Cyberspace; On the heels of the court hearing in which former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his participation in an operation consisting of dog fighting, gambling, and cruelty towards animals, the famed YouTube website has posted a rather low class video that features mug shots of Vick and other NFL players. The video, which is sarcastically called â€œThe NFL’s Finestâ€ is accompanied by a soundtrack of the Trey Parker song â€œMontageâ€ and gives a slide show of police booking photos of 49 current and former pro football players.
In addition to Michael, the cast includes his brother Marcus Vick who was briefly with the Miami Dolphins last season and who’s arrest for waving a gun actually took place about a week after the 2006 NCAA Gator Bowl in which he played quarterback for Virginia Tech. Other notable pics include ESPN commentator Michael Irvin who has had a couple of drug possession charges as well as Sean Taylor, the Washington Redskins safety who was recently slain in his Florida home and who’s death has been intensely painful for his many mourners both in and out of the NFL. The video wraps up and fades out with a shot of pro football’s most notorious suspect, O.J. Simpson following his arrest in 1994 for the murder of his wife, a crime for which he was ultimately acquitted.
The presentation is unfortunately a rather tasteless look at the issue, and lacks needed perspective. For example, the photo of former pro-bowl cornerback Deion Sanders grinning from ear to ear was taken following his arrest for the less-than-sinister crime of going fishing on a municipal lake. The problem of NFL players being involved in criminal activity certainly deserves comment, but a statement that is much more intelligent, balanced and informed than this sensationalist garbage is required.
Miami; With the loss to the (then) 2-9 Jets in Week 13 and this week’s loss to Buffalo who have twice this season used the Dolphin’s faces as a stepstool to boost themselves just above the .500 mark, Miami’s chances of cracking that seemingly indestructible goose egg in their ‘W’ column just got a whole lot worse. Their next two games are against the Ravens who just barely missed knocking off the undefeated Patriots 2 weeks ago, followed by the Patriots themselves. What a sensational story it would make if the winless Dolphins could erase the shame of this season by knocking New England off their pedestal thus at once destroying the Patriots run for a perfect season while preserving the record of the Miami alumni who were unbeaten in 17 games in 1972. *Sigh* The more likely scenario however is that the Dolphins will need to win their season finale when they host the Bengals on December 30. Cincinnati lives by the pass and Miami actually has the third best pass defense in the NFL. Of course that might be because Miami has the worst run defense in the league so nobody has even needed to throw against them to score points. The Bengals do have Rudi Johnson at running back though, and in spite of a slow season hampered by injuries he did have a good game against the Rams last week scoring Cincinnati’s only touchdown. If the Dolphins can pull out a victory over the Bengals, then head coach Cam Cameron might actually stand a slight chance of keeping his job for another year. A winless season however would no doubt see Cam-Cam doing the can-can out the door-door.
Atlanta; Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino left skid marks on the way out of Atlanta GM Rich McKay’s office on Tuesday after turning in his resignation and ending his 13 game NFL career. Petrino, who was 41-9 as a head coach at the University of Louisville before taking his first pro football coaching job with the Falcons, jumped the sinking ship after going 3-10 in a season marred by the incarceration of star quarterback Michael Vick who was the first player selected in the 2001 draft.
Petrino’s move back to college ball wasn’t entirely unprecedented in light of the general failure of NCAA coaches to be effective in the NFL, but he does seem to have a history of giving some awfully conflicting signals. For example;
Jan., 2006; “I understand my name is being mentioned in connection with job openings in the National Football League, but I want to reiterate my commitment to the University of Louisville, our players and all of our Cardinal fans. The University of Louisville has been great for me and family, and I’m committed to fulfilling our goal of taking the program to the next level.”
Nov., 2006; “When Tom (Jurich) and I sat down this summer to talk about a new contract, we anticipated that there would be many high-profile job openings. The University of Louisville made a tremendous commitment to me, and I made a commitment to the University of Louisville. Iâ€™m not a candidate for any job openings.”
Jan. 2007; (After being named Falcons head coach) “I was able to see the commitment that has been made here. I believe this is truly the best football job in the NFL. It was an easy decision for me.”
Monday, Dec. 10, 2007; (While shaking hands with Falcons owner Arthur Blank) â€œYou have a head coach.â€
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007; (At a press conference announcing his departure from the Falcons) “It really wasn’t a change of mind, it was being able to work out the details and the ability to get here. I knew that I wanted to come back to coaching college football.”
Petrino left a personally signed note in the lockers of the Falcons players expressing regret and wishing them luck, but few are buying his bull. Falcons safety Lawyer Milloy summed it up by taking a red marker, crossing out Petrino’s signature on his copy of the note and writing in â€œCoward!â€. Nuff said.