"It bothers me, to be honest with you," Andy Reid recently said of NFL officials' reluctance to throw late-hit flags on shots taken by Michael Vick(notes). "He does run, but he's still the quarterback and you can't treat him like he's a running back there. That's not what the rules state."
That's a tough shove Vick takes from Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer(notes). But was it an illegal hit? There are two issues here:
1. Cris Collinsworth is correct when he says that if Tom Brady(notes) or Peyton Manning(notes) took that hit, there would have been a flag. But that's sort of like saying that if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tricycle. Manning and Brady aren't threats to cut upfield and run 60 yards for a touchdown. They aren't sprinting to the sideline to get the most yards, they're running in sand to the sideline and trying to avoid contact. You don't defend Brady or Manning the way you do Vick. The instant you give Vick any room at all, he'll make you pay. Andy Reid knows this. He also knows Vick takes a lot of hits and needs him to stay healthy if the Eagles are going to make a deep run into the playoffs. That's why he's so mad.
2. In today's NFL, a hit like that will draw a flag 90 percent of the time. While watching this live, I was positive a personal foul was coming, just as most people watching at home were. So, in that respect, Reid and Vick have every right to be upset.
That being said, just because precedence says a penalty should have been called doesn't mean that the play ever deserves one. Anthony Spencer puts his hands on Vick while Vick is still in bounds. He shoves him to the ground in the same motion. Sure, you watch the slo-mo replay and it looks like Spencer had time to stop, think, grab a bite from the concession stand and tie his shoe in the time it took between the initial contact and the shove. In real-time, however, it was a bang-bang play. Vick was still fair game when the hit started.
It all worked out in the end, though. Late in the second quarter, the refs flagged Dallas for a personal foul against Vick that screamed "make-up call."
- Andy Reid