I’m glad you enjoy the players-only sessions we have on NFL Network. I enjoy being a part of them. Warren, Deion, Marshall and “Mooch” offer great insight, and I’m just there (LOL). This week’s installment asked this question: “If you had to start a franchise, who would you choose?” Deion chose Mike Tomlin, Warren chose Mario Williams, Marshall chose Shawne Merriman and I chose Michael Vick.
That selection set the Tweet Nation ablaze. There were so many tweets that I couldn’t respond to everyone. Unfortunately, some of the conversations during the show got edited due to time constraints. So I feel it necessary to give you the entire argument.
On a side note, notice that none of the panel mentioned Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, who we all hold in high esteem. That should tell you something in and of itself.
To my detriment, I am a thinker. There are many who don’t like what I say because they get held up with the emotional attachment to their team or some sense of right and wrong.
I just call it like it is.
In getting back to the question of who I would choose to start a team, my first inclination is this: Who can I select that can be the most impactful? I have to eliminate Manning from that discussion because, rightfully so, the Colts have surrounded him with eight first-round draft choices at the skill positions (Faulk, Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez and Dallas Clark). We saw holes in Peyton’s game when players went down a few seasons ago. Did I mention that Tony Dungy guy, who covered up holes with great schemes?
Brady did not have premiere talent at wide receiver prior to Randy Moss and Wes Welker, but he is in a program with arguably the greatest coach in the modern era of the NFL. Spygate or no Spygate, you tell me a team that has lost Pro Bowl players to free agency or injury, offensive coordinators (plural), defensive coordinators (plural), a pro personnel director (Thomas Dimitroff) and a GM (Scott Pioli) over the last several years, as well as Brady last season, and still won 11 games.
Once again, I call it like it is. Bill Belichick is a genius, Spygate or no Spygate.
But back to the question. I didn’t like the question, first of all, because it was a typical, middle-of-May, CHEESY sports talk-radio question, when there’s nothing else going on. That said, I chose the guy who has proven to have the biggest impact despite being surrounded with the least amount of talent.
My choice has nothing to do with dog fighting. (AND FOR THE 1,000TH TIME, THE KID WAS WRONG AND HE HAS SERVED HIS TIME, EVEN THOUGH THE THUGS WHO WERE DOING THE REAL NASTY STUFF TO THE DOGS WALKED. THAT’S A BLOG FOR ANOTHER DAY!) I don’t care if you personally dislike the guy. In fact, you are well within your right to do so.
Here’s my argument for the impact Vick has on an entire team:
1. You can almost guarantee the offense will lead the league in rushing.
2. Vick will be among the leaders in combined TDs, whether it’s passing or rushing.
3. The team will be among the leaders in third-down and fourth-down conversions.
4. He will impact the D because the offense will be among the leaders in time of possession.
5. He’ll help the D because they will be rested.
Needless to say, this decision was also based on the assumption that Vick could regain his old form. In wrapping this up, there is no doubt in my mind that Brady and Manning are the best football players in the NFL. But a measure of their success has to be attributed to the great players, coaches and personnel decisions that add to their brilliance. Vick is my selection because of his unique physical talents that have residual effects on both sides of the ball.
BTW, if I’m going to start a franchise, it would be nice to make sure there are fans in the stands. It’s a statistical fact that — much like another pariah, Barry Bonds — fans packed the stadium to see the human highlight film that was Michael Vick.
What say you?
– Jamie Dukes
Post your comments below, and catch me on Twitter: @jamiedukes