Is Michael Vick the $100 Million Mistake?

If the Eagles don’t perform well this season, even the biggest Vick supporters will turn

Three games into the season, and already the black clouds of doom are thickening over the heads of the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Birds score a decisive win Sunday, the hot seat under Andy Reid’s posterior will lower to a mere glowing simmer and the outcry we’ve been hearing on sports radio and on streets from Mayfair to Mt. Airy will downshift to Philadelphia grumble as usual. Small rays of winged silver sunlight will be spotted peeking through the clouds. But if the Eagles should lose—and especially if they should lose in a sloppy, badly coached, missed opportunity repeat of last Sunday, the kind of game that leaves every laid off bricklayer and sales rep in the city who just spent twenty-six bucks on burgers and brews at a sports bar feeling somewhere between angry and homicidal—gather the kids in the basement. Things will get ugly.

Life is tough these days. Patience is thin. Escape is hard to find. Philadelphians who find their sole relief from reality this time of year on Sunday afternoons watching football have grown weary of also-ran seasons. Patience with Andy Reid’s sideline miscues and condescending Smokey the Pissed-Off Bear post-game press conferences has ended. Get it done, Chubs, or take the act elsewhere.

Reid is in the fans’ crosshairs. But don’t be fooled; if he fails this season, he will be the guy who couldn’t bring it home. The sports world is littered with guys like Reid. We had a quarterback just like him not so long ago.

For Michael Vick, it’s a very different story.

There are two kinds of Vick fans in Philadelphia. There’s the fan that believes in redemption as a principle of life, that believes, as Fitzgerald said, “forgotten is forgiven.” Vick did the crime, did the time and performed a life-changing 360. They see authenticity in his transformation. Put that together with what he does on the gridiron? Seven’s the man. Then there’s the other Michael Vick fan, the fan that believes redemption can only be found in hell for the crimes Vick committed, who believes what Vick did was too black-hearted to ever be forgiven, who doesn’t buy for a second that Vick is a changed man.

Yet these very same unforgiving fans, of which there are many, have put their feelings about Michael Vick and the crimes he committed on a hard to reach shelf for one reason, and for only one reason: they believe Vick can lead the Eagles to victory. Winning trumps all.

If Michael Vick cannot bring it home, if his head remains too foggy or his body can’t take the weekly battering; if the defense is too soft and can’t protect him; if he can’t be the $100 million dollar man for any of these reasons or for any others still unforeseen, beware these fans who put their feelings on the shelf.

They will reach up and bring them down.

Forget the long leash that Andy Reid got in this town. If the Eagles don’t win, Vick will instantly become the $100 million mistake; the ex-con for which redemption will never be fully granted. It’s early in the season, anything could happen, but in Philadelphia, as Michael Vick surely knows, hope never springs eternal.

Tim Whitaker is the executive director of Mighty Writers, a nonprofit program that inspires city kids to write.

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  • patty

    If someone does a 360 – they are right back where they started. ” Vick did the crime, did the time and performed a life-changing 360.” You should have said 180. Otherwise Vick is right back to torturing animals.

    • non-believer

      yeah, I think he meant “360”

    • Renda Luvaas

      I think 360 fits …time will tell. After reading this I for the first time hope the Eagles FAIL. Sorry just my opinion. Take it or leave it. Give Vick enough rope to hang himself and lets get on with football.

  • JoAnn Erfer

    Michael Vick was a mistake before they signed him to a $100million contract. He’s a jerk, a cry baby and, he isn’t worth it. Think what the school system could do with that money – new books, supplies, infrastructure improvements, computers. The SPCA could use some of that money to save dogs and cats from the likes of Michael Vick. It’s disgusting that this despicable man has that kind of contract.

    • Phillyboy

      JoAnn, what does Eagle’s money have to do with the school system or the SPCA? Why don’t ignorant people like you think before you put your thoughts into words so everyone can see how stupid you are?

  • george

    no, no, this is wonderful… they are going to tank, big time… and with that bozo, murderer at the helm, it makes it twice as good… let see what forrest gump has to say each week when they do not win… i just love this country….

  • Kiki McAdam

    And then there are those who are NOT fans, and NEVER will be. In the words of a friend, “Let’s cage him, beat him, electrocute him, drown him, file his teeth down so he can’t defend himself, tie his legs down so he can be raped and tortured, force him to fight to the death while we charge admission and entertain ourselves! That’s exactly the things he did and much more, much worse.” If there is any justice in life, Vick will not only keep losing, he will keep getting hurt and eventually sustain a career-ending injury. People think he’s turned his life around? Not hardly. Look at all the “poor me” whining he’s been doing. Same ol’ Vick. And honestly, since the Eagles hired him, they deserve to have a losing season.

    • Renda Luvaas

      Yep! I Agree , Kiki, you said it so much better than I did. BTW why do ppl start personally attacking anyone who isn’t praising Vick as some kind of pigskin God? Is it because they have zero to back up their “PRO” Vick beliefs? So slow your roll Philly”boy”. Make your point without trashing and name callin. That is childish, so man up “boy”. Besides, didn’t your parents teach you to respect your elders?

  • brett d

    Its amazing. You or I would not get our job back. They say that people that injure animals is a sign of other problems like domestic violence. I have no time to people that injure children or animals. Mike you fall into this category–lost all respect for my favorite team.

  • Scholarly Mama

    If the Eagles don’t win, it isn’t fair to blame Michael Vick. The inefficient offensive line and Andy Reid’s increasingly questionable coaching ability is where blame should be placed.