The fans seem to have forgiven, if not completely forgotten. Evidence of that comes straight from the NFL’s election central, where Michael Vick is leading all players in voting for the Pro Bowl.
The judge who put him behind bars is pleased with the new Vick, too. He told the Washington Post a few days ago that Vick’s return to football glory is proof that the criminal justice system really does work.
And the Philadelphia Eagles are ecstatic about the bargain basement quarterback who is not only doing the right things off the field, but doing spectacular things on it. It may just be that Vick, who began the season as a second stringer, is a better quarterback in his reincarnation than he ever was in his days playing in Atlanta.
It may also be that being named to the Pro Bowl is the least of the awards Vick will haul in during his season of redemption. League MVP certainly isn’t out of the question, and neither is Super Bowl champion.
Eighteen months ago he was finishing up a stint at Leavenworth and hated by dog lovers everywhere. Now he’s the toast of the NFL, a feel-good story almost too good to be true.
You wouldn’t think Vick has anything to complain about. But he does, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It seems NFL referees aren’t showing him any love.
“Not to take anything away from the other quarterbacks in the league, if you go back and watch the film, I’m always getting hit after I let go of the football,” Vick said earlier this week on his radio show in Virginia Beach, Va. “I’m constantly getting hit after I throw the football, constantly getting my facemask pulled and getting hit in the head and it’s never called.”
That Vick would feel secure enough in his new position in life to complain about officiating may be the biggest illustration of how far he’s come in putting his dog fighting scandal behind him. Until now he’s pretty much stuck to the script written for his comeback, keeping his head in the playbook and his mouth mostly shut.
Vick believes the referees aren’t calling late hits on him for a reason. It’s just not the reason you might think.
They’re not holding onto their yellow flags because he’s an ex-con who engaged in despicable behavior. According to Vick, they just sometimes forget he’s a quarterback.
“I just think that because I run the ball so much, the referees sometimes will overlook that,” Vick said. “They have to understand when I’m in the pocket, I’m a passer. If I get hit late, they should call it. I’m not complaining. I just want to be treated fairly.”
Give Vick credit for the timing of his message if nothing else. Tied with the Giants for the lead in their division with the season racing to a conclusion, the Eagles play Sunday night in Dallas against the resurgent Cowboys, then head to New York the next week to take on the Giants.
The two-game stretch will likely decide the NFC East, and determine whether the Eagles are a legitimate playoff threat. It can’t hurt to at least plant the idea in the heads of the officials working the game that Vick needs some extra protection.
Vick, though, is not alone in thinking some quarterbacks have it easier than others.View Entire Story
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