Let me preface this by saying: I hate dogs.
And yet even I, a person who vehemently dislikes most pets, can see the fundamental psychological issues involved with a guy who mass murdered animals for no other purpose than his own entertainment.
That’s not my problem with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick at this particular moment, though. His deep-seeded mental and character problems aren’t any of my business.
The problem is the people who want to make the case that he is the NFL MVP this year.
Oh hey, look at Vick. He served time in prison, came out, worked hard and rejuvenated his football career. What a fairly tale story.
I don’t recall Cinderella’s rise from rags to riches involving federal offenses. Comeback stories are great if the person coming back from something is doing so from injury, family problems, etc.
That’s not what’s going on here.
An admitted criminal emerging from the confines of a jail cell -- after paying his debt to society and then going back to earning millions of dollars playing professional football as if nothing happened -- isn’t a beautiful comeback story.
The off-the-field stuff aside, Brady is still the clear-cut deserving MVP choice for 2010-11. His ability to do what he’s done with far less assistance than people actually realize is amazing.
This is a passer who doesn’t have a Pro Bowl receiver who can break off a big run on multiple plays per game like DeSean Jackson. He doesn’t have an ever-improving, soon-to-be star in this league like running back LeSean McCoy.
No, Brady steps onto the field every week with an offensive group that lost its only other big name player in Randy Moss after Week 4. Yet, even with no deep-threat option and nobody for defenses to double down on, Brady comes through week and week looking better and more efficient than ever.
People forget that New England was supposed to falter this year, that this team’s run had supposedly officially ended.
Weren’t opposing defenses supposed to stop Wes Welker from running those short routes with such ease? Wasn’t Moss’ departure supposed to permanently scar the passing attack? Heck, the lack of running game was supposed to bury this offensive unit, right?
Somehow, despite everyone predicting this would be the year the empire comes crumbling down, the Patriots have emerged stronger than ever before.
Behind a new scheme that heavily utilized tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, Brady has put on passing exhibitions week after week after week. And that lack of a ground game everyone was fretting over? With Brady commanding so much attention from opposing defenses, young running back Danny Woodhead, a New York Jets hand-me-down, has quietly rejuvenated his career.
In awful weather -- albeit against the hapless Buffalo Bills -- Brady set an NFC record with 309 throws in a row with no interceptions. If that impressive mark isn’t enough for his detractors, he’s also thrown 34 touchdowns on the year. Oh, and he’s done it while only throwing four picks – with the last one coming in Week 6.
Look, Vick is nice. He’s completely changed the culture for the Eagles after McNabb’s departure. He’s given that whole team someone to ride behind, and he deserves to be commended to a degree. He’s flashy, glitzy and exciting when he plays.
And, of course, he has the back story that Brady doesn’t have.
After all, why reward the good guy who didn’t need to make a comeback from serving time in prison? That’s no fun, right?
Give Vick the MVP if it makes everyone feel better. Maybe he and his fans need the symbolic gesture that would come with that undeserved award.
Brady already described why the award wouldn’t matter all that much to him. Because, as he said, the selection of an MVP in a team sport “doesn’t make a lot of sense” and the one accolade he cares about “is a Super Bowl ring.”
MVP voters should do both themselves and the prize they hand out a favor. Don’t give the prestigious MVP award to the better story. Give it to the better man – on and off the field.