This is a weekly free therapy session I provide for not only myself, but for all football fans. If you’re looking for politically correct, mainstream, polite, NFL content, you’ve come to the wrong place. In fact, on any given week you should be prepared to either agree with me or be offended, belittled, shocked, and insulted.
You can expect to find anger, sarcasm, foul language (I will do my best to refrain), and whatever the hell else I’m feeling come 1 am CST Tuesday mornings this NFL season. So, lie down on your couch and grab your tissue because your NFL Week 12 session has begun……
For those with hearts filled of hate, the holidays have come early. Not only do you get Tim Tebow to bash at every opportunity, but last weekend you were blessed with the daily double. Vince Young who hadn’t started a game in over a year returned to the football field as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and leading them to a 17-10 victory over the New York Giants. Young led an epic 18-play, 8:51 time consuming game winning drive, culminating with an 8-yard TD pass to Riley Cooper. Those who can’t stand Young picked up in mid-season form. Most of the VY haters have had had Tebow to keep their skills sharp. Why is that you ask? Well, that’s because most of the people who hate Tebow, hate Vince Young as well because they both are players that have been told their style can’t be effective in the NFL. To be fair, they also both have a habit of proving their critics wrong.
With Tebow many hate that he’s so open with his Christianity. It’s 2011, doesn’t he know that has to be hush hush or they’ll feed him to the Lions? (Pun intended Lions 45-10, see how I did that there?) It’s not Young’s religious beliefs that draw him the ire of many, it’s his immaturity, walking out on a coach that never wanted him and fighting in a strip club. Sure Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape a few times, but no one talks about that anymore. [Alert – sarcasm to follow…] Roethlisberger’s actions are minimal when you compare it to Young’s crimes against humanity. He’s immature, that can’t be tolerated!! Give me a(n) (accused) rapist over somebody that has personal issues who hasn’t caused harm to anyone else any day of the week.
Seriously, why do so many people hate Vince Young? Yes, hate. I don’t feel like that’s too strong of a word. I’ve never seen any quarterback take so much criticism over his first incompletion of the game. While his first screen pass to LeSean McCoy was awful, it was his first pass as a starting quarterback in over a year. Some Eagles’ fans and local media that cover the team appear to take more enjoyment in Young’s failures than his success like, LEADING THE GAME WINNING DRIVE! Not to be left out in the cold, the Giants’ beat writers jumped in on the bashing of VY too. One even implied that if this was the way Young was playing then he obviously wasn’t good. I found this part ironic given that even while having an off night, he was outperforming his counterpart. Eli Manning’s numbers were worse than Young’s (barely above 50% comp). He was less effective as well. Manning was a hot topic as an outside contender for the league MVP this year, yet he came into a heated rivalry game at home against a 3-6 Eagles team and struggled. Why does the quarterback who’s been playing all season get a pass on a poor performance?
Let’s go through some facts that seem to be missing when people criticize Young’s performance. Vince Young took over a team that Mike Vick led to a 3-6 record. In most of those games Vick had DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and a highly effective LeSean McCoy. Young was without Maclin the whole game and Jackson was in and out of the game with injuries. When Jackson was in the game he made a few big plays and he also caused a 50-yard pass play to be called back. McCoy was basically non-existent for the whole night. Stat line dummies will just read off his final stats (113-yards rushing) and conveniently leave out that he had a 60-yard rush in mop up duty on one of the very last plays of the game.
Let’s talk about Vince Young’s three interceptions because that’s been the stat I’ve heard the most. I didn’t hear much about the 23 – 36 for 258 yards and 2-TD’s. This was the same Giants that beat a Mike Vick led Eagles team in Philly by 13 points. So let’s talk about the three picks because that seems to be all that matters.The first pick was Vince Young’s fault. He hesitated and badly under threw the ball. The next pick was right to Clay Harbor and by all rights should have been pass interference. The ball still hit Harbor in both hands and popped up in the air for an interception. [Alert – more sarcasm to follow…] Shame on Young for throwing it at the tight ends’ hands. Finally, on Young’s throw on an end zone route to Riley Cooper, he should have put the ball a little more to the outside. Most of the blame falls on Cooper on this route and his attempt to go up for the ball or lack there off. In post game interviews, Young even talked about how Cooper felt bad about leaving Young out to dry on the route and how Young told Cooper to keep his head up and he’ll keep going back to him. Cooper also mentioned Young’s words of encouragement. That was mighty immature of Young to pick up a teammate that led to him getting criticized even more. You won’t hear the media talk about this though because it’s not a story that slams Young’s character so it’s not worth reporting.
I don’t care whether other people want Young or Tebow as their quarterback and I’m not here to be an advocate for either one. My problem is with the majority of the media who blindly points fault at some players while giving passes to others. If you don’t like Young as a person and you work in the media that’s fine, that’s your business, but don’t use your position to mislead and turn a blind eye to the positive that players do. If Vince Young played horrible in this game and cost his team due to his play I would criticize him. I would do that because it’s my job, not because I hate him or that I’m an apologist for him. I seem to be in the minority that that can have an unbiased opinion on the performance of players. Let’s look at what the story line should be after Sunday Night…
Vince Young made a triumphant return to the football field in prime time for the world to see. Young who hadn’t taken any first team reps with his team before this week and is learning a new offense had some early game struggles. Young spent much of the night throwing to the likes of Riley Cooper, Chad Hall, and Steve Smith. When play maker DeSean Jackson was in the game he was effective. He allowed the devil and the angel on opposing shoulders to both show their side of Jackson as he would make a big play and follow it up with nonsense. Surprisingly, LeSean McCoy didn’t add much value to Young’s debut. While Young took much of the criticism on the night, it was the opposing quarterback, Eli Manning that cost his team the game. While some focused on the mistakes of Young, it was he who led an 18-play drive that ate up most of the 4th quarter and capped it off with a game winning touchdown pass. Manning had his chance to match Young and send the game to overtime, but his effort fell short as he didn’t protect the ball when he was sacked and fumbled, killing any chance of a game tying drive.
It’s funny to think that if the roles were reversed and Young fumbled to end the game, it would probably be the most viewed and talked about replay in the game. Somehow Young’s mistakes still manage to be the most talked about aspect of the game though.
While I usually write these Rage pieces for your therapy as much mine, this week is all for me. For the ones that hate Young, any hiccup will have you smiling in glee and nothing he does will change your views on him. For the ones who love him, they’ll make excuses for every negative on-field and off-field action he makes. This is for me and the other 1% percent that’s tired of their Twitter timeline be filled up with professional morons that find fault in every misstep of both Vince Young and Tim Tebow.
Herm Edwards said it quite simple, “You play to win the game. HELLO! You play to WIN the game”. I find humor in that the Super Bowl trophy is named after the greatest coach and football mind of all-time, Vince Lombardi, and that’ primarily because to him, winning was all that mattered. I’m sure you will find fault in this statement, some of you may feel it’s even sacrilegious, but I’m quite certain that Lombardi would be more than content with Tebow or Young simply winning games for him.
Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock