars. I wouldn’t be surprised if the contract negotiations are a little more than a breeze, though.

    And then, once he gets the money, who know for sure.

    I was talking about winning on the playoffs. Because that’s always been the stumbling block here. And I wonder how long the honeymoon will last if Vick throws out a Don-esque effort in a playoff loss.

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