The 2010 Michael Vick for MVP Debate Verdict

November 30, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Babe Ruthless and Loyal Homer.

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How ironic that I am writing about one of the best quarterbacks in football as I watch a Monday Night Football matchup that features two of the worst quarterbacks in football.

The Cardinals and 49ers this season have been a revolving door at the quarterback position, as guys like Matt Leinart, David Carr, Alex Smith, Max Hall, Troy Smith, and Derek Anderson have all at one time or another been tagged as the “starter” for these two franchises. Although it is unlikely that we will hear the names Derek Anderson or Troy Smith brought up in MVP conversations anytime soon, when this season kicked off they probably would have been considered HEAVY favorites over a guy like Michael Vick.

But here we are, week 12 is now in the books, and Michael Vick is performing as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

There is no denying the impact he has had on the field for the Philadelphia Eagles this season. His performance has almost assuredly earned him many accolades already – team MVP, Pro Bowl, and as Loyal Homer suggested, Comeback Player of the Year. But league MVP?

Babe Ruthless, despite an obvious dislike for Michael Vick the man, feels that his successes on the field simply cannot be ignored when discussing the players who are worthy of being named the most valuable. Considering some direct comparisons between Vick and his counterpart, Kevin Kolb, it is nearly impossible to deny just how valuable Vick has been to his team.

Both quarterbacks got an opportunity to face the Washington Redskins this season. For his part, Kolb was 22 of 35 for 201 yards, one TD and one pick, while Vick, just six weeks later, went 20 of 28 for 333 yards, four TDs, no INTs, and added another two rushing TDs just for good measure.

Clearly, Vick is a difference-maker on the field.

But the Washington Redskins’ defense is not the barometer by which MVPs are measured, and even as well as Vick has played in each of his appearances this season, Loyal Homer does not want MVP voters to forget that Vick has essentially been a part-time quarterback.

To Loyal Homer’s point, it is hard to overlook the fact that Vick has finished less than 60 percent of the Eagles’ games so far this season. Vick has been outstanding, but guys like Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, and Arian Foster have been equally outstanding (although maybe not as flashy), and have sustained it over a longer period of time than has Vick.

Philip Rivers, for example, is on pace not only for a career best in passing yards for a season, but realistically could put up an all-time NFL best total for the category, having already thrown for 3,362 yards in only 11 games this season. Vick, meanwhile, comes in more than 1,000 yards fewer than that total at 1,941. There are also four quarterbacks in the NFL currently tied for the league lead with 23 TD passes (Rivers, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees). Vick has just slightly more than half of that total with 13.

I’m not one to put a lot of stock in statistics, normally, but differences like that are very difficult to disregard when we are discussing the top performers of an entire season, and so I am awarding this verdict to Loyal Homer.

I just do not feel that Vick deserves consideration for the MVP award in 2010. His value to the Eagles may be immense, but he simply did not have to sustain his performance over a long enough time to truly be compared with Rivers, Brady, etc.

In baseball this season Kansas City Royals pitcher Bruce Chen posted a batting average of 1.000. In fact, Chen has been carried that 1.000 since 2006. He only had one at bat in 2010, and has a total of only three at bats in the last four years, but over that time his average has been perfect. Does that make him better than Josh Hamilton, who sustained a .359 average over more than 500 at bats?

I do not in any way mean to diminish Vick’s performance, but who is to say that he would have remained at the top of the QB ratings leaderboard (or any statistical leaderboard) if he played the additional games against the Redskins, 49ers, Falcons, and Titans? Who is to say that Vick would not have failed epically between weeks four and seven? We will never know.

When recognizing the league’s most valuable player, there can be no room for speculation. The winner has to have been DEFINITIVELY the best over the entire season, and Michael Vick simply cannot state a definitive case.

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The 2010 Michael Vick for MVP Debate

November 28, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Babe Ruthless and Loyal Homer.

Since taking over for an injured Kevin Kolb during week one of the season, Michael Vick has stormed back into the spotlight as one of the league’s premier quarterbacks. Entering into yesterday’s matchup against the Chicago Bears, he carried the league’s best quarterback rating at 108.7, and still had not thrown for a single interception all season.

Despite throwing his first interception of the season in a loss against the Bears yesterday, his individual performance over the course of the game remained on par with the rest of his season.

There is little doubt that Vick will be named to the NFC’s Pro Bowl squad at the end of the season and, assuming he remains healthy, is very likely to lead the Eagles into the post-season as one of the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

But, does he deserve consideration for the league’s MVP award?

While it is true that Vick has been exceptional when on the field, it is important to note that he has not been on the field all that long. He was not the season’s starter for the Eagles, and after leaving the game early in week four with an injury, he did not return to the field until five weeks later.

So, the question for today’s debate is: To this point in the season, does Michael Vick’s performance earn him consideration for the NFL MVP award?

At this point in the season, I think it is safe to assume that the Philadelphia Eagles may have been a good team WITHOUT Michael Vick at starting quarterback, but WITH him they are one of the best teams in the NFL. And, as Babe Ruthless will argue, his presence makes such an impact on the field that he absolutely MUST be considered for the award, regardless of the fact that he missed a couple games due to an injury.

Meanwhile, Loyal Homer will argue that Vick’s performance, albeit outstanding, must be taken in context. Even if he finishes the season healthy he STILL would have missed a full 25 percent of his team’s games this season when players like Philip Rivers, Arian Foster, and Tom Brady have been equally vital to their teams’ success, and they will have played the ENTIRE season to this point.

Can you be the league’s most valuable player when you did not even play the entire season? We are about to find out.

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The 2010 Michael Vick for MVP Debate… Vick for MVP

November 28, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Loyal Homer.

Michael Vick is a disgusting human being.

He is an epic failure as both an ambassador of his sport and as a role model for the millions of young fans who idolize NFL stars. His life choices rank him somewhere in my book between Saddam Hussein and Charlie Sheen. He has squandered virtually every chance that commissioner Goodell and the league have given him to get his personal life under control. In short, much of his life can be summed up in just two words – vile disappointment.

But, he is also one more thing I forgot to mention. Michael Vick is one heck of a good football player.

He is the single most important player, in respect to determining the overall success of his team, in all of the NFL. Since his days as a starter in Atlanta, Vick’s athletic skills were unquestioned. Although somewhat one dimensional – running his unique version of a one man option play – the fact that he was a freakish athlete was undeniable. But now since his ascendency to the role of starting quarterback in Philly, he has taken his game to a whole other level. He has proven himself as the consummate pocket passer as well as threat to role out and stretch the field on any given play. He is now among the greatest players in the NFL and deserves to be considered for league MVP.

While it is true that Michael Vick did not start the season as Philadelphia’s starter, and he has missed some games due to injury, these facts are really not a detriment to his case. The fact that Vick surpassed Kevin Kolb as the starter in Philly is impressive. The Eagles had enough faith in Kolb to release former six time Pro Bowl QB and face of the franchise Donovan McNabb, and that’s the guy that Vick beat out for the job as starting signal caller.

Since taking the reigns of the team, Vick has led the Eagles to first place in the ultracompetitive NFC East and remained undefeated as a starter until yesterday’s close loss to the Chicago Bears. It is no coincidence, however, that Philadelphia’s previous three losses have seen Vick missing for the majority of the game. That is a pretty obvious indicator of his value to the team.

Just comparing the Kolb led Eagles’ week four performance against the Washington Redskins and Vick’s record setting performance against the same team just six weeks later on Monday Night Football proved that Vick is the difference maker. Kolb struggled mightily against McNabb and company laeding the anemic offense to a total of 12 points. The week ten rematch proved to be an entirely different story. Vick amassed a ridiculous 333 passing yards with four touchdowns and threw in an additional 80 rushing yards and two scores on the ground to boot. Yet, again Vick was the difference. While he can’t post career numbers like these every week, this performance is hard evidence that Michael Vick is definitely one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and should be considered in the same elite company as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Arian Foster for MVP.

Michael Vick is more than just a one hit wonder. Through the first 11 weeks of the season he sits atop the leader board with a crazy 108.7 QB rating. Similarly, he was flawless over that same spell throwing 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Yes, that’s right – ZERO interceptions. He may not have had the same platform as a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning, but he certainly has done enough to get noticed. He has also caused others to include him in the MVP talk, not to mention the blogosphere buzzing in his favor.

While I may still loath his very being and refuse to buy his reformed animal lover act, I can see that he is one of, if not the best, QB on the field this season. That should be one of the main considerations in the MVP talk.

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The 2010 Michael Vick for MVP Debate… Too Quick For Vick

November 28, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Babe Rutless.

I’ve certainly been captivated by Michael Vick’s remarkable return to glory. The whole football-watching nation has, in fact. His game against the New York Giants two Sundays ago drew big ratings. It really is an amazing story, and I commend Vick for paying his debt to society and coming back as a better quarterback than he was in his tenure in Atlanta. I find myself somewhat rooting for the guy, and that’s something I said that I would never do again once he essentially left the Falcons out to dry. But, unlike Babe Ruthless and much of America, I’m not going to say that his performance to this point earns him consideration for the MVP award.

With yesterday’s loss, the Eagles still remain tied for the lead in the NFC East at 7-4. In games the artist formerly known as Ron Mexico has started, the Eagles are 5-1. That’s just six games out of a possible 11. I’m pulling out my Texas Instruments calculator and telling you that he has only finished less than 55 percent of his team’s games to this point in the season. Looking solely at that statistic, it’s hard for me to put him into the discussion for MVP at this point.

Yesterday also presented arguably the toughest test for Vick. Chicago traditionally proved to be quite the challenge for Vick. I recall the Bears often providing confusing defensive looks for number seven during his time wearing the red and black. I thought yesterday’s game would be a big test for him, and while he threw for over 300 yards he did much of that when the game was out of hand, and he did in fact throw his first interception of the season. It was a big test was because, despite the resurgence, his games had come against Detroit, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Washington, and the New York Giants. A couple of those are playoff-caliber teams, but he needed a chance to go against another top-notch defense. Chicago entered play yesterday third overall in total defense.

Lost amongst the hoopla over Vick’s “feel good story” are outstanding seasons by other players. Yes, believe it or not, other players really are having great seasons. Philip Rivers, whose Chargers got off to yet another horrible start this season, have been on fire all season as he is on pace to set the record for passing yards in a season, and now his team is coming on strong. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are also having outstanding seasons. Manning is playing with receivers who aren’t recognizable to most fantasy football players. Brady is playing with a guy whose last name is Woodhead who has relied on Brady to help Patriot nation quickly fell in love with him.

I think we all appreciate how far Vick has come… except maybe PETA. But no, he hasn’t played enough to warrant MVP consideration just yet. If you want to give him an award, I have absolutely no problem giving him the Comeback Player of the Year Award. But to give him consideration when he won’t play a full season is too much.

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