I will always remember exactly where I was when I found out that the Eagles had signed Michael Vick. August 13th, 2009; in the car, on the way back from an Eagles pre-season game, on Columbus Boulevard. Shock, excitement, confusion, I felt all of it. It sits in a place in my mind with some of the most shocking things, positive and negative, that I’ve ever seen or heard.
The Eagles already had two quarterbacks, Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb; one, the starter, and the other the starter in waiting. There was the controversy attached to Vick, I mean, the guy just got out of jail. Nothing about it added up as a move that Andy Reid would make.
Andy Reid looked at his hand, and decided to call.
Theories were batted around on WIP for months. The prevailing theme was that it was a combination of a reclamation project for Reid, and the recent obsession with the wildcat offense in the NFL. Whatever it was, it seemed like the riskiest move that Andy Reid had ever made. A gamble of epic proportions, that didn’t seem to have much potential payoff. Why all this fuss over 8-10 plays a game? What’s the point?
We went through a season and occasionally saw Vick, and occasionally saw something impressive. By and large though, it still seemed like more trouble than it was worth. Still, unsatisfied with what other teams had offered for Vick, the experiment continued.
Andy Reid decided to raise, with a hand that didn’t look like it had much of a chance.
Then came the incident with the shooting at Vick’s birthday party this summer. Again, people called for the Vick experiment to end. They had already traded McNabb, and anointed Kolb the starter. The loudest voices you heard were the ones calling for Reid and the Eagles to cut their losses with Vick. To quote Ricky Watters, “for who, for what?”
Still, Reid didn’t fold his hand. If this was a game of poker, and you were watching it on television, you’d have been screaming at the screen for Reid to just fold, and play the next hand. As usual, Reid was called stubborn.
A Kevin Kolb concussion, and one Michael Vick start later, the tide of public opinion changed at a pace that is only seen in Philadelphia. Eagles fans hit Kolb quicker than Clay Matthews ever could have. What a difference six quarters makes.
Now people were calling Reid stubborn for a different reason. In the clearest, quickest 180 I’ve ever seen, people were calling for Reid to start Vick. I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes. It was almost as shocking as the Vick signing itself.
Then it happened. The second time Andy Reid made me remember where I was when I heard Michael Vick’s name. In that same car, on that same road, feeling that same shock. As far as I’m concerned, Columbus Boulevard is now Michael Vick Way.
He did it, Andy Reid made Michael Vick the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. He took his entire plan for Kevin Kolb and the Eagles and flushed it right down the toilet.
Recommitted, retrained and rehabbed, Michael Vick was back to his original form. By most accounts, even better than his original form. Unbelievable as it may sound, Michael Vick is the starter.
With this, Andy Reid goes all in on the biggest hand of his career. He’s betting his career in Philadelphia, the franchise, and Kevin Kolb’s future on this decision.
Maybe Andy Reid knew how good Vick was going to be the whole time. Maybe he just got lucky. Whatever the case, now we may finally get to see his cards.