Because Sportsline has a letter limit for titles let me state the full title of my article.
Vick's best case scenario might be the Eagles' worst case scenario.
Forget all the "should they or shouldn’t they" talk surrounding the Vick to the Eagles announcement. Let us examine what this acquisition really means for the Eagles this year and in the years to come.
I was listening to Sirius Satellite Radio this morning when an analyst on the NFL channel (124) posed this question. Wouldn’t the best case scenario for the success of Michael Vick be a worst case scenario for the Philadelphia Eagles?
The goal for Vick should be to get out on the field during games, make spectacular plays, and win fan and coach support for giving him a larger workload, and ultimately, a starting quarterback job.
For a team that has just given McNabb a two year extension, has a reliable backup in Feely, and has drafted high and spent big money on the future (Kolb), I don’t know where or even if Vick fits into the overall scheme.
If Vick can produce on the field, wouldn’t that be setting the Eagles up for a major quarterback controversy?
This situation has happened before in Philadelphia, albeit in very different circumstances. But the end results may be the same.
My US History teacher always said that if we don’t learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it (I’m pretty sure he lifted that phrase from someone more profound, but I heard it from him first).
Therefore I submit to you, the reader, a trip down memory lane to remember the Eagles of the mid-eighties.
Ron Jaworski was a quarterback who had done more for the Eagles than any other player at the Eagles' QB position had done in twenty five years or more.
He was a proven veteran who had led the Eagles to the big game five years before. He was the face of the franchise.
In 1985 Jaws was challenged by a young player named Randall Cunningham. The coaches saw how explosive he could be and sought out ways to adapt him into the offense.
Cunningham was electrifying, but to the overall detriment of the team. Jaws was 6-6 as a starter, while Cunningham was 1-3. The Eagles finished fourth in the NFC East that year.
1986 saw an increased effort to make Cunningham a bigger part of the offense. He regularly came in on third downs, and he performed well.
While this may have gotten the Eagles a few first downs, it created a rift among fans and players. Ron Jaworski, who had been the unquestioned face of the franchise for many years, was getting booed every time he went out on the field. Cunningham was cheered.
The 1986 Eagles finished fourth again, with their record dipping to an abysmal 5-10-1.
Jaws left after that year and Randall became the starter. Although the Eagles finished 7-8 and missed the playoffs again Randall eventually became a very good QB.
The first "scramble first" QB led the Eagles to three consecutive playoff seasons, but never to the Superbowl. The Eagles’ desire to showcase Cunningham led to two horrific seasons and the jettisoning of their most bankable player.
The comparisons are eerily similar. McNabb is the face of the franchise. He is five years removed from taking his team to the Promised Land. His new team mate is a "scramble first" QB with great athleticism and instincts.
As I see it the Eagles' goal SHOULD be for a healthy McNabb to play every game and lead his team back to the Superbowl.
NFL players are big boys. They are pros.
Off field distractions don’t bother them that much. However, a QB controversy could tear a team apart.
Therefore I caution Eagle fans, players, and coaches to be careful what you wish for.
Vick may be an exciting player, but does his upside come at the expense of the goals of the Eagles as a team?