Sandra Golden did her usual daily 2-a-days report the other day and told a story about a 15 year old receiving a scholarship, just made me shake my head. I made a note when I heard her mention it. My son Keenan is 14 and will grow another foot or more by the time he is 21, I couldn't imagine him being looked at by colleges at this point in his young innocent life. Although it would be very flattering, it would mean very little for Keenan's mother and I, so much can happen between now and 4 years of high school. Crazy times in CFB man!! Why even waste their time offering a scholarship, so much can happen between now and 4 years!! It truly does blow my mind, but so does the attitude and mindset of young football players and parents these days and how they view their children. Sports should be fun, then sports should keep you in shape, then sports should help you learn team work, discipline, dedication and perseverance, then in High School it should do all those things and give you the opportunity to go get a great, free education and a major college or university, then just maybe (less than a % of where we started back in 8th grade) you will get a chance to play a professional sport...but it's not likely. I hope these young athletes keep everything in perspective and stay grounded, must be hard to do with all these scholarship offers rolling in!! Good luck!
Here is the story
The concussion conversation and a dumb ass tweet some guy sent me got me thinking about why football and sports in general are so important. Could you imagine not playing a sport..ever?? Whether you are a runner, football player, basketball, baseball, soccer, softball, cheerleading, gymnastics, volleyball, etc sports dominate our world! Not only in sport but in business! Ask a CEO if 2 candidates for a high ranking job are equal and one played football and the other didn't, who gets the gig?? Discipline, teamwork, dedication, fight, grit, determination, and on and on those are the qualities and characteristics athletes possess. Playing sports in as important as waking up and breathing every day, it makes our world go round! Some just aren't athletic and are better at other extracurricular activities but athletics builds character and molds who people are.
Mike was a special athlete when he got here to Atlanta, he was the new human highlight film. So much athleticism, fastest player on the team, effortless throwing motion, and crazy strong arm! So needless to say, he was the most dynamic QB I had ever seen or played with. Mike had the uncanny ability to make people miss "in a phone booth" or the pocket. So it was from day 1, that's when I knew Mike was special.
Because I was a player, I just treated Mike as a teammate and a friend, so I may not have been as aware of Vick's stardom initially. But when you see the amount of media members at his locker after games and practices I started to notice that he was different. When I used to play with Mike and the Falcons I did many appearances at different schools around metro Atlanta, I still do some today. The number one question when I showed up to talk to these kids, where's Michael Vick?? He was a superstar and everyone wanted a piece of him from little kids to agents looking for an endorsement deal. A term started to emerge from the word Sick-A-Fan and the new one was Vick-A-Fan, the city of Atlanta, strong African-American contingent, had themselves a new Hero to look up to and admire and root for!
Mike and I had a great relationship on the field and in the locker room. We were both great competitors and we wanted to win more than anything. Mike and I were good friends but we did not have very much in common. We grew up on different coast, with different backgrounds and different situations. I tried to get together with Mike outside of football to watch film or play golf but it was hard. He had people pulling him in all different directions. Coach Jim Mora Jr put it perfect one day we were having a conversation about watching film and hanging with Vick, he said, " Mike is hip hop nation and you(me) are the all American dad." It wasn't good or bad or right or wrong it's just how it was. Did Mike's fame go to his head? I didn't really think so but that's what happens sometimes when you are a superstar.
Watching what happened to Michael Vick was an awful feeling for everyone involved, Arthur Blank, Mike's family, teammates, Atlanta Falcons football and all the fans of the Atlanta Falcons. The biggest issue was that he lied to Mr. Blank and I think that really hurt the most. Watching a hero like Michael Vick fall from grace was brutal. What he did was disgusting and horrific. With that said he was made an example of for the rest of the people doing things that he was doing. Many Falcon fans had a tough time moving on and accepting the new face of the franchise, Matt Ryan. Some Falcons fans still have a tough time with the fact that Vick is gone. Go to a Falcons game and see how many African American males are wearing #2 Ryan jerseys, not many!
That feeling of invincibility absolutely sets in almost all professional athletes and super stars, but at different levels. Even I had that sense of invincibility in certain instances, it's hard to avoid when everyone is telling you how great you are! Vick had that sense of invincibility as well and it absolutely played a role in his downfall.
Michael Vick was a good person who made some very bad choices. Mike was funny, easy going, caring, and giving. I enjoyed being Mike's teammate and friend.
Mike is a better man today than he was years ago. I wrote Mike a letter when he was in prison and we have talked a few times since he has gotten out. He has come on my radio show a couple of times as well.
Michael Vick was definitely over punished for his crimes because of his hero-like super star status. Go look at his crimes and then go look at his punishment for those crimes, no one has been sentenced or punished as badly as Mike was for similar crimes, no one!!
Michael Vick has done his time and is a better man now. I can only hope that people have forgiven Mike, I think most people have. His reputation is much better and he has absolutely learned from his mistakes.
NFL has been flipped on its head, cats and dogs getting along in harmony and siblings getting along! Oakland beats Baltimore, Jacksonville over Miami, St Louis loses to Washington, the Eagles, Seahawks, Lions,Ravens Colts are all 0-2!! It's early in the 2015 season but the NFL is as entertaining as ever. Hopefully our Falcons continue to find a way to win games! Falcons have a chance to dominate the division and this terrible schedule, one of the perks of being a bad team in 2014. Two of my first year head coaches went 11-5(Mora and Smith) new energy, new vibe, new voice, new attitude and a new coach can help a team believe in themselves! Hopefully the message from Quinn continues to resonate and these players continue to buy in. If the defense keeps flying around, turnover margin is in our favor and the offense keeps putting up points with a little run game, this team will find itself in the playoffs!! Go Falcons!
Luck and Leadership
Julio jones is taking on a new role as a leader according to Devin Heater and some reports out of Flowery Branch. This great if it's true, I'm not sure I'm buying it. He is really pretty quiet, but he's the best player on the team and its perfect if he can be that leader along with Matt Ryan. Julio Jones is two things away from being the best wide receiver in the NFL, staying healthy for a long time and becoming a leader for his team.
The first thing has a lot to do about luck and taking care of your body. Julio is a specimen, strong, fast, and fit. He has had no off field issues and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. He has had a hamstring issue and that bastard foot of his is always in question. I think he can stay healthy for a long time with a little luck!
The leadership part can happen, but he will need to really make an effort to lead these young men. It starts in the WR meeting room and extends to his teammates with his play on the field and actions in practice. It will be interesting to watch how he does as a leader this year.
Does all this mean we are near the very end for Roddy White?
Hawks Fan, Glass Half Empty!
My thoughts after the Hawks Bs Nets series should've shut down all hope for the Hawks winning a championship. Here's what I wrote after game 4,
Hawks just don't look in sync at all. and the nets stink, play no help defense and never block out... they are the worst team in the playoffs and its tied 2-2.... hawks will still win the series cause of home court but not exactly how you wanna start the NBA playoffs as a #1 seed.
And it continued into the Cavs series,
Poor Hawks. they're gonna end up being 8-8 in the playoffs and 28-22 since the streak in Jan in a 40-year bad eastern conference.... Find the dumb dumb that says u don't need a super star and show him 35 years of results with an HOFamer winning championships.
When it matters teams just need that guy, and Hawks don't have him.
Fact is they're an above average team that played in a horrible conference and even with that, they played the last 30 games average at best. Just enough to get the delusion meter going a little, but when playing for keeps they couldn't compete.
Atlanta Hawks need a SUPERSTAR, a future Hall of Famer!! And until that happens, championships will elude this city.