Upon hearing the news the Atlanta Falcons released Michael Vick the first thought of most football fans must be that Mr. “Commitment to Excellence”—the guy who looks like a combo of Elvis and Kim Jong Il—would be front and center to offer the former CEO of Bad Newz Kennels a contract. But wait.
After last season, you might think Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones learned his lesson, but I think we may have found a new NFC home for the quarterback AKA Ron Mexico.
Dallas’s addition of Pacman Jones—the poster gangster of bad behavior—proved pointless if not downright detrimental to the team in 2008. The guy, who was suspended for the 2007 season for felony charges in multiple states, came to Dallas. Complete with his own team-appointed bodyguard/babysitter, Pacman managed to find trouble (or maybe it found him) by getting into a fight with the bodyguard/babysitter and was subsequently suspended four games by the league. Brilliant.
And let’s not forget the addition of Tank Johnson. While still a Bear, he was arrested on weapons charges—not as stupid as Plaxico Burress shooting himself—then came to Dallas (Jerry's all about rehabilitation), and, after missing half of his first season serving a suspension, had little impact.
Is there a lesson to be learned? Does character matter in the NFL? The league and its teams want to present a good image, or at least the image that they care about image.
But the allure of Vick’s abilities on the turf may be too much for Jerry to resist, especially after the news that the Cowboys will display a new twist to the offense.
Last week from the Fort Worth Star Telegram:
“The Dallas Cowboys unveiled the 'Wildcat' offense during organized team activities. Except for one thing: They don't call it the 'Wildcat,' they call it the 'Razorback' to pay homage to running back Felix Jones, who helped make the offense famous in college as a member of the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Wildcat or Razorback is a variation of the single-wing offense that features an unbalanced line. Receiver Patrick Crayton served as the quarterback in the Cowboys' version of the Razorback."
Doesn’t Michael Vick sound more exciting running the Razorback than Patrick Crayton?
Jerry has shown the ability to change, and I’m not talking about the facelift.
After unceremoniously booting Tom Landry to the curb and then driving Jimmy Johnson out of Dallas, he spent the next eight years coaching, more than vicariously, through Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, and Dave Campo before hiring Bill Parcells and largely budding out (until he couldn’t resist himself and signed Terrell Owens).
If NFL rules would allow for an owner to coach that owner would be Jerry Jones.
A decent number of Cowboy fans would agree he’s certainly returned to “The Coach is My Marionette Doll” brand of owning with Wade Phillips.
But should Jerry change his ways and not add Vick because of the character issues of past players? And how would Tony Romo feel about a two-man quarterback-by-committee?
Although Jerry has a tendency to overpay, Vick should be available on the cheap. They could give him some incentive-based contract, upping the excitement level for the inaugural season in the new stadium.
If he succeeds and the team wins will anyone in Dallas remember the dog thing?
Trust me. If the Cowboys are 8-2—and Vick has something to do with it—going into their Thanksgiving Day game versus the Raiders, those PETA picketers will be figuratively devoured like turducken that day at John Madden’s house.
And Mr. "Committment to Excellence" will be kicking himself for the Darrius Hayward-Bey selection while prepping for chryopreservation, or something like that.
Could you stomach Vick on your team if he helps them hoist the Lombardi Trophy?
Success breeds amnesia.
And, if it doesn’t work out, the P.R. people can always fall back on the old adage “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
Ultimately, Jerry cares about winning.
The highlight reel of Vick is nothing short of amazing. Can he still do that stuff and help a team win? I don’t know, but—Goodell willing—Jerry may be the owner happy to pony up some cash to find out.
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