These days you don’t have to look far to find a fan, media analyst, or casual observer who is ready to get on their knees and praise the second coming of Michael Vick. It’s become a tad disgusting, quite frankly, and not for the reasons you might think.
You see, there’s nothing wrong with giving the man his due.
He’s paid for the wrongs he committed and come out on the other side with a golden opportunity to, once again, grab the brass ring. It would be foolish not to applaud what he’s done this season because he has flourished playing in the Eagles’ offense.
That said, all this chatter about him being the MVP and carrying the Eagles to the promised land is extremely premature. His stats aren’t mind-blowing and, quite honestly, his stellar play has as much to do with his supporting cast as it does his arm and legs.
DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Brent Celek are good players, and they have been good for a few years now. After all, this isn’t the Eagles first trip around the NFC Championship conversation, they found themselves in that category for years—with McNabb.
So, Vick hasn’t taken a mediocre team and made it better. He’s taken a good team and made them more entertaining and he’s done so by doing two things well: 1) finding the open man and 2) making smarter decisions in the pocket.
Quite frankly, neither of those things are praiseworthy as both are exactly what a good quarterback is supposed to do.
Even with that, he’s not been that much more impressive than Sam Bradford (who actually has some challenges to overcome in St. Louis), Josh Freeman (who has more yards passing with a handful more attempts), or Matt Schaub (whose team entered the season with the second toughest schedule in the league).
People want to point to his dismantling of the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football, but wish to overlook the fact that the Redskins are not really that good. They are horrible against the pass (ranked 31st), atrocious against the run (ranked 25th), and horrific overall (ranked 32nd).
They give up more yards than any team in the National Football League (NFL) and the high-powered Eagles offense did precisely what they were supposed to do against them—win.
As a matter of fact, none of the teams Vick has faced this season have a pass defense ranked better than 17th—save the Colts (a team Vick had trouble passing against)—or a run defense ranked better than 20th. So, it’s astonishing that anyone is suddenly ready to crown him MVP based on six games—only a third of which were actually above average.
You can say what you want about how well he did on Monday night, but the MVP should be based on a player’s total body of work, over the course of the season—not a couple of great games he’s played against bad defenses.
Stats don’t lie—as much as the shadow of a redemptive story might try and cloud their existence. Vick is no more special than the media has tried to sell him to be. The same media who, it seems necessary to say, wanted to decimate and eradicate his existence as a football player and a man.
Is Vick having a nice season? Absolutely, there is no denying that he has added another dimension to an already talented Eagles offense.
Has he flashed moments of pure brilliance? Yes, but no more than any other quarterback has this season.
Is he the best quarterback in the NFL? No, he isn’t but he’s still one of the more exciting ones to watch.
In Vick’s case, it’s not necessarily the praise that’s the problem, it’s the perspective—something not many seem to have these days.