Michael Vick, the football player even people who don’t care about sports can enjoy hating, made his debut last night with the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a meaningless preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and, as such, there weren’t many boos or cheers. Preseason football is rather lame. Even protesters, on both sides, couldn’t rankle themselves to action; the Philadelphia Inquirer called the smatterings gathered outside the stadium “skimpy.” And, as Deadspin pointed out, the Vick jerseys must be on back order.
It’s worth noting that Vick wasn’t especially good. He was fine, sure, completing four easy passes and looking fast, but not quite as fast as he was before he spent nearly two years in prison. But the whole Eagles offense looked out of sync when he came in, as if their polished system got nicked slightly off track with the new guy. It was as if the Eagles were doing the same thing anyone else watching the game was doing: Hey, look, there’s Michael Vick! The dog murderer! At wide receiver! At running back! Vick clearly has some skills left, but transitioning him into an established enterprise is going to take a while.
But again: That’s just boring football stuff. Mostly, the big massive Omigod Look at All the Angry PETA People shitstorm that everyone was expecting for Vick’s first game did not materialize. Whether you believe Vick deserves the extra scorn — and some of us think he’s served his time and should be allowed to return to his life and career, no matter how Not Sorry he seems — certainly observers were expecting more palpable outrage.
Of course, it was an Eagles home game. They have one more preseason game in which Vick is expected to participate. It’s this Thursday. It’s in East Rutherford against the Jets. The 164 bus to the Meadowlands Sports Complex leaves Port Authority every ten to fifteen minutes starting at 6:26 a.m. on weekdays. You can buy your tickets in advance, if you so desire.