We’ve gradually learned over the years never to take at face value anything that anyone connected to the NFL says when the cameras are rolling and the mics are hot.
We think that this dynamic arises from the reality that, in football, success routinely is premised on successfully deceiving the opponent. Whether it’s the play-action pass or the draw play or the zone blitz, teams realize that the best way to accomplish something comes from persuading the opponent that something else is going to happen.
Off the field, where the media is viewed in many cases as an extension of the on-field opposition, the strategic value of not telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth has been seen in various contexts. Like when talking about player injuries. Or when discussing whether a game plan will include heavy doses of the run or the pass.
Or when talking about whether a team is interested in Mike Vick.
So with everyone in Philly who has a vested rooting interest in seeing Armageddon not unfold in the locker room prepared to accept without reservation Donovan McNabb’s assertion that he “pretty much lobbied” the team to sign Vick (something that, interestingly, the head coach didn’t mention), we ask you this: Would you like to buy the Ben Franklin Bridge?
Reid lied, multiple times, about not wanting Vick. Why? To make the rest of the league (and everyone else) think Reid didn’t want Vick until Reid decided he did.
That fact alone should prove to anyone who follows the NFL that nothing anyone says can be automatically believed.
McNabb, as we pointed out last night when explaining that he’s actually pissed about the acquisition of Vick, had no choice but to sit there and smile and act like everything is fine, despite likely muttering internally all the while, “Serenity now.”
As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” (Or something.)
In the NFL, the reality is that they’re always trying to fool us. It’s an accepted reality of the business.
And so the challenge of the discerning fan is to peel back the onion, and get to the truth.
In this case, we’re convinced that the truth is that McNabb — who in the past has been threatened by guys like Jeff Garcia and Kevin Kolb and who had a hissyfit when he was benched last season (ultimately wanting a “financial apology,” reportedly) — is threatened by the presence of Vick.
We’re also convinced that Reid doesn’t care, and that Reid will continue to do that which he believes is in the best interests of the team.