Vick, Romo, and the Recession-Proof Job of NFL Quarterback
They say if you're lefthanded and still breathing you can have a job as a major league pitcher or, at the very least, a situational reliever. Looking at what's happening in the NFL, the same might be said about standing upright and being able to throw a football. In a league where guys like David Carr and Matt Leinart are still drawing paychecks it really pays to at least give off the vibe that you're a semi-capable quarterback these days. The recent news on Michael Vick and Tony Romo really backs this up.
This week the Eagles and Michael Vick came to an agreement that will pay him a somewhat reasonable but still very lucrative $7-$10 million this year. This for a guy who seemingly had one foot out the door and the other on a banana peel in Philadelphia. It certainly seems an odd choice for new coach Chip Kelly and a front office that most likely wanted to clear the stench of the last years of the Andy Reid era. Still, here Vick finds himself coming off one of his worst seasons ever, with a very good chance of being the Eagles' starting quarterback in 2013, and set to make millions. As Don King would say, "Only in America!" At 32, he's still relatively young, but playing in Philly that probably translates into a sports age of 45 or so. Let's be honest, the fans in the so-called City of Brotherly Love are not exactly the most reasonable bunch. These are the same folks who hated Donovan McNabb from the moment he was drafted through the one Super Bowl he took them to, pelted Santa with snowballs, and even booed the greatest third baseman ever, Mike Schmidt. If Vick turns the ball over like he did last year, he's gonna need a Popemobile to get around town.
Meanwhile, down in Dallas there's talk that the Cowboys want to sign Tony Romo to an extension. This isn't exactly a surprise except for the fact that owner Jerry Jones made ominous comments about big changes after his team once again choked down the stretch in 2012. So, one would guess that releasing defensive coordinator and heroic eater Rob Ryan constituted a "big" change. Jones was clearly being literal. Anyway, it's not that Romo isn't a good quarterback, he's even been great at times, it's that the Cowboys have done absolutely nothing with him at the helm. There have been excruciating losses and mind-numbing mistakes over the past several years, many of which were made by Romo himself. Mention Tony Romo to almost anyone and one of the first things they'll mention is his inability to win the big game. Most teams would look at his obvious talent and keep hoping that he'd one day get over the hump, but the Cowboys are widely viewed as the New York Yankees of the National Football League where it's "win, or else." Which brings us back to why there's such job security at the quarterback position.
The only real explanation for Vick, Romo, and other never-won-anything QBs being in such demand is that teams are terrified that they're going to end up fielding absolutely inept quarterbacks like the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Jets, to name a few. Even with the recent success of rookie signal-callers such as RG III and Andrew Luck, there are clearly no guarantees when it comes to that position. So owners and GMs will continue to throw money at anyone who even looks the part. Which raises one final question: How much of a massive screw-up must Vince Young be to not have a roster spot on a single NFL team?