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Women's World: A Wealth Of Leadership

Posted Dec 5, 2013

Welcome to Women's World. Brandyn Campbell is the founder, editor and writer of the Philly Sports Muse. Every Thursday, Campbell will offer a unique perspective as she shares her passion for the Eagles ...

The seamlessness of the Eagles' quarterback transition has been rather remarkable. The tales of discord in locker rooms when the No. 2 suddenly assumes the starting role are well-documented. In fact, it's the norm. Bruised egos, divided allegiances in the locker room ... it's usually an ugly, messy affair.

But not so in Philadelphia. Nick Foles and Michael Vick have been in each other's court from early on. They've known that whichever man got the start, putting in their best performance each and every day was in the best interest of the team. As they battled in Training Camp to be named the team's starter, both Vick and Foles used the other's talents as incentive to improve his own performance. When Vick was named the starter at the beginning of the season, Foles was gracious but quietly determined. He continued to hone his craft. When Foles was named the starter for the remainder of the season by Chip Kelly last week, Vick was the consummate teammate - humble, understanding and appreciative of what the second-year quarterback had done for the team.

Nick Foles and Michael Vick

Both Foles and Vick have both displayed an incredible amount of maturity and leadership in how they have conducted themselves during the transition, both on and off the field. When a team is doing well, you can be sure that strong leadership is a core factor in the squad’s success. It seems that the Eagles are fortunate in having an abundance of leadership from its quarterbacks.

Nick Foles has assumed the starting quarterback role effortlessly, with no challenges from his teammates. He has entered into the role as if it was the one he was born to play. His success and the weapons he has found and utilized on the field is a testament to his standing with teammates. By all accounts, Foles is an incredibly confident, yet humble young man. That combination has earned him the respect of his teammates and peers. It’s a straightforward leadership model: Gain respect by working hard, performing well and doing everything possible to put the team in good situations.

Then there is Michael Vick. His current situation cannot be easy. Not only a former starter for the Eagles, he was at one time the toast of the NFL. We know well how he came to be Philadelphia’s quarterback and his story of redemption. He worked his way back to the top and into the role of starter with the Eagles under Andy Reid because of his talent and electrifying athleticism. Those same traits are what led him to be named as the starter by Chip Kelly. But it was his hamstring injury that forced him to the sidelines. As he worked on recovery, his backup kept improving on the playing field.

Perhaps in an ironic twist, Vick lost his job the same way he had earned it - by becoming injured, with the backup playing so well that there was simply no way a coach could turn back.

In his new designation as the team’s No. 2, Vick is displaying an extraordinary amount of leadership. The change could have easily gone bad but somehow, true to his statements, the elder quarterback seems truly happy for the younger’s success. Like the rest of us, Vick understands that Foles was playing too well to be sidelined. For the sake of his team, he had no interest in dividing the Eagles locker room. He had no desire to argue with his coach about the decision to make the second-year quarterback the starter. Instead, he understood. He spoke highly of what he saw of Foles’ abilities on the field and downplayed what the move meant to his own future. Vick realizes that his time to be in the team’s spotlight is not now. He doesn’t want to serve as a distraction. That is an impressive act of selflessness that is hard to come by in professional sports.

The effortless quarterback transition shows us that the displays of genuine friendship and respect demonstrated by Foles and Vick at a joint press conference earlier this season weren’t a publicity ploy. It was an insight into their reality.

The importance of leadership to any team is a given, but for a young squad like the Eagles it cannot be overstated. The fact that the 51 men on the active roster other than Vick and Foles have witnessed a transition that has gone as seamlessly as Philadelphia’s changing of the quarterback guard will pay dividends as other challenges to the team inevitably arise.

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