It's pretty clear that Eagles fans aren't having a hard time swallowing the idea of Michael Vick joining their football team. He was greeted with cheers at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night when he played his first football game in more than two years. That was probably to be expected, though, and any in-game reaction is going to have more to do with winning and losing than Vick's criminal activities.
The same can't be said of a mural that's popped up in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Normally you'd associate an image of Vick strangling a dog with a negative statement about the way he treated dogs in the past. You'd assume incorrectly, however, since the dog is wearing the familiar blue star that gave this site its name.
You'll also notice the number 9 on the puppy's shoulder, which is a charming little touch.
To say the image is in questionable taste would be one honey of an understatement. Whatever your feelings about whether or not Vick should be back in the NFL, there's not much room for argument about making light of the crime that sent him to prison in the first place. You have to wonder about the person out there who sees a dead puppy as an appropriate vehicle for expressing your feelings about football.
You don't need to be an art historian to understand the message, though. If you can help us beat the Cowboys, we don't much care about anything else you've done in your life.
Can Vick help the Eagles beat the Cowboys? The early returns were pretty positive for Andy Reid's pet project. His arm looked strong on a pass to Hank Baskett and he certainly seemed to have a good grasp of how to run the Wildcat offense. It's unclear how much the Eagles will use that formation during the regular season, but he definitely gives the Eagles offense options that they wouldn't have otherwise.
That doesn't mean that there might not be an advantage to Vick's presence for the Cowboys. We mentioned the crowd's reaction to him above, but it went further than just cheering for Vick. There were points when chants of "We Want Vick" could be heard, chants that will only get louder when Donovan McNabb is having an off day in front of the home fans. McNabb also seemed slightly put out about the way the Eagles used the Wildcat during the game because of the way it interuppted the rhythm of the regular offense.
These things may wind up having absolutely no impact on the Eagles season, but they may also become issues that distract them from the task at hand. It's happened before (see sit-ups in driveway, Terrell Owens and) and McNabb's always a lightning rod for criticism around Philadelphia.