Published: August 14th, 2009 | Tags: Andy Reid, Bill Walsh, Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Dr. J, Greg Knapp, Joe Montana, Michael Vick, Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Eagles, Solomon Wilcots, Steve Young, Terrell Owens, Tony Dungy, Vince Lombardi
The City of Brotherly Love can be both kind and cruel to its sports stars. Dr. J, Mike Schmidt and Donovan McNabb have heard both the boos and cheers before earning the city’s eternal embrace.
Even while the city requires its athletes to weather the storm of criticism, the Eagles organization is the perfect place for Michael Vick to rehabilitate his life and resurrect his career.
While in a West Coast system in Atlanta, Vick has admitted his regret over not fully committing to mastering the scheme taught by offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. Now, the Eagles will offer Vick a second chance to cultivate and marry his talents to the most QB-friendly system in football. With Andy Reid and McNabb as his mentor and tutor in the West Coast offense, Vick will have another opportunity to dedicate himself to play the position more with his arm than with his legs. Reid tutored both Brett Favre and McNabb in the system during their early years and watched them flourish to maturity within it.
Vick now has the same opportunity to learn the hidden secrets of the West Coast scheme from one of its best teachers, while watching McNabb, one of its best operators.
During his 10 seasons in Philly, McNabb has survived slings and arrows of every kind. His draft day diss, a Rush Limbaugh attack, an attempted coup d’état by Terrell Owens and a mid-season benching have not prevented McNabb from leading the Eagles to five conference title games. It is McNabb’s resiliency and fortitude that makes him a perfect role model for Vick. McNabb is cemented as the Eagles’ greatest QB in franchise history. Recently awarded a mega extension, he is well-secured in his job, but his upbringing in a mature family environment has equipped him to be even more secure within himself in every way possible.
Vick must also rehab his temperament, which at times reflected poorly amidst booing fans during his time in Atlanta. As a witness to the classy and sometimes jovial ways McNabb has deflected criticism, it would serve as the ultimate example for Vick to achieve maturity in public relations and crisis management.
Like Vince Lombardi before him, Reid is a rare coach who cares equally about his players as people along with their on-field performance. Even before Reid’s personal crisis within his own family, he has always believed in awarding second chances to contrite individuals looking for a better way to conduct their lives. As a coach who cares, Reid is perfect to assist Vick in finding a better way to lead a productive life on and off the field. Along with Tony Dungy, Reid will become a key member of Vick’s inner circle of leaders who will tell it to him straight and not sugar coat truths which have remained hidden from him in the past.
Lastly, with the Eagles, Vick has an understanding environment that will allow him time to heal as well as to resurrect skills worn over by the rust of two years of inactivity. Just as the San Francisco 49ers allowed QB Steve Young to fully rehab after he’d been battered and bruised during a tumultuous career in Tampa, Vick will need time to regain his form and take his game beyond where it has ever been. Just as Bill Walsh and Joe Montana afforded Young the opportunity to listen and learn from an elite coach/quarterback relationship while resurrecting his career, Vick will learn from Reid and McNabb while waiting quietly in the wings.
In all, it is the people — and not the place — that will have the biggest impact on Vick’s recovery. Working with Reid and McNabb, who themselves have endured personal crisis, Vick will have the perfect models of resiliency and steadfast commitment to success. Both Reid and McNabb have rolled with enough punches to make Rocky green with envy.
In the City of Brotherly Love, where comebacks are both admired and expected, Vick will enter the ring with all the support one man could ever hope for.