By Patrick Imig
Cold, Hard Football Facts Nit-Picker
Michael Vick returned to Atlanta for Week 2's Sunday night showdown (you probably heard). Before the game on the field, the media frenzy extended to the man who helped draft Vick, former Falcons head coach Dan Reeves. Said Reeves
“When Mike really needed them, they turned their back on him in my opinion. They could have been a big supporter and they let him go. I think it could have been handled differently. I wasn’t there so I don’t know the organization’s standpoint, but I thought they could have been more supportive and instead they severed ties with him.”
Wow. That's quite a statement considering the circumstances. Here's Vick, the face of the franchise, and he's the center of a heinous dog fighting ring. On the other hand, Reeves is just being the head coach and mentor (it would seem). We've seen similar occurrences, including Dick Vermeil staying loyal to his oft-troubled running back Lawrence Phillips. One thing that is for certain is that the Michael Vick experience in Atlanta was a tale of two extremes. Atlanta radio show host John Kincade: “It is the most polarizing issue I believe a sports town has ever dealt with ... ... Mike Vick is still the rock star."
The rock star comparison might be the best analogy for Vick the quarterback. One comparison I wouldn't accept or expect is Vick and Henry Aaron. That's how NBC's Al Michaels described it Sunday night ...
“In Atlanta, along with Henry Aaron, maybe the number one hero."
While Reeves' comments resonated in news circles, Michaels' comparison was ignored. On the surface, it's crazy. Aaron never flipped off his own fans. He never admitted to giving less than 100% and he certainly didn't fund a dog mauling circuit. He also played at a time of unrest in the civil rights movement. To call Vick a hero is a discredit to the term.
From the sports perspective, Aaron has nearly every credential possible: first all time in runs batted in and extra base hits. He was also voted the 5th best player in baseball history by the Sporting News in 1999. Depending on who you ask, Vick isn't even the 5th best quarterback in the game today.
For a little more clarity and context, we turn to former Atlanta journalist Gil Tyree:
“(Vick) is the guy that gave Atlanta a global identity from a sports stand point and gave Atlanta a face. Outside of Hank Aaron, I can’t say that anybody else had that impact in Atlanta.”
Impact? Yes. Hero? No. Michaels' comment has been overturned by Tyree.
As for the game, you know how that turned out. Vick suffered a concussion. He also bit his tongue causing some in the media to report he was spitting up blood. The consequences of Week 2 gave the Philadelphia Daily News
the chance to roll out their spit cover.
And then there was ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, who gave SportsCenter viewers nearly every detail possible following Vick's departure from Atlanta:
"He got out of the shower and was escorted by Eagles trainer Rick Berkholder. He looked very groggy and walked very slowly. And then when he came out of the locker room fully dressed ... he was moving slowly and walked very gingerly to the bus."
Thanks for the detailed analysis, Sal. We're glad Vick put clothes on before leaving the Georgia Dome. If there's one thing America loathes, it's a naked man spitting up blood.
Comments from NFL Network personalities that could be construed as meaningless in non-football cultures
Steve Mariucci, on Bills running back Fred Jackson: "He's a football player!"
Deion Sanders: "Jason Campbell came to play football."
Fran Charles: "Matt Forte is a man."
The NFL is the greatest sport in the world. You know this already. If you don't, we thank you for reading Cold Hard Football Facts. We're also happy to have witnessed beautiful football. Week 2's Bills-Raiders contest was a delightful surprise. It was so delightful, that CBS play by play man Kevin Harlan signed off with the description "a beauty in Buffalo". Then at the conclusion of the Eagles-Falcons, the previously mentioned Al Michaels stamped the game as a "beauty". Thanks for enhancing the beauty, guys. Beautiful football is truly a beautiful thing.
Here's to another Sunday of mountains of Buffalo wings and free flowing beer.
THE VERDICT IS IN: THIS COLUMN IS SILLY
Phildalphia columnist John Smallwood wrote a column on Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb, titled "Jury still out on Kolb"
. It's a little bit of a head scratcher, with excerpts such as the following:
"Two games into his career as the starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, Kevin Kolb is the same question mark he was for 4 years with the Eagles."
John, it's only been two games! You said it already.
"Once again, nothing was answered about Kolb. He did enough to make you believe he's got a nice future, but not enough to think he's going to be a star."
It's pretty tough to become a star in Week 2 of the season, the week which marks the SECOND GAME of your tenure with your new team. Would Kolb be a star if Chansi Stuckey didn't fumble allowing Kolb the chance to lead the Cardinals to a 4th-quarter comeback win?
Give the benefit of the doubt to Kolb, though: he has a 110.3 passer rating through two weeks, which includes 5 touchdowns and 560 yards passing. Star label or otherwise, that's a good individual start.
Headlines that qualify any journalist as a star satirist ...
Grossman Alert: Elevated ...
Fairy version of Deion Sanders charged with breaking and entering ...
PETA publicly endorses Michael Vick Injury ...
Source: Lions mascot has mechanical arm ...
National Geographic discovers Rams can lay eggs in primetime ...
Jay Cutler completes pass on unprecedented 17-step-drop ...
Player who cracked heads with Vick wins $100 gift card to Home Depot ...