Every Eagles fan remembers where they were and what they were doing when the news came that the Philadelphia Eagles had signed quarterback Michael Vick, fresh out of prison, to a one-year deal with an option for a second year.
It was August 13th, 2009, and I was in the stands watching the Eagles lose to the New England Patriots in a preseason game. At first, I was extremely skeptical of the decision. More than any other emotion though, I was shocked.
Vick didn’t really factor into the team’s equation during the 2009 season, as he played sparingly, mostly in the wildcat role.
In 2010, Vick was named the starting quarterback over Kevin Kolb after just six quarters of play against the Packers and the Detroit Lions. I was not happy with the decision. In fact, I was livid.
But like every Eagles fan, I fell in love with Vick. How can you not when your quarterback is leading your team to 59 points against the Washington Redskins or engineering a 21-point fourth quarter comeback against the New York Giants?
Then the season ended sour, as Vick threw an extremely costly interception in the final minute of a home playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Vick was rewarded with a six-year, $100 million contract extension before the 2011 season but his performance regressed in 2011. He missed three games with broken ribs, just like he did in 2010. And the Eagles finished 8-8, concluding arguably the most disappointing season in franchise history.
Now there has been some speculation, mostly among Eagles fans, about the team making a run for highly coveted free agent Peyton Manning.
So why would fans want Manning if they’re so in love with Vick? Or aren’t they in love with Vick anymore?
I think the answer is a combination of both. Fans clearly recognize that Manning would be a significant upgrade over Vick, even though he is four years older and hasn’t played since 2010.
But I also don’t think fans like Vick as much as they used to. Evem though he’s been the starter for just two seasons, they’ve grown tired of his injuries. His interceptions. The fumbling. And his struggles in the clutch (minus the Miracle at the New Meadowlands in December of 2010).
Fans want a Super Bowl. They want it so badly that they would do anything to get one. Everybody is annoyed right now, at management for the failed free agent signings that led to the embarrassing 2011 season, and at players for their subpar performance last year, Vick included.
I think every Eagles fan would be perfectly fine with cutting Vick and signing Manning. Playing quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles is never a cakewalk. I think fans would be okay with a leopard playing quarterback, as long as he won football games.
Vick really hasn’t been winning football games, not like we expected.
Unfortunately, in Philadelphia, that’s enough to have the fans start to turn on you.