Both the Eagles and Flyers made significant moves this week that will set their course for the next half decade. Both moves, on their surface, are arguably in the teams’ favor, but there’s still plenty that can go wrong. We delve, looking at both sides of the rainbow.
Ah yes, a glimmer of sunshine bounces off the friendly end of nature’s creation squarely onto a joyous leprechaun who’s throwing gold coins around in a festive fashion. On the bright side, we find ourselves a 35-year-old Michael Vick wearing two Super Bowl rings in a sweet embrace with his now wife, Kijfa. He may have voided year six of his contract, but he’s earned $80 million from the Eagles, paid back his creditors, and used the additional $100 million in endorsements to buy every Tom, Dick, and Jamaal he’s ever come across a house.
Andy Reid is sitting fat and happy, no longer a Mormon, smoking Cubans and sipping Blue Label with a post-pubescent Howie Roseman. Their low-risk investment proved to be money well spent and paid more dividends than post millennium Johnson & Johnson. Vick played through all five years of his deal, performing at or near the level of the top five quarterbacks in the league and suffered only one minor concussion and a troublesome bout of bruised ribs. He’s healthy and will likely get another 2-3-year deal with a team in desperate need of a ready-to-play quarterback and a propensity to throw criminals behind the line- think Pittsburgh.
Just a few feet away, Paul Holmgren is feeding a now incapacitated Ed Snider a glass of high-end malbec through a straw. The weight of Snider’s third, fourth, and fifth Stanley Cup rings are too much for his aging hands to bear. Snider will leave behind half of his empire to Holmgren, who showed enough balls and crazy to trade the team’s cornerstone players to make way for a goalie and sizable (but reasonable) contracts to Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk, who turned into hockey’s version of Evan Longoria, signing a contract long before his peak and becoming the sport’s best value for five straight seasons. He won one Conn Smythe Trophy, and finished in the top ten in scoring three of the last five years. Brayden Schenn captained two of three Cup teams and has drawn comparisons to Steve Yzerman, Mark Messier, and a young Richards. Speaking of El Capitan, Richards peaked at age 24 and is a burden for the Kings. His buddy, Jeff Carter (remember him?), drank himself out of the lineup for the Columbus, the laughing stock of the league.
Combined with the Phillies' 2011 World Series victory, the city has seen six parades in five years.
The sun slowly slides beyond the horizon as another leprechaun rubs the feet of Kijfa Vick. It’s a beautiful sight.
Over here, there’s no sun. Just rain. The rainbow only exists because of its reflection off the metallic dumpster, strategically positioned in the alley to hide a strung out leprechaun, who’s selling his last muddied coins for a thimble of coke which he will soon sniff out of the unfriendly end of a diseased hooker.
This is the dark side.
In the corner, an extremity-less Michael Vick rolls himself into a bottle of Courvoisier to help ease the pain of his failed second existence. He played only two years of his contract, earning $35 million. Unfortunately, half of it went to taxes, agents, and lawyers. The other half went to his creditors. He played only four games in 2011. An angry Clay Matthews prematurely ended Vick's season when he removed his right leg with a vicious low-blow. Linebackers had no recourse since Roger Goodell fined every hit above the numbers. A year later, a slowed-down Starship 7 ran himself into limb-breaking injury after limb-breaking injury. He played only three games.
In the powerless apartment above, Andy Reid and Howie Roseman watch re-runs of Good Times on a 15-inch television. They spent $35 million on an unfortunately unreformed criminal, who played only seven games in two postseason-less seasons. Juan Castillo has offed himself in the bedroom.
The Eagles all-in philosophy failed miserably. Their stellar wideouts couldn’t bridge the gap left in the middle by the horrid linebacking core and their offensive line never stood a chance to protect the expensive investment.
Just a few feet below, on an island in the middle of the street, Paul Holmgren is feeding a now incapacitated Ed Snider a glass of high-end malbec through straw- it’s one of the few luxuries he still enjoys. His 30+ year refusal to bet the farm on a goalie proved to be the right philosophy. He’s spent the last 29 months lamenting the trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, both of whom not only won Stanley Cups, but also led Canada to a gold medal in the 2014 Olympics. They both matured and are widely considered among the best players in the world, with 5-7 years of production ahead of them. Believe it or not, their outlandish contracts actually proved to be valuable. Their old buddy, James van Riemsdyk, never lived up to his $25.5 million deal. He was traded to Toronto for cap space in 2012. His 2010 playoff performance was an aberration, made all the more misleading since he was the only player on that team skated hard. A fed up Peter Laviolette scratched him five times before Christmas of 2011 and got into a locker room fist fight with Claude Giroux, whose only crime, ironically, was that he enjoyed a glass of his owner’s favorite wine with dinner the night before a game. It turns out Lavs is impossible to get along with, a realization that should have been obvious when he used to bench Rod Brind’Amour. We later learn that the media considers Richards a “coaches captain.”
A violated hooker wobbles over to the aging Snider and steals the remaining change in his pocket. Sadly, Snider doesn’t even care. She will spend the money more wisely than Holmgren.
This is the dark side.