That wasn’t a collapse we witnessed inside The New Meadowlands Stadium. It wasn’t a replay of 1978’s “Miracle at the Meadowlands.”
DeSean Jackson’s improbable, Tom Coughlin-melting, walk-off punt return is the play we will most remember from the weekend NFL slate (and perhaps the entire season), but Jackson was far from the game’s biggest star.
No. Sunday, we watched a force of nature unveil itself, savage New York in less than eight minutes of game time and cause us to rethink the 2010 MVP race.
If you left the stadium or turned off your TV following Philadelphia’s pulsating, 38-31 come-from-behind victory over the Giants thinking about Joe Pisarcik and Herm Edwards, you completely missed the main story.
The engineer of the most impressive non-postseason, fourth-quarter comeback in the history of sports.
Pisarcik and Edwards? A New York Giants collapse? Child, please.
Michael Vick made me think of Reggie Miller erupting for 25 points in the fourth quarter of the Eastern Conference Finals, John Elway marching the Broncos 98 yards in the AFC Championship and Muhammad Ali rope-a-doping George Foreman in Africa.
I know what Vick and the Eagles pulled off was just an NFL regular-season contest.
But I can recognize a once-in-a-lifetime performance when I see it. The NFL needs to send those final eight minutes to Canton. We’re never going to see that again.
With 8 minutes, 17 seconds to play, Vick led the Philadelphia offense onto the field trailing 31-10.
Seven minutes later, he’d thrown for 121 yards, two touchdowns, rushed for 94 yards and a score and the game was tied at 31.
Vick was like an unexpected hurricane striking the Giants. Not to minimize DeSean Jackson’s return, but he was nothing more than a looter taking advantage of a ravaged city. The Giants were in shock, demoralized by an indefensible quarterback.
We’ll never see this again.
Vick ran for 130 yards on 10 carries Sunday. He passed for 242 yards and three TDs. He did it on the road, against one of the league’s best defenses while fighting for control of the NFC East division.
It was a clutch performance, an effort so good that objective observers must rethink their MVP vote.
I have no interest in diminishing Tom Brady’s magnificent season. None. He’s the best quarterback of this era. When he’s done, he might rival John Elway and Joe Montana as the greatest of all time.
The Patriots own the best record in football largely due to Brady’s consistent, stellar play and unshakable leadership and poise. He leads the league in passer rating. The Patriots haven’t turned the ball over in six games. You could argue Brady is working with a weak supporting cast.
(Although I would argue the whiteness of his receivers, tight ends and Danny Woodhead make people assume they’re inferior without evidence.)
In any other year, I’d say Brady should be the unanimous choice for MVP.
This year is different. What we’re seeing from Vick is special, unique. It’s something we’ll never see again.
Vick is playing quarterback like Steve Young (20 TDs and just 5 INTs), and Vick is running the football like Randall Cunningham (6.7 yards per carry).
Vick has the two signature performances of the season — Sunday’s fourth-quarter avalanche and his six-TD (four passing, two rushing) explosion against the Redskins.
All I’m asking is for MVP voters to wait two more weeks before making up their minds. Let’s allow this season to play out fully before giving Brady his second MVP trophy. Is he still ahead of Vick? Yes, slightly. Vick missed three full games.
I’m also asking MVP voters to consider this intangible: When the history of the 2010 season is written, which player and which team will get the largest chapter?
It’s Vick and the Eagles.
Andy Reid dumped his 11-year franchise quarterback, Donovan McNabb, on a division rival to make room for Kevin Kolb. The Eagles gave Kolb a fat new contract to lead the team. A couple of weeks into the season, Reid had the courage and instincts to bench Kolb in favor of the QB that had rotted in a prison cell for 18 months.
This is a movie script people would laugh at.
Andy Reid is coach of the year. And Michael Vick just might be the MVP.