Before being knocked out of the game by a concussion, brand new Philadelphia Eagles starter Kevin Kolb(notes) had completed just five of 10 pass attempts for 24 yards. He played the entire first half and led the Eagles to just three points.
Michael Vick came on in the second half, and not only did he throw for 175 yards and a touchdown, he also led the Eagles with 103 yards rushing. He threw no interceptions. He led the Eagles to 17 points. He was almost the entirety of Philadelphia's offensive attack, and he was as dynamic and explosive as he ever was before his stretch in Leavenworth.
And despite all of this, it's very likely that Andy Reid's postgame comments will include a statement like, "Kevin Kolb is the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, and that's not going to change." (UPDATE: Yeah, that's pretty much what he said.)
Unfortunately for Andy Reid, he doesn't get to decide whether or not a quarterback controversy exists.
No, quarterback controversies can be cooked up by fan sentiment, talk radio, columnists and bloggers. Even if the head coach is perfectly decisive and authoritative in his decision, a perceived controversy can become a problem. Everyone gets asked about it. Boos and chants are heard. Guys in the locker room might start taking sides. The media adores this sort of thing.
And for extra fun, here we've got Michael Vick(notes), perhaps the league's biggest attention magnet. The Eagles are a high-profile franchise to begin with, and young Kevin Kolb was recently handed the starting job as the Eagles shoved longtime starter Donovan McNabb(notes) out the door. It's just about an ideal set of ingredients for a giant Andy Reid headache.
One can understand his decision to stick with Kolb. With the chucking of McNabb, the Eagles just made a huge commitment to Kolb, and I'm certain months of thought went into that. All of that doesn't get erased because he had one bad half of football.
But it's not as if a Michael Vick supporter couldn't make a case. Again, it was just one half of play, but Vick's half was so much better than Kolb's that I'm not sure the two were even playing the same sport. He made plays with his arm, and he made plays with his legs. He was the reason the Eagles were even in this game in the second half.
Maybe he needed last year to shake off the rust, and what we saw today was the re-emergence of the real Michael Vick. Maybe with age and maturity, he's wiser and better now than ever.
With Kevin Kolb, we aren't talking about a guy who ever has reached out and grabbed this job by the throat, either. What he has proven in real, live NFL games doesn't amount to a whole lot. It's not as if we're talking about sending Brett Favre(notes) or Tom Brady(notes) to the bench here. We can't be sure that Vick is the real thing just yet, but we don't know that Kolb is, either.
Given what we just saw, I think Andy Reid owes it to his team to at least consider the possibility that Vick might be the better option.