Can the Eagles Win the Super Bowl?
If you discount the Sixers, fortunes in Philadelphia pro sports have taken a tremendous turn for the better. It used to be that we were under a cloud of doom. Now, you throw out a pair of dice on the first roll and up comes a seven.
How else do you explain what’s going on with the Philadelphia Eagles and the sudden resurgence of Michael Vick? [SIGNUP]
The Eagles picked up Vick a couple of years ago as partly insurance for Donovan McNabb and partly because, like Mortimer and Randolph Duke in Trading Places, the front office might have wanted to win a sociology award. They reasoned then that the team had a chance to go to the playoffs, and if McNabb got hurt that year, the only chance they had for that was if Vick could get in there and make enough big plays to win games, since Kevin Kolb wasn’t quite ready.
Then, when that season was over, the Eagles tried to peddle Vick. They couldn’t get as much as a seventh round pick for the guy, which was quite a shock to Jeffrey Lurie, Joe Banner and company since they had already decided to pick up the option year of Vick’s contract — which paid the quarterback a $5 million salary for this season. In the pre-season, Vick looked a little quicker, a little more ready to play NFL football. But there was nothing in his performance in camp, nor in the actual pre-season games, that could have indicated what he is doing right now. In fact, Michael Vick might still be the backup if Kolb hadn’t gotten hurt against the Green Bay Packers. Now, is that a plan, or is that just blind, dumb luck?
A year ago, the Phillies decided to let Cliff Lee go. No matter how they tried to spin it, we all knew it was a money thing: they decided that, with their payroll parameters, they couldn’t afford both Lee and Roy Halladay, and they gambled that their starting rotation would be good enough without Lee. They would soon find out that it wasn’t. Desperate to add another stating pitcher to the rotation at midseason, they found a willing trade partner in former Phils GM Ed Wade and plucked Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros. There is no way that the Phillies could have foreseen Oswalt being available to them. So again, it was blind, dumb luck.
Fans never care about the how.
In November, the bottom line is that the Eagles, with Vick in the saddle, have emerged as a major contender for the Super Bowl. Yep, you read that right. Somebody has to come out of the wide open NFC. Why not the Eagles? My pecking order has them right in the top five of the teams who will come down the stretch vying for the title. The Giants are there. So are the Falcons, and the suddenly resurgent Packers and Saints.
All of which means the Eagles will have to formulate a plan to keep Vick as the starting quarterback for the future. In light of what the Washington Redskins just did with Donovan McNabb (though the contract allows the Redskins to cut McNabb after this year and only be $3.7 million on the hook), will the Eagles be pressured to renew Vick before the season’s conclusion? Probably not. Though Vick has played to the level of an MVP candidate, the Eagles are still worried about him getting hurt. If they renew him now, they will be at a disadvantage financially if an injury does happen,. Their strategy will be to wait, probably until the end of the year. They will not allow him to go on to the open market. At the very least, they will make him the franchise player (if a franchise player provision even exists in the tenuous Collective Bargaining negotiations).
That won’t make the Vick representation team very happy. But a couple of years ago, Michael Vick was in prison and his camp would do well not to look a gift horse in the mouth. The Eagles gave Vick a chance to get back into the fray, gave him the chance to display the wares he’s currently displaying. Vick’s going to get his money soon. And it’s going to come from the Eagles.
In the meantime, Michael Vick will continue to do what he does best. And we fans just should revel in our team’s blind, dumb luck.