The Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens have each had quarterback problems for years. Eagles fans like myself have certainly blamed Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick for not winning a Super Bowl, while the Ravens have had Joe Flacco as their scapegoat. Yet after Flacco nearly outdueled Tom Brady this past January, and after he blew out the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10, perhaps Baltimore is close to solving its quarterback issues - at least more than Philadelphia is.
Flacco and Vick are under the most pressure in the NFL to finally win it all this season. However, only one of them looked Super Bowl ready in Week 1, as Flacco powered the Ravens over the Bengals and Vick barely survived the lowly Cleveland Browns. And considering how many more playoff games Baltimore has already won with Flacco, it has less reason to fear for its quarterback than Philadelphia does.
Vick is one of the most hyped and publicized players in the NFL, for various reasons. Meanwhile, Flacco has been under the radar a lot more, due to his less than flashy stats and how his own defense overshadows him. But he and the Ravens have won at least one playoff game in each of the last four years, which is more than what the Eagles have been doing.
As recently as last year's AFC title game, Flacco was a big question mark and a potential liability for Baltimore. Yet he won a lot of believers by almost leading the Ravens over the Patriots. However, he has to prove this season that it wasn't a fluke, and that he can finally get Baltimore to the big game in his fifth year. His opening start against the Bengals was more than a good start - and if he picks apart the Eagles, it will help even more.
On the other hand, Vick is trying to prove that last season was a fluke - along with his four interceptions against the Browns on Sept. 9. But as Flacco seems to be getting stronger, Vick appears to be getting weaker. He has been weaker ever since early December 2010, as his glorious first few months as the Eagles' starter are fading further away.
While Vick has been slipping over time, Flacco has been building up his strength. Although both the Eagles and the Ravens are long overdue for a Super Bowl title, this might be the big difference between who gets there first - if anyone.
When Philadelphia and Baltimore meet on Sept. 16, there may be one quarterback on the field who is finally ready to overcome the past, correct his mistakes and lead his team to the promising land. Yet at this moment, that quarterback doesn't look too much like Vick.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
Other stories by this contributor