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Fan-Demonium: Confidence Can Be Good

Posted Jul 19, 2012

Fan-Demonium

Michael Vick made some comments on Wednesday that got a lot of attention. He told Derrick Gunn of Comcast SportsNet that the Eagles could be special, like the Packers, 49ers and Cowboys teams he grew up watching in the 1990s.

“I think we have a chance to be that. I think we have a chance to develop a dynasty,” he said.

More than a few people were bothered by this. Not me.

Had Vick proclaimed that the Eagles were a great team or were already some type of dynasty, that would be a completely different story. The Eagles won the division in 2010, but only went 8-8 last year. That amounts to a hill of beans. The Eagles might have some glory days, but they will be in the future, not anything from the past few years.

You can certainly argue that Vick is putting the horse before the cart. Why not wait until the team wins something to say anything? That's the ideal way to go in today's society, but I think you have to let players have some personality. Bill Belichick keeps the Patriots locked up tight. That team is made up of scrappy overachiever types. They aren't meant to talk. The Giants say all kinds of crazy things, often to each other. They've got a pair of titles in the last five years. Do what you do.  Be yourself. 

The Eagles are more like the Giants than the Patriots, in terms of personality. That means the players need to be given the freedom to talk. That will lead to some regrettable comments. It also means that players can let their personalities shine through and be more at ease.

Vick isn't a braggart, but he is a confident quarterback. I've got no problem with that. He didn't like where the NFL Network had him rated on their Top 100 list. He felt he was better than that ranking. I'm fine with that. Last year, Eli Manning took a lot of flak for saying he was a top quarterback. He believed in himself when few others did.  How'd that work out for him?

If Vick had made some ridiculous comment guaranteeing a Super Bowl win or saying that the Eagles are clearly the best team in the league, I'd be planting my face in my hands and sitting here in disbelief. Instead, he simply pointed out that the Eagles have the pieces in place to be a really good team and for an extended period. Notice that he included the Packers. They won a single Super Bowl in the 1990s. Vick isn't promising that the Eagles are going to win a bunch of Lombardi Trophies.  The goal is certainly to win multiple titles, but so much goes into it that you can't count on that.

Vick wants the Eagles to be like the best teams that he watched while growing up. He did mention the 49ers, but I don't know if he meant the Joe Montana teams. Montana last won the title in the 1989 season, when Vick was 9 years old. My guess is that he's referring to the Steve Young years. Young was an athletic, left-handed quarterback. Sound familiar? You can bet Young is one of Vick's favorite players. The 49ers won the Super Bowl in 1994. They were in title games a couple of other times and had a good team for most of the decade.

Lawlor

Tommy Lawlor, goeagles99 on the Discussion Boards, is an amateur football scout and devoted Eagles fan. He is the Editor of IgglesBlitz.com and was a contributor to the Eagles Almanac.

Dallas did win three Super Bowls in four years. That's one of the all-time great feats. All teams would love to pull off something like that, but it is unbelievably hard. Think about the fact that Steve Young and Brett Favre were great players for a long time on very good teams and they combined to win two titles (as starters). Dallas had something very special. That kind of magic involves a lot of things going right. The Eagles should aspire to be like those teams from the 1990s. They played great football and were always in contention for a title.  If you can't win multiple titles, you want to be right there challenging for them. 

Some in the media jumped on these comments as the 2012 version of the "dream team." No way. The biggest difference is that Vick is the starting quarterback and has been here for a few years. He knows the coaches and players. He knows the situation. He's seen highs and lows. Vick looks at the team as it stands now and sees the potential to be a special group.

Vince Young was new to the Eagles last year. He was coming in to be the backup quarterback and then made an off-hand comment that ended up following the Eagles all year long. It felt like an anchor around the team's neck. Any time something went wrong you knew that people were saying, "Nice going, dream team." Opposing fans couldn't wait to use that as a way to taunt the Eagles. Opposing players were the same way. The national media never let go of that term. It went from being an innocent comment to Young's proclamation to the world about the Eagles’ greatness.

Vick's comments can be used against the Eagles, but since it isn't a snappy little phrase I don't think it will resonate the same way. Also, he didn't say this is a dynasty. He said the Eagles could "develop a dynasty." I'm sure he'll be misquoted three or four-thousand times as some people latch onto the word dynasty. Since Vick is the starting quarterback he'll be talking to the media a ton. That will help to drown out his comments. The sheer volume of quotes from Vick makes it less likely that these comments will have the same impact as last year's catchphrase from hell.

The angle that I do like about this is that Vick sees the Eagles as a long-term group. Last year, the team had a lot of players on one-year deals. I think Vick talked about a potential dynasty in part because so many key players are under contract for the next several years. This isn't a bunch of mercenaries. This is a true team.

Let's stop for a second and think about the "what if" angle. What if Vick is right and the Eagles do become a dynasty in the next few years? I know I was green with envy when Dallas was dominating the league from 1992-1995. I remember watching a lot of 49ers-Packers games (they seemed to play every year, often in the playoffs). At that time the Eagles had no stud quarterback. I can remember being so jealous. The thought of having a quarterback like Young or Favre at the helm was tough to grasp.

The Eagles are loaded with talent. There are weapons on offense and defense. There is a good mixture of youth and experience. The pieces are in place for the Eagles to be pretty darn good. Can Vick be a special quarterback? I really do look forward to seeing just how good he can be this year. There are no guarantees, but I get the feeling that he's going to have a big season.

I don't like players making promises because making them come true is so incredibly hard. I do like the players having confidence in the team, for the upcoming season and the future. Vick might have been walking a fine line with his comments, but I'm OK with them. He's the starting quarterback. If he thinks this group can be special, don't hide from that feeling. Just make sure that you don't go too far with the comments. Confidence is a good thing. Arrogance is a different story.  Arrogance has been the downfall for plenty of teams.  Don't fall into that trap.

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