While the New York tabloids have their fun at Mike Vick's expense, the Eagles QB is also facing much more pointed criticism from the NFL's former VP of officiating, Mike Pereira, whose last name I can never spell correctly on the first attempt. Pereira, now a FOX analyst, echoed many of the same rebuttals to Vick's complaints, then threw in a an extra dig for good measure:
"He's a quarterback that's on the move, he's going to get hit more," Pereira said of Vick. "Yes, there are a couple that may be missed, but the fact that a ton of them are missed and that he's hit late all the time is absurd... I think it was a bunch of bull and it didn't sit well with me and it still doesn't."
The "Vick gets hit more because he runs more" argument is an easy one to get behind. We at Birds Nest have spent the past year or so begging Vick to slide and to stop treating his body like a candy wrapper to throw away.
He's long defended his playing style as something that is inherently unchangeable, and that really IS a bunch of bull. He can take better care of his body without losing the things that make him great, but he refuses to, and the Eagles are now paying for it.
But Pereira is going overboard here. Vick was NOT out of the pocket when Chris Canty nailed him in the chin on Sunday. He wasn't on the move. That was an obvious helmet-to-helmet hit that should have been called. Vick, despite his lengthy history of bad judgment, isn't THAT stupid. He knows that he won't be afforded much protection from refs once he abandons the pocket. But he expects, justifiably, that the call will be made if he's throwing from the between the tackles.
For Pereira to act like it personally offends him that Vick would make such complaints is pretty weak, especially when you can sit through most any NFL game and be subjected to at least one thoroughly ludicrous late hit call on a QB. Vick doesn't get many of those luxuries, and he's smart enough to know that if he calls attention to what he considers unfair treatment (a la Lakers coach Phil Jackson), refs will be more vigilant the next time out.
No one is innocent in this situation. Vick is guilty of recklessness. Canty is guilty of a fineable hit. And Vick's critics are guilty of exploiting the QB's still-shaky public reputation to justify inconsistent refereeing. It's easy to not feel sorry for Vick. It's much harder to go back and take his criticisms at face value.