Vick vs. Watson: Don’t Even Go There

On New Year's Eve in 2006, Michael Vick was sacked by Philadelphia Eagles edge rusher Juqua Thomas (who two years later legally changed his surname to Parker in honor of his father, who had died in 2005) on the first play of the third quarter of Atlanta's 24-17 loss at Philadelphia — a game rendered meaningless for the Eagles when Dallas was upset 39-31 by Detroit at home as a 12.5-point favorite in an earlier game that day.

Vick would never return to the game, with former Falcons starter Matt Schaub finishing the game — which Schaub almost pulled out, completing a 47-yard pass to Roddy White to the Philadelphia 15 with a few seconds remaining. But Eagles cornerback Joselio Hanson safely tackled White within the field of play — and since the Falcons had no timeouts left, the game ended.

It would turn out to be Vick's last appearance on an NFL gridiron in three years — and the things that would happen to him over those three years!

The following August, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wasted no time after Vick pleaded guilty to federal charges involving an illegal dogfighting operation that included unlawful gambling in suspending Vick indefinitely; and three months later, Vick commenced a 21-month sentence at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas.

But Vick showed genuine repentance while at Leavenworth and after, prompting Goodell to lift the indefinite suspension; and after Falcons owner Arthur Blank placed Vick on waivers (they had since moved on from Vick by drafting quarterback Matt Ryan in the first round of the 2008 draft), he was signed by the Eagles, the team against whom he had last played, in 2009. After starting only one game in Philadelphia that year (Donovan McNabb was traded to NFC East rival Washington the following spring), Vick would start 36 of the team's games the next three seasons, earning a Pro Bowl invite in 2010.

So Vick, and his reputation, went on to live happily ever after — or reasonably so.

At least so far, that has hardly been the case for Deshaun Watson.

Currently sporting the second highest career passer rating in NFL history — but let the stat-reader beware, as we wrote in these lines two weeks ago (Watson is a mere tenth of a point behind the NFL's A-Rod), Watson finds himself on the business end of 22 allegations of criminal sexual penetration (that's rape, in Texas) and/or unlawful oral copulation, at the hands of the proverbial fifty thousand Frenchmen who can't all be wrong.

The sordid tale of Watson's alleged exploits can be found here — and as for the claim that this would be less of an example of mortgaging the future for a quick fix than the disastrous Roman Gabriel deal the Eagles swung in 1973 just because Gabriel was 32-years-old at the time while Watson is only 25 now, that would be analyzing the situation statically, not dynamically: how many players who are now 21-years-old, 20 years old, 19-years-old, or perhaps even 18-years-old today, will never play for the Eagles if they trade for Watson?

The median age of their roster will go through the roof — and that will mean chronic salary cap distress due to the seniority-based wage scale that the owners rammed down the NFLPA's throat to evade the threatened lockout of 2011, constant blown leads in the fourth quarter, and falling apart like a $20 suit in a driving rainstorm at the end of essentially every season (in 1978, the first year of the 16-game season, Washington, a team notorious for mortgaging its draft choices, got off to a 6-0 start, only to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs) — especially with the season being lengthened to 17 games starting this season, with the owners casting covetous eyes at an 18-game season as soon as they can get away with it?

And if even two, much less four, expansion teams are added, the owners can easily sell the idea that a 17-game schedule cannot work with more teams — and from someone who spends his spare time experimenting with various formats, the owners would probably be right.

All to bring someone who is very likely a serial sexual predator to town — and someone who might very well continue his sociopathic behavior?

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