As a fan, I find myself guilty of this as well, so as an introduction to my Fan Post, I would sincerely like to point out, that this isn't a post about finger-pointing, rather, a post about recognizing that finger-pointing...
is kinda the problem.
In 2010, we saw a breakout performance from Michael Vick against the Washington Redskins - a game that will go in franchise history, as perhaps one of the most meaningful and greatest victories, under Coach Andy Reid. Do you want to know how memorable that actually was? I remember full-color details of the event.
I was driving home from my parents house, listening to the memorable game on the radio, and the ever-appealing Merrill Reese announcing. It was dark, and I was coasting through a small town called Willow Street, past a retirement community. It was a well-lit road, but dark and dreary at the same time - the opposite of what I was feeling for Michael Vick. This man was making Eagles history. I was happy for him. I was excited. As an Eagles fan, I thought this was going to be our year.
But, I think that's the part of me that likes to root for the underdog. It was a well-known fact that Michael Vick had earned himself a great deal of infamy for his role in dog-fighting, and to this day, Eagles fans and Eagles haters alike, still make sure he doesn't forget it. And while we think that our criticisms generally help people - normally they make matters worse.
If we don't realize by now that Michael Vick has a very large insecurity about his dog-fighting mistakes, and his not-so-successful seasons as the Eagles starting Quarterback, we might not ever see it. I doubt that rubbing it in his face, time after time, is generally going to help him become a better Quarterback.
I can't say for certainty, but I can say with a good amount of confidence, that Michael Vick's 2010 comeback, had less to do with athleticism and talent, and more to do with inspiration.
We believed in him. We forgave him for his mistakes. We were inspired by his NFL comeback. He felt the warmth and love from the fans, and gave it back in the form of a comeback. We saw him as an underdog, and cheered him on. Believing in Michael Vick, helped Michael believe in himself.
As fans, we are labeled as some of the most brutal of its kind, and rightfully so. When players make mistakes, we crucify them for it. When the Eagles don't win games, we spend the next few hours or days finger-pointing and blaming. Players are absolutely affected by that. They know if they screw up, they are never going to hear the end of it. It's a domino affect of negativity.
If we want to see the Eagles win more games, the best thing we can do, especially for people like Michael Vick, is instead of piling on even more criticism to the mountain of criticism they already hear, remind them that it's okay to make mistakes, and that we will support them, even after a bad game.
"It was an off-week, but thank you for being a positive role-model and turning your life around. Thanks for your repeated charitable efforts to give inmates a 2nd chance. And thank you for speaking out against dog-fighting, and promoting awareness for animal abuse."
If you don't think they crucify themselves for a bad performance, then you are mostly incorrect. Adding to that burden, isn't going to help them perform better.
After all, aren't NFL players just as human and fallible as we are?