Gonzo: National media in full Vick-mania

Posted: November 22, 2010

The NFL should expand its injury reports. It's time for the league to include media members in the updates.

Most weeks, the studio hosts on ESPN, CBS, Fox, and the NFL Network would be listed as questionable (judgment) or doubtful (use of logic). With Michael Vick dominating the NFL and its story lines lately, all of them would have been upgraded to probable (hype and hyperbole).

Vick's numbers weren't as cartoonish against the New York Giants on Sunday night as they were against the Washington Redskins on Monday night, partly because his receivers dropped at least two passes that should have been touchdowns. And his careless fourth-quarter fumble led to a Giants touchdown that almost won the game for New York.

Still, and more importantly, his outing came complete with a dramatic, fourth-quarter comeback that pushed the Birds past the Giants, 27-17, and into first place in the NFC East.

It won't be long now until Vick's spectacular season leads to a twisted tongue or a sprained brain for one of the yammering television ninnies. They squeal about Vick like teenagers reading about him in Us Weekly.

Before ESPN ran its "Ultimate Vick Highlight" on Sunday - not to be confused with Fox's "Michael Vick Experience in Full" package - Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson raced each other to see who would be the first to cross the crazy line. Carter won.

"I like to drive a Mercedes," Carter said. "Michael Vick is a Mercedes."

I spent a long time trying to figure out if Carter meant he wants to ride Vick around town. It remains unclear.

Maybe the affinity for weird commentary is a wide-receiver thing.

Former players are all over TV. Most are dull and don't say much. On Fox, Michael Strahan said Vick "looked kind of average" last year but is now "spectacular." On CBS, Dan Marino said Vick is playing better than anyone expected. On the NFL Network, Warren Sapp said you can have all the other quarterbacks, he'll take Michael Vick. Ho hum.

Then there was Michael Irvin, who went a different route and used self-generated sound effects.

"He's making other guys raise their game up," Irvin said about Vick. "DeSean Jackson, I know what he can do. But I'm watching all these other guys - where is this guy coming from?"

While he was saying the last sentence, he paused to roll his head and eyes and make a strange noise with his mouth. Apparently the NFL Network employs him as a low-rent version of the guy from Police Academy.

Irvin also added that Vick is a leader and the Eagles are his "posse." I was really hoping he'd launch into a bunch of high-noon, Wild West showdown sounds, but it didn't happen. Maybe next week.

And on it went. Joe Namath told ESPN radio in New York that the Eagles are in his "top 10 [teams]" in the NFL because of Vick. ESPN.com's Rick Reilly wrote a piece (months after countless others penned something similar) saying it's time to forgive Vick. And CBS's James Brown, who once interviewed Vick for 60 Minutes, told the New York Daily News that watching Vick is "like watching a video game."

Even Vick's contemporaries have gotten carried away. On Twitter, LeBron James gushed: "Mike Vick for PRESIDENT!!" (Probably easier than running him for dogcatcher.)

The NFL should capitalize on the Vick fervor immediately. The league ought to cart him around the country carnival-style and charge two bits a gander.

"This is a heck of a story," Steve Mariucci said on the NFL Network. "It's probably going to be a movie one day."

The Michael Vick Story: How He Caused a National Media Meltdown. The real-time, real-life version has been fun to watch. Slobbering, lobotomized talking heads are always entertaining.

During a sit-down with Vick for NBC, Bob Costas wore a dark mock turtleneck and an oversized tweed blazer with shoulder pads big enough for Jason Peters. It looked like Costas was conducting his part of the interview from 1994. . . . When NBC cut to Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, Al Michaels couldn't help himself: "And we'll see if Perry Fewell" - dramatic pause - "can dial up a fewell blitzes." Even Cris Collinsworth didn't laugh. . . . Tweet of the game: "It just ain't your night when Asante Samuel lays a big hit on you. That's like Ozzie Smith homering on you." - @Bobby_BigWheel. . . . Sunday Night Football Extra on NBCSports.com allows you to change camera angles; pause, rewind, and fast forward; check game stats; and post highlight videos to social networks. I re-watched the Samuel hit several times. It actually happened. He didn't use a body double. . . . In other news for football-loving tech geeks: Philly.com has a Pro Football app for iPhone and Android that includes exclusive photos and videos. http://is.gd/hyLzd. . . . Ask Gonzo on Philly.com at 2 p.m. on Monday.


Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com.

Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gonzophilly

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