But how will it play out? Michael Vick basically said exactly what you’d expect to hear in his press conference this morning. He made some big, really horrible mistakes, and hopes that his actions going forward backup the second chance he is receiving. For Eagles coach Andy Reid and chairman Jeff Lurie (a dog-owner in the past), it took lots of questions to Vick and former NFL coach Tony Dungy (who has done a lot of work trying to help rehabilitate people in Tampa and Indianapolis), plus the apparent support of Donovan McNabb, to convince them to bring in Vick.
So far, reaction in Philly seems to be pretty mixed. John Gonzalez likes the last bit of teaser footage he saw in advance of Vick’s 60 Minutes interview this weekend- “Football doesn’t even matter” (compared to his crimes). But Phil Sheridan doesn’t see a general fit with the Eagles’ organizational culture (whereas others praise its sturdiness as being great for Vick). He also can’t get past the probability that we will think of Vick’s crimes every time he takes the field. That’s certainly true, for as Lurie said in the presser, Vick’s legacy will be almost entirely written off the field. Only by what he does there- i.e. working with the Humane Society to help eradicate cruelty to animals in the many places where it happens more than any of us could ever imagine- can he possibly remove any of the stain off his legacy.
Pete Domowitch takes it in football terms and says that a very good offense just became dynamite. Plus, Andy Reid is an offensive guru (he once worked with Mike Holmgren and helped tutor Brett Favre) who can figure out a way to use all of the Eagles’ pieces (including Vick, McNabb, Bryant Westbrook, Jeremy Maclin, and DeSean Jackson). “Domo” couldn’t be more right. If all falls into place, the Eagles may have taken that last step to get buy the Giants and Cardinals to become the NFC’s team-to-beat. I wouldn’t want to be any defensive coordinator who has to game plan against Philly this season.
Fans? Predictably, also split. BountyBowl loves the signing. Everyone is taking a risk (PR/financial/job/whatever) and then some to bring in Vick, and it just might pay off in a Super Bowl. This blogger also sees the dynamic plays which the Eagles could concoct. InsidetheEagles, like Phil Sheridan, can’t figure out why the Eagles should be the team for Vick, even if he may have earned another chance. Some fans are even trying to get rid of tickets. In a month, I’m sure they’ll be in the minority. Listen, I’m not gonna argue with people if their principles say some crimes can never be forgiven– at least not with another opportunity to play football for a living. Or, that they can’t seriously believe Vick is sincere in his remorse.
Another fan is really torn on many levels, and I can’t blame her. She and other bloggers delve into some of the religious teachings one might consider in this debate as justification for Vick’s opportunity. Tony Dungy also has made those allusions, and I think it’s not even so much religion (of any kind) as reflective of our country’s society. At the end of a punishment for breaking the law, you’re eventually freed. What you do after that is your story to write alone. But having a good support system can never hurt.