This past week has been a complete bombshell in the National Football League. Never before have so many lives been changed so drastically over the course of four days for the purpose of a major american sport. Though I plan to touch on most of these moves in a future post, there’s something that I felt needed to be said in the wake of it all. As most fans of the NFL know, the Philadelphia Eagles made quite the splash (or series of massive splashes) this week that have led to a powerful buzz surrounding America’s new “Dream Team”.
When talking about the moves noted above, you have to start with Nnamdi Asomugha. There will be much speculation over the next few weeks as to the specific impact he will bring to the Philadelphia defense but I’ll try and keep this simple. He is, and has been, the best Cornerback in the world for six years. This move came as a shock to most, being that the Eagles had so recently acquired a Pro Bowl caliber Cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie through a trade, with Arizona, for Kevin Kolb. Being that Asante Samuel remains on this roster currently, the Eagles seem to have gone from a terrible passing defense to an elite one in 24 hours. This is no small feat.
Couple these moves with the signings of Pro Bowler Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, and it sure seems that in this arms race, the Eagles are preparing for a war on a different scale than any other team is anticipating. While there remain holes on the starting roster in Philadelphia, the Eagles have cemented themselves as a massive contender for the Super Bowl this season.
Unless you have been living in a hole for the past week, most of my above comments are nothing new. These comments are being made as a formality but I am writing today to make a point that has yet to be made. This off-season may have been the most active that the Eagles have ever been already and it’s not over yet. With so much elite talent at their disposal and so many new faces in Philadelphia, there’s really only one person that this all hinges on.
No matter who the Eagles brought or will bring in this off-season, there is still only one man that will dictate the path of them all. Michael Vick is that man, and as he goes, the Eagles will go in 2011. Make no mistake about it, Michael Vick’s magnetic effect on this league reaches far beyond the fan base. He is the reason Nnamdi is in Philladelphia, the key component in the “all in” strategy for the Eagles.
Most of us remember the electric season Vick had last year, the climax of which, consisted of a historic night in Washington. He took the city of Philadelphia for a wild ride. While it all ended with a playoff loss to the eventual world champs, it was easy to accept. Nobody had expected the Eagles to do anything in 2010. As I’m sure Michael Vick is aware of, this weekend, that protection was ripped away like a blanket from a waking teenager. The moves Philly has made have sent a clear message to every team in the NFL. They are gunning for a championship in February.
Michael Vick has spent his stint with the Eagles working tirelessly for our attention. Finally, the future has been mortgaged and all eyes have shifted back to him. This is it. This year, the spotlight has returned and the sporting world awaits the answer to one question. Who is Michael Vick? Is the Michael Vick we have seen in Philadelphia the product of a fantastic situation and tempered expectations, or is this who he really is? This year will be the most pivotal chapter in, what I believe, is the most compelling story in American sports history.
This is it, Mr. Vick. Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Rodgers-Cromartie and the city of Philadelphia will sink or swim on what you can do; what you are made of. This isn’t house money anymore. The chips are down.