The Opening Pitch: The Eagles signing Michael Vick is brilliant.
— The team has the credibility of a contender and a well-run franchise.
— McNabb is safely ensconced as the starter and a mentor for Vick.
— The team is full of vets — safe, professional environment.
— Andy Reid is no-nonsense, but has empathy from his own family's problems.
— The Wildcat is an offense the Eagles can use (and McNabb can't/won't run)
— As bad as Philly fans can be, when you're "their guy," no fans are better.
This last factor is the most important: Other fans around the league are too earnest; they couldn't handle Vick. Eagles fans are so cynical and self-loathing that they literally ooze the version of empathy that Vick needs to succeed. (Don't gripe: It's a compliment!)
Not just because of this move — but certainly helpful — I am picking the Eagles to win the NFC.
Instantly, the NFL Must-See Game of the Year is Eagles at ... Falcons on Dec. 6. (All the more absurd: The day before in the Georgia Dome, the SEC will play its championship game, potentially featuring unbeaten Florida versus unbeaten Ole Miss or unbeaten Alabama.)
How big was the Vick news? It basically took over Twitter last night, with everything from "Wow!" (and other equivalents) to jokes (many, mostly tasteless). It is hard to believe that anti-Vick protesters will be able to be heard over the sheer volume of acceptance from fans that, yes, he is back.
(I should be more clear: Fans and media have not only moved completely past whether Vick deserves to be back in the league, but the reviews of his fit with the Eagles are uniformly positive — aside from PETA, obviously — that this is a fantastic match for him. And, um, so much for that big “60 Minutes” interview.)
Ironically, the Eagles played the Patriots last night, in what I guess I am now calling a Super Bowl preview. Vick's signing completely bumped Tom Brady's return to game action from the lead of the national sports scene today.
Both McNabb and Brady got a lot more work than I thought either would get, but the guy who is really hurting is Eagles backup A.J. Feeley, who played really well in mop-up duty, despite probably figuring he's suddenly back a spot on the depth chart.
Vick Fantasy Implications: Would YOU take a chance on drafting Vick? If used right (say, in goal-line situations in a single-wing/Wildcat formation, he could have 10 TDs); if used wrong (or not at all), you will get no TDs — certainly no passing yards. Verdict: Not worth it.
Happy Madden Day! So, how quick can they release an update that puts Vick in an Eagles uniform? Otherwise, today's column was going to be all about how Madden Day has become an official holiday among sports fans, arguably an annual Top 3 sports weekday of the year (along with Monday after Selection Sunday and the first two days of the NCAA Tournament, which I consider one unit). For those who play: Enjoy. (Sounds like the Wii version is more fun than the Xbox version, at least for non-hard-core gamers like me.)
Last Night's NFL Preseason: The Cardinals still can't beat the Steelers! The Redskins’ offense is worse! (Either that, or the Ravens D was already in midseason form.) Dallas fans are already panicking! (The Raiders? Really?) Oh, and HBO's "Hard Knocks" had its season premiere, Bengals-style.
This weekend's NFL games:
Top story lines: Cutler, Stafford, Cassel, Henne
Rookie to Watch: Harvinharvinharvin.
Donte Stallworth banned for the season: Some times vigilante justice feels right. This is one of those times.
Wrigley D'bag Update: Apparently, his name is John Macchione of Bartlett, Ill. Welcome to your 15 minutes of infamy. This guy shouldn't just be banned for life from MLB games, but he should spend a few nights in county lock-up getting taken out to the ballgame, if you know what I'm saying.
MLB Talking Points
— Unsurprisingly, MLB wants to talk with Bronson Arroyo.
— Still: He threw a 2-hitter. Distracted? Hardly.
— Cliff Lee for N.L. Cy: Phils sweep at Wrigley
— Injury Watch: Adrian Beltre-yeesh.
— Rangers sticking around: Feldman + Hamilton!
— Fantasy Stud: Johnny Gomes (3 HRs - wow.)
(John Daly pulls out of the PGA with a 1st-round 78. He says it's a back injury. Funny: I didn't know your back was in your throat.)
Pitino Scandal, Cont'd: His humiliation is (mostly) over. His job is (entirely) safe. The next question: Will this hurt recruiting? Given that 17-year-olds were 11 in 2003, I suspect they will not care much. It's still Pitino.
Landon Donovan has swine flu! He didn't contract it in Mexico, but he did play Wednesday's game with the H1N1 virus. I'm not saying that's why he got beat around the corner on Mexico's game-winning goal, but it certainly couldn't have helped. Get well, Cap!
NBA Offseason: I want an art installation that includes every jersey representing every team Quentin Richardson has played for. New addition: Miami!
NBA Must-Read: Bethlehem Shoals on Gilbert Arenas, my favorite NBA player and still one of the Top 10 most intriguing players in the league.
Michael Phelps in car accident: Just as long as nothing happened to the shoulders.
CFB Must-Read: Dave Curtis on the best QB-WR combos. If you are looking for a ranking list that DOESN'T include Florida, this is your list!
Olympics: I love that rugby has been added. I think that golf being added is ridiculous. And I think that it is a shame that women's softball will not be included. The U.S. women's team in 2004 was one of the most dominating sports teams in history. Maybe that was part of the problem.
The Last Word: Looks like Mike Vick will wear No. 7. I predict that by the end of the season, it is a Top 10 best-selling NFL jersey.
Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff.
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