“We’re going to sign Mike Vick and Plaxico Burress,” the source said.
Though the latter isn’t happening with the Steelers (or likely any other team), the former isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem.
We’ve actually been toying with finding a way to float that possibility without provoking a caravan of pitchforks-and-torches-style Steelers fans to drive down to PFT headquarters and remove the limbs from my torso.
And we’ve finally found an opening: Tom Curran points out that the Steelers and the Patriots are regarded as the favorites to land Vick, with odds currently at 4-1 for each team.
So let’s consider the objective evidence that might support Mike Vick landing with a team that makes an annual visit to the Dawg Pound.
First, coach Mike Tomlin grew up in Newport News. So did Vick. And Tomlin has a well-known affinity for players from his neck of the woods.
Second, Tomlin has plenty of juice after winning the Super Bowl in only his second year. If he starts lobbying for Vick, the powers-that-be might listen closely.
Third, outgoing Steelers chair Dan Rooney has very close ties to Commissioner Roger Goodell, who seems to be committed to helping Vick make the best out of his second chance. There aren’t many organizations in football (or sports) better than the Steelers, and Vick would potentially thrive under the umbrella that the Rooneys have created over the decades.
Fourth, Charlie Batch is their backup. (I probably should stop right there.)
Fifth, Tony Dungy played for the Steelers and started his coaching career there. He presumably has a great relationship with the Rooneys. And Dungy is going to bat for Vick like he has for no other player. Dungy could work directly with Tomlin to convince the Rooneys to give it a try, with both men staking their reputations on Vick not getting into trouble.
Sixth, Tomlin is a member of the Tony Dungy tree. Though they haven’t worked together since 2001 in Tampa, the ties that bind the two men are likely very strong, and presumably run very deep.
Seventh, the Steelers were using the Wildcat long before it was called the Wildcat, with Kordell Stewart creating all sorts of excitement in his “Slash” role some 14 years ago.
Eighth, no member of PETA in his or her right mind would protest the Steelers at Heinz Field. Or at any other stadium where their fans show up in droves.
Ninth, despite his long-term contract, the Steelers aren’t tied to Roethlisberger for the next ten years. Even if the salary cap survives the next CBA, we recall assessing the contract as a deal that could have a practical duration of three years, given that the annual base salaries hit eight figures in 2011. So Vick could do the Wildcat thing for a couple of years, and then possibly become the starting quarterback for the Steelers that Kordell never was able to be.
Tenth, the Steelers have seen the high end of Vick’s abilities on both occasions that they have faced him. In 2006, Vick led the Falcons to a 41-38 overtime win in Atlanta. Vick threw four touchdown passes, ran five times for 40 yards, and generated a passer rating of 96.1. Four years earlier, Vick and the Falcons managed a 34-34 tie in Pittsburgh.
All that said, we’ve heard nothing to suggest that the Steelers are interested, or that they aren’t. But they haven’t become 4-1 favorites to get Vick because the folks in Vegas don’t know how to set odds.