So the Feds finally got to Mike Vick. I guess it was only really a matter of time. The rumors of dog fighting have been circulating for months and Vick is a huge fish to catch in that pool. So one has to wonder what the NFL and Atlanta Falcons are going to do next.
Roger Goodell has been trying very hard to clean up the image of the league, highlighted by the Pacman Jones and Tank Williams suspensions. But will he finally be able to pull the trigger on Vick? It’s not like he’s got a spotless record, from the Water Bottle Incident back to the Ron Mexico lawsuit. And it’s not like he comes from a picture perfect family–his brother Marcus’ career was never able to take off because of character issues both on and off the field. Is the dog fighting indictment the final straw?
Goodell must take a stand here and let players know that any sort of legal problems will not be tolerated. And Vick is a high enough on the food chain that if Goodell makes an example of him, it will certainly grab the attention of the players. But Goodell also must keep the financial interests of his league in mind and the media buzz following animal activists who are planning to protest at NFL games is potentially very bad business. So Goodell has to take charge and do whatever is necessary to eliminate any negative publicity stemming from these incidents. And it starts with suspending Mike Vick.
As for the Atlanta Falcons, they need Vick to play. He’s a big draw and is one of the few athletes that can get casual fans excited to watch a football game. If Vick’s playing, it will be entertaining. So if Vick’s sitting out, that means less people probably in the stadium and less money coming in. Financially, the Falcons need Vick and for those reasons will do everything in their power to sway Goodell’s opinion into letting him dress.
But if the Falcons put team first, then maybe they’d support a Vick suspension and show their players what is expected of them off the field. Maybe they wouldn’t win as many games, but it would be building character through adversity, in this case without your best player.
And would the Falcons trust Joey Harrington enough to start the 2007 season under center? He’s been nothing more than awful since he came into the league in 2002 and hasn’t shown he’s capable of leading an NFL franchise.
So would the Falcons be interested in Daunte Culpepper? He was terrible last season coming off that major knee surgery, prompting the Dolphins to go with the aforementioned Joey Harrington. A year later, the knee has to be stronger, right? Would the Falcons try the same experiment of a Culpepper-Harrington one-two punch if Vick’s unable to suit up? Either way, I would like to think Atlanta would be looking for an upgrade at the quaterback position.
But if the Falcons show no interest in Culpepper, the only teams off the top of my head that he’d legitimately have a shot of starting with are Detroit, Carolina and Minnesota. Would they take the chance on him?