by Walter Brasch
The headlines, pictures, and most of the stories about the Philadelphia Eagles 34--14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs focused upon backup quarterback Michael Vick.
The Eagles fans--desperate for a Super Bowl trophy and proclaiming that since Vick paid his time he should be forgiven--gave him a hearty ovation when he first appeared in the game early in the first quarter.
Vick, the All-Pro felon who was convicted in federal court of conspiracy, financing, and operating a dog fighting operation, appeared in only 11 plays, rushed for seven yards, threw two incompletes, and was largely a decoy on the other plays. But he drew the attention of sportscasters and reporters in his first NFL game since his suspension.
Based upon the number of column inches the print media threw to Vick, combined with the air time TV devoted, he was the star and the rest of the team were supporting players.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb, who ran the offense while starter Donovan McNabb sat out his second game while recovering from a broken rib, did everything Vick couldn't do. He threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in his first two career starts. Almost as an afterthought, the media later reported that Kolb was the NFC offensive player of the week. Not reported is that Vick, with a $1.5 million salary, is making about $400,000 more this season than Kolb.
Also overlooked by much of the media were DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek, each of whom had 100-plus yards as receivers and and LeSean McCoy who had 84 yards rushing. The media also ignored the offensive line, which gave Kolb the time to throw, and the defense, which yielded only two touchdowns.
The Eagles don't have a game this Sunday, so the media will focus not upon Kolb, not upon the receivers or running backs, not upon the Eagles defense, and certainly not upon the offensive line. "Rehabilitation" will be the key topic this week. It'll be stories about Donovan McNabb's recovery from his rib injury--and Vick's "rehabilitation" from a life of animal cruelty, and his hoped-for march to another All-Pro appearance. It's just a good thing there aren't any live eagles as team mascots.
[Walter Brasch was a newspaper sports writer and sports editor in California, public affairs reporter and city editor in Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio. He is also a former multimedia writer-producer and magazine writer and editor. Currently, he is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University. Dr. Brasch's latest books are Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush and 'Unacceptable': The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina, available at amazon.com and other bookstores. You may contact Brasch through his website, http://www.walterbrasch.com]