By Chris Murray
For the Sunday Sun
ABOVE PHOTO: Eagles quarterback Michael Vick scrambles for yards in the opening offensive series as Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards #93 and Peria Jerry #94 give chase at the Georgia Dome last Sunday night.
(Photo by Chris Murray)
After venting his spleen about the lack of roughing the passer penalties he gets, Michael Vick took a day or two to calm down from getting knocked around by the New York Giants defense last weekend.
Vick, who is expecting to start on Sunday against San Francisco despite a bruised hand, backed off his comments and apologized during his Wednesday morning gathering with the media. He said he is not expecting to be treated different than any other quarterback.
“I don’t want any special attention. The only thing I want to do is go out and play my game,” Vick said. “Now if the refs feel like they need to make a call, they can make it. If not, I won’t say anything about it. Just control what I can control and that’s the most important thing.”
He even found a little humor in a New York Post headline, “Whine and Cheesesteak,” that pictured him with a baby’s bib.
“My kids was killing me about that, man,” Vick said chuckling with reporters. “That was a good one, but I guess when sit on a podium and make excuses like that, you’re going to be labeled a crybaby and so maybe I did deserve it.”
But even with his 1,000 apologies to fans through the media , I believe that there was some method to Vick’s madness whether he or the team wants to admit it or not. Yes, Vick opened himself for a little ridicule by saying he gets hit more than any other quarterback. Oddly enough, ESPN, on one of its 10,000 reruns of Sportscenter earlier this week reported that only Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler gets more hits more than Vick.
Shucks, you even had former player talking-head pundits like ESPN’s Tom Jackson and Mike Ditka saying that if Vick were Tom Brady or Peyton Manning he would get more of those roughing the passer calls. However, Brady and Manning aren’t running quarterbacks and they don’t have the ability to break out of a sack or the speed to go on a 30-yard jaunt.
But I do believe that the officials will pay close attention to how Vick gets hit when he stays in the pocket. Even though some people like Fox analyst Mike Pereira, who was a former vice president of officiating for the NFL, thinks that Vick is full of it, the referees are in a situation where they have to pay attention.
If Vick takes a big hit after he releases a pass and doesn’t get the call, you will have Vick supporters saying the referees aren’t making the call because of Vick’s complaints, but if the official does make the call, it will because of Vick’s complaints.
But the funny part about it is that Vick is not the only quarterback or coach to complain loudly about a QB getting too many late hits.
I remember back in 1996 in the collegiate ranks, then University of Florida head coach Steve Spurrier complained about the extra hits that his Heisman Trophy quarterback Danny Wuerffel was getting at the hands of the Florida State defense in a regular season game.
Spurrier made those complaints during the week leading up to their rematch with FSU in the national championship game and things got heated on both sides .
I suspect that Spurrier made those complaints to get FSU out of their game because the Gators blew out the Seminoles for the national championship and for good measure there was a late hit on Wuerffel called against Florida State.
Vick may have said he was singled out of frustration and maybe he was out of line for saying it, but you better believe that the officials will now be watching whether they want to or not because they want to be perceived as being unfair either.
“I’m not sure what they will do, but hopefully they will,” said running back LeSean McCoy. “Sometimes, you get hit late and I think they should make the call, but we have to do a better job of not letting him get hit.”