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 NFL Mid-Season Playoff Push Debate… Texans Still Hunting

November 11, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Optimist Prime and Loyal Homer.

The Houston Texans kicked off the 2010 NFL season in remarkable fashion when they shocked the Indianapolis Colts.

That start did not surprise many people, though, as many picked the Texans to continue with the progress they have made in recent years en route to their first ever playoff appearance.

After turning in the first winning record in franchise history last season the Texans entered into 2010 with high hopes. They brought back the league’s most promising aerial combination in quarterback Matt Schaub (who led the NFL in passing yards in 2009) and wide receiver Andre Johnson (who racked up over 200 more receiving yards than anyone else in the entire league last season). The team is now poised to challenge the Indianapolis Colts’ stranglehold over the AFC South.

More recently, however, after jumping out to an early 3-1 record, the Texans have experienced a bit of a reversal in fortune by losing three of the last four games. They currently find themselves a game behind both the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South standings, and considering their recent struggles, look like more like the Texans of previous seasons than the team we saw during the early weeks of 2010.

But don’t let that fool you into thinking this is the same old Houston Texans team that has blown its chances at the playoffs.

The primary reason the Texans will continue on in the postseason hunt is the astonishing performance of running back Arian Foster. In a season where everyone expected Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson to run away with the rushing title, Foster has come out of nowhere to dominate on the ground. Halfway through the season he leads the NFL both in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He has single-handedly carried the Texans to this point in the season.

Although Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson have not been able to find a rhythm yet that matches pre-season expectations, it is only a matter of time before they start to light it up in the air. Once that happens, the rest of the NFL better watch out, because an offense that features the league’s top run game, and complements it with what could be the top passing game, becomes the best offense in the league.

Obviously the Texans have an uphill climb ahead of them. Once more, they find themselves chasing Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in their division. Their defense has not done them any favors, either, as it allows more yards than any other team in the league. But unlike any other season since the Texans joined the league, there is no team that has dominated the AFC South. All four teams have shown flashes of brilliance, and all four have also turned in very forgettable performances.

In a toss-up division, with the potential of developing into the league’s most potent offense, there will be more than enough to keep the Texans in the hunt late into December.

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