If what Michael Vick recently told GQ is true, then NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has some explaining to do.
In an interview published by GQ’s website, Vick told Will Leitch that he was persuaded by Goodell to play for the Eagles instead of the Bills or Bengals.
“I think I can say this now, because it’s not going to hurt anybody’s feelings, and it’s the truth,” Vick tells me a few weeks after the commencement ceremony. “I didn’t want to come to Philadelphia. Being the third-team quarterback is nothing to smile about. Cincinnati and Buffalo were better options.” Those two teams wanted him and would’ve allowed him to start, but after meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell and other reps from the NFL, Vick was convinced—and granted league approval—to sign with Philly. “And I commend and thank them, because they put me in the right situation.”
I think it’s rather humorous that Vick commended and thanked the people he just threw into the controversial spotlight. Because under no circumstances should Goodell, or anyone else in the NFL front office for that matter, be steering any player to or away from any team.
Did it work out for Vick? Yes. Did it work out for the Eagles? Yes. Did it work out for the NFL? Yes. But what about the Bills and Bengals? Why did Goodell feel the need to steer Vick away from those two organizations?
The obvious answer is because Vick was just released from prison and needed a stable environment. Andy Reid and the Eagles provided the structure that Vick desperately needed. If you want to argue against the notion that Cincinnati would have been an unstable situation, Google “Carson Palmer retirement” and you’ll get all the proof you need that Vick was better off landing in Philadelphia. Had someone polled fans across the nation asking which team (CIN, PHI or BUF) would provide the best environment for Vick, it would stand to reason that the majority of fans would choose Philadelphia.
But Goodell isn’t a fan. He’s the commissioner, which means he should be hands off when it comes to players choosing what teams they want to sign with. I realize he may have only been trying to help Vick, but imagine if he had a hand in telling Nnamdi Asomugha or Julius Peppers where to sign. The whole situation sounds shady.
Either way, it’s water under the bridge now. Goodell and the league will catch some heat for this, but nothing is going to change. Vick is still in Philadelphia, where he makes the Eagles legit Super Bowl contenders. Meanwhile, Bills and Bengals fans can share in more misery, although they can save their whining about Vick. At the time, I’m sure there were plenty of people in Buffalo and Cincinnati who pleaded with their teams not to sign “that dog killer.”